A 52-year-old female presented with recurrent episodes of fasting or post-absorptive hypoglycemia. A 72-h fasting test confirmed endogenous hyperinsulinemia. Conventional imaging was unremarkable. Selective pancreatic arterial calcium stimulation and hepatic venous sampling showed a maximum calcium-stimulated insulin concentration from several pancreatic areas, mainly the proximal splenic artery and the proximal gastroduodenal artery, suggesting the presence of one or more occult insulinoma(s) in the region of the pancreatic body. 68Ga-DOTA-exendin-4 PET/CT showed however generalized increased uptake in the pancreas and a diagnosis of nesidioblastosis was therefore suspected. The patient has been since successfully treated with dietetic measures and diazoxide. Treatment efficacy was confirmed by a flash glucose monitoring system with a follow-up of 7 months.
Adult nesidioblastosis is a rare cause of endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia.
The distinction between insulinoma and nesidioblastosis is essential since the therapeutic strategies are different.
68Ga-DOTA-exendin-4 PET/CT emerges as a new noninvasive diagnostic tool for the localization of an endogenous source of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia.
Medical management with dietetic measures and diazoxide need to be considered as a valuable option to treat patients with adult nesidioblastosis.
Flash glucose monitoring system is helpful for the evaluation of treatment efficacy.
Osilodrostat is a novel, orally administered cortisol synthesis inhibitor, approved in 2020 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome in adults. A significant amount of the studies currently available in the literature focus on treatment in patients with Cushing’s disease. However, data collected from patients treated with osilodrostat in real-life settings still represents a small entity. For this reason, in this article, we will discuss two real-life cases of patients with Cushing’s disease treated with this drug. The first report is about a 35-year-old woman with an adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-secreting adenoma. After non-curative trans-nasal-sphenoidal (TNS) surgery, due to a small remnant of the adenoma, medical therapy with osilodrostat achieved fast and effective biochemical and clinical response. During treatment, progressive increase of ACTH levels and an enlargement of the pituitary remnant were documented, with planned radiosurgical treatment. The second case reports a 32-year-old man diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in 2020, who, after surgery refusal, started osilodrostat at progressively up-titrated doses, according to 24 h urinary free cortisol levels, up to 5 mg twice a day. With osilodrostat, the patient reached biochemical and clinical control of disease until TNS surgery in October 2021, with complete remission. The first post-surgical biochemical assessment was equivocal in spite of a transient clinical hypoadrenalism, reverted after 2 months with the restoration of physiological hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) function.
Osilodrostat is a potent oral drug viable for Cushing’s disease as medical therapy when surgery is not feasible or remission cannot be reached.
Osilodrostat proves to be a safe drug and its main adverse effect is hypoadrenalism, due to the adrenolytic action of the compound.
Osilodrostat needs a very tailored approach in its clinical use because there is no correlation between the level of hypercortisolism pre-treatment and the dose required to reach disease control.
Cushing’s disease or pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-dependent Cushing’s syndrome is considered a rare condition. It is caused by hypersecretion of the ACTH by a pituitary adenoma that ultimately induces endogenous hypercortisolism by stimulating the adrenal glands. It is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. The clinical signs and symptoms of hypercortisolism are usually common and non-specific including obesity, moon face, hypertension, hirsutism and facial plethora. The association between Cushing’s disease and calcinosis cutis which is defined as dystrophic calcium deposition in the skin and subcutaneous tissues is extremely rare. To the best of our knowledge, it has never been described previously in humans, probably like a symptom or complication of chronic and severe hypercortisolism. In this paper, we report a case of a 30-year-old female diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and presented bilateral leg’s calcinosis cutis complicated with ulceration. The evolution was favorable and the complete cicatrization was obtained 12 months following the suppression of systemic glucocorticoid excess.
Calcinosis cutis is common in autoimmune connective diseases. However, to our knowledge, it has never been reported in humans with Cushing’s disease.
Given the rarity of this association, the diagnostic approach to calcinosis cutis must exclude the other etiologies.
Calcinosis cutis is challenging to treat with no gold standard therapy. In our case, the use of the combination of colchicine and bisphosphonates does not significantly improve the patient’s outcomes. In fact, we suppose that without treating the endogenous hypercortisolism, the calcinosis cutis will not resolve.
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 NM_001370259.2(MEN1):c.466G>C(p.Gly156Arg) is characterized by tumors of various endocrine organs. We report on a rare, growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)-releasing pancreatic tumor in a MEN1 patient with a long-term follow-up after surgery. A 22-year-old male with MEN1 syndrome, primary hyperparathyroidism and an acromegalic habitus was observed to have a pancreatic tumor on abdominal CT scanning, growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) were elevated and plasma GHRH was exceptionally high. GHRH and GH were measured before the treatment and were followed during the study. During octreotide treatment, IGF1 normalized and the GH curve was near normal. After surgical treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism, a pancreatic tail tumor was enucleated. The tumor cells were positive for GHRH antibody staining. After the operation, acromegaly was cured as judged by laboratory tests. No reactivation of acromegaly has been seen during a 20-year follow-up. In conclusion, an ectopic GHRH-producing, pancreatic endocrine neoplasia may represent a rare manifestation of MEN1 syndrome.
