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Jasmine Van de Kerkhof Department of ENT, H&N Surgery, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Jacqueline Bijnens Department of ENT, H&N Surgery, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Frank De Geeter Department of Nuclear Medicine, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Catherine Dick Department of ENT, H&N Surgery, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Pascale De Paepe Department of Anatomopathology, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Annick Van den Bruel Department of Endocrinology, General Hospital Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

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Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism most commonly presents with hypercalcaemia. Rarely, parathyroid apoplexy or haemorrhage mimicking a thyroid bleeding cyst is the first presentation of a parathyroid adenoma. A woman presented with a sudden-onset painful ‘goitre’. Ultrasound showed a cystic nodule located posterior to rather than in the right thyroid lobe, suggesting parathyroid adenoma bleeding. Biochemistry showed mild primary hyperparathyroidism. 99mTc-pertechnetate/sestamibi showed no uptake in the nodule, which was interpreted as a cold thyroid nodule. 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT showed uptake in the nodule, suggestive of a parathyroid adenoma. Persistent mild primary hyperparathyroidism complicated by nephrolithiasis and osteopenia favoured parathyroidectomy over a wait-and-see approach. The patient was referred for parathyroidectomy along with right thyroid lobectomy. Pathology showed an adenoma, with an eccentrically located cystic structure filled with red blood cells surrounded by a thickened fibrous capsule. In conclusion, cervical pain/haemorrhage with hypercalcaemia points to the diagnosis of parathyroid apoplexy, mimicking a thyroid bleeding cyst. Workup with ultrasound and, if available, 18F-choline PET/CT allows for timely surgery, minimizing the risk of recurrent and severe bleeding.

Learning points

  • A bleeding cyst may be located posterior to rather than in the thyroid, suggesting a parathyroid haemorrhage.

  • Neck pain and/or haemorrhage along with primary hyperparathyroidism point to parathyroid apoplexy.

  • A two-step presentation has been described, with a first phase of local symptoms to be followed by visible and possibly life-threatening compressing bleeding.

  • Therefore, an expedited workup is needed, allowing for timely surgery.

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Pranav Gupta Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Karen Loechner Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA

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Briana C Patterson Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Eric Felner Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Summary

Insulinomas are a rare cause of persistent hypoglycemia in a previously healthy child. In addition to symptoms of hypoglycemia, individuals with insulinomas usually present with a history of incessant caloric intake and weight gain due to a constant need to counter hypoglycemia. In addition to an extensive review of the literature, we report the first case of an insulinoma coexisting with reduced appetite secondary to anorexia nervosa in an adolescent female.

Learning points

  • Eliciting a detailed family history is important in hypoglycemia cases.

  • Obtaining a thorough dietary intake, weight history, and menstrual cycles (in females) and considering a psychiatric consultation for an eating disorder when indicated.

  • Although rare in the pediatric population, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome should be considered in the evaluation of children and adolescents with hypoglycemia who also have a family history of pituitary, pancreatic, and/or parathyroid endocrinopathies.

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Said Darawshi Department of Endocrinology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel
The Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

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Mahmoud Darawshi Clalit Health Services, Northern District – Arrabah, Israel

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Deeb Daoud Naccache Department of Endocrinology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel
The Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

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Severe hypocalcaemia in breast cancer with bone metastasis is a rare finding usually associated with an advanced stage of the disease. We report a case of a 45-year-old woman with a history of local ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, who presented with muscle tremors and general weakness. Hypocalcaemia was evident, with a positive Chvostek sign and a serum calcium level of 5.9 mg/dL (1.47 mmol/L), phosphorus 5.9 mg/dL (normal range: 2.3–4.7 mg/dL) with normal levels of albumin, magnesium and parathyroid hormone. High oral doses of alpha calcitriol and calcium with i.v. infusion of high calcium doses were instituted, altogether sufficient to maintain only mild hypocalcaemia. A whole-body CT revealed bone lesions along the axial skeleton. A biopsy from a bone lesion revealed a metastasis of breast carcinoma. With this pathological finding, leuprolide (GNRH analogue) and chlorambucil (alkylating agent) were initiated, followed by prompt tapering of infused calcium down to full discontinuation. Serum calcium was kept stable close to the low normal range by high doses of oral alpha calcitriol and calcium. This course raises suspicion that breast metastases to the skeleton caused tumour-induced hypocalcaemia by a unique mechanism. We assume that hypocalcaemia in this case was promoted by a combination of hypoparathyroidism and bone metastasis.

Learning points

  • Severe hypocalcaemia can a presenting symptom for breast cancer relapse.

