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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Metastatic Lung Cancer Presenting as Monocular Blindness and Panhypopituitarism Secondary to a Pituitary Metastasis

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Kelsey H. Sheahan, Gunnar C. Huffman, John C. DeWitt, Matthew P. Gilbert

USA Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e920948

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.920948

Available online: 2020-03-30

Published: 2020-04-23


BACKGROUND: Sellar masses are most commonly pituitary adenomas, however, about 1% of surgical resected pituitary lesions are found to be metastatic disease. It is hard to distinguish pituitary adenomas from metastatic disease. The most common primary sources for pituitary metastases are breast and lung cancer.
CASE REPORT: In this paper, we report the case of a woman who presented with right-sided vision loss who was found to have a sellar mass and panhypopituitarism. Subsequent imaging showed a large mass in her left upper lung with additional lesions in the spleen and adrenal glands. Neurosurgery performed an urgent transsphenoidal resection, with pathology confirming lung adenocarcinoma.
CONCLUSIONS: This is an unusual presentation of metastatic lung cancer, with the patient’s primary symptoms being related to her pituitary metastasis and panhypopituitarism. Pituitary metastases are most commonly asymptomatic, although they can present with visual disturbances, diabetes insipidus, or panhypopituitarism. Pituitary metastases should be on the differential for sellar masses, particularly with specific radiographic findings, visual disturbances, and/or the presence of diabetes insipidus.

Keywords: Hypopituitarism, Lung Neoplasms, Pituitary Diseases