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Open access

Valerie Lai, Mariam Shahidi, Alicia Chan, and Shailly Jain-Ghai


3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) lyase deficiency is an inborn error of metabolism resulting in a lack of ketogenesis and leucine catabolism. Hallmarks of decompensation include hypoglycemia without ketosis (or hypoketosis), metabolic acidosis, and hyperammonemia. Management includes avoiding fasting and restricting dietary protein and fat. Conversely, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) requires carbohydrate restriction and/or anti-hyperglycemic agents; thus, managing these co-existing disorders is challenging. A 36-year-old male with HMG-CoA lyase deficiency and T2DM (Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c): 7.9%) presented with confusion and shock. Blood work revealed metabolic acidosis, hyperammonemia, hyperglycemia, and hypoketosis. The patient was diagnosed with hyperosmolar non-ketotic hyperglycemia and hyperammonemia secondary to HMG-CoA lyase metabolic decompensation requiring intensive care unit admission. Hyperammonemia management was challenging because alternative calories with i.v. dextrose (due to hyperglycemia) and i.v. lipids (due to HMG-CoA lyase deficiency) could not be provided as usual. The patient was started on hemodialysis and i.v. insulin with marked improvement. Once stabilized, metformin and insulin were initiated. T2DM impaired cellular glucose uptake and produced a state similar to hypoglycemia, despite the patient being profoundly hyperglycemic, which led to metabolic decompensation of HMG-CoA lyase deficiency. Managing T2DM and HMG-CoA lyase deficiency warrants special considerations due to the potential for metabolic decompensation with both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

Learning points

  • In a patient with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) lyase deficiency and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), management principles include avoiding hypoglycemia to prevent metabolic decompensation, providing insulin for proper glucose utilization, and moderation of carbohydrate intake to prevent consequences of chronic hyperglycemia.

  • The development of insulin resistance in the form of T2DM in HMG-CoA lyase deficiency likely triggered a state similar to hypoglycemia, leading to cellular energy deficiency and subsequently metabolic decompensation.

  • It is important to avoid hypoglycemia in patients with HMG-CoA lyase deficiency and T2DM, as the risk of metabolic decompensation is increased due to the lack of ketogenesis in HMG-CoA lyase deficiency.

  • Selection of antidiabetic agents in this patient population requires careful consideration, and agents that have a higher risk of hypoglycemia should be avoided.

Open access

Madoka Toyoda, Nobuyasu Suganuma, Akari Takahashi, Taku Masuda, Masami Goda, Tatsuya Yoshida, Norio Yukawa, Shoji Yamanaka, Yasushi Rino, and Munetaka Masuda


Emergencies due to malignancies usually have a severe clinical course and require urgent treatment. These scenarios are dubbed ‘oncologic emergencies’. Parathyroid tumours often cause hypercalcaemia but not oncologic emergencies. We present a case of parathyroid carcinoma with severe hypercalcaemia and pancreatitis, resolved by surgical resection of the tumour assisted by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). A 66-year-old woman presented to our hospital because of haematuria. Laboratory findings were as follows: white blood cell count: 30 000, C-reactive protein: 17.7, calcium: 21.9, creatine kinase: 316, creatine kinase-myoglobin binding: 20, troponin I: 1415.8, amylase: 1046, lipase: 499, blood urea nitrogen: 57, and creatinine: 2.42. ECG was unremarkable. CT revealed a 4-cm low-density irregular tumour in the left lobe of the thyroid gland and severe pancreatitis. We diagnosed hypercalcaemia and pancreatitis due to parathyroid carcinoma. Volume expansion with isotonic saline was started immediately. Calcitonin, followed by denosumab, calcimimetic agents, and continuous hemodiafiltration were administered. The patient’s general condition worsened due to uncontrolled hypercalcaemia. Urgent tumour resection was planned, assisted with ECMO for cardiopulmonary support and surgical field venous pressure reduction. Tumour histology was suggestive of parathyroid carcinoma. Hypercalcaemia and the patient’s general condition improved gradually postoperatively. Hypercalcaemia is one of the oncologic emergency symptoms, commonly occurring because of lytic bone metastasis. However, reports about parathyroid carcinoma-causing life-threatening hypercalcaemia and pancreatitis are scarce; the fatality of this condition is estimated to be 30–70%. We report a case of survival of hypercalcaemia of malignancy.

Learning points

  • Parathyroid carcinoma is relatively rare and sometimes causes emergent conditions such as hypercalcaemia and severe pancreatitis.

  • General therapy for hypercalcaemia including aggressive saline dehydration, administration of furosemide, calcitonin, zoledronic acid, and evocalcet, and dialysis is sometimes ineffective for parathyroid carcinoma. Therefore, careful planning of therapy in case of exacerbation is important.

