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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2012 June;37(2):157-72

language: English

The molecular pathogenesis of pituitary tumors: implications for clinical management

Dworakowska D. 1, 2, Grossman A. B. 3

1 Department of Endocrinology, King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK;
2 Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdansk, Poland;
3 Department of Endocrinology, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


Pituitary adenomas are unique in several ways, and while they are rarely malignant they may be invasive and/or recurrent. Several attempts have been made to determine the growth potential of pituitary adenomas. Pituitary tumors predominantly arise in a sporadic setting or more rarely as part of hereditary genetic syndromes. Molecular analysis of these familial pituitary adenomas has provided significant insight into pituitary tumorigenesis. Some specific genes have been identified that predispose to pituitary neoplasia, but these are rarely involved in the pathogenesis of sporadic tumors. The number of genes or molecular alterations involved in pituitary tumorigenesis is progressively increasing, providing a hope for development of new predictive and prognostic markers. The aim of this review is to focus on the molecular pathology of pituitary adenomas in the context of their implications on management and targeted therapy. We have summarized our current knowledge on the molecular biology in familial and sporadic pituitary adenomas, and we subsequently focus on prognostic factors as well as specific predictive markers for new promising targeted therapies.

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