Mechanisms for pituitary tumorigenesis: the plastic pituitary

J Clin Invest. 2003 Dec;112(11):1603-18. doi: 10.1172/JCI20401.


The anterior pituitary gland integrates the repertoire of hormonal signals controlling thyroid, adrenal, reproductive, and growth functions. The gland responds to complex central and peripheral signals by trophic hormone secretion and by undergoing reversible plastic changes in cell growth leading to hyperplasia, involution, or benign adenomas arising from functional pituitary cells. Discussed herein are the mechanisms underlying hereditary pituitary hypoplasia, reversible pituitary hyperplasia, excess hormone production, and tumor initiation and promotion associated with normal and abnormal pituitary differentiation in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / etiology
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Instability
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / etiology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Securin


  • Estrogens
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Securin