Aggressive corticotroph tumors and carcinomas

J Neuroendocrinol. 2022 Aug;34(8):e13169. doi: 10.1111/jne.13169. Epub 2022 Aug 18.


Pituitary tumors are generally benign, although in rare cases aggressive pituitary tumors (APTs) and carcinomas present important diagnostic and therapeutic challenges and are associated with a high mortality rate. Almost half of these APTs and carcinomas are corticotroph tumors, suggesting a specific prognosis. Clinical, pathological and molecular prognostic markers are limited and do not allow early management of these tumors. Temozolomide remains the first-line treatment once a diagnosis of aggressive pituitary tumor or carcinoma has been made. Novel alternative treatments exist, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can be used in the case of temozolomide treatment failure. The aim of this review is to present the clinical, pathological and molecular characteristics of aggressive corticotroph tumors and carcinomas, and to describe the results obtained with currently available treatments.

Keywords: Cushing's disease; aggressive pituitary tumor; corticotroph tumor; pituitary carcinoma; temozolomide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / pathology
  • Carcinoma*
  • Corticotrophs
  • Humans
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use


  • Temozolomide