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A Colao and L J Hofland

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A Colao, P Marzullo and G Lombardi

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a 6-month treatment with slow-release lanreotide (LAN) on cardiovascular risk and atherosclerosis in 24 normotensive patients with active acromegaly (GH=67.4 +/- 12.6 mU/l, IGF--I=866.0 +/- 55.8 microg/l) and 24 healthy subjects sex-, age- and body mass index-matched with the patients (as controls). DESIGN: Open, prospective, multicenter. METHODS: The following were measured before and after 6 months of LAN treatment (dose 60-90 mg/month): fasting GH, IGF-I, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, insulin and fibrinogen levels, intima-media thickness (IMT) and blood systolic and diastolic peak velocity (SPV and DPV respectively) in both common carotids. RESULTS: At study entry, insulin, total and LDL cholesterol, triglyceride and fibrinogen levels were higher while HDL cholesterol levels were lower in patients than in controls. At the right (0.88 +/- 0.04 vs 0.77 +/- 0.03 mm, P=0.05) and left (0.93 +/- 0.03 vs 0.78 +/- 0.02 mm, P=0.01) common carotid IMT was significantly higher in patients than in controls; 12 patients and two controls showed an IMT of > or = 1 mm (chi(2)=8.2, P=0.004). After 6 months of LAN treatment, disease control was achieved in 15 patients (62.5%). Insulin, triglyceride and fibrinogen levels were significantly decreased, and a trend toward a decrease of IMT in the right (from 0.90 +/- 0.05 to 0.78 +/- 0.04 mm, P=0.06) and left (from 0.95 +/- 0.04 to 0.84 +/- 0.04 mm, P=0.06) common carotid arteries was observed only in patients with disease control, while SPV and DPV did not change. CONCLUSIONS: LAN treatment for 6 months significantly lowered GH, IGF-I, insulin and fibrinogen levels and reduced IMT of both common carotid arteries in normotensive patients with acromegaly.

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A Colao, G Vitale, R Pivonello, A Ciccarelli, C Di Somma and G Lombardi

Several experimental and clinical studies have indicate that the heart is an end-organ of GH action. Patients with either childhood- or adulthood-onset GH deficiency (GHD) have abnormalities of cardiac structure and function, such as reduced cardiac mass, impaired diastolic filling and reduced left ventricular response at peak exercise. These cardiovascular abnormalities can be reversed, at least partially, after GH replacement therapy. On the other hand, the chronic overproduction of GH and IGF-I in acromegaly leads to the development of a specific cardiomyopathy. Concentric cardiac hypertrophy occurs in more than two-thirds of patients at diagnosis and is commonly associated with diastolic dysfunction. In later stages, impaired systolic function ending in heart failure can occur if GH/IGF-I excess is not controlled. Additionally, acromegalic cardiomyopathy is complicated by abnormalities of cardiac rhythm and cardiac valves. Successful control of acromegaly is accompanied by a decrease of the left ventricular mass and improvement of cardiac function. These beneficial effects appear earlier in young patients with short disease duration than in elderly patients. In conclusion, GH and IGF-I play a main role in the regulation of cardiac development and performance.

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A Colao, R Pivonello, S Lastoria, A Faggiano, D Ferone, G Lombardi and G Fenzi

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A Colao, A Faggiano, R Pivonello, FP Giraldi, F Cavagnini and G Lombardi

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS) in the differential diagnosis of ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome as compared with pituitary imaging techniques. DESIGN AND METHODS: We retrospectively studied the diagnostic accuracy of basal and post corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) IPSS, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in distinguishing pituitary from ectopic ACTH secretion in 97 Cushing's syndrome patients: 74 with Cushing's disease (CD) and 10 with ectopic ACTH secretion (EAS). Thirteen patients were excluded because of unconfirmed diagnosis. The difference between IPSS and pituitary imaging techniques in the correctly localized pituitary adenoma in the patients with CD was also investigated. RESULTS: The basal ACTH inferior petrosal sinus:periphery (IPS:P) ratio was > or = 2 in 63/74 patients with CD (85%), and in 1/10 EAS patients (10%); after stimulation with CRH, the ratio was > or = 3 in 60/68 patients with CD (88%) and < 3 in all patients with EAS. The basal and post-CRH ACTH IPS:P ratios had a diagnostic accuracy of 86% and 90% respectively. The diagnostic accuracy of IPSS with both ratios was significantly higher than magnetic resonance imaging (50%) and computed tomography (40%). The IPS:P ratio suggested by receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) analysis that better distinguished CD from EAS was 2.10 for the basal and 2.15 for the post-CRH ratios. Using these cut-offs, the specificity of basal ratio and the sensitivity of the post-CRH test rose to 100% and 93% respectively. Diagnostic accuracy remained substantially unchanged for the basal ratio (87% vs 86%), while it rose from 90% to 94% for the post-CRH ratio. The sensitivity of IPSS was significantly higher than that of magnetic resonance and computerized tomography. IPSS was less reliable in identifying the adenoma site found at surgery than magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography (65% vs 75% and 79% respectively). CONCLUSION: In conclusion, IPSS improved the diagnostic performance of imaging techniques. It can help in excluding transsphenoidal surgery in EAS patients. More striking results were obtained when a > or = 2.1:1 basal ratio or a > or = 2.15:1 post-CRH ratio were considered as criteria to distinguish between patients with CD and EAS. To establish correctly the location of the pituitary adenoma, IPSS is less reliable than imaging techniques.

