Pituitary Gland Tumor: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing a pituitary gland tumor. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a tumor, most do not directly cause a tumor. Some people with several risk factors never develop a tumor, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

There is no evidence that environmental factors play a role in the development of a pituitary gland tumor. The only known risk factors are the three hereditary syndromes explained below. Genetic testing is available for these conditions.

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1). Families with MEN1 have an increased risk of pituitary gland tumors.

  • Carney complex. This is another genetic condition that can increase the risk of a pituitary gland tumor.

  • Familial acromegaly. Acromegaly is a condition in adults that is caused by too much growth hormone. Familial acromegaly can occur as part of MEN, described above, or alone within a family. Recent studies have focused on a mutation in the gene, AIP, which can be associated with familial acromegaly and other tumors, including prolactinomas and Cushing's disease.

  • McCune-Albright syndrome. Patients with McCune-Albright syndrome have a genetic mutation that can lead to a pituitary gland tumor due to overproduction of a growth hormone.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs and it explains what body changes or medical problems this disease can cause. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.