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Guide To The Causes And Complications Of Pituitary Tumors

A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in an individual's pituitary gland, the small region in the brain responsible for keeping the delicate balance in hormone levels throughout the body. The pituitary gland produces hormones that tell all of the other hormones what to do and when to do it. A pituitary tumor can be cancerous or noncancerous, and it may or may not produce hormones. A pituitary tumor can produce excessive amounts of one or more hormones in the affected individual's body. A pituitary tumor can also destroy some of the healthy cells in the pituitary gland that are responsible for the secretion of hormones, resulting in underproduction of one or more hormones. Around three-fourths of all pituitary tumors inappropriately secrete hormones in the affected individual's body. Out of all tumors that develop in the skull, only fifteen percent are diagnosed as pituitary tumors.

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Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia

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An individual affected by a pituitary tumor may also be affected by multiple endocrine neoplasia. Multiple endocrine neoplasias or MEN syndromes are endocrine system disorders that increase a patient's risk of developing noncancerous or cancerous tumors in the endocrine glands around the body. Pituitary tumors can be caused by multiple endocrine neoplasias because the most commonly affected glands in the endocrine system are the parathyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and the pituitary gland. Pituitary gland tumors typically develop in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) patients. Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 occurs when a tumor suppressor gene called the MEN1 gene is mutated. The mutation causes the patient's body to be unable to produce a certain tumor-suppressing protein that is responsible for the downregulation of cell division to stop the development of tumors. The most common pituitary tumor in MEN1 is a prolactinoma.

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