Pollution mediated acromegaly
Acromegaly is a disease due, almost in all cases, to a pituitary adenoma (PA) characterized by GH hypersecretion. Its prevalence seems widely variable among different geographic areas, ranging 36151 cases ×106 of inhabitants (c.p.m.). Apart from the possible underestimation due to misdiagnosis, reliable epidemiological studies showed that the prevalence of acromegaly could be 45 times higher in some geographic areas than in other ones, independently by presumable geographic clustering due to a very rare genetic predisposition. In 2010, we showed that prevalence of acromegaly in the province of Messina (654.601 inhabitants) was 97 c.p.m., similar to that reported in other studies performed in other European country, but it was dramatically higher in a high-risk zone for environmental crisis (RR 2.36, 95% CI 1.204.64, P=0.01). In this zone the prevalence was 210 c.p.m. and increased to 238 c.p.m. when four neighboring small towns, identified on the basis of increased air pollutants distribution, were enclosed into the high-risk zone. In this wider area, laryngeal, bone, and connectival tumors, among men, and all kind of tumors, among women, were more prevalent than in the population residing in surrounding towns in a 15 km radius area. On the basis of studies performed from 2002, daily atmospheric concentrations of non methanic hydrocarbons (NMHC), and volatile organic compounds (VOC) are dramatically increased in the high-risk zone. The risk to develop PAs after exposition to environmental toxics was evaluated also in Seveso populations, after accidental dioxine exposure, demonstrating that the relative risk of developing PAs was increased, despite not significantly. The effect of several endocrine disruptors in the proliferative promotion and in hormone secretion of pituitary cells (CH3, MtT/E-2, HeLa, etc.) is well known, but their role on pituitary tumorigenesis have been poorly investigated until now.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.