ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 12 OC17

Prolactinomas: all in the family?

S Razvi1, S Ashwell1, M Korbonits3, R Quinton2 & R Quinton1

1Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; 2University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; 3Barts and the London Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


To report and discuss a kindred with pathological hyperprolactinaemia.

Case 1 (Proband)

A 39-year old man presented in June 2003 with 3-years of erectile dysfunction (ED) and was found to have hyperprolactinaemic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism: LH 1.0 & FSH 1.5 U/L, Testosterone 5.8 nmol/L, PRL 4154 mU/L. Pituitary function was otherwise normal. MRI demonstrated an intrasellar macroadenoma. Cabergoline therapy normalised PRL and testosterone levels, with resolution of ED and significant tumour shrinkage over a period of 4 months.

Case 2

In October 2004, his 17-year-old son was referred with severe pubertal delay (G3, P2–3, A1; Testes 8 ml bilaterally), consistent with his biochemistry (LH 1.6 & FSH 3.1 U/L, testosterone 2.3 nmol/L). Although baseline PRL was elevated at 768, rising to 1009 mIU/L after several months of low-dose testosterone therapy, pituitary MRI was normal. He commenced cabergoline therapy, is currently progressing through puberty and repeat MRI is awaited.

Case 3

In March 2005, his 22-year old niece was referred with secondary amenorrhoea and galactorrhoea and was found to have hyperprolactinaemic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism: LH <1.0 & FSH 3.9 U/L, E2 <60 pmol/L, PRL 1606 mU/L. MRI revealed a pituitary microadenoma and she was commenced on cabergoline, following which PRL level normalised, galactorrhoea resolved and periods normalised. MRI scan 8 months later showed some tumour shrinkage.


Familial pituitary tumours are seen in MEN 1 (MEN1N screen negative in this kindred), Carney complex and McCune-Albright syndrome. More recently, a syndrome of familial isolated pituitary adenomas has been recognised. Though hyperprolactinaemia is a relatively common endocrine disease, published kindreds are surprisingly rare. All 3 members of this kindred remained in touch, lived in the same town, shared the same GP and were referred to the same Endocrinologist within a 20 month timeframe. With society and healthcare becoming increasingly fragmented, such familial associations can all too easily be missed.

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