Publications & Posters

Circulating brain injury biomarkers increase after endoscopic surgery for pituitary tumors

Journal of Clinical Neuroscience | May 12, 2021

Hallén T, Olsson DS, Hammarstrand C, Farahmand D, Olofsson A-C, Jakobsson Ung E, Jakobsson S, Bergquist H, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Johannsson G and Skoglund T

Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 2021;89:113-121


This study was performed using a Simoa Homebrew assay for neurofilament light.


Pituitary tumors and subsequent treatment with endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (ETSS) may cause injury to suprasellar structures, causing long-term fatigue and neurocognitive impairment. A method to quantify brain injury after ETSS is not available. In this prospective, exploratory study of patients undergoing ETSS for pituitary tumors, a novel approach to detect possible neuronal damage is presented. Plasma concentrations of brain injury biomarkers (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], tau, and neurofilament light [NFL]) were measured the day before surgery, immediately after surgery, at day 1 and 5, and at 6 and 12 months after surgery, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The association between the increase of biomarkers with preoperative tumor extension and postoperative patient-perceived fatigue was evaluated. Suprasellar tumor extension was assessed from MRI scans, and self-perceived fatigue was assessed using the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory before and 6 months after surgery. Thirty-five patients were included in the analysis. Compared to baseline, GFAP showed a maximal increase at day 1 after surgery (p = 0.0005), tau peaked postoperatively on the day of surgery (p = 0.019), and NFL reached its maximum at day 5 after surgery (p < 0.0001). The increase in GFAP correlated with preoperative chiasmal compression (p = 0.020). The increase in tau was correlated with preoperative chiasmal (p = 0.011) and hypothalamus compression (p = 0.016), and fatigue score 6 months after surgery (p = 0.016). In conclusion, the concentrations of brain injury biomarkers in blood increased after ETSS for pituitary tumors. The results indicate that postoperative plasma GFAP and tau might reflect astroglial and neuronal damage after ETSS.