ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 S23.3

Growth factors in pituitary tumour development

Günter K Stalla


Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.


Despite considerable progress, the pathogenesis of pituitary tumours is largely unknown. Aberrant expression of oncogenes or tumour suppressors is thought to play a role in pituitary tumour initiation. The originating tumour cells may express abnormal patterns of growth factor receptors and may release excessive amounts of growth factors or angiogenic factors, which contribute in auto-/paracrine manner to the different speed and degree of progression of pituitary tumours. Herein the expression, pathophysiological function and mechanism of action of some selected cytokines and growth or angiogenic factors such as IL-6, BMP-4, EGF, and VEGF is presented and the tumourigenic potential of these factors is discussed. The factors act through different classes of receptors (receptors without enzymatic activity, Ser/Thr kinase receptors, Tyrosin kinase receptors) and induce different signalling cascades. Therefore, it is speculated whether blocking the interaction of the growth factors with their receptors or inhibiting components of the intracellular signalling cascades may provide tools for novel pharmacological treatment concepts of pituitary tumours.

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