Assessment of long-term remission of acromegaly following surgery
Object. The criteria for remission of acromegaly following transsphenoidal adenoma resection are in evolution. In the present study the authors evaluate the utility of predicting long-term remission by reference to a single fasting growth hormone (GH) level on the 1st postoperative day. Methods. A retrospective analysis was conducted on 181 patients with acromegaly who underwent transsphenoidal resection between 1973 and 1990 and completed a 5-year follow-up period. Fasting serum GH levels were obtained in all patients on the 1st postoperative day in the absence of exogenous glucocorticoids. All patients participated in a follow-up evaluation lasting at least 5 years, which included measurements of serum insulin-like growth factor–I (IGF-I) levels as an index of acromegalic activity. Among the 181 patients, GH levels ranged from 0 to 8 ng/ml in 131 (72%) on the 1st postoperative day, suggesting biochemical remission. This group included 107 (84%) of the 127 patients with microadenomas, but only 24 (44%) of the 54 with macroadenomas. Nevertheless, 15 (11%) of the 131 patients who initially had attenuated GH levels displayed recurrent acromegaly within the first 2 years (with elevated levels of IGF-I in all cases, and abnormalities appearing on magnetic resonance images in nine cases). Only one of 116 patients in whom the initial postoperative GH level was lower than 2 ng/ml experienced a recurrence, whereas 14 (93%) of the 15 patients with postoperative GH levels between 2.2 and 8 ng/ml subsequently displayed biochemical evidence of acromegaly. Conclusions. The findings indicate that a fasting morning serum GH level lower than 2 ng/ml on the 1st postoperative day portends long-term biochemical remission of acromegaly, whereas higher levels are a significant marker for recurrent disease.
American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)