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, 2 (6), 725-733

Characteristics of Familial Isolated Pituitary Adenomas


Characteristics of Familial Isolated Pituitary Adenomas

Adrian F Daly et al. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab.


The familial occurrence of pituitary adenomas has been recognized for many years and currently accounts for approximately 5% of all cases. Molecular, genetic and clinical features of familial pituitary adenomas have been well characterized in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) and Carney's complex (CNC), which account for the majority of familial pituitary tumor cases. These conditions are caused by MEN1 and PRKAR1A gene mutations, respectively, and the clinical and pathological features of pituitary pathology in these diseases differ from those of sporadic pituitary tumors. Familial acromegaly has been recognized for many years and, more recently, the clinical features of this clinical phenotype, referred to as isolated familial somatotropinoma, have been clarified. Over the past decade, the concept of non-MEN-1/CNC familial pituitary tumors has been expanded significantly to include all phenotypes, a condition known as familial isolated pituitary adenomas (FIPA). In FIPA, tumors can present homogeneously (same phenotype) or heterogeneously (different tumor phenotypes) within the same family. Compared with sporadic pituitary adenomas, patients with FIPA have a younger age at diagnosis and have larger tumors. The clinical features of FIPA differ from those of MEN-1 in terms of a higher frequency of somatotropinomas and a lower frequency of prolactinomas. The recent discovery of the involvement of mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) gene in association with pituitary tumors has provided new information regarding potential mechanisms of tumorigenesis in FIPA patients. While very infrequent in sporadic pituitary tumors, approximately 15% of FIPA patients have AIP mutations, rising to half of patients with familial acromegaly. In this review, we detail the clinical features of FIPA and discuss tumor pathology and genetic findings in this increasingly recognized clinical condition.

Keywords: Carney’s complex; adenoma; aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein; familial; familial isolated pituitary adenomas; multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1; pituitary.

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