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Open access

Matthew Seymour, Thomas Robertson, Jason Papacostas, Kirk Morris, Jennifer Gillespie, Debra Norris, and Emma L Duncan

Summary

A 34-year-old woman presented 18 months post-partum with blurred vision, polyuria, amenorrhoea, headache and general malaise. Comprehensive clinical examination showed left superior temporal visual loss only. Initial investigations revealed panhypopituitarism and MRI demonstrated a sellar mass involving the infundibulum and hypothalamus. Lymphocytic hypophysitis was suspected and high dose glucocorticoids were commenced along with desmopressin and thyroxine. However, her vision rapidly deteriorated. At surgical biopsy, an irresectable grey amorphous mass involving the optic chiasm was identified. Histopathology was initially reported as granulomatous hypophysitis. Despite the ongoing treatment with glucocorticoids, her vision worsened to light detection only. Histopathological review revised the diagnosis to partially treated lymphoma. A PET scan demonstrated avid uptake in the pituitary gland in addition to splenic involvement, lymphadenopathy above and below the diaphragm, and a bone lesion. Excisional node biopsy of an impalpable infraclavicular lymph node confirmed nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. Hyper-CVAD chemotherapy was commenced, along with rituximab; fluid-balance management during chemotherapy (with its requisite large fluid volumes) was extremely complex given her diabetes insipidus. The patient is now in clinical remission. Panhypopituitarism persists; however, her vision has recovered sufficiently for reading large print and driving. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of Hodgkin lymphoma presenting initially as hypopituitarism.

Learning points

  • Lymphoma involving the pituitary is exceedingly rare and, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma presenting as hypopituitarism.

  • There are myriad causes of a sellar mass and this case highlights the importance of reconsidering the diagnosis when patients fail to respond as expected to appropriate therapeutic intervention.

  • This case highlights the difficulties associated with managing panhypopituitary patients receiving chemotherapy, particularly when this involves large volumes of i.v. hydration fluid.

Open access

Keita Tatsushima, Akira Takeshita, Shuji Fukata, Noriaki Fukuhara, Mitsuo Yamaguchi-Okada, Hiroshi Nishioka, and Yasuhiro Takeuchi

Summary

A 50-year-old woman with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)-producing pituitary adenoma (TSHoma) was diagnosed due to symptoms of thyrotoxicosis. Preoperatively, she showed thyrotoxicosis with the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of TSH (SITSH) and had a 5 cm nodule in her thyroid gland. Octreotide was administered preoperatively, which helped lower her serum TSH level but not her thyroid hormone level. These findings were atypical for a patient with TSHoma. The TSHoma was completely resected, and the TSH level dropped below the sensitivity limit shortly after surgery. Interestingly, however, thyroid hormone levels remained high. A clear clue to the aetiology was provided by consecutive thyroid scintigraphy. Although preoperative thyroid scintigraphy did not show a hot nodule and the mass was thought to be a non-functional thyroid nodule, the nodule was found to be hot in the postoperative phase of TSH suppression. By focusing on the atypical postoperative course of the TSHoma, we were able to conclude that this was a case of TSHoma combined with an autonomously functioning thyroid nodule (AFTN).

Learning points

  • The diagnosis of autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTNs) depends on suppressed serum TSH levels.

  • If thyroid hormones are resistant to somatostatin analogue therapy or surgery for TSHoma, complications of AFTN as well as destructive thyroiditis need to be considered.

  • It is important to revisit the basics when facing diagnostic difficulties and not to give up on understanding the pathology.

Open access

Rajiv Singh and Cynthia Mohandas

Summary

A phaeochromocytoma is a rare neuroendocrine tumour derived from the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. Tumours can produce excessive amounts of catecholamines. The presenting symptoms can vary but often include the classic triad of episodic headaches, sweating and palpitations. Due to catecholamine excess, patients can develop cardiomyopathy. Bradycardia and collapse could be the result of sinus node dysfunction or transient dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. Patients with co-existing diabetes can have improvement or resolution of their diabetes after successful adrenalectomy. We report a case of an 87-year-old lady who initially presented with sweating, palpitations and collapse, resulting in a permanent pacemaker insertion. She was later found to have a large adrenal incidentaloma with subsequent markedly elevated plasma metanephrine levels. She later presented with chest pain and in acute pulmonary oedema with normal coronary arteries visualised on coronary angiogram. After surgical excision of her phaeochromocytoma, her diabetes resolved with her HbA1c improving from 68 to 46 mmol/mol, with no further requirement for diabetic medications. Her pulmonary oedema improved with no ongoing need for diuretic therapy. This case highlights that phaeochromocytomas can affect multiple systems and there should be a very high index of suspicion in patients presenting with sweating, palpitations, hypertension and a history of diabetes and even in those with collapse.