Open access
Natassia Rodrigo Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Diana Learoyd Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Sarah J Glastras Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Summary

Hypercalcaemia in pregnancy is uncommon, with associated adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes for both the mother and the fetus. Determination of causality is central to its management. Diagnostic imaging techniques are limited during pregnancy and the diagnosis is made more complex by physiological changes in calcium and vitamin D homeostasis in pregnancy. Further, therapeutic options are limited due to safety considerations for the pregnant woman and the developing foetus. Three cases of hypercalcaemia in pregnancy will be presented, highlighting the distinct aetiologies and management strategies for hypercalcaemia in pregnancy and the importance of early measurement of serum calcium in pregnancy screening.

Learning points

  • There are complex physiological changes in calcium balance in pregnancy, including increased calcium intestinal absorption and renal excretion.

  • Hypercalcaemia in pregnancy is uncommon but has important potential maternal and foetal complications, making a compelling argument for routine antenatal, calcium screening.

  • Identifying the cause of hypercalcaemia in pregnancy can be challenging due to the complex placental interplay in biochemical test interpretation and due to safety constraints restricting imaging and surgery.

  • Acute medical management of hypercalcaemia must be considered in the context of both maternal and foetal well-being, along with gestational age and specific consideration for the safety of the developing fetus in late gestation.

Open access
Seong Keat Cheah Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Chad Ramese Bisambar Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Deborah Pitfield Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Olivier Giger Pathology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Rogier ten Hoopen Pathology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Jose-Ezequiel Martin Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Graeme R Clark Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Soo-Mi Park Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Craig Parkinson Endocrinology, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester, Essex, UK

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Benjamin G Challis Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Ruth T Casey Endocrinology, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
Medical Genetics, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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Summary

A 38-year-old female was identified as carrying a heterozygous pathogenic MEN1 variant (c.1304delG) through predictive genetic testing, following a diagnosis of familial hyperparathyroidism. Routine screening for parathyroid and pituitary disease was negative. However, cross-sectional imaging by CT revealed a 41 mm pancreatic tail mass. Biopsy via endoscopic ultrasound confirmed the lesion to be a well-differentiated (grade 1) pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (pNET) with MIB1<1%. Biochemically, hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was confirmed following an overnight fast, which was subsequently managed by diet alone prior to definitive surgery. Pre-operative work-up with octreotide SPECT CT demonstrated avid tracer uptake in the pancreatic lesion and, unexpectedly, a focal area of uptake in the left breast. Further investigation, and subsequent mastectomy, confirmed ductal carcinoma in situ pT2 (23 mm) grade 1, N0 (ER positive; HER2 negative). Following mastectomy, our patient underwent a successful distal pancreatectomy to resect the pNET. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the MEN1 locus was found in both the breast tumour and pNET, thereby in keeping with a 'two-hit' hypothesis of oncogenesis, a suggestive but non-definitive clue for causation. To obtain further support for a causative relationship between MEN1 and breast cancer, we undertook a detailed review of the published literature which overall supports the notion that breast cancer is a MEN1-related malignancy that presents at a younger age and histologically, is typically of ductal subtype. Currently, clinical guidance regarding breast cancer surveillance in MEN1 does not exist and further research is required to establish a clinical and cost-effective surveillance strategy).

Learning points

  • We describe a case of pNET and breast cancer diagnosed at a young age of 38 years in a patient who is heterozygous for a pathogenic MEN1 variant. Loss of the wild-type allele was seen in both breast tissue and pNET specimen.

  • Breast cancer may be an under-recognised MEN1-associated malignancy that presents at a younger age than in the general population with a relative risk of 2–3.

  • Further research is required to determine the cost-effectiveness of breast cancer surveillance approach at a younger age in MEN1 patients relative to the general population .

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Annabel S Jones Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Annabelle M Warren Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Leon A Bach Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
Department of Medicine (Alfred), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

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Shoshana Sztal-Mazer Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
Department of Medicine (Alfred), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Womens’ Health Research Program, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

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Summary

Conventional treatment of hypoparathyroidism relies on oral calcium and calcitriol. Challenges in managing post-parathyroid- and post-thyroidectomy hypocalcaemia in patients with a history of bariatric surgery and malabsorption have been described, but postoperative management of bariatric surgery in patients with established hypoparathyroidism has not. We report the case of a 46-year-old woman who underwent elective sleeve gastrectomy on a background of post-surgical hypoparathyroidism and hypothyroidism. Multiple gastric perforations necessitated an emergency Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. She was transferred to a tertiary ICU and remained nil orally for 4 days, whereupon her ionised calcium level was 0.78 mmol/L (1.11–1.28 mmol/L). Continuous intravenous calcium infusion was required. She remained nil orally for 6 months due to abdominal sepsis and the need for multiple debridements. Intravenous calcium gluconate 4.4 mmol 8 hourly was continued and intravenous calcitriol twice weekly was added. Euthyroidism was achieved with intravenous levothyroxine. Maintaining normocalcaemia was fraught with difficulties in a patient with pre-existing surgical hypoparathyroidism, where oral replacement was impossible. The challenges in managing hypoparathyroidism in the setting of impaired enteral absorption are discussed with analysis of the cost and availability of parenteral treatments.

