Cancer Guide

On Cancer: New Information about Pituitary Tumor Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering

By Andrea Peirce, BA, Writer/Editor  |  Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Neurosurgeon Viviane Tabar established Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pituitary Tumor Center in 2007. Neurosurgeon Viviane Tabar established Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pituitary Tumor Center in 2007.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s team of experts in the Pituitary Tumor Center is one of the most experienced in the nation in diagnosing and treating pituitary tumors. These common abnormal growths occur in the pituitary gland, a pea-size endocrine gland located in the center of the brain.

Explore our newly updated guide to pituitary tumors to learn about how we combine state-of-the-art diagnostics with surgery, radiation therapy, and medication to ensure that our patients receive the most-sophisticated care available.

Care from Our Team of Experts

Every patient receives personalized care from our multidisciplinary team of experts. When making an appointment, patients are often able to schedule a visit with three pituitary tumor specialists — an endocrinologist, an ophthalmologist, and a surgeon — in a single day, rather than having to see multiple doctors at different locations.

With the exception of prolactinomas, we treat most pituitary tumors with surgery. This includes ACTH-producing tumors, growth-hormone-producing tumors, TSH-producing tumors, and nonfunctional pituitary tumors.  

Among our powerful diagnostic and treatment tools is an intraoperative MRI scanner. The scanner enables our surgeons to rapidly and accurately capture images of the pituitary gland and surrounding structures during surgery, and to confirm that a tumor has been removed entirely while the patient is still under anesthesia.

Also, our surgeons are often able to perform a minimally invasive procedure known as transnasal transsphenoidal resection, in which we operate through an incision inside the nasal passage to remove various types of pituitary tumors, bypassing brain tissue and reducing the risk for neurologic complications and scarring.


My then daughter, 17 at the time, had a transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary tumor 20 years ago. Post-operatively she developed diabetes insipid us, which she has treated with DDAVP. Have there been any recent developments in the treatment of DI?

Edward, thank you for your comment. We sent your question to our Pituitary Tumor Center endocrinologist Monica Girotra and she indicated that “Desmopressin, which is an antidiuretic hormone analog (the hormone that is deficient in pituitary causes of diabetes insipidus), remains the preferred drug treatment in most patients. Desmopressin is available in both intranasal and oral formulations and the intranasal spray can be more effective in controlling symptoms of increased urination and thirst."

My daughter, age 32, was recently diagnosed with a 5 mm pituitary mass. She has amenorrhea and elevated prolactin level of 80. Is Cabergoline the recommended treatment for this? Is there any other treatment for this. Will the Cabergoline reduce the size of the mass? She lives in NYC.

Pat, we are not able to answer individual medical questions on our blog. If you would like to make an appointment to speak with an MSKCC physician, you can call 800-525-2225 or go to for more information. Thank you for your comment.

Is an empty sella usually an indication of a pituitary adenoma? Will an MRI show a definite diagnoses ? Should I consider a second opinion? I have been treated for thyroid issues for six years and have many unresolved symptoms could this new findingof an empty sella be playing a part?

Elaine, we are not able to answer personal medical questions on our blog. If you'd like to make an appointment to talk to a doctor at MSK, you can call 800-525-2225 during regular business hours or go to for more information. Thank you for your comment.

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