Cancer is complex — there is no routine pituitary tumor, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their one particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, pituitary tumor patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, endocrinologists, otolaryngologists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are pituitary tumor researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only a few cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for pituitary tumors. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual pituitary tumor.

Treatment Options

The following treatments are available to treat pituitary tumors:


Surgery is the treatment chosen most often to treat pituitary tumors. It is often necessary to stop the tumor’s effects on hormone production. Most tumors can be removed during surgery. There are several different types of surgeries including:

Transsphenoidal Surgery

A type of specialized surgery in which the tumor is removed by going through the sphenoid bone, which is a butterfly-shaped bone at the base of the skull. The pituitary gland lies just above the sphenoid bone.

Special instruments are used to enter this part of the brain through an incision under the upper lip, or bottom of the nose.

Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery

A type of surgery in which an endoscope — a thin, flexible tube — is used to perform the transsphenoidal surgery. A special tool at the end of the endoscope removes the tumor tissue.


A type of surgery in which the pituitary tumor is removed through an opening in the skull. This type of surgery is often chosen when the tumor is too large to remove through the sphenoid bone.

Even after the tumor is surgically removed, patients may undergo additional radiation or chemotherapy treatment afterwards to kill any remaining cancer cells. This lowers the risk of the tumor coming back.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-rays to reach and destroy cancer cells. Radiation is often used to treat specific areas of the body.

Stereotactic radiation surgery is a type of radiation treatment that requires a rigid head frame be attached to the skull so that the doctor may aim a single large dose of radiation directly to the tumor tissue. This type of therapy focuses only on diseased tissue, leaving other healthy cells and tissue intact.

Though this procedure is called stereotactic radiation surgery, stereotaxic radiosurgery or radiation surgery, it does not involve any incisions.

Drug Therapy

Certain drugs may be given to stop a functioning pituitary tumor from making too many hormones.


Chemotherapy uses specialized drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by destroying the cells or by preventing them from making new cells. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Chemotherapy may be used to relieve symptoms from pituitary tumors and improve the patient's quality of life.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Pituitary Tumors Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

If you have received a pituitary tumor diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a pituitary tumor specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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