Tumor cells require large amounts of energy to sustain growth. Through the mediated transport of glucose transporters, the uptake and utilization of glucose by tumor cells are significantly enhanced in the hypoxic microenvironment. Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors with high-energy metabolisms. We aimed to investigate the role of expression of glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) in pituitary adenomas, including effects on size, cystic change and hormone type. Pituitary adenomas from 203 patients were collected from January 2013 to April 2017, and immunohistochemical analysis was used to detect the expression of GLUT3 and GLUT1 in tumor specimens. GLUT3-positive expression in the cystic change group was higher than that in the non-cystic change group (P = 0.018). Proportions of GLUT3-positive staining of microadenomas, macroadenomas, and giant adenomas were 22.7 (5/22), 50.4 (66/131) and 54.0% (27/50), respectively (P = 0.022). In cases of prolactin adenoma, GLUT3-positive staining was predominant in cell membranes (P = 0.000006), while in cases of follicle-stimulating hormone or luteotropic hormone adenoma, we found mainly paranuclear dot-like GLUT3 staining (P = 0.025). In other hormonal adenomas, GLUT3 was only partially expressed, and the intensity of cell membrane or paranuclear punctate staining was weak. In contrast to GLUT3, GLUT1 expression was not associated with pituitary adenomas. Thus, our results indicate that the expression of GLUT3 in pituitary adenomas is closely related to cystic change and hormonal type. This study is the first to report a unique paranuclear dot-like GLUT3 staining pattern in pituitary adenomas.