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Yu-Fang Wu Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Hui Yi Ng Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Divya Namboodiri Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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David Lewis Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Andrew Davidson Department of Clinical Medicine, Neurosurgery, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, Department of Oncology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Bernard Champion Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology
School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Veronica Preda Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Summary

Thyrotropinomas are an uncommon cause of hyperthyroidism and are exceedingly rarely identified during pregnancy, with limited evidence to guide management. Most commonly they present as macroadenomas and may cause symptoms of mass effect including headache, visual field defects and hypopituitarism. We present a case of a 35-year-old woman investigated for headaches in whom a 13 mm thyrotropinoma was found. In the lead-up to planned trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS), she spontaneously conceived and surgery was deferred, as was pharmacotherapy, at her request. The patient was closely monitored through her pregnancy by a multi-disciplinary team and delivered without complication. Pituitary surgery was performed 6 months post-partum. Isolated secondary hypothyroidism was diagnosed postoperatively and replacement thyroxine was commenced. Histopathology showed a double lesion with predominant pituitary transcription factor-1 positive, steroidogenic factor negative plurihormonal adenoma and co-existent mixed thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, lactotroph and follicle-stimulating hormone staining with a Ki-67 of 1%. This case demonstrates a conservative approach to thyrotropinoma in pregnancy with a successful outcome. This highlights the need to consider the timing of intervention with careful consideration of risks to mother and fetus.

Learning points

  • Thyrotropinomas are a rare cause of secondary hyperthyroidism. Patients may present with hyperthyroidism or symptoms of mass effect, including headaches or visual disturbance.

  • Thyrotropinoma in pregnancy presents a number of pituitary-related risks including pituitary apoplexy and compression of local structures.

  • Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy raises the risk of complications including spontaneous abortion, preeclampsia, low birthweight and premature labour.

  • Timing of medical and surgical therapies must be carefully considered. A conservative approach requires careful monitoring in case emergent intervention is required.

Open access
Matthew J Verheyden Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Natassia Rodrigo Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nepean Hospital, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

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

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Sarah J Glastras Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a rare and chronic disease characterised by yellow-brown, atrophic, telangiectatic plaques usually located on the lower extremities, with pathological features of collagen necrobiosis and dermal inflammation. Most cases are seen in those with diabetes mellitus, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1DM), and many without diabetes have evidence of abnormal glucose tolerance or family history of autoimmune disease. In this study, we describe four patients with NL and T1DM. A common theme is late identification and delay in diagnosis. Hence, we discuss the clinical features, need for clinicopathological correlation, and the management and prognostic implications for this distinctive entity. While most remain relatively asymptomatic, others progress to debilitating disease with pruritus, dysesthesia, and pain. Pain is often intense in the presence of ulcerated plaques, a morbid complication of NL. Diagnosis requires the integration of both clinical and histopathological findings. NL has proven a challenging condition to treat, and despite the numerous therapeutic modalities available, there is no standard of care. Hence, in this study, we provide an overview of current management strategies available for NL.

Learning points

  • Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is classically seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.

  • Koebner phenomenon, defined as the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma, is a well-recognised feature in NL.

  • Background skin phototype contributes to variable yellow appearance of lesions in NL.

  • Diagnosis of NL requires careful clinicopathological correlation.

  • NL is a chronic disease often refractory to treatment leading to significant morbidity for the patient and a management conundrum for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.

  • No standard therapeutic regimen has been established for the management of NL.

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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.

Open access
Lachlan M Angus Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, Austin Health, The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia

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Jun Yang Centre for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

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Ada S Cheung Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, Austin Health, The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

Primary aldosteronism is one of the most common (affecting up to 10%) yet treatable causes of hypertension in our community, notable due to an associated elevated risk of atrial fibrillation, stroke and myocardial infarction compared to essential hypertension. Guidelines have focussed on improving case detection due to significant underdiagnosis in the community. While our case experienced significant delay in diagnosis, we highlight a state of protracted, persistent post-operative hypoaldosteronism which manifested with severe hyponatraemia and hyperkalaemia, necessitating long-term mineralocorticoid replacement. We discuss whether pre-operative mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists to stimulate aldosterone secretion from the contralateral gland may have prevented this complication.

Learning points

  • Hypoaldosteronism is an uncommon complication of adrenalectomy for primary aldosteronism, typically manifesting with hyperkalaemia and hyponatraemia. While most cases are transient, it may be persistent, necessitating ongoing mineralocorticoid replacement.

  • Routine electrolyte monitoring is recommended post-adrenalectomy.

  • Risk factors for hypoaldosteronism include age >50 years, duration of hypertension >10 years, pre-existing renal impairment and adrenal adenoma size >2 cm.

  • Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists may assist in the management of hypokalaemia and hypertension pre-operatively. However, it is unclear whether this reduces the risk of post-operative hypoaldosteronism.

Open access
Annabelle M Warren Department of Endocrinology, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, The Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Peter R Ebeling Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

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Vivian Grill Department of Endocrinology, Western Health, St Alban’s, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Ego Seeman Department of Endocrinology, The Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Shoshana Sztal-Mazer Department of Endocrinology, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Women’s Health Research Program, School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is a rare and under-recognised genetic defect in bone mineralisation. Patients presenting with fragility fractures may be mistakenly diagnosed as having osteoporosis and prescribed antiresorptive therapy, a treatment which may increase fracture risk. Adult-onset HPPhypophosphatasia was identified in a 40-year-old woman who presented with bilateral atypical femoral fractures after 4 years of denosumab therapy. A low serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and increased serum vitamin B6 level signalled the diagnosis, which was later confirmed by identification of two recessive mutations of the ALPL gene. The patient was treated with teriparatide given the unavailability of ALP enzyme-replacement therapy (asfotase alfa). Fracture healing occurred, but impaired mobility persisted. HPP predisposes to atypical femoral fracture (AFF) during antiresorptive therapy; hence, bisphosphonates and denosumab are contraindicated in this condition. Screening patients with fracture or ‘osteoporosis’ to identify a low ALP level is recommended.

