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Tumor formation may result from the activation of dominant oncogenes or by inactivation of recessive, tumor suppressor genes. The role of such mutations in the development of pituitary tumors has been studied. Tumors from 88 patients, representing the 4 major classes of adenoma, were investigated. In DNA extracted from matched leukocyte and tumor samples, allelic deletions were sought with 15 probes identifying restriction fragment length polymorphisms on chromosomes 1, 5, 10, 11, 13, 17, 20, and 22. Evidence of amplification or rearrangement of 10 recognized cellular oncogenes (N-ras, mycL1, mycN, myc, H-ras, bcl1, H-stf1, sea, kraS2, and fos) was sought in tumor DNA. Activating dominant mutations of Gs alpha were detected using the polymerase chain reaction to amplify exons 7-10 and hybridizing the product to normal and mutant allele-specific oligonucleotides. Allelic deletions on chromosome 11 were identified in 16 tumors (18%) representing all 4 major subtypes. Deletions on other autosomes were observed in less than 6% of tumors. Three adenomas had deletions on multiple autosomes, 2 of these were aggressive and recurrent. Mutations of Gs alpha were confirmed to be specific to somatotrophinomas, being identified in 36% of such tumors in this series. No evidence of amplification or rearrangement of other recognized cellular oncogenes was found. Inactivation of a recessive oncogene on chromosome 11 is an important and possibly early event in the development of the four major types of pituitary adenoma, whereas activating mutations of Gs alpha are confirmed to be specific to somatotropinomas. Two aggressive tumors were found to have multiple autosomal losses, suggesting a multistep progression in the development of tumors of this phenotype.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





387 - 392


Adenoma, Alleles, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7, DNA, Neoplasm, Exons, Gene Deletion, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Gene Rearrangement, Genes, Suppressor, Heterozygote, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Mutation, Oncogenes, Pituitary Neoplasms, Polymerase Chain Reaction