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Acromegaly and Gigantism

Acromegaly and gigantism are caused by an excessive production of growth hormone (GH) by the pituitary gland. Gigantism typically results from excess GH before closure of the growth plate in children. Acromegaly typically results from excess GH after closure of the growth plate. Tall stature is a clinical sign observed in some patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with gigantism. Increased GH and insulin-like growth factor-1 Insulin-like growth factor-1 A well-characterized basic peptide believed to be secreted by the liver and to circulate in the blood. It has growth-regulating, insulin-like, and mitogenic activities. This growth factor has a major, but not absolute, dependence on growth hormone. It is believed to be mainly active in adults in contrast to insulin-like growth factor II, which is a major fetal growth factor. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars (IGF-1) are responsible for inducing hypersomatotropism. Acromegaly is usually produced by pituitary tumors Pituitary tumors Neoplasms which arise from or metastasize to the pituitary gland. The majority of pituitary neoplasms are adenomas, which are divided into non-secreting and secreting forms. Hormone producing forms are further classified by the type of hormone they secrete. Pituitary adenomas may also be characterized by their staining properties. Pituitary tumors may compress adjacent structures, including the hypothalamus, several cranial nerves, and the optic chiasm. Chiasmal compression may result in bitemporal hemianopsia. Pituitary Adenomas secreting GH or, less commonly, by extrapituitary disorders.  Diagnosis involves neuroimaging Neuroimaging Non-invasive methods of visualizing the central nervous system, especially the brain, by various imaging modalities. Febrile Infant of the pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types and laboratory tests to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary axis Hypothalamic-pituitary axis Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones. Treatment depends on the operative status of the tumor Tumor Inflammation (if present), or a nonoperative treatment strategy may be utilized.

Last updated: Sep 1, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Epidemiology

  • Acromegaly:
    • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in the United States: 10 new cases annually per million population
    • No gender Gender Gender Dysphoria predominance
    • The median age of diagnosis is 40 years old with a lag time of 10 years from onset to diagnosis.
    • More severe disease is typical in individuals diagnosed at a younger age.
    • Life expectancy Life expectancy Based on known statistical data, the number of years which any person of a given age may reasonably expected to live. Population Pyramids is shortened by approximately 10 years.
    • Children treated early can have a normal life expectancy Life expectancy Based on known statistical data, the number of years which any person of a given age may reasonably expected to live. Population Pyramids.
  • Gigantism:
    • Extremely rare (only approximately 100 cases reported in the literature)
    • Seen at all ages of life
    • Predominant in men

Etiology

For both acromegaly and gigantism, etiologies can be divided into 3 conceptual categories:

  • GH overproduction due to a primary pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types disorder: 
    • Benign Benign Fibroadenoma GH-producing pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas  (> 95% of cases)
    • Plurihormonal pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas
    • Familial syndromes such as MEN-1, McCune-Albright syndrome Mccune-Albright Syndrome Cushing Syndrome, and familial acromegaly
  • Ectopic growth hormone production
    • GH- and growth hormone releasing hormone ( GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones)-secreting tumors of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy, lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy, and adrenal glands Adrenal Glands The adrenal glands are a pair of retroperitoneal endocrine glands located above the kidneys. The outer parenchyma is called the adrenal cortex and has 3 distinct zones, each with its own secretory products. Beneath the cortex lies the adrenal medulla, which secretes catecholamines involved in the fight-or-flight response. Adrenal Glands: Anatomy (rare)
  • GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones overproduction inducing pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types overproduction of GH:
    • Central ectopic production:
      • Hypothalamic hamartoma Hamartoma A focal malformation resembling a neoplasm, composed of an overgrowth of mature cells and tissues that normally occur in the affected area. Colorectal Cancer
      • Ganglioneuroma
    • Peripheral ectopic production:
      • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy: bronchial carcinoid, small cell lung cancer Lung cancer Lung cancer is the malignant transformation of lung tissue and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The majority of cases are associated with long-term smoking. The disease is generally classified histologically as either small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer. Symptoms include cough, dyspnea, weight loss, and chest discomfort. Lung Cancer
      • Pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy: islet cell Islet cell Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (PanNETs) tumor Tumor Inflammation
      • Adrenals: adenoma, pheochromocytoma Pheochromocytoma Pheochromocytoma is a catecholamine-secreting tumor derived from chromaffin cells. The majority of tumors originate in the adrenal medulla, but they may also arise from sympathetic ganglia (also referred to as paraganglioma). Symptoms are associated with excessive catecholamine production and commonly include hypertension, tachycardia, headache, and sweating. Pheochromocytoma

