Objective: To investigate the diagnostic value of serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) measurements in adult patients with acromegaly and GH deficiency (GHD). Methods: Serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels were measured in 39 active acromegalic patients, 34 adult patients with GHD and 150 healthy adults. Disease activity in patients with acromegaly was confirmed by nadir GH levels during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Among patients with acromegaly, 15 had not been treated previously and 24 had been treated but not cured. GHD in adults was diagnosed by an insulin tolerance test (ITT). Among patients with GHD, 15 were aged 20–40 years (9 men and 6 women) and 19 were aged over 40 years (9 men and 10 women). One hundred and fifty healthy subjects were recruited as a control group. To compare the individual serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels of patients with the results of the gold standard, we calculated age- and sex-corrected standard deviation scores (SDS) for individual IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels. The sensitivities of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements for the disease diagnosis were analyzed using the mean ± 2 SD of the values of healthy control subjects as a diagnostic cutoff, defining 95% specificity. Results: The mean IGF-I and IGFBP-3 SDS levels were significantly higher in active acromegalic patients, both untreated and treated but not cured, than in the control subjects (p < 0.05). The sensitivities of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements for the diagnosis of acromegaly were 97.4 and 81.8%, respectively. In untreated patients with acromegaly, the sensitivities of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements for the diagnosis of disease were 100 and 100%, while these were 95.8 and 72.7% in treated patients with acromegaly. In adult patients with GHD, the mean IGF-I and IGFBP-3 SDS were significantly lower than those of the control subjects (IGF-I, –2.2 ± 0.8 vs. 0.0 ± 1.0 SDS, p < 0.0001); IGFBP-3, –1.7 ± 1.2 vs. 0.0 ± 1.0 SDS, p < 0.0001), but there was a considerable overlap between GHD in adults and the controls. In all patients with GHD, the sensitivities of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements were 64.7 and 52.9%, respectively. In the group of women aged 20–40 years, the sensitivity of IGF-I measurement for the diagnosis of GHD was 100%, although the number of patients was only 6. Conclusion: Both serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements are comparable to an oral glucose tolerance test in patients with untreated acromegaly, but in acromegalic patients that have undergone surgery and/or radiotherapy, serum IGF-I is more valuable for determining disease activity than serum IGFBP-3. Serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements are not valuable for the diagnosis of GHD in adults, but in women aged 20–40 years serum IGF-I measurement appears to be useful in the diagnosis of GHD.

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