Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Treatment for pituitary tumors

Specific treatment for pituitary tumors will be determined by your physician based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history.
  • Extent of the disease. 
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies. 
  • Expectations for the course of the disease.
  • Your opinion or preference.

Treatment may include:

  • Surgical removal of the tumor.
  • External radiation (external beam therapy) – a treatment that precisely sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. The machine is controlled by the radiation therapist. Since radiation is used to kill cancer cells and to shrink tumors, special shields may be used to protect the tissue surrounding the treatment area. Radiation treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes. 
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy – a new radiation therapy technique that uses a single high dose of radiation sent directly into the cancerous tissue with very narrow beams of radiation. This is precise and targets the cancer tumor, causing less damage to the surrounding tissues. An example of stereotactic radiation is called “gamma knife.” 
  • Medications – to control the growth-hormone production by the tumor (i.e., bromocriptine, a drug that acts on hormone-producing tumors to suppress their hormone-producing function).