Most tumors of this type are benign. However, certain factors may result in varying types of growth rate and aggression. With regard to pituitary tumorigenesis, multiple oncogene abnormalities may be the cause. Conditions such as multiple endocrine neoplasia might also be involved in the onset of pituitary gland adenomas. Tumors of this kind are divided into two main categories, microadenomas and macroadenomas. Tumors might also be categorized according to their characteristics, such as with chromophobic and chromophilic tumors.
As many as fifteen percent of brain tumors are pituitary tumors. In many cases, discovery of the tumors will be accidental, with incidental tumors being discovered in about ten per cent of autopsies.
The rate of death with regard to these tumors is relatively low. Medical advances with regard to technology have led to increased success with regard to management of these lesions. Hormone replacement therapy has also led to increased success of therapeutic management.
However, complications can arise. These complications take the form of pituitary apoplexy, permanent loss of vision, ophthalmoplegia and some other neurological problems. It is also possible that the tumors will reoccur. Some damage might also occur to other organs. This damage is often irreversible.
The majority of these tumors are found in women, and cushing disease is more common to females. Tumors of this type are mainly found in young adults, but are not age-exclusive. Any age group can be susceptible to this type of tumor. However, acromegaly is most commonly seen in the fourth and fifth decades.
Hormone deficiencies are said to play a major part in the development of this type of condition. Growth hormone deficiencies can lead to hypoglycemia and decreased growth rate in infants and children. In adults, this might result in a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. One might also experience reduced muscle strength and exercise capacity.
Gonadotrophin deficiency can lead to diminished libido in adults and a delayed onset of puberty in children. Thyrothropin deficiencies can result in malaise, weight gain, low energy levels and constipation. A deficiency in cotricotrophin levels can lead to non-specific symptoms similar to those previously indicated.
Conversely, overproduction of hormones can also cause problems. Prolactin overproduction leads to hypogonadism, amenorrhea, infertility, decreased libido and galactorrhea. Producing too much growth hormone can result in pituitary gigantism, abnormal limb growth, glucose intolerance, breathing problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar canal stenosis and acromegaly.
Cushing disease might result in weight gain, obesity, violet striae, a tendency to bruise easily and psychiatric changes.