Giants and Acromegalics fascinated people, since ancient times. Historical artifacts, paintings, illustrations, photographs or articles have documented many. The earliest medical reports date back to 1516. In 1864 Verga was the first to describe an acromegalic in medical literature and called it “prosopectasia”. However the article did not really characterize the disease. Pierre Marie was the first to do so and describe the disease and gave it the final name “acromegalie”, in 1886. Although Pierre Marie was aware of the enlarged pituitary gland he did not describe this as cause of the disease. In 1887 Minkowski was the first to suggest a pituitary origin of acromegaly. Later Massalongo also described the pituitary origin and additional the relationship between acromegaly and Gigantism. So at the end of the 19th century the disease and origin were unraveled. A decade later Harvey Cushing was the first to observe partial reversal of clinical symptoms after partial hypophysectomy, and the first form of effective treatment was born.

A-J. van der Lely (Aart-Jan)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
The printing of this thesis was financially supported by: GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen B.V., Pfizer B.V., Novo Nordisk B.V., Ipsen Farmaceutica B.V., Servier Nederland Farma B.V., Prostrakan Pharma B.V., Novartis Pharma B.V., Eli Lilly Nederland, MSD Nederland Pharma B.V. en Ferring B.V.
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Neggers, S.J.C.M.M. (2011, June 10). New Insights into Medical Treatment of Acromegaly. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from