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Annamaria Colao, Rosario Pivonello, Renata S Auriemma, Mariano Galdiero, Silvia Savastano and Gaetano Lombardi

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the efficacy of dose escalation of Octreotide-long-acting repeatable (LAR) up to 40 mg/month we studied 56 newly diagnosed patients with acromegaly (24 women, 32 men; age 20–82 years).

Design

Analytical, observational, open and prospective.

Methods

Three months after LAR treatment beginning with a dose of 20 mg /q28d (every 28 days), 24 patients maintained the same dose (Group A), while 32 required a dose of 30 mg/q28d (Group B). The dose was further increased to 40 mg/q28d in 17 out of the 32 patients of Group B for another 12 months (Group C).

Results

After 24 months, serum GH and IGF-I levels decreased by 93.1±8.6% (95% confidence limit (CL) 90.8–95.4%) and 62.7±13.4% (95% CL 59.1–66.3%) respectively. Control of GH and IGF-I levels was achieved in 45 patients (80.3%). Tumor shrinkage after 12 months was 49.8±23%; the relative tumor shrinkage during the second 12 months of treatment was 35.3±13.1% and overall tumor volume was 68.1±16.5% (95% CL 63.7–72.5%). Glucose tolerance impaired in eight patients (14.3%): four in Group A and four in Group C (16.7% vs 36.4%, P=0.39).

The final dose was predicted by the patient's age at diagnosis (t=−2.2; P=0.032) and baseline tumor volume (t=2.1; P=0.043).

Conclusion

An increase of the LAR dose up to 40 mg/q28d in patients resistant to 30 mg/q28d is followed by greater suppression of GH and IGF-I levels and tumor shrinkage without further significant impairment of glucose tolerance when compared with lower doses. These results suggest that a new dosage schedule of 40 mg every 28 days is applied in patients with acromegaly mostly of young age and with bigger tumors who are likely to be poorly responsive to standard doses of Octreotide-LAR.

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Renata S Auriemma, Mariano Galdiero, Ludovica F S Grasso, Pasquale Vitale, Alessia Cozzolino, Gaetano Lombardi, Annamaria Colao and Rosario Pivonello

Background

Somatostatin analogs (SA) are the cornerstone in the medical treatment of acromegaly, used as either primary or adjunctive therapy. In particular, SA are effective in inducing the biochemical remission of the disease and tumor shrinkage, although only few cases of complete disappearance of the pituitary tumor in patients treated with SA as long-acting formulations have been reported. SA withdrawal has been demonstrated to keep safe levels of GH and IGF1 at least in a small subset of patients well responsive to SA, although it is generally followed by disease recurrence after several months.

Case report

A 61-year-old female patient bearing a very large GH-secreting pituitary macroadenoma was treated with 12-month lanreotide Autogel (ATG), at the initial dose of 120 mg/28 days. After 3 months, GH and IGF1 levels were fully normalized, to prolong the administration interval from 28 to 56 days. After 6 months of treatment, a significant tumor shrinkage (90% of baseline size) was observed, whereas GH and IGF1 excess was still well controlled. After 12-month therapy, a complete disappearance of the pituitary tumor was observed, and the hormonal evaluation confirmed the complete biochemical remission of acromegaly. Lanreotide ATG treatment was withdrawn. The clinical, biochemical, and radiological remission of acromegaly was maintained 24 months after lanreotide ATG treatment discontinuation, without evidence of disease recurrence.

Conclusions

This report represents an exemplary case of the potentiality of treatment with lanreotide ATG in inducing a complete remission of acromegalic disease, persistent after a long period of time from treatment withdrawal.

Free access

Annamaria Colao, Silvia Vandeva, Rosario Pivonello, Ludovica Francesca Stella Grasso, Emil Nachev, Renata S Auriemma, Krasimir Kalinov and Sabina Zacharieva

Background

Mortality in acromegaly strictly depends on optimal control of GH and IGF1 levels. Modern medical therapy with somatostatin analogs (SSAs) and GH receptor antagonists (GHRAs) is not available in many countries due to funding restrictions. This retrospective, comparative, cohort study investigated the impact of different treatment modalities on disease control (GH and IGF1) and mortality in acromegaly patients.

Methods

Two cohorts of patients with acromegaly from Bulgaria (n=407) and Campania, Italy (n=220), were compared, and mortality rates were evaluated during a 10-year period (1999–2008).

Results

The major difference in treatment approach between cohorts was the higher utilization of SSAs and GHRAs in Italy, leading to a decreased requirement for radiotherapy. Significantly more Italian than Bulgarian patients had achieved disease control (50.1 vs 39.1%, P=0.005) at the last follow-up. Compared with the general population, the Bulgarian cohort had a decreased life expectancy with a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 2.0 (95% CI 1.54–2.47) that was restored to normal in patients with disease control – SMR 1.25 (95% CI 0.68–1.81). Irradiated patients had a higher cerebrovascular mortality – SMR 7.15 (95% CI 2.92–11.37). Internal analysis revealed an independent role of age at diagnosis and last GH value on all-cause mortality and radiotherapy on cerebrovascular mortality. Normal survival rates were observed in the Italian cohort: SMR 0.66 (95% CI 0.27–1.36).

Conclusions

Suboptimal biochemical control was associated with a higher mortality in the Bulgarian cohort. Modern treatment options that induce a strict biochemical control and reduce the necessity of radiotherapy might influence the life expectancy. Other factors, possibly management of comorbidities, could contribute to survival rates.

