A Case Series of Patients With Isolated IgG4-Related Hypophysitis Treated With Rituximab

Hessa Boharoon; James Tomlinson; Clara Limback-Stanic; Anastasia Gontsorova; Niamh Martin; Emma Hatfield; Karim Meeran; Ramesh Nair; Nigel Mendoza; Jeremy Levy; Steve McAdoo; Charles Pusey; Florian Wernig


J Endo Soc. 2020;4(6) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Context: The acute presentation of immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related hypophysitis can be indistinguishable from other forms of acute hypophysitis, and histology remains the diagnostic gold standard. The high recurrence rate necessitates long-term immunosuppressive therapy. Rituximab (RTX) has been shown to be effective in systemic IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD), but experience with isolated pituitary involvement remains limited.

Case Description: We report 3 female patients with MRI findings suggestive of hypophysitis. All patients underwent transsphenoidal biopsy and fulfilled diagnostic criteria for IgG4-related hypophysitis. Treatment with glucocorticoids (GCs) resulted in good therapeutic response in Patients 1 and 2, but the disease recurred on tapering doses of GCs. GC treatment led to emotional lability in Patient 3, necessitating a dose reduction. All 3 patients received RTX and Patients 2 and 3 received further courses of treatment when symptoms returned and B-cells repopulated. Patient 3 did not receive RTX until 12 months from the onset of symptoms. Patient 1 was not able to have further RTX treatments due to an allergic reaction when receiving the second dose. Rituximab treatment resulted in sustained remission and full recovery of anterior pituitary function in Patients 1 and 2, with complete resolution of pituitary enlargement. By contrast, Patient 3 only showed a symptomatic response following RTX treatment, but pituitary enlargement and hypofunction persisted.

Conclusion: Rituximab treatment for IgG4-related hypophysitis resulted in sustained remission in 2 patients treated early in the disease process but only achieved partial response in a patient with chronic disease, suggesting that early therapeutic intervention may be crucial in order to avoid irreversible changes.