Morange I, Barlier A, Pellegrini I. Brue T, Enjalbert A, Jaquet P. Prolactinomas resistant to bromocriptine: long-term efficacy of quinagolide and outcome of pregnancy. Eur J Endocrinol 1996; 135:413–20. ISSN 0804–4643
Resistance to bromocriptine, defined as the absence of normalization of prolactin (PRL) levels despite a 15–30 mg daily dose of bromocriptine during at least 6 months, has been observed in 5–17% of the prolactinomas according to the literature. The recent availability of a new potent dopamine agonist, quinagolide, prompted us to analyze its long-term therapeutic effects in 28 patients with prolactinomas resistant to bromocriptine. Before bromocriptine, their PRL levels were 520 ± 185 μg/l (mean ± sem) and decreased to 291 ± 154 μg/l after a 6–21 month period of bromocriptine treatment. All the women (N = 20) remained amenorrheic and hypogonadism was not improved in men (N = 8). Subsequently, after 1 year of 150–300 μg/day quinagolide, 12/28 patients of the present series recovered normal gonadal function and their initial mean baseline PRL value (404 ± 180 μg/l) was 16 ± 2 μg/l after 1 year of treatment. A significant tumor shrinkage was observed in 5/8 macroadenomas (62%). During the 3-year follow-up period under quinagolide, a similar good control was achieved in these patients, with the exception of one man presenting with a secondary rise of PRL under quinagolide. In contrast, 15 other patients (one patient interrupted quinagolide at 6 months because of poor tolerance) were not normalized under 150–450 μg/day quinagolide. Their initial PRL levels (606 ± 298 μg/l) were reduced to 343 ± 187 μg/l (versus 463 ± 265 μg/l under bromocriptine after the same duration of treatment). Despite such a partial inhibitory effect of quinagolide, 7/12 women resumed menstrual cycles and three pregnancies occurred. In no case was any tumor shrinkage noticed during the 3–4-year follow-up. Three patients even presented, after 2 years of quinagolide treatment, with a secondary rise of PRL values associated with a further tumor growth in two patients. During the 3-year follow-up period, nine pregnancies occurred in seven women. In five women, after quinagolide withdrawal, the plasma PRL baseline values ranged from 52 to 158 μg/l and from 65 to 192 μg/l, respectively, at the first trimester and at the end of uneventful pregnancies. In contrast, in two women a rapid increase of PRL (240–400 μg/l) correlated with tumor growth during the first trimester. Such a tumor progression was blocked by quinagolide treatment but not by bromocriptine. These data, although observed in a limited series, justify the careful follow-up of pregnancies in this subclass of patients at risk. Finally, in the whole population, long-term control of hyperprolactinemia by quinagolide was obtained in 11/28 patients (39%) previously resistant to bromocriptine, and 15/20 women (75%) resumed normal gonadal function with a quinagolide daily dose of 300 μg in most of them.
I Morange, Department of Endocrinology, Hôpital de la Timone, 264 rue Saint-Pierre, 13005 Marseilles, France