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What causes pituitary tumors?

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The exact cause of pituitary tumors is unknown.

In rare cases, inherited disorders may cause pituitary tumors. These diseases include multiple endocrine neoplasia (pronounced nee-oh-PLEY-zhuh) type 1 (MEN 1) syndrome, Carney complex, and isolated familial acromegaly (pronounced ak-ruh-MEG-uh-lee).1

For more information about these conditions, read the section Are there disorders associated with pituitary tumors?

It is likely that pituitary tumors are caused by abnormalities in one or more genes, by hormonal abnormalities, or by a combination of these factors.2 Scientists, including NICHD researchers, are still working to figure out what causes pituitary tumors.


  1. Asa, S. L., & Ezzat, S. (2002). The pathogenesis of pituitary tumours. Nature Reviews Cancer, 2, 836−849.[top]
  2. Melmed, S. (2011). Pathogenesis of pituitary tumors. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7, 257−266.[top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 11/30/2012
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology