Purpose: The diagnosis of adult GH deficiency (AGHD) is challenging and often requires confirmation with a GH stimulation test (GHST). The insulin tolerance test (ITT) is considered the reference standard GHST but is labor intensive, can cause severe hypoglycemia, and is contraindicated for certain patients. Macimorelin, an orally active GH secretagogue, could be used to diagnose AGHD by measuring stimulated GH levels after an oral dose.
Materials and methods: The present multicenter, open-label, randomized, two-way crossover trial was designed to validate the efficacy and safety of single-dose oral macimorelin for AGHD diagnosis compared with the ITT. Subjects with high (n = 38), intermediate (n = 37), and low (n = 39) likelihood for AGHD and healthy, matched controls (n = 25) were included in the efficacy analysis.
Results: After the first test, 99% of macimorelin tests and 82% of ITTs were evaluable. Using GH cutoff levels of 2.8 ng/mL for macimorelin and 5.1 ng/mL for ITTs, the negative agreement was 95.38% (95% CI, 87% to 99%), the positive agreement was 74.32% (95% CI, 63% to 84%), sensitivity was 87%, and specificity was 96%. On retesting, the reproducibility was 97% for macimorelin (n = 33). In post hoc analyses, a GH cutoff of 5.1 ng/mL for both tests resulted in 94% (95% CI, 85% to 98%) negative agreement, 82% (95% CI, 72% to 90%) positive agreement, 92% sensitivity, and 96% specificity. No serious adverse events were reported for macimorelin.
Conclusions: Oral macimorelin is a simple, well-tolerated, reproducible, and safe diagnostic test for AGHD with accuracy comparable to that of the ITT. A GH cutoff of 5.1 ng/mL for the macimorelin test provides an excellent balance between sensitivity and specificity.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02558829.