The cause of most pituitary tumors remains unknown, although a genetic contribution is recognized for some. The prevalence of pituitary tumors in the general population is high. Analyzing the Utah Population Database (UPDB), the authors investigated the co-prevalence of other independent primary tumors in patients with known pituitary tumors, both benign and malignant, and in the relatives of these patients.
The authors identified individuals in the Utah Cancer Registry diagnosed with pituitary tumors who also had genealogy data in the UPDB and then calculated relative risks (RRs) of other tumors in these patients and their relatives.
Among the 591 individuals with pituitary tumors, 16 (2.7%) had a malignant pituitary tumor and 77 (13%) had independent primary tumors of other origin. Overall, this is significantly higher than expected (70.6 expected, p = 0.009) within the general population (RR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.06–1.61). A significant excess for several different cancer sites was observed among the first-, second-, and third-degree relatives of the cases, including prostate and other cancers. Independent primary tumors at other sites have markedly elevated co-prevalence in patients harboring pituitary tumors and among their close and distant relatives.
This information will prove useful for counseling patients in whom pituitary tumors have been diagnosed and suggests strong genetic or environmental co-risks for the development of other tumors.