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Free access

Tina Kienitz, Marcus Quinkler, Christian J Strasburger and Manfred Ventz

Objective: TSH-secreting pituitary tumors (TSH-omas) are a rare cause of hyperthyroidism and account for <1% of all pituitary adenomas. Failure to recognize the presence of a TSH-oma may result in dramatic consequences such as thyroid ablation that may cause further growth in pituitary tumor. The primary goal of the treatment of TSH-omas is to remove the pituitary tumor. Medical treatment includes dopaminergic agonists or somatostatin analogs.

Methods and results: We report five cases of TSH-oma diagnosed between 1997 and 2006 and review the literature. All the patients are females with an age range from 54 to 65 years at diagnosis. Four of the five patients had at least one event of thyroid surgery due to goiter or nodule of unknown dignity. Three of the five patients had a stroke before the diagnosis of TSH-oma, probably due to hypertension, or smoking and contraceptive treatment. One patient with invasive tumor growth received stereotactic radiotherapy (and developed panhypopituitarism after operation), another patient received somatostatin analogs preoperatively and successfully underwent transsphenoidal operation. Three of the five patients received dopaminergic agonists (bromocriptine 5 mg daily or cabergoline 0.5–0.75 mg per week), because they refused surgical therapy or the tumor was stable under dopaminergic therapy. All patients have been followed-up for 2.5–8 years. A normalization of circulating thyroid hormone levels was achieved in all patients. The patient who underwent operation shows no recurrence of the disease. The other patients have a stable pituitary mass without signs of growth.

Conclusion: We report the successful long-term treatment of TSH-omas with different therapies.

Free access

Katherine M Morrison, Martin Bidlingmaier, Simone Stadler, Zida Wu, Lars Skriver and Christian J Strasburger

Objective: The usefulness of measuring the GH-dependent acid-labile subunit (ALS) in the management of GH deficiency (GHD) and acromegaly remains in question and is investigated in this study, comparing several different immunoassays for ALS.

Method: We compared the diagnostic accuracy of a commercially available polyclonal Ab-based ELISA with SDS pre-treatment (SDS-ELISA) with a monoclonal Ab-based immunofluorometric assay, using two unfolding methods (urea (UREA) and Glycine-HCl (Gly)). The corresponding molecular weight (MW) of ALS and IGFBP-3 immunoreactivity was determined. The clinical usefulness of each assay was examined in adult GH disorders.

Results: ALS was lower in GHD and higher in acromegaly using all assays. In GHD, UREA had higher sensitivity and specificity than SDS-ELISA (59 and 69% versus 41 and 51% respectively). In acromegaly, sensitivity and specificity was 94 and 87% for UREA, 81 and 36% for Gly, and 44 and 44% for SDS-ELISA. After UREA, immunoreactivity for ALS and IGFBP-3 eluted at their predicted free MW using size-exclusion chromatography, whereas ALS immunoreactivity in SDS (300–600 kDa) and Gly (250–500 kDa) was at a high apparent MW consistent with aggregation.

Conclusion: The diagnostic accuracy of ALS varies with assay choice and pre-treatment modality. UREA, which results in migration of ALS at the expected MW on a sizing column, has the highest specificity and sensitivity. Thus, if measured in an assay in which ALS is unfolded without aggregation, ALS is a clinically highly useful parameter for the assessment of GH.

Free access

Michael Droste, Julia Domberg, Michael Buchfelder, Klaus Mann, Anja Schwanke, Günter Stalla and Christian J Strasburger


Acromegaly is associated with an increased prevalence of glucose metabolism disorders. Clinically confirmed diabetes mellitus is observed in approximately one quarter of all patients with acromegaly and is known to have a worse prognosis in these patients.


Of 514 acromegalic patients treated with pegvisomant and recorded in the German Cohort of ACROSTUDY, 147 had concomitant diabetes mellitus. We analysed these patients in an observational study and compared patients with and without concomitant diabetes.


