1. John A H Wass3
    1. 1Department of Endocrinology, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
      2CI Parhon National Institute of Endocrinology, Bucharest, Romania
      3Department of Endocrinology, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to J A H Wass; Email: john.wass{at}nhs.net


    Acromegaly (ACM) is a chronic, progressive disorder caused by the persistent hypersecretion of GH, in the vast majority of cases secreted by a pituitary adenoma. The consequent increase in IGF1 (a GH-induced liver protein) is responsible for most clinical features and for the systemic complications associated with increased mortality. The clinical diagnosis, based on symptoms related to GH excess or the presence of a pituitary mass, is often delayed many years because of the slow progression of the disease. Initial testing relies on measuring the serum IGF1 concentration. The oral glucose tolerance test with concomitant GH measurement is the gold-standard diagnostic test. The therapeutic options for ACM are surgery, medical treatment, and radiotherapy (RT). The outcome of surgery is very good for microadenomas (80–90% cure rate), but at least half of the macroadenomas (most frequently encountered in ACM patients) are not cured surgically. Somatostatin analogs are mainly indicated after surgical failure. Currently their routine use as primary therapy is not recommended. Dopamine agonists are useful in a minority of cases. Pegvisomant is indicated for patients refractory to surgery and other medical treatments. RT is employed sparingly, in cases of persistent disease activity despite other treatments, due to its long-term side effects. With complex, combined treatment, at least three-quarters of the cases are controlled according to current criteria. With proper control of the disease, the specific complications are partially improved and the mortality rate is close to that of the background population.

    • Received in final form 10 June 2015
    • Accepted 25 June 2015
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 1 July 2015
    | Table of Contents