Targeting Raf/MEK/ERK pathway in pituitary adenomas

Eur J Cancer. 2012 Feb;48(3):389-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Nov 24.


Pituitary adenomas are the common neoplasms that cause mass effect and/or endocrine dysfunction. Studies in the pathogenesis and functional regulation of pituitary adenomas are mainly focused on the following two topics: (a) the origin of pituitary adenomas and abnormal physical adjustment due to the activation of oncogenes and loss of function for tumour-suppressor genes; and (b) the mechanistic anomalies of the intracellular signal transduction. Among which, the Raf/MEK/ERK signalling has been considered to be one of the major and central pathways in disease aetiology. Raf/MEK/ERK signalling is evolutionarily conserved that controls cellular growth, differentiation and survival. Altered functionality of this signalling pathway has been found to be involved in the development of several types of cancers in humans including pituitary adenomas. This review summarises the roles of Raf/MEK/ERK signalling pathway in pituitary tumourigenesis and highlights the clinical potential of this signalling pathways to be a therapeutic target for intervention and treatment of pituitary adenomas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenoma / enzymology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / physiology
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / physiology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • raf Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • raf Kinases / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • raf Kinases
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases