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Panagiotis Nomikos, Michael Buchfelder and Rudolf Fahlbusch

Background and aim: The aim of this study was to illustrate the present role of transsphenoidal surgery as primary therapy in GH-secreting adenomas, and to compare the results concerning control of disease with previous series using older criteria of cure.

Method: We report on a consecutive series of 688 acromegalic patients treated over a time period of 19 years. Biochemical cure was defined as normalisation of basal GH level, suppression of GH levels to below 1 ng/ml during an oral glucose load and normalisation of IGF-I levels. Of the 506 patients undergoing primary transsphenoidal surgery, a total of 57.3% postoperatively fulfilled the criteria used.

Results: The rate of biochemical ‘cure’ correlated with the magnitude of the initial GH levels, the tumour size and invasion. The overall complication rate was below 2%. Mortality in this series was 0.1% (1 of 688). During a follow-up period of 10.7 years only two recurrences (0.4%) occurred. However, in the patients treated by transcranial surgery and by repeat surgery the cure rate was found to be relatively low (5.2 and 21.3% respectively).

Conclusions: These data suggest that surgery remains with very few exceptions the primary treatment of acromegaly for (i) a high cure rate, (ii) low morbidity, (iii) low recurrence rate and (iv) immediate decline of GH. Based on current criteria of cure, recurrences are uncommon. However, cure by surgery alone is improbable in patients harbouring extended, invasive tumours with high secretory activity, in whom further adjuvant treatment is mandatory.

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Flavius Zoicas, Michael Droste, Bernhard Mayr, Michael Buchfelder and Christof Schöfl

Background

Patients with hypothalamic pathology often develop morbid obesity, causing severe metabolic alterations resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues improve glycaemic control in type 2 diabetic patients and cause weight loss in obese patients by yet unknown mechanisms. Here we tested whether GLP-1 analogues were also effective in the treatment of obesity and associated metabolic alterations in patients with hypothalamic disease.

Methods

Nine patients (eight with type 2 diabetes mellitus) with moderate to severe hypothalamic obesity were treated with GLP-1 analogues for up to 51 months. Body weight, homeostasis model assessment - insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), HbA1c and lipids were assessed.

Results

Eight patients experienced substantial weight loss (−13.1±5.1 kg (range −9 to −22)). Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR −3.2±3.5 (range −9.1 to 0.8)) and HbA1c values (−1.3±1.4% (range −4.5 to 0.0)) improved under treatment (24.3±18.9 months (range 6 to 51)). Five patients reported increased satiation in response to the treatment. Two of the eight patients complained about nausea and vomiting and one of them abandoned therapy because of sustained gastrointestinal discomfort after 6 months. One patient suffered from intolerable nausea and vomiting and discontinued treatment within 2 weeks.

Conclusion

GLP-1 analogues can cause substantial and sustained weight loss in obese patients with hypothalamic disease. This offers a new approach for medical treatment of moderate to severe hypothalamic obesity and associated metabolic alterations.

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Michael Droste, Julia Domberg, Michael Buchfelder, Klaus Mann, Anja Schwanke, Günter Stalla and Christian J Strasburger

Objective

Acromegaly is associated with an increased prevalence of glucose metabolism disorders. Clinically confirmed diabetes mellitus is observed in approximately one quarter of all patients with acromegaly and is known to have a worse prognosis in these patients.

Design

Of 514 acromegalic patients treated with pegvisomant and recorded in the German Cohort of ACROSTUDY, 147 had concomitant diabetes mellitus. We analysed these patients in an observational study and compared patients with and without concomitant diabetes.

Results

Under treatment with pegvisomant, patients with diabetes mellitus rarely achieved normalisation (64% in the diabetic cohort vs 75% in the non-diabetic cohort, P=0.04) for IGF1. Diabetic patients normalised for IGF1 required higher pegvisomant doses (18.9 vs 15.5 mg pegvisomant/day, P<0.01). Furthermore, those diabetic patients requiring insulin therapy showed a tendency towards requiring even higher pegvisomant doses to normalise IGF1 values than diabetic patients receiving only oral treatment (22.8 vs 17.2 mg pegvisomant/day, P=0.11).

