Aggressive and Malignant Prolactinomas

Nicoleta Cristina Olarescu, Luis G. Perez-Rivas, Federico Gatto, Thomas Cuny, Maria A. Tichomirowa, Gianluca Tamagno, Manuel D. Gahete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prolactin-secreting tumors (prolactinomas) represent the most common pituitary tumor type, accounting for 47-66% of functional pituitary tumors. Prolactinomas are usually benign and controllable tumors as they express abundant levels of dopamine type 2 receptor (D2), and can be treated with dopaminergic drugs, effectively reducing prolactin levels and tumor volume. However, a proportion of prolactinomas exhibit aggressive features (including invasiveness, relevant growth despite adequate dopamine agonist treatment, and recurrence potential) and few may exhibit metastasizing potential (carcinomas). In this context, the clinical, pathological, and molecular definitions of malignant and aggressive prolactinomas remain to be clearly defined, as primary prolactin-secreting carcinomas are similar to aggressive adenomas until the presence of metastases is detected. Indeed, standard molecular and histological analyses do not reflect differences between carcinomas and adenomas at a first glance and have limitations in prediction of the aggressive progression of prolactinomas, wherein the causes underlying the aggressive behavior remain unknown. Herein we present a comprehensive, multidisciplinary review of the most relevant epidemiological, clinical, pathological, genetic, biochemical, and molecular aspects of aggressive and malignant prolactinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Aggressiveness
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Dopamine receptor
  • Preclinical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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