New therapy on horizon for the treatment of pituitary tumors

May 01, 2003

Pituitary tumors are associated with significant morbidity. In many cases however, no suitable drug therapies are available and surgical excision is currently the only effective treatment. Researchers have now found a receptor present in these tumors that upon activation with specific drug compounds is capable if inhibiting pituitary tumor growth.

The receptor - PPAR-g - is expressed in breast, prostate, and colon epithelium, and administration of synthetic compounds that bind this receptor has been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate and colon cancer cells.

While investigating the pathology of pituitary tumors, Anthony Heaney and colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, California, found that PPAR-g is abundantly expressed in several types of human pituitary tumors, including both non-functioning and hormone-secreting tumors. The researchers went on to show that the PPAR-g-binding compounds rosiglitazone and troglitazone are potent inhibitors of pituitary tumor growth and hormone secretion. This suggests that these compounds may be suitable oral therapies for non-functioning pituitary tumors--for which no medical treatment currently exists--as well as hormone-secreting tumors that do not respond to existing treatments.
Anthony P. Heaney
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles,California, USA
Phone: 310-423-6648
Fax: 310-423-0440

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