Introduction There are few data regarding ZAC1 expression in clinically non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA). Because somatotropinomas and NFPA behave differently with respect to tumor shrinkage during somatostatin analogs (SA) therapy, we sought to compare the ZAC1 and somatostatin receptor (sstr) types 1, 2, 3 and 5 mRNA expression in these two pituitary adenoma subtypes and in normal human pituitaries. Methods ZAC1 and SSTR mRNA expression levels were evaluated using real-time RT-PCR (TaqMan) in 20 NFPA and compared with the expression levels in 23 somatotropinomas and five normal pituitaries. The NFPA invasiveness was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging with Hardy’s modified criteria. Ki-67 and p53 were evaluated using immunohistochemistry. Results A total of 20 patients with NFPA [6 males, median age 56 years (range: 30-78)], 23 with acromegaly [12 males, median age 43 years (range: 24–57)] and five normal pituitaries [4 males, median age 48 years (range: 36–54)] were included. Four of the patients (20%) had Hardy’s grade 2 tumors; all of the others had Hardy’s grade 3 tumors. The Ki-67 median expression was 2.35 (range: 0.2–9.23), and only four of the tumors (20%) were positive for p53. The ZAC1 mRNA expression was significantly lower in NFPA than in somatotropinomas and in normal pituitaries (p<0.001 for both), as well as the SSTR2 (p=0.001 and 0.01, respectively). The SSTR3 expression was higher in the NFPA than in the somatotropinomas and in the normal pituitaries (p=0.03 and 0.02, respectively). No correlation was found between the ZAC1 mRNA expression and the tumor invasiveness, Ki-67 and p53. Conclusion ZAC1 and SSTR2 are underexpressed and SSTR3 is overexpressed in NFPA compared to those in somatotropinomas and in normal pituitaries, which might explain the lack of tumor shrinkage that is observed in response to commercially available SA therapy in patients with NFPA.