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Giulia Carosi, Alessandra Mangone, Elisa Sala, Giulia Del Sindaco, Roberta Mungari, Arianna Cremaschi, Emanuele Ferrante, Maura Arosio, and Giovanna Mantovani

Objective: high IGF-1 and unsuppressed GH levels after glucose load confirm the diagnosis of acromegaly. Management of patients with conflicting results could be challenging. Our aim was to evaluate the clinical and hormonal evolution over a long follow-up in patients with high IGF-1 but normal GH nadir (GHn<0.4 μg/L according to the latest guidelines).

Design: retrospective cohort study.

Methods: we enrolled 53 patients presenting high IGF-1 and GHn<0.4 μg/L, assessed because of clinical suspicion of acromegaly or in other endocrinological contexts (e.g., pituitary incidentaloma). Clinical and hormonal data collected at the first and last visit were analyzed.

Results: at the first evaluation, the mean age was 54.1±15.4 years, 34/53 were females, median IGF-1 and GHn were +3.1 SDS and 0.06 μg/L, respectively. In the whole group, over a median time of 6 years, IGF-1 and GHn levels did not significantly change (IGF-1 mean of differences -0.58, p=0.15; GHn +0.03, p=0.29). In patients with clinical features of acromegaly, the prevalence of acromegalic comorbidities was higher than in the others (median of 3 vs 1 comorbidities per patient, p=0.005), especially malignancies (36% vs 6%, p=0.03), and the clinical worsening overtime was more pronounced (4 vs 1 comorbidities at the last visit).

Conclusions: in patients presenting high IGF-1 but GHn<0.4 μg/L, a hormonal progression is improbable, likely excluding classical acromegaly on its early stage. However, despite persistently low GH nadir values, patients with acromegalic features present more acromegalic comorbidities whose rate increases over time. Close clinical surveillance in this group is advised.

Free access

Cristina L Ronchi, Elisa Verrua, Emanuele Ferrante, Gwendolyn Bender, Elisa Sala, Andrea G Lania, Martin Fassnacht, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Bruno Allolio, Anna Spada, and Maura Arosio

Objective

Radiation therapy (RT) is a useful adjuvant tool for acromegalic patients not cured by surgery and/or not responding to pharmacotherapy. However, its specific effects on cardio- and cerebrovascular morbidity are still on debate.

Design

Retrospective analysis of 42 acromegalic patients cured after conventional radiotherapy (CRT, n=31) or radiosurgery by gamma-knife (GKRS, n=11) followed for a median period of 16.5 years (range: 2–40). Totally, 56 patients cured by surgery alone, with similar GH/IGF1 levels and duration of disease remission, served as control group.

Methods

Changes in cardiovascular risk factors, such as body mass index, glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lipid profile (pre-defined primary end point) and occurrence of new major cardio- and cerebrovascular events (secondary end point) during follow-up.

Results

The number of obese, hypertensive, and dyslipidemic subjects increased over time only in patients cured with RT. In contrast, the glucose response to the oral glucose tolerance test and the percentage of subjects with glucose alterations improved only in controls. As expected, the percentage of patients with pituitary failure was deeply higher among RT patients than among controls (86 vs 30%, P<0.0005). Despite these findings, a similar number of RT patients and controls developed major cardio- or cerebrovascular events (4/42 vs 3/56, P: NS). No differences were found between CRT and GKRS subgroups.

Conclusions

Previous RT seems to be associated with a worse metabolic profile in acromegalic patients studied after a long-term follow-up. Nevertheless, a direct link between RT and cardiovascular events remains to be proven.

Free access

Claudia Giavoli, Eriselda Profka, Noemi Giancola, Giulia Rodari, Federico Giacchetti, Emanuele Ferrante, Maura Arosio, and Giovanna Mantovani

Free access

Claudia Giavoli, Emanuele Ferrante, Eriselda Profka, Luca Olgiati, Silvia Bergamaschi, Cristina L Ronchi, Elisa Verrua, Marcello Filopanti, Elena Passeri, Laura Montefusco, Andrea G Lania, Sabrina Corbetta, Maura Arosio, Bruno Ambrosi, Anna Spada, and Paolo Beck-Peccoz

Objective

A common polymorphic variant of GH receptor (exon 3 deletion, d3GHR) has been linked with increased response to recombinant human GH (rhGH) in some patients with or without GH deficiency (GHD). The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the GHR genotype on the phenotype of GHD adults and on the metabolic effect of rhGH therapy.

Design

Prospective study of GHD patients evaluated before and during short- (1 year, n=100) and long-term (5 years, n=50) rhGH therapy.

Methods

Effects of rhGH on IGF1 levels, body composition (body fat percentage, BF%), body mass index, lipid profile, and glucose homeostasis (fasting insulin and glucose, insulin sensitivity indexes) were evaluated according to the presence or the absence of the d3GHR variant.

Results

The different genotype did not influence basal phenotype of GHD. Short-term rhGH determined normalization of IGF1 levels, decrease in BF%, and worsening of insulin sensitivity, independently from the presence of the d3GHR allele. A significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol occurred in the d3GHR group. Normalization of IGF1 levels and decrease in BF% were maintained after 5 years. Insulin sensitivity restored to basal values, though in d3GHR patients fasting glucose remained significantly higher than at baseline. After both 1 and 5 years, percentage of subjects with impaired glucose tolerance, similar in the two groups at baseline, decreased in fl/fl while doubled in d3GHR patients. In this last group, a long-term significant reduction in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was also observed.

Conclusion

The functional difference of d3GHR may influence some metabolic effects of rhGH on GHD adults.

Free access

Emanuele Ferrante, Monica Ferraroni, Tristana Castrignanò, Laura Menicatti, Mascia Anagni, Giuseppe Reimondo, Patrizia Del Monte, Donatella Bernasconi, Paola Loli, Marco Faustini-Fustini, Giorgio Borretta, Massimo Terzolo, Marco Losa, Alberto Morabito, Anna Spada, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, and Andrea G Lania

Objective: The long-term outcome of non-functioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) patients is not clearly established, probably due to the low annual incidence and prolonged natural history of these rare tumors. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical data at presentation and long-term post-surgery and radiotherapy outcome in a cohort of patients with NFPA.

Design and methods: A computerized database was developed using Access 2000 software (Microsoft Corporation, 1999). Retrospective registration of 295 NFPA patients was performed in seven Endocrinological Centers of North West Italy. Data were analyzed by STATA software.

Results: The main presenting symptoms were visual defects (67.8%) and headache (41.4%) and the most frequent pituitary deficit was hypogonadism (43.3%), since almost all tumors were macroadenomas (96.5%). Surgery was the first choice treatment (98% of patients) and total debulking was achieved in 35.5%. Radiotherapy was performed as adjuvant therapy after surgery in 41% of patients. At the follow-up, recurrence occurred in 19.2% of patients without post-surgical residual tumor after 7.5 ± 2.6 years, regrowth in 58.4% of patients with post-surgical remnant after 5.3 ± 4.0 years and residue enlargement in 18.4% of patients post-surgically treated with radiotherapy after 8.1 ± 7.3 years.

Conclusions: Our database indicates that the goal of a definitive surgical cure has been achieved during the last decade in a low percentage of patients with NFPA. This tumor database may help to reduce the delay between symptom onset and diagnosis, to assess prognostic parameters for the follow-up of patients with different risk of recurrence and to define the efficacy and safety of different treatments and their association with mortality/morbidity.