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C L Ronchi, C Giavoli, E Ferrante, E Verrua, S Bergamaschi, D I Ferrari, S Corbetta, L Montefusco, M Arosio, B Ambrosi, A Spada and P Beck-Peccoz

Objective

Radiotherapy (RT) for pituitary adenomas, including GH-secreting ones, frequently leads to GH deficiency (GHD). Data on the effects of surgery alone (S) on dynamic GH secretion are limited. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of GHD in acromegalic patients treated with different therapeutic options.

Design and methods

Fifty-six patients in remission from acromegaly, (33 F & 23 M, age: 54±13 years, body mass index (BMI): 28.4±4.1 kg/m2, 21 with adequately substituted pituitary deficiencies) treated by S alone (n=33, group 1) or followed by RT (n=23, group 2), were investigated for GHD by GHRH plus arginine testing, using BMI-adjusted cut-offs. Several metabolic and cardiovascular parameters (waist circumference, body fat percentage, blood pressure, fasting and post-oral glucose tolerance test glucose, HbA1c, insulin resistance and lipid profile) were evaluated in all the patients and 28 control subjects with known diagnosis of GHD.

Results

Serum GH peak after challenge was 8.0±9.7 μg/l, without any correlation with post-glucose GH nadir and IGF-1 levels. The GH response indicated severe GHD in 34 patients (61%) and partial GHD in 15 patients (27%). IGF-1 were below the normal range in 14 patients (25%). The frequency of GHD was similar in the two treatment groups (54% in group 1 and 70% in group 2). No significant differences in metabolic parameters were observed between acromegalic patients and controls with GHD.

Conclusions

Severe GHD may occur in about 60% of patients treated for acromegaly, even when cured after S alone. Thus, a stimulation test (i.e. GHRH plus arginine) is recommended in all cured acromegalic patients, independently from previous treatment.

Free access

E Peverelli, F Ermetici, M Filopanti, F M Elli, C L Ronchi, G Mantovani, S Ferrero, S Bosari, P Beck-Peccoz, A Lania and A Spada

Objectives

Aberrant cAMP signaling is involved in the pathogenesis of somatotropinomas. The aim of the study was to screen acromegalic patients for the presence of variants of phosphodiesterase type 11A (PDE11A) gene, which have been recently identified in adrenocortical and testicular tumors.

Subjects and methods

We sequenced the PDE11A gene-coding region in 78 acromegalic patients and 110 controls. Immunohistochemistry for PDE11A was performed in a subgroup of adenomas and normal pituitary samples.

Results

We found 15 nonsynonymous germline substitutions in 13 acromegalic patients (17%), i.e. 14 missense variants (Y727C in six, R804H in one, R867G in four, and M878V in three) and one truncating mutation (FS41X), with a prevalence only slightly higher than that observed in controls (14%). Immunohistochemistry revealed PDE11A expression higher in somatotropinomas than in normal somatotrophs, without significant difference between tumors with or without PDE11A variants, with the exception of two tumors (one with loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the PDE11A locus and one with FS41X mutation) showing markedly reduced PDE11A staining. No significant differences in hormonal and clinical parameters between patients with or without PDE11A variants were observed, although patients with PDE11A changes showed a tendency to have a more aggressive tumor compared with patients with wild-type sequence (extrasellar extension in 69 vs 45%).

Conclusions

This study first demonstrated the presence of PDE11A variants in a subset of acromegalic patients, which was only slightly more frequent than in controls. The normal expression of the enzyme in the majority of tumor tissues together with the lack of significant clinical phenotype suggests that these variants might only marginally contribute to the development of somatotropinomas.