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Libuse Tauchmanovà, Rosario Pivonello, Maria Cristina De Martino, Andrea Rusciano, Monica De Leo, Carlo Ruosi, Ciro Mainolfi, Gaetano Lombardi, Marco Salvatore, and Annamaria Colao

Objective: Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is the most frequent cause of secondary osteoporosis. Nevertheless, limited data are available on bone status in patients with endogenous cortisol excess. This study is aimed at investigating the role of sex steroids and severity of hypercortisolism on bone mineral density (BMD) and prevalence of vertebral fractures in female patients.

Design: Cross-sectional, case–control study.

Patients: Seventy-one consecutive women were enrolled: 36 with overt hypercortisolism (26 with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma and 10 with cortisol-secreting adrenal tumor) and 35 with subclinical hypercortisolism due to adrenal incidentalomas. They were compared with 71 matched controls.

Methods: At diagnosis, we measured serum cortisol, FSH, LH, estradiol, testosterone, androstenedione and DHEAS, and urinary cortisol excretion. BMD was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Vertebral fractures were investigated by a semiquantitative scoring method.

Results: Between women with overt and subclinical hypercortisolism BMD values and prevalence of any vertebral (69 vs 57%, P = 0.56), clinical (28 vs 11.4%, P = 0.22), and multiple vertebral fractures (36 vs 31%, P = 0.92) did not differ. Among patients with subclinical hypercortisolism, amenorrhoic women had a lower BMD (P = 0.035) and more frequent vertebral fractures (80 vs 40%; P = 0.043) when compared with the eumenorrhoic ones. Among women with overt hypercortisolism, there was no difference in lumbar BMD (P = 0.37) and prevalence of fractures (81 vs 60%; P = 0.26) between those amenorrhoic and eumenorrhoic. By logistic regression analysis, lumbar spine BMD values and cortisol-to-DHEAS ratio were the best predictors of vertebral fractures (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Vertebral fractures are very common in women with endogenous cortisol excess, regardless of its severity. The deleterious effects of hypercortisolism on the spine may be partly counterbalanced by DHEAS increase at any degree of cortisol excess, and by preserved menstrual cycles in women with subclinical but not in those with overt hypercortisolism.

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Annamaria Colao, Rosario Pivonello, Renata S Auriemma, Maria Cristina De Martino, Martin Bidlingmaier, Francesco Briganti, Fabio Tortora, Pia Burman, Ione A Kourides, Christian J Strasburger, and Gaetano Lombardi

Objective: We aimed to investigate the efficacy of pegvisomant in patients with acromegaly resistant to long-term (≧ 24-month), high-dose treatment with octreotide-LAR (40 mg/month) or lanreotide (120 mg/month).

Design: This was an open, prospective study.

Subjects and Methods: We studied 16 patients with acromegaly (nine women; aged 28–61 years). The main outcome measures were IGF-I levels, blood pressure, glucose tolerance and safety (liver function and tumor size). Pegvisomant was given at doses of 10–40 mg s.c. daily. Dose titration was performed every month by IGF-I assay.

Results: Three patients spontaneously stopped pegvisomant treatment after 6–9 months because of poor compliance; from the measurement of serum pegvisomant, another patient was found not to inject herself properly. After 6 months, IGF-I levels decreased by 63 ± 19% (767.8 ± 152.9 vs 299.8 ± 162.9 μg/l, P < 0.0001, t-test); serum IGF-I levels normalized in 57%. After 12 months, IGF-I levels normalized in nine (75%) patients and were reduced by over 50% in another three (25%). The mean tumor volume remained stable during the study (1198 ± 1234 vs 1196 ± 1351 mm3, P = 0.37): it did not change ( ± 25% vs basal) in nine patients, increased by 39.4% and 40.8% in two and decreased by 30.8–46.5% in four. The total/high-density lipoprotein (HDL):cholesterol ratio (from 4.4 ± 1.0 to 3.7 ± 0.6, P= 0.0012), glucose levels (from 5.6 ± 1.2 to 4.4 ± 1.4 mmol/l, P = 0.026), insulin levels (from 12.4 ± 6.7 to 8.1 ± 3.0 mUl/l, P = 0.0023) and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index (from 3.4 ± 2.1 to 1.9 ± 1.0, P = 0.0017) decreased.

Conclusions: Treatment for 12 months with pegvisomant normalized IGF-I levels, and improved cardiovascular risk parameters and insulin sensitivity in patients with acromegaly resistant to long-term, high-dose treatment with somatostatin analogs. The tolerance of treatment was good.

Free access

Renata S Auriemma, Rosario Pivonello, Maria Cristina De Martino, Giuseppe Cudemo, Ludovica F S Grasso, Mariano Galdiero, Ylenia Perone, and Annamaria Colao


To evaluate the effects of short- and long-term treatment with pegvisomant (PEG) on arrhythmias in acromegalic patients resistant to long-term, high-dose therapy with somatostatin analogs (SA).

