Molecular Genetic Testing in the Management of Pituitary Disease

Eva C. Coopmans; Márta Korbonits


Clin Endocrinol. 2022;97(4):424-435. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective: Most pituitary tumours occur sporadically without a genetically identifiable germline abnormality, a small but increasing proportion present with a genetic defect that predisposes to pituitary tumour development, either isolated (e.g., aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein, AIP) or as part of a tumour-predisposing syndrome (e.g., multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 1, Carney complex, McCune-Albright syndrome or pituitary tumour and paraganglioma association). Genetic alterations in sporadic pituitary adenomas may include somatic mutations (e.g., GNAS, USP8). In this review, we take a practical approach: which genetic syndromes should be considered in case of different presentation, such as tumour type, family history, age of onset and additional clinical features of the patient.

Design: Review of the recent literature in the field of genetics of pituitary tumours.

Results: Genetic testing in the management of pituitary disease is recommended in a significant minority of the cases. Understanding the genetic basis of the disease helps to identify patients and at-risk family members, facilitates early diagnosis and therefore better long-term outcome and opens up new pathways leading to tumorigenesis.

Conclusion: We provide a concise overview of the genetics of pituitary tumours and discuss the current challenges and implications of these genetic findings in clinical practice.