Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors

People with a family history of abnormal changes in some genes have a higher risk of pituitary tumors. These issues are inherited. This means they are passed down from parents to their children. People with these syndromes have a higher risk of pituitary and other types of tumors:

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1 (MEN1). If your parent has changes to their MEN1 gene, you have a 50% chance of getting MEN1.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 4 (MEN4). This rare syndrome is caused by changes in the CDKN1B gene.

Sometimes pituitary tumors run in families, but the specific cause is unknown. Rare genetic problems that do not run in families can also cause tumors.

Pituitary Tumor Screening

Screening tests look for signs of pituitary tumors in people who do not have symptoms. They help find tumors early, when they may be more likely to respond to treatment.

There is no one screening test used to check for pituitary tumors in people without known risk factors. If you have an increased risk, talk to your healthcare provider about screening. People with a family history of MEN1, for instance, may need regular blood tests. These tests look at pituitary hormone levels. Abnormal results may mean you have a tumor.