, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 9–15 | Cite as

Biochemical diagnosis in prolactinomas: some caveats

  • Stephan PetersennEmail author


Prolactinomas are the most frequently seen pituitary adenomas in clinical practice. A correct biochemical diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia is a prerequisite for further investigation but may be hampered by analytical difficulties as well as a large number of potentially overlapping conditions associated with increased prolactin levels. Suspicion should rise in patients whose symptoms and biochemical results do not match. Assay problems, macroprolactinemia, and high-dose hook effect are discussed as possible reasons for false positive or false negative prolactin levels. Physiological and pathological causes of hyperprolactinemia and their implications for interpreting prolactin results are reviewed.


Hyperprolactinemia Macroprolactinemia High-dose hook effect Hypothyroidism Chronic kidney disease Liver disease Pregnancy 



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Conflict of interest

Author SP declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ENDOC Center for Endocrine TumorsHamburgGermany

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