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Open access

Michele Fosci, Francesca Pigliaru, Antonio Stefano Salcuni, Massimo Ghiani, Maria Valeria Cherchi, Maria Antonietta Calia, Andrea Loviselli, and Fernanda Velluzzi

Summary

A 62-year-old patient with metastatic hypopharyngeal carcinoma underwent treatment with nivolumab, following which he developed symptoms suggestive of diabetes insipidus. Nivolumab was stopped and therapy with methylprednisolone was started. During corticosteroid therapy, the patient presented himself in poor health condition with fungal infection and glycemic decompensation. Methylprednisolone dose was tapered off, leading to the resolution of mycosis and the restoration of glycemic compensation, nevertheless polyuria and polydipsia persisted. Increase in urine osmolarity after desmopressin administration was made diagnosing central diabetes insipidus as a possibility. The neuroradiological data by pituitary MRI scan with gadolinium was compatible with coexistence of metastatic localization and infundibulo-neurohypophysitis secondary to therapy with nivolumab. To define the exact etiology of the pituitary pathology, histological confirmation would have been necessary; however, unfortunately, it was not possible. In the absence of histological confirmation, we believe it is likely that both pathologies coexisted.

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Open access

Anda Mihaela Naciu, Martina Verri, Anna Crescenzi, Chiara Taffon, Filippo Longo, Luca Frasca, Gaia Tabacco, Lavinia Monte, Andrea Palermo, Pierfilippo Crucitti, and Roberto Cesareo

Summary

We present the case of a 47-year-old Caucasian previously healthy woman with a voluminous thyroid nodule occupying almost the entire anterior neck region. The lesion had progressively increased in size during the previous 3 months and the patient presented intermittent symptoms of dysphagia and odynophagia with a slight change in voice. Fine needle aspiration showed papillary carcinoma. Based on imaging and cytological findings, the patient underwent total thyroidectomy. The surgical sample revealed a totally enlarged thyroid gland (weight: 208 g) with the presence of a poly-lobulated lesion centrally located and involving the isthmus and both lobes. Hobnail features were present in more than 30% of the neoplastic cells in agreement with the criteria for this subtype. Psammoma bodies and focal necrosis were also present. The extra-thyroidal extension included strap muscles and peri-esophageal glands. Immunohistochemistry using VE1 antibody for detecting BRAF-V600E mutation resulted positive. The final diagnosis was papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) hobnail variant (HVPTC)-pT4a. The HVPTC is a rare entity and, in most cases, appears like a unifocal lesion with a maximum tumor size of 8 cm reported so far. To our knowledge, this represents the largest tumor ever described (14 cm), showing rapid growth and with multinodular goiter-like aspect.

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Open access

Simone Pederzoli, Giorgia Spaggiari, Giuditta Bernardelli, Francesco Mattioli, Cinzia Baldessari, Antonino Maiorana, Vincenzo Rochira, and Daniele Santi

Summary

We present the case of a 69-year-old woman who attended the Endocrinology Unit of Modena for a suspicious lymph node in the left cervical compartment discovered during the follow-up of a recurrent gynecological malignancy. At neck ultrasonography, a thyroid goiter was detected, and the further cytological examination was inconclusive for thyroid nodule and compatible with a localization of an adenocarcinoma with papillary architecture for the lymph node. The histological examination after a left neck dissection confirmed the presence of an intracapsular metastasis of a papillary carcinoma immunohistochemically focally positive for thyroid transcription factor 1 and paired box 8 and negative for thyroglobulin. Subsequently, in the suspicion of a thyroid primitiveness, a total thyroidectomy was performed, revealing an intraparenchymal follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma of 2 mm in the right lobe. During the follow-up, the appearance of a suspected cervical metastatic lesion led to another neck dissection, histologically compatible with a papillary carcinoma localization, immunohistochemically focally positive for thyroid transcription factor 1 and paired box 8, and negative for thyroglobulin. The histological revision of surgical specimens suggests the cervical recurrence of the prior gynecological cancer, rather than a thyroid carcinoma metastasis. The case described shows how carefully the cytological, histological and immunoistochemical results must be evaluated in oncological management, considering the whole patient’s history.

