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Evangelos Karvounis Department of Endocrine Surgery, ‘Euroclinic’ Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Ioannis Zoupas Department of Endocrine Surgery, ‘Euroclinic’ Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Dimitra Bantouna Private Practice, Patras, Greece

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Rodis D Paparodis Private Practice, Patras, Greece
Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo, Ohio, USA

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Roxani Efthymiadou PET-CT Department, Hygeia Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Christina Ioakimidou Department of Pathology

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Christos Panopoulos Department of Medical Oncology, ‘Euroclinic’ Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Summary

Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) is a rare neuroendocrine prostatic malignancy. It usually arises after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), while de novo cases are even more infrequent, with only six cases described. The patient was a 78-year-old man with no history of ADT who presented with cervical lymphadenopathy. Diagnostic approaches included PET/CT, MRI, CT scans, ultrasonography, biopsies, and cytological and immunohistochemical evaluations. Results showed a poorly differentiated carcinoma in the thyroid gland accompanied by cervical lymph node enlargement. Thyroid surgery revealed LCNEC metastasis to the thyroid gland. Additional metastases were identified in both the adrenal glands. Despite appropriate treatment, the patient died of the disease. De novo LCNEC of the prostate is a rare, highly aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis. It is resistant to most therapeutic agents, has a high metastatic potential, and is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage. Further studies are required to characterize this tumor.

Learning points

  • De novo LCNECs of the prostate gland can metastasize almost anywhere in the body, including the thyroid and adrenal glands.

  • LCNECs of the prostate are usually associated with androgen-depriving therapy, but de novo cases are also notable and should be accounted for.

  • Further studies are required to fully understand and treat LCNECs more effectively.

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Hessa Boharoon Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, ENETS Centre of Excellence, London, UK

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Shaunak Navalkissoor Department of Nuclear Medicine, ENETS Centre of Excellence, London, UK

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Tu Vinh Luong Department of Pathology, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

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Martyn Caplin Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, ENETS Centre of Excellence, London, UK

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Ashley Grossman Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, ENETS Centre of Excellence, London, UK

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Summary

Insulinomas are rare pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) that are typically sporadic and solitary, with the majority being <2 cm in diameter at diagnosis. The median duration of symptoms before diagnosis is variable; however, this is usually in the region of 12–18 months. We report on an insulinoma diagnosed some 25 years following initial symptoms, having by that stage attained a diameter of 4 cm. We present a 50-year-old man who was reported with hypoglycaemic symptoms on his wedding 25 years prior to eventual confirmation of an insulinoma. He had since learned to live with the symptoms by eating frequently to manage his hypoglycaemia. However, over recent months, he reported a substantial deterioration in his symptoms, and indeed, had collapsed on two occasions. He had a fasting glucose of 2.9 mmol/L with grossly inappropriate elevated insulin and C-peptide levels. MRI demonstrated a 4.1 cm lesion at the body of pancreas and an indeterminate 9-mm liver lesion with a negative 68Gallium-DOTATATE PET scan. Accordingly, he was initiated on diazoxide and referred to the surgical team for distal pancreatectomy: histology confirmed a 4.4-cm well-differentiated pancreatic NEN of intermediate grade (NEN G2, Grade 2, 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) pancreatic-NEN classification), with positive immunohistochemistry for insulin. His hypoglycaemia episodes have ceased, and he remains under active surveillance. Our case demonstrates the possibility of dietary control of insulinoma-induced hypoglycaemia, and the likelihood that such a prolonged delay in diagnosis has led to the uncommonly large size of the apparently benign tumour which is usually ‘small and indolent’.

Learning points

  • Most patients with insulinomas have lesions that are 1–2 cm in size, with 96% being less than 3 cm.

  • The mean tumour size of insulinomas found in 3 of the largest reported series was 1.5 cm, with a range of 0.1–7.0 cm.

  • It is not uncommon for patients to have symptoms for several months to years before diagnosis; however, no reported cases had the symptoms such long for 25 years, and the large size of the tumour in this case may reflect the very long history.

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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.

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N Ayub Department of Endocrine Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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A J A T Braat Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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H J L M Timmers Departments of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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M G E H Lam Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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R S van Leeuwaarde Department of Endocrine Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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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.

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Ziad Hussein Department of Endocrinology, University College London Hospital, London, UK
Department of Medicine, University College London, London, UK

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Marta Korbonits William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Stephanie E Baldeweg Department of Endocrinology, University College London Hospital, London, UK
Department of Medicine, University College London, London, UK

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Teng-Teng Chung Department of Endocrinology, University College London Hospital, London, UK

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Summary

We observed a novel therapeutic response with cabergoline in a male patient with a dopamine-secreting head and neck paraganglioma (HNPGL), macroprolactinoma and germline succinate dehydrogenase C mutation (SDHC). The macroprolactinoma was treated with cabergoline which gave an excellent response. He was found to have raised plasma 3-methoxytyramine of 1014 pmol/L (NR: 0–180 pmol/L); but it was unclear if this was a drug-induced phenomenon from dopamine agonist (DA) therapy. Cabergoline was stopped for 4 weeks and the 3-methoxytyramine level increased significantly to 2185 pmol/L, suggesting a biochemical response of his HNPGL. Subsequently, Gallium-68 Dotatate PET and MRI (Gallium-68 Dotatate PET/MRI) demonstrated a second lesion in the sacrum. Both the HNPGL and metastatic sacral deposit received external beam radiotherapy with a good biochemical and radiological response.