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology

  • Acromegaly and gigantism result from excessive GH:
    • Also known as somatotropin, GH is secreted by the anterior pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types.
    • Mediates growth and metabolic functions
    • Interacts with insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin to control fat, glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance, and protein metabolism during fasting and feeding states.
  • Main effects: 
    • Lipolysis Lipolysis The metabolic process of breaking down lipids to release free fatty acids, the major oxidative fuel for the body. Lipolysis may involve dietary lipids in the digestive tract, circulating lipids in the blood, and stored lipids in the adipose tissue or the liver. A number of enzymes are involved in such lipid hydrolysis, such as lipase and lipoprotein lipase from various tissues. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in adipose tissue Adipose tissue Adipose tissue is a specialized type of connective tissue that has both structural and highly complex metabolic functions, including energy storage, glucose homeostasis, and a multitude of endocrine capabilities. There are three types of adipose tissue, white adipose tissue, brown adipose tissue, and beige or “brite” adipose tissue, which is a transitional form. Adipose Tissue: Histology 
    • Promotes gluconeogenesis Gluconeogenesis Gluconeogenesis is the process of making glucose from noncarbohydrate precursors. This metabolic pathway is more than just a reversal of glycolysis. Gluconeogenesis provides the body with glucose not obtained from food, such as during a fasting period. The production of glucose is critical for organs and cells that cannot use fat for fuel. Gluconeogenesis (in the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy) and stimulates insulin-like growth factor-1 Insulin-like growth factor-1 A well-characterized basic peptide believed to be secreted by the liver and to circulate in the blood. It has growth-regulating, insulin-like, and mitogenic activities. This growth factor has a major, but not absolute, dependence on growth hormone. It is believed to be mainly active in adults in contrast to insulin-like growth factor II, which is a major fetal growth factor. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars (IGF-1) secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies, resulting in increased glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance levels
    • Muscle increases amino acid Amino acid Amino acids (AAs) are composed of a central carbon atom attached to a carboxyl group, an amino group, a hydrogen atom, and a side chain (R group). Basics of Amino Acids uptake and protein synthesis Synthesis Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).
    • Bones promote linear growth by the proliferation of epiphyseal cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology in children (gigantism).

Regulation

Regulation is a stepwise process:

  1. The hypothalamus Hypothalamus The hypothalamus is a collection of various nuclei within the diencephalon in the center of the brain. The hypothalamus plays a vital role in endocrine regulation as the primary regulator of the pituitary gland, and it is the major point of integration between the central nervous and endocrine systems. Hypothalamus secretes GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones to promote GH production and somatostatin Somatostatin A 14-amino acid peptide named for its ability to inhibit pituitary growth hormone release, also called somatotropin release-inhibiting factor. It is expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the gut, and other organs. SRIF can also inhibit the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone; prolactin; insulin; and glucagon besides acting as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. In a number of species including humans, there is an additional form of somatostatin, srif-28 with a 14-amino acid extension at the n-terminal. Gastrointestinal Secretions (growth hormone-inhibiting hormone) to inhibit GH production.
  2. Adenohypophysis Adenohypophysis The anterior glandular lobe of the pituitary gland, also known as the adenohypophysis. It secretes the adenohypophyseal hormones that regulate vital functions such as growth; metabolism; and reproduction. Pituitary Gland: Anatomy responds to GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones by secreting GH.
  3. The liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy produces IGF-1.
  4. Proliferative effects on bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types, cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology, skeletal muscle, skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess, organs, and glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance tolerance Tolerance Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics:
    • Stimulation: hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is an emergency condition defined as a serum glucose level ≤ 70 mg/dL (≤ 3.9 mmol/L) in diabetic patients. In nondiabetic patients, there is no specific or defined limit for normal serum glucose levels, and hypoglycemia is defined mainly by its clinical features. Hypoglycemia, stress, physical strain, deep sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep, puberty Puberty Puberty is a complex series of physical, psychosocial, and cognitive transitions usually experienced by adolescents (11-19 years of age). Puberty is marked by a growth in stature and the development of secondary sexual characteristics, achievement of fertility, and changes in most body systems. Puberty
    • Inhibition: glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance, somatostatin Somatostatin A 14-amino acid peptide named for its ability to inhibit pituitary growth hormone release, also called somatotropin release-inhibiting factor. It is expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the gut, and other organs. SRIF can also inhibit the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone; prolactin; insulin; and glucagon besides acting as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. In a number of species including humans, there is an additional form of somatostatin, srif-28 with a 14-amino acid extension at the n-terminal. Gastrointestinal Secretions, somatomedin (from the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy)
Schematic diagram of the direct and indirect effects of the growth hormone

