Sellar Xanthogranuloma: A Quest Based on Nine Cases Assessed with an Anterior Pituitary Provocation Test

Shingo Fujio, Tomoko Takajo, Yasuyuki Kinoshita, Ryosuke Hanaya, Hiroshi Arimura, Jun Sugata, Sei Sugata, Manoj Bohara, Tsubasa Hiraki, Koji Yoshimoto, Kazunori Arita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Xanthogranuloma is a chronic inflammatory mass characterized by cholesterol crystal deposition, which is rarely seen in the sellar region. The objective of this study is to identify the clinical features and cause of sellar xanthogranulomas. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed manifestation, radiographic, and endocrinologic presentation in 9 patients (7 women and 2 men) whom we had previously treated. Results: The patients were between 26 and 73 years of age (median, 56 years). The chief symptoms were visual symptoms in 3, polyuria in 3, headache in 4, and tiredness in 4 patients. Perimetry found visual field deficit in 6 patients. Anterior pituitary provocation tests disclosed impairment of ≥1 hormone in all patients: growth hormone in 8 patients and adrenocorticotropic hormone–cortisol axis in 8 patients. The lesions were suprasellar in 2 patients, intrasellar in 2 patients, and intrasuprasellar region in 5 patients. Three of the lesions were solid and 6 were single cystic to multicystic. Very low intensity area on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging was observed in 4 lesions. Postcontrast study performed in 7 lesions showed enhancement in solid parts or cyst walls. Surgical decompression improved visual disturbance in half of the patients but rarely improved hormonal deficits. Follow-up (median, 47 months) found no recurrence of the lesion. In addition to these 9 cases, we found 2 xanthogranulomatous lesions pathologically associated with ciliated epithelia, which also presented with severe hypopituitarism. Conclusions: Xanthogranuloma seems to be the last stage of the chronic inflammation affecting Rathke cleft cyst or craniopharyngioma presenting with severe anterior pituitary insufficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e150-e159
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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