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Madoka Toyoda Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Nobuyasu Suganuma Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Akari Takahashi Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Taku Masuda Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Masami Goda Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Tatsuya Yoshida Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Norio Yukawa Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Shoji Yamanaka Department of Surgical Pathology, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Yasushi Rino Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Munetaka Masuda Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Japan

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Summary

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.

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Jenny S W Yun Department of Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Chris McCormack Department of Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Michelle Goh Department of Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Cherie Chiang Department of Internal Medicine, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

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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
Adrian Po Zhu Li Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Sheela Sathyanarayan Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Salvador Diaz-Cano Departments of Cellular Pathology and Molecular Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
Division of Cancer Studies, King’s College London, London, UK

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Sobia Arshad Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Eftychia E Drakou Department of Clinical Oncology, Guy’s Cancer Centre – Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Great Maze Pond, London, UK

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Royce P Vincent Department of Clinical Biochemistry, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK
Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK

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Ashley B Grossman Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Barts and the London School of Medicine, Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Institute, London, UK
Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

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Simon J B Aylwin Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Georgios K Dimitriadis Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK
Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Immunometabolism Research Group, Department of Diabetes, Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK
Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

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Summary

A 49-year-old teacher presented to his general physician with lethargy and lower limb weakness. He had noticed polydipsia, polyuria, and had experienced weight loss, albeit with an increase in central adiposity. He had no concomitant illnesses and took no regular medications. He had hypercalcaemia (adjusted calcium: 3.34 mmol/L) with hyperparathyroidism (parathyroid hormone: 356 ng/L) and hypokalaemia (K: 2.7 mmol/L) and was admitted for i.v. potassium replacement. A contrast-enhanced CT chest/abdomen/pelvis scan revealed a well-encapsulated anterior mediastinal mass measuring 17 × 11 cm with central necrosis, compressing rather than invading adjacent structures. A neck ultrasound revealed a 2 cm right inferior parathyroid lesion. On review of CT imaging, the adrenals appeared normal, but a pancreatic lesion was noted adjacent to the uncinate process. His serum cortisol was 2612 nmol/L, and adrenocorticotrophic hormone was elevated at 67 ng/L, followed by inadequate cortisol suppression to 575 nmol/L from an overnight dexamethasone suppression test. His pituitary MRI was normal, with unremarkable remaining anterior pituitary biochemistry. His admission was further complicated by increased urine output to 10 L/24 h and despite three precipitating factors for the development of diabetes insipidus including hypercalcaemia, hypokalaemia, and hypercortisolaemia, due to academic interest, a water deprivation test was conducted. An 18flurodeoxyglucose-PET (FDG-PET) scan demonstrated high avidity of the mediastinal mass with additionally active bilateral superior mediastinal nodes. The pancreatic lesion was not FDG avid. On 68Ga DOTATE-PET scan, the mediastinal mass was moderately avid, and the 32 mm pancreatic uncinate process mass showed significant uptake. Genetic testing confirmed multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1.

Learning points

  • In young patients presenting with primary hyperparathyroidism, clinicians should be alerted to the possibility of other underlying endocrinopathies.

    In patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) and ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone syndrome (EAS), clinicians should be alerted to the possibility of this originating from a neoplasm above or below the diaphragm.

  • Although relatively rare compared with sporadic cases, thymic carcinoids secondary to MEN-1 may also be associated with EAS.

  • Electrolyte derangement, in particular hypokalaemia and hypercalcaemia, can precipitate mild nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Open access
R K Dharmaputra Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia

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K L Wan Monash Health Pathology, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia

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N Samad Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia

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M Herath Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

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J Wong Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia

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S Sarlos Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

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S R Holdsworth Department of Immunology, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia

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N Naderpoor Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Department, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

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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.