Under treatment with pegvisomant, patients with diabetes mellitus rarely achieved normalisation (64% in the diabetic cohort vs 75% in the non-diabetic cohort, P=0.04) for IGF1. Diabetic patients normalised for IGF1 required higher pegvisomant doses (18.9 vs 15.5 mg pegvisomant/day, P<0.01). Furthermore, those diabetic patients requiring insulin therapy showed a tendency towards requiring even higher pegvisomant doses to normalise IGF1 values than diabetic patients receiving only oral treatment (22.8 vs 17.2 mg pegvisomant/day, P=0.11).


Hence, notable interdependences between the acromegaly, the glucose metabolism of predisposed patients and their treatment with pegvisomant were observed. Our data support recent findings suggesting that intra-portal insulin levels determine the GH receptor expression in the liver underlined by the fact that patients with concomitant diabetes mellitus, in particular those receiving insulin therapy, require higher pegvisomant doses to normalise IGF1. It is therefore important to analyse various therapy modalities to find out whether they influence the associated diabetes mellitus and/or whether the presence of diabetes mellitus influences the treatment results of an acromegaly therapy.

Open access

Christian J Strasburger, Anders Mattsson, Patrick Wilton, Ferah Aydin, Judith Hey-Hadavi and Beverly M K Biller

Pegvisomant monotherapy is effective and safe in treatment of acromegaly. However, some clinicians combine pegvisomant with somatostatin analogues (SSA) or dopamine agonist (DA). In this analysis of ACROSTUDY, a long-term non-interventional study, the use of combination regimens was evaluated. Based on their baseline treatment, 2043 patients were retrospectively categorized as: long-acting SSA combined with pegvisomant, ‘Combo SSA’ 768 patients (38%); DA combined with pegvisomant, ‘Combo DA’ 123 (6%); pegvisomant monotherapy, ‘Peg mono’ 1128 (55%). Treatment patterns changed over the 10-year period, with recent patients more likely to receive any combination (20% in 2003 vs 54% in 2012). Combo SSA use varied widely among countries from 22% to 78%. Exposure periods of the three treatment modalities were defined from pegvisomant start until the last visit in ACROSTUDY; patients could switch treatment categories. At year 4, IGF-I was normal in 62% of Combo SSA, 63% of Combo DA and 65% of Peg mono groups. Pegvisomant was initiated as daily injections in 94% of patients in the Peg mono group, 66% of Combo SSA and 91% of Combo DA patients. During 6169 years of treatment exposure, 3424 adverse events (AEs) were reported in 946 (51%) patients, of which 617 (18%) were serious and 401 (12%) were considered treatment related. The reported incidence of serious AEs and treatment-related non-serious AEs were similar among the three treatment modalities. This analysis describes real-world clinical care and shows favorable efficacy and safety for Peg mono and combinations. Novel findings include an increased use of combination therapy over time and variability in treatment modalities between countries.

Free access

Michael Droste, Julia Domberg, Michael Buchfelder, Klaus Mann, Anja Schwanke, Günter Stalla and Christian J Strasburger

Free access

Timo Deutschbein, Martin Bidlingmaier, Jochen Schopohl, Christian J Strasburger and Stephan Petersenn


Adult growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) is diagnosed by provocative testing of GH secretion.


To improve the diagnostic accuracy of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) plus arginine (GARG) testing, we evaluated the influence of age, BMI and sex and established normative data for an automatic immunoassay specifically measuring 22 kDa human GH.


Prospective multicenter study.


Eighty-seven patients with hypothalamic–pituitary disease and 200 healthy controls. Patients were classified according to the number of pituitary hormone deficiencies (PHD). GHD was assumed when ≥2 PHD (in addition to GH) were present (n = 51); 36 patients with <2 PHD were considered GH sufficient (GHS). ROC analysis identified cutoffs with ≥95% specificity for GHD. Controls were prospectively stratified for sex, age and BMI.


All participants received GHRH and l-arginine.

Main outcome measures

GH was measured by immunoassay (iSYS, IDS).


