, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 251–257 | Cite as

Paternal deprivation prior to adolescence and vulnerability to pituitary adenomas

  • L. G. SobrinhoEmail author
  • J. S. Duarte
  • I. Paiva
  • L. Gomes
  • V. Vicente
  • P. Aguiar


It has been reported that women with prolactinoma were exposed, early in life, to an environment characterized by an absent or violent father. The present study was designed to evaluate whether paternal absence or violent paternal behavior were more prevalent in patients with pituitary adenomas (prolactinoma, acromegaly, non-secreting adenoma and Cushing’s disease) compared to a control population. We conducted an observational case–control multicenter study. We interviewed 395 patients with prolactinoma (296 females and 99 males), 130 with acromegaly (87 females and 43 males), 237 with non-secreting adenoma (144 females and 93 males) and 68 with Cushing’s disease (61 females and 7 males) and 365 patients from the same clinics with nodular thyroid disease or lymphocytic thyroiditis with euthyroidism as controls. Violent or absent fathers were significantly more prevalent in patients with prolactinoma or acromegaly than in controls (P = 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively) but not in patients with non-secreting adenoma or corticotrophinoma. Absent fathers in prolactinoma and acromegaly versus controls: P = 0.001 and P = 0.119. Violent fathers in prolactinoma and acromegaly versus controls: P = 0.069 and P = 0.001. The prevalence of absent or violent fathers was also significantly higher in prolactinoma and acromegaly when compared to non-secreting adenoma (P = 0.039 and P = 0.033, respectively). Paternal deprivation before adolescence may be a risk factor for prolactinoma and acromegaly but not for non-secreting pituitary adenomas or Cushing’s disease.


Acromegaly Paternal deprivation Pituitary adenomas Prolactinoma 



Thanks are due to the following participant members of the GETH: Santos AP, Portuguese Cancer Institute, Porto; Marques O, Hospital S. Marcos, Braga; Carvalho D, Hospital S. João, Porto; Carqueijeiro M, Hospital S. Bernardo, Setubal; Vale S, Hospital Sta. Maria, Lisboa; Cortez L, Hospital C. Cabral, Lisboa; Santos R, Portuguese Cancer Institute, Lisboa; Sapinho I, Hospital F Fonseca, Amadora; Marcelino M, Hospital Militar Principal, Lisboa; Boleo-Tome J, Hospital G Orta, Almada. Dr. Maria João Queiroz and Dr. Inês Costa, from Eurotrials, recruited the participants that constituted control group G2. This work was supported by the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

Conflict of interest

The authors have nothing to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. G. Sobrinho
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. S. Duarte
    • 2
  • I. Paiva
    • 3
  • L. Gomes
    • 3
  • V. Vicente
    • 4
  • P. Aguiar
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Portuguese Cancer InstituteLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Egas Moniz HospitalLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.University Hospitals of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.EurotrialsLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.Escola Nacional de Saúde PúblicaLisbonPortugal

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