Improvement in Symptoms and Health-Related Quality of Life in Acromegaly Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jan 23;106(2):577-587. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa868.


Background: Whereas biochemical response is often used as a primary study outcome, improvement in symptoms and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is the relevant goal for patients to consider treatment successful. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effect of treatment on symptoms and HRQoL in acromegaly.

Methods: Seven electronic databases were searched for longitudinal studies assessing patient-reported symptoms or HRQoL in acromegaly. Meta-analyses were performed to assess differences during treatment for the Acromegaly Quality of Life Questionnaire (AcroQoL) and Patient-Assessed Acromegaly Symptom Questionnaire (PASQ), and standardized mean difference (SMD) for individual symptoms (interpretation: 0.2 small, 0.5 moderate, and 0.8 large effect). Treatment-naive and previously treated patients were assessed separately.

Results: Forty-six studies with 3301 patients were included; 24 contributed to quantitative analyses. Thirty-six studies used medication as main treatment, 1 transsphenoidal adenomectomy, and 9 various treatments. Symptoms and HRQoL both improved: AcroQoL increased 2.9 points (95% CI, 0.5 to 5.3 points), PASQ decreased -2.3 points (95% CI, -1.3 to -3.3 points), and individual symptom scores decreased for paresthesia -0.9 (95% CI, -0.6 to -1.2), hyperhidrosis -0.4 (95% CI, -0.1 to -0.6), fatigue -0.3 (95% CI, -0.1 to -0.6), arthralgia -0.3 (95% CI, -0.1 to -0.5), headache -0.3 (95% CI, 0.0 to -0.6), and soft-tissue swelling -0.2 (95% CI, 0.0 to -0.4).

Conclusion: Symptoms and HRQoL improved during acromegaly treatment. Consensus is needed on which symptoms should be included in a potential core outcome set, taking into account symptom frequency, severity, and sensitivity to change, which can be used in clinical practice and as outcome in trials.

Keywords: acromegaly; cohort studies; quality of life; symptoms; trials.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acromegaly / psychology*
  • Acromegaly / therapy*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*