Learning points

  • There should be a high index of suspicion for phaeochromocytomas in patients with palpitations, diaphoresis, anxiety, hypertension and diabetes.

  • Rarely phaeochromocytomas can present as bradycardia and collapse due to sinus node dysfunction or transient autonomic dysregulation and that should be considered in older patients.

  • Catecholamine cardiomyopathy can occur in phaeochromocytoma with potential resolution after successful surgical excision.

  • Diabetes can resolve after successful surgical treatment of a phaeochromocytoma.

Open access

Mimi Wong, Usman H Malabu, Ipeson Korah, and YongMong Tan

Summary

Whilst literature is expanding on pasireotide use in the management of Cushing’s disease (CD), there is still currently much unknown about long-term and low-dose pasireotide use in CD. We present a 60-year-old female with residual CD after transphenoidal surgery (TSS), being successfully managed with S.C. pasireotide for over 10 years. For 6 years, her S.C. pasireotide was inadvertently administered at 360 µg twice daily (BID), almost half the recommended dose of 600 µg BID. Despite the low-dose, her urinary free cortisol (UFC) normalised within 6 months and Cushingoid features resolved. She remained in biochemical and clinical remission on the same low-dose for 6 years, before a medication audit discovered her mistaken dose and directed her to take 600 µg BID. With the higher dose 600 µg BID for the next 5 years, her glycaemia worsened without any changes in her UFC and residual tumour volume. Our case showed the continuing effectiveness and safety of treatment with S.C. pasireotide for more than 10 years, and that a low-dose regimen may be considered an option for responders by its safety profile.

Learning points:

  • A lower dose of pasireotide may be effective in the initial treatment of CD than the recommended 600 µg BID dosage, though more studies are required to explore this.

  • Low-dose pasireotide use has the benefit of minimising adverse effects.

  • In the long-term, pasireotide has a sustained clinical and biochemical effect and is well tolerated.

Open access

Omayma Elshafie and Nicholas Woodhouse

Summary

A 79-year-old male presented with a 10-year history of intermittent headache, sweating, persistent hand numbness and uncontrolled hypertension. He was receiving Nifedipine and Hydrochorothizide. On examination (O/E), his BP was 180/100 he was acromegalic. His growth hormone (GH) was 10 mIU/L (0.0–0.1) and his insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1): 952 µg/L (76–160). An MRI of the pituitary revealed a 3 × 2 cm pituitary macroadenoma. Surgery was refused and the family agreed for a therapeutic trial of octreotide. His GH levels fell immediately. Two weeks later he was switched to long-acting monthly octreotide in September 2003. During his 16-year follow-up, he has remained well and asymptomatic off medications for hypertension. His BP and IGF-1 levels were also normal until octreotide Long acting (LA) octrotide was stopped for 3 months at age 96. During this period the IGF-1 level returned to pretreatment levels 500 ng/L (50–141), GH 24 mIU/L (0.0–0.1), and a small residual tumour 0.5–0.8 cm was seen on the MRI. Octreotide LA was restarted and the IGF-1 and GH levels returned to normal. He continues the same treatment to date age 97 without side effects. We conclude that the successful control of IGF-1, GH levels, hypertension, tumour size and clinical symptoms for more than 16 years occurred using octreotide LA in an elderly advanced acromegalic patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the successful use of octreotide LA for more than 16 years.

Learning points:

  • The value of a therapeutic trial of octreotide to identify responders.

  • Control of GH and IGF-1 secretion using octreotide LA.

  • The report of the successful use of octreotide for more than 16 years irrespective of age.

Open access

Satyanarayana V Sagi, Hareesh Joshi, Jamie Trotman, Terence Elsey, Ashwini Swamy, Jeyanthy Rajkanna, Nazir A Bhat, Firas J S Haddadin, Samson O Oyibo, and Soo-Mi Park

Summary

Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH) is a dominantly inherited, lifelong benign disorder characterised by asymptomatic hypercalcaemia, relative hypocalciuria and variable parathyroid hormone levels. It is caused by loss-of-function pathogenic variants in the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene. Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is characterised by variable hypercalcaemia in the context of non-suppressed parathyroid hormone levels. Unlike patients with FHH, patients with severe hypercalcaemia due to PHPT are usually symptomatic and are at risk of end-organ damage affecting the kidneys, bone, heart, gastrointestinal system and CNS. Surgical resection of the offending parathyroid gland(s) is the treatment of choice for PHPT, while dietary adjustment and reassurance is the mainstay of management for patients with FHH. The occurrence of both FHH and primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) in the same patient has been described. We report an interesting case of FHH due to a novel CASR variant confirmed in a mother and her two daughters and the possible coexistence of FHH and PHPT in the mother, highlighting the challenges involved in diagnosis and management.