Conclusions

Hence, notable interdependences between the acromegaly, the glucose metabolism of predisposed patients and their treatment with pegvisomant were observed. Our data support recent findings suggesting that intra-portal insulin levels determine the GH receptor expression in the liver underlined by the fact that patients with concomitant diabetes mellitus, in particular those receiving insulin therapy, require higher pegvisomant doses to normalise IGF1. It is therefore important to analyse various therapy modalities to find out whether they influence the associated diabetes mellitus and/or whether the presence of diabetes mellitus influences the treatment results of an acromegaly therapy.

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Michael Droste, Julia Domberg, Michael Buchfelder, Klaus Mann, Anja Schwanke, Günter Stalla and Christian J Strasburger

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Harald J Schneider, Michael Buchfelder, Henri Wallaschofski, Anton Luger, Gudmundur Johannsson, Peter H Kann and Anders Mattsson

Objective

There is no single clinical marker to reliably assess the clinical response to growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT) in adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD). The objective of this study was to propose a clinical response score to GHRT in adult GHD and to establish clinical factors that predict clinical response.

Design

This was a prospective observational cohort study from the international KIMS database (Pfizer International Metabolic Database).

Methods

We included 3612 adult patients with GHD for proposing the response score and 844 patients for assessing predictors of response. We propose a clinical response score based on changes in total cholesterol, waist circumference and QoL-AGHDA quality of life measurements after 2 years of GHRT. A score point was added for each quintile of change in each variable, resulting in a sum score ranging from 3 to 15. For clinical response at 2 years, we analysed predictors at baseline and after 6 months using logistic regression analyses.

Results

In a baseline prediction model, IGF1, QoL-AGHDA, total cholesterol and waist circumference predicted response, with worse baseline parameters being associated with a favourable response (AUC 0.736). In a combined baseline and 6-month prediction model, baseline QoL-AGHDA, total cholesterol and waist circumference, and 6-month change in waist circumference were significant predictors of response (AUC 0.815).

Conclusions

A simple clinical response score might be helpful in evaluating the success of GHRT. The baseline prediction model may aid in the decision to initiate GHRT and the combined prediction model may be helpful in the decision to continue GHRT.

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Angelika Gutenberg, Volkmar Hans, Maximilian J A Puchner, Jürgen Kreutzer, Wolfgang Brück, Patrizio Caturegli and Michael Buchfelder

Objective: Primary hypophysitis comprises of three distinct histomorphological entities: lymphocytic, granulomatous and xanthomatous. Clinical features of the three subtypes for diagnostic and treatment strategies have yet not been well characterized.

Methods: Endocrine function, visual fields and acuity as well as magnetic resonance imaging characteristics were assessed before and after transphenoidal surgery in the largest series of 31 patients with primary hypophysitis (21 lymphocytic, 6 granulomatous, and 4 xanthomatous cases).

Results: Only lymphocytic hypophysitis occurred during pregnancy (30%) and was associated with other autoimmune diseases (24%). Visual fields and acuity abnormalities were not seen in xanthomatous hypophysitis. Lymphocytic and granulomatous hypophysitis most often resulted in severe dysfunction of the adrenal, gonadal and thyroidal axes as well as diabetes insipidus. For patients presenting with xanthomatous hypophysitis most often, mild anterior pituitary axis failure was documented and posterior pituitary involvement was hardly found. The outcome after transphenoidal biopsy was generally favorable. Pre- or postsurgical glucocorticoid treatment was very effective in 75% of the lymphocytic form in reducing the pituitary size. In contrast, glucocorticoid therapy was less effective in granulomatous or xanthomatous hypophysitis.

