March 2021 Research Articles


COVID & the Pituitary

 Pituitary apoplexy in the setting of COVID-19 infection: A case report.

Transcranial approach as surgical treatment for giant pituitary adenoma during COVID 19 pandemic - What can we learn?: A case report.

Insights into the possible impact of COVID-19 on the endocrine system.

Pituitary Tumors

Clinical profiles of silent corticotroph adenomas compared with silent gonadotroph adenomas after adopting the 2017 WHO pituitary classification system.

Do Anxiety and Mood Vary among Disparate Sleep Profiles in Youth with Craniopharyngioma? A Latent Profile Analysis.

The Pangenomic Classification of Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumors: Quality Histopathology is Required for Accurate Translational Research.

Editor’s note: Drs. Ezza, Asa and Yamada are longtime members of the PNA.

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March 2021


Teen Basketball Player Battles Cushing’s

A story on tells the story of a high school basketball player, Hannah Blankenship, as she battles Cushing’s Disease. Read more>

Distance Runner Outruns A Pituitary Cancer

michael masonA story in the “In Your Area” website in the U-K follows the case of runner 29-year-old Michael Mason, who survived a bout with pituitary cancer, and went on to become a P.E. teacher. Read more>

Photo courtesy:


13-year-old with Down Syndrome Beats Pituitary Cancer

An article from Stanford Children’s Health tells the story of 13-year-old Isabella Spadarella Christensen, who has Down Syndrome. She was diagnosed at age 9 with a germinoma – a form of cancer - on her pituitary stalk. Read more>

isabella christensenunicorn

Isabella chose a unicorn theme for her mask used in post-chemo radiation.
Photos courtesy Stanford Children’s Health

Indian Wrestling Champ Battles Acromegaly

dalip singhAn article in explains the pituitary story of 7-foot-1 inch tall acromegalic Dalip Singh. The former World Heavyweight Champion, known as “the Great Khali,” had his tumor surgically removed in 2012. Read more> 
Photo courtesy: WWE



March 2021 Medical Corner



varun kshettryThis month in the PNA Medical Corner we spotlight an article co-authored by Dr. Varun Kshettry, a member of the PNA. The study, on Craniopharyngioma epidemiology, was published in January in the journal Pituitary. Researchers utilized the Central Brain Registry in the U.S., which is most inclusive database for benign brain tumors encompassing >99% of the US population.

The key findings were the following: between 2004 – 2016, there were 7,441 craniopharyngiomas diagnosed. The overall age-adjusted incidence was 1.6 cases per 1,000,000 persons per year. There was a bimodal age distribution with a peak in 5-9 year old and 55-69 year old age groups. There was no difference in incidence between men and women. Papillary craniopharyngiomas were much less common than adamantinomatous tumors in all age groups, ranging from 5.5% of the craniopharyngiomas in 0-29 year old patients to 30.4% of the cranipharyngiomas in those over the age of 60. According to race, Black Americans had the highest incidence, followed by White Americans, and then Asians or Pacific Islanders.

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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Bernard R. Bendok


bendok bernard 440This month’s PNA Spotlight focuses on Bernard R. Bendok, MD, chair of neurological surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Wayne State University, then a medical degree from Northwestern University. He stayed at Northwestern for his internship in surgery, a fellowship in neuro-endovascular surgery, and a residency in neurological surgery. He then did a fellowship in neuro-endovascular surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and later returned to Northwestern to complete an MS in clinical investigation. Dr. Bendok was kind enough to answer a series of questions from the PNA. His answers follow.

· What inspired you to choose your career path?

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February 2021


Case Study: COVID and Cushing’s

An article in Cushing’s Disease News looks a case study from Japan of a woman who had Cushings and COVID-19 simultaneously. Read more: 

Obesity Raises Risk for Pituitary Disease

An article in Healio looks at a study that concluded that adults who suffer from obesity, especially as young adults, have a higher risk for developing a pituitary tumor
Read more: 

Almost 1/5th of Pediatric Brain Tumors Occur in the Pituitary

An article in Healio looks at a study that found that brain tumors in children strike in the pituitary almost 20% of the time, and that they are significantly more prevalent in girls, with diagnosis most likely to occur in the early teens. Read more:



February 2021 Medical Corner


Neural Network Modeling

weissThis month the PNA Medical Corner spotlights an article co-authored by Dr. Martin Weiss, chairman of neurosurgery at USC and a member of the PNA. The study used neural network modeling to look at the factors that lead to negative outcomes, which include the presence of a tumor that has recurred after surgery and visual deficits that did not improve after surgery. The authors analyzed the outcomes for 341 patients with acromegaly, Cushings or a mammosomatotroph adenoma, 81 of whom had sub-optimal outcomes. Their modeling was able to predict with 87.1% accuracy which patients are more at risk for a poor outcome.


Neural network modeling for prediction of recurrence, progression, and hormonal non-remission in patients following resection of functional pituitary adenomas

Shane Shahrestani 1 2, Tyler Cardinal 3, Alexander Micko 3 4, Ben A Strickland 3, Dhiraj J Pangal 3, Guillaume Kugener 3, Martin H Weiss 3, John Carmichael 3, Gabriel Zada 3 Affiliations expand
• PMID: 33528731 DOI: 10.1007/s11102-021-01128-5

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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Lewis Z. Leng


lengThis month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Lewis Z. Leng, a board-certified neurosurgeon at Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center. He also serves as Department Head of Neurosurgery for Sutter West Bay Medical Group and as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In addition he is Co-Director of Endoscopic Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery, and Chair of the Neurosciences Quality Improvement Committee at CPMC.

Dr. Leng received his B.A. from University of California at Berkeley. He earned his medical degree from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania during which time he was a 21st Century Scholar and received a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship. Dr. Leng completed his residency in neurosurgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was kind enough to answer a series of questions from the PNA. His answers follow.

What inspired you to choose your career path?

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Two Companies Partner to Pursue New Therapeutic for Acromegaly

by Suzanne Potter

abribatThe French pharmaceutical company Amolyt Pharma and the Japanese company PeptiDream recently announced they will team up to develop therapeutic peptides for the treatment of acromegaly.

 Amolyt, based in Lyon and in Boston, has experience in this field. Currently they have a program in development for hypoparathyroidism that has recently received orphan drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Amolyt is also working on a second peptide for glucose and fat metabolism, which is in the preclinical stage.

PeptiDream, based in Kanagawa, is a large company with teams of peptide chemists that is partnering Amolyt to move their discovery forward.

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