Abstract Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a serine proteases produced by prostatic epithelial cells detectable in male serum and seminal plasma. PSA is also expressed in some female tissues and fluids and is increased in hirsute women showing a positive correlation with androgens. Accordingly, it has been suggested that PSA might be a marker of androgen action in women. The aim of this observational study was to assess serum PSA concentration in acro megalic women with active disease, in remission or during somatostatin analogs therapy. Forty-four acromegalic women, 15 with active disease, 10 in remission and 19 under long-acting somatostatin analogs therapy were enrolled in the study; 273 normal women matched for age, body mass index, with no signs of hirsutism, served as controls. Serum PSA, 3a-androstanediol (3alpha-AG), total testosterone (T), DHEAS, LH, FSH and estradiol were assessed. No patient or control had been given estrogen or antiandrogen drugs; no acromegalic women had hyperprolactinemia or hypopituitarism. Serum PSA concentration was significantly higher in acromegalic patients than in control subjects (p < 0.0001). Patients with active acromegaly or under somatostatin analogs therapy had significant higher serum PSA concentration than controls, while patients in remission after adenomectomy did not differ. Serum PSA was detectable in serum of 75% acromegalic women and 45% of controls. In addition 24% of acromegalic women had serum PSA concentrations higher than the mean +/- 2SD of control subjects. Differences in serum PSA levels did not reach statistical significance in the different acromegalic subgroups possibly because of the small number of subjects, but patients with active acromegaly had higher serum PSA levels than patients under somatostatin analogs therapy or in remission. Acromegalic women had significantly higher serum PSA concentrations than controls both before and after menopause (p < 0.01). 3alpha-AG (p < 0.05) and T (p < 0.01) were higher in acromegalic than in control subjects in pre-menopause (PM) but not in post-menopause (M). A correlation was found in the whole group of acromegalic patients between serum PSA and 3a-AG concentrations (r = 0.3, p < 0.01). In conclusion, acromegalic is associated with an increase in serum PSA concentrations as a group, although this increase is observed, at an individual level, in only 24% of cases. Patients whose disease is controlled by somatostatin analogs or has been cured by pituitary adenomectomy tend to have lower serum PSA levels than patients with active disease. M patients tend to have lower PSA values than PM women, consistent with the main androgen control of PSA production. However, the observation that M women still have higher serum PSA levels than controls suggest that in acromegaly PSA is regulated not only by androgens but also by the GH/IGF-I system itself.
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