Learning points

  • Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is a rare and under-recognised cause of bone fragility produced by impaired matrix mineralisation that can be misdiagnosed as a fragility fracture due to age-related bone loss.

  • Antiresorptive therapy is contraindicated in HPP.

  • Low serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) provides a clue to the diagnosis.

  • Elevated serum vitamin B6 (an ALP substrate) is indicative of HPP, while identification of a mutation in the ALPL gene is confirmatory.

  • Enzyme therapy with recombinant ALP (asfotase alfa) is currently prohibitively costly.

  • Treatment with anabolic bone agents such as teriparatide has been reported, but whether normally mineralized bone is formed requires further study.

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Simon Ryder Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Faculty of Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

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Jed Robusto Kenneth J Jamison Neurosurgery Department, Royal Brisbane and Woman’s Hospital, Queensland, Australia

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

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Hamish Alexander Kenneth J Jamison Neurosurgery Department, Faculty of Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Woman’s Hospital, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

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Emma L Duncan Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
Faculty of Health and Medicine, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia

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Summary

Although pituitary macroadenomas often cause mass effects on surrounding structures, it is extremely rare for pituitary lesions to disturb cerebrospinal fluid circulation. Sellar gangliocytoma-pituitary adenomas (SGPAs) are also extremely rare. Here we report the unique case of a man with the unusual combination of acromegaly from an SGPA, who presented with unilateral hydrocephalus. A 60-year-old man presented with rapid neurological deterioration, bitemporal hemianopia, and acromegalic features. Neuroimaging revealed a large sellar lesion extending superiorly into the left foramen of Monro, causing acute obstructive unilateral hydrocephalus. External ventricular drain placement improved consciousness immediately. Biochemical assessment confirmed acromegaly. Following trans-sphenoidal debulking, histology revealed a mixed gangliocytoma/sparsely-granulated somatotrophinoma. Despite the residual disease, his vision recovered remarkably, low-dose cabergoline controlled residual excess growth hormone (GH) secretion, and the residual tumour has remained extremely stable over 2 years. Hydrocephalus is an extremely rare complication of pituitary lesions, and unilateral hydrocephalus has never been reported previously. GH secretion in SGPAs is more common than for pituitary adenomas in general, raising questions regarding the aetiology and therapeutic approach to this rare combination tumour.

Learning points

  • Pituitary tumours most commonly present with symptoms related to endocrine disturbance or mass effects upon visual pathways (e.g. optic chiasm, nerves in the lateral cavernous sinus). However, extremely rarely, pituitary masses may disrupt cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation resulting in hydrocephalus.

  • Sellar gangliocytomas are very rare tumours and most of them are hybrid tumours with pituitary adenomas (SGPAs).

  • SGPAs are typically indolent and may be functioning or non-functioning tumours.

  • Growth hormone (GH)-producing SGPAs are less likely to respond to somatostatin agonists than classic somatotrophinomas.

  • Primary surgical debulking via a trans-sphenoidal approach was effective in this individual, leading to the restoration of CSF circulation and improvement in visual disturbance, while also negating the need for permanent CSF diversion despite the residual tumour burden.

Open access
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.

Open access
Jennifer R Snaith Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Healthy Ageing, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Duncan McLeod Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Anatomical Pathology, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Arthur Richardson Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Surgery, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Surgery, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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David Chipps Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Insulinomatosis is a rare cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. The ideal management approach is not known. A 40-year-old woman with recurrent symptomatic hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was diagnosed with an insulinoma. A benign 12 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was resected but hypoglycaemia recurred 7 years later. A benign 10 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was then resected but hypoglycaemia recurred within 2 months. Octreotide injections were trialled but exacerbated hypoglycaemia. After a 2-year interval, she underwent total pancreatectomy. A benign 28 mm pancreatic head insulinoma was found alongside insulin-expressing monohormonal endocrine cell clusters (IMECCs) and islet cell hyperplasia, consistent with a diagnosis of insulinomatosis. Hypoglycaemia recurred within 6 weeks. There was no identifiable lesion on MRI pancreas, Ga-68 PET or FDG PET. Diazoxide and everolimus were not tolerated. MEN-1 testing was negative. Insulinomatosis should be suspected in insulinomas with early recurrence or multifocality. De novo lesions can arise throughout the pancreas. Extensive surgery will assist diagnosis but may not provide cure.

Learning points:

  • Insulinomas are usually benign and managed surgically.

  • Insulinomatosis is characterised by multifocal benign insulinomas with a tendency to recur early. It is rare.

  • Multifocal or recurrent insulinomas should raise suspicion of MEN-1 syndrome, or insulinomatosis.

  • Insulinomatosis is distinguished histologically by insulin-expressing monohormonal endocrine cell clusters (IMECCs) and tumour staining only for insulin, whereas MEN-1 associated insulinomas stain for multiple hormones.

  • The ideal treatment strategy is unknown. Total pancreatectomy may not offer cure.

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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.

Open access