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Seong Keat Cheah Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Chad Ramese Bisambar Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Deborah Pitfield Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Olivier Giger Pathology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Rogier ten Hoopen Pathology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Jose-Ezequiel Martin Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Graeme R Clark Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Soo-Mi Park Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Craig Parkinson Endocrinology, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester, Essex, UK

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Benjamin G Challis Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Ruth T Casey Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Summary

A 38-year-old female was identified as carrying a heterozygous pathogenic MEN1 variant (c.1304delG) through predictive genetic testing, following a diagnosis of familial hyperparathyroidism. Routine screening for parathyroid and pituitary disease was negative. However, cross-sectional imaging by CT revealed a 41 mm pancreatic tail mass. Biopsy via endoscopic ultrasound confirmed the lesion to be a well-differentiated (grade 1) pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (pNET) with MIB1<1%. Biochemically, hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was confirmed following an overnight fast, which was subsequently managed by diet alone prior to definitive surgery. Pre-operative work-up with octreotide SPECT CT demonstrated avid tracer uptake in the pancreatic lesion and, unexpectedly, a focal area of uptake in the left breast. Further investigation, and subsequent mastectomy, confirmed ductal carcinoma in situ pT2 (23 mm) grade 1, N0 (ER positive; HER2 negative). Following mastectomy, our patient underwent a successful distal pancreatectomy to resect the pNET. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the MEN1 locus was found in both the breast tumour and pNET, thereby in keeping with a 'two-hit' hypothesis of oncogenesis, a suggestive but non-definitive clue for causation. To obtain further support for a causative relationship between MEN1 and breast cancer, we undertook a detailed review of the published literature which overall supports the notion that breast cancer is a MEN1-related malignancy that presents at a younger age and histologically, is typically of ductal subtype. Currently, clinical guidance regarding breast cancer surveillance in MEN1 does not exist and further research is required to establish a clinical and cost-effective surveillance strategy).

Learning points

  • We describe a case of pNET and breast cancer diagnosed at a young age of 38 years in a patient who is heterozygous for a pathogenic MEN1 variant. Loss of the wild-type allele was seen in both breast tissue and pNET specimen.

  • Breast cancer may be an under-recognised MEN1-associated malignancy that presents at a younger age than in the general population with a relative risk of 2–3.

  • Further research is required to determine the cost-effectiveness of breast cancer surveillance approach at a younger age in MEN1 patients relative to the general population .

Open access
Shivani Patel Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Diabetes and Metabolism, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Venessa Chin The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia

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Jerry R Greenfield Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Diabetes and Metabolism, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Durvalumab is a programmed cell death ligand 1 inhibitor, which is now approved in Australia for use in non-small-cell lung and urothelial cancers. Autoimmune diabetes is a rare immune-related adverse effect associated with the use of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. It is now being increasingly described reflecting the wider use of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. We report the case of a 49-year-old female who presented with polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss, 3 months following the commencement of durvalumab. On admission, she was in severe diabetic ketoacidosis with venous glucose: 20.1 mmol/L, pH: 7.14, bicarbonate 11.2 mmol/L and serum beta hydroxybutyrate: >8.0 mmol/L. She had no personal or family history of diabetes or autoimmune disease. Her HbA1c was 7.8% and her glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies were mildly elevated at 2.2 mU/L (reference range: <2 mU/L) with negative zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) and islet cell (ICA) antibodies. Her fasting C-peptide was low at 86 pmol/L (reference range: 200–1200) with a corresponding serum glucose of 21.9 mmol/L. She was promptly stabilised with an insulin infusion in intensive care and discharged on basal bolus insulin. Durvalumab was recommenced once her glycaemic control had stabilised. Thyroid function tests at the time of admission were within normal limits with negative thyroid autoantibodies. Four weeks post discharge, repeat thyroid function tests revealed hypothyroidism, with an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) at 6.39 mIU/L (reference range: 0.40–4.80) and low free T4: 5.9 pmol/L (reference range: 8.0–16.0). These findings persisted with repeat testing despite an absence of clinical symptoms. Treatment with levothyroxine was commenced after excluding adrenal insufficiency (early morning cortisol: 339 nmol/L) and hypophysitis (normal pituitary on MRI).