Conclusion

Our case report highlights the rare potential of germline SDHC mutations causing metastatic paraganglioma and concurrent pituitary tumours. Cabergoline treatment may lower elevated 3-methoxytyramine levels and, therefore, mask the biochemical evidence of metastatic disease but also may have therapeutic relevance in dopamine-secreting pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PPGLs).

Learning points

  • Several neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) express dopamine D2 and D4 receptors. In this case report, cabergoline significantly reduced plasma 3-methoxytyramine level in a patient with functional HNPGL. Cabergoline might have therapeutic relevance in dopamine-secreting PPGLs.

  • Paragangliomas associated with SDHC mutation classically present with asymptomatic non-functional HNPGL and have rare metastatic potential.

  • The association of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma and pituitary adenoma is now a well-described rare association (<1%), designated as the three P association. While the three P association is most commonly seen with succinate dehydrogenase B and D mutations, it has also been described in patients with SDHA and SDHC mutations.

  • Cabergoline treatment may lower elevated 3-methoxytyramine levels and mask the biochemical evidence of metastatic disease. Regular functional imaging with Gallium-68 Dotatate PET/MRI provides better evidence of metastatic disease.

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Vinaya Srirangam Nadhamuni Department of Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Donato Iacovazzo Department of Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Jane Evanson St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts and the London NHS Trust, London, UK

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Anju Sahdev St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts and the London NHS Trust, London, UK

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Jacqueline Trouillas Department of Pathology, Groupement Hospitalier Est, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Bron, France

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Lorraine McAndrew St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts and the London NHS Trust, London, UK

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Tom R Kurzawinski Division of Endocrine Surgery, University College Hospital, London, UK

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David Bryant Sunderland Royal Hospital, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, UK

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Khalid Hussain Division of Endocrinology, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar

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Satya Bhattacharya St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Barts and the London NHS Trust, London, UK

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Márta Korbonits Department of Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Summary

A male patient with a germline mutation in MEN1 presented at the age of 18 with classical features of gigantism. Previously, he had undergone resection of an insulin-secreting pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (pNET) at the age of 10 years and had subtotal parathyroidectomy due to primary hyperparathyroidism at the age of 15 years. He was found to have significantly elevated serum IGF-1, GH, GHRH and calcitonin levels. Pituitary MRI showed an overall bulky gland with a 3 mm hypoechoic area. Abdominal MRI showed a 27 mm mass in the head of the pancreas and a 6 mm lesion in the tail. Lanreotide-Autogel 120 mg/month reduced GHRH by 45% and IGF-1 by 20%. Following pancreaticoduodenectomy, four NETs were identified with positive GHRH and calcitonin staining and Ki-67 index of 2% in the largest lesion. The pancreas tail lesion was not removed. Post-operatively, GHRH and calcitonin levels were undetectable, IGF-1 levels normalised and GH suppressed normally on glucose challenge. Post-operative fasting glucose and HbA1c levels have remained normal at the last check-up. While adolescent-onset cases of GHRH-secreting pNETs have been described, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of ectopic GHRH in a paediatric setting leading to gigantism in a patient with MEN1. Our case highlights the importance of distinguishing between pituitary and ectopic causes of gigantism, especially in the setting of MEN1, where paediatric somatotroph adenomas causing gigantism are extremely rare.

Learning points

  • It is important to diagnose gigantism and its underlying cause (pituitary vs ectopic) early in order to prevent further growth and avoid unnecessary pituitary surgery. The most common primary tumour sites in ectopic acromegaly include the lung (53%) and the pancreas (34%) (1): 76% of patients with a pNET secreting GHRH showed a MEN1 mutation (1).

  • Plasma GHRH testing is readily available in international laboratories and can be a useful diagnostic tool in distinguishing between pituitary acromegaly mediated by GH and ectopic acromegaly mediated by GHRH. Positive GHRH immunostaining in the NET tissue confirms the diagnosis.

  • Distinguishing between pituitary (somatotroph) hyperplasia secondary to ectopic GHRH and pituitary adenoma is difficult and requires specialist neuroradiology input and consideration, especially in the MEN1 setting. It is important to note that the vast majority of GHRH-secreting tumours (lung, pancreas, phaeochromocytoma) are expected to be visible on cross-sectional imaging (median diameter 55 mm) (1). Therefore, we suggest that a chest X-ray and an abdominal ultrasound checking the adrenal glands and the pancreas should be included in the routine work-up of newly diagnosed acromegaly patients.