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Open access

Giuseppina Molinaro, Renato De Vecchis, Elio Badolati, and Raffaele Giannattasio

Summary

The authors examine several reports of the literature concerning thyrotoxic dilated cardiomyopathy. In particular, it is pointed out that this clinical manifestation of hyperthyroidism is rare in readily diagnosed and properly treated hyperthyroidism. Case reports are analyzed comparatively. A case deriving from the direct experience of the authors is also presented.

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Open access

Alessandro Prete, Giada Cosentino, Luca Manetti, Carlo Enrico Ambrosini, Piermarco Papini, Michele Marinò, Liborio Torregrossa, Claudio Marcocci, Rossella Elisei, and Isabella Lupi

Summary

In elderly patients presenting with a solid thyroid mass, the differential diagnosis between benign and malignant lesion is not always straightforward. We present the case of an 85-year-old woman with fever and an enlarged, firm and painful thyroid mass. Blood exams documented a mild thyrotoxicosis with a moderate inflammatory status. Thyroid scintiscan showed an absent uptake of 131I. Ultrasound and CT scan documented a 3 cm hypoechoic nodule with infiltration of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, very suspicious for neoplastic nature. Fine-needle aspiration and tru-cut biopsy were performed. During biopsy, the lesion was partially drained and a brownish fluid was extracted. The culture resulted positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae whereas the pathological analysis of the specimen was not conclusive due to the presence of an intense inflammatory response. A targeted oral antibiotic therapy was then initiated, obtaining only a partial response thus, in order to achieve a definite diagnosis, a minimally invasive hemithyroidectomy was performed. The pathological analysis documented acute suppurative thyroiditis and the clinical conditions of the patient significantly improved after surgical removal of thyroid abscess. In elderly patients with a solid thyroid mass, although neoplastic origin is quite frequent, acute suppurative thyroiditis should be considered as a differential diagnosis.

Learning points:

  • A solid and rapidly growing thyroid mass in elderly patients can hide a multifaceted variety of diseases, both benign and malign.
  • A multidisciplinary team (endocrinologist, surgeon, radiologist and pathologist) could be necessary in order to perform a correct differential diagnosis and therapeutic approach.
  • Surgery can be decisive not only to clarify a clinically uncertain diagnosis, but also to rapidly improve the clinical conditions of the patient.
Open access

Eriselda Profka, Giulia Rodari, Federico Giacchetti, Alfredo Berrettini, Gianantonio Manzoni, Valeria Daccò, Maura Arosio, Claudia Giavoli, and Carla Colombo

Summary

An 8-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis came to our attention for an empty scrotum. General physical examination showed a normal penis and hypoplastic scrotum with non-palpable testes bilaterally. Routine blood investigations showed low levels of LH, testosterone, inhibin B and antiMullerian hormone and elevated levels of FSH. Karyotype was normal. An abdominal ultrasound confirmed the absence of the testes into the scrotum, in the inguinal region and abdomen. At laparoscopy were noted bilaterally hypotrophic spermatic vessels, absence of the vas deferens and a closed inner ring. Inguinal exploration found out a small residual testis and histological examination showed fibrotic tissue. This is the first case of testicular atrophy associated to CFTR mutation described. The process that led to bilateral testicular and vas deferens atrophy remains unexplained, a possible influence of CFTR dysfunction cannot be ruled out, although it is possible that these conditions are independently associated.