Schematic diagram of the direct and indirect effects of growth hormone (GH)

Image by Lecturio. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Clinical Presentation

Clinical findings

  • In children, growth plates Growth Plates The area between the epiphysis and the diaphysis within which bone growth occurs. Osteosarcoma have not yet fused, leading to gigantism:
  • In adults, growth plates Growth Plates The area between the epiphysis and the diaphysis within which bone growth occurs. Osteosarcoma have fused, leading to acromegaly with an overgrowth of characteristic areas:
    • Nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy
    • Supraorbital bulges
    • Jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
    • Hands
    • Cranium Cranium The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy
  • Visceromegaly:
    • Goiter Goiter A goiter is a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland due to nonneoplastic growth occurring in the setting of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or euthyroidism. Morphologically, thyroid enlargement can be diffuse (smooth consistency) or nodular (uninodular or multinodular). Goiter
    • Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles (myocardium) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function in the absence of other heart disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular disease, and congenital heart disease). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types
    • Colon polyps Colon polyps Colon polyps are growths of mucosal tissue in the colon, the most common site of polyps in the GI tract. Polyps can be classified as neoplastic or nonneoplastic and may be associated with genetic syndromes. Hyperplastic polyps are nonneoplastic and are the most common type overall, whereas adenomas are the most common type of neoplastic polyp and have the potential to progress to cancer. Colon Polyps
  • Deep voice
  • Thickening of the dermis Dermis A layer of vascularized connective tissue underneath the epidermis. The surface of the dermis contains innervated papillae. Embedded in or beneath the dermis are sweat glands; hair follicles; and sebaceous glands. Skin: Structure and Functions (pachydermia)
  • Hypoesthesia or paresthesia
  • Macroglossia Macroglossia The presence of an excessively large tongue, which may be congenital or may develop as a result of a tumor or edema due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels, or it may occur in association with hyperpituitarism or acromegaly. It also may be associated with malocclusion because of pressure of the tongue on the teeth. Wilms Tumor
  • Separation of the teeth Teeth Normally, an adult has 32 teeth: 16 maxillary and 16 mandibular. These teeth are divided into 4 quadrants with 8 teeth each. Each quadrant consists of 2 incisors (dentes incisivi), 1 canine (dens caninus), 2 premolars (dentes premolares), and 3 molars (dentes molares). Teeth are composed of enamel, dentin, and dental cement. Teeth: Anatomy and broadened interdental grooves
  • Prognathism
  • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia
  • Perspiration
  • Bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Visual field Visual Field The Visual Pathway and Related Disorders defects

