Innovations in genomics, epigenomics, and transcriptomics now lay the groundwork for therapeutic interventions against neoplastic disease. In the past 30 years, the molecular pathogenesis of pituitary adenomas has been characterized. This enhanced understanding of the biology of pituitary tumors has potential to impact current treatment paradigms, and there exists significant translational potential for these results. In this review the authors summarize the results of genomics and molecular biology investigations into pituitary adenoma pathogenesis and behavior and discuss opportunities to translate basic science findings into clinical benefit.
The authors searched the PubMed and MEDLINE databases by using combinations of the keywords “pituitary adenoma,” “genomics,” “pathogenesis,” and “epigenomics.” From the initial search, additional articles were individually evaluated and selected.
Pituitary adenoma growth is primarily driven by unrestrained cell cycle progression, deregulation of growth and proliferation pathways, and abnormal epigenetic regulation of gene expression. These pathways may be amenable to therapeutic intervention. A significant number of studies have attempted to establish links between gene mutations and tumor progression, but a thorough mechanistic understanding remains elusive.
Although not currently a prominent aspect in the clinical management of pituitary adenomas, genomics and epigenomic studies may become essential in refining patient care and developing novel pharmacological agents. Future basic science investigations should aim at elucidating mechanistic understandings unique to each pituitary adenoma subtype, which will facilitate rational drug design.