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Pituitary Tumors

A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the pituitary gland, which is the main hormone-producing gland in the body. 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 and affect a person's health.

Our multi-specialty team includes world-class neurosurgeons from the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center and specialists from other departments who work together to offer you a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan.

Patient Story: Yanir

Yanir shares the story of his diagnosis with a rare thyroid-stimulating, hormone-secreting pituitary tumor that required immediate brain surgery to save his sight and life.

Webinar: What You Need to Know about Surgery

Dr. Gary Gallia, surgical director of the Johns Hopkins Pituitary Center, discusses the surgical options available and what patients and families should consider when selecting a treatment team.

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What You Need to Know

  • About 10% 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.
  • Because of the location of the pituitary gland at the base of the skull, a pituitary tumor grows 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 (MEN-1) and Carney complex.
  • Brain cancer research at Johns Hopkins is advancing the understanding of brain tumors and creating a fertile environment for innovation and implementation of new therapies to improve survival and quality of life for our patients.

Our Treatments

Many pituitary tumors are small, do not cause health problems and may never need treatment. Those that require treatment can typically be treated with medications and/or surgery. In rare instances, your doctor may treat your tumor with radiation therapy. After surgical or radiation treatment, you might need to take medication to control the balance of hormones in the body.

Learn more about these treatment options:

Our Team of Pituitary Tumor Specialists

The team at the Johns Hopkins Pituitary Center will help you understand the pituitary tumor and treatment options to support more informed decisions about your care.


Bettegowda, Chetan
Brem, Henry
Gallia, Gary
Lin, Shih-Chun
Mukherjee, Raj
Weingart, Jon


Salvatori, Roberto
Wand, Gary Steven


McCulley, Timothy James

Otolaryngologists (ENT)

Ishii, Masaru
Ramanathan, Murugappan


Rodriguez, Fausto Jose

Radiation Oncologists

Kleinberg, Lawrence Richard
Redmond, Kristin Janson

Nurses and Physician Assistants

Anderson, Jill, MS, PA-C

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