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Open access

Said Darawshi, Mahmoud Darawshi, and Deeb Daoud Naccache

Severe hypocalcaemia in breast cancer with bone metastasis is a rare finding usually associated with an advanced stage of the disease. We report a case of a 45-year-old woman with a history of local ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, who presented with muscle tremors and general weakness. Hypocalcaemia was evident, with a positive Chvostek sign and a serum calcium level of 5.9 mg/dL (1.47 mmol/L), phosphorus 5.9 mg/dL (normal range: 2.3–4.7 mg/dL) with normal levels of albumin, magnesium and parathyroid hormone. High oral doses of alpha calcitriol and calcium with i.v. infusion of high calcium doses were instituted, altogether sufficient to maintain only mild hypocalcaemia. A whole-body CT revealed bone lesions along the axial skeleton. A biopsy from a bone lesion revealed a metastasis of breast carcinoma. With this pathological finding, leuprolide (GNRH analogue) and chlorambucil (alkylating agent) were initiated, followed by prompt tapering of infused calcium down to full discontinuation. Serum calcium was kept stable close to the low normal range by high doses of oral alpha calcitriol and calcium. This course raises suspicion that breast metastases to the skeleton caused tumour-induced hypocalcaemia by a unique mechanism. We assume that hypocalcaemia in this case was promoted by a combination of hypoparathyroidism and bone metastasis.

Learning points

  • Severe hypocalcaemia can a presenting symptom for breast cancer relapse.

Open access

Viviana Ostrovsky, Barak Bar-Zakai, Rafael Miller, Tal Schiller, Alena Kirzhner, Hilla Knobler, and Taiba Zornitzki


Well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC), including papillary, follicular, and Hurthle-cell types, is characterized by a slow course and usually remain localized to the thyroid. However, a minority of these cases develop distant metastases with the most common sites being lungs, bones, and lymph nodes. Liver metastases of WDTC are rare and are usually found along with other distant metastases sites and in a multiple or diffuse pattern of spread. The recognition of distant metastasis in WDTC has a significant impact on the treatment and prognosis. However, because of their low incidence and awareness, distant metastases are often diagnosed late. Herein, we describe a case of a 71 years old woman who during routine surveillance of a follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer (FV-PTC), 5 years after being treated for her primary thyroid tumor, was found to have a single liver metastasis and underwent liver segmental resection. This case highlights the importance of maintaining vigilant surveillance of patients with WDTC, and illustrates the possibility of unique metastasis at unexpected sites. Further studies are needed to understand the organ tropism of some WDTC leading to distant metastases development and to better prediction of an aggressive course.

Learning points:

  • WDTC patients with distant metastases have a poor prognosis with a 10-year survival of about 50%. The most common sites of distant metastases are lung, bone and lymph nodes.

  • Liver metastases are rare in WDTC, are usually multiple or diffuse and are found along with other distant metastases sites.

  • Single liver metastasis of WDTC is an unexpected pattern of spread, and very few cases are reported in the literature.

  • Rare sites of distant metastases in WDTC can manifest many years after the primary tumor, stressing the importance of maintaining vigilant surveillance.

  • More studies are needed to predict which WDTC tumors may develop a more aggressive course, allowing clinicians to individualize patient management.

Open access

Ilan Rahmani Tzvi-Ran, Judith Olchowski, Merav Fraenkel, Asher Bashiri, and Leonid Barski


A previously healthy 24-year-old female underwent an emergent caesarean section without a major bleeding described. During the first post-operative days (POD) she complained of fatigue, headache and a failure to lactate with no specific and conclusive findings on head CT. On the following days, fever rose with a suspicion of an obstetric surgery-related infection, again with no evidence to support the diagnosis. On POD5 a new-onset hyponatremia was documented. The urine analysis suggested SIADH, and following a treatment failure, further investigation was performed and demonstrated both central hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency. The patient was immediately treated with hydrocortisone followed by levothyroxine with a rapid resolution of symptoms and hyponatremia. Further laboratory investigation demonstrated anterior hypopituitarism. The main differential diagnosis was Sheehan’s syndrome vs lymphocytic hypophysitis. Brain MRI was performed as soon as it was available and findings consistent with Sheehan’s syndrome confirmed the diagnosis. Lifelong hormonal replacement therapy was initiated. Further complaints on polyuria and polydipsia have led to a water deprivation testing and the diagnosis of partial central insipidus and appropriate treatment with DDAVP.

Learning points:

  • Sheehan’s syndrome can occur, though rarely, without an obvious major post-partum hemorrhage.

  • The syndrome may resemble lymphocytic hypophysitis clinically and imaging studies may be crucial in order to differentiate both conditions.

  • Hypopituitarism presentation may be variable and depends on the specific hormone deficit.

  • Euvolemic hyponatremia workup must include thyroid function test and 08:00 AM cortisol levels.

Open access

Avital Nahmias, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Asher Salmon, and David J Gross


Approximately 35% of the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs) are functional, the most common of which is an insulinoma. Rarely can initially nonfunctioning tumor undergo biological transformation to a hormone-secreting tumor with subsequent changes in the clinical picture. We present here three unique patients with long-standing pNETs who developed life-threatening hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia along with tumor progression. In two of the patients, everolimus (Afinitor) was administered in an attempt to control both tumor growth and hypoglycemia. In two cases everolimus therapy resulted in the abolishment of hypoglycemia and induced significant tumor regression; however these beneficial responses were transient. These cases highlight the exceptional ability of pNETs to change biological behavior in parallel with disease progression. Our experience concurs with recently published studies demonstrating the utility of everolimus for the control of both hypoglycemia and tumor progression.

Learning points

  • Nonfunctional pNET can gain new features such as insulin secretion with related morbidity.

  • Gain of function in a previously nonfunctional pNET signifies tumor progression and is usually associated with poor prognosis.

  • Everolimus proved to be a viable treatment for hypoglycemia in insulinoma patients and was also proven highly effective in the patients presented here.

  • As disease progresses, the effect of everolimus on hypoglycemia wanes. We report for the first time the development of hypoglycemia during everolimus treatment.