Free access

Renata S Auriemma, Rosario Pivonello, Ylenia Perone, Ludovica F S Grasso, Lucia Ferreri, Chiara Simeoli, Davide Iacuaniello, Maurizio Gasperi and Annamaria Colao

Objective

Cabergoline (CAB) has been found to be associated with increased risk of cardiac valve regurgitation in Parkinson's disease, whereas several retrospective analyses failed to detect a similar relation in hyperprolactinemic patients. The current study aimed at investigating cardiac valve disease before and after 24 and 60 months of continuous treatment with CAB only in patients with hyperprolactinemia.

Subjects and methods

Forty patients (11 men and 29 women, aged 38.7±12.5 years) newly diagnosed with hyperprolactinemia entered the study. Cumulative CAB dose ranged from 12 to 588 mg (median 48 mg) at 24 months and 48–1260 mg (median 149 mg) at 60 months. All patients underwent a complete trans-thoracic echocardiographic examination. Valve regurgitation was assessed according to the American Society of Echocardiography.

Results

At baseline, the prevalence of trace mitral, aortic, pulmonic, and tricuspid regurgitations was 20, 2.5, 10, and 40% respectively, with no patient showing clinically relevant valvulopathy. After 24 months, no change in the prevalence of trace mitral (P=0.78) and pulmonic (P=0.89) regurgitations and of mild aortic (P=0.89) and tricuspid (P=0.89) regurgitations was found when compared with baseline. After 60 months, the prevalence of trace tricuspid regurgitation was only slightly increased when compared with that after 24 months (37.5%; P=0.82), but none of the patients developed significant valvulopathy. No correlation was found between cumulative dose and prevalence or grade of valve regurgitation at both evaluations. Prolactin levels normalized in all patients but one.

Conclusion

CAB does not increase the risk of significant cardiac valve regurgitation in prolactinomas after the first 5 years of treatment.

Free access

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

Objective

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

Free access

Elena Livadariu, Renata S Auriemma, Catherine Rydlewski, Silvia Vandeva, Etienne Hamoir, Maria C Burlacu, Sylvie Maweja, Anne S Thonnard, Daniela Betea, Gilbert Vassart, Adrian F Daly and Albert Beckers

Objective

Genetic disorders of calcium metabolism arise in a familial or sporadic setting. The calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) plays a key role in maintaining calcium homeostasis and study of the CASR gene can be clinically useful in determining etiology and appropriate therapeutic approaches. We report two cases of novel CASR gene mutations that illustrate the varying clinical presentations and discuss these in terms of the current understanding of CASR function.

Patients and methods

A 16-year-old patient had mild hypercalcemia associated with low-normal urinary calcium excretion and normal-to-high parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. Because of negative family history, familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia was originally excluded. The second patient was a 54-year-old man with symptomatic hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, low PTH, and mild hypercalciuria. Familial investigation revealed the same phenotype in the patient's sister. The coding region of the CASR gene was sequenced in both probands and their available first-degree relatives.

Results

The first patient had a novel heterozygous inactivating CASR mutation in exon 4, which predicted a p.A423K change; genetic analysis was negative in the parents. The second patient had a novel heterozygous activating CASR mutation in exon 6, which predicted a p.E556K change; the affected sister of the proband was also positive.

Conclusions

We reported two novel heterozygous mutations of the CASR gene, an inactivating mutation in exon 4 and the first activating mutation reported to date in exon 6. These cases illustrate the importance of genetic testing of CASR gene to aid correct diagnosis and to assist in clinical management.

Free access

Renata S Auriemma, Mariano Galdiero, Maria C De Martino, Monica De Leo, Ludovica F S Grasso, Pasquale Vitale, Alessia Cozzolino, Gaetano Lombardi, Annamaria Colao and Rosario Pivonello

Background

The GH/insulin-like growth factor 1 axis is physiologically involved in the regulation of electrolytes and water homeostasis by kidneys, and influences glomerular filtration and tubular re-absorption processes. The aim of the study was to investigate renal structure and function in acromegalic patients during active disease and disease remission.

Patients

Thirty acromegalic patients (15 males and 15 females), aged 32–70 years, were enrolled for the study. Ten de novo patients had active disease, whereas 20 patients showed disease remission 1 year after medical treatment with somatostatin analogs (SA) (ten patients) or surgery (ten patients). Thirty healthy subjects matched for age, gender, and body surface area were enrolled as controls.

Results

In both active (A) and controlled (C) patients, creatinine clearance (P<0.001) and citrate (P<0.05) and oxalate levels (P<0.001) were higher, whereas filtered Na (P<0.001) and K (P<0.001) fractional excretions were lower than those in the controls. Urinary Ca (P<0.001) and Ph (P<0.05) levels were significantly increased compared with the controls, and in patients with disease control, urinary Ca (P<0.001) levels were significantly reduced compared with active patients. Microalbuminuria was significantly increased in active patients (P<0.05) compared with controlled patients and healthy control subjects. The longitudinal (P<0.05) and transverse (P<0.05) diameters of kidneys were significantly higher than those in the controls. In all patients, the prevalence of micronephrolithiasis was higher than that in the controls (P<0.001), and was significantly correlated to disease duration (r=0.871, P<0.001) and hydroxyproline values (r=0.639, P<0.001).

Conclusions

The results of the current study demonstrated that acromegaly affects both renal structure and function. The observed changes are not completely reversible after disease remission.

Free access

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.