Acromegaly is characterized by GH and IGF-1 hypersecretion, and GH and IGF-1 play important roles in regulating body composition and glucose homeostasis.

Pierre Marie coined the term 'acromegaly' in 1886 and linked this to a distinct clinical disease with a characteristic clinical picture. However, Pierre Marie was not the first physician to give a full record of the clinical picture of acromegaly, but others had preceded him, like the Dutch physician Johannes Wier.

After Marie, pituitary enlargement was noted in almost all patients with acromegaly. Subsequently it was discovered that pituitary hyperfunction caused by a pituitary tumour was indeed the cause of acromegaly.

An increased rate of acromegaly was reported in industrialized areas, suggesting an involvement of environmental pollutants in the pathogenesis and behavior of GH secreting pituitary adenomas 1).

Acromegaly etiology.

see Acromegaly clinical features.

see Acromegaly diagnosis.

see Acromegaly treatment.

The clinical complications involving cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic systems lead to elevated morbidity in acromegaly.

Control of serum growth hormone GH and insulin like growth factor (IGF) 1 hypersecretion by surgery or pharmacotherapy can decrease morbidity 2).

Medical therapy for acromegaly may lead to decreased symptoms of sleep apnea 3).

Outcomes of transsphenoidal surgery for acromegaly by experienced pituitary surgeons do not differ between endoscopic and microscopic techniques. Regardless of the mode of resection, patients with high preoperative GH levels and Knosp classification scores are less likely to achieve remission. An immediate postoperative GH level of less than 1.15 ng/mL provides the best immediate predictor of remission, but long-term outcomes are indicated 4).

Even if treated, acromegaly has a considerable impact on patient quality of life (QoL); despite this, the exact clinical determinants of QoL in acromegaly are unknown. A study retrospectively examines a cohort of treated patients with acromegaly, with the aim of identifying these determinants.

Diagnostic delay and lack of diagnostic acumen in medical care provision are strong predictors of poor QoL in patients with acromegaly. Other identified parameters are radiotherapy, age, BMI and employment status. An efficient acromegaly service should address these aspects when devising disease management plans 5).

MRI of the Pituitary Gland By Jean-François Bonneville, Fabrice Bonneville, Françoise Cattin, Sonia Nagi

This clinically oriented book will familiarize the reader with all aspects of the diagnosis of tumors and other disorders of the pituitary gland by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The coverage includes acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, Rathke cleft cysts, prolactinomas, incidentalomas, Clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, other lesions of the sellar region, hypophysitis, and central diabetes insipidus. Normal radiologic anatomy and the numerous normal variants are described, and guidance is also provided on difficulties, artifacts, and other pitfalls. The book combines concise text and high-quality images with a question and answer format geared toward the needs of the practitioner. MRI is today considered the cornerstone in the diagnosis of diseases of the hypophyseal-hypothalamic region but the relatively small size of the pituitary gland, its deep location, the many normal anatomic variants, and the often tiny size of lesions can hinder precise evaluation of the anatomic structures and particularly the pituitary gland itself. Radiologists and endocrinologists will find MRI of the Pituitary Gland to be full of helpful information on this essential examination, and the book will also be of interest to internists and neurosurgeons.

Acromegaly is typically caused by a growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma, driving excess secretion of insulin-like growth factor 1. Acromegaly may result in a variety of cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, metabolic, musculoskeletal, and neoplastic comorbidities. Early diagnosis and adequate treatment are essential to mitigate excess mortality associated with acromegaly. PubMed searches were conducted using the keywords growth hormone, acromegaly, pituitary adenoma, diagnosis, treatment, pituitary surgery, medical therapy, and radiation therapy (between 1981 and 2021). The diagnosis of acromegaly is confirmed on biochemical grounds, including elevated serum insulin-like growth factor 1 and lack of growth hormone suppression after glucose administration. Pituitary magnetic resonance imaging is advised in patients with acromegaly to identify an underlying pituitary adenoma. Transsphenoidal pituitary surgery is generally first-line therapy for patients with acromegaly. However, patients with larger and invasive tumors (macroadenomas) are often not in remission postoperatively. Medical therapies, including somatostatin receptor ligands, cabergoline, and pegvisomant, can be recommended to patients with persistent disease after surgery. Select patients may also be candidates for preoperative medical therapy. In addition, primary medical therapy has a role for patients without mass effect on the optic chiasm who are unlikely to be cured by surgery. Clinical, endocrine, imaging, histologic, and molecular markers may help predict the response to medical therapy; however, confirmation in prospective studies is needed. Radiation therapy is usually a third-line option and is increasingly administered by a variety of stereotactic techniques. An improved understanding of the pathogenesis of acromegaly may ultimately lead to the design of novel, efficacious therapies for this serious condition 6)

see Acromegaly Case series.

Fortunati N, Guaraldi F, Zunino V, Penner F, D'Angelo V, Zenga F, Pecori Giraldi F, Catalano MG, Arvat E. Effects of environmental pollutants on signaling pathways in rat pituitary GH3 adenoma cells. Environ Res. 2017 Jul 18;158:660-668. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.07.015. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28732322.
Wang JW, Li Y, Mao ZG, Hu B, Jiang XB, Song BB, Wang X, Zhu YH, Wang HJ.Clinical applications of somatostatin analogs for growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenomas. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2014 Jan 6;8:43-51. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 24421637; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3888346.
Grunstein RR, Ho KK, Sullivan CE. Effect of octreotide, a somatostatin analog, on sleep apnea in patients with acromegaly. Ann Intern Med. 1994;121:478-483.
Starke RM, Raper DM, Payne SC, Vance ML, Oldfield EH, Jane JA Jr. Endoscopic vs microsurgical transsphenoidal surgery for acromegaly: outcomes in a concurrent series of patients using modern criteria for remission. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Aug;98(8):3190-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1036. Epub 2013 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 23737543.
Kreitschmann-Andermahr I, Buchfelder M, Kleist B, Kohlmann J, Menzel C, Buslei R, Kołtowska-Häggström M, Strasburger C, Siegel S. PREDICTORS OF QUALITY OF LIFE IN 165 PATIENTS WITH ACROMEGALY: RESULTS FROM A SINGLE-CENTER STUDY. Endocr Pract. 2016 Oct 17. PubMed PMID: 27749131.
Ershadinia N, Tritos NA. Diagnosis and Treatment of Acromegaly: An Update. Mayo Clin Proc. 2022 Feb;97(2):333-346. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2021.11.007. PMID: 35120696.
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