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Fahrettin Keleştimur, Peter Jonsson, Senay Molvalilar, Jose Manuel Gomez, Christoph J Auernhammer, Ramiz Colak, Maria Koltowska-Häggström, and Miklos I Goth

Objective: Sheehan’s syndrome occurs as a result of ischaemic pituitary necrosis due to severe postpartum haemorrhage. It is one of the most important causes of hypopituitarism, and hence growth hormone deficiency (GHD), in developing countries. However, little is known about the effects of growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy in patients with Sheehan’s syndrome.

Design: The demographic background characteristics of 91 GH-deficient patients with Sheehan’s syndrome (mean age ± s.d., 46.3 ± 9.4 years) were compared with those of a group of 156 GH-deficient women (mean age ± s.d., 51.5 ± 13.1 years) with a non-functional pituitary adenoma (NFPA). The baseline characteristics and the effects of 2 years of GH replacement therapy were also studied in the 91 patients with Sheehan’s syndrome and an age-matched group of 100 women with NFPA (mean age ± s.d. 44.5 ± 10.2 years).

Results: All patients were enrolled in KIMS (Pfizer International Metabolic Database). Patients with Sheehan’s syndrome were significantly younger at pituitary disorder onset, diagnosis of GHD and at entry into KIMS than patients with NFPA (P < 0.01), and had significantly lower insulin-like growth factor I levels (P < 0.001). At baseline, quality of life (QoL) was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in patients with Sheehan’s syndrome compared with those with NFPA (P < 0.001). With regard to treatment effects, lean body mass increased significantly (P < 0.05), QoL improved significantly (P < 0.05) and total and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in patients with Sheehan’s syndrome after 1 year of GH replacement therapy. Similar significant changes in QoL and lipid profiles occurred in patients with NFPA after 2 years of GH replacement. Blood pressure remained unchanged in patients with Sheehan’s syndrome, but decreased significantly (P < 0.01) in the group with NFPA after 1 year, before returning to pretreatment levels at 2 years.

Conclusions: In conclusion, patients with Sheehan’s syndrome have more severe GHD compared with individuals with NFPA. GH replacement therapy in patients with Sheehan’s syndrome may have beneficial effects on QoL, body composition and lipid profile.

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Johan Verhelst, Anders F Mattsson, Anton Luger, Maria Thunander, Miklós I Góth, Maria Kołtowska-Häggström, and Roger Abs


An increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adult GH deficiency (GHD) may be related to hypopituitarism but also to the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Our objective was to investigate the characteristics and prevalence of MetS as well as its comorbidities in adult GHD.


In KIMS (Pfizer International Metabolic Database) 2479 patients with severe adult-onset GHD, naïve to GH replacement, with complete information on all MetS components were found. MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP) and the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF).


The prevalence of MetS was calculated and compared with previously published data from the normal population. Associations were assessed between background variables, baseline variables, comorbidities, and MetS.


MetS was present in 43.1% (NCEP) and in 49.1% (IDF) of patients, clearly higher than data from the normal population (20–30%). MetS prevalence was related to age, GHD duration, and body mass index (BMI), but not to GHD severity, extent of hypopituitarism, or etiology of pituitary disease. Adjusted for age, gender, and BMI, patients with MetS had a higher prevalence ratio for diabetes mellitus: 4.65 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.29–6.58), for cardiovascular morbidity: 1.91 (95% CI: 1.33–2.75), and for cerebrovascular morbidity: 1.77 (95% CI: 1.09–2.87) than patients without MetS.


MetS is highly prevalent in GHD and is associated with a higher prevalence ratio for comorbidities. The presence of MetS in GHD may therefore contribute to the increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality found in these patients.

Free access

Roger Abs, Anders F Mattsson, Maria Thunander, Johan Verhelst, Miklós I Góth, Patrick Wilton, Maria Kołtowska-Häggström, and Anton Luger


GH deficiency (GHD) in adults is characterized by a tendency toward obesity and an adverse body composition with visceral fat deposit and may thus predispose to the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to assess the observed prevalence proportion (PP) and observed PP over expected PP ratio (standardized prevalence proportion ratio, SPR) of diabetes according to International Diabetes Federation criteria in a large cohort of GH-untreated adult-onset GHD patients.