In controls, multiple stepwise regression analysis showed that BMI (21%, P < 0.0001), sex (20%, P < 0.0001) and age (5%, P < 0.001), accounted for 46% of GH peak level variability during GARG. Comparison of peak GH during GARG (GHD vs GHS + controls) revealed an overall cutoff of 3.9 ng/mL (sensitivity 86%, specificity 95%). After adjustment for BMI and sex, optimal cutoffs (male vs female) were 6.5 vs 9.7 ng/mL in lean, 3.5 vs 8.5 ng/mL in overweight and 2.2 vs 4.4 ng/mL in obese subjects respectively.


BMI and sex account for most of the variability of peak GH levels during GARG. Consequently, diagnostic accuracy of the GARG test is significantly improved by use of adjusted cutoffs.

Free access

Annamaria Colao, Rosario Pivonello, Renata S Auriemma, Maria Cristina De Martino, Martin Bidlingmaier, Francesco Briganti, Fabio Tortora, Pia Burman, Ione A Kourides, Christian J Strasburger and Gaetano Lombardi

Objective: We aimed to investigate the efficacy of pegvisomant in patients with acromegaly resistant to long-term (≧ 24-month), high-dose treatment with octreotide-LAR (40 mg/month) or lanreotide (120 mg/month).

Design: This was an open, prospective study.

Subjects and Methods: We studied 16 patients with acromegaly (nine women; aged 28–61 years). The main outcome measures were IGF-I levels, blood pressure, glucose tolerance and safety (liver function and tumor size). Pegvisomant was given at doses of 10–40 mg s.c. daily. Dose titration was performed every month by IGF-I assay.

Results: Three patients spontaneously stopped pegvisomant treatment after 6–9 months because of poor compliance; from the measurement of serum pegvisomant, another patient was found not to inject herself properly. After 6 months, IGF-I levels decreased by 63 ± 19% (767.8 ± 152.9 vs 299.8 ± 162.9 μg/l, P < 0.0001, t-test); serum IGF-I levels normalized in 57%. After 12 months, IGF-I levels normalized in nine (75%) patients and were reduced by over 50% in another three (25%). The mean tumor volume remained stable during the study (1198 ± 1234 vs 1196 ± 1351 mm3, P = 0.37): it did not change ( ± 25% vs basal) in nine patients, increased by 39.4% and 40.8% in two and decreased by 30.8–46.5% in four. The total/high-density lipoprotein (HDL):cholesterol ratio (from 4.4 ± 1.0 to 3.7 ± 0.6, P= 0.0012), glucose levels (from 5.6 ± 1.2 to 4.4 ± 1.4 mmol/l, P = 0.026), insulin levels (from 12.4 ± 6.7 to 8.1 ± 3.0 mUl/l, P = 0.0023) and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index (from 3.4 ± 2.1 to 1.9 ± 1.0, P = 0.0017) decreased.

Conclusions: Treatment for 12 months with pegvisomant normalized IGF-I levels, and improved cardiovascular risk parameters and insulin sensitivity in patients with acromegaly resistant to long-term, high-dose treatment with somatostatin analogs. The tolerance of treatment was good.

Free access

Alexandra Keller, Zida Wu, Juergen Kratzsch, Eberhard Keller, Werner F Blum, Astrid Kniess, Rainer Preiss, Jens Teichert, Christian J Strasburger and Martin Bidlingmaier

Objective: Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data after recombinant human GH (rhGH) administration in adults are scarce, but necessary to optimize replacement therapy and to detect doping. We examined pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and 20 kDa GH after injection of rhGH at different doses and routes of administration.

Design: Open-label crossover study with single boluses of rhGH.

Methods: Healthy trained subjects (10 males, 10 females) received bolus injections of rhGH on three occasions: 0.033 mg/kg s.c., 0.083 mg/kg s.c., and 0.033 mg/kg i.m. Concentrations of 22 and 20 kDa GH, IGF-I, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP)-3 were measured repeatedly before and up to 36 h after injection.

Results: Serum GH maximal concentration (C max) and area under the time-concentration curve (AUC) were higher after i.m. than s.c. administration of 0.033 mg/kg (C max 35.5 and 12.0 μ g/l; AUC 196.2 and 123.8). C max and AUC were higher in males than in females (P < 0.01) and pharmacodynamic changes were more pronounced. IGFBP-3 concentrations showed no dose dependency. In response to rhGH administration, 20 kDa GH decreased in females and remained suppressed for 14–18 h (low dose) and 30 h (high dose). In males, 20 kDa GH was undetectable at baseline and throughout the study.

