GH hyperproduction due to ectopic secretion of GHRH is a rare cause of acromegaly. Since 1959, approximately 50 cases of ectopic GHRH production from extrapituitary tumors have been described. Here we report the clinical and biochemical features of a 47-yr-old Caucasian woman with ectopic GHRH syndrome sustained by a bronchial carcinoid. The criteria for the diagnosis of acromegaly due to ectopic GHRH secretion were satisfied in our patient (i.e. confirmation of active GH hypersecretion, unequivocal demonstration of GHRH production and secretion from an extrapituitary tumor and cure of acromegaly after neoplasm removal). The tumor was an atypical carcinoid and there was a familial history of lung and colorectal cancer. Acromegaly was slightly active (mean GH value: 7.4 ng/ml, IGF-I: 436 ng/ml) and after tumor removal there was a progressive decline of GH levels, consistent with remission of pituitary somatotroph hyperplasia. Pituitary radiology showed an empty sella demonstrating for the first time its association with ectopic GHRH syndrome.
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