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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Mar;82(3):876-83.

Prolactinomas resistant to standard dopamine agonists respond to chronic cabergoline treatment.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology, University Federico II, Naples, Italy.


Cabergoline (CAB), a new, potent, and long-lasting PRL-lowering agent, was shown to be effective in tumoral hyperprolactinemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of CAB in patients with prolactinoma proven to be resistant to bromocriptine (BRC) and quinagolide (CV 205-502). Twenty-seven patients (19 macro- and 8 microprolactinomas) were treated with CAB at a weekly dose of 0.5-3 mg for 3-22 months. All patients were previously shown to be resistant to BRC, and 20 of them were resistant to CV 205-502 as well. Basal serum PRL levels before CAB treatment ranged from 108-3500 micrograms/L in macroprolactinomas and from 64-205 micrograms/L in microprolactinomas. Gonadal failure was present in all patients, whereas symptoms of tumor expansion, such as visual field defects and headache, were present in 10 of 27 patients. Eight macroprolactinomas had previously undergone surgery and/or radiotherapy. CAB treatment normalized serum PRL levels in 15 of 19 macroprolactinomas and in all 8 microprolactinomas. In 3 of the remaining 4 patients it caused a notable decrease in prolactinemia (89%, 80.5%, and 68.7% of the baseline). Only 1 patient was withdrawn from CAB therapy after 3 months at the weekly dose of 2 mg due to the absence of any significant clinical, hormonal, or radiological improvement. Gonadal function was restored in 18 of 27 patients, galactorrhea disappeared in 5 of 6 women, and headache improved in 7 of 8 patients. A significant tumor shrinkage was detected by computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging in 9 macroprolactinomas and 4 microprolactinomas. CAB was well tolerated by all patients, except 6 who referred slight and short-lasting nausea, postural hypotension, abdominal pain, dizziness, and sleepiness at the beginning of treatment. In particular, CAB was well tolerated by 19 patients previously shown to be poorly tolerant to BRC and CV 205-502. In conclusion, CAB may represent, at the moment, the only successful therapy for prolactinoma-bearing patients resistant to BRC and CV 205-502, as it normalized PRL levels in 22 of 27 patients, reduced tumor size in 13 of 27 patients, and improved clinical symptoms in 25 of 27 patients in the present study.

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