BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Hypophysitis is one of the well-known adverse effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis frequently causes irreversible hypopituitarism, which requires long-term hormone replacement. Despite the high frequency and clinical significance, characteristic MR imaging findings of immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis have not been established. In the present study, we aimed to review and extract the MR imaging features of immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This retrospective international multicenter study comprised 20 patients with melanoma who were being treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and clinically diagnosed with immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis. Three radiologists evaluated the following MR imaging findings: enlargement of the pituitary gland and stalk; homogeneity of enhancement of the pituitary gland; presence/absence of a well-defined poorly enhanced area and, if present, its location, shape, and signal intensity in T2WI; and enhancement pattern in contrast-enhanced dynamic MR imaging. Clinical symptoms and hormone levels were also recorded.
Enlargement of the pituitary gland and stalk was observed in 12 and 20 patients, respectively. Nineteen patients showed poorly enhanced lesions (geographic hypoenhancing lesions) in the anterior lobe, and 11 of these lesions showed hypointensity on T2WI. Thyrotropin deficiency and corticotropin deficiency were observed in 19/20 and 12/17 patients, respectively, which persisted in 12/19 and 10/12 patients, respectively, throughout the study period.
Pituitary geographic hypoenhancing lesions in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland are characteristic and frequent MR imaging findings of immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis. They reflect fibrosis and are useful in distinguishing immune checkpoint inhibitor–induced hypophysitis from other types of hypophysitis/tumors.
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