Design and methods

Associations between baseline variables and diabetes prevalence in 6050 GHD patients from KIMS (Pfizer International Metabolic Database) were studied and robust Poisson-regression analyses were performed. Comparisons between baseline status and HbA1c categories in the nondiabetic patients were done with covariance analysis. P values <0.05 were considered statistically significant.


PP was 9.3% compared with the expected 8.2%. SPR was 1.13 (95% confidence intervals (95% CIs), 1.04–1.23), which was significantly increased in females (1.23; 95% CI, 1.09–1.38%) but not in males (SPR 1.04; 95% CI, 0.92–1.17%). PP increased significantly by age, familial diabetes, country selection, BMI, waist circumference, number of pituitary deficiencies, and GHD etiology. SPR decreased significantly by age and increased significantly by BMI, waist circumference, and IGF1 SDS. Multiple regression model showed that the most important impact on SPR was from age and BMI. HbA1c values of 6.0–6.5% were found in 9.5% of nondiabetic patients and were associated with higher BMI and waist circumference.


GHD is associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes, largely to be explained by the adverse body composition. These data urge toward early initiation of lifestyle modification measures.

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Roger Abs, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Anders F Mattsson, John P Monson, Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, Miklós I Góth, Patrick Wilton, and Maria Koltowska-Häggström

Objective: The aim of the present study was to clarify the relationship between GH deficiency (GHD) and some cardiovascular risk factors and to analyse the effect of GH replacement therapy in a large number of patients over a prolonged period of time.

Design: Data for analysis were retrieved from KIMS (Pfizer International Metabolic Database). Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and triglycerides were obtained from 2589 patients at baseline and from 1206 patients after 1 and 2 years of GH replacement therapy. Body mass index (BMI), waist and hip, resting blood pressure and body composition were also measured.

Results: At baseline, the unfavourable effects of GHD were most obvious in the lipid profile demonstrating elevated mean total and LDL-cholesterol, in the increased waist circumference and the elevated BMI. The cholesterol concentration, BMI and body composition were significantly adversely affected by a number of factors, including age, sex and the use of anti-epileptic drugs. The therapeutic effect of GH was essentially uniform across the whole population. GH replacement reduced significantly the mean total and LDL-cholesterol, the waist circumference and the fat mass and was maintained during 2 years.

Conclusions: This analysis of a large number of patients confirmed that GHD adults present with an increased cardiovascular risk. The sustained improvement of the adverse lipid profile and body composition suggests that GH replacement therapy may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the premature mortality seen in hypopituitary patients with untreated GHD.

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Erika Hubina, Alexandra M Nanzer, Matthew R Hanson, Enrica Ciccarelli, Marco Losa, Daniela Gaia, Mauro Papotti, Maria Rosaria Terreni, Sahira Khalaf, Suzanne Jordan, Sándor Czirják, Zoltán Hanzély, György M Nagy, Miklós I Góth, Ashley B Grossman, and Márta Korbonits

Objectives: Somatostatin (SST) analogues play an important role in the medical management of somatotroph pituitary adenomas and new agonists have the potential to be effective in a wider group of pituitary and other tumours. The anti-proliferative effect of SST occurs through multiple mechanisms, one of which is cell-cycle arrest, where p27, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is an important regulator. We hypothesised that SST may upregulate p27 protein levels and downregulate the MAP kinase pathway in these tumours.

Methods: Human pituitary adenoma cells and rat pituitary cell line (GH3) were cultured and treated in vitro with octreotide and the broad-spectrum SST agonist SOM230 (pasireotide). Immunoblotting for p27 and phospho-ERK (pERK) was performed and proliferation assessed by [3H]-thymidine incorporation. Histological samples from acromegalic patients treated with octreotide before surgery were immunostained for p27 and compared to samples from untreated patients matched for sex, age, tumour size, extension and invasiveness.

Results: We detected upregulation of p27 protein levels with SST analogue treatment in vitro in human pituitary adenoma samples. pERK1/2 was inhibited by SST analogues in both the human samples and GH3 cells. SST and its analogues inhibited the proliferation of GH3 cells. p27 immunostaining was stronger in samples from patients with longer preoperative octreotide treatment (more than 6 months) than in samples from patients with shorter treatment periods.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that SST-mediated growth inhibition is associated with the downregulation of pERK and upregulation of p27. More potent and broader-spectrum SST analogues are likely to play an increasing role in the treatment of tumours, where the MAP kinase pathway is overactivated.

