Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 44 items for :

  • All content x
Clear All
Open access

L M Mermejo, F G Carvalho, C A F Molina, S Tucci, V F Muglia, J Elias, P C L Elias, M Castro, and A C Moreira

Summary

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a malignant disorder with rapid evolution and severe prognosis in adults and most produce cortisol and androgen. Estrogen-secreting adrenocortical carcinomas are extremely rare, especially in women, tend to be larger and have worse prognosis compared with other types of ACCs. We report the case of a 58-year-old woman who presented with bilateral breast enlargement and postmenopausal genital bleeding. She presented high estradiol (818 pg/mL – 25 times above upper normal limit for postmenopausal women) and testosterone (158 ng/dL – 2 times above upper normal limit) levels and no suppression of cortisol after overnight 1 mg dexamethasone test (12.5 µg/dL; normal reference value: < 1.8 µg/dL). The patient had no clinical features of cortisol excess. MRI showed a 12 cm tumor in the right adrenal. Clinical findings of bilateral breast enlargement and postmenopausal genital bleeding with no signs of hypercortisolism associated with hormonal findings of elevated estradiol and testosterone levels would indicate either an ovarian etiology or an adrenal etiology; however, in the context of plasma cortisol levels non-suppressive after dexamethasone test and the confirmation of an adrenal tumor by MRI, the diagnosis of an adrenal tumor with mixed hormonal secretion was made. The patient underwent an open right adrenalectomy and pathological examination revealed an ACC with a Weiss’ score of 6. Estradiol and testosterone levels decreased to normal range soon after surgery. She was put on mitotane treatment as adjuvant therapy, but due to side effects, we were unable to up-titrate the dose and she never achieved serum mitotane dosage above the desired 14 µg/mL. The patient remained in good health without any local recurrence or metastasis until 5 years after surgery, when increased levels of estradiol (81 pg/mL – 2.5 times above upper normal limit) and testosterone (170 ng/dL – 2.1 times above upper normal limit) were detected. MRI revealed a retroperitoneal nodule measuring 1.8 × 1.2 cm. The pathological finding confirmed the recurrence of the estrogen-secreting ACC with a Weiss’ score of 6. After the second procedure, patient achieved normal estrogen and androgen serum levels and since then she has been followed for 3 years. The overall survival was 8 years after the diagnosis. In conclusion, although extremely rare, a diagnosis of an estrogen-secreting ACC should be considered as an etiology in postmenopausal women presenting with bilateral breast enlargement, genital bleeding and increased pure or prevailing estrogen secretion.

Learning points:

  • Estrogen-secreting adrenocortical carcinomas are exceedingly rare in adults and account for 1−2% of adrenocortical carcinomas.
  • Estrogen-secreting adrenal tumors can be present in females, but are even more rare, we found few cases described in the literature. In women, they present with precocious puberty or postmenopausal bleeding.
  • Feminization in the context of an adrenal tumor is considered almost pathognomonic of malignancy. Feminizing ACCs tend to be larger and with worse prognosis compared with nonfeminizing ACCs.
Open access

John J Orrego and Joseph A Chorny

Summary

We describe a 56-year-old postmenopausal woman with hypertension, hypokalemia and severe alopecia who was found to have a 4.5-cm lipid-poor left adrenal mass on CT scan performed to evaluate her chronic right-sided abdominal pain. Hormonal studies revealed unequivocal evidence of primary aldosteronism and subclinical hypercortisolemia of adrenal origin. Although a laparoscopic left adrenalectomy rendered her normotensive, normokalemic and adrenal insufficient for 2.5 years, her alopecia did not improve and she later presented with facial hyperpigmentation acne, worsening hirsutism, clitoromegaly, and an estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Further testing demonstrated markedly elevated serum androstenedione and total and free testosterone and persistently undetectable DHEAS levels. As biochemical and radiologic studies ruled out primary adrenal malignancy and obvious ovarian neoplasms, a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy was undertaken, which revealed bilateral ovarian hyperthecosis. This case highlights how the clinical manifestations associated with hyperaldosteronism and hypercortisolemia masqueraded the hyperandrogenic findings. It was only when her severe alopecia failed to improve after the resolution of hypercortisolism, hyperandrogenic manifestations worsened despite adrenal insufficiency and an estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer was found, did it becomes apparent that her symptoms were due to ovarian hyperthecosis.