Clinical suspicion is in a key position in detecting acromegaly.
Remember genetic disorders with young individuals having primary hyperparathyroidism.
Consider multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome when a person has several endocrine neoplasia.
Acromegaly may be of ectopic origin with patients showing no abnormalities in radiological imaging of the pituitary gland.
Jan PoelaertDepartment of Critical Care Medicine, University Hospital Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University Hospital Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium
The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is of an unprecedented magnitude and has made it challenging to properly treat patients with urgent or rare endocrine disorders. Little is known about the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with rare endocrine malignancies, such as pituitary carcinoma. We describe the case of a 43-year-old patient with adrenocorticotrophic hormone-secreting pituitary carcinoma who developed a severe COVID-19 infection. He had stabilized Cushing’s disease after multiple lines of treatment and was currently receiving maintenance immunotherapy with nivolumab (240 mg every 2 weeks) and steroidogenesis inhibition with ketoconazole (800 mg daily). On admission, he was urgently intubated for respiratory exhaustion. Supplementation of corticosteroid requirements consisted of high-dose dexamethasone, in analogy with the RECOVERY trial, followed by the reintroduction of ketoconazole under the coverage of a hydrocortisone stress regimen, which was continued at a dose depending on the current level of stress. He had a prolonged and complicated stay at the intensive care unit but was eventually discharged and able to continue his rehabilitation. The case points out that multiple risk factors for severe COVID-19 are present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. ‘Block-replacement’ therapy with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred in this patient population.
Comorbidities for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are frequently present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome.
‘Block-replacement’ with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred to reduce the need for biochemical monitoring and avoid adrenal insufficiency.
The optimal corticosteroid dose/choice for COVID-19 is unclear, especially in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess.
First-line surgery vs initial disease control with steroidogenesis inhibitors for Cushing’s disease should be discussed depending on the current healthcare situation.
Emma L DuncanDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Translational Research Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Australia
A 34-year-old woman presented 18 months post-partum with blurred vision, polyuria, amenorrhoea, headache and general malaise. Comprehensive clinical examination showed left superior temporal visual loss only. Initial investigations revealed panhypopituitarism and MRI demonstrated a sellar mass involving the infundibulum and hypothalamus. Lymphocytic hypophysitis was suspected and high dose glucocorticoids were commenced along with desmopressin and thyroxine. However, her vision rapidly deteriorated. At surgical biopsy, an irresectable grey amorphous mass involving the optic chiasm was identified. Histopathology was initially reported as granulomatous hypophysitis. Despite the ongoing treatment with glucocorticoids, her vision worsened to light detection only. Histopathological review revised the diagnosis to partially treated lymphoma. A PET scan demonstrated avid uptake in the pituitary gland in addition to splenic involvement, lymphadenopathy above and below the diaphragm, and a bone lesion. Excisional node biopsy of an impalpable infraclavicular lymph node confirmed nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. Hyper-CVAD chemotherapy was commenced, along with rituximab; fluid-balance management during chemotherapy (with its requisite large fluid volumes) was extremely complex given her diabetes insipidus. The patient is now in clinical remission. Panhypopituitarism persists; however, her vision has recovered sufficiently for reading large print and driving. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of Hodgkin lymphoma presenting initially as hypopituitarism.
Lymphoma involving the pituitary is exceedingly rare and, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma presenting as hypopituitarism.
There are myriad causes of a sellar mass and this case highlights the importance of reconsidering the diagnosis when patients fail to respond as expected to appropriate therapeutic intervention.
This case highlights the difficulties associated with managing panhypopituitary patients receiving chemotherapy, particularly when this involves large volumes of i.v. hydration fluid.
A 50-year-old woman with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)-producing pituitary adenoma (TSHoma) was diagnosed due to symptoms of thyrotoxicosis. Preoperatively, she showed thyrotoxicosis with the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of TSH (SITSH) and had a 5 cm nodule in her thyroid gland. Octreotide was administered preoperatively, which helped lower her serum TSH level but not her thyroid hormone level. These findings were atypical for a patient with TSHoma. The TSHoma was completely resected, and the TSH level dropped below the sensitivity limit shortly after surgery. Interestingly, however, thyroid hormone levels remained high. A clear clue to the aetiology was provided by consecutive thyroid scintigraphy. Although preoperative thyroid scintigraphy did not show a hot nodule and the mass was thought to be a non-functional thyroid nodule, the nodule was found to be hot in the postoperative phase of TSH suppression. By focusing on the atypical postoperative course of the TSHoma, we were able to conclude that this was a case of TSHoma combined with an autonomously functioning thyroid nodule (AFTN).
