Which cancers metastasize to the pituitary gland?
Metastatic disease to the pituitary gland occurs in approximately 3% to 5% of patients with systemic carcinoma of many different types. In a systemic review of 425 published cases of pituitary metastases, the most common primary tumors metastatic to the pituitary gland were (in relative order): breast (37%), lung (24%), prostate (5%), renal (5%), melanoma (3%), thyroid (3%), colon (3%), and unknown primary (3%) cancers. DI is the most common manifestation of metastatic disease (≈ 45%), presumably because of the direct systemic blood supply from the inferior hypophyseal artery to the posterior pituitary gland. Additional clinical features included: CN deficits/palsies (26%), anterior pituitary deficiencies (partial or total, 27%), and headaches (20%). The prognosis usually depends on the course of underlying primary tumors, but is generally poor.