Pegvisomant: an advance in clinical efficacy in acromegaly

Paul Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Acromegaly is a chronic disorder invariably caused by a growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary tumour and is characterised by disabling symptoms (sweating, arthralgia, headache, paraesthesiae, fatigue), significant comorbidities (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep apnoea), and premature mortality. Symptomatic control can be achieved by lowering insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentrations to within the age-adjusted normal range, and survival can be improved to match that of the general population. However, even with optimal surgery and current medical therapies (dopamine agonists, somatostatin analogues), 30% to 50% of patients do not achieve target concentrations of IGF-I and GH. Pegvisomant is a new GH-receptor antagonist that blocks GH activity by inhibiting functional dimerisation of GH-receptors. Given as subcutaneous injections at dosages of 10 mg, 15 mg, or 20 mg/day for 3 Months, pegvisomant normalised serum IGF-I concentrations in, respectively, 54%, 81%, and 89% of acromegalic patients. Moreover, long-term pegvisomant therapy normalised IGF-I concentrations in 97% of patients treated for 12 Months or longer, with no evidence of tachyphylaxis. Pegvisomant is the most effective medical therapy, reported to date, in terms of normalisation of circulating IGF-I concentrations. In addition, pegvisomant appears to be safe and well tolerated. Although additional long-term studies are required to further assess safety, the introduction of this innovative treatment should allow for optimal disease control in patients with acromegaly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S27-S32
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue numberSuppl_2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


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