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Open access

R K Dharmaputra, K L Wan, N Samad, M Herath, J Wong, S Sarlos, S R Holdsworth, and N Naderpoor

Summary

Insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS) is a rare cause of non-islet cell hypoglycaemia. Treatment of this condition is complex and typically involves long-term use of glucocorticoids. Immunotherapy may provide an alternative in the management of this autoimmune condition through the suppression of antibodies production by B-lymphocyte depletion. We present a case of a 62-year-old male, with refractory hypoglycaemia initially presenting with hypoglycaemic seizure during an admission for acute psychosis. Biochemical testing revealed hypoglycaemia with an inappropriately elevated insulin and C-peptide level and no evidence of exogenous use of insulin or sulphonylurea. Polyethylene glycol precipitation demonstrated persistently elevated free insulin levels. This was accompanied by markedly elevated anti-insulin antibody (IA) titres. Imaging included CT with contrast, MRI, pancreatic endoscopic ultrasound and Ga 68-DOTATATE position emission tomography (DOTATATE PET) scan did not reveal islet cell aetiology for hyperinsulinaemia. Maintenance of euglycaemia was dependent on oral steroids and dextrose infusion. Complete resolution of hypoglycaemia and dependence on glucose and steroids was only achieved following treatment with plasma exchange and rituximab.

Learning points

  • Insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS) should be considered in patients with recurrent hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia in whom exogenous insulin administration and islet cell pathologies have been excluded.
  • Biochemical techniques play an essential role in establishing high insulin concentration, insulin antibody titres, and eliminating biochemical interference. High insulin antibody concentration can lead to inappropriately elevated serum insulin levels leading to hypoglycaemia.
  • Plasma exchange and B-lymphocyte depletion with rituximab and immunosuppression with high dose glucocorticoids are effective in reducing serum insulin levels and hypoglycaemia in insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS).
  • Based on our observation, the reduction in serum insulin level may be a better indicator of treatment efficacy compared to anti-insulin antibody (IA) titre as it demonstrated greater correlation to the frequency of hypoglycaemia and to hypoglycaemia resolution.
Open access

Joana Lima Ferreira, Bernardo Marques, C Willemien Menke-van der Houven van Oordt, Wouter W de Herder, Tessa Brabander, and Johannes Hofland

Summary

Middle ear adenomas with neuroendocrine features (ANEF) are rare, with an estimated 150 reported cases. They usually pursue an indolent clinical course. Four reported cases of middle ear ANEF with distant metastases were treated with surgery, external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and chemotherapy. To date, no successful systemic treatment for malignant behaviour of this rare tumour has been reported. Long-acting somatostatin analogues (SSAs) and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) have been used in well-differentiated metastatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), but their use has never been described in cases of metastatic middle ear ANEF. We report two patients with grade 1 middle ear ANEF treated with surgery and EBRT. They had stable disease for several years, until clinical symptoms appeared and extensive metastases were detected on 68Ga-DOTA0-Tyr3-octreotate (DOTATATE) PET/CT. Treatment with long-acting SSA was started, with stable disease for 1 year. Afterwards, despite undergoing local treatments, both patients presented progressive disease. Due to high-uptake metastases at 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT, both cases underwent four cycles of PRRT with 177Lu-DOTATATE, which secured disease control and improvement of quality of life in both. Similar to other well-differentiated NETs, SSA and PRRT could constitute efficacious therapeutic options in metastatic middle ear ANEF. Its neuroendocrine differentiation, potential to metastasize and somatostatin receptor type 2 expression prompt consideration and management of this disease as a neuroendocrine neoplasm.

Learning points

  • Our cases oppose the 2017 WHO classification of middle ear adenoma with neuroendocrine features as a benign disease.
  • This entity warrants long-term follow-up, as local recurrence or persistence of disease is reported in up to 18% of surgically treated patients.
  • PET/CT scan with 68Ga-labelled somatostatin analogues (SSA) can be used for staging of metastatic middle ear adenoma with neuroendocrine features.
  • Unlabelled SSA and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with radiolabelled SSA can be the first systemic therapeutic options for patients with advanced middle ear adenoma with neuroendocrine features.
Open access

Carolina Chaves, Mariana Chaves, João Anselmo, and Rui César

Summary

Berardinelli–Seip congenital lipodystrophy (BSCL) is a rare autosomal recessive disease, characterized by the absence of subcutaneous adipose tissue, leptin deficiency and severe metabolic complications, such as insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. The most common mutation occurs in BCSL2 which encodes seipin, a protein involved in adipogenesis. We report a patient with BSCL who was diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years old. He was started on metformin 1000 mg twice daily, which lowered glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) to less than 7%. Four months later, HbA1c raised above 7.5%, indicating secondary failure to metformin. Therefore, we added the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARG) agonist, pioglitazone. Since then and for the last 5 years his HbA1c has been within the normal range. These findings indicate that pioglitazone should be considered as a valid alternative in the treatment of diabetes in BSCL patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first specific report of successful long-term treatment with pioglitazone in a patient with BSCL.

