The role of combination medical therapy in the treatment of acromegaly

Dawn Shao Ting Lim, Maria Fleseriu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Uncontrolled acromegaly results in approximately 2-fold excess mortality. Pituitary surgery is first-line therapy, and medical treatment is indicated for persistent disease. While cabergoline and pegvisomant are used in select patients, somatostatin receptor ligands (SRLs) remain the cornerstone of medical treatment. Management of patients poorly responsive to SRLs is therefore, challenging. The purpose of this review is to highlight the options for combination medical therapy in the treatment of acromegaly, with an emphasis on efficacy and safety. Methods: All original articles/abstracts detailing combination medical therapy in acromegaly were identified from a PubMed search. Results: Studies reviewed included retrospective and open-label prospective studies. While the combination of SRL and cabergoline was generally well tolerated, a lower baseline insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) level was the best predictor of efficacy; this combination may be most effective in patients with mildly elevated IGF-1. SRL-pegvisomant combination normalized IGF-1 in the majority of patients; continued efficacy despite individual drug dosing reduction was also reported. The risk of significant liver enzyme elevation was, however, higher than that reported with SRL monotherapy; close monitoring is recommended. Data on pegvisomant-cabergoline combination is limited, but this may be an option in the setting of SRL intolerance. Reports on temozolomide used in combination with other medical therapies in patients with aggressive GH-secreting tumors are also summarized. Conclusion: While more prospective, randomized controlled trials on long-term efficacy and safety are needed, combination medical therapy remains a treatment strategy that should be considered for acromegaly patients poorly responsive to SRLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-148
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Acromegaly
  • Combination medical therapy
  • Dopamine agonist
  • Growth hormone receptor antagonist
  • Somatostatin receptor ligand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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