Learning points:

  • Cystic fibrosis produces a multisystemic disease which can affect also the reproductive tract.
  • Nearly 97–98% of male patients are infertile because of congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens.
  • A correlation between cystic fibrosis and bilateral testicular atrophy could be possible.
Open access

Daniela Gallo, Sara Rosetti, Ilaria Marcon, Elisabetta Armiraglio, Antonina Parafioriti, Graziella Pinotti, Giuseppe Perrucchini, Bohdan Patera, Linda Gentile, Maria Laura Tanda, Luigi Bartalena, and Eliana Piantanida

Summary

Brown tumors are osteoclastic, benign lesions characterized by fibrotic stroma, intense vascularization and multinucleated giant cells. They are the terminal expression of the bone remodelling process occurring in advanced hyperparathyroidism. Nowadays, due to earlier diagnosis, primary hyperparathyroidism keeps few of the classical manifestations and brown tumors are definitely unexpected. Thus, it may happen that they are misdiagnosed as primary or metastatic bone cancer. Besides bone imaging, endocrine evaluation including measurement of serum parathyroid hormone and calcium (Ca) levels supports the pathologist to address the diagnosis. Herein, a case of multiple large brown tumors misdiagnosed as a non-treatable osteosarcoma is described, with special regards to diagnostic work-up. After selective parathyroidectomy, treatment with denosumab was initiated and a regular follow-up was established. The central role of multidisciplinary approach involving pathologist, endocrinologist and oncologist in the diagnostic and therapeutic work-up is reported. In our opinion, the discussion of this case would be functional especially for clinicians and pathologists not used to the differential diagnosis in uncommon bone disorders.

Learning points:

  • Brown tumors develop during the remodelling process of bone in advanced and long-lasting primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Although rare, they should be considered during the challenging diagnostic work-up of giant cell lesions.
  • Coexistence of high parathyroid hormone levels and hypercalcemia in primary hyperparathyroidism is crucial for the diagnosis.
  • A detailed imaging study includes bone X-ray, bone scintiscan and total body CT; to rule out bone malignancy, evaluation of bone lesion biopsy should include immunostaining for neoplastic markers as H3G34W and Ki67 index.
  • If primary hyperparathyroidism is confirmed, selective parathyroidectomy is the first-line treatment.
  • In advanced bone disease, treatment with denosumab should be considered, ensuring a strict control of Ca levels.
Open access

C Greco, G Brigante, E Taliani, S Corrado, M Simoni, and B Madeo

Summary

A 74-year-old man was referred to the Endocrinology Unit because of multinodular goiter. The dominant nodule (1.7 × 1.9 × 2.4 cm), at the medium-superior third of the left lobe, was inhomogeneously hypoechoic, with irregular margins, macrocalcifications and intranodular vascularization. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) was performed. The cytological diagnosis was TIR 2, benign, according to the 2013 Italian thyroid cytology classification system. Moderately high serum calcitonin (s-Ct) (61.5 pg/mL, n.r. 0–7.5) and normal CEA were detected. The Ct level in FNAB wash-out fluid (Ct-FNAB) was 1450 pg/mL. Based on s-Ct and Ct-FNAB levels, patient underwent total thyroidectomy. Macroscopically, a dominant circumscribed nodule of 2 ecm was described; the histological and immunohistochemical features identified medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) with paraganglioma (PG)-like pattern positive for Ct, CEA and chromogranin and negative for S-100 sustentacular cells (SC). Moreover, papillary carcinoma of 3 mm in the right lobe was also associated. No areas of hyperaccumulation of the tracer were documented at Ga68 PET/CT. No RET-proto-oncogene mutations were found. Post-surgery s-Ct levels were within normal range (4 pg/mL). Two years after thyroidectomy, the patient is still disease-free. We reported a case of sporadic and rare variant of MTC: this is the ninth described case of PG-like MTC. In this case, cytologically benign, the clinical suspicion arose from high Ct values at FNAB wash-out fluid. Even if clinical behavior of this variant seems indolent, additional studies are necessary to understand prognoses and predictive factors.

