Acromegaly is a rare disease with a peak of incidence in early adulthood. However, enhanced awareness of this disease, combined with wide availability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has increased the diagnosis of forms with mild presentation, especially in elderly patients. Moreover, due to increased life expectancy and proactive individualized treatment, patients with early-onset acromegaly are today aging. The aim of our study was to describe our cohort of elderly patients with acromegaly.
This is a cross-sectional retrospective study of 96 outpatients. Clinical, endocrine, treatment, and follow-up data were collected using the electronic database of the University Hospital of Padova, Italy.
We diagnosed acromegaly in 13 patients, aged ≥65 years, presenting with relatively small adenomas and low IGF-1 secretion. Among them, 11 patients were initially treated with medical therapy and half normalized hormonal levels after 6 months without undergoing neurosurgery (TNS). Remission was achieved after TNS in three out of four patients (primary TNS in two); ten patients presented controlled acromegaly at the last visit. Acromegaly-related comorbidities (colon polyps, thyroid cancer, adrenal incidentaloma, hypertension, and bone disease) were more prevalent in patients who had an early diagnosis (31 patients, characterized by a longer follow-up of 24 years) than in those diagnosed aged ≥65 years (5 years of follow-up).
Elderly acromegalic patients are not uncommon. Primary medical therapy is a reasonable option and is effectively used, suggesting cost-benefit balance. Disease-specific comorbidities are more prevalent in acromegalic patients with a longer follow-up rather than in those diagnosed aged ≥65 years. Read the whole article here.