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      Excess Mortality in Acromegaly

      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

      Acromegaly, Growth hormone, Insulin-like growth factor-I, Mortality

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          Background: Increased production of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in patients with acromegaly is associated with a twofold increase in mortality compared with the general population. The range of standardised mortality rates in various studies ranges from 1.2 to 3.6. Predictors of Mortality: Multivariate analysis has indicated that post-treatment serum GH levels and, in a number of studies, serum IGF-I levels are the most powerful predictors of outcome. Normal IGF-I concentrations and random GH levels <2.5 µg/l measured by polyclonal radioimmunoassay result in optimal outcome. Other factors adversely influencing mortality include hypertension and a long interval between onset of the disorder and diagnosis. Conclusions: Analysis of recent reports suggests that adoption of treatment guidelines with appropriate post-treatment target ranges for GH and IGF-I, together with the availability of newer methods to control GH oversecretion, has significantly improved patient outcomes.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Factors influencing mortality in acromegaly.

          Studies of acromegaly have shown a doubling of mortality compared with the general population. With the development of new modalities of treatment, it has become important to identify prognostic factors relating to mortality. Between 1964 and 2000, 208 acromegalic patients were followed for a mean of 13 yr at Auckland Hospital. Treatment was by surgery or radionuclide pituitary implantation, and all except 27 patients received pituitary radiation. Over the duration of the study, 72 patients died at a mean age of 61 +/- 12.8 yr. Those dying were significantly older at diagnosis, had a higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, and were more likely to have hypopituitarism. The observed to expected mortality ratio (O/E ratio) fell from 2.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.9-3.6) in those with last follow-up GH greater than 5 microg/liter to 2.5 (1.6-3.8), 1.6 (0.9-3), and 1.1 (0.5-2.1) for those with GH less than 5, less than 2, and less than 1 microg/liter, respectively (P < 0.001). Serum IGF-I, expressed as an SD score, was significantly associated with mortality, with O/E mortality ratios of 3.5 (95% confidence interval, 2.8-4.2) for those with an SD score greater than 2, 1.6 (0.6-2.6) for those with an SD score less than 2 (normal or low levels), and 1.0 (0.1-3) for those with an SD score less than zero. When assessed by multivariate analysis, last serum GH (P < 0.001), age, duration of symptoms before diagnosis (P < 0.03), and hypertension (P < 0.04) were independent predictors of survival. If IGF-I was substituted for GH, then survival was independently related to last IGF-I SD score (P < 0.02), indicating that GH and IGF-I act equivalently as predictors of mortality. These findings indicate that reduction of GH to less than 1 microg/liter or normalization of serum IGF-I reduces mortality to expected levels.
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            Epidemiology, clinical characteristics, outcome, morbidity and mortality in acromegaly based on the Spanish Acromegaly Registry (Registro Espanol de Acromegalia, REA).

            To undertake a multicentre epidemiological study reflecting acromegaly in Spain. Voluntary reporting of data on patients with acromegaly to an online database, by the managing physician. Data on demographics, diagnosis, estimated date of initial symptoms and diagnosis, pituitary imaging, visual fields, GH and IGF-I concentrations (requested locally), medical, radiotherapy and neurosurgical treatments, morbidity and mortality were collected. Data were included for 1219 patients (60.8% women) with a mean age at diagnosis of 45 years (s.d. 14 years). Reporting was maximal in 1997 (2.1 cases per million inhabitants (c.p.m.) per year); prevalence was globally 36 c.p.m., but varied between 15.7 and 75.8 c.p.m. in different regions. Of 1196 pituitary tumours, most were macroadenomas (73%); 81% of these patients underwent surgery, 45% received radiotherapy and 65% were given medical treatment (somatostatin analogues in 68.3% and dopamine agonists in 31.4%). Cures (GH values (basal or after an oral glucose tolerance test) <2 ng/ml, normal IGF-I, or both) were observed in 40.3% after surgery and 28.2% after radiotherapy. Hypertension (39.1%), diabetes mellitus (37.6%), hypopituitarism (25.7%), goitre (22.4%), carpal tunnel syndrome (18.7%) and sleep apnoea (13.2%) were reported as most frequent morbidities; 6.8% of the patients had cancer (breast in 3.1% of the women and colon in 1.2% of the cohort). Fifty-six patients died at a mean age of 60 years (s.d. 14 years), most commonly of a cardiovascular cause (39.4%); mortality was greater in patients given radiotherapy (hazard ratio 2.29; 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 5.08; P=0.026), and in those in whom GH and IGF-I concentrations were never normal (P<0.001). This acromegaly registry offers a realistic overview of the epidemiological characteristics, treatment outcome and morbidity of acromegaly in Spain. As active disease and treatment with radiotherapy are associated with an increase in mortality, efforts to control the disease early are desirable.
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              Growth hormone and pituitary radiotherapy, but not serum insulin-like growth factor-I concentrations, predict excess mortality in patients with acromegaly.

              Increased mortality in patients with acromegaly has been confirmed in a number of retrospective studies, but causative factors and relationship to serum IGF-I remain uncertain. The West Midlands Pituitary database contains details of 419 patients (241 female) with acromegaly. Serum IGF-I data from the Regional Endocrine Laboratory were available for 360 patients (86%). At diagnosis, mean age was 47 yr (range, 12-84) and mean duration of follow-up was 13 yr (0.5-48). Sixty-one percent were treated by surgery and 39% by nonsurgical means. Radiotherapy was used alone or as adjuvant therapy in 50%. All patients were registered with the Office of National Statistics to obtain information on deaths. At the date of analysis (31 December 2001), 95 of the 419 patients had died (43 males), giving a standardized mortality ratio of 1.26 [confidence interval (CI), 1.03-1.54; P = 0.046]. After controlling for age and sex, data indicated that mortality was increased in subjects with posttreatment GH levels more than 2 micro g/liter, compared with those with levels less than 2 micro g/liter [ratio of mortality rates (RR), 1.55 (range, 0.97-2.50); P = 0.068]. By contrast, a much smaller increase was observed for subjects with elevated posttreatment IGF-I levels compared with those with normal levels [RR, 1.20 (range, 0.71-2.03); P = 0.50]. Treatment with radiotherapy was associated with increased mortality [RR, 1.67 (range, 1.09-2.56); P = 0.018], with cerebrovascular disease the predominant cause of death [standardized mortality ratio, 4.42 (range, 2.71-7.22); P = 0.005]. These results confirm the increased mortality in acromegaly and suggest that reduction of GH levels to less than 2 micro g/liter is beneficial in terms of improving long-term outcome. The sole use of IGF-I as a marker for effective treatment of acromegaly is not justified by this data. This study also highlights the potential deleterious effect of radiotherapy.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                December 2007
                10 December 2007
                : 68
                : Suppl 5
                : 166-172
                Department of Endocrinology, Greenlane Clinical Centre, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
                110617 Horm Res 2007;68:166–172
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 8, Tables: 2, References: 29, Pages: 7
                Adult Workshop 3


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