Learning points:

  • As cortisol cosecretion appears to be highly prevalent in patients with primary aldosteronism, the term ‘Connshing’ syndrome has been suggested.
  • The associated subclinical hypercortisolemia could be the driver for the increased metabolic alterations seen in patients with Conn syndrome.
  • The identification of these dual secretors before adrenal venous sampling could alert the clinician about possible equivocal test results.
  • The identification of these dual secretors before unilateral adrenalectomy could avoid unexpected postoperative adrenal crises.
  • Hyperfunctioning adrenal and ovarian lesions can coexist, and the clinical manifestations associated with hypercortisolemia can masquerade the hyperandrogenic findings.
Open access

Shuhei Baba, Arina Miyoshi, Shinji Obara, Hiroaki Usubuchi, Satoshi Terae, Masao Sunahara, Takahiro Oshima, Kazuhito Misawa, Takahiro Tsuji, Bunya Takahashi, Yuto Yamazaki, Hironobu Sasano, and Norio Wada

Summary

A 31-year-old man with Williams syndrome (WS) was referred to our hospital because of a 9-year history of hypertension, hypokalemia, and high plasma aldosterone concentration to renin activity ratio. A diagnosis of primary aldosteronism (PA) was clinically confirmed but an abdominal CT scan showed no abnormal findings in his adrenal glands. However, a 13-mm hypervascular tumor in the posterosuperior segment of the right hepatic lobe was detected. Adrenal venous sampling (AVS) subsequently revealed the presence of an extended tributary of the right adrenal vein to the liver surrounding the tumor. Segmental AVS further demonstrated a high plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC) in the right superior tributary vein draining the tumor. Laparoscopic partial hepatectomy was performed. The resected tumor histologically separated from the liver was composed of clear cells, immunohistochemically positive for aldesterone synthase (CYP11B2), and subsequently diagnosed as aldosterone-producing adrenal adenoma. After surgery, his blood pressure, serum potassium level, plasma renin activity and PAC were normalized. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of WS associated with PA. WS harbors a high prevalence of hypertension and therefore PA should be considered when managing the patients with WS and hypertension. In this case, the CT findings alone could not differentiate the adrenal rest tumor. Our case, therefore, highlights the usefulness of segmental AVS to distinguish adrenal tumors from hepatic adrenal rest tumors.

Learning points:

  • Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic disorder, characterized by a constellation of medical and cognitive findings, with a hallmark feature of generalized arteriopathy presenting as stenoses of elastic arteries and hypertension.
  • WS is a disease with a high frequency of hypertension but the renin-aldosterone system in WS cases has not been studied at all.
  • If a patient with WS had hypertension and severe hypokalemia, low PRA and high ARR, the coexistence of primary aldosteronism (PA) should be considered.
  • Adrenal rest tumors are thought to arise from aberrant adrenal tissues and are a rare cause of PA.
  • Hepatic adrenal rest tumor (HART) should be considered in the differential diagnosis when detecting a mass in the right hepatic lobe.
  • Segmental adrenal venous sampling could contribute to distinguish adrenal tumors from HART.
Open access

Beryl Stütz, Marta Korbonits, Karl Kothbauer, Werner Müller, and Stefan Fischli

Summary

The coincidence of a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma and a pituitary adenoma in the same patient is a rare condition. In the last few years SDHx and MAX mutations have been identified and discussed as a potential causal connection in cases of coincidence. We describe a case of a middle-aged female patient which presented with acromegaly, a growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma and a symptomatic neck paraganglioma. The patient was cured by surgery from both the pituitary tumour and the paraganglioma and is well after ten years follow-up. Due to the unusual coexistence of two neuroendocrine tumours, further molecular genetic testing was performed which revealed a variant in the TMEM127 gene (c245-10C>G).

Learning points:

  • Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and coexisting functioning pituitary adenoma are a very rare condition. An appropriate treatment of each tumour entity with a multi-disciplinary approach and regular follow-up is needed.
  • The possibility of a hereditary disease should be considered and genetic workup is recommended. Genetic testing should focus primarily on the genes with mutations related to pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.
  • Next-generation sequencing with multi-gene panel testing is the currently suggested strategy.
  • Genes associated with paragangliomas and pituitary adenomas are SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, MAX and MEN1, while case reports with VHL, RET and NF1 may represent coincidences.
  • Variants of uncertain significance may need ongoing vigilance, in case novel data become available of these variants.
Open access

Pratima Herle, Steven Boyages, Rina Hui, Najmun Nahar, and Nicholas K Ngui

Summary

In most developed countries, breast carcinoma is the most common malignancy in women and while thyroid cancer is less common, its incidence is almost three to five times greater in women than in men. Since 1966, studies have demonstrated an association between thyroid and breast cancer and despite these studies, the mechanism/s by which they are related, remains unclear. We present a case of a 56-year-old lady who initially presented in 2014 with a screen detected left breast carcinoma but was subsequently found to have occult metastatic thyroid cancer to the axilla, diagnosed from a sentinel node biopsy from the primary breast procedure. The patient underwent a left mastectomy, left axillary dissection and total thyroidectomy followed by three courses of radioactive iodine ablation. Despite this, her thyroglobulin level continued to increase, which was secondary to a metastatic thyroid cancer parasternal metastasis. Breast and thyroid cancer presents metachronously or synchronously more often than by chance. With improving mortality in primary cancers, such as breast and differentiated thyroid cancer, it is likely that as clinicians, we will continue to encounter this association in practice.

