Prolactinoma

  • Definition

    A prolactinoma is a noncancerous pituitary tumor that produces a hormone called prolactin. This results in too much prolactin in the blood.


    Alternative Names

    Prolactinoma - females; Adenoma - secreting; Prolactin-secreting adenoma of the pituitary


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Prolactin is a hormone that triggers the breasts to produce milk (lactation).

    Prolactinoma is the most common type of pituitary tumor (adenoma). It makes up at least 30% of all pituitary adenomas. Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign). Prolactinoma may occur as part of a hereditary disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1)

    Prolactinomas occur most commonly in people under age 40. They are about five times more common in women than men, but are rare in children.

    At least half of all prolactinomas are very small (less than 1 cm or 3/8 of an inch in diameter). These microprolactinomas are more common in women. Many small tumors remain small and never get larger.

    Larger tumors, called macroprolactinomas, are more common in men. Prolactinomas in men tend to occur at an older age and can grow to a large size before any symptoms appear.