Complications

  • Disturbances in the visual field Visual Field The Visual Pathway and Related Disorders
  • Cranial nerve palsies Cranial Nerve Palsies Cranial nerve palsy is a congenital or acquired dysfunction of 1 or more cranial nerves that will, in turn, lead to focal neurologic abnormalities in movement or autonomic dysfunction of its territory. Head/neck trauma, mass effect, infectious processes, and ischemia/infarction are among the many etiologies for these dysfunctions. Diagnosis is initially clinical and supported by diagnostic aids. Management includes both symptomatic measures and interventions aimed at correcting the underlying cause. Cranial Nerve Palsies
  • Disturbances of the menstrual cycle Menstrual cycle The menstrual cycle is the cyclic pattern of hormonal and tissular activity that prepares a suitable uterine environment for the fertilization and implantation of an ovum. The menstrual cycle involves both an endometrial and ovarian cycle that are dependent on one another for proper functioning. There are 2 phases of the ovarian cycle and 3 phases of the endometrial cycle. Menstrual Cycle
  • Galactorrhea Galactorrhea Excessive or inappropriate lactation in females or males, and not necessarily related to pregnancy. Galactorrhea can occur either unilaterally or bilaterally, and be profuse or sparse. Its most common cause is hyperprolactinemia. Hyperprolactinemia
  • Erectile dysfunction Erectile Dysfunction Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain a penile erection, resulting in difficulty to perform penetrative sexual intercourse. Local penile factors and systemic diseases, including diabetes, cardiac disease, and neurological disorders, can cause ED. Erectile Dysfunction
  • Decreased libido
  • Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is due to cartilage destruction and changes of the subchondral bone. The risk of developing this disorder increases with age, obesity, and repetitive joint use or trauma. Patients develop gradual joint pain, stiffness lasting < 30 minutes, and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a complex of signs and symptoms caused by compression of the median nerve as it crosses the carpal tunnel. Presentation is with pain and paresthesia of the dermatomal target tissues innervated by the median nerve as well as weakness and atrophy of the nerve’s myotomal targets. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus 
  • Hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles (myocardium) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function in the absence of other heart disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular disease, and congenital heart disease). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types and heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR)
  • Secondary hypogonadism Hypogonadism Hypogonadism is a condition characterized by reduced or no sex hormone production by the testes or ovaries. Hypogonadism can result from primary (hypergonadotropic) or secondary (hypogonadotropic) failure. Symptoms include infertility, increased risk of osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and regression (or absence) of secondary sexual characteristics. Hypogonadism
  • Increased incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous disease that arises from genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, with influence from environmental factors. Colorectal Cancer

Diagnosis

Clinical presentation is typically the most important aspect of diagnosis.

  • Labs: GH low point greater than 0.4 µg/L or 1 µg/L (depending on GH standards) during the oral glucose tolerance test Glucose Tolerance Test A test to determine the ability of an individual to maintain homeostasis of blood glucose. It includes measuring blood glucose levels in a fasting state, and at prescribed intervals before and after oral glucose intake (75 or 100 g) or intravenous infusion (0. 5 g/kg). Physical Examination of the Newborn, and elevated, age-adjusted IGF-1 level
  • Imaging: 
    • MRI: 
      • Can show a pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast
      • If a pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas is absent, search the chest and abdomen for other tumors.
    • CT scan:
      • Abdomen and pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy: Evaluate for pancreatic, adrenal, and ovarian tumors secreting GH/ GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones.
      • Chest: Evaluate for bronchogenic carcinoma secreting GH/ GHRH GHRH A peptide of 44 amino acids in most species that stimulates the release and synthesis of growth hormone. GHRF (or GRF) is synthesized by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, GHRF stimulates gh release by the somatotrophs in the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones.

Management

  • Surgical option: transsphenoidal adenomectomy via endonasal access ( pituitary adenomas Pituitary adenomas Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas)
  • Nonsurgical options:
    • Nonpharmacological:
      • Stereotactic radiosurgery
      • Proton therapy
      • Conventional radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma therapy
    • Pharmacological:
      • Dopamine-D2-agonists ( bromocriptine Bromocriptine A semisynthetic ergotamine alkaloid that is a dopamine D2 agonist. It suppresses prolactin secretion. Parkinson’s Disease Drugs) inhibit GH production by the pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas.
      • GH-receptor-antagonists (pegvisomant) normalize the elevated IGF-1 level.
      • Somatostatin-analogs ( octreotide Octreotide A potent, long-acting synthetic somatostatin octapeptide analog that inhibits secretion of growth hormone and is used to treat hormone-secreting tumors; diabetes mellitus; hypotension, orthostatic; hyperinsulinism; hypergastrinemia; and small bowel fistula. Antidiarrheal Drugs) decrease the size of the adenoma and normalize the GH level.