  • During an emergency, rapid surgical treatment despite high calcium level is the best potential therapeutic strategy.

Open access

Kiveum Kim, Jacob Lim Greenspan, Shaheen Mehrara, David Wynne, and Elizabeth Ennis


Adult-onset nesidioblastosis is a rare complication of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and may occur months to years after the initial surgical procedure. It is manifested by a hyperinsulinemic, hypoglycemic state. The annual incidence of adult-onset hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia is believed to be less than 0.1 in 1 000 000 with a mean age of onset of 47 years (). Here, we describe a patient who presented with worsening hypoglycemic symptoms for 1 year prior to presentation that eventually progressed to hypoglycemic seizures. The onset of this hypoglycemia was 5 years after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. A full neurological evaluation, which included an EEG, head CT, and MRI, was performed to rule out epilepsy and other seizure-related disorders. After hypoglycemia was confirmed, extensive laboratory studies were obtained to elucidate the cause of the hypoglycemia and differentiate nesidioblastosis from insulinoma. Once the diagnosis of nesidioblastosis was established, a sub-total pancreatectomy was performed, and the patient was discharged and placed on acarbose, a competitive reversible inhibitor of pancreatic α-amylase and intestinal brush border α-glucosidases which slows carbohydrate absorption. The lack of information and understanding of nesidioblastosis due to its rarity makes any knowledge of this rare but important surgical complication essential. As incidence of obesity increases, the number of gastric bypasses being performed increases with it, and understanding this disease process will be essential for the primary care provider. This is the primary reason for the writing of this publication.

Learning points

  • Nesidioblastosis is a persistent hyperinsulinemic, hypoglycemic state, mostly seen after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, with symptoms occurring postprandially.

  • The incidence is 0.1–0.3% of all post Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients.

  • The key diagnostic clue to identifying nesidioblastosis is a positive selective arterial calcium stimulation test, showing a diffuse pattern of increased basal hepatic venous insulin concentration, whereas insulinomas would show focal increases.

  • Pathological specimen of pancreas will show diffuse hypertrophy of beta cells.

  • Management includes acarbose and total or subtotal pancreatectomy, which can be curative.

  • With the prevalence of obesity increasing and more patients turning to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, more patients may be at risk of this potential surgical complication.

Open access

Cun An Phang, Shejil Kumar, and Peter Rohl


The rapid rise in the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors as systemic cancer therapy has seen the emergence of immunotherapy-induced diabetes, a severe irreversible immunotherapy-related adverse event. Affected patients typically present with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and low C-peptide consistent with insulin deficiency secondary to autoimmune β-cell destruction. We present the unusual case of a 61-year-old female with metastatic ampullary duodenal adenocarcinoma with primary tumour adjacent to the pancreatic head. She was commenced on immunotherapy after conventional systemic chemotherapy. Acute-onset hyperglycaemia was detected after 7 weeks on weekly blood glucose monitoring, with no glucocorticoid use or prior history of diabetes. On presentation, there was no evidence of DKA, and her glycated haemoglobin level was within the normal non-diabetic range at 5.3%, reflecting the acuity of her presentation. Initial serum C-peptide was preserved; however, it became undetectable a few weeks later, confirming insulin deficiency. We describe a case of atypical presentation of immunotherapy-induced diabetes, review the existing literature on this emerging clinical entity and discuss the differential diagnosis for new-onset diabetes mellitus in patients with metastatic cancer.

Learning points

  • Regular proactive glycaemic monitoring in patients receiving immunotherapy, particularly antibodies against programmed death ligand 1 and PD1, can facilitate very early detection of immunotherapy-induced diabetes, prompting insulin commencement and avoiding life-threatening presentations of diabetic ketoacidosis.

  • Glycated haemoglobin can be within the normal range in patients diagnosed acutely with immunotherapy-induced diabetes.

  • Serum C-peptide can be preserved initially in patients diagnosed with immunotherapy-induced diabetes but is likely to become undetectable during their illness.

  • New-onset diabetes in patients with metastatic cancer carries a broad differential diagnosis.

Open access

Sophie Demartin, Pierre Goffette, Emanuel Christ, Martin T Freitag, Dominique Maiter, and Raluca Maria Furnica


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.

Learning points

  • 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.

