Natural History of Acromegaly: Incidences, Re-operations, Cancers, and Mortality Rates in a National Cohort

Jau Ching Wu, Wen Cheng Huang, Hsuan Kan Chang, Chin Chu Ko, Jiing Feng Lirng, Yu Chun Chen

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18 Scopus citations


Background: Acromegaly is so rare that its natural history, including incidence, risk of cancers, and mortality rates, remains elusive. This natural study utilized a nationwide database to provide a better understanding of acromegaly's disease course. Methods: A cohort of 1,195 acromegaly patients were identified and followed-up from 1997 to 2013. Incidence, operation, and re-operation rates were calculated. Excessive mortality and cancer risk related to acromegaly were estimated by standardized mortality ratio (SMR) and standardized incidence ratio (SIR). Results: The incidence was 2.78 per million-person-years, with little gender predominance (female vs. male, 49.5 vs. 50.5%, respectively). There was female predominance only among 50 and 60 year-olds (incidence rate ratio: 1.37 and 1.43, p < 0.001 and p = 0.002). Among them, 673 (56.3%) had hypophysectomy surgery, and the young-onset (<40 years) patients had more re-operations (15.5%, p = 0.01). The overall mortality rate was 22.3 per 1,000 person-years, with a median survival of 4.67 years (with no gender differences, p = 0.38). The overall SMR of acromegaly patients was 1.41, and the onset-age-specific SMRs of the early- and middle-onset patients were higher than for those with late-onset. There were 87 newly diagnosed cancers in the cohort, with an incidence rate of 10.6 per 1,000 person-years (median 5.4 years). The overall SIR of cancers was 1.91, and there were no differences among gender, onset-age, and disease duration (all SIR >1, approximately 2). Conclusion: Acromegaly is associated with an excessive risk of mortality and two-fold higher risk of cancers. Patients with acromegaly should be managed appropriately after the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-987
Number of pages11
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Acromegaly
  • Cancer risk
  • Incidence
  • Mortality rate
  • Natural history
  • Re-operation rate


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