Learning points:

  • Management of hypoparathyroidism is complicated when gastrointestinal absorption is impaired.

  • Careful consideration should be given before bariatric surgery in patients with pre-existing hypoparathyroidism, due to potential difficulty in managing hypocalcaemia, which is exacerbated when complications occur.

  • While oral treatment of hypoparathyroidism is cheap and relatively simple, available parenteral options can carry significant cost and necessitate a more complicated dosing schedule.

  • International guidelines for the management of hypoparathyroidism recommend the use of PTH analogues where large doses of calcium and calcitriol are required, including in gastrointestinal disorders with malabsorption.

  • Approval of subcutaneous recombinant PTH for hypoparathyroidism in Australia will alter future management.

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Lorena Arnez St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Newport, UK

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Victor Lawrence St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Newport, UK

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Summary

A 40-year-old woman was hospitalised at 25-week gestation following a diagnosis of severe symptomatic hypercalcaemia (adjusted serum calcium 3.02 mmol/L). A diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) was made on the basis of elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) 11.2 pmol/L (reference range 1.5–6.9) and exclusion of familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia. Ultrasound examination of the neck did not convincingly demonstrate an abnormal or enlarged parathyroid gland and parathyroid scintigraphy was not performed due to maternal choice relating to perceived radiation risk to the foetus. At neck exploration during the 28th week of pregnancy a right lower pole parathyroid lesion was excised together with two abnormal lymph nodes (largest 1.6 cm). Histology confirmed a parathyroid adenoma and also papillary thyroid carcinoma deposits in the two resected lymph nodes. Post-operatively, levels of adjusted serum calcium normalised and pregnancy progressed uneventfully to term. Total thyroidectomy was performed 2 weeks after delivery revealing two small foci of papillary micro-carcinoma (largest 2.3 mm, one in each thyroid lobe) with no evidence of further metastatic tumour in lymph nodes removed during functional neck dissection. Radioiodine remnant ablation (RRA) was performed 2 months post thyroidectomy to allow for breast involution. The patient remains in full clinical and biochemical remission 9 years later. We present and review the difficult management decisions faced in relation to the investigation and treatment of PHP in pregnancy, further complicated by incidentally discovered locally metastatic pT1aN1aM0 papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Learning points:

  • PHP may have serious consequences during pregnancy and usually requires surgical management during pregnancy to reduce the risk of maternal and foetal complications. The indications for and optimal timing of surgical management are discussed.

  • Localisation by parathyroid scintigraphy is controversial during pregnancy: modified dose regimes may be considered in preference as an alternative to unguided neck exploration.

  • Breastfeeding is contraindicated for 6–8 weeks before radioactive-iodine remnant ablation (RRA) to prevent increased breast uptake. Breastfeeding is further contra-indicated until after a subsequent pregnancy.

  • Incidentally discovered differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) in cervical lymph nodes in some cases may be managed expectantly because in one quarter of thyroidectomies the primary tumour remains occult.

Open access
Peter Novodvorsky Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

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Ziad Hussein Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Muhammad Fahad Arshad Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Ahmed Iqbal Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Malee Fernando Department of Histopathology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Alia Munir Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

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Sabapathy P Balasubramanian Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Department of General Surgery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Summary

Spontaneous remission of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) due to necrosis and haemorrhage of parathyroid adenoma, the so-called ‘parathyroid auto-infarction’ is a very rare, but previously described phenomenon. Patients usually undergo parathyroidectomy or remain under close clinical and biochemical surveillance. We report two cases of parathyroid auto-infarction diagnosed in the same tertiary centre; one managed surgically and the other conservatively up to the present time. Case #1 was a 51-year old man with PHPT (adjusted (adj.) calcium: 3.11 mmol/L (reference range (RR): 2.20–2.60 mmol/L), parathyroid hormone (PTH) 26.9 pmol/L (RR: 1.6–6.9 pmol/L) and urine calcium excretion consistent with PHPT) referred for parathyroidectomy. Repeat biochemistry 4 weeks later at the surgical clinic showed normal adj. calcium (2.43 mmol/L) and reduced PTH. Serial ultrasound imaging demonstrated reduction in size of the parathyroid lesion from 33 to 17 mm. Twenty months later, following recurrence of hypercalcaemia, he underwent neck exploration and resection of an enlarged right inferior parathyroid gland. Histology revealed increased fibrosis and haemosiderin deposits in the parathyroid lesion in keeping with auto-infarction. Case #2 was a 54-year-old lady admitted with severe hypercalcaemia (adj. calcium: 4.58 mmol/L, PTH 51.6 pmol/L (RR: 1.6–6.9 pmol/L)) and severe vitamin D deficiency. She was treated with intravenous fluids and pamidronate and 8 days later developed symptomatic hypocalcaemia (1.88 mmol/L) with dramatic decrease of PTH (17.6 pmol/L). MRI of the neck showed a 44 mm large cystic parathyroid lesion. To date, (18 months later), she has remained normocalcaemic.

