Novel insights into Pituitary Tumorigenesis: Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms

Endocr Rev. 2020 Mar 23;bnaa006. doi: 10.1210/endrev/bnaa006. Online ahead of print.


Substantial advances have been made recently in the pathobiology of pituitary tumors. Similar to many other endocrine tumors, over the last few years we have recognized the role of germline and somatic mutations in a number of syndromic or non-syndromic conditions with pituitary tumor predisposition. These include the identification of novel germline variants in patients with familial or simplex pituitary tumors and establishment of novel somatic variants identified through next generation sequencing. Advanced techniques have allowed the exploration of epigenetic mechanisms mediated through DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs, such as microRNA, long noncoding RNAs and circular RNAs. These mechanisms can influence tumor formation, growth and invasion. While genetic and epigenetic mechanisms often disrupt similar pathways, such as cell cycle regulation, in pituitary tumors there is little overlap between genes altered by germline, somatic and epigenetic mechanisms. The interplay between these complex mechanisms driving tumorigenesis are best studied in the emerging multi-omics studies. Here, we summarize insights from the recent developments in the regulation of pituitary tumorigenesis.

Keywords: PitNET; pituitary adenoma; pituitary neoplasm; pituitary tumor; pituitary tumorigenesis.