The prevalence of silent acromegaly in prolactinomas is very low

C. Bona, N. Prencipe, M. L. Jaffrain-Rea, G. Carosi, R. Lanzi, M. R. Ambrosio, D. Pasquali, R. Vettor, S. Cannavò, E. Ghigo, S. Grottoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the somatotroph axis in a large series of patients with prolactinoma to verify the prevalence of silent acromegaly in this population. Methods: A hundred and forty-four patients were enrolled in a multicenter study: 90 were already on cabergoline (CAB) and enrolled in a cross-sectional arm (group A) with random PRL, GH and IGF-I determination on treatment (≥ 3 months), whereas 54 untreated patients were enrolled at diagnosis in a prospective arm (group B) with PRL, GH and IGF-I measurement before and after 6 and 12 months of treatment. In the presence of high IGF-I, CAB was withdrawn for 3 months and GH, IGF-I, PRL and GH during an oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) were obtained. Results: High IGF-I levels (ULN 1.01–1.56) were observed in 9 patients (6.25%, 5F). After CAB withdrawal, IGF-I levels normalized in 5/9 patients, GH was < 0.4 ng/ml after OGTT in 7/9 cases or at random GH determination in one case. After CAB re-introduction, IGF-I levels re-increased in a single case. Overall, a single young female patient harboring a macroadenoma in group A was diagnosed with silent acromegaly and underwent successful transsphenoidal removal of a GH/PRL-secreting adenoma. Conclusion: The prevalence of silent acromegaly in prolactinomas (0.7%) is lower than previously reported and OGTT is helpful to recognize silent acromegaly. We suggest that the somatotroph axis should be evaluated at diagnosis in all cases and not systematically during follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Cabergoline
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Prolactinoma
  • Silent acromegaly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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