Learning points:

  • Durvalumab use is rarely associated with fulminant autoimmune diabetes, presenting with severe DKA.

  • Multiple endocrinopathies can co-exist with the use of a single immune checkpoint inhibitors; thus, patients should be regularly monitored.

  • Regular blood glucose levels should be performed on routine pathology on all patients on immune checkpoint inhibitor.

  • Clinician awareness of immunotherapy-related diabetes needs to increase in an attempt to detect hyperglycaemia early and prevent DKA.

Open access
Teresa M Canteros Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nuclear Medicine, Hospital Italinao de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Valeria De Miguel Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nuclear Medicine, Hospital Italinao de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Patricia Fainstein-Day Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nuclear Medicine, Hospital Italinao de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Summary

Severe Cushing syndrome (SCS) is considered an emergency that requires immediate treatment to lower serum cortisol levels. Fluconazole may be considered an alternative treatment in Cushing syndrome when ketoconazole is not tolerated or unavailable. We report a 39-year-old woman with a history of partial pancreaticoduodenectomy due to a periampullary neuroendocrine tumor with locoregional extension. Three years after surgery, she developed liver metastases and was started on 120 mg of lanreotide/month, despite which, liver metastases progressed in the following 6 months. The patient showed extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, delirium, moon face, hirsutism and severe proximal weakness. Laboratory tests showed anemia, hyperglycemia and severe hypokalemia. 24-h urinary free cortisol: 2152 nmol/day (reference range (RR): <276), morning serum cortisol 4883.4 nmol/L (RR: 138–690), ACTH 127.3 pmol/L (RR: 2.2–10). She was diagnosed with ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS). On admission, she presented with acute upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding and hemodynamic instability. Intravenous fluconazole 400 mg/day was started. After 48 h, her mental state improved and morning cortisol decreased by 25%. The dose was titrated to 600 mg/day which resulted in a 55% decrease in cortisol levels in 1 week, but then had to be decreased to 400 mg/day because transaminase levels increased over 3 times the upper normal level. After 18 days of treatment, hemodynamic stability, lower cortisol levels and better overall clinical status enabled successful bilateral adrenalectomy. This case report shows that intravenous fluconazole effectively decreased cortisol levels in SCS due to EAS.

Learning points:

  • Severe Cushing syndrome can be effectively treated with fluconazole to achieve a significant improvement of hypercortisolism prior to bilateral adrenalectomy.

  • Intravenous fluconazole is an alternative treatment when ketoconazole is not tolerated and etomidate is not available.

  • Fluconazole is well tolerated with mild side effects. Hepatotoxicity is usually mild and resolves after drug discontinuation.

Open access
Michal Barabas Wolfson Diabetes & Endocrine Clinic, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Isabel Huang-Doran Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK

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Debbie Pitfield Wolfson Diabetes & Endocrine Clinic, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Hazel Philips Department of Cardiology, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, Bedford, UK

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Manoj Goonewardene Department of Cardiology, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, Bedford, UK

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Ruth T Casey Wolfson Diabetes & Endocrine Clinic, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Benjamin G Challis Wolfson Diabetes & Endocrine Clinic, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
IMED Biotech Unit, Clinical Discovery Unit, AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK

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Summary

A 67-year-old woman presented with a generalised rash associated with weight loss and resting tachycardia. She had a recent diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Biochemical evaluation revealed elevated levels of circulating glucagon and chromogranin B. Cross-sectional imaging demonstrated a pancreatic lesion and liver metastases, which were octreotide-avid. Biopsy of the liver lesion confirmed a diagnosis of well-differentiated grade 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour, consistent with metastatic glucagonoma. Serial echocardiography commenced 4 years before this diagnosis demonstrated a progressive left ventricular dilatation and dysfunction in the absence of ischaemia, suggestive of glucagonoma-associated dilated cardiomyopathy. Given the severity of the cardiac impairment, surgical management was considered inappropriate and somatostatin analogue therapy was initiated, affecting clinical and biochemical improvement. Serial cross-sectional imaging demonstrated stable disease 2 years after diagnosis. Left ventricular dysfunction persisted, however, despite somatostatin analogue therapy and optimal medical management of cardiac failure. In contrast to previous reports, the case we describe demonstrates that chronic hyperglucagonaemia may lead to irreversible left ventricular compromise. Management of glucagonoma therefore requires careful and serial evaluation of cardiac status.

