Acromegaly - Causes
Acromegaly is caused by prolonged overproduction of growth hormones by the pituitary adenoma or a growth that is benign.
Acromegaly is caused by prolonged overproduction of GH by the pituitary gland. In about 90% of Acromegaly patients, the overproduction of GH is caused by a benign tumor of the pituitary gland called an adenoma. These adenomas produce excess GH and produce pressure effect thereby affecting the surrounding brain tissue and optic nerves.
Some adenomas grow slowly and symptoms of excess GH production often go unnoticed for many years, but in case of younger patients the tumor development is aggressive and can be easily detected. Most pituitary tumors arise spontaneously and some from a genetic alteration in a single pituitary cell which leads to increased cell division and GH production.
In a few patients, Acromegaly is caused by tumors of the pancreas, lungs, and adrenal glands. These tumors also lead to an excess of GH or GHRH, the hormone that stimulates the pituitary to make GH. When these non-pituitary tumors are surgically removed, GH levels fall.