The endocrinology franchise focuses on neuroendocrine conditions. The body’s endocrine glands secrete hormones that control the functioning of specific tissues. Acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumors - a rare spectrum of diseases - are requiring specialist treatment.
In children, hypersecretion of growth hormone may cause gigantism, whereas in adults, as the cartilages have ossified, an excessive secretion of GH causes acromegaly.
In acromegaly, GH hypersecretion is most often caused by a pituitary adenoma, i.e. a benign tumoral proliferation of pituitary cells, particularly somatotropic cells secreting growth hormone.
Acromegaly progresses very slowly, which is why it is usually diagnosed very late. In the absence of any treatment, symptoms worsen and life expectancy is reduced as a result of cardiovascular complications.
Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are rare and progress slowly. They are generally located in the digestive tract. NETs produce abnormally high quantities of hormones. Depending on their nature, these hormones will cause certain symptoms. For instance, in serotonin hypersecretion, patients will have chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and flushing in the face, neck and chest: this is known as the carcinoid syndrome. Despite the slow rate of progression, these tumours are often diagnosed at a metastatic stage.