Pituitary stalk thickening

Causes of pituitary stalk thickening include infiltrative conditions and tumors. A simple mnemonic for recalling the etiology is STALLC.

Causes of a thickened pituitary stalk

The pituitary stalk attaches the pituitary gland to the median eminence of the hypothalamus. The stalk is a critical transit point for hormones secreted by the neurohypophysis (posterior pituitary gland). There are both neoplastic and non-neoplastic causes of a thickened pituitary stalk.

  • Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (Histiocytosis X)
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Dysgerminoma
  • Infundulohypophysitis
  • Metastasis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Infundibuloma

A simple mnemonic for thickened pituitary stalk

A simple mnemonic to remember this is STALLC

  • S = Sarcoidosis
  • T = Tuberculosis
  • A = Astrocytoma
  • L = Lymphoma
  • L = Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (Histiocytosis X)
  • C = Cancer (Metastasis and Dysgerminoma)


Turcu AF, Erickson BJ, Lin E, Guadalix S, Schwartz K, Scheithauer BW, Atkinson JL, Young WF Jr. Pituitary stalk lesions: the Mayo Clinic experience. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May;98(5):1812-8.

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