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Le Tuan Linh Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam
Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Nguyen Minh Duc Department of Radiology, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
Department of Radiology, Childrent’s Hospital 2, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

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Hoang Tu Minh Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Nguyen Ngoc Cuong Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Vuong Thu Ha Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Dao-Thi Luan Department of Pathology, Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Thieu-Thi Tra My Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Bui Van Lenh Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam
Department of Radiology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Summary

Primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumor (PHNET) is a rare type of neuroendocrine tumor (NET) that is also a primary hepatic tumor. Patients are present with almost no specific clinical symptoms and typically present with negative test results and atypical imaging characteristics; therefore, the differentiation of PHNET from other types of primary hepatic masses can be very difficult. In this article, we describe a case of PHNET that mimicked a liver helminth infection in a 57-year-old man. The diagnosis of PHNET in this patient was challenging, and the final diagnosis was based on imaging, histopathology features, and long-term follow-up.

Learning points

  • An uncommon type of neuroendocrine tumor (NET) is a primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumor (PHNET).

  • Primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumors are rare NET lesions found in the liver, characterized by non-specific clinical and imaging results, which can be easily confused with other liver lesions, including HCC and parasitic lesions.

  • To have a conclusive diagnosis and classification, a mixture of many medical assessment techniques, such as imaging, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, anatomy, including histopathology, and immunohistochemistry, is essential.

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Ziadoon Faisal Department of General Medicine, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

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Miguel Debono Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Summary

In this case report, we describe the management of a patient who was admitted with an ectopic ACTH syndrome during the COVID pandemic with new-onset type 2 diabetes, neutrophilia and unexplained hypokalaemia. These three findings when combined should alert physicians to the potential presence of Cushing’s syndrome (CS). On admission, a quick diagnosis of CS was made based on clinical and biochemical features and the patient was treated urgently using high dose oral metyrapone thus allowing delays in surgery and rapidly improving the patient’s clinical condition. This resulted in the treatment of hyperglycaemia, hypokalaemia and hypertension reducing cardiovascular risk and likely risk for infection. Observing COVID-19 pandemic international guidelines to treat patients with CS has shown to be effective and offers endocrinologists an option to manage these patients adequately in difficult times.

Learning points

  • This case report highlights the importance of having a low threshold for suspicion and investigation for Cushing’s syndrome in a patient with neutrophilia and hypokalaemia, recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes especially in someone with catabolic features of the disease irrespective of losing weight.

  • It also supports the use of alternative methods of approaching the diagnosis and treatment of Cushing’s syndrome during a pandemic as indicated by international protocols designed specifically for managing this condition during Covid-19.

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Joana Lima Ferreira Department of Endocrinology, Hospital Pedro Hispano, Matosinhos Local Health Unit, Matosinhos, Portugal

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Bernardo Marques Department of Endocrinology, Instituto Português de Oncologia de Coimbra Francisco Gentil, Coimbra, Portugal

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C Willemien Menke-van der Houven van Oordt Department of Medical Oncology, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Medical Center, Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Wouter W de Herder Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, ENETS Center of Excellence, Erasmus Cancer Institute, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Tessa Brabander Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, ENETS Center of Excellence, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Johannes Hofland Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, ENETS Center of Excellence, Erasmus Cancer Institute, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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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
Sarah Y Qian Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Matthew J L Hare Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Alan Pham Department of Anatomical Pathology, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Duncan J Topliss Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

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Summary

Insulinomas are rare neuroendocrine tumours that classically present with fasting hypoglycaemia. This case report discusses an uncommon and challenging case of insulinoma soon after upper gastrointestinal surgery. A 63-year-old man presented with 6 months of post-prandial hypoglycaemia beginning after a laparoscopic revision of Toupet fundoplication. Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was confirmed during a spontaneous episode and in a mixed-meal test. Localisation studies including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and gallium dotatate positron emission tomography (68Ga Dotatate PET) were consistent with a small insulinoma in the mid-body of the pancreas. The lesion was excised and histopathology was confirmed a localised well-differentiated neuroendocrine pancreatic neoplasm. There have been no significant episodes of hypoglycaemia since. This case highlights several key points. Insulinoma should be sought in proven post-prandial hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia – even in the absence of fasting hypoglycaemia. The use of nuclear imaging targeting somatostatin and GLP1 receptors has improved accuracy of localisation. Despite these advances, accurate surgical resection can remain challenging.

Learning points:

  • Hypoglycaemia is defined by Whipple’s triad and can be provoked by fasting or mixed-meal tests.

  • Although uncommon, insulinomas can present with post-prandial hypoglycaemia.

  • In hypoglycaemia following gastrointestinal surgery (i.e. bariatric surgery or less commonly Nissen fundoplication) dumping syndrome or non-insulinoma pancreatogenous hypoglycaemia syndrome (NIPHS) should be considered.

  • Improved imaging techniques including MRI, endoscopic ultrasound and functional nuclear medicine scans aid localisation of insulinomas.

  • Despite advances in imaging and surgical techniques, accurate resection of insulinomas remains challenging.

Open access