Dumbbell-shaped pituitary adenomas: prognostic factors for prediction of tumor nondescent of the supradiaphragmal component from a multicenter series

J Neurosurg 137:609–617, 2022

Dumbbell-shaped pituitary adenomas (DSPAs) are a subgroup of macroadenomas with suprasellar extension that are characterized by a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae opening compared with the supradiaphragmal tumor component (SDTC). Hence, DSPAs may be particularly prone to a nondescending suprasellar tumor component and risk for residual tumor or postoperative bleeding.

METHODS A multicenter retrospective cohort analysis of 99 patients with DSPA operated on via direct endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach between 2011 and 2020 was conducted. Patient recruitment was performed at two tertiary care centers (Medical University of Vienna and University of Southern California) with expertise in endoscopic skull base surgery. DSPA was defined as having a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae compared with the SDTC.

RESULTS On preoperative MRI, all DSPAs were macroadenomas (maximum diameter range 17–71 mm, volume range 2–88 cm 3 ). Tumor descent was found in 73 (74%) of 99 patients (group A), and nondescent in 26 (26%) of 99 patients (group B) intraoperatively. DSPAs in group A had a significantly smaller diameter (30 vs 42 mm, p < 0.001) and significantly smaller volume (10 vs 22 cm 3 , p < 0.001) than those in group B. The ratio of the minimum area at the level of the diaphragmal opening in comparison with the maximum area of the suprasellar tumor component (“neck-to-dome area”) was significantly lower in group A than in group B (1.7 vs 2.7, p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.75 (95% CI 0.63–0.87). At a cutoff ratio of 1.9, the sensitivity and specificity for a nondescending suprasellar tumor component were 77% and 34%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS In the present study, the neck-to-dome area ratio was of prognostic value for prediction of intraoperative tumor nondescent in DSPAs operated on via a direct endonasal endoscopic approach. Pituitary adenoma SDTC nondescent carried the inherent risk of hemorrhagic transformation in all cases.