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Pituitary adenomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors that may occur as part of a complex syndrome or as an isolated endocrinopathy and both forms can be familial or non-familial. Studies of syndromic and non-syndromic pituitary adenomas have yielded important insights about the molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis. Thus, syndromic forms, including multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), MEN4, Carney Complex and McCune Albright syndrome, have been shown to be due to mutations of the tumor-suppressor protein menin, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (p27Kip1), the protein kinase A regulatory subunit 1-α, and the G-protein α-stimulatory subunit (Gsα), respectively. Non-syndromic forms, which include familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) and sporadic tumors, have been shown to be due to abnormalities of: the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein; Gsα; signal transducers; cell cycle regulators; transcriptional modulators and miRNAs. The roles of these molecular abnormalities and epigenetic mechanisms in pituitary tumorigenesis, and their therapeutic implications are reviewed.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





35 - 53


epigenetics, genetic syndromes, miRNA, molecular genetics, pituitary adenoma, therapy