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Growth Horm IGF Res. 2005 Feb;15(1):28-32. Epub 2004 Dec 10.

GSPalpha mutations in Mexican patients with acromegaly: potential impact on long term prognosis.

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Endocrinology Service, Experimental Endocrinology Unit, Hospital de Especialidades, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Aristòteles 68, Colonia Polanco 11560, México City, México.



The frequency of activating mutations of the GSPalpha gene as the etiology of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas has been the subject of important ethnogenetic variability. Whereas up to 40% of Caucasian patients with acromegaly have tumors which harbor these somatic mutations, their prevalence among Asian populations is much lower. The correlation between the presence of these mutations and the clinical and biological behavior of these tumors has also been a matter of controversy. In the present study, we investigated the prevalence of GSPalpha mutations in GH-secreting tumors obtained from a genetically homogenous population of Mexican patients with acromegaly. We also sought to establish whether or not the presence of these mutations correlates in any way with the clinical or biochemical characteristics of the disease.


Fifty eight GH-secreting pituitary adenomas were examined for the presence of point mutations in either codon 201 or 227 of the GSPalpha gene, using PCR and direct sequencing of DNA extracted from either fresh or paraffin-embedded tissues. Patients were prospectively followed clinically and biochemically for up to nine years after pituitary surgery.


Heterozygous point mutations in exon 8 (codon 201) were found in 11 patients (19%), and no molecular alterations were evident in exon 9. The frequency and severity of the different clinical features of acromegaly did not differ between patients with and without GSPalpha mutations. Patients with and without mutations had pre-operative GH and IGF-I elevations of similar magnitude, and although microadenomas appeared to be more frequent among patients with GSPalpha mutations, this did not reach statistical significance. Upon short-term follow-up, biochemical cure (normal age- and gender-adjusted IGF-I and post-glucose GH below 1 ng/mL) was similarly achieved in both groups. After 3-9 years of post-operative follow up however, a significantly greater proportion of patients with the mutation achieved a "safe" basal GH value (100% vs 33%, p=0.001) as well a lower nadir post-glucose GH (0.53+/-0.5 vs 2.9+/-6.2 ng/mL, p=0.04) although the rate of IGF-1 normalization did not differ between the 2 groups.


Our results show that the prevalence of GSPalpha mutations in Mexican patients with acromegaly is intermediate between that found in Asian and Caucasian populations. In this well-defined genetic population the presence of codon 201 mutations appeared to be associated with a greater probability of achieving a "safe" GH value upon long-term follow-up.

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