Pituitary Gland Tumor: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about pituitary gland tumors and how to treat them. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about pituitary gland tumors, ways to prevent them, how to best treat them, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with them. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • Risk factors and genetics. Researchers are looking into how and why pituitary gland tumors develop, as well as the genetics of pituitary gland tumors in the hope of finding new methods of treatment. Learn more about the basics of the role of genetics in tumor development.

  • Surgical advances. Better methods of surgery to remove pituitary gland tumors are being studied. Due to advancements in this field, surgery is now used even for large tumors and tumors that have grown into nearby structures. However, a pituitary gland tumor that has grown into the cavernous sinus cannot usually be removed completely with surgery. The patient may need further treatment, such as medications or radiation therapy. Research on surgical methods is ongoing.

  • New drugs. Targeted therapy is a medication treatment that targets the specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to a tumor growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of tumor cells while limiting damage to healthy cells. Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the tumor. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. For pituitary gland tumors, some of the drugs researchers are currently exploring in clinical trials include nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy).

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current pituitary gland tumor treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More about the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding pituitary gland tumors, explore this related item that takes you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that a tumor and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.