Estroprogestinic pill normalizes IGF-I levels in acromegalic women

Renato Cozzi, M. Barausse, S. Lodrini, G. Lasio, R. Attanasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In some acromegalic patients medical treatment does not succeed in normalizing GH/IGF-I values. Data showing IGF-I suppression in acromegaly by estrogen and by tamoxifen use prompted us to reevaluate the effects of estroprogestins (EP) supplementation on GH/IGF-I levels in acromegalic women resistant or only partially sensitive to medical treatment. Eight active acromegalic women (30-52 yr, 4 with regular menses) entered a prospective open pilot study. Three of them, resistant to medical treatment, were off therapy; the remaining five, partially sensitive, maintained it at the maximally effective dosages throughout the study. Patients were treated with a triphasic pill (ethynil-estradiol 30-40-30 μg/day and desogestrel 50-70-100 mg/day) for 13±7 months. IGF-I levels fell from 512 (median, interquartile 436-657) μg/l to 282 (244-526) μg/l (p=0.0414); the decrease was observed in 6 patients (75%), and normal values were reached in 4 (50%). GH levels did not change [basal 7.6 (6.2-8.6) μg/l, final 7.6 (6.5-8.3) μg/l]. Effectiveness of treatment was not dependent on concomitant anti-GH treatment or gonadal status. In all patients IGF-I levels re-increased after EP withdrawal. This pilot study shows a marked IGF-I lowering effect of pill in acromegalic women, and warrants a prospective randomized study in patients resistant or partially sensitive to other medical treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-352
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003


  • Acromegaly
  • Contraceptive pill
  • Estrogen
  • GH
  • IGF-I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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