Open access

Raad Alwithenani, Danielle M Andrade, Lingxin Zhang, and Karen E Gomez-Hernandez


Myopathy caused by thyrotoxicosis is not uncommon. Skeletal muscles are commonly involved, but dysphagia is a rare manifestation of thyrotoxicosis. We aim to raise awareness of dysphagia caused by hyperthyroidism and review similar cases in the literature. We present a case of severe dysphagia caused by hyperthyroidism. We also summarize similar case reports in the literature. Our patient is a 77-year-old man who presented with thyrotoxicosis related to Graves’ disease (GD), dysphagia to both liquid and solid food, and weight loss. Further investigations revealed severe esophageal dysphagia and a high risk for aspiration. He required the placement of a G-tube for feeding. After 8 weeks of methimazole treatment, his thyroid function normalized and his dysphagia improved significantly, leading to the removal of the feeding G-tube. We summarize 19 case reports published in the literature of hyperthyroidism leading to dysphagia. Patients with thyrotoxicosis and dysphagia are at higher risk for aspiration pneumonia and thyroid storm. Based on previous case reports, on average, approximately 3 weeks of treatment with anti-thyroidal drugs and beta-blockers is needed before patients can eat normally. We report a case of dysphagia associated with GD, which is rare and needs prompt recognition to restore euthyroid status. Dysphagia generally resolved with normalization of thyroid function.

Learning points

  • Myopathy caused by thyrotoxicosis is not uncommon.

  • Skeletal muscles are commonly involved, but dysphagia is a rare manifestation of thyrotoxicosis.

  • Dysphagia due to hyperthyroidism resolves with normalization of thyroid function.

  • Early recognition of dysphagia related to hyperthyroidism and early initiation of therapy may help reverse the dysphagia and prevent complications.

Open access

Yotsapon Thewjitcharoen, Soontaree Nakasatien, Tsz Fung Tsoi, Cadmon K P Lim, Thep Himathongkam, and Juliana C N Chan


Hepatocyte nuclear factor 1β (HNF1B) gene is located on chromosome 17q12. It is a transcription factor implicated in the early embryonic development of multiple organs. HNF1B-associated disease is a multi-system disorder with variable clinical phenotypes. There are increasing reports suggesting that the 17q12 deletion syndrome should be suspected in patients with maturity-onset diabetes of the young type 5 (MODY5) due to the deletion of HNF1B gene. In contrast to classical 17q12 syndrome in childhood with neurological disorders and autism, patients with HNF1B-MODY deletion rarely had neuropsychological disorders or learning disabilities. The diagnosis of 17q12 deletion syndrome highlighted the phenotypic heterogeneity of HNF1B-MODY patients. In this study, we report the clinical course of a Thai woman with young-onset diabetes mellitus and hypertriglyceridemia as a predominant feature due to HNF1B deletion as part of the 17q12 deletion syndrome. Our findings and others suggest that hypertriglyceridemia should be considered a syndromic feature of HNF1B-MODY. Our case also highlights the need to use sequencing with dosage analyses to detect point mutations and copy number variations to avoid missing a whole deletion of HNF1B.

Learning points

  • Maturity-onset diabetes of the young type 5 (MODY5) may be caused by heterozygous point mutations or whole gene deletion of HNF1B. Recent studies revealed that complete deletion of the HNF1B gene may be part of the 17q12 deletion syndrome with multi-system involvement.

  • The length of the deletion can contribute to the phenotypic variability in patients with HNF1B-MODY due to whole gene deletion.

  • Using next-generation sequencing alone to diagnose MODY could miss a whole gene deletion or copy number variations. Specialized detection methods such as microarray analysis or low-pass whole genome sequencing are required to accurately diagnose HNF1B-MODY as a component of the 17q12 deletion syndrome.

  • Molecular diagnosis is necessary to distinguish other acquired cystic kidney diseases in patients with type 2 diabetes which could phenocopy HNF1B-MODY.

  • Hypertriglyceridemia is a possible metabolic feature in patients with HNF1B-MODY due to 17q12 deletion syndrome.

Open access

Motohiro Sekiya, Mikiko Yuhara, Yuki Murayama, Mariko Ohyama Osawa, Rikako Nakajima, Nami Ohuchi, Nako Matsumoto, Daichi Yamazaki, Sayuri Mori, Takaaki Matsuda, Yoko Sugano, Yoshinori Osaki, Hitoshi Iwasaki, Hiroaki Suzuki, and Hitoshi Shimano


