Genetics of pituitary adenomas

Monica R Gadelha, Giampaolo Trivellin, Laura Cristina Hernández Ramírez, Márta Korbonits
Frontiers of Hormone Research 2013, 41: 111-40
Pituitary adenomas are common tumors of the adenohypophysis which can cause considerable morbidity, due to excessive hormonal secretion or compression and local invasion of surrounding structures. The vast majority of pituitary adenomas occur sporadically. Altered gene expression is commonly detected but somatic mutations, epigenetic changes and abnormal microRNAs have also been described. Occurrence of GNAS mutations at a postzygotic stage lead to McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS), a disease causing endocrine hyperfunction and tumors in several organs, including the pituitary. Familial pituitary adenomas occur as part of a syndrome affecting other organs, such as in MEN1 or Carney complex, or occur with pituitary adenomas only as in familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA). FIPA, an autosomal-dominant disease with variable penetrance, is explained in 20% of patients by germline mutations in the tumor suppressor aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein(AIP), while no gene abnormality has been identified to date in the majority of the FIPA families. AIP mutation-positive patients have a characteristic clinical phenotype with usually young- or childhood-onset growth hormone (GH) and/or prolactin (PRL)-secreting adenomas and can be seen in cases with no apparent family history as well. Understanding the tumorigenic process in AIP-positive and AIP-negative FIPA patients could result in better diagnostic and treatment options for both familial and sporadic cases.

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