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Pituitary Tumors

About the size of a pea, the pituitary gland is located in the center of the brain behind the nose and eyes. Hormones are chemical substances the body produces that control and regulate certain cells or organs.

A tumor in the pituitary gland can disrupt the normal balance of hormones in the body. This may cause a person to become sick.

Johns Hopkins offers a specialized team within the Brain Tumor Center for the treatment of pituitary tumors. To request an appointment, please call 410-657-8066.

Pituitary Tumors: What You Need to Know

Boy and father using tablet
  • About 10 percent of all primary brain tumors are diagnosed as pituitary tumors. Only a very small number of pituitary tumors are malignant (cancerous). 
  • Types of pituitary tumors include adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, Rathke’s cleft cysts and other more rare tumors.
  • Many pituitary tumors are small, do not cause health problems and may never need treatment.
  • Almost all pituitary tumors can be treated, usually through medications and/or surgery. In rare instances, your doctor may treat your tumor with radiation therapy.
  • Because of the location of the pituitary gland at the base of the skull, pituitary tumors generally grow upward. If they eventually press against the optic nerves, vision problems may result.
  • Some pituitary tumors produce excessive amounts of pituitary hormones, causing specific problems, such as acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, prolactinoma or hyperthyroidism.
  • About 1 to 5 percent of pituitary tumors occur within families. People with certain rare inherited conditions may have a higher risk of pituitary tumors. Those conditions include:
    • Familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) syndrome
    • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, or MEN-1, a disorder that causes tumors in the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones into the bloodstream and include the pituitary gland
    • Carney complex, a disorder that causes several types of tumors, some of which can affect the pituitary gland 
  • After surgical or radiation treatment, you might need to take medication to control the balance of hormones in the body.

Patient Resources

Why choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of pituitary tumors?

Jon Weingart during consultation

Our Team

The Pituitary Center’s multidisciplinary team of international experts includes specialists in endocrinology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, nursing, and more.  

brain surgeons in the O.R.

Our Treatments

The Johns Hopkins Pituitary Center is a multi-disciplinary center of experts who diagnose and treat all types of pituitary disorders, including pituitary tumorsadenomas,craniopharyngiomasRathke's cleft cysts, and pituitary gland disorders such as acromegaly, diabetes insipidus, and Cushing's disease.Treatment options include observation, medication, radiation and surgery, or a combination of these. The team also helps you understand the pituitary tumor and treatment options to support more informed decisions about your care.

Pituitary Tumor: Yanir's Story

Johns Hopkins patient Yanir shares the story of his diagnosis of a rare thyroid-stimulating-hormone (THS) secreting pituitary tumor that required immediate brain surgery to save his sight and life.

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