Materials and methods

Thirteen patients entered the study. All patients started PEG at initial dose of 10 mg daily and then titrated to 5 mg every 6 weeks on the basis of IGF1. A standard 24-h electrocardiography registration was performed in all patients at baseline and after 6 and 18 months of PEG to evaluate: mean (HR), maximum (MHR), and minimum (mHR) heart rate; pauses number (P) and duration (PD); supraventricular episodes (SEs) number and duration (SED); and ventricular ectopic beats (EB) number and duration (EBD). Left ventricular mass (LVM) was also evaluated by standard echocardiography.


A slight but not significant decrease in HR, MHR, and mHR was observed after 6-month PEG, whereas a significant decrease in HR (P=0.03), MHR (P=0.05), and mHR (P=0.05) was found after 18-month PEG compared with baseline. LVM significantly (P=0.05) correlated with MRH (r=−0.50) after short-term treatment, and with HR (r=−0.54) and mHR (r=−0.55) after long-term treatment. Long-term PEG induced the complete recovery of arrhythmias recorded at baseline in one patient and the improvement of rhythm disorders developed after 6-month therapy in another patient. The prevalence of conduction disturbances passed from 15 to 7.7% after long-term PEG.


Long-term treatment with PEG reduces HR, MHR, and mHR and improves rhythm abnormalities in acromegaly.

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Salvatore Crisafulli, Nicoletta Luxi, Janet Sultana, Andrea Fontana, Federica Spagnolo, Giuseppe Giuffrida, Francesco Ferrau, Daniele Gianfrilli, Alessia Cozzolino, Maria Cristina De Martino, Federico Gatto, Francesco Barone-Adesi, Salvatore Cannavò, and Gianluca Trifirò

Objective: To date, no systematic reviews and meta-analysis on the global epidemiology of acromegaly are available in literature. The aims of this study are to provide a systematic review and a meta-analysis of the global epidemiology of acromegaly and to evaluate the quality of study reporting for the identified studies.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library databases were searched for studies assessing the epidemiology of acromegaly from inception until 31st January 2020. We included original observational studies written in English, reporting acromegaly prevalence and/or incidence for a well-defined geographic area. Two reviewers independently extracted data and performed quality assessments. Prevalence and incidence pooled estimates were derived performing a random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 32 studies were included in the systematic review, and 22 of them were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of acromegaly was 5.9 (95%CI: 4.4-7.9) per 100,000 persons, while the incidence rate (IR) was 0.38 (95%CI: 0.32-0.44) cases per 100,000 person-years. For both prevalence and IR, a considerable between-study heterogeneity was found (I2= 99.3% and 86.0%, respectively). The quality of study reporting was rated as medium for 20 studies and low for 12 studies.

Conclusions: Although the largest amount of heterogeneity was due to the high precision of the studies’ estimates, data source and geographic area could represent relevant study-levels factors which could explain about 50% of the total between-study variability. Large-scale high quality studies on the epidemiology of acromegaly are warranted to help the public health system in making decisions.

Free access

Joakim Crona, Eric Baudin, Massimo Terzolo, Alexandra Chrisoulidou, Anna Angelousi, Cristina L Ronchi, Cristina Lamas Oliveira, Els J M Nieveen van Dijkum, Filippo Ceccato, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Giuseppe Reimondo, Guido A M Tiberi, Hester Ettaieb, Andreas Kiriakopoulos, Letizia Canu, Darko Kastelan, Esthr Osher, Eugenia Yiannakopoulou, Giorgio Arnaldi, Guillaume Assié, Isabel Paiva, Isabelle Bourdeau, John Newell-Price, Karolina M Nowak, M Tous Romero, Maria Cristina De Martino, Maria João Bugalho, Mark Sherlock, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, Michael Conall Dennedy, Paula Loli, Patrice Rodien, Richard Feelders, Ronald de Krijger, Sam Van Slycke, Simon Aylwin, Valentina Morelli, Laurent Vroonen, Zulfiya Shafigullina, Irina Bancos, Małgorzata Trofimiuk-Müldner, Marcus Quinkler, Michaela Luconi, Matthias Kroiss, Mitsuhide Naruse, Peter Igaz, Radu Mihai, Silvia Della Casa, Alfredo Berruti, Martin Fassnacht, and Felix Beuschlein

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an orphan disease lacking effective systemic treatment options. The low incidence of the disease and high cost of clinical trials are major obstacles in the search for improved treatment strategies. As a novel approach, registry-based clinical trials have been introduced in clinical research, so allowing for significant cost reduction, but without compromising scientific benefit. Herein, we describe how the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours (ENSAT) could transform its current registry into one fit for a clinical trial infrastructure. The rationale to perform randomized registry-based trials in ACC is outlined including an analysis of relevant limitations and challenges. We summarize a survey on this concept among ENSAT members who expressed a strong interest in the concept and rated its scientific potential as high. Legal aspects, including ethical approval of registry-based randomization were identified as potential obstacles. Finally, we describe three potential randomized registry-based clinical trials in an adjuvant setting and for advanced disease with a high potential to be executed within the framework of an advanced ENSAT registry. Thus we, therefore, provide the basis for future registry-based trials for ACC patients. This could ultimately provide proof-of-principle of how to perform more effective randomized trials for an orphan disease.