Acromegaly is a complex disease characterized by growth hormone (GH) excess originating in most cases from a pituitary tumor. The goals of treatment include removing the tumor or reducing tumor burden, normalizing GH secretion and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels, and preserving normal pituitary function if possible. Surgery by an experienced neurosurgeon is still considered first-line therapy, especially in cases with small tumors. In the last few decades, significant progress in the development of selective pharmacologic agents has greatly facilitated the management of active acromegaly, with agents such as somatostatin-receptor ligands (SRLs), GH-receptor antagonists, and dopamine agonists. In addition to adjuvant treatment, pre-operative medical therapy and primary therapy in de novo patients are increasingly employed.A United States National Library of Medicine PubMed search (through July 2014) was conducted for the following terms: acromegaly, pre-operative medical therapy, somatostatin-receptor ligands, and somatostatin analogs. Articles not in English and those not in peer-reviewed journals were excluded. In reviewing pertinent articles, focus was placed on biochemical and other postoperative outcomes of medical therapy.An analysis of the full effect of pre-operative use of SRLs on surgical outcomes (remission rates and peri-operative complications) is limited by heterogeneity of methodology, low overall surgical cure rates, and different study designs. The assumption that SRL use prior to surgery reduces peri-operative surgical risk has yet to be proven. A variable degree of tumor shrinkage with preoperative SRLs is observed. Likewise, SRL treatment 3 months before surgery may improve surgical remission rates in the short term; however, positive results do not persist in the long term.We consider that medical therapy before surgery could play a role in carefully selected patients, but treatment should be individualized. Primary medical therapy with a SRL may be considered in patients with macroadenomas without local mass effects on the optic chiasm, as SRLs have been shown to reduce tumor size and control GH hypersecretion. However, the data are insufficient to support general use of a SRL prior to surgery in order to improve post-surgery biochemical outcomes. Theoretically, patients with severe cardiac and respiratory complications due to acromegaly could potentially benefit from pre-operative SRLs in order to reduce peri-operative morbidity. Further investigation and investment in large randomized long-term clinical trials are needed to define the precise role and duration of pre-surgical medical treatment in acromegaly patients.GH = growth hormone IGF-1 = insulin-like growth factor 1 MRI = magnetic resonance imaging SRL = somatostatin-receptor ligand.
View details for DOI 10.4158/EP14575.DSCR
View details for PubMedID 26135961