Pituitary

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 175–180

Basal and Glucose-Suppressed GH Levels Less Than 1 μg/L in Newly Diagnosed Acromegaly

  • Pamela U. Freda
  • Carlos M. Reyes
  • Abu T. Nuruzzaman
  • Robert E. Sundeen
  • Jeffrey N. Bruce
Article

DOI: 10.1023/B:PITU.0000023424.72021.e2

Cite this article as:
Freda, P.U., Reyes, C.M., Nuruzzaman, A.T. et al. Pituitary (2003) 6: 175. doi:10.1023/B:PITU.0000023424.72021.e2

Abstract

The development of highly sensitive and specific GH assays has necessitated a critical re-evaluation of the biochemical criteria needed for the diagnosis of acromegaly. Use of these assays has revealed that GH levels after oral glucose in healthy subjects and postoperative patients with active acromegaly can be significantly less than previously recognized with older GH assays.

In order to assess GH criteria for newly diagnosed acromegaly with a modern assay we have evaluated GH levels in 25 patients referred to our Neuroendocrine Unit for evaluation of untreated acromegaly. All patients underwent measurement of basal GH and IGF-I levels and 15 of these patients also underwent oral glucose tolerance testing for GH suppression (OGTT).

Basal GH levels were <1.0 μg/L at diagnosis in 5 of these 25 patients. Nadir GH levels were less than 1 μg/L also in 5 of 15 patients, and as low as 0.42 μg/L. All patients had elevated IGF-I levels preoperatively and pathological confirmation of a GH secreting pituitary tumor at the time of transsphenoidal surgery. The clinical presentations of these patients was variable. Most patients presented with classical manifestations of acromegaly, but 3 of the 5 patients with low nadir GH values had only very subtle signs of acromegaly.

Although most newly diagnosed patients have classically elevated GH levels and obvious clinical features of acromegaly, early recognition of disease may uncover patients with milder biochemical and clinical abnormalities. The diagnosis should not be discounted in patients who have elevated IGF-I levels, but have basal or nadir GH levels less than 1 μg/L. Conventional GH criteria for the diagnosis of acromegaly cannot be applied to the use of modern sensitive and specific GH assays.

acromegaly growth hormone IGF-I 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela U. Freda
    • 1
  • Carlos M. Reyes
    • 1
  • Abu T. Nuruzzaman
    • 1
  • Robert E. Sundeen
    • 1
  • Jeffrey N. Bruce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineColumbia College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew York

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