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Open access

Paula Condé Lamparelli Elias, Marcelo Volpon, Giovana de Gobbi Azevedo, Helio Machado, Gabriel Henrique Marques Gonçalves, Antonio Carlos Santos, Livia M Mermejo, Margaret de Castro, and Ayrton C Moreira

Summary

Postoperative (PO) complications after transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) are rare when performed in pituitary referral centers. Partial hypopituitarism is more frequent and somewhat expected. Meningitis, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and visual deficits are unusual. Cerebrovascular complications, including cerebral vasospasm are rare, usually under-appreciated and not mentioned to the patient prior to the surgery. This is a report of a 51-year-old male with a non-functioning pituitary macroadenoma presenting with partial hypopituitarism and visual field loss. The patient was submitted to an uneventful TSS. On the first PO day, he developed a left palpebral ptosis with unequal pupils and impaired consciousness (12 points on Glasgow Coma Scale). CT scan revealed a perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) grade 1 according to the modified Fisher scale. High-dose dexamethasone (16 mg/day) was initiated and the patient became more alert (Glasgow 14). On the fifth PO day, due to progression of the neurological deficits (left III, IV, and VI cranial nerves palsy, ataxia, dysdiadochokinesia, right dysmetria, and dysarthria), a magnetic resonance angiography was obtained and revealed a recent mesencephalic infarct without evident vasospasm. Nevertheless, nimodipine 60 mg 4/4 h was initiated. No improvement was seen after 3 days of treatment. The patient was discharged and put on rehabilitation, returning to normal gait and balance after 7 months. This, therefore, is a case of an unexpected mesencephalic infarct probably due to vasospasm induced by minor SAH. Although exceptionally rare, informing the patient about this event prior to TSS is important due to its significant neurological impact. More data are needed considering preventive treatment with nimodipine as soon as SAH is detected after TSS and whether it would improve neurological outcomes.

Learning points

  • Whenever neurological deficits arise after transsphenoidal surgery (TSS), systemic infection, meningitis, electrolyte imbalance, and evident hemorrhage must be promptly investigated.

  • Although rare, cerebral vasospasm (CVS) after TSS is associated with high morbidity and high mortality rates.

  • Vigilance for vasospasm is necessary for patients undergoing TSS for pituitary adenoma, especially those with significant suprasellar extension.

  • Informing this event to the patient prior to TSS is essential due to its significant morbidity and mortality.

  • Post-TSS subarachnoid hemorrhage and hemiparesis may be important clues indicating CVS and infarction.

  • There is limited evidence in the literature regarding post-TSS CVS surveillance and treatment strategies which could have an impact on clinical decisions.

Open access

Chelsea Tan and Jessica Triay

Summary

A 64-year-old man with progressive metastatic castrate-resistant prostate adenocarcinoma presented with recurrent fluid overload, severe hypokalaemia with metabolic alkalosis and loss of glycaemic control. Clinical features were facial plethora, skin bruising and proximal myopathy. Plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), serum cortisol and 24-h urinary cortisol levels were elevated. Low-dose dexamethasone failed to suppress cortisol. Pituitary MRI was normal and 68Gallium-DOTATATE PET–CT scan showed only features of metastatic prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with ectopic ACTH syndrome secondary to treatment-related neuroendocrine prostate cancer differentiation. Medical management was limited by clinical deterioration, accessibility of medications and cancer progression. Ketoconazole and cabergoline were utilised, but cortisol remained uncontrolled. He succumbed 5 months following diagnosis. Treatment-related neuroendocrine differentiation of prostate adenocarcinoma is a rare cause of ectopic ACTH syndrome.

Learning points

  • Neuroendocrine differentiation following prostate adenocarcinoma treatment with androgen deprivation has been described.

  • Ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) syndrome should be considered where patients with metastatic prostate cancer develop acute electrolyte disturbance or fluid overload.

  • Ketoconazole interferes with adrenal and gonadal steroidogenesis and can be used in ectopic ACTH syndrome, but the impact may be insufficient. Inhibition of gonadal steroidogenesis is favourable in prostate cancer.

  • More data are required to evaluate the use of cabergoline in ectopic ACTH syndrome.

  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome requires prompt management and is challenging in the face of metastatic cancer.

