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Newer options in the management of acromegaly


Paradigms for managing acromegaly have undergone major changes in the past two decades. This has been brought about by combining surgical, pharmacological and radiotherapeutic approaches that provide tight biochemical control to reduce mortality to that of the general population. The biochemical targets for treatment are a growth hormone of <2.5 ng/mL (approximately 7.5 mU/L) and a normal, age-adjusted insulin-like growth factor-1. Until 20 years ago, dopamine agonists were the only class of pharmaceutical agents available to control acromegaly. They have a limited adjunctive role, even with the development of second-generation selective agonists such as cabergoline. Surgery and radiotherapy were the mainstay of acromegaly management before the advent of the effective pharmacological therapies of the modern era: somatostatin analogues and pegvisomant, a growth hormone receptor antagonist. Somatostatin analogues achieve biochemical control in approximately 60% of patients. Pegvisomant, which is available in the USA and Europe and has just been registered in Australia, normalizes insulin-like growth factor-1 in nearly all patients but has no effect on tumour mass. Surgery is an appropriate first-line therapy for microadenomas as the chance of success is high. For large and/or invasive tumours where the prospect of surgical cure is remote, first-line therapy is somatostatin analogue treatment with debulking surgery having an adjunctive role to achieve tight control or to alleviate compression of the optic chiasm. Although acromegaly remains a challenging disease to manage, the expanding range of therapeutic options is likely to result in a better outcome for patients and offers the potential to tailor therapy based on a patient's individual requirements.

Type Journal
ISBN 1445-5994 (Electronic)
Authors Burt, M. G.;Ho, K. K. :
Published Date 2006-01-01
Published Volume 36
Published Issue 7
Published Pages 437-44
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version