Polycythemia as rare secondary direct manifestation of acromegaly: Management and single-centre epidemiological data

Gabriele Zoppoli, Federico Bianchi, Andrea Bruzzone, Alessandro Calvia, Caterina Oneto, Caterina Passalia, Enrico Balleari, Davide Bedognetti, Elena Ponomareva, Elena Nazzari, Lara Castelletti, Lucio Castellan, Francesco Minuto, Riccardo Ghio, Diego Ferone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polycythemia associated with acromegaly is usually caused by the systemic manifestations of the disease, such as sleep-Apnea or concomitant erythropoietinsecreting kidney tumors. The recognition of underlying pathologies requires a thorough diagnostic process. We report a unique case of acromegaly with polycythemia, not caused by commonly described manifestations of the disease, and receding with octreotide therapy. The medical history of 141 acromegalic patients followed by the Endocrinology Unit of the San Martino University Hospital in Genoa has been also reviewed, together with the literature evidence for similar cases. The diagnostic workflow and 2-years follow-up of a 43-years old acromegalic, polycythemic man with a history of past smoking, moderate hypertension, and mental retardation are described. The hematological parameters of our cohort was retrospectively compared with those of a healthy, age/genderrelated control group as well. Therapy with octreotide LAR, 20 mg i.m. q28d was begun soon after diagnosis of acromegaly in the polycythemic patient. Haematocrit level, hormonal setting, as well as pituitary tumor size and visual perimetry during treatment were recorded. Octreotide LAR treatment normalized hormonal alterations, as well as hematological parameters. Polycythemia has not recurred after 2 years of therapy. The median hemoglobin and hematocrit levels of the retrospectively analyzed cohort of acromegalic were significantly lower than normal ranges of a healthy, age/sex- related control population. In conclusions, polycythemia can be a direct, albeit rare, secondary manifestation of acromegaly, that must be considered during the diagnostic work-up of acromegalic patients presenting with such disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Acromegaly
  • GH
  • IGF-I
  • Polycythemia
  • Polycythemia Vera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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