✓ Clinically nonsecreting pituitary adenomas removed at surgery from 69 patients under 40 years of age were studied by histological, immunocytochemical, and transmission electron microscopic examination. By morphological analysis. 19 tumors were found to be null-cell adenomas. 17 silent gonadotroph adenomas, 14 silent subtype 3 adenomas of unknown cellular origin, 13 silent subtype 1 or subtype 2 corticotroph adenomas, three oncocytomas, and three silent thyrotroph adenomas. These results indicate that the incidence of null-cell adenomas and oncocytomas, which are known to be the most common types of nonsecreting pituitary adenomas in patients over 40 years of age, is relatively low in younger patients. This trend is even more obvious in patients younger than 30 years of age.
It can be concluded that clinically nonsecreting pituitary adenomas represent a heterogeneous group morphologically, and that the incidence of the different tumor types varies depending on the patient's age. These findings underline the importance of careful morphological studies. It is proposed that, in order for the correct morphological diagnosis to be made, tumors removed surgically from patients with clinically nonsecreting pituitary adenomas (especially younger patients) should be investigated not only by histological means but also by immunocytochemical and electron microscopic examination. The information obtained from such analysis may be useful in assessing prognosis and deciding on the appropriate treatment.