Endoscopic Surgery Should Be Standard for Cushing’s Patients with Large Tumors

Cushing’s disease patients with macroadenomas — pituitary tumors larger than 10 mm — should undergo transsphenoidal pituitary surgery using the endoscopic technique, according to a new systematic review.

The study, “Endoscopic vs. microscopic transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the journal Pituitary.

Cushing’s disease develops due to an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary adenoma. The first-choice treatment for Cushing’s disease is transsphenoidal pituitary surgery, which is performed through the nose to remove pituitary tumors.

There are two main methods to conduct this kind of surgery: microscopic, which is done using a magnifying tool, and endoscopic surgery, which uses a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera. The microscopic technique was the established method for transsphenoidal surgery, until physicians started doing endoscopic pituitary surgery in 1992.

Most surgical centers choose to perform either the microscopic or endoscopic technique but do not offer both. As a result, only a few small studies have compared the outcomes of microscopic and endoscopic surgical techniques in Cushing’s disease performed at the same center. These studies showed no clear differences in remission rates or surgical morbidity.

To date, no systematic review comparing the microscopic and the endoscopic surgical techniques in Cushing’s disease has been conducted and, therefore, convincing evidence to support either technique is lacking.

To address this, researchers set out to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis that compares the endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal surgery techniques for Cushing’s disease with regards to surgical outcomes and complication rates.

Researchers searched through nine electronic databases to identify potentially relevant articles. In total, 97 cohort studies with 6,695 patients were included in the study. Among the total patient population, 5,711 received microscopical surgery and 984 were endoscopically operated.

Overall remission was achieved in 80 percent of patients, with no clear differences between the techniques. The recurrence rate was around 10 percent, and short-term mortality was less than 0.5 percent.

Cerebrospinal fluid leak (due to a hole or a tear) occurred more often in patients who underwent endoscopic surgery. On the other hand, transient diabetes insipidus — short-term diabetes — occurred more often in patients who received endoscopic surgery.

When classifying patients by tumor size, however, researchers found that patients with macroadenomas — tumors larger than 10 mm — had higher rates of remission and lower recurrence rates after endoscopic surgery. Patients with microadenomas (tumors smaller than 10 mm) had comparable outcomes with either technique.

“Endoscopic surgery for patients with Cushing’s disease reaches comparable results for microadenomas, and probably better results for macroadenomas than microscopic surgery,” the investigators wrote.

Taking these results into account, the researchers suggest that endoscopic surgery may be considered the current standard of care, though microscopic surgery can be used based on the neurosurgeon’s preference.

They also emphasize that centers that solely perform the microscopic technique should consider at least referring Cushing’s disease patients with macroadenomas to a center that performs the endoscopic technique.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/05/24/endoscopic-surgery-more-effective-macroadenomas-cushings-study/

Primary versus revision transsphenoidal resection for nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas: matched cohort study


Departments of 1Neurosurgery and 2Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia; and 3Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

ABBREVIATIONS DI = diabetes insipidus; GTR = gross-total resection; NFPMA = nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenoma; PFS = progression-free survival;SIADH = syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; STR = subtotal resection; TSR = transsphenoidal resection.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online May 20, 2016; DOI: 10.3171/2016.3.JNS152735.

Correspondence John A. Jane Jr., Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Box 800212, Charlottesville, VA 22908. email:.



The object of this study was to compare the outcomes of primary and revision transsphenoidal resection (TSR) of nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (NFPMAs) using endoscopic methods.


The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 287 consecutive patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal TSR for NFPMAs at their institution in the period from 2005 to 2011. Fifty patients who had undergone revision TSR were retrospectively matched for age, sex, and duration of follow-up to 46 patients who had undergone primary TSR. Medical and surgical complications were documented, and Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to assess rates of radiological progression-free survival (PFS).


The median follow-up periods were 45 and 46 months for the primary and revision TSR groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between the primary and revision groups in rates of new neurological deficit (0 in each), vascular injury (2% vs 0), postoperative CSF leak (6% vs 2%), transient diabetes insipidus (DI; 15% vs 12%), chronic DI (2% vs 2%), chronic sinusitis (4% vs 6%), meningitis (2% vs 2%), epistaxis (7% vs 0), or suprasellar hematoma formation (0 vs 2%). However, patients who underwent primary TSR had significantly higher rates of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH; 17% vs 4%, p = 0.04). Patients who underwent primary operations also had significantly higher rates of gross-total resection (GTR; 63% vs 28%, p < 0.01) and significantly lower rates of adjuvant radiotherapy (13% vs 42%, p < 0.01). Radiological PFS rates were similar at 2 years (98% vs 96%) and 5 years (87% vs 80%, p = 0.668, log-rank test).


Patients who underwent primary TSR of NFPMAs experienced higher rates of SIADH than those who underwent revision TSR. Patients who underwent revision TSR were less likely to have GTR of their tumor, although they still had a PFS rate similar to that in patients who underwent primary TSR. This finding may be attributable to an increased rate of adjuvant radiation treatment to subtotally resected tumors in the revision TSR group.

From http://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2016.3.JNS152735?journalCode=jns

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