Pituitary adenomas present with a variety of clinical endocrine manifestations and arise in a sporadic setting or rarely as part of hereditary genetic syndromes. Molecular analysis of 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 identified genes involved in pituitary tumorigenesis is progressively increasing. The possible resulting mechanisms of action involve abnormalities in signal transduction pathways, cell cycle regulators, growth factors, chromosome stability and others. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical significance of genetic alterations and their implications for patient prognosis, as well as to identify targets for existing and new therapeutic options. The aim of this review is to focus on the molecular pathology of pituitary adenomas from a practical perspective and discuss the possible clinical implications which may relate to particular molecular alterations. We have summarised familial syndromes related to pituitary adenomas and considered the prognostic value of selected molecular alterations in these tumors.