Learning points

  • Berardinelli–Seip congenital lipodystrophy (BSCL) is a recessive genetic disorder associated with severe insulin resistance and early onset diabetes, usually around puberty. Failure of oral antidiabetic medication occurs within the first years of treatment in BSCL patients.
  • When failure to achieve metabolic control with metformin occurs, pioglitazone may be a safe option, lowering insulin resistance and improving both the metabolic control and lipodystrophic phenotype.
  • Herein we show that pioglitazone can be a safe and efficient alternative in the long-term treatment of BSCL patients with diabetes.
Open access

Annabelle M Warren, Duncan J Topliss, and Peter Shane Hamblin

Summary

Despite improvements in localisation techniques and surgical advances, some patients with insulinoma will not be cured by surgery or may not be suitable for surgery. Medical management with diazoxide is an option for such cases. This case report details 27 years of successful management of insulinoma using diazoxide. It has been effective and safe, with only minor adverse effects.

Learning points:

  • Long term diazoxide use can be a safe, effective option for insulinoma when it cannot be localised or removed surgically.
  • Common adverse effects include peripheral oedema, hyperuricaemia, and hirsutism.
  • 68Ga-NOTA-exendin-4 PET/CT scan should be considered for insulinoma localisation when other modalities have been unhelpful.
Open access

Takuya Higashitani, Shigehiro Karashima, Daisuke Aono, Seigoh Konishi, Mitsuhiro Kometani, Rie Oka, Masashi Demura, Kenji Furukawa, Yuto Yamazaki, Hironobu Sasano, Takashi Yoneda, and Yoshiyu Takeda

Summary

Renovascular hypertension (RVHT) is an important and potentially treatable form of resistant hypertension. Hypercortisolemia could also cause hypertension and diabetes mellitus. We experienced a case wherein adrenalectomy markedly improved blood pressure and plasma glucose levels in a patient with RVHT and low-level autonomous cortisol secretion. A 62-year-old Japanese man had been treated for hypertension and diabetes mellitus for 10 years. He was hospitalized because of a disturbance in consciousness. His blood pressure (BP) was 236/118 mmHg, pulse rate was 132 beats/min, and plasma glucose level was 712 mg/dL. Abdominal CT scanning revealed the presence of bilateral adrenal masses and left atrophic kidney. Abdominal magnetic resonance angiography demonstrated marked stenosis of the left main renal artery. The patient was subsequently diagnosed with atherosclerotic RVHT with left renal artery stenosis. His left adrenal lobular mass was over 40 mm and it was clinically suspected the potential for cortisol overproduction. Therefore, laparoscopic left nephrectomy and adrenalectomy were simultaneously performed, resulting in improved BP and glucose levels. Pathological studies revealed the presence of multiple cortisol-producing adrenal nodules and aldosterone-producing cell clusters in the adjacent left adrenal cortex. In the present case, the activated renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and cortisol overproduction resulted in severe hypertension, which was managed with simultaneous unilateral nephrectomy and adrenalectomy.

Learning points:

  • Concomitant activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and cortisol overproduction may contribute to the development of severe hypertension and lead to lethal cardiovascular complications.
  • Treatment with simultaneous unilateral nephrectomy and adrenalectomy markedly improves BP and blood glucose levels.
  • CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry staining revealed the existence of aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) in the adjacent non-nodular adrenal gland, suggesting that APCCs may contribute to aldosterone overproduction in patients with RVHT.
Open access

Silvia M Becerra-Bayona, Víctor Alfonso Solarte-David, Claudia L Sossa, Ligia C Mateus, Martha Villamil, Jorge Pereira, and Martha L Arango-Rodríguez