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

L Aliberti, I Gagliardi, M Pontrelli, M C Zatelli, and M R Ambrosio

Summary

Tumour-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is due to an overproduction of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) by mesenchymal tumours, causing hypophosphatemia, osteomalacia and muscle weakness. TIO is usually cured by tumour resection, but neoplasms may be unidentifiable and unresectable or the patient may refuse surgery. In these cases, medical treatment with oral phosphate and calcitriol is mandatory, but it is not fully effective and it is associated with low compliance. Burosumab, a human MAB against FGF23 employed to treat X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), has recently been approved for TIO in the USA. Maximum burosumab dose in XLH is 90 mg administered for 2 weeks; there are no data on clinical efficacy and safety of this dose in TIO. We reported the case of a 73 years old male with multiple non-traumatic fractures, low bone mineral density, pain and reduced independence of activities of daily living. Biochemical evaluation showed hypophosphatemia, high alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and C-terminal telopeptide (CTX) and normal albumin-corrected total calcium and parathyroid hormone. Tubular phosphate reabsorption was low (80%), whereas C-terminal tail of FGF23 (cFGF23) was elevated. A 68Ga-DOTATOC PET was performed, identifying a lesion in the first left rib. The patient refused surgery; therefore, burosumab therapy was started. After 18 months of treatment (maximum dose: 60 mg administered for 2 weeks), plasma phosphate normalized and ALP levels improved (138 U/L). Patient clinical symptoms as well as pain severity and fatigue improved. Neither adverse events nor tumour progression was reported during follow-up except for a painless fracture of the second right rib.

Learning points

  • Our case shows efficacy and safety of burosumab treatment administered every 2 weeks in a tumour-induced osteomalacia (TIO) patient.

  • After 18 months of treatment at a maximum dose of 60 mg every 2 weeks, we found plasma phosphate normalization and ALP reduction as well as improvement in clinical symptoms and fatigue.

  • Neither adverse events nor tumour progression was reported during follow-up, except for a painless fracture of the second right rib.

Open access

Omayma Elshafie, Samir Hussein, Moza Al Kalbani, Aisha Al Hamadani, Abir Bou Khalil, and Nicholas Woodhouse

Summary

A 33-year-old female presented in 2013 with left flank pain. Ultrasound and MRI pelvis showed a complex mass 9 × 7 cm arising from the left ovary suggestive of ovarian torsion. She underwent a laparoscopic cystectomy, but the patient was lost to follow-up. Three years later, she presented with abdominal distension. Ultrasound and CT scan revealed a solid left ovarian mass with ascites and multiple peritoneal metastasis. Investigations showed elevated CA 125, CA 19-9. Ovarian malignancy was suspected. She underwent total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy on November 2016. The histopathology confirmed a well-differentiated thyroid cancer of ovarian origin with features of a papillary follicular variant without evidence of ovarian cancer and the thyroglobulin (Tg) level was elevated, more than 400 consistent with the diagnosis of malignant struma ovarii. The follow-up post-surgery showed normalization of CA 125, CA 19-9 and Tg. The patient underwent total thyroidectomy on January 2017. The histology was benign excluding thyroid cancer metastases to the ovary. She was started on thyroxine suppression, following which she received two ablation doses 131iodine (131I) each 5.3 GBq. The Tg remains slightly elevated at less than 10. 131I WBS showed no residual neck uptake and no distant avid metastasis. She was planned for molecular analysis which may indicate disease severity. We describe a case of malignant struma ovarii with widespread metastatic dissemination and a good response to surgery and 131I treatment without recurrence after 5 years of follow-up. The Tg remains slightly elevated indicating minimal stable residual disease.

Learning points

  • Malignant struma ovarii is a rare disease; diagnosis is difficult and management is not well defined.

  • Presentation may mimic advanced carcinoma of the ovary.

  • Predominant sites of metastasis are adjacent pelvic structures.

  • Thyroidectomy and 131iodine therapy should be considered. The management should be similar to that of metastatic thyroid cancer.

Open access

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

Summary

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.

