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Open access

Clara Cunha, Filipa Mousinho, Catarina Saraiva, and João Sequeira Duarte

Summary

Primary thyroid lymphoma (PTL) is a rare malignancy, accounting for less than 5% of all thyroid neoplasms. The follicular subtype is even more rare, accounting for approximately 10% of all PTL cases. We report a case of a 64-year-old woman, who presented with a rapidly growing goitre with mass effect and B symptoms. She had a history of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and her thyroid ultrasound revealed diffuse goitre with a dominant nodule (56 × 63 × 60 mm) within the right thyroid lobe. Ultrasound-guided percutaneous fine-needle aspiration of the right thyroid nodule was classified as benign, according to Bethesda System, with lymphocytic thyroiditis. A CT scan of the neck showed diffuse enlargement of the thyroid gland extending towards the anterior mediastinum with tracheal deviation and lymphadenopathy within levels VII and right II–IV. The core needle biopsy of the right thyroid nodule revealed a follicular non-Hodgkin’s B cell lymphoma with a Ki67 of 60%. According to the Ann Arbor staging system, she was at stage IIIE. She underwent chemotherapy with R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) with remarkable clinical improvement and is currently in remission 2 years after the diagnosis. PTL is an extremely rare malignancy that usually arises in a lymphocytic thyroiditis background, presenting as a rapidly enlarging goitre, which can lead to compressive symptoms or airway comprise.

Learning points

  • Primary thyroid lymphoma (PTL) is a rare malignancy, accounting for less than 5% of thyroid neoplasms.

  • PTL should be suspected when a patient presents with a rapidly enlarging goitre, especially in the setting of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

  • Fine-needle aspiration has a limited capacity for PTL diagnosis due to similar cytomorphological features of lymphoma with thyroiditis. Therefore, in case of clinical suspicion and if fine needle aspiration fails to diagnose PTL, a tissue biopsy should be performed.

  • Treatment is dependent on both the stage and histology of PTL. Chemotherapy and local radiotherapy remain the mainstay treatment for PTL.

Open access

Adele J Beck, Venkat M Reddy, Tom Sulkin, and Duncan Browne

Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) is the most common aetiology for hypercalcaemia. The incidence of PHP in pregnant women is reported to be 8/100 000 population/year. It presents a threat to the health of both mother (hyperemesis, nephrolithiasis) and fetus (fetal death, congenital malformations, and neonatal severe hypocalcaemia-induced tetany). However, there is a lack of clear guidance on the management of primary hyperparathyroidism in pregnancy. In this study, we describe the case of a 26-year-old female patient who presented with severe hypercalcaemia secondary to PHP and underwent successful parathyroid adenectomy under local anaesthesia.

Learning points

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is a rare complication in pregnancy, but the consequences for mother and fetus can be severe.

  • A perceived risk of general anaesthesia to the fetus in the first trimester has resulted in a general consensus to delay parathyroid surgery to the second trimester when possible – although the increased risk of fetal loss may occur before planned surgery.

  • If the patient presents with severe or symptomatic hypercalcaemia, minimally invasive surgery under local anaesthetic should be considered regardless of the gestational age of the pregnancy.

Open access

Adam I Kaplan, Catherine Luxford, and Roderick J Clifton-Bligh

Summary

Biallelic pathological variants in the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) subunit β gene (TSHB) result in isolated TSH deficiency and secondary hypothyroidism, a rare form of central congenital hypothyroidism (CCH), with an estimated incidence of 1 in 65 000 births. It is characterised by low levels of free thyroxine and inappropriately low serum TSH and may therefore be missed on routine neonatal screening for hypothyroidism, which relies on elevated TSH. We describe a patient with CCH who developed recurrence of pituitary hyperplasia and symptomatic hypothyroidism due to poor compliance with thyroxine replacement. She was diagnosed with CCH as a neonate and had previously required trans-sphenoidal hypophysectomy surgery for pituitary hyperplasia associated with threatened chiasmal compression at 17 years of age due to variable adherence to thyroxine replacement. Genetic testing of TSHB identified compound heterozygosity with novel variant c.217A>C, p.(Thr73Pro), and a previously reported variant c.373delT, p.(Cys125Valfs*10). Continued variable adherence to treatment as an adult resulted in recurrence of significant pituitary hyperplasia, which subsequently resolved with improved compliance without the need for additional medications or repeat surgery. This case describes a novel TSHB variant associated with CCH and demonstrates the importance of consistent compliance with thyroxine replacement to treat hypothyroidism and prevent pituitary hyperplasia in central hypothyroidism.

Learning points

  • Pathogenic variants in the TSH subunit β gene (TSHB) are rare causes of central congenital hypothyroidism (CCH).

  • c.217A>C, p.(Thr73Pro), is a novel TSHB variant, presented in association with CCH in this case report.

  • Thyroxine replacement is critical to prevent clinical hypothyroidism and pituitary hyperplasia.

