PURPOSE: Active acromegaly is associated with impaired glucose metabolism, which improves upon treatment. Treatment options include surgery, medical therapy with somatostatin analogues (SSA) and Pegvisomant (PEG), and irradiation. The objective of the study was to describe the differential effect of various treatment regimens on the secretion of glucose, insulin, glucagon, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) in patients with acromegaly.
METHODS: 23 surgically treated, non-diabetic patients with acromegaly and 12 healthy controls underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and subsequently isoglycaemic intravenous glucose infusion on a separate day. Baseline hormone concentrations, time-to-peak and area under the curve (AUC) on the OGTT-day and incretin effect were compared according to treatment regimens.
RESULTS: The patients treated with SSA (N = 15) had impaired GIP-response (AUC, P = 0.001), and numerical impairment of all other hormone responses (P > 0.3). Patients co-treated with PEG (SSA + PEG, N = 4) had increased secretion of insulin and glucagon compared to patients only treated with SSA (SSA ÷ PEG, N = 11) (insulinAUC mean ± SEM, SSA + PEG 49 ± 8.3 nmol/l*min vs SSA ÷ PEG 25 ± 3.4, P = 0.007; glucagonAUC, SSA + PEG 823 ± 194 pmol/l*min vs SSA ÷ PEG 332 ± 69, P = 0.009). GIP secretion remained significantly impaired, whereas GLP-1 secretion was numerically increased with PEG (SSA + PEG 3088 ± 366 pmol/l*min vs SSA ÷ PEG 2401 ± 239, P = 0.3). No difference was found in patients treated with/without radiotherapy nor substituted or not with hydrocortisone.
CONCLUSION: SSA impaired the insulin, glucagon, and incretin hormone secretions. Co-treatment with PEG seemed to counteract the somatostatinergic inhibition of the glucagon and insulin response to OGTT. We speculate that PEG may exert its action through GH-receptors on pancreatic δ-cells. Clinical trial registration NCT02005978.