Learning points:

  • Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH) and primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) can coexist in the same patient.

  • Urinary calcium creatinine clearance ratio can play a role in distinguishing between PHPT and FHH.

  • Genetic testing should be considered in managing patients with PHPT and FHH where the benefit may extend to the wider family.

  • Family segregation studies can play an important role in the reclassification of variants of uncertain significance.

  • Parathyroidectomy has no benefit in patients with FHH and therefore, it is important to exclude FHH prior to considering surgery.

  • For patients with coexisting FHH and PHPT, parathyroidectomy will reduce the risk of complications from the severe hypercalcaemia associated with PHPT.

Open access

Tu Vinh Luong, Zaibun Nisa, Jennifer Watkins, and Aimee R Hayes

Summary

Colorectal poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are typically associated with poor outcomes. The mechanisms of their aggressiveness are still being investigated. Microsatellite instability (MSI) has recently been found in colorectal NECs showing aberrant methylation of the MLH1 gene and is associated with improved prognosis. We present a 76-year-old lady with an ascending colon tumour showing features of a pT3 N0 R0, large cell NEC (LCNEC) following right hemicolectomy. The adjacent mucosa showed a sessile serrated lesion (SSL) with low-grade dysplasia. Immunohistochemistry showed loss of expression for MLH1 and PMS2 in both the LCNEC and dysplastic SSL. Molecular analysis indicated the sporadic nature of the MLH1 mismatch repair (MMR) protein-deficient status. Our patient did not receive adjuvant therapy and she is alive and disease-free after 34 months follow-up. This finding, similar to early-stage MMR-deficient colorectal adenocarcinoma, is likely practice-changing and will be critical in guiding the appropriate treatment pathway for these patients. We propose that testing of MMR status become routine for early-stage colorectal NECs.

Learning points:

  • Colorectal poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are known to be aggressive and typically associated with poor outcomes.

  • A subset of colorectal NECs can display microsatellite instability (MSI) with mismatch repair (MMR) protein-deficient status.

  • MMR-deficient colorectal NECs have been found to have a better prognosis compared with MMR-proficient NECs.

  • MMR status can be detected using immunohistochemistry.

  • Immunohistochemistry for MMR status is routinely performed for colorectal adenocarcinomas.

  • Immunohistochemical expression of MMR protein and MSI analysis should be performed routinely for early-stage colorectal NECs in order to identify a subgroup of MMR-deficient NECs which are associated with a significantly more favourable prognosis.

Open access

Jane J Tellam, Ghusoon Abdulrasool, and Louise C H Ciin

Summary

Distinguishing primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) from familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH) can be challenging. Currently, 24-h urinary calcium is used to differentiate between the two conditions in vitamin D replete patients, with urinary calcium creatinine clearance ratio (UCCR) <0.01 suggestive of FHH and >0.02 supportive of PHPT. A 26-year-old Caucasian gentleman presented with recurrent mild hypercalcaemia and inappropriately normal parathyroid hormone (PTH) following previous parathyroidectomy 3 years prior. He had symptoms of fatigue and light-headedness. He did not have any other symptoms of hypercalcaemia. His previous evaluation appeared to be consistent with PHPT as evidenced by hypercalcaemia with inappropriately normal PTH and UCCR of 0.0118 (borderline low using guidelines of >0.01 consistent with PHPT). He underwent parathyroidectomy and three parathyroid glands were removed. His calcium briefly normalised after surgery, but rose again to pre-surgery levels within 3 months. Subsequently, he presented to our centre and repeated investigations showed 24-h urinary calcium of 4.6 mmol/day and UCCR of 0.0081 which prompted assessment for FHH. His calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene was sequenced and a rare inactivating variant was detected. This variant was described once previously in the literature. His mother was also confirmed to have mild hypercalcaemia with hypocalciuria and, on further enquiry, had the same CASR variant. The CASR variant was classified as likely pathogenic and is consistent with the diagnosis of FHH. This case highlights the challenges in differentiating FHH from PHPT. Accurate diagnosis is vital to prevent unnecessary surgical intervention in the FHH population and is not always straightforward.