Summary

Diabetic foot ulcer morbidity and mortality are dramatically increasing worldwide, reinforcing the urgency to propose more effective interventions to treat such a devastating condition. Previously, using a diabetic mouse model, we demonstrated that administration of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells derivatives is more effective than the use of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells alone. Here, we used the aforementioned treatments on three patients with grade 2 diabetic foot ulcers and assessed their beneficial effects, relative to the conventional approach. In the present study, two doses of cell derivatives, one dose of mesenchymal stem cells or one dose of vehicle (saline solution with 5% of human albumin), were intradermally injected around wounds. Wound healing process and changes on re-epithelialization were macroscopically evaluated until complete closure of the ulcers. All ulcers were simultaneously treated with conventional treatment (PolyMen® dressing). Patients treated with either cell derivatives or mesenchymal stem cells achieved higher percentages of wound closure in shorter times, relative to the patient treated with the conventional treatment. The cell derivative and mesenchymal stem cells approaches resulted in complete wound closure and enhanced skin regeneration at some point between days 35 and 42, although no differences between these two treatments were observed. Moreover, wounds treated with the conventional treatment healed after 161 days. Intradermal administration of cell derivatives improved wound healing to a similar extent as mesenchymal stem cells. Thus, our results suggest that mesenchymal stem cell derivatives may serve as a novel and potential therapeutic approach to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Learning points:

  • In diabetic mouse models, the administration of mesenchymal stem cells derivatives have been demonstrated to be more effective than the use of marrow mesenchymal stem cells alone.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells have been explored as an attractive therapeutic option to treat non-healing ulcers.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells derivatives accelerate the re-epithelialization on diabetic foot ulcers.
Open access

Carmina Teresa Fuss, Stephanie Burger-Stritt, Silke Horn, Ann-Cathrin Koschker, Kathrin Frey, Almuth Meyer, and Stefanie Hahner

Summary

Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism consists of supplementation of calcium and vitamin D analogues, which does not fully restore calcium homeostasis. In some patients, hypoparathyroidism is refractory to standard treatment with persistent low serum calcium levels and associated clinical complications. Here, we report on three patients (58-year-old male, 52-year-old female, and 48-year-old female) suffering from severe treatment-refractory postsurgical hypoparathyroidism. Two patients had persistent hypocalcemia despite oral treatment with up to 4 µg calcitriol and up to 4 g calcium per day necessitating additional i.v. administration of calcium gluconate 2–3 times per week, whereas the third patient presented with high frequencies of hypocalcemic and treatment-associated hypercalcemic episodes. S.c. administration of rhPTH (1–34) twice daily (40 µg/day) or rhPTH (1–84) (100 µg/day) only temporarily increased serum calcium levels but did not lead to long-term stabilization. In all three cases, treatment with rhPTH (1–34) as continuous s.c. infusion via insulin pump was initiated. Normalization of serum calcium and serum phosphate levels was observed within 1 week at daily 1–34 parathyroid hormone doses of 15 µg to 29.4 µg. Oral vitamin D and calcium treatment could be stopped or reduced and regular i.v. calcium administration was no more necessary. Ongoing efficacy of this treatment has been documented for up to 7 years so far. Therefore, we conclude that hypoparathyroidism that is refractory to both conventional treatment and s.c. parathyroid hormone (single or twice daily) may be successfully treated with continuous parathyroid hormone administration via insulin pump.

Learning points:

  • Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism still consists of administration of calcium and active vitamin D.
  • Very few patients with hypoparathyroidism also do not respond sufficiently to standard treatment or administration of s.c. parathyroid hormone once or twice daily.
  • In those cases, continuous s.c. administration of parathyroid hormone via insulin pump may represent a successful treatment alternative.
Open access

Masato Kotani, Naohisa Tamura, Tatsuhide Inoue, and Issei Tanaka

Summary

Type B insulin resistance syndrome is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies to the insulin receptor. We present a 57-year-old male admitted to a hospital due to body weight loss of 16 kg and hyperglycemia of 13.6 mmol/L. He was diagnosed with type B insulin resistance syndrome because the anti-insulin receptor antibodies were positive. We informed him that some hyperglycemic cases of this syndrome had been reported to be spontaneously remitted in 5 years, and he did not agree to be treated with high-dose glucocorticoids and/or immunosuppressive agents due to his concern for their adverse effects such as hyperglycemia and immunosuppression. He chose to be treated with insulin and voglibose, but fair glucose control could not be obtained. Six years later, he agreed to be treated with low-dose glucocorticoids practicable in outpatient settings. One milligram per day of betamethasone was tried orally and reduced gradually according to the values of glycated hemoglobin. After 30 months of glucocorticoid treatment, the anti-insulin receptor antibodies became undetectable and his fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin were normalized. This case suggests that low-dose glucocorticoids could be a choice to treat type B insulin resistance syndrome in outpatient settings.

