Anyone living with acromegaly should understand their treatment options and why they’re being proposed.
The UCLA Pituitary Tumor Program has a video outlining some of the treatment considerations for acromegaly. It’s just under 7 minutes long and I encourage you to check it out, but I also caution you that the information is quite dense and intended more for a healthcare professional audience than a patient audience.
SO, I’ve decided to highlight the key info here (in what I hope are simpler terms):
Acromegaly Treatment Goals
- Normalize growth hormone (GH) levels
- Normalize insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels
Historical Approach to Acromegaly Treatment
- Surgical removal (also called “resection”) of pituitary tumors
Why That’s Problematic
- Surgery (especially brain surgery) comes with serious risks
- Studies have shown that even with surgery, IGF-1 and GH levels may remain elevated
- Depending on the extent of the tumor and other factors, the success rate for tumor resection performed by an expert surgeon (one who does at least 50-100 surgeries a year) is 22-65%
Other Acromegaly Treatment Options
Why It Should Be Considered
- Various studies (beginning in the 1980s and continuing through the early 2000s) show medical therapy in the treatment of acromegaly can:
- control GH levels in up to 73% of patients
- control IFG-1 levels in up to 72% of patients
- shrink tumors
- A study published in 2002 showed octreotide shrunk tumors by as much as 51%
- Another study conducted in the UK and also published in 2002 showed that 73% of patients treated with octreotide as their primary therapy had at least a 30% reduction in their tumor size
- that same study showed controlled GH levels in 79% of patients, and…
- normal IGF-1 levels in 53% of patients
- While scientific leaders in acromegaly may have suggested surgery in the past, minds are changing and a medicinal approach is now being viewed as a reasonable first-line treatment
Is this information helpful? What else do consider when choosing an acromegaly treatment? Discuss below!