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Eur J Endocrinol. 2007 Oct;157(4):371-82.

The clinical, pathological, and genetic features of familial isolated pituitary adenomas.

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Department of Endocrinology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège, Domaine Universitaire du Sart Tilman, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.


Pituitary adenomas occur in a familial setting in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) and Carney's complex (CNC), which occur due to mutations in the genes MEN1 and PRKAR1A respectively. Isolated familial somatotropinoma (IFS) is also a well-described clinical syndrome related only to patients with acrogigantism. Pituitary adenomas of all types--not limited to IFS--can occur in a familial setting in the absence of MEN1 and CNC; this phenotype is termed familial isolated pituitary adenomas (FIPA). Over the past 7 years, we have described over 90 FIPA kindreds. In FIPA, both homogeneous and heterogeneous pituitary adenoma phenotypes can occur within families; virtually all FIPA kindreds contain at least one prolactinoma or somatotropinoma. FIPA differs from MEN1 in terms of a lower proportion of prolactinomas and more frequent somatotropinomas in the FIPA cohort. Patients with FIPA are significantly younger at diagnosis and have significantly larger pituitary adenomas than matched sporadic pituitary adenoma counterparts. A minority of FIPA families overall (15%) exhibit mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene; AIP mutations are present in only half of IFS kindreds occurring as part of the FIPA cohort. In families with AIP mutations, pituitary adenomas have a penetrance of over 50%. AIP mutations are extremely rare in patients with sporadic pituitary adenomas. This review deals with pituitary adenomas that occur in a familial setting, describes in detail the clinical, pathological, and genetic features of FIPA, and addresses aspects of the clinical approach to FIPA families with and without AIP mutations.

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