A paired homeodomain transcription factor, PAX6 (paired-box 6), is essential for the development and differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells as well as ocular cells. Despite the impairment of insulin secretion observed in PAX6-deficient mice, evidence implicating causal association between PAX6 gene mutations and monogenic forms of human diabetes is limited. We herein describe a 33-year-old Japanese woman with congenital aniridia who was referred to our hospital because of her uncontrolled diabetes with elevated hemoglobin A1c (13.1%) and blood glucose (32.5 mmol/L) levels. Our biochemical analysis revealed that her insulin secretory capacity was modestly impaired as represented by decreased 24-h urinary C-peptide levels (38.0 μg/day), primarily explaining her diabetes. Intriguingly, there was a trend toward a reduction in her serum glucagon levels as well. Based on the well-recognized association of PAX6 gene mutations with congenital aniridia, we screened the whole PAX6 coding sequence, leading to an identification of a heterozygous Gln135* mutation. We tested our idea that this mutation may at least in part explain the impaired insulin secretion observed in this patient. In cultured pancreatic β-cells, exogenous expression of the PAX6 Gln135* mutant produced a truncated protein that lacked the transcriptional activity to induce insulin gene expression. Our observation together with preceding reports support the recent attempt to include PAX6 in the growing list of genes causally responsible for monogenic diabetes. In addition, since most cases of congenital aniridia carry PAX6 mutations, we may need to pay more attention to blood glucose levels in these patients.

Learning points

  • PAX6 Gln135* mutation may be causally associated not only with congenital aniridia but also with diabetes.

  • Blood glucose levels may deserve more attention in cases of congenital aniridia with PAX6 mutations.

  • Our case supports the recent attempt to include PAX6 in the list of MODY genes, and Gln135* may be pathogenic.

Open access

Matthew J Verheyden, Natassia Rodrigo, Anthony J Gill, and Sarah J Glastras


Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a rare and chronic disease characterised by yellow-brown, atrophic, telangiectatic plaques usually located on the lower extremities, with pathological features of collagen necrobiosis and dermal inflammation. Most cases are seen in those with diabetes mellitus, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1DM), and many without diabetes have evidence of abnormal glucose tolerance or family history of autoimmune disease. In this study, we describe four patients with NL and T1DM. A common theme is late identification and delay in diagnosis. Hence, we discuss the clinical features, need for clinicopathological correlation, and the management and prognostic implications for this distinctive entity. While most remain relatively asymptomatic, others progress to debilitating disease with pruritus, dysesthesia, and pain. Pain is often intense in the presence of ulcerated plaques, a morbid complication of NL. Diagnosis requires the integration of both clinical and histopathological findings. NL has proven a challenging condition to treat, and despite the numerous therapeutic modalities available, there is no standard of care. Hence, in this study, we provide an overview of current management strategies available for NL.

Learning points

  • Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is classically seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.

  • Koebner phenomenon, defined as the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma, is a well-recognised feature in NL.

  • Background skin phototype contributes to variable yellow appearance of lesions in NL.

  • Diagnosis of NL requires careful clinicopathological correlation.

  • NL is a chronic disease often refractory to treatment leading to significant morbidity for the patient and a management conundrum for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.

  • No standard therapeutic regimen has been established for the management of NL.

Open access

George Brown, Anthony Mark Monaghan, Richard Fristedt, Emma Ramsey, Ma’en Al-Mrayat, Rushda Rajak, Thomas Armstrong, and Arjun Takhar


Vasoactive intestinal peptide-secreting tumours (VIPomas) are an extremely rare form of functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour with an estimated annual incidence of 1 in 10 million. Associated tumour hypersecretion of other peptides, including pancreatic polypeptide (PPomas), may also be seen. These malignancies classically present with a defined triad of refractory diarrhoea, hypokalaemia and metabolic acidosis known as Verner–Morrison syndrome. Diagnosis is frequently delayed, and the majority of patients will have metastatic disease at presentation. Symptoms are usually well controlled with somatostatin analogue administration. Here we report a case of metastatic mixed VIPoma/PPoma-induced diarrhoea causing renal failure so severe that ultrafiltration was required to recover adequate renal function.

Learning points

  • Profuse, watery diarrhoea is a common presenting complaint with a multitude of aetiologies. This, combined with the rarity of these tumours, makes diagnosis difficult and frequently delayed. A functional neuroendocrine tumour should be suspected when diarrhoea is unusually extreme, prolonged and common causes have been promptly excluded.

  • These patients are likely to be profoundly unwell on presentation. They are extremely hypovolaemic with dangerous electrolyte and metabolic abnormalities. Aggressive initial rehydration and electrolyte replacement are imperative. A somatostatin analogue should be commenced as soon as the diagnosis is suspected.

  • This is an extreme example of Verner–Morrison syndrome. We are unaware of another case where renal failure secondary to diarrhoea and dehydration was so severe that renal replacement therapy was required to restore adequate renal function, further emphasising how critically unwell these patients can be.

  • Both the primary tumour and metastases showed a remarkably good and rapid response to somatostatin analogue administration. Cystic change and involution were noted on repeat imaging within days.

  • Prior to his illness, this patient was extremely high functioning with no medical history. His diagnosis was an enormous psychological shock, and the consideration and care for his psychological well-being were a crucial part of his overall management. It highlights the importance of a holistic approach to cancer care and the role of the clinical nurse specialist within the cancer multidisciplinary team.