What is the role of malignancies in the etiology of hyposomatotropism (growth hormone deficiency [GHD])?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Hypothalamic tumors or pituitary tumors (eg, craniopharyngioma, glioma) are major causes of hypothalamic-pituitary insufficiency.

In rare cases, metastasis from extracranial carcinomas (eg, histiocytosisgerm cell tumor) lead to hypopituitarism.

Craniopharyngiomas and histiocytosis X are major etiologies of pituitary insufficiency. Craniopharyngiomas arise from remnants of the Rathke pouch, which is a diverticulum arising from the roof of the embryologic oral cavity and which gives rise to the anterior pituitary. Most patients present in mid childhood with symptoms of increased intracranial pressure, such as headaches, vomiting, visual field deficits, and oculomotor abnormalities. Short stature often coexists, but this is usually not the first complaint. Most children with craniopharyngiomas have growth failure at the time of presentation. Because of this association, any child in whom GHD is diagnosed should undergo MRI to exclude a brain tumor before the start of GH therapy.

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