During the past decade the importance of medical therapy, especially treatment with somatostatin analogues has increased significantly in patients with active acromegaly. Aims: Authors analyzed the outcome of somatostatin analogue treatment in acromegalic patients evaluated and followed up at the 2nd Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, during the past 10 years. Patients and methods: Changes in serum growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentration, as well as morphologic changes of pituitary adenomas followed by MRI scans were evaluated and compared in 32 acromegalic patients (26 women, 6 men) during long-term somatostatin analogue treatment (mean±SE, 3.1±0.3 years, range, 1-7 years). Primary somatostatin analogue treatment was applied in 10 patients (7 women and 3 men), whereas 15 patients (14 women and 1 man) had pituitary surgery and 7 patients (5 women and 2 men) underwent both pituitary surgery and irradiation therapy prior to somatostatin analogue treatment. Results: After a 3-month treatment with somatostatin analogues, both serum GH and IGF-1 levels decreased significantly and they remained around the same decreased levels throughout the treatment period. Serum GH decreased from 15.7±4.9 to 5.5±1.4 ng/ml, and serum IGF-1, expressed as a percentage of the upper limit of age- and sex-adjusted reference value, decreased from 204±14% to 135±12% at the end of treatment. The efficacy of somatostatin analogue treatment was not influenced by surgical or surgical and irradiation therapies which were applied prior to medical treatment. At the end of treatment 36.7% of patients had safe serum GH (<2.5 ng/ml), while serum IGF-1 returned below the upper limit of age- and sex-adjusted reference range in 41.4% of patients. Pituitary MRI showed regression of the adenoma in 46% of patients, and none of the patients had progression of the pituitary adenoma. Conclusions: Somatostatin analogues are effective therapeutic options for acromegalic patients when primary surgical treatment cannot be performed due to complications and associated disorders, or in patients whose acromegaly remains active after pituitary surgery or after pituitary surgery and irradiation.
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