  • Pituitary hyperplasia can recur post-surgery if adherence to thyroxine replacement is not maintained.

  • Pituitary hyperplasia can dramatically reverse if compliance with thyroxine replacement is improved to maintain free thyroxine (FT4) levels in the middle-to-upper normal range, without the need for additional medications or surgeries.

Open access

Rigya Arya, Tehmina Ahmad, and Satya Dash

Summary

Central diabetes insipidus (CDI) is a rare manifestation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with unclear etiology. When present, CDI in AML has most often been described in patients with chromosome 3 or 7 aberrations and no abnormalities on brain imaging. In this case, we present a woman with newly diagnosed AML t(12;14)(p12;q13) found to have diabetes insipidus (DI) with partial anterior pituitary dysfunction and abnormal brain imaging. While in hospital, the patient developed an elevated serum sodium of 151 mmol/L with a serum osmolality of 323 mmol/kg and urine osmolality of 154 mmol/kg. On history, she reported polyuria and polydipsia for 5 months preceding hospitalization. Based on her clinical symptoms and biochemistry, she was diagnosed with DI and treated using intravenous desmopressin with good effect; sodium improved to 144 mmol/L with a serum osmolality of 302 mmol/kg and urine osmolality of 501 mmol/kg. An MRI of the brain done for the assessment of neurologic involvement revealed symmetric high-T2 signal within the hypothalamus extending into the mamillary bodies bilaterally, a partially empty sella, and loss of the pituitary bright spot. A pituitary panel was completed which suggested partial anterior pituitary dysfunction. The patient’s robust improvement with low-dose desmopressin therapy along with her imaging findings indicated a central rather than nephrogenic cause for her DI. Given the time course of her presentation with respect to her AML diagnosis, MRI findings, and investigations excluding other causes, her CDI and partial anterior pituitary dysfunction were suspected to be secondary to hypothalamic leukemic infiltration.

Learning points

  • Leukemic infiltration of the pituitary gland is a rare cause of central diabetes insipidus (CDI) in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

  • Patients with AML and CDI may compensate for polyuria and prevent hypernatremia with increased water intake.

  • AML-associated CDI can require long-term desmopressin treatment, independent of AML response to treatment.

Open access

Eimear Mary O’Donovan, Begona Sanchez-Lechuga, Emma Prehn, and Maria Michelle Byrne

Summary

The coexistence of autoimmune diabetes and maturity-onset diabetes (MODY) is rare. The absence of pancreatic autoantibodies is a key factor prompting MODY genetic testing. In this study, we report three cases of young-onset diabetes with progressive beta-cell dysfunction, strongly positive glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies, and genetic confirmation of pathogenic gene variants of HNF-1A, HNF-4A, and ABCC8-MODY. The first case is a woman diagnosed with HNF-1A-MODY diabetes more than 30 years after her diagnosis of adult-onset diabetes at 25 years. She required insulin after her fourth pregnancy. She became ketotic on oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHAs) and subsequently, her GAD antibodies tested positive. The second case is a woman diagnosed with diabetes at 17 years who was subsequently diagnosed with HNF-4A-MODY after many hypoglycaemic episodes on low-dose insulin. GAD antibodies were strongly positive. The last case is a man diagnosed with diabetes at 26 years who was well controlled on OHAs and required insulin years later due to sudden deterioration in glycaemic control. His ABCC8-MODY was diagnosed upon realisation of strong family history and his GAD antibodies tested positive. All subjects are now treated with insulin. Less than 1% of subjects with MODY have positive autoantibodies. These cases highlight individuals who may have two different types of diabetes simultaneously or consecutively. Deterioration of glycaemic control in subjects with MODY diabetes should highlight the need to look for the emergence of autoantibodies. At each clinic visit, one should update the family history as MODY was diagnosed in each case after the development of diabetes in their offspring.

Learning points

  • These cases highlight the rare coexistence of autoimmune diabetes and MODY.

  • Deterioration of glycaemic control in subjects with MODY diabetes should highlight the emergence of autoantibodies.

  • One should revise and update the family history as the diagnosis of MODY was made after the development of diabetes in offspring.

  • Understanding the spectrum of diabetes allows for precision medicine.

Open access

Melanie Nana and Catherine Nelson-Piercy

Summary

COVID-19 is associated with severe disease in pregnancy. Complications of the disease, or simultaneous diagnoses, may be missed if clinicians do not retain a large differential diagnosis when assessing such women. Starvation ketoacidosis is one such diagnosis which may complicate the disease and should not be missed. A 37-year-old woman, 33 weeks’ gestation presented with breathlessness. Clinical history, examination and investigations supported a diagnosis of starvation ketosis of pregnancy complicating COVID-19 pneumonitis. Prompt correction of the metabolic disturbance resulted in resolution, and preterm delivery was avoided at this time. Early recognition and prompt management of starvation ketosis of pregnancy in women with COVID-19 are important in reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Preterm delivery may be avoided with prompt resolution of the metabolic disturbance. Clinicians should keep a wide differential diagnosis when assessing women with breathlessness. A multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach is required to facilitate optimal care.

