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Iris Dirven Department of Endocrinology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

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Bert Bravenboer Department of Endocrinology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

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Steven Raeymaeckers Department of Radiology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

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Corina E Andreescu Department of Endocrinology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

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Summary

The Covid-19 vaccination has been rapidly implemented among patients with cancer. We present two cases of patients with endocrine tumours who developed lymphadenopathy following a Covid-19 vaccination. In the case of a patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) 1 syndrome, an 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG)-PET/CT showed positive axillary lymph nodes. Further work-up with fine needle aspiration showed a reactive pattern following a Covid-19 vaccination in the ipsilateral arm shortly before the 18FDG-PET/CT. A second patient, in follow-up for thyroid cancer, developed clinical supraclavicular lymphadenopathy after a Covid-19 vaccination. Follow-up ultrasound proved the lesion to be transient. These cases demonstrate lymphadenopathy in response to a Covid-19 vaccination in two patients susceptible to endocrine tumours and metastatic disease. With growing evidence about the pattern and occurrence of lymphadenopathy after mRNA Covid-19 vaccination, recommendations for scheduling and interpretation of imaging among cancer patients should be implemented to reduce equivocal findings, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment, while maintaining a good standard of care in oncological follow-up.

Learning points

  • Reactive lymphadenopathy is very common after an mRNA vaccination against Covid-19 and should be part of the differential diagnosis in patients with endocrine tumours who recently received a Covid-19 mRNA vaccination and present with an ipsilateral lymphadenopathy.

  • A good vaccine history is essential in assessing the risk for lymphadenopathy and if possible, screening imaging in patients with endocrine tumours should be postponed at least 6 weeks after the previous vaccination.

  • For now, a multidisciplinary care approach is recommended to determine the necessary steps in the diagnostic evaluation of lymphadenopathy in the proximity of a Covid-19 vaccination.

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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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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.

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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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Hannah E Forde Department of Endocrinology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Niamh Mehigan-Farrelly Department of Endocrinology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Katie Ryan Department of Pathology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Tom Moran Department of Otolaryngology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Megan Greally Department of Oncology, Mater Private Hospital, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

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Austin G Duffy Department of Oncology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Maria M Byrne Department of Endocrinology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Summary

A 41-year-old male presented to the Emergency Department with a 6-month history of back and hip pain. Skeletal survey revealed bilateral pubic rami fractures and MRI of the spine demonstrated multiple thoracic and lumbar fractures. Secondary work up for osteoporosis was undertaken. There was no evidence of hyperparathyroidism and the patient was vitamin D replete. Testosterone (T) was low at 1.7 nmol/L (8.6–29.0) and gonadotrophins were undetectable. The patient failed a 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) with a morning cortisol of 570 nmol/L (<50) and subsequently a low dose DST with a cortisol post 48 h of dexamethasone of 773 nmol/L (<50) and an elevated ACTH 98 ng/L. A corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) test suggested ectopic ACTH secretion. The patient was commenced on teriparatide for osteoporosis and metyrapone to control the hypercortisolaemia. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan to look for the source of ACTH secretion demonstrated right neck adenopathy. Biopsy and subsequent lymph node dissection were performed and histology revealed a metastatic neuroendocrine tumour. Immunostaining was positive for calcitonin and thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF1). Serum calcitonin was also significantly elevated at 45 264 ng/L (<10). The patient proceeded to a total thyroidectomy and left neck dissection. Histology confirmed a 7 mm medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Post-operatively, the patient commenced vandetanib therapy and achieved a clinical and biochemical response. After approximately 18 months of vandetanib therapy, the patient developed recurrent disease in his neck. He is currently on LOXO-292 and is doing well 36 months post-diagnosis.

Learning points

  • Unexplained osteoporosis requires thorough investigation and the workup for secondary causes is not complete without excluding glucocorticoid excess.

  • MTC should be considered when searching for sources of ectopic ACTH secretion.

  • Resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors is well described with MTC and clinicians should have a low threshold for screening for recurrent disease.