Learning points:

  • In rare cases, glucagonoma may present with cardiac failure as the dominant feature. Significant cardiac impairment may occur in the absence of other features of glucagonoma syndrome due to subclinical chronic hyperglucagonaemia.

  • A diagnosis of glucagonoma should be considered in patients with non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, particularly those with other features of glucagonoma syndrome.

  • Cardiac impairment due to glucagonoma may not respond to somatostatin analogue therapy, even in the context of biochemical improvement.

  • All patients with a new diagnosis of glucagonoma should be assessed clinically for evidence of cardiac failure and, if present, a baseline transthoracic echocardiogram should be performed. In the presence of cardiac impairment these patients should be managed by an experienced cardiologist.

Open access
A Veltroni ENETS Center of Excellence, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

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G Zambon ENETS Center of Excellence, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

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S Cingarlini ENETS Center of Excellence, Department of Oncology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

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M V Davì ENETS Center of Excellence, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

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Summary

Insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS), a rare cause of autoimmune hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia, is relatively well known in Japan. The incidence in Caucasians is less than one-fifth of that reported in Japanese people, but it is becoming increasingly recognised worldwide in non-Asians as well. Drugs containing sulphydryl groups are known to be associated with the disease in genetically predisposed individuals. Moreover, several recent reports showed a direct association between the onset of IAS and the consumption of dietary supplements containing alpha-lipoic acid (LA). Insulinoma remains the most prevalent cause of hypersulinaemic hypoglycaemia in Caucasians. Consequently, primary investigation in these patients is generally focused on localisation of the pancreatic tumour, often with invasive procedures followed by surgery. We described a case of an Italian woman presenting to us with severe recurrent hypoglycaemia associated with high insulin and C-peptide levels and no evidence of pancreatic lesions at imaging diagnostic procedures. She had taken LA until 2 weeks before hospitalisation. After an evaluation of her drug history, an autoimmune form of hypoglycaemia was suspected and the titre of insulin autoantibodies was found to be markedly elevated. This allowed us to diagnose LA-related IAS, thus preventing any unnecessary surgery and avoiding invasive diagnostic interventions.

Learning points:

  • IAS is a rare cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia that typically affects Asian population, but it has been increasingly recognised in Caucasian patients.

  • It should be considered among the differential diagnosis of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia to avoid unnecessary diagnostic investigations and surgery.

  • It should be suspected in the presence of very high serum insulin levels (100–10  000  μU/mL) associated with high C-peptide levels.

  • There is a strong association with administration of drugs containing sulphydryl groups included LA, a dietary supplement commonly used in Western countries to treat peripheral neuropathy.

Open access
Senhong Lee of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

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Aparna Morgan of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

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Sonali Shah of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

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Peter R Ebeling of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

We report a case of a 67-year-old man with type 2 diabetes presented with diabetic ketoacidosis, two weeks after his first dose of nivolumab therapy for non–small-cell lung carcinoma. He was started on empagliflozin two days prior in the setting of hyperglycaemia after the initiation of nivolumab therapy. Laboratory evaluation revealed an undetectable C-peptide and a positive anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibody. He was treated with intravenous fluids and insulin infusion and was subsequently transitioned to subcutaneous insulin and discharged home. He subsequently has developed likely autoimmune thyroiditis and autoimmune encephalitis.

Learning points:

  • Glycemic surveillance in patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors is recommended.

  • Early glycemic surveillance after commencement of anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitors may be indicated in selected populations, including patients with underlying type 2 diabetes mellitus and positive anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibody.

  • Sodium-glucose co transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors should be used with caution in patients on immunotherapy.

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