Posterior pituitary tumours (PPTs) are rare neoplasms with the four recognised subtypes unified by thyroid transcription factor -1 (TTF-1) expression, according to the 2017 WHO classification. Though traditionally defined as low-grade neoplasms, a substantial proportion of them show recurrence/persistence following surgery.
We selected patients with PPTs in our cohort of 1760 patients operated for pituitary tumours over the past 10 years (2010–2019). The clinical, radiological, hormonal, histopathological profiles and long-term outcomes of the three cases identified (two pituicytomas and one spindle cell oncocytoma, SCO) were analysed. Following a literature review, data of all published cases with documented TTF-1 positive pituicytomas and SCOs were analysed to determine the predictors of recurrence/persistence in these tumours.
Patients presented with compressive features or hypogonadism. Two had sellar-suprasellar masses. One had a purely suprasellar mass with a pre-operative radiological suspicion of pituicytoma. Two were operated by transsphenoidal surgery and one transcranially guided by neuronavigation. Histopathology confirmed spindle cells in a storiform arrangement and low Ki67 index. Immunohistochemistry showed positive TTF-1, S-100 expression and variable positivity for EMA, vimentin and GFAP. Re-evaluation showed recurrence/persistence in two patients. A literature review of recurrent/persistent pituicytoma (n = 17) and SCO (n = 9) cases revealed clinical clues (headache for pituicytomas, male gender for SCO), baseline tumour size (≥20.5 mm with sensitivity exceeding 80%) and longer follow-up duration as determinants of recurrence/persistence.
PPTs are rare sellar masses with quintessential TTF-1 positivity. Recurrent/persistent disease following surgery is determined by greater tumour size at baseline and duration of follow-up. This warrants intensive and long-term surveillance in these patients.