Learning points:

  • Several unusual histological variants of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) have been described such as spindle cell, giant cell, clear cell, melanotic, squamous, angiosarcoma-like variants; even rarer is the paraganglioma (PG)-like pattern.
  • We here describe a case of medullary PG-like thyroid carcinoma in a 74-year-old man. This is a rare histological variant of MTC hardly diagnosed by cytology, since immunohistochemical investigations are necessary.
  • Measurement of calcitonin both in serum and in wash-out fluid from fine-needle aspiration could be an additional tool for an early and non-invasive identification of these variants.
Open access

Alessandro Rossini, Francesca Perticone, Laura Frosio, Marco Schiavo Lena, and Roberto Lanzi

Summary

ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma is a very rare cause of Cushing’s syndrome, with a high morbidity and mortality risk due to both cortisol and catecholamines excess. We report the case of a 45-year-old female patient with a 3 cm, high-density, left adrenal mass, diagnosed as an ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma. The biochemical sensitivity of the tumor to somatostatin analogues was tested by a 100 μg s.c. octreotide administration, which led to an ACTH and cortisol reduction of 50 and 25% respectively. In addition to alpha and beta blockers, preoperative approach to laparoscopic adrenalectomy included octreotide, a somatostatin analogue, together with ketoconazole, in order to achieve an adequate pre-surgical control of cortisol release. Histopathological assessment confirmed an ACTH-secreting pheochromocytoma expressing type 2 and 5 somatostatin receptors (SSTR-2 and -5).

Learning points:

  • ACTH-secreting pheochromocytomas represent a rare and severe condition, characterized by high morbidity and mortality risk.
  • Surgical removal of the adrenal mass is the gold standard treatment, but adequate medical therapy is required preoperatively to improve the surgical outcome and to avoid major complications.
  • Somatostatin analogs, in addition to other medications, may represent a useful therapeutic option for the presurgical management of selected patients.
  • In this sense, the octreotide challenge test is a useful tool to predict favorable therapeutic response to the treatment.
Open access

Isabella Lupi, Alessandro Brancatella, Mirco Cosottini, Nicola Viola, Giulia Lanzolla, Daniele Sgrò, Giulia Di Dalmazi, Francesco Latrofa, Patrizio Caturegli, and Claudio Marcocci

Summary

Programmed cell death protein 1/programmed cell death protein ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4/B7 (CTLA-4/B7) pathways are key regulators in T-cell activation and tolerance. Nivolumab, pembrolizumab (PD-1 inhibitors), atezolizumab (PD-L1 inhibitor) and ipilimumab (CTLA-4 inhibitor) are monoclonal antibodies approved for treatment of several advanced cancers. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs)-related hypophysitis is described more frequently in patients treated with anti-CTLA-4; however, recent studies reported an increasing prevalence of anti-PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis which also exhibits slightly different clinical features. We report our experience on hypophysitis induced by anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 treatment. We present four cases, diagnosed in the past 12 months, of hypophysitis occurring in two patients receiving anti-PD-1, in one patient receiving anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 combined therapy and in one patient receiving anti-PD-L1. In this case series, timing, clinical presentation and association with other immune-related adverse events appeared to be extremely variable; central hypoadrenalism and hyponatremia were constantly detected although sellar magnetic resonance imaging did not reveal specific signs of pituitary inflammation. These differences highlight the complexity of ICI-related hypophysitis and the existence of different mechanisms of action leading to heterogeneity of clinical presentation in patients receiving immunotherapy.

Learning points:

  • PD-1/PD-L1 blockade can induce hypophysitis with a different clinical presentation when compared to CTLA-4 blockade.
  • Diagnosis of PD-1/PD-L1 induced hypophysitis is mainly made on clinical grounds and sellar MRI does not show radiological abnormalities.
  • Hyponatremia due to acute secondary adrenal insufficiency is often the principal sign of PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis and can be masked by other symptoms due to oncologic disease.
  • PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis can present as an isolated manifestation of irAEs or be in association with other autoimmune diseases