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Elena Valassi, Holger Franz, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Romana Netea-Maier, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Susan M Webb, Maria Yaneva, Martin Reincke, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Dominique Maiter, Darko Kastelan, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeifer, Christian J Strasburger, Miklós Tóth, Olivier Chabre, Michal Krsek, Carmen Fajardo, Marek Bolanowski, Alicia Santos, Peter J Trainer, John A H Wass, Antoine Tabarin, and for the ERCUSYN Study Group


Surgery is the definitive treatment of Cushing’s syndrome (CS) but medications may also be used as a first-line therapy. Whether preoperative medical treatment (PMT) affects postoperative outcome remains controversial.


(1) Evaluate how frequently PMT is given to CS patients across Europe; (2) examine differences in preoperative characteristics of patients who receive PMT and those who undergo primary surgery and (3) determine if PMT influences postoperative outcome in pituitary-dependent CS (PIT-CS).

Patients and methods

1143 CS patients entered into the ERCUSYN database from 57 centers in 26 countries. Sixty-nine percent had PIT-CS, 25% adrenal-dependent CS (ADR-CS), 5% CS from an ectopic source (ECT-CS) and 1% were classified as having CS from other causes (OTH-CS).


Twenty per cent of patients took PMT. ECT-CS and PIT-CS were more likely to receive PMT compared to ADR-CS (P < 0.001). Most commonly used drugs were ketoconazole (62%), metyrapone (16%) and a combination of both (12%). Median (interquartile range) duration of PMT was 109 (98) days. PIT-CS patients treated with PMT had more severe clinical features at diagnosis and poorer quality of life compared to those undergoing primary surgery (SX) (P < 0.05). Within 7 days of surgery, PIT-CS patients treated with PMT were more likely to have normal cortisol (P < 0.01) and a lower remission rate (P < 0.01). Within 6 months of surgery, no differences in morbidity or remission rates were observed between SX and PMT groups.


PMT may confound the interpretation of immediate postoperative outcome. Follow-up is recommended to definitely evaluate surgical results.

Free access

Elena Valassi, Antoine Tabarin, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Martin Reincke, Romana Netea-Maier, Miklós Tóth, Sabina Zacharieva, Susan M Webb, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeiffer, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Darko Kastelan, Dominique Maiter, Olivier Chabre, Holger Franz, Alicia Santos, Christian J Strasburger, Peter J Trainer, John Newell-Price, Oskar Ragnarsson, and the ERCUSYN Study Group


Patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) have increased mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the causes and time of death in a large cohort of patients with CS and to establish factors associated with increased mortality.


In this cohort study, we analyzed 1564 patients included in the European Registry on CS (ERCUSYN); 1045 (67%) had pituitary-dependent CS, 385 (25%) adrenal-dependent CS, 89 (5%) had an ectopic source and 45 (3%) other causes. The median (IQR) overall follow-up time in ERCUSYN was 2.7 (1.2–5.5) years.


Forty-nine patients had died at the time of the analysis; 23 (47%) with pituitary-dependent CS, 6 (12%) with adrenal-dependent CS, 18 (37%) with ectopic CS and two (4%) with CS due to other causes. Of 42 patients whose cause of death was known, 15 (36%) died due to progression of the underlying disease, 13 (31%) due to infections, 7 (17%) due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease and 2 due to pulmonary embolism. The commonest cause of death in patients with pituitary-dependent CS and adrenal-dependent CS were infectious diseases (n = 8) and progression of the underlying tumor (n = 10) in patients with ectopic CS. Patients who had died were older and more often males, and had more frequently muscle weakness, diabetes mellitus and ectopic CS, compared to survivors. Of 49 deceased patients, 22 (45%) died within 90 days from start of treatment and 5 (10%) before any treatment was given. The commonest cause of deaths in these 27 patients were infections (n = 10; 37%). In a regression analysis, age, ectopic CS and active disease were independently associated with overall death before and within 90 days from the start of treatment.


Mortality rate was highest in patients with ectopic CS. Infectious diseases were the commonest cause of death soon after diagnosis, emphasizing the need for careful clinical vigilance at that time, especially in patients presenting with concomitant diabetes mellitus.