Learning points:

  • Type B insulin resistance syndrome is an acquired autoimmune disease for insulin receptors.
  • This case suggested the possibility of long-lasting, low-dose glucocorticoid therapy for the syndrome as an alternative for high-dose glucocorticoids or immunosuppressive agents.
  • Since the prevalence of autoimmune nephritis is high in the syndrome, a delay of immunosuppressive therapy initiation might result in an exacerbation of nephropathy.
Open access

Huilin Koh, Manish Kaushik, Julian Kenrick Loh, and Chiaw Ling Chng

Summary

Thyroid storm with multi-organ failure limits the use of conventional treatment. A 44-year-old male presented with thyroid storm and experienced cardiovascular collapse after beta-blocker administration, with resultant fulminant multi-organ failure requiring inotropic support, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and continuous renal replacement therapy. Hepatic and renal failure precluded the use of conventional thyroid storm treatment and early plasma exchange was instituted. The patient underwent emergency thyroidectomy after four effective exchanges, with subsequent rapid reversal of multi-organ failure. The challenges of institution of plasma exchanges with ongoing ECMO support, dialysis and timing of thyroidectomy are discussed. This case highlights the important role of early therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) as an effective salvage therapy for lowering circulating hormones and stabilization of patients in preparation for emergency thyroidectomy in patients with thyroid storm and fulminant multi-organ failure.

Learning points:

  • Administration of beta-blockers in thyroid storm presenting with congestive cardiac failure may precipitate cardiovascular collapse due to inhibition of thyroid-induced hyperadrenergic compensation which maintains cardiac output.
  • TPE can be an effective bridging therapy to emergency total thyroidectomy when conventional thyroid storm treatment is contraindicated.
  • End-organ support using ECMO and CRRT can be combined with TPE effectively in the management of critically ill cases of thyroid storm.
  • The effectiveness of plasma exchange in lowering thyroid hormones appears to wane after 44–48 h of therapy in this case, highlighting the importance early thyroidectomy.
Open access

Michelle Maher, Mohammed Faraz Rafey, Helena Griffin, Katie Cunningham, and Francis M Finucane

Summary

A 45-year-old man with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (T2DM) (HbA1c 87 mmol/mol) despite 100 units of insulin per day and severe obesity (BMI 40.2 kg/m2) was referred for bariatric intervention. He declined bariatric surgery or GLP1 agonist therapy. Initially, his glycaemic control improved with dietary modification and better adherence to insulin therapy, but he gained weight. We started a low-energy liquid diet, with 2.2 L of semi-skimmed milk (equivalent to 1012 kcal) per day for 8 weeks (along with micronutrient, salt and fibre supplementation) followed by 16 weeks of phased reintroduction of a normal diet. His insulin was stopped within a week of starting this programme, and over 6 months, he lost 20.6 kg and his HbA1c normalised. However, 1 year later, despite further weight loss, his HbA1c deteriorated dramatically, requiring introduction of linagliptin and canagliflozin, with good response. Five years after initial presentation, his BMI remains elevated but improved at 35.5 kg/m2 and his glycaemic control is excellent with a HbA1c of 50 mmol/mol and he is off insulin therapy. Whether semi-skimmed milk is a safe, effective substrate for carefully selected patients with severe obesity complicated by T2DM remains to be determined. Such patients would need frequent monitoring by an experienced multidisciplinary team.

Learning points:

  • Meal replacement programmes are an emerging therapeutic strategy to allow severely obese type 2 diabetes patients to achieve clinically impactful weight loss.
  • Using semi-skimmed milk as a meal replacement substrate might be less costly than commercially available programmes, but is likely to require intensive multidisciplinary bariatric clinical follow-up.
  • For severely obese adults with poor diabetes control who decline bariatric surgery or GLP1 agonist therapy, a milk-based meal replacement programme may be an option.
  • Milk-based meal replacement in patients with insulin requiring type 2 diabetes causes rapid and profound reductions in insulin requirements, so rigorous monitoring of glucose levels by patients and their clinicians is necessary.
  • In carefully selected and adequately monitored patients, the response to oral antidiabetic medications may help to differentiate between absolute and relative insulin deficiency.