Learning points:

  • There has been a long-standing observation of an association between breast and thyroid cancer although the exact mechanism of this association remains unclear.
  • Our patient presented with thyroid cancer with an incidental diagnosis from a sentinel node biopsy during her primary breast operation for breast cancer and was also found to have a parasternal distant bony metastasis.
  • Thyroid axillary metastases are generally rare.
  • The interesting nature in which this patient’s metastatic thyroid carcinoma behaved more like a breast carcinoma highlights a correlation between these two cancers.
  • With improving mortality in these primary cancers, clinicians are likely to encounter this association in clinical practice.
  • Systemic therapy for metastatic breast and thyroid cancers differ and therefore a clear diagnosis of metastasis is crucial.
Open access

Skand Shekhar, Rasha Haykal, Crystal Kamilaris, Constantine A Stratakis, and Fady Hannah-Shmouni

Summary

A 29-year-old primigravida woman with a known history of primary aldosteronism due to a right aldosteronoma presented with uncontrolled hypertension at 5 weeks of estimated gestation of a spontaneous pregnancy. Her hypertension was inadequately controlled with pharmacotherapy which lead to the consideration of surgical management for her primary aldosteronism. She underwent curative right unilateral adrenalectomy at 19 weeks of estimated gestational age. The procedure was uncomplicated, and her blood pressure normalized post-operatively. She did, however, have a preterm delivery by cesarean section due to intrauterine growth retardation with good neonatal outcome. She is normotensive to date.

Learning points:

  • Primary aldosteronism is the most common etiology of secondary hypertension with an estimated prevalence of 5–10% in the hypertensive population.
  • It is important to recognize the subtypes of primary aldosteronism given that certain forms can be treated surgically.
  • Hypertension in pregnancy is associated with significantly higher maternal and fetal complications.
  • Data regarding the treatment of primary aldosteronism in pregnancy are limited.
  • Adrenalectomy can be considered during the second trimester of pregnancy if medical therapy fails to adequately control hypertension from primary aldosteronism.
Open access

J Pedro, F M Cunha, V Neto, V Hespanhol, D F Martins, S Guimarães, A Varela, and D Carvalho

Summary

We describe the case of a 56 year-old woman with the almost simultaneous appearance of diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) and a carotid body paraganglioma. Of interest, 6 years earlier, the patient underwent total thyroidectomy due to papillary thyroid carcinoma and, in the meantime, she was submitted to mastectomy to treat an invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. In order to explain these lesions, an extensive genetic study was performed. Results showed positivity for the presence of the tumor suppressor gene PALB2, whose presence had already been detected in a niece with breast cancer. The patient underwent different procedures to treat the lesions and currently she is symptom-free over 2 years of follow-up.

Learning points:

  • The presence of two rare neoplasms in a single person should raise the suspicion of a common etiology.
  • To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case that shows the coexistence of DIPNECH and paraganglioma.
  • The contribution of the PALB2 gene in the etiology of these rare neoplasms is a possibility.
Open access

Rachel Wurth, Crystal Kamilaris, Naris Nilubol, Samira M Sadowski, Annabel Berthon, Martha M Quezado, Fabio R Faucz, Constantine A Stratakis, and Fady Hannah-Shmouni

Summary

Primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (PBMAH) is a rare cause of ACTH-independent Cushing syndrome (CS). This condition is characterized by glucocorticoid and/or mineralocorticoid excess, and is commonly regulated by aberrant G-protein coupled receptor expression may be subclinical, allowing the disease to progress for years undetected. Inhibin A is a glycoprotein hormone and tumor marker produced by certain endocrine glands including the adrenal cortex, which has not been previously investigated as a potential tumor marker for PBMAH. In the present report, serum inhibin A levels were evaluated in three patients with PBMAH before and after adrenalectomy. In all cases, serum inhibin A was elevated preoperatively and subsequently fell within the normal range after adrenalectomy. Additionally, adrenal tissues stained positive for inhibin A. We conclude that serum inhibin A levels may be a potential tumor marker for PBMAH.