Open access

Jenny S W Yun, Chris McCormack, Michelle Goh, and Cherie Chiang

Summary

Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a common dermatosis associated with hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. However, AN has been rarely reported in patients with insulinoma, a state of persistent hyperinsulinemia. We present a case of metastatic insulinoma, in whom AN manifested after the first cycle of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). A 40-year-old man was diagnosed with metastatic insulinoma after 5 months of symptomatic hypoglycemia. Within 1 month post PRRT, the patient became euglycemic but developed a pigmented, pruritic rash which was confirmed on biopsy as AN. We discuss the rare manifestation of AN in subjects with insulinoma, the role of insulin in the pathogenesis of AN, malignant AN in non-insulin-secreting malignancies and association with other insulin-resistant endocrinopathies such as acromegaly.

Learning points

  • Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a common dermatosis which is typically asymptomatic and associated with the hyperinsulinemic state.

  • Malignant AN can rapidly spread, cause pruritus and affect mucosa and the oral cavity.

  • AN is extremely rare in patients with insulinoma despite marked hyperinsulinemia.

  • Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy might have triggered TGF-α secretion in this subject which led to malignant AN.

  • Rapid spread or unusual distribution of pruritic AN warrants further investigation to exclude underlying malignancy.

Open access

Filippo Crimì, Giulio Barbiero, Irene Tizianel, Laura Evangelista, and Filippo Ceccato

Summary

A 61-year-old man went to the Emergency Department with left upper abdominal quadrant pain and low-grade fever, as well as a loss of weight (3 kg in 6 weeks). A solid-cystic lesion in the left adrenal lodge was discovered by abdominal ultrasonography. A slight increase in the serum amylase with normal lipase was observed, but there were no signs or symptoms of pancreatitis. A contrast-enhanced CT revealed a tumor that was suspected of adrenocortical cancer. Therefore, he was referred to the endocrine unit. The hormonal evaluation revealed no signs of excessive or inadequate adrenal secretion. To characterize the mass, an MRI was performed; the lesion showed an inhomogeneous fluid collection with peripheral wall contrast-enhancement, as well as a minor 18-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake at PET/CT images. The risk of primary adrenal cancer was minimal after the multidisciplinary discussion. An acute necrotic collection after focal pancreatitis was suspected, according to the characteristics of imaging. Both CT-guided drainage of the necrotic accumulation and laboratory analysis of the aspirated fluid confirmed the diagnosis.

Learning points

  • Different types of expansive processes can mimic adrenal incidentalomas.

  • Necrotic collection after acute focal pancreatitis could be misdiagnosed as an adrenal mass, since its CT characteristics could be equivocal.

  • MRI has stronger capacities than CT in differentiating complex lesions of the adrenal lodge.

  • A multidisciplinary approach is fundamental in the management of patients with a newly discovered adrenal incidentaloma and equivocal/suspicious imaging features (low lipid content and size >4 cm).

Open access

Nikitas S Skarakis, Irene Papadimitriou, Labrini Papanastasiou, Sofia Pappa, Anastasia Dimitriadi, Ioannis Glykas, Konstantinos Ntoumas, Penelope Lampropoulou, and Theodora Kounadi

Summary

Juxtaglomerular cell tumour (JGCT) is an unusually encountered clinical entity. A 33-year-old man with severe long-standing hypertension and hypokalaemia is described. The patient also suffered from polyuria, polydipsia, nocturia and severe headaches. On admission, laboratory investigation revealed hypokalaemia, kaliuresis, high aldosterone and renin levels, and the abdomen CT identified a mass of 4 cm at the right kidney. Kidney function was normal. Following nephrectomy, the histological investigation revealed the presence of a JGCT. Immunostaining was positive for CD34 as well as for smooth muscle actin and vimentin. Following surgery, a marked control of his hypertension with calcium channel blockers and normalization of the serum potassium, renin or aldosterone levels were reached. According to our findings, JGCT could be included in the differential diagnosis of secondary hypertension as it consists of a curable cause. The association of JGCT with hypertension and hypokalaemia focusing on the clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation and management is herein discussed and a brief review of the existing literature is provided.

Learning points

  • Juxtaglomerular cell tumours (JGCT), despite their rarity, should be included in the differential diagnosis of secondary hypertension as they consist of a curable cause of hypertension.

  • JGCT could be presented with resistant hypertension along with hypokalaemia, kaliuresis and metabolic alkalosis. Early recognition and management can help to prevent cardiovascular complications.

  • Imaging (enhanced CT scans) may be considered as the primary diagnostic tool for the detection of renal or JGCT.

  • For the confirmation of the diagnosis, a histopathologic examination is needed.

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.