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D Ferone, PM van Hagen, R Pivonello, A Colao, SW Lamberts and LJ Hofland

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A Ciccarelli, H Valdes-Socin, J Parma, SK Khoo, J Schoumans, A Colao, E Hamoir and A Beckers

OBJECTIVE: Atypical forms of hyperthyroidism represent a diagnostic challenge for clinicians. Struma ovarii is an ovarian teratoma and constitutes a rare cause of ectopic thyroidal hormonal production. We describe a case of struma ovarii that combined two different sources of hyperthyroidism in the same patient and report genetic studies in order to contribute a better understanding of the autonomy and tumorigenesis of the struma ovarii. CASE REPORT: A 73-year-old nulliparous woman presented a thyroid toxic adenoma that was successfully treated with 10 mCi radioiodine. Unexpectedly, a new onset of hyperthyroidism prompted us to look for a second etiology. A whole-body scan with (123)I detected a pelvic hyperfixation suggesting struma ovarii, and a thyroid differentiated left ovarian teratoma 3 cm in size was surgically removed. We screened for mutations of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor and Gs-alpha protein genes, as these mutations are common in thyroid adenomas. We did not identify any mutations. Androgen receptor study demonstrated a monoclonal status. Comparative genomic hybridization did not reveal any chromosomal abnormality. However, loss of heterozygosity analysis showed several structural abnormalities, compared with the majority of benign ovarian teratomas, which show a normal karyotype. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first well-documented report of thyrotoxic struma ovarii revealed after treatment of a single thyroid toxic adenoma. We have shown in this case that struma ovarii originates from a single germ cell, and, albeit benign, this tumor presents several chromosomal abnormalities. Struma ovarii-induced hyperthyroidism is likely to be mediated by mechanisms different from those of the classical thyroid toxic adenoma.

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E Carmina, F Orio, S Palomba, T Cascella, R A Longo, A M Colao, G Lombardi and R A Lobo

Background: Adipocytokines are produced by adipose tissue and have been thought to be related to insulin resistance and other health consequences. We measured leptin, adiponectin, and resistin simultaneously in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and age- and weight-matched controls. Our hypothesis was that these simultaneous measurements would help determine whether adipocytokine secretion is abnormal in PCOS independent of body mass and whether these levels are related to insulin resistance as well as other hormonal changes.

Methods: Fifty-two women with PCOS and 45 normal ovulatory women who were age- and weight-matched were studied. Blood was obtained for adipocytokines (leptin, adiponectin, and resistin) as well as hormonal parameters and markers of insulin resistance as assessed by the quantitative insulin-sensitivity check index. Body mass index (BMI) was stratified into obese, overweight, and normal subgroups for comparisons between PCOS and controls.

Results: Adiponectin was lower (P < 0.05) and resistin was higher (P < 0.05) while leptin was similar to matched controls. Breakdown of the groups into subgroups showed a strong body mass relationship for leptin with no changes in resistin although adiponectin was lower in PCOS, even controlling for BMI. In controls, leptin and adiponectin and leptin and resistin correlated (P < 0.05) but not in PCOS. In controls, all adipocytokines correlated with markers of insulin resistance but not in PCOS.

Conclusions: When matched for BMI status, decreased adiponectin in PCOS represent the most marked change. This alteration may be the result of altered adipose tissue distribution and function in PCOS but no correlation with insulin resistance was found.

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A Colao, S Spiezia, C Di Somma, P Marzullo, G Cerbone, R Pivonello, A Faggiano and G Lombardi

