Therapeutic implications of accurate classification of pituitary adenomas

Semin Diagn Pathol. 2013 Aug;30(3):158-64. doi: 10.1053/j.semdp.2013.06.002.


Recent data suggest that 1 of 5 individuals in the general population is affected with a pituitary adenoma. Many of these neoplasms are clinically non-functioning adenomas that may be small and clinically undetected or may present as mass lesions; others are hormonally active and cause significant morbidity due to the metabolic effects of hormone excess (e.g., acromegaly and cushing's disease). In either case, they can grow and invade adjacent anatomic structures. Tumors with similar clinical features are morphologically heterogenous and detailed comprehensive classification of pituitary adenomas is important to predict specific clinical behaviors and genetic changes that serve as targets for therapy. We provide a practical approach to clinical diagnosis and highlight the pitfalls in the classification of these common neoplasms.

Keywords: Classification; Dopamine agonists; Pegvisomant; Pituitary adenoma; Somatostatin; Temozolomide.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / classification*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / classification*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / therapy