Learning points:

  • PBMAH is a rare cause of CS.
  • PBMAH may have an insidious presentation, allowing the disease to progress for years prior to diagnosis.
  • Inhibin A is a heterodimeric glycoprotein hormone expressed in the gonads and adrenal cortex.
  • Inhibin A serum concentrations are elevated in some patients with PBMAH, suggesting the potential use of this hormone as a tumor marker.
  • Further exploration of serum inhibin A concentration, as it relates to PBMAH disease progression, is warranted to determine if this hormone could serve as an early detection marker and/or predictor of successful surgical treatment.
Open access

Taieb Ach, Perrine Wojewoda, Flora Toullet, Roxane Ducloux, and Véronique Avérous

Summary

Multiple endocrine metastases are a rare but possible complication of lung adenocarcinoma (LAC). Pituitary metastasis is a rare condition with poor clinical expression. Diabetes insipidus (DI) is its most common presenting symptom. Here we report an original case of a pituitary stalk (PS) metastasis from LAC presenting as central DI followed by adrenal insufficiency (AI) from bilateral adrenal metastasis, without known evidence of the primary malignancy. A 45-year-old woman whose first clinical manifestations were polyuria and polydipsia was admitted. She was completely asymptomatic with no cough, no weight loss or anorexia. Chest radiography was normal. Brain MRI showed a thick pituitary stalk (PS). DI was confirmed by water restriction test and treated with vasopressin with great clinical results. Explorations for systemic and infectious disease were negative. Few months later, an acute AI led to discovering bilateral adrenal mass on abdominal CT. A suspicious 2.3 cm apical lung nodule was found later. Histopathological adrenal biopsy revealed an LAC. The patient received systemic chemotherapy with hormonal replacement for endocrinological failures by both vasopressin and hydrocortisone. We present this rare case of metastatic PS thickness arising from LAC associated with bilateral adrenal metastasis. Screening of patients with DI and stalk thickness for lung and breast cancer must be considered. Multiple endocrine failures as a diagnostic motive of LAC is a rare but possible circumstance.

Learning points:

  • Adrenal metastasis is a common location in lung adenocarcinoma; however, metastatic involvement of the pituitary stalk remains a rare occurrence, especially as a leading presentation to diagnose lung cancer.
  • The posterior pituitary and the infundibulum are the preferential sites for metastases, as they receive direct arterial blood supply from hypophyseal arteries.
  • Patients diagnosed with diabetes insipidus due to pituitary stalk thickness should be considered as a metastasis, after exclusion of the classical systemic and infectious diseases.
  • The diagnosis of an endocrinological metastatic primary lung adenocarcinoma for patients without respiratory symptoms is often delayed due to a lack of correlation between endocrinological symptoms and lung cancer.
  • The main originality of our case is the concomitant diagnosis of both endocrinological failures, as it was initiated with a diabetes insipidus and followed by an acute adrenal insufficiency.
Open access

Impana Shetty, Sarah Fuller, Margarita Raygada, Maria J Merino, B J Thomas, Brigitte C Widemann, Karlyne M Reilly, Karel Pacak, and Jaydira Del Rivero

Summary

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an aggressive cancer that originates in the cortex of the adrenal gland and generally has a poor prognosis. ACC is rare but can be more commonly seen in those with cancer predisposition syndromes (e.g. Li-Fraumeni and Lynch Syndrome). The diagnosis of ACC is sometimes uncertain and it requires the use of precise molecular pathology; the differential diagnosis includes pheochromocytoma, adrenal adenoma, renal carcinoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma. We describe a case of a 57-year-old woman with Lynch Syndrome and metastatic ACC who was initially diagnosed as having pheochromocytoma. The tumor was first identified at 51 years of age by ultrasound followed by a CT scan. She underwent a left adrenalectomy, and the histopathology identified pheochromocytoma. Two years later, she had tumor recurrence with imaging studies showing multiple lung nodules. Following a wedge resection by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), histopathology was read as metastatic pheochromocytoma at one institution and metastatic ACC at another institution. She later presented to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where the diagnosis of ACC was confirmed. Following her ACC diagnosis, she was treated with mitotane and pembrolizumab which were stopped due to side effects and progression of disease. She is currently receiving etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (EDP). This case highlights the importance of using a multi-disciplinary approach in patient care. Thorough evaluation of the tumor’s pathology and analysis of the patient’s genetic profile are necessary to obtain the correct diagnosis for the patient and can significantly influence the course of treatment.

Learning points:

  • Making the diagnosis of ACC can be difficult as the differential diagnosis includes pheochromocytoma, adrenal adenoma, renal carcinoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Patients with Lynch Syndrome should undergo surveillance for ACC as there is evidence of an association between Lynch Syndrome and ACC.
  • Conducting a complete tumor immunoprofile and obtaining a second opinion is very important in cases of suspected ACC in order to confirm the proper diagnosis.
  • A multi-disciplinary approach including genetic testing and a thorough evaluation of the tumor’s pathology is imperative to ensuring that the patient receives an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.