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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Pituitary Adenomas Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Pituitary adenomas make up 15-20% of primary brain tumors and are the third most common intracranial tumor following gliomas and meningiomas. More than 99% of pituitary adenomas are benign (not malignant or cancerous) and are slow growing. From autopsy studies and MRIs of normal individuals, we know that 10-20% of the general population has a pituitary adenoma. Most of these tumors remain small and do not cause significant symptoms. However some do progress and grow to cause major hormonal and neurological problems. Adenomas are classified by size and whether they produce pituitary hormones. Those less than 1 cm in diameter are called microadenomas, those over 1 cm in diameter are called macroadenomas. Adenomas that make excess hormones (endocrine-active adenomas) include prolactin secreting adenomas known as prolactionomas, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secreting adenomas causing Cushing’s disease, growth hormone (GH) secreting adenomas causing acromegaly, and the least common endocrine-active adenoma, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secreting adenomas causing hyperthyroidism. Adenomas that do not make excess hormones are called endocrine-inactive or non-functional adenomas. Most adenomas are not genetically inherited; cases of familial pituitary tumors are rare. The exception is called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN); type I accounts for less than 5% of cases of pituitary adenomas. This autosomal dominant condition is characterized by multiple and sometimes simultaneous tumors of the pituitary, pancreas and parathyroid glands. Pituitary adenomas develop in 25% of patients with MEN I.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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