Medical therapy of pituitary adenomas: Effects on tumor shrinkage

  • Annamaria Colao
  • Rosario Pivonello
  • Carolina Di Somma
  • Silvia Savastano
  • Ludovica F. S. Grasso
  • Gaetano Lombardi


The efficacy of dopamine-agonists (DA) in patients with prolactinomas and that of somatostatin analogues (SSA) in those with GH- and TSH-secreting adenomas is well established. More recently, data are accumulating suggesting a potential therapeutic role of DA also in patients with ACTH-secreting and clinically non-functioning (NFA) pituitary adenomas. This review aims at summarizing published results of DA and SSA on tumor shrinkage in patients with different histotypes of pituitary adenomas. Results of tumor shrinkage are of clinical relevance as tumor size is the one of the most important determinant of surgical outcome. While reduction of tumor size more than 50% of baseline size in macroprolactinomas treated with DA is a frequent finding in patients with GH-secreting adenomas treated with SSA tumor shrinkage only recently is becoming frequent thanks to the availability of depot formulations. Data on tumor shrinkage in patients with TSH-secreting adenomas treated with SSA are limited because of the rarity of these tumors. Very recently, DA have been reported of some efficacy also in patients with ACTH-secreting adenomas but data are still very limited. NFA respond very scantly to both DA and SSA even if receptors targeting these drugs are present. Whether this is due to limited receptor number or alterations of post-receptor pathway is still unknown.


GH PRL ACTH TSH Pituitary tumors Somatostatin Dopamine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annamaria Colao
    • 1
  • Rosario Pivonello
    • 1
  • Carolina Di Somma
    • 1
  • Silvia Savastano
    • 1
  • Ludovica F. S. Grasso
    • 1
  • Gaetano Lombardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular & Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology“Federico II” University of NaplesNaplesItaly

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