Ectopic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) syndrome in a case with multiple endocrine neoplasia type I

Published on Tuesday, 23 January 2018


A 36-yr-old man with multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type I had an ectopic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) syndrome due to a GHRH-secreting pancreatic tumor.

The immunoreactive (IR)-GHRH concentration in his plasma ranged from 161 to 400 pg/ml (299 +/- 61 pg/ml, mean +/- SD; normal, 10.4 +/- 4.1 pg/ml), and a significant correlation was found between his plasma IR-GHRH and GH (r = 0.622, p less than 0.02).

After removal of the pancreatic tumor, the high plasma GH concentration returned to nearly the normal range (42.2 +/- 31.3 to 9.6 +/- 3.8 ng/ml).

These changes paralleled the normalization of his plasma IR-GHRH (16.1 +/- 3.8 pg/ml) and some of his symptoms related to acromegaly improved. However, plasma GH (7.7 +/- 1.3 ng/ml) and IGF-I (591 +/- 22 ng/ml) concentrations were high at 12 months after surgery, suggesting adenomatous changes in the pituitary somatotrophs.

Before surgery, exogenous GHRH induced a marked increase in plasma GH, and somatostatin and its agonist (SMS201-995) completely suppressed GH secretion, but not IR-GHRH release. No pulsatile secretion of either IR-GHRH or GH was observed during sleep. An apparent increase in the plasma GH concentration was observed in response to administration of TRH, glucose, arginine or insulin, while plasma IR-GHRH did not show any fluctuation. However, these responses of plasma GH were reduced or no longer observed one month and one year after surgery.

These results indicate that 1) a moderate increase in circulating GHRH due to ectopic secretion from a pancreatic tumor stimulated GH secretion resulting in acromegaly, and evoked GH responses to various provocative tests indistinguishable from those in patients with classical acromegaly, and 2) the ectopic secretion of GHRH may play an etiological role in the pituitary lesion of this patient with MEN type I.

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See also:

- Somatostatin in oncology, the overlooked evidences in the "Some additional publications about hGH/GH-GHRH/GHRF/GRF" section;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - Somatostatin, Octreotide, analogues and/or derivatives);

- Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: clinical records on 17 patients treated with Di Bella's Method;

- The Di Bella Method Increases by the 30% the survival rate for Pancreas tumors and for this reason should be proposed as first line therapy for this type of cancer;