Management of prolactinomas: a survey of physicians from the Middle East and North Africa



Beshyah SA, Sherif IH, Chentli F, Hamrahian A, Khalil AB, Raef H, El-Fikki M, Jambart S.


Pituitary. 2017 Apr;20(2):231-240. doi: 10.1007/s11102-016-0767-5.


BACKGROUND: Prolactinomas are the commonest functional tumors of the pituitary gland. There are still controversies regarding medical therapy in specific clinical situations. Patients may be managed by different specialists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and no data exist on patterns of clinical management. OBJECTIVES: To ascertain the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to prolactinomas among relevant professionals from the MENA region. METHODS: An online survey of a large sample of physicians was conducted. The questionnaire covered various aspects of diagnosis and treatment of prolactinomas. 468 respondents were included; 36 % were endocrinologists; 49 % worked in public facilities and 81 % graduated more than 10 years. 40 and 30 % would have seen 1-5 and more than 5 suspected or confirmed prolactinomas over a 6 months period, respectively. RESULTS: Regarding the diagnosis, 30 % of the respondents considered that prolactin levels <100 ng/ml exclude the presence of a prolactinoma. 21 % of respondents considered prolactin levels >250 ng/ml compatible with macroprolactinomas only, whereas others accepted this to be compatible also with microprolactinomas, macroprolactinaemia and drug-induced hyperprolactinemia (50, 42 and 36 % respectively). 71 % of respondents favored the screening for macroprolactin in asymptomatic individuals with hyperprolactinemia. Regarding the treatment, 84 % of respondents would treat microprolactinomas even in the absence of symptoms whereas 72 % of the respondents would treat microprolactinomas only if symptoms exist. 60 and 49 % of the respondents chose cabergoline as the drug of choice to treat macroprolactinomas and microprolactinomas respectively. Similar proportions had no preference of either cabergoline or bromocriptine as the best treatment for macroprolactinoma (27 %) and microprolactinomas (32 %). 46 and 75 % of respondents favored treatment withdrawal 2-3 years after prolactin normalization in patients with macroprolactinomas and microprolactinomas, respectively whereas 10 % of respondents withdraw treatment after menopause in either case. 94 % of respondents considered medical therapy as the primary treatment for microprolactinomas. In case of pregnancy, 49 % considered bromocriptine as the drug of choice for women who wish to become pregnant. 65 and 38 % of respondents advocated discontinuation of treatment with dopamine agonists in patients with microprolactinomas and macroprolactinomas, respectively. Finally, 48 % would allow breast-feeding without restriction, 28 % would restrict it to patients with microprolactinomas and 25 % would not recommend it for women with prolactinomas. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study of the clinical management of prolactinomas in the MENA region. Some of the practices are not in line with the latest Endocrine and Pituitary Societies guidelines. These warrant further discussions of contemporary guidelines in regional forums.

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Link/DOI: 10.1007/s11102-016-0767-5