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Milad Darrat Deparments of Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Mohammad Binhussein Deparments of Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Alan Beausang Neuropathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Clare Faul Radiation Oncology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Michael W O’Reilly Deparments of Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Mohsen Javadpour Neurosurgery, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
School of Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

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Amar Agha Deparments of Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
School of Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

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Pituitary adenomas are the commonest sellar tumours. Pituitary metastases are very rare, with the most common primaries being breast and lung cancers. We report the case of an 83-year-old man with a history of breast carcinoma who presented with recent-onset headaches and progressive deterioration of visual acuity. MRI brain showed a large sellar and suprasellar mass compressing the optic chiasm and involving the pituitary stalk. Transsphenoidal debulking resulted in symptomatic relief and visual recovery. Specimen examination revealed a combination of a gonadotroph pituitary adenoma that was infiltrated by metastatic breast carcinoma. He had no symptoms of diabetes insipidus. He was subsequently treated with pituitary radiotherapy. This is a very rare presentation of a pituitary mass with mixed pathology. To our knowledge, this is the third description of a breast carcinoma metastasis into a gonadotroph cell pituitary adenoma.

Learning points:

  • Infiltrating metastases into pituitary adenomas are very rare but do occur.

  • To our knowledge this is the third case of breast adenocarcinoma metastasising to a gonadotroph pituitary adenoma.

  • Pituitary metastases should always be considered in rapidly evolving pituitary symptoms in a cancer patient.

  • Not all complex pituitary lesions are associated with panhypopituitarism.

  • Early invasive local management (TSS and post TSS radiotherapy) can provide rapid satisfactory outcomes.

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Florence Gunawan Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Elizabeth George Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Mark Kotowicz Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

Denosumab is a fully human MAB that acts as a potent anti-resorptive by inhibiting activation of osteoclasts by inhibiting the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK) ligand. Hypocalcaemia has been reported as one of the serious adverse sequelae of use of denosumab. We present a case of refractory hypocalcaemia following administration of a single dose of denosumab in a patient with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. The patient’s serum calcium and vitamin D concentrations and renal function were normal prior to denosumab administration. Serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level was however elevated pre-morbidly consistent with known bone metastases. The patient was treated with high-dose oral and IV calcium without any appreciable response in serum calcium. During his 30-day hospital admission, he demonstrated disease progression with development of new liver metastases and bone marrow involvement. Normocalcaemia was not achieved despite 1 month of aggressive therapy. Given the patient was asymptomatic and prognosis guarded, he was eventually discharged for ongoing supportive care under the palliative care team.

Learning points:

  • Denosumab is a potent anti-resorptive therapy and hypocalcaemia is one of the known adverse effects.

  • Serum calcium and vitamin D concentrations must be replete prior to administration of denosumab to reduce the risk of hypocalcaemia.

  • Denosumab has been proven to be more effective than zoledronic acid in preventing skeletal-related adverse effects in patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Open access
Tejhmal Rehman Departments of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK

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Ali Hameed Departments of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK

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Nigel Beharry Departments of Radiology, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK

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J Du Parcq Departments of Histopathology, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK

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Gul Bano Departments of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK

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Summary

Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (βhCG) is normally produced by syncytiotrophoblasts of the placenta during pregnancy and aids embryo implantation. However, it is also secreted in varying amounts in non-pregnant conditions commonly heralding a neoplastic process. We present a case of 50-year-old man, who presented with bilateral gynaecomastia with elevated testosterone, oestradiol, suppressed gonadotropins with progressively increasing levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Biochemical and radiological investigations including ultrasonography of testes, breast tissue, MRI pituitary and CT scan full body did not identify the source of hCG. FDG PET scan revealed a large mediastinal mass with lung metastasis. Immunostaining and histological analysis confirmed the diagnosis of primary choriocarcinoma of the mediastinum. It is highly aggressive and malignant tumor with poor prognosis. Early diagnosis and management are essential for the best outcome.

Learning points:

  • High βhCG in a male patient or a non-pregnant female suggests a paraneoplastic syndrome.

  • In the case of persistently positive serum hCG, exclude immunoassay interference by doing the urine hCG as heterophilic antibodies are not present in the urine.

  • Non-gestational choriocarcinoma is an extremely rare trophoblastic tumor and should be considered in young men presenting with gynaecomastia and high concentration of hCG with normal gonads.

  • A high index of suspicion and extensive investigations are required to establish an early diagnosis of extra-gonadal choriocarcinoma.

  • Early diagnosis is crucial to formulate optimal management strategy and to minimize widespread metastasis for best clinical outcome.