BACKGROUND: The role of IGF-I in prostate development is currently under thorough investigation since it has been claimed that IGF-I is a positive predictor of prostate cancer. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of chronic GH and IGF-I deficiency alone or associated with testosterone deficiency on prostate pathophysiology in a series of patients with hypopituitarism. DESIGN: Pituitary, androgen and prostate hormonal assessments and transrectal prostate ultrasonography (TRUS) were performed in 30 men with adulthood onset GH deficiency (GHD) and 30 age-matched healthy controls, free from previous or concomitant prostate disorders. RESULTS: Plasma IGF-I levels were significantly lower in GHD patients than in controls (Pearson's coefficient P<0.0001). At study entry, 6 of the 13 hypogonadal patients and 7 of the 17 eugonadal patients had plasma IGF-I below the age-adjusted normal range. At study entry, testosterone levels were low in 13 patients (mean +/-s.e.m., 3.8+/-1.0 nmol/l) while they were normal in the remaining 17 (19.4+/-1.4 nmol/l). No difference in prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and PSA density was found between GHD patients (either hypo- or eugonadal) and controls, while free PSA levels were significantly higher in eugonadal GHD than in controls (0.4+/-0.04 vs 0.2+/-0.03 microg/l; P<0.01). No difference in antero-posterior prostate diameter and transitional zone volume (TZV) was observed among groups, while both transverse and cranio-caudal diameters were significantly lower in hypogonadal (P<0.01) and eugonadal GHD patients (P<0.05) than in controls. Prostate volume (PV) was significantly lower in hypogonadal GHD patients (18.2+/-3.0 ml) and eugonadal GHD patients (22.3+/-1.6 ml), than in controls (25.7+/-1.4, P<0.05). The prevalence of prostate hyperplasia (PV>30 ml) was significantly lower in hypogonadal and eugonadal GHD patients, without any difference between them (15.3% and 5.8%), than in controls (43.3%) (chi(2)=6.90, P=0.005). No difference was found in PV between patients with normal or deficient IGF-I levels both in the hypogonadal group (19. 9+/-4.7 vs 17.3+/-4.0 ml) and in the eugonadal group (22.6+/-2.3 vs 21.8+/-2.5 ml). When controls and patients were divided according to age (<60 years and >60 years), PV was significantly lower in hypogonadal GHD patients aged below 60 years than in age-matched controls (P<0.01) or eugonadal GHD patients (P<0.01), without any difference between controls and eugonadal GHD patients. Controls aged above 60 years had significantly higher PV than both hypogonadal and eugonadal GHD patients (P<0.01). Calcifications, cysts or nodules were found in 56.7% of patients and in 50% of controls (chi(2)=0.067, P=0.79). In controls, but not in GHD patients, PV and TZV were correlated with age (r=0.82, r=0.46, P<0. 0001 and P<0.01 respectively). PV was also correlated with GH (r=-0. 52, P=0.0026), IGF-I (r=-0.62, P=0.0002) and IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) levels (r=-0.39, P=0.032) but neither with testosterone or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. In GHD patients TZV but not PV was correlated with age (r=0.58, P=0.0007) and neither TZV nor PV were correlated with GH, IGF-I or IGFBP-3 levels. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic GH deficiency in adulthood causes a decrease in prostate size, mostly in patients with concomitant androgen deficiency and age below 60 years, without significant changes in the prevalence of structural prostate abnormalities.

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A Colao, AD Sarno, P Cappabianca, F Briganti, R Pivonello, CD Somma, A Faggiano, B Biondi and G Lombardi

BACKGROUND: Gender differences in tumor size are supposed to exist in hyperprolactinemia since microadenomas are more commonly found in women and macroadenomas in men. Whether this reflects only a delay in diagnosis in men or a true gender difference in tumor pathogenesis is still unclear. OBJECTIVE: To prospectively analyze gender differences in the presentation and response to cabergoline treatment in 219 consecutive newly diagnosed patients with hyperprolactinemia. DESIGN: An open prospective design. SUBJECTS: Of the 219 patients of which 145 were women; 107 patients had macroprolactinoma, 97 had microprolactinoma, and 15 had non-tumoral hyperprolactinemia. METHODS: Presenting clinical symptoms, prolactin levels and tumor size at magnetic resonance imaging were measured before and 3-6 Months after cabergoline therapy. RESULTS: Prevalence of microprolactinomas (56% vs 22%, P=<0.0001) and non-tumoral hyperprolactinemia (10% vs 0%, P=0.01) was higher in women than in men. Men and women were of similar age (median 32 vs 29 Years; P=0.2) and a similar number had gonadal/sexual dysfunction (85 vs 83%, P=0.6); weight gain (70 vs 46%; P=<0.0001) and galactorrhea (52 vs 19%; P=<0.0001) were more common in women. Prolactin levels were higher in men than in women, whether exhibiting macro- (2848+/-2954 vs 1132+/-2351 microg/l, P=<0.0001) or microadenomas (187.8+/-51.8 vs 135.4+/-60.5 microg/l, P=0.009) and the size of the adenoma was larger in men than in women irrespective of macro- (25.8+/-12.4 vs 17.2+/-7.2 mm, P=<0.0001) or microadenoma diagnosis (8.0+/-1.4 vs 7.1+/-1.6 mm, P=0.04). After treatment, prolactin levels decreased by 89.2-96.4% in all groups, and normalized more frequently in micro- than in macroadenoma patients (86 vs 64%, P<0.0001), regardless of gender (70% vs 69%, P=0.9). Menses resumed in 82% of women, libido disturbances improved in 57% of men. Tumor size was reduced by 45+/-25% and 52+/-24% in macroprolactinoma patients and by 44+/-31 and 38+/-29% in microprolactinoma patients in women and men respectively. Visual field defects disappeared in 61% of women and in 71% of men (P=0.6). CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of macroprolactinomas was similar in men and women; microprolactinomas and non-tumoral hyperprolactinemia were more frequent in women. Clinical symptoms at presentation differed according to gender, with galactorrhea and weight gain more frequent in women. The successful response to cabergoline treatment for 6 Months was higher in micro- than in macroprolactinoma patients and was similar in women and men.