Open Access Case report

Breast cancer metastatic to the pituitary gland: a case report

Gian Paolo Spinelli1*, Giuseppe Lo Russo1, Evelina Miele2, Natalie Prinzi3, Federica Tomao4, Manila Antonelli5, Felice Giangaspero5, Valeria Stati1, Martina Strudel1 and Silverio Tomao1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Rome "Sapienza," - Distretto ASL di Aprilia - Via Giustiniano snc, 04011, Aprilia, LT, Italy

2 Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Rome ‘Sapienza’, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy

3 Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Rome ‘Sapienza’, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy

4 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Rome "Sapienza", Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy

5 Department of Radiological, Pathological and Oncological Sciences Neurological Sciences, University of Rome ‘Sapienza’, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2012, 10:137  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-137

Published: 9 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Metastases to the pituitary gland are rare events, and usually indicate widespread malignant disease. The lung and the breast are the most common sites of primary tumors that metastasize to the pituitary gland.

Metastases are more frequent in older patients and the most common symptoms at presentation are diabetes insipidus and visual alterations.

Case presentation

72-year-old white woman was treated for a breast carcinoma with right superoexternal quadrantectomy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy. Twelve years later, the patient presented with bone pain, bilateral progressive visual decline, and onset of hypopituitarism. A diagnosis of secondary bone involvement and pituitary metastasis was made.

Conclusion

This was an unusual disease course, and stresses the importance of intensive follow-up in patients with breast cancer even many years after the initial diagnosis This case emphasizes that diagnosis can be difficultand controversial when relapse occurs at uncommon sites.

Keywords:
Breast cancer; Pituitary metastases; Follow-up; Controversial diagnosis