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Sarah N Parry Department of Endocrinology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Namson S Lau Metabolism & Obesity Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Liverpool Diabetes Collaboration, Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
South West Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Summary

Approximately 80% of adrenal incidentalomas are benign, and development into adrenal cortical cancer is extremely rare. This is a major reason behind clinical guidelines recommending surveillance of incidentalomas for a relatively short duration of up to 5 years. Surveillance of lesions less than 1 cm is not routinely recommended. A 70-year-old lady was diagnosed with a non-hyperfunctioning 8 mm right adrenal lesion. She underwent annual biochemical and radiological assessment for 5 years before surveillance was extended to 2-yearly intervals. The lesion was stable in size, and radiological characteristics were consistent with a benign adenoma. Seven years after the initial detection of the adrenal lesion, she developed acute abdominal pain. Imaging revealed a 7 cm right adrenal lesion, which was surgically resected and histologically confirmed to be adrenal cortical cancer. She died 1 year later. Clinical guidelines have moved towards a shortened duration of surveillance of incidentalomas. Even though malignant transformation is a rare event, it is possible that this will result in a delayed diagnosis of adrenal cortical cancer, a highly aggressive malignancy with a poor prognosis. To our knowledge, this is the first published case of an adrenal lesion of less than 1 cm developing into adrenal cortical cancer.

Learning points

  • Adrenal incidentalomas are increasingly common.

  • Clinical practice guidelines exist to aid in differentiating benign and malignant lesions and assessing functional status.

  • Transformation of adrenal incidentalomas to adrenal cortical carcinomas is a rare but recognised event.

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Chelsea Tan Bendigo Health, Victoria, Australia

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Jessica Triay Bendigo Health, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

A 64-year-old man with progressive metastatic castrate-resistant prostate adenocarcinoma presented with recurrent fluid overload, severe hypokalaemia with metabolic alkalosis and loss of glycaemic control. Clinical features were facial plethora, skin bruising and proximal myopathy. Plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), serum cortisol and 24-h urinary cortisol levels were elevated. Low-dose dexamethasone failed to suppress cortisol. Pituitary MRI was normal and 68Gallium-DOTATATE PET–CT scan showed only features of metastatic prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with ectopic ACTH syndrome secondary to treatment-related neuroendocrine prostate cancer differentiation. Medical management was limited by clinical deterioration, accessibility of medications and cancer progression. Ketoconazole and cabergoline were utilised, but cortisol remained uncontrolled. He succumbed 5 months following diagnosis. Treatment-related neuroendocrine differentiation of prostate adenocarcinoma is a rare cause of ectopic ACTH syndrome.

Learning points

  • Neuroendocrine differentiation following prostate adenocarcinoma treatment with androgen deprivation has been described.

  • Ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) syndrome should be considered where patients with metastatic prostate cancer develop acute electrolyte disturbance or fluid overload.

  • Ketoconazole interferes with adrenal and gonadal steroidogenesis and can be used in ectopic ACTH syndrome, but the impact may be insufficient. Inhibition of gonadal steroidogenesis is favourable in prostate cancer.

  • More data are required to evaluate the use of cabergoline in ectopic ACTH syndrome.

  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome requires prompt management and is challenging in the face of metastatic cancer.

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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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Matthew Seymour Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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Thomas Robertson Queensland Pathology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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Jason Papacostas Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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Kirk Morris Department of Haematology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

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Jennifer Gillespie Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Department of Radiology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

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Debra Norris QML Pathology, Brisbane, Australia

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Emma L Duncan Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Translational Research Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Australia

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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.

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Rachel Wurth Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Abhishek Jha Section on Medical Neuroendocrinology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Crystal Kamilaris Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Anthony J Gill Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital St Leonards NSW 2065 Australian and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Nicola Poplawski Adult Genetics Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital
Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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Paraskevi Xekouki Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Martha M Quezado Laboratory of Pathology Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Karel Pacak Section on Medical Neuroendocrinology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Constantine A Stratakis Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Fady Hannah-Shmouni Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Summary

