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WHO Classification of Tumours
Growth hormone producing adenoma
Pituitary gland


Pituitary adenomas secreting growth hormone( GH) in excess are clinically associated with either gigantism or acromegaly, depending on patient age at onset of disease. Well-documented nonfunctioning cases are very rare.

Pure GH producing tumours, solely consisting of somatotrophs, are separated into two well-defined histological types: densely granulated and sparsely granulated somatotroph adenomas. Sparsely granulated somatotroph adenomas show slight predominance in younger men. Signs of acromegaly usually appear between the ages of 25 and 35 years.

Acidophil stem cell adenomas are typically associated with hyperprolactinemia in the absence of stigmata of acromegaly.

Mixed growth hormone (GH)-prolactin (PRL) cell adenomas and mammosomatotroph adenomas produce excess GH and PRL. Mammosomatotroph adenomas are the most common cause of gigantism occurring in younger patients.

The majority of GH producing adenomas is sporadic. They also occur in the setting of inherited cancer syndromes. Up to 37% of patients with mutiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN1) and 10-20% of patients with the autosomal dominant Carney complex develop GH producing adenomas.