Open access
Zaina Adnan Endocrinology and Metabolism Department, Zvulon Medical Center, Clalit Medical Health Care Services, Haifa, Israel

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David Nikomarov Orthopedic Surgery Department, Nuclear Medicine Department, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

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Michal Weiler-Sagie Michal Weiler-Sagie, Nuclear Medicine Department, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

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Noga Roguin Maor Clalit Medical Health Care and the Clinical Research Unit, Haifa and Western Galilee, Haifa, Israel

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Summary

Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor (PMT) represents a rare cause of osteomalacia. The clinical signs and symptoms are vague and these lead to diagnosis delay. In the presence of hypophosphatemia and relatively high urine phosphate excretion, this entity should be taken into consideration in the deferential diagnosis of osteomalacia. In the present article, we report 81-year-old man presented to our clinic for evaluation due to osteopenia. His laboratory results disclosed hypophosphatemia, relatively increased urine phosphate excretion and increased level of intact fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23). A 68Gallium DOTATATE PET/CT revealed pathological uptake in the upper aspect of the left shoulder adjacent to the coracoid process. For suspected PMT a wide resection of the tumor was performed and pathological findings were consistent for PMT. Laboratory tests were normalized postoperatively. Reviewing the literature, we had identified 33 reported cases of PMTs among elderly patients age ≥70 years. Unlike previously reported data, where tumors predominantly localized in the lower extremities and pelvis, our search disclosed a high rate of tumor localization (10 cases – 33.3%) in the head with equal number of tumors (14 cases – 42.4%) localized in the head and upper extremity as well as in pelvis and lower extremity. The present case describes unique tumor localization in an elderly patient and our literature search demonstrated for the first time a high rate of tumor localization in the head among this group of patients.

Learning points:

  • PMTs represent a rare entity that should be considered in the differential diagnosis of elderly patients presented with persistent hypophosphatemia.

  • Unlike previously reported data, head and neck tumor localization is frequent among elderly patients.

  • 68Gallium-conjugated somatostatin peptide analogs, such as 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT demonstrated the greatest sensitivity and specificity for tumor localization in patients with phosphaturic mesenchymal tumors (PMTs).

  • Wide tumor resection using intraoperative ultrasound is of major importance in order to ensure long-term cure.

Open access
Vasileios Chortis Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham
Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham, UK
Departments of Endocrinology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Christine J H May Departments of Endocrinology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Kassiani Skordilis Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham, UK
Departments of Cellular Pathology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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John Ayuk Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham, UK
Departments of Endocrinology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Wiebke Arlt Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham
Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham, UK
Departments of Endocrinology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Rachel K Crowley St. Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

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Summary

Context

Adrenal incidentalomas (AI) represent an increasingly common problem in modern endocrine practice. The diagnostic approach to AIs can be challenging and occasionally reveals surprising features. Here we describe two rare cases of complex adrenal lesions consisting of phaeochromocytomas with synchronous metastases from extra-adrenal primaries.

Case descriptions

Patient 1 – a 65-year-old gentleman with a newly diagnosed malignant melanoma was found to harbour an adrenal lesion with suspicious radiographic characteristics. Percutaneous adrenal biopsy was consistent with adrenocortical adenoma. After excision of the skin melanoma and regional lymphatic metastases, he was followed up without imaging. Three years later, he presented with abdominal discomfort and enlargement of his adrenal lesion, associated with high plasma metanephrines. Adrenalectomy revealed a mixed tumour consisting of a large phaeochromocytoma with an embedded melanoma metastasis in its core. Patient 2 – a 63-year-old lady with a history of NF-1-related phaeochromocytoma 20 years ago and previous breast cancer presented with a new adrenal lesion on the contralateral side. Plasma normetanephrine was markedly elevated. Elective adrenalectomy revealed an adrenal tumour consisting of chromaffin cells intermixed with breast carcinoma cells.

Conclusions

Adrenal incidentalomas require careful evaluation to exclude metastatic disease, especially in the context of a history of previous malignancy. Adrenal biopsy provides limited and potentially misleading information. Phaeochromocytomas are highly vascularised tumours that may function as a sieve, extracting and retaining irregularly shaped cancer cells, thereby yielding adrenal masses with intriguing dual pathology.

Learning points:

  • Adrenal incidentalomas require careful evaluation focused on exclusion of underlying hormone excess and malignant pathology.

  • Adrenal biopsy can be misleading and should only be considered in select cases.

  • Phaeochromocytomas harbouring intratumoural metastases from other, extra-adrenal primary malignancies represent rare pathological entities that highlight the complexities that can be presented by adrenal tumours.

Open access