Learning points

  • Clinicians should maintain a wide differential when assessing women who are unwell with COVID-19 in pregnancy.

  • Complications such as starvation ketoacidosis are rare but life-threatening.

  • An awareness of such complications facilitates early identification of the condition, and involvement of appropriate specialists who can initiate optimal and timely management.

  • In the context of pregnancy, where ketoacidosis poses a threat to the mother or baby, prompt management and resolution may avoid preterm delivery.

  • Conditions that may increase the risk of developing starvation ketoacidosis include pregnancy, medication use such as corticosteroids or tocolytic therapies, previous gastric surgery, intercurrent illness and pregnancy-related conditions that might contribute towards a degree of chronic starvation.

  • Multidisciplinary input supports the delivery of best practice and care for the patients.

Open access

Megha Verma and Stephen I Stone

Summary

We identified an adolescent young woman with new-onset diabetes. Due to suspicious family history, she underwent genetic testing for common monogenic diabetes (MODY) genes. We discovered that she and her father carry a novel variant of uncertain significance in the HNF1A gene. She was successfully transitioned from insulin to a sulfonylurea with excellent glycemic control. Based on her family history and successful response to sulfonylurea, we propose that this is a novel pathogenic variant in HNF1A. This case highlights the utility of genetic testing for MODY, which has the potential to help affected patients control their diabetes without insulin.

Learning points

  • HNF1A mutations are a common cause of monogenic diabetes in patients presenting with early-onset diabetes and significant family history.

  • Genetic testing in suspected patients allows for the identification of mutations causing monogenic diabetes.

  • First-degree relatives of the affected individual should be considered for genetic testing.

  • The use of sulfonylurea agents in patients with HNF1A-MODY can reduce dependence on insulin therapy and provide successful glycemic control.

Open access

N Ayub, A J A T Braat, H J L M Timmers, M G E H Lam, and R S van Leeuwaarde

Summary

Von Hippel–Lindau’s disease (VHL) is a hereditary tumor syndrome characterized by its prototype lesions, hemangioblastomas, and renal cell carcinomas. Treatment for renal cell carcinomas can ultimately result in long-term dialysis. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET) can also occur in the course of the disease. Currently, peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is the standard treatment for progressive neuroendocrine tumors. However, little is known about treatment with PRRT in patients on dialysis, an infrequent presentation in patients with VHL. We present a 72-year-old man with VHL on hemodialysis and a progressive pNET. He received four cycles of PRRT with a reduced dose. Only mild thrombopenia was seen during treatments. The patient died 9 months after the last PRRT because of acute bleeding in a hemangioblastoma. Hemodialysis is not a limiting factor for PRRT treatment and it should be considered as it seems a safe short-term treatment option for this specific group.

Learning points

  • Von Hippel–Lindau disease (VHL) is a complex disease in which former interventions can limit optimal treatment for following VHL-related tumors later in life.

  • Metastasized pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors occur as part of VHL disease.

  • Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy seems a safe short-term treatment option in patients on hemodialysis.

Open access

Minna Koivikko, Tapani Ebeling, Markus Mäkinen, Juhani Leppäluoto, Antti Raappana, Petteri Ahtiainen, and Pasi Salmela

Summary

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.

Learning points

  • 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.

Open access

Wouter W. de Herder

Summary

The iconic photograph ‘A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y. 1970’ by the famous American photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971) shows the 2.34 m (7 ft. 8¼ in.) acromegalic giant Eddie Carmel (1936–1972) and his parents in the living room of their New York home. The picture is a typical example of Arbus’ style. The relationship between the artist and the tall subject is described. A growth hormone-secreting pituitary macroadenoma was unsuccessfully treated with two cycles of pituitary radiotherapy achieving a 7000 rad cumulative dose and by incomplete pituitary surgery. Hypopituitarism was treated according to medical standards in the 1960s and 1970s. The giant patient died of increased intracranial pressure and at autopsy a residual acidophil pituitary macroadenoma was found, but also a perisellar meningioma which was most probably induced by the high dose of pituitary radiotherapy. The case report illustrates the possibilities and impossibilities of treating acromegaly 50 years ago and demonstrates the potential risks of high dose pituitary radiotherapy (in acromegaly).

Learning points

  • Acromegaly is a very old disease.

  • Therapy for acromegaly has evolved over the decades.

  • In art museums one can come across artistic impressions of endocrine disorders.

  • People suffering from disfiguring endocrine disorders like acromegaly were pre-WW2 ‘exposed’ in theaters and circuses.

  • High dose pituitary radiotherapy can be associated with secondary brain tumor formation.