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Prolactinoma presenting as chronic anaemia with osteoporosis: a case report

Fergus R MacLean1* and John P Hanley2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bone Health, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Southern General Hospital, Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4TF, UK

2 Department of Haematology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4LP, UK

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2010, 4:33  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-33

Published: 1 February 2010



Unexplained anaemia is a rare mode of presentation for prolactinoma. We describe a case of a man, with chronic anaemia ascribed to old age. Six years later, he was evaluated and diagnosed with a prolactinoma and resultant osteoporosis. Prolactinoma in old people may present insidiously with chronic anaemia and osteoporosis with or without sexual dysfunction.

Case presentation

We describe the case of a 70-year-old Caucasian man who presented with mild anaemia and tiredness. His anaemia was investigated and ascribed to senescence. Endocrine causes were not considered or tested for. Six years later, he was again referred. Reassessment and direct questioning revealed long-standing sexual dysfunction. It was also discovered that our patient had fractured his radius twice, with minor trauma, during the preceding year. His serum prolactin was massively increased and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the head demonstrated a pituitary mass consistent with a prolactinoma. Dual X-ray absorptiometry revealed osteoporosis. Treatment of the prolactinoma led to a reduction in his serum prolactin with a rise in his haemoglobin to normal levels. This suggested that the prolactinoma was present during the initial presentation and was the cause of his anaemia.


This case highlights the importance of fully evaluating and investigating unexplained anaemia in older people and that endocrine causes should be considered. Osteoporosis also requires evaluation with secondary causes considered.