Conclusion: Diffuse destruction of the complete pituitary gland including the infundibulum has to be considered in lymphocytic and granulomatous hypophysitis, whereas in xanthomatous, a circumscribed anterior pituitary lesion leading to compression of the pituitary gland without alteration of the pituitary stalk and optic chiasm can be assumed.

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Bernhard Mayr, Rolf Buslei, Marily Theodoropoulou, Günter K Stalla, Michael Buchfelder and Christof Schöfl

Objective

GH-producing pituitary adenomas display two distinct morphological patterns of cytoplasmic GH-containing secretory granules, namely the densely and sparsely granulated somatotroph adenoma subtype. It is unknown whether these morphological variants reflect distinct pathophysiological entities at the molecular level.

Methods

In 28 GH-producing adenoma tissues from a consecutive set of patients undergoing pituitary surgery for acromegaly, we studied the GH granulation pattern, the expression of somatostatin receptor subtypes (SSTR) as well as the calcium, cAMP and ZAC1 pathways in primary adenoma cell cultures.

Results

The expression of GSP oncogene was similar between densely and sparsely granulated somatotroph adenoma cells. There were no differences in the calcium, cAMP and ZAC1 pathways as well as in their regulation by SSTR agonists. SSTR2 was exclusively expressed in densely but not in sparsely granulated tumours (membrane expression 86 vs 0%; cytoplasmic expression 67 vs 0%). By contrast, expression of SSTR5 was only found in sparsely but not in densely granulated somatotroph adenomas (membrane expression 29 vs 0%; cytoplasmic expression 57 vs 0%).

Conclusions

Our results indicate that different granulation patterns in GH-producing adenomas do not reflect differences in pathways and factors pivotal for somatotroph differentiation and function. In vitro, the vast majority of both densely and sparsely granulated tumour cells were responsive to SSTR activation at the molecular level. Sparsely granulated adenomas lacking SSTR2, but expressing SSTR5, might be responsive to novel SSTR agonists with increased affinity to SSTR5.

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Wolfgang Saeger, Dieter K Lüdecke, Michael Buchfelder, Rudolf Fahlbusch, Hans-Jürgen Quabbe and Stephan Petersenn

In 1996, the German Registry of Pituitary Tumors was founded by the Pituitary Section of the German Society of Endocrinology as a reference center for collection and consultant pathohistological studies of pituitary tumors. The experiences of the first 10 years of this registry based on 4122 cases will herein be reported. The data supplement former collections of the years 1970–1995 with 3480 surgically removed tumors or lesions of the pituitary region. The cases were studied using histology, immunostainings and in some cases also molecular pathology or electron microscopy. The adenomas were classified according to the current World Health Organization classification in the version of 2004. From 1996 on 3489 adenomas (84.6%), 5 pituitary carcinomas (0.12%), 133 craniophar-yngiomas (3.2%), 39 meningiomas (0.94%), 25 metastases (0.6%), 22 chordomas (0.5%), 115 cystic non-neoplastic lesions (2.8%), and 46 inflammatory lesions (1.1%, 248 other lesions or normal tissue (6.0%)) were collected by us. The adenomas (100%) were classified into densely granulated GH cell adenomas (9.2%), sparsely granulated GH cell adenomas (6.3%), sparsely granulated prolactin (PRL) cell adenomas (8.9%), densely granulated PRL cell adenomas (0.3%), mixed GH/PRL cell adenomas (5.2%), mammosomatotropic adenomas (1.1%), acidophilic stem cell adenomas (0.2%), densely granulated ACTH cell adenomas (7.2%), sparsely granulated ACTH cell adenomas (7.9%), Crooke cell adenomas (0.03%), TSH cell adenomas (1.5%), FSH/LH cell adenomas (24.8%), null cell adenomas (19.3%), null cell adenoma, oncocytic variant (5.8%), and plurihormonal adenomas (1.3%). Following the WHO classification of 2004, the new entity ‘atypical adenoma’ was found in 12 cases in 2005. Various prognostic parameters and clinical implications are discussed.

