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Minerva Endocrinologica 2015 Dicembre;40(4):307-19

lingua: Inglese

Contemporary issues in the evaluation and management of pituitary adenomas

Pekic S. 1, 2, Stojanovic M. 2, Popovic V. 1, 2

1 University of Belgrade, School of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia;
2 Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia


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Pituitary adenomas are common benign monoclonal neoplasms accounting for about 15% of intracranial neoplasms. Data from postmortem studies and imaging studies suggest that 1 of 5 individuals in the general population may have pituitary adenoma. Some pituitary adenomas (mainly microadenomas which have a diameter of less than 1 cm) are exceedingly common and are incidentally diagnosed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed for an unrelated reason (headache, vertigo, head trauma). Most microadenomas remain clinically occult and stable in size, without an increase in tumor cells and without local mass effects. However, some pituitary adenomas grow slowly, enlarge by expansion and become demarcated from normal pituitary (macroadenomas have a diameter greater than 1 cm). They may be clinically silent or secrete anterior pituitary hormones in excess such as prolactin, growth hormone (GH), or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) causing diseases like prolactinoma, acromegaly, Cushing’s disease or rarely thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) or gonadotropins (LH, FSH). The incidence of the various subtypes of pituitary adenoma varies but the most common is prolactinoma. Clinically non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), which do not secrete hormones often cause local mass symptoms and represent one-third of pituitary adenomas. Given the high prevalence of pituitary adenomas and their heterogeneity (different tumor subtypes), it is critical that clinicians have a thorough understanding of the potential abnormalities in pituitary function and prognostic factors for behavior of pituitary adenomas in order to timely implement specific treatment modalities. Regarding pathogenesis of these tumors genetics, epigenetics and signaling pathways are the focus of current research yet our understanding of pituitary tumorigenesis remains incomplete. Although several genes and signaling pathways have been identified as important factors in the development of pituitary tumors, current treatment modalities fail to completely control the disease and prevent the associated morbidity and mortality. This article reviews the advances in our understanding of pituitary adenoma, the guidance in evaluation and management of different subtypes of pituitary adenomas and the possibility of new therapeutic approaches.

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