The diagnosis of autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTNs) depends on suppressed serum TSH levels.
If thyroid hormones are resistant to somatostatin analogue therapy or surgery for TSHoma, complications of AFTN as well as destructive thyroiditis need to be considered.
It is important to revisit the basics when facing diagnostic difficulties and not to give up on understanding the pathology.
A phaeochromocytoma is a rare neuroendocrine tumour derived from the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. Tumours can produce excessive amounts of catecholamines. The presenting symptoms can vary but often include the classic triad of episodic headaches, sweating and palpitations. Due to catecholamine excess, patients can develop cardiomyopathy. Bradycardia and collapse could be the result of sinus node dysfunction or transient dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. Patients with co-existing diabetes can have improvement or resolution of their diabetes after successful adrenalectomy. We report a case of an 87-year-old lady who initially presented with sweating, palpitations and collapse, resulting in a permanent pacemaker insertion. She was later found to have a large adrenal incidentaloma with subsequent markedly elevated plasma metanephrine levels. She later presented with chest pain and in acute pulmonary oedema with normal coronary arteries visualised on coronary angiogram. After surgical excision of her phaeochromocytoma, her diabetes resolved with her HbA1c improving from 68 to 46 mmol/mol, with no further requirement for diabetic medications. Her pulmonary oedema improved with no ongoing need for diuretic therapy. This case highlights that phaeochromocytomas can affect multiple systems and there should be a very high index of suspicion in patients presenting with sweating, palpitations, hypertension and a history of diabetes and even in those with collapse.
There should be a high index of suspicion for phaeochromocytomas in patients with palpitations, diaphoresis, anxiety, hypertension and diabetes.
Rarely phaeochromocytomas can present as bradycardia and collapse due to sinus node dysfunction or transient autonomic dysregulation and that should be considered in older patients.
Catecholamine cardiomyopathy can occur in phaeochromocytoma with potential resolution after successful surgical excision.
Diabetes can resolve after successful surgical treatment of a phaeochromocytoma.
Whilst literature is expanding on pasireotide use in the management of Cushing’s disease (CD), there is still currently much unknown about long-term and low-dose pasireotide use in CD. We present a 60-year-old female with residual CD after transphenoidal surgery (TSS), being successfully managed with S.C. pasireotide for over 10 years. For 6 years, her S.C. pasireotide was inadvertently administered at 360 µg twice daily (BID), almost half the recommended dose of 600 µg BID. Despite the low-dose, her urinary free cortisol (UFC) normalised within 6 months and Cushingoid features resolved. She remained in biochemical and clinical remission on the same low-dose for 6 years, before a medication audit discovered her mistaken dose and directed her to take 600 µg BID. With the higher dose 600 µg BID for the next 5 years, her glycaemia worsened without any changes in her UFC and residual tumour volume. Our case showed the continuing effectiveness and safety of treatment with S.C. pasireotide for more than 10 years, and that a low-dose regimen may be considered an option for responders by its safety profile.
A lower dose of pasireotide may be effective in the initial treatment of CD than the recommended 600 µg BID dosage, though more studies are required to explore this.
Low-dose pasireotide use has the benefit of minimising adverse effects.
In the long-term, pasireotide has a sustained clinical and biochemical effect and is well tolerated.
A 79-year-old male presented with a 10-year history of intermittent headache, sweating, persistent hand numbness and uncontrolled hypertension. He was receiving Nifedipine and Hydrochorothizide. On examination (O/E), his BP was 180/100 he was acromegalic. His growth hormone (GH) was 10 mIU/L (0.0–0.1) and his insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1): 952 µg/L (76–160). An MRI of the pituitary revealed a 3 × 2 cm pituitary macroadenoma. Surgery was refused and the family agreed for a therapeutic trial of octreotide. His GH levels fell immediately. Two weeks later he was switched to long-acting monthly octreotide in September 2003. During his 16-year follow-up, he has remained well and asymptomatic off medications for hypertension. His BP and IGF-1 levels were also normal until octreotide Long acting (LA) octrotide was stopped for 3 months at age 96. During this period the IGF-1 level returned to pretreatment levels 500 ng/L (50–141), GH 24 mIU/L (0.0–0.1), and a small residual tumour 0.5–0.8 cm was seen on the MRI. Octreotide LA was restarted and the IGF-1 and GH levels returned to normal. He continues the same treatment to date age 97 without side effects. We conclude that the successful control of IGF-1, GH levels, hypertension, tumour size and clinical symptoms for more than 16 years occurred using octreotide LA in an elderly advanced acromegalic patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the successful use of octreotide LA for more than 16 years.
The value of a therapeutic trial of octreotide to identify responders.
Control of GH and IGF-1 secretion using octreotide LA.
The report of the successful use of octreotide for more than 16 years irrespective of age.