Learning points:

  • Distinguishing FHH from PHPT with co-existing vitamin D deficiency is difficult as this can mimic FHH. Therefore, ensure patients are vitamin D replete prior to performing 24-h urinary calcium collection.

  • Individuals with borderline UCCR could have either FHH or PHPT. Consider performing CASR gene sequencing for UCCR between 0.01 and 0.02.

  • Parathyroid imaging is not required for making the diagnosis of PHPT. It is performed when surgery is considered after confirming the diagnosis of PHPT.

Open access

Bernardo Marques, Raquel G Martins, Guilherme Tralhão, Joana Couto, Sandra Saraiva, Henrique Ferrão, João Ribeiro, Jacinta Santos, Teresa Martins, Ana Teresa Cadime, and Fernando Rodrigues

Summary

Gastric neuroendocrine neoplasms (GNENs) are classified into three types according to their aetiology. We present a clinical case of a female patient of 66 years and a well-differentiated (grade 2), type 3 GNEN with late liver metastasis (LM). The patient underwent surgical excision of a gastric lesion at 50 years of age, without any type of follow-up. Sixteen years later, she was found to have a neuroendocrine tumour (NET) metastatic to the liver. The histological review of the gastric lesion previously removed confirmed that it was a NET measuring 8 mm, pT1NxMx (Ki67 = 4%). 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT reported two LM and a possible pancreatic tumour/gastric adenopathy. Biopsies of the lesion were repeatedly inconclusive. She had a high chromogranin A, normal gastrin levels and negative anti-parietal cell and intrinsic factor antibodies, which is suggestive of type 3 GNEN. She underwent total gastrectomy and liver segmentectomies (segment IV and VII) with proven metastasis in two perigastric lymph nodes and both with hepatic lesions (Ki67 = 5%), yet no evidence of local recurrence. A 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT was performed 3 months after surgery, showing no tumour lesions and normalisation of CgA. Two years after surgery, the patient had no evidence of disease. This case illustrates a rare situation, being a type 3, well-differentiated (grade 2) GNEN, with late LM. Despite this, it was possible to perform surgery with curative intent, which is crucial in these cases, as systemic therapies have limited efficacy. We emphasise the need for extended follow-up in these patients.

Learning points:

  • GNENs have a very heterogeneous biological behaviour.

  • Clinical distinction between the three types of GNEN is essential to plan the correct management strategy.

  • LMs are rare and more common in type 3 and grade 3 GNEN.

  • Adequate follow-up is crucial for detection of disease recurrence.

  • Curative intent surgery is the optimal therapy for patients with limited and resectable LM, especially in well-differentiated tumours (grade 1 and 2).

Open access

Lourdes Balcázar-Hernández, Guadalupe Vargas-Ortega, Yelitza Valverde-García, Victoria Mendoza-Zubieta, and Baldomero González-Virla

Summary

The craniopharyngiomas are solid cystic suprasellar tumors that can present extension to adjacent structures, conditioning pituitary and hypothalamic dysfunction. Within hypothalamic neuroendocrine dysfunction, we can find obesity, behavioral changes, disturbed circadian rhythm and sleep irregularities, imbalances in the regulation of body temperature, thirst, heart rate and/or blood pressure and alterations in dietary intake (like anorexia). We present a rare case of anorexia–cachexia syndrome like a manifestation of neuroendocrine dysfunction in a patient with a papillary craniopharyngioma. Anorexia–cachexia syndrome is a complex metabolic process associated with underlying illness and characterized by loss of muscle with or without loss of fat mass and can occur in a number of diseases like cancer neoplasm, non-cancer neoplasm, chronic disease or immunodeficiency states like HIV/AIDS. The role of cytokines and anorexigenic and orexigenic peptides are important in the etiology. The anorexia–cachexia syndrome is a clinical entity rarely described in the literature and it leads to important function limitation, comorbidities and worsening prognosis.

Learning points:

  • Suprasellar lesions can result in pituitary and hypothalamic dysfunction.

  • The hypothalamic neuroendocrine dysfunction is commonly related with obesity, behavioral changes, disturbed circadian rhythm and sleep irregularities, but rarely with anorexia–cachexia.

  • Anorexia–cachexia syndrome is a metabolic process associated with loss of muscle, with or without loss of fat mass, in a patient with neoplasm, chronic disease or immunodeficiency states.

  • Anorexia–cachexia syndrome results in important function limitation, comorbidities that influence negatively on treatment, progressive clinical deterioration and bad prognosis that can lead the patient to death.

  • Anorexia–cachexia syndrome should be suspected in patients with emaciation and hypothalamic lesions.