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Susan M Webb, Iris Crespo, Alicia Santos, Eugenia Resmini, Anna Aulinas and Elena Valassi

Background

In the last few years, quality of life (QoL) has become an outcome measure in patients with pituitary diseases.

Objective

To describe the available data on QoL impairment evaluated with questionnaires in patients with pituitary diseases.

Design

Critical review of the pertinent literature and pragmatic discussion of available information.

Methods

Selection of relevant literature from PubMed and WOK, especially from the last 5 years and comprehensive analysis.

Results

QoL is impaired in all pituitary diseases, mostly in acromegaly and Cushing’s disease (similar to other causes of Cushing’s syndrome), but also in non-functioning pituitary adenomas and prolactinomas, especially in the active phase of the disease. Nevertheless, even after endocrine ‘cure’, scores tend to be below normative values, indicative of residual morbidity after hormonal control. The presence of hypopituitarism worsens subjective QoL perception, which can improve after optimal substitution therapy, including recombinant human growth hormone, when indicated.

Conclusions

To improve the long-term outcome of pituitary patients, helping them to attain the best possible health, it appears desirable to include subjective aspects captured when evaluating QoL, so that the affected dimensions are identified and if relevant treated. Additionally, being aware that treatment outcome may not always mean complete normalisation of physical and mental issues related to QoL can be a first step to adaptation and conforming to this new status.

Free access

Elena Valassi, Iris Crespo, Jorge Malouf, Jaume Llauger, Anna Aulinas, Ana Maria Marín, Betina Biagetti and Susan M Webb

Objective

Data on dual energy absorptiometry (DXA)-measured bone mineral density (BMD) at the level of the total hip (TH) and femoral neck (FN) in patients with acromegaly (ACRO) are conflicting. Increase in bone size associated with ACRO may limit the reliability of DXA. Our objective is to evaluate trabecular and cortical volumetric BMD (vBMD) across the proximal femur in ACRO patients.

Design

Cross sectional study in a clinical research center.

Patients

Thirty-five ACRO patients (19 males; mean age, 48±7 years; BMI, 27.5±4.4 kg/m2; 17 with active disease) and 35 age, gender, and BMI-matched controls.

Results

vBMD was assessed by quantitative computed tomography at the level of the TH, FN, trochanter (TR), and intertrochanteric (IT). Trabecular vBMD was lower in both total and active ACRO as compared with controls (P<0.01). Cortical vBMD was lower in ACRO patients (active and controlled) vs controls at both TH and TR sites (P<0.05). These findings were confirmed when only eugonadal patients were analyzed. Both total cross sectional area (CSA) and average cortical thickness (ACT) were greater in ACRO patients vs controls (P<0.05). An inverse association between disease duration and trabecular vBMD at TH (r=−0.42, P=0.023) and IT (r=−0.41, P=0.026) was also found.

Conclusion

Both cortical and trabecular vBMD are reduced at the proximal femur in ACRO patients, regardless of gender, gonadal status, and disease activity. Disease duration is negatively associated with trabecular vBMD at the TH and IT.

Free access

Anna Aulinas, María-José Ramírez, María-José Barahona, Elena Valassi, Eugenia Resmini, Eugènia Mato, Alicia Santos, Iris Crespo, Olga Bell, Jordi Surrallés and Susan M Webb

Introduction

Hypercortisolism in Cushing's syndrome (CS) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Hypercortisolism also occurs in chronic depressive disorders and stress, where telomere length (TL) is shorter than in controls. We hypothesized that shortening of telomere might occur in CS and contribute to premature aging and morbidity.

Aim

To investigate TL in CS patients compared with controls.

Methods

Seventy-seven CS patients (14 males, 59 pituitary, 17 adrenal, and one ectopic; 21 with active disease) were compared with 77 gender-, age-, and smoking-matched controls. Fifteen CS were evaluated longitudinally, during active disease and after remission of hypercortisolism. Leukocyte TL was measured by telomere restriction fragment–Southern technique. Clinical markers were included in a multiple linear regression analysis to investigate potential predictors of TL.

Results

Mean TL in CS patients and controls was similar (7667 vs 7483 bp, NS). After adjustment for age, in the longitudinal evaluation, TL was shorter in active disease than after remission (7273 vs 7870, P<0.05). Age and dyslipidemia were negative predictors (P<0.05), and total leukocyte count was a positive predictor for TL (P<0.05). As expected, a negative correlation was found between TL and age (CS, R=−0.400 and controls, R=−0.292; P<0.05). No correlation was found between circulating cortisol, duration of exposure to hypercortisolism or biochemical cure and TL.

Conclusion

Even though in the cross-sectional comparison of CS and controls no difference in TL was found, in the longitudinal evaluation, patients with active CS had shorter TL than after biochemical cure of hypercortisolism. These preliminary results suggest that hypercortisolism might negatively impact telomere maintenance. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.