The clinicopathological spectrum of acromegaly

Amit Akirov*, Sylvia L. Asa, Lama Amer, Ilan Shimon, Shereen Ezzat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Acromegaly results from a persistent excess in growth hormone with clinical features that may be subtle or severe. The most common cause of acromegaly is a pituitary tumor that causes excessive production of growth hormone (GH), and rare cases are due to an excess of the GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) or the ectopic production of GH. Objective: Discuss the different diseases that present with manifestations of GH excess and clinical acromegaly, emphasizing the distinct clinical and radiological characteristics of the different pathological entities. Methods: We performed a narrative review of the published clinicopathological information about acromegaly. An English-language search for relevant studies was conducted on PubMed from inception to 1 August 2019. The reference lists of relevant studies were also reviewed. Results: Pituitary tumors that cause GH excess have several variants, including pure somatotroph tumors that can be densely or sparsely granulated, or plurihormonal tumors that include mammosomatotroph, mixed somatotroph-lactotroph tumors and mature plurihomonal Pit1-lineage tumors, acidophil stem cell tumors and poorly-differentiated Pit1-lineage tumors. Each tumor type has a distinct pathophysiology, resulting in variations in clinical manifestations, imaging and responses to therapies. Conclusion: Detailed clinicopathological information will be useful in the era of precision medicine, in which physicians tailor the correct treatment modality to each patient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1962
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Acromegaly
  • Ectopic hormone production
  • Pituitary tumor
  • Somatotroph tumor


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