Recent progress in the medical therapy of pituitary tumors

Fabienne Langlois, Shirley McCartney, Maria Fleseriu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Management of pituitary tumors is multidisciplinary, with medical therapy playing an increasingly important role. With the exception of prolactin-secreting tumors, surgery is still considered the first-line treatment for the majority of pituitary adenomas. However, medical/pharmacological therapy plays an important role in controlling hormone-producing pituitary adenomas, especially for patients with acromegaly and Cushing disease (CD). In the case of non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFAs), pharmacological therapy plays a minor role, the main objective of which is to reduce tumor growth, but this role requires further studies. For pituitary carcinomas and atypical adenomas, medical therapy, including chemotherapy, acts as an adjuvant to surgery and radiation therapy, which is often required to control these aggressive tumors. In the last decade, knowledge about the pathophysiological mechanisms of various pituitary adenomas has increased, thus novel medical therapies that target specific pathways implicated in tumor synthesis and hormonal over secretion are now available. Advancement in patient selection and determination of prognostic factors has also helped to individualize therapy for patients with pituitary tumors. Improvements in biochemical and "tumor mass" disease control can positively affect patient quality of life, comorbidities and overall survival. In this review, the medical armamentarium for treating CD, acromegaly, prolactinomas, NFA, and carcinomas/aggressive atypical adenomas will be presented. Pharmacological therapies, including doses, mode of administration, efficacy, adverse effects, and use in special circumstances are provided. Medical therapies currently under clinical investigation are also briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Acromegaly
  • Atypical pituitary adenomas
  • Cushing disease
  • Non-functioning pituitary adenomas
  • Pituitary ACTH hypersecretion
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Prolactinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent progress in the medical therapy of pituitary tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this