Conclusions: After rhGH administration, pharmacokinetic parameters are mainly influenced by route of administration, whereas pharmacodynamic variables and 20 kDa GH concentrations are determined mainly by gender. These differences need to be considered for therapeutic use and for detection of rhGH doping.

Free access

Susanna Wiegand, Anna Richardt, Thomas Remer, Stefan A Wudy, Jeremy W Tomlinson, Beverly Hughes, Annette Grüters, Paul M Stewart, Christian J Strasburger and Marcus Quinkler

Objective: The incidence of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Glucocorticoid excess causes central obesity and diabetes mellitus as seen in Cushing’s syndrome. The 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme (11β-HSD1) regenerates active cortisol from inactive cortisone. Altered 11β-HSD1 may cause tissue-specific Cushing’s syndrome with central obesity and impaired glucose homeostasis.

Design, patients, and methods: Clinical and laboratory characteristics, and anthropometric measurements were determined in 15 male and 6 female obese pubertal children (aged 12–18 years, Tanner stages 2–5). In addition, analyses of 24-h excretion rates of glucocorticoids were also performed in 21 age-, sex-, and pubertal stage-matched non-obese children using gas chromatographic–mass spectrometric (GC–MS) analysis.

Results: 11β-HSD1 activity (urinary tetrahydrocortisol (THF) + 5α-THF/tetrahydrocortisone (THE) ratio) was lower in obese when compared with non-obese boys. In addition, obese children had a higher total cortisol metabolite excretion than non-obese children. 11β-HSD1 activity was significantly related to age in lean and obese children. Standard deviation score (SDS)-body mass index did not correlate with 11β-HSD1 activity, or with total cortisol metabolite excretion within each group. In obese children, 11β-HSD1 activity and total cortisol metabolite excretion showed no correlation to waist-to-hip ratio, fat mass (percentage of body mass), or the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index.

Conclusions: In conclusion, our findings strongly suggest that 11β-HSD1 activity increases with age, and is reduced in obese boys. In addition, obese children have a higher total cortisol metabolites excretion suggesting a stimulated hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis.

Open access

Christian J Strasburger, Niki Karavitaki, Sylvère Störmann, Peter J Trainer, Ilonka Kreitschmann-Andermahr, Michael Droste, Márta Korbonits, Berit Feldmann, Kathrin Zopf, Violet Fazal Sanderson, David Schwicker, Dana Gelbaum, Asi Haviv, Martin Bidlingmaier and Nienke R Biermasz


Long-acting somatostatin analogues delivered parenterally are the most widely used medical treatment in acromegaly. This patient-reported outcomes survey was designed to assess the impact of chronic injections on subjects with acromegaly.


The survey was conducted in nine pituitary centres in Germany, UK and The Netherlands. The questionnaire was developed by endocrinologists and covered aspects of acromegaly symptoms, injection-related manifestations, emotional and daily life impact, treatment satisfaction and unmet medical needs.


In total, 195 patients participated, of which 112 (57%) were on octreotide (Sandostatin LAR) and 83 (43%) on lanreotide (Somatuline Depot). The majority (>70%) of patients reported acromegaly symptoms despite treatment. A total of 52% of patients reported that their symptoms worsen towards the end of the dosing interval. Administration site pain lasting up to a week following injection was the most frequently reported injection-related symptom (70% of patients). Other injection site reactions included nodules (38%), swelling (28%), bruising (16%), scar tissue (8%) and inflammation (7%). Injection burden was similar between octreotide and lanreotide. Only a minority of patients received injections at home (17%) and 5% were self-injecting. Over a third of patients indicated a feeling of loss of independence due to the injections, and 16% reported repeated work loss days. Despite the physical, emotional and daily life impact of injections, patients were satisfied with their treatment, yet reported that modifications that would offer major improvement over current care would be ‘avoiding injections’ and ‘better symptom control’.


Lifelong injections of long-acting somatostatin analogues have significant burden on the functioning, well-being and daily lives of patients with acromegaly.