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An acute adrenal insufficiency revealing pituitary metastases of lung cancer in an elderly patient

Hela Marmouch
Sondes Arfa
Saoussen Cheikh Mohamed
Tensim Slim
Ines Khochtali


Metastases of solid tumors to the pituitary gland are often asymptomatic or appereas as with diabetes insipid us. Pituitary metastases more commonly affect the posterior lobe and the infundibulum than the anterior lobe. The presentation with an acute adrenal insufficiency is a rare event. A 69-year-old men presented with vomiting, low blood pressure and hypoglycemia. Hormonal exploration confirmed a hypopituitarism. Appropriate therapy was initiated urgently. The hypothalamic-pituitary MRI showed a pituitary hypertrophy, a nodular thickening of the pituitary stalk. The chest X Rays revealed pulmonary opacity. Computed tomography scan of the chest showed a multiples tumors with mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Bronchoscopy and biopsy demonstrated a pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Hence we concluded to a lung cancer with multiple pituitary and adrenal gland metastases. This case emphasizes the need for an etiological investigation of acute adrenal insufficiency after treatment of acute phase.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 23