Succinate dehydrogenase deficiency has been associated with several neoplasias, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and those associated with hereditary paraganglioma (PGL)/ pheochromocytoma (PHEO) syndromes, Carney dyad, and Carney triad. Carney triad is a rare multitumoral syndrome characterized by co-existing PGL, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pulmonary chondroma (CHO). We report a case of a 57-year-old male who presented with para-aortic and gastroesophogeal masses, and a right renal superior pole lesion, which were classified as multiple PGLs, a GIST, and a clear cell renal carcinoma, respectively, on pathology following surgical resection. Additionally, a CHO was diagnosed radiologically, although no biopsy was performed. A diagnosis of Carney triad was made. SDHB immunohistochemical staining was negative for the PGL and the GIST, indicating SDH-deficiency. Interestingly, the renal cell carcinoma (RCC) stained positive for both SDHB and SDHA. Subsequent genetic screening of SDH subunit genes revealed a germline inactivating heterozygous SDHA pathogenic variant (c.91 C>T, p.R31X). Loss of heterozygosity was not detected at the tumor level for the RCC, which likely indicated the SDHA variant would not be causative of the RCC, but could still predispose to the development of neoplasias. To the knowledge of the authors this is the first reported case of an SDHA pathogenic variant in a patient with Carney triad complicated by RCC.

Learning points

  • The succinate dehydrogenase enzyme is encoded by four subunit genes (SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, and SDHD; collectively referred to as SDHx), which have been implicated in several neoplasias and are classified as tumor suppressor genes.

  • Carney triad is a rare multiple-neoplasia syndrome presenting as an association of PGLs, GISTs, and CHOs.

  • Carney triad is most commonly associated with hypermethylation of SDHC as demonstrated in tumor tissue, but approximately 10% of cases are due to pathogenic SDHx variants.

  • Although SDHB pathogenic variants are most commonly reported in SDH-deficient renal cell carcinoma, SDHA disease-causing variants have been reported in rare cases.

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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.

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Harish Venugopal Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gold Coast, University Hospital, School of Medicine, Griffith University, 1 Hospital Boulevard, Southport, QLD 4215QLD 4215, Queensland, Australia

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Katherine Griffin Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gold Coast, University Hospital, School of Medicine, Griffith University, 1 Hospital Boulevard, Southport, QLD 4215QLD 4215, Queensland, Australia

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Saima Amer Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gold Coast, University Hospital, School of Medicine, Griffith University, 1 Hospital Boulevard, Southport, QLD 4215QLD 4215, Queensland, Australia

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Summary

Resection of primary tumour is the management of choice in patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome. However, tumours may remain unidentified or occult in spite of extensive efforts at trying to locate them. This can, therefore, pose a major management issue as uncontrolled hypercortisolaemia can lead to life-threatening infections. We present the case of a 66-year-old gentleman with ectopic ACTH syndrome from an occult primary tumour with multiple significant complications from hypercortisolaemia. Ectopic nature of his ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome was confirmed by non-suppression with high-dose dexamethasone suppression test and bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling. The primary ectopic source remained unidentified in spite of extensive anatomical and functional imaging studies, including CT scans and Dotatate-PET scan. Medical adrenolytic treatment at maximum tolerated doses failed to control his hypercortisolaemia, which led to recurrent intra-abdominal and pelvic abscesses, requiring multiple surgical interventions. Laparoscopic bilateral adrenalectomy was considered but decided against given concerns of technical difficulties due to recurrent intra-abdominal infections and his moribund state. Eventually, alcohol ablation of adrenal glands by retrograde adrenal vein approach was attempted, which resulted in biochemical remission of Cushing's syndrome. Our case emphasizes the importance of aggressive management of hypercortisolaemia in order to reduce the associated morbidity and mortality and also demonstrates that techniques like percutaneous adrenal ablation using a retrograde venous approach may be extremely helpful in patients who are otherwise unable to undergo bilateral adrenalectomy.

Learning points

  • Evaluation and management of patients with ectopic ACTH syndrome from an unidentified primary tumour can be very challenging.

  • Persisting hypercortisolaemia in this setting can lead to debilitating and even life-threatening complications and hence needs to be managed aggressively.

  • Bilateral adrenalectomy should be considered when medical treatment is ineffective or poorly tolerated.

  • Percutaneous adrenal ablation may be considered in patients who are otherwise unable to undergo bilateral adrenalectomy.

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