Learning points:

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is characterised by excess parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion arising mostly from one or more autonomously functioning parathyroid adenomas (up to 85%), diffuse parathyroid hyperplasia (<15%) and in 1–2% of cases from parathyroid carcinoma.

  • PHPT and hypercalcaemia of malignancy, account for the majority of clinical presentations of hypercalcaemia.

  • Spontaneous remission of PHPT due to necrosis, haemorrhage and infarction of parathyroid adenoma, the so-called ‘parathyroid auto-infarction’, ‘auto-parathyroidectomy’ or ‘parathyroid apoplexy’ is a very rare in clinical practice but has been previously reported in the literature.

  • In most cases, patients with parathyroid auto-infarction undergo parathyroidectomy. Those who are managed conservatively need to remain under close clinical and biochemical surveillance long-term as in most cases PHPT recurs, sometimes several years after auto-infarction.

Open access
Carine Ghassan Richa Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Endocrinology Department, Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Khadija Jamal Saad Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Endocrinology Department, Mount Lebanon Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Ali Khaled Chaaban Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Radiology, Beirut Governmental University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Diagnostic Radiology, Radiology Department

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Mohamad Souheil El Rawas Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Clinical Endocrinology, Endocrinology Department, Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Summary

The objective of the study is to report a case of acute pancreatitis secondary to hypercalcemia induced by primary hyperparathyroidism in a pregnant woman at the end of the first trimester. The case included a 32-year-old woman who was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and severe hypercalcemia refractory to many regimens of medical therapy in the first trimester of pregnancy. She was successfully treated with parathyroidectomy in the early second trimester with complete resolution of hypercalcemia and pancreatitis. Neonatal course was unremarkable. To our best knowledge, this is a rare case when primary hyperparathyroidism and its complications are diagnosed in the first trimester of pregnancy. In conclusion, primary hyperparathyroidism is a rare life-threatening condition to the fetus and mother especially when associated with complications such as pancreatitis. Early therapeutic intervention is important to reduce the morbidity and mortality. Parathyroidectomy performed in the second trimester can be the only solution.

Learning points:

  • Learning how to make diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism in a woman during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Understanding the complications of hypercalcemia and be aware of the high mortality and sequelae in both fetus and mother.

  • Providing the adequate treatment in such complicated cases with coordinated care between endocrinologists and obstetricians to ensure optimal outcomes.

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Marina Tsoli Department of Pathophysiology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

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Anna Angelousi Department of Pathophysiology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

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Dimitra Rontogianni Department of Histopathology, Evagelismos General Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Constantine Stratakis Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, Program on Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Gregory Kaltsas Department of Pathophysiology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

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Summary

Parathyroid carcinoma is an extremely rare endocrine malignancy that accounts for less than 1% of cases of primary hyperparathyroidism. We report a 44-year-old woman who presented with fatigue and diffuse bone pain. Laboratory findings revealed highly elevated serum calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and a 4.5 × 3 × 2.5 cm cystic lesion in the lower pole of the right thyroid lobe that was shown histologically to be a parathyroid carcinoma. Ten years later, the patient developed brain and pulmonary metastases and recurrence of PTH-related hypercalcemia. Treatment of hypercalcemia along with localized radiotherapy and various chemotherapy regimens failed to induce a biochemical or radiological response. In conclusion, parathyroid carcinoma is a rare neoplasia that may develop metastases even after prolonged follow-up, for which there is no evidence-based treatment besides surgery. Different chemotherapeutic schemes did not prove to be of any benefit in our case highlighting the need for registering such patients to better understand tumor biology and develop specific treatment.

Learning points:

  • Metastases can develop many years after parathyroid cancer diagnosis.

  • Surgery is the only curative treatment for parathyroid carcinoma.

  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy prove to be ineffective in parathyroid cancer treatment.

  • Patient registering is required in order to delineate underlining pathology and offer specific treatment.

Open access