Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 394, Issue 3, pp 221–233 | Cite as

Heterogeneous pituitary adenomas

A light microscopic, immunohistochemical and electron microscopic study
  • D. Martinez
  • D. Barthe


The combined use of several histological procedures (i.e. conventional light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy) among 45 unselected pituitary adenomas demonstrated the existence of 9 tumors (20%) containing several identifiable adenohypophy seal cell types. Thecellular associations were between 2 or 3 identifiable cell types. Mammosomatotrophic tumors were the most frequent but not the only mixed type (somatomammocorticotrophic, somatocorticotrophic tumors were also found). The cellular components varied in size but the cells appeared randomly distributed in the tumors. In all the adenomas there was an unidentified cell component (no reactivity with antisera used) varying from sparse to numerous elements. On adjacent sections the adenomatous cells reacted with a single specific antiserum, but in two cases the immunohistochemistry on contiguous paraffin embedded sections did not confirm this with certainty. These results confirm those of others and a new term is purposed to designate these tumors: heterogeneous pituitary adenomas. According to the nature and the proportions of the cell components the heterogeneous adenomas were subdivided into two groups: a group A which comprised adenomas formed by a major identifiable cellular type associated with one or two other less frequent cell types, and a group B formed by a predominant unidentifiable (no reactivity with immunochemical stainings) cell type associated with one or two other identified cell types. The present morphofunctional classifications of pituitary adenomas should be modified to include homogeneous adenomas with a single cell type and heterogeneous adenomas with several cell types.

Key words

Human pituitary adenoma Light and electron microscopy Immunohistochemistry Several adenohypophyseal cell types 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Martinez
    • 1
  • D. Barthe
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d'Histologie, Faculté de MédecineLimoges, CedexFrance

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