Risk factor for pituitary dysfunction in children and adolescents with Rathke's cleft cysts

Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.
Korean Journal of Pediatrics 07/2010; 53(7):759-65. DOI: 10.3345/kjp.2010.53.7.759
Source: PubMed


This study evaluated the clinical manifestations of and risk factors for pituitary insufficiency in children and adolescents with Rathke's cleft cysts.
Forty-four patients with Rathke's cleft cysts younger than 19 years who visited Seoul National University Children's Hospital between January 1995 and September 2009 were enrolled. Rathke's cleft cysts were confirmed histologically through an operation in 15 patients and by brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 29 patients. The clinical, hormonal, and imaging features were reviewed retrospectively.
THE CLINICAL PRESENTATION OF SYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS WAS AS FOLLOWS: headache (65%), endocrinopathy (61%), and visual disturbance (19%). Endocrinopathy included central precocious puberty (18%), diabetes insipidus (14%), general weakness (11%), and decreased growth velocity (7%). After surgery, hyperprolactinemia resolved in all patients, but growth hormone insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and diabetes insipidus did not improve. Pituitary insufficiency except gonadotropin abnormality correlated significantly with severe headache, visual disturbance, general weakness, and cystic size. Suprasellar extension of cysts and high signals in the T2-weighted image on brain MRI were related to hypothyroidism, hypocortisolism, and diabetes insipidus. Multivariable linear regression analysis showed that only general weakness was a risk factor for pituitary insufficiency (R(2)=0.549).
General weakness is a risk factor for pituitary insufficiency in patients with Rathke's cleft cysts. When a patient with a Rathke's cleft cyst complains of general weakness, the clinician should evaluate pituitary function and consider surgical treatment.

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    • "In contrast, the majority of patients with headaches or visual disturbances experienced an improvement14,15,16,17). Likewise, recent case series of surgically treated pediatric RCCs also showed that pituitary dysfunction was not resolved in the majority of patients (Table 1)9,10,11,12,13,14). According to the reports, headaches and visual disturbances were more easily resolved by surgery, but some endocrine disorders were not. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose In the pediatric population, Rathke's cleft cysts (RCCs) are known to be an infrequent cause of headaches, visual disturbances, and pituitary dysfunction. We investigated the clinical characteristics of children in whom RCCs were incidentally discovered and evaluated whether RCCs influence the treatment response of patients with proven endocrinopathy. Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted in 34 patients with RCCs who were diagnosed between 2006 and 2013 at Hallym University Medical Center. Their clinical, hormonal, and imaging findings were reviewed. We evaluated the clinical outcomes of the patients with concomitant RCCs and endocrinopathy compared to matched controls. Results Twenty-six of 34 patients with radiologically proven RCCs had endocrine disorders. They were 9 boys and 17 girls, with ages ranging from 4.8 to 17.4 years at the time of the diagnosis. Of these, 7 (27%) had idiopathic short stature, 7 (27%) had growth hormone deficiency (GHD), and 12 (46%) had central precocious puberty (CPP). Nineteen of 26 patients (73.1%) showed low signal intensities on T1-weighted images (T1WI) and high signal intensities on T2-weighted images. The incidence of hypointensity on T1WI was higher in the patients with RCCs accompanied by endocrinopathy than in those without endocrinopathy (P=0.033). The treatment outcomes of the patients with CPP and GHD with and without RCCs were similar. Conclusion CPP and GHD patients with a small RCC (less than 20 mm) expressing cystic magnetic resonance intensity can be managed with medical treatment, although the RCCs need to be closely monitored in radiological studies to observe their growth.
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    ABSTRACT: Rathke cleft cysts (RCC) are benign sellar lesions most often found in adults, and more infrequently in children. They are generally asymptomatic but sometimes require surgical treatment through a transsphenoidal corridor. The purpose of this study was to compare adult versus pediatric cases of RCC. The authors retrospectively reviewed presenting symptoms, MR imaging findings, laboratory study results, and pathological findings in 147 adult and 14 pediatric patients who underwent surgery for treatment of RCCs at the University of Californial at San Francisco between 1996 and 2008. In both the adult and pediatric groups, most patients were female (78% of adults, 79% of pediatric patients, p = 0.9). Headache was the most common symptom in both groups (reported by 50% of pediatric patients and 33% of adults, p = 0.2). Preoperative hypopituitarism occurred in 41% of adults and 45% of pediatric patients (p = 0.8). Growth delay, a uniquely pediatric finding, was a presenting sign in 29% of pediatric patients. Visual complaints were a presenting symptom in 16% of adult and 7% of pediatric patients (p = 0.4). There was no difference between median cyst size in adults versus pediatric patients (1.2 cm in both, p = 0.7). Temporary or permanent postoperative diabetes insipidus occurred in 12% of adults and 21% of pediatric patients (p = 0.4). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed an 8% RCC recurrence rate at 2 years for each group (p = 0.5). The incidence of RCCs is much lower in the pediatric population; however, symptoms, imaging findings, and outcomes are similar, suggesting that pediatric RCCs arise from growth of remnants of the embryonic Rathke pouch earlier in life than adult RCCs but do not differ in any other way. It is important to consider RCCs in the differential diagnosis when pediatric patients present with visual impairment, unexplained headache, or hypopituitarism including growth delay. Although the average RCC size was similar in our pediatric and adult patient groups, the smaller size of the pituitary gland in pediatric patients suggests an increased relative RCC size.
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    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism: JPEM
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