Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 P315

Epidemiology of pituitary tumours in Iceland 1955-2007: a Nationwide Study

Tinna Baldvinsdottir1, Jon G Jonasson4, Arni V Thorsson3, Asta Bragadottir1, Gunnar Sigurdsson2 & Rafn Benediktsson2


1Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; 2Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland; 3Children’s Medical Centre, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland; 4Icelandic Cancer Registry, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Pituitary tumours may be more prevalent than previously appreciated. Although this is thought to relate mostly to greater utilisation of imaging techniques in recent years, evidence suggests that the increased prevalence also applies to clinically important tumours.

We have created a nationwide registry of pituitary tumours occurring in Iceland for the last 55 years. We have examined medical, surgical, pathology and imaging records at all hospitals as well as private practices in Iceland. We also scrutinized records of out of hospital imaging facilities and the Icelandic Cancer Registry.

A total of 312 individuals have been identified during this period, 119 men and 193 women (P<0.03). Overall, the median age at diagnosis was 41.9 years (range 3–88 years) being 35.2 years for women and 53.3 years for men. The most common tumour types were prolactinomas in 35% and non-functioning adenomas in 26%. The overall age standardized incidence was 2.9/100.000 population for women and 1.8/100.000 for men while the prevalence in December 2006 was 82/100.000 population. For women the incidence increased from 0.1/100.000 to 6.3/100.000 comparing the first and last quarter of the study period while comparable figures for men were 0.4/100.000 and 3.6/100.000. The increase in incidence observed was clearly associated with the introduction of modern imaging technology to Iceland. However, 84% of the individuals did have symptoms or signs attributable to the tumour at diagnosis.

The increased incidence and current prevalence of pituitary tumours in Iceland is comparable to recent studies from elsewhere. The observation that the majority of the patients had symptoms or signs attributable to the tumour highlights the importance of general physicians being aware of this condition.

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