Differential Diagnosis

  • McCune-Albright syndrome Mccune-Albright Syndrome Cushing Syndrome: a rare, hypersecretory syndrome consisting of polyostotic fibrous Fibrous Fibrocystic Change dysplasia, cutaneous pigmentation, precocious puberty Precocious puberty Precocious puberty (PP) is the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics due to elevated sex hormones before the age of 6-8 in girls and 9 in boys. Excess hormone secretion may occur only at the level of the sex hormone or may involve the whole hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Precocious Puberty, hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism, hypercortisolism Hypercortisolism Cushing’s syndrome or hypercortisolism is a disorder characterized by features resulting from chronic exposure to excess glucocorticoids. Cushing’s syndrome may be exogenous, due to chronic glucocorticoid intake, or endogenous, due to increased adrenal secretion of cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production from the pituitary gland or ectopic sources. Cushing Syndrome, hyperprolactinemia Hyperprolactinemia Hyperprolactinemia is defined as a condition of elevated levels of prolactin (PRL) hormone in the blood. The PRL hormone is secreted by the anterior pituitary gland and is responsible for breast development and lactation. The most common cause is PRL-secreting pituitary adenomas (prolactinomas). Hyperprolactinemia, and acromegaly due to somatotroph hyperplasia Hyperplasia An increase in the number of cells in a tissue or organ without tumor formation. It differs from hypertrophy, which is an increase in bulk without an increase in the number of cells. Cellular Adaptation. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are differentiated by additional constellations of signs and symptoms.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes are autosomal dominant inherited conditions characterized by 2 or more hormone-producing tumors involving the endocrine organs. There are different types of MEN, namely MEN1-4. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia: GH-cell pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenoma Pituitary adenomas are tumors that develop within the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Non-functioning or non-secretory adenomas do not secrete hormones but can compress surrounding pituitary tissue, leading to hypopituitarism. Secretory adenomas secrete various hormones depending on the cell type from which they evolved, leading to hyperpituitarism. Pituitary Adenomas is a component of the autosomal-dominant, multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes are autosomal dominant inherited conditions characterized by 2 or more hormone-producing tumors involving the endocrine organs. There are different types of MEN, namely MEN1-4. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) type 1 Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy syndrome, which also includes parathyroid Parathyroid The parathyroid glands are 2 pairs of small endocrine glands found in close proximity to the thyroid gland. The superior parathyroid glands are lodged within the parenchyma of the upper poles of the right and left thyroid lobes; the inferior parathyroid glands are close to the inferior tips or poles of the lobes. Parathyroid Glands: Anatomy and pancreatic tumors. In addition to the finding of excess GH, the patient demonstrates other endocrine anomalies. 
  • Acromegaloidism: soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions changes usually associated with acromegaly, a normal baseline, dynamic GH/IGF-1, and no demonstrable pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types or extrapituitary tumor Tumor Inflammation. Acromegaloidism is rare.
  • Pachydermoperiostosis: Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with enlargement of the fingers and toes, swelling Swelling Inflammation or pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways of the large joints, coarsening of facial features, and grooves/depressions in the scalp. Pachydermoperiostosis is caused by mutations in HPGD, which encodes 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase, the key enzyme of prostaglandin degradation. The grooves/depressions of the scalp help to differentiate pachydermoperiostosis from acromegaly. 

References

  1. Melmed, S. (2020). Treatment of acromegaly. In Snyder, P.J. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 2, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-acromegaly
  2. Melmed, S. et al. (2018). Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases. In Jameson J., et al. (Ed.), Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (20th ed. Chapter 373). McGraw-Hill.

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