1. Pituitary adenomas are benign and slow-growing tumours whose clinical manifestations depend mainly on the secretory activity of the adenomatous cells. Except for prolactinomas, surgical removal of the tumour is the therapy of choice. 2. Despite extensive research on their clinical and pathophysiological aspects, few studies have explored the oncological characteristics of these rare lesions. Among these, the growth fraction of pituitary adenomas has been determined by different methods, of which the most useful are those performed in archival material. 3. The results reported in the literature show that adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting tumours seem to be characterized by a higher proliferation index than the other types of pituitary adenomas, despite their usually small tumour size. 4. In small series of patients radiotherapy and medical treatment with dopaminergic drugs and octreotide were associated with a lower proliferation index than untreated tumours. Tumour size was not correlated with the growth fraction of the pituitary tumours, whereas invasiveness was correlated in most studies. 5. From a clinical point of view, however, the more promising utilization of the proliferation index seems to be in predicting the potential of recurrence of the tumour, thus allowing a more rational approach to follow-up and further treatment of patients with pituitary adenomas.