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Günter K Stalla, Steffi J Brockmeier, Ulrich Renner, Chris Newton, Michael Buchfelder, Johanna Stalla and O Albrecht Müller

Stalla GK, Brockmeier SJ, Renner U, Newton C, Buchfelder M, Stalla J, Müller OA. Octreotide exerts different effects in vivo and in vitro in Cushing's disease. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;130:125–31. ISSN 0804–4643

The effect of the long-acting somatostatin analog octreotide (SMS 201-995) on adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) secretion was studied in five patients with untreated Cushing's disease in vivo and in six human corticotropic adenoma cell cultures in vitro. For the in vivo study, 100 μg of octreotide sc was given 30 and 180 min after cannulation of the cubital vein and 100 μg of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) was injected iv at 210 min. Serum ACTH and cortisol levels were measured for 390 min. In vivo, octreotide had no significant effect either on basal or CRH-stimulated ACTH levels and did not influence cortisol levels. The in vitro studies were conducted with corticotropic adenoma cell cultures derived from adenoma tissue obtained from six patients with Cushing's disease. In four of six cell cultures, octreotide (1 nmol/l–1 μmol/l) inhibited basal ACTH secretion in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition ranged from 70 to 92% for 1 nmol/l octreotide to 14–46% for 1 μmol/l octreotide as compared to controls (100%). In three of three octreotide-responsive adenoma cell cultures investigated, CRH-stimulated ACTH secretion was suppressed by octreotide. Hydrocortisone pretreatment in vitro abolished the inhibitory effect of octreotide on ACTH secretion in one octreotide-responsive corticotropic adenoma cell culture. In conclusion, we showed that octreotide in most cases could inhibit the ACTH release from human corticotropic adenoma cells in vitro but had no suppressive effect on ACTH levels of patients with Cushing's disease in vivo. This discrepancy could be due to a somatostatin receptor down-regulation by cortisol at the hypercortisolemic state in vivo.

Günter K Stalla, Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Institute, Kraepelinstr. 10, D-80804 Munich, Germany

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Hiroyoshi Akutsu, Jürgen Kreutzer, Gerald Wasmeier, Dieter Ropers, Christian Rost, Matthias Möhlig, Henri Wallaschofski, Michael Buchfelder and Christof Schöfl

Context

Information about the risk and course of coronary artery disease (CAD) in acromegaly is limited.

Objective

To evaluate CAD risk in acromegalic patients at diagnosis and after successful treatment during follow-up.

Subjects and methods

Twenty-five consecutive patients (age 45.1±10.6 years, 15 women) were studied at the time of diagnosis, and 19 patients were re-evaluated after 4.6±1.1 years. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) risk score was calculated, and a cardiac computed tomography was performed for detection and quantification (Agatston score (AS)) of coronary artery calcium (CACs). Fifty age-, sex-, and CAD risk-matched subjects and CAC data from the population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall (HNR) study served as controls.

Results

In 21 of the 25 patients, the 10-year risk of developing CAD according to the ESC risk score was low (<10%) and high (>20%) in four patients. The AS was lower than in controls (2.6±7.9 vs 66±182; P=0.014) and less patients had a positive CAC (AS>0) (20 vs 48%, P=0.024), which in the acromegalic patients was less than expected from the HNR study. The AS did not correlate with GH excess or disease duration. In 19 acromegalic patients, who were in remission and re-evaluated after 4.6±1.1 years, the ESC risk (P=0.102) and the AS (P=0.173) did not change significantly and no symptomatic CAD event occurred.

Conclusion

CAD risk in newly diagnosed acromegalic patients was low and remained stable after successful treatment. CAC was lower than in controls suggesting that GH excess per se does not carry an additional CAD risk.