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Open access

S Ludgate, S P Connolly, D Fennell, M F Muhamad, I Welaratne, A Cotter, and S E McQuaid

Summary

Both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) are associated with endocrine dysfunction (1). The term 'immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome' (IRIS) describes an array of inflammatory conditions that occur during the return of cell-mediated immunity following ART. Graves’ disease (GD) occurs rarely as an IRIS following ART. In this study, we describe the case of a 40-year-old Brazilian female who was diagnosed with HIV following admission with cryptococcal meningitis and salmonellosis. At this time, she was also diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency. Her CD4 count at diagnosis was 17 cells/µL which rose to 256 cells/µL over the first 3 months of ART. Her HIV viral load, however, consistently remained detectable. When viral suppression was finally achieved 21 months post diagnosis, an incremental CD4 count of 407 cells/µL over the following 6 months ensued. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with a late IRIS to cryptococcus 32 months following initial ART treatment, which manifested as non-resolving lymphadenitis and resolved with high-dose steroids. Following the initiation of ART for 45 months, she developed symptomatic Graves’ hyperthyroidism. At this time, her CD4 count had risen to 941 cells/µL. She has been rendered euthyroid on carbimazole. This case serves to remind us that GD can occur as an IRIS post ART and typically has a delayed presentation.

Learning points

  • Endocrinologists should be aware of the endocrine manifestations of HIV disease, in particular, thyroid pathology.

  • Endocrinologists should be aware that IRIS can occur following the initiation of ART.

  • Thyroid dysfunction can occur post ART of which Graves' disease (GD) is the most common thyroid manifestation.

  • GD as a manifestation of ART-induced IRIS can have a delayed presentation.

  • Infectious disease physicians should be aware of endocrine manifestations associated with HIV and ART.

Open access

Hiroki Nakajima, Yasuhiro Niida, Eriko Hamada, Kuwata Hirohito, Masahide Ota, Sadanori Okada, Takako Mohri, Yukako Kurematsu, Shigeto Hontsu, Shigeo Muro, and Yutaka Takahashi

Summary

Ectopic ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) syndrome (EAS) is rarely associated with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Although chemotherapy is initially effective for SCLC, complicated EAS scarcely improves. Recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors have been used to treat SCLC. Atezolizumab plus chemotherapy for SCLC improved progression-free survival compared to conventional chemotherapy. However, little has been reported on the efficacy of the combination therapy for SCLC with EAS. We report a 72-year-old male who presented with 4-week history of leg oedema, proximal myopathy, weight loss, and worsened symptoms of diabetes and hypertension. Laboratory findings revealed hypokalaemia, increased plasma ACTH, and serum cortisol levels. Cortisol levels were not suppressed by the high-dose dexamethasone test. Chest and abdominal CT revealed a right lower lobe tumour with multiple metastases on the hilar lymph nodes, liver, lumbar spine, and bilateral enlarged adrenal glands. The patient was diagnosed with stage 4B SCLC with EAS. Hypercortisolaemia was then treated with metyrapone and atezolizumab plus chemotherapy, which was started for SCLC. After 10 days, the tumour shrank noticeably, and the ACTH level drastically decreased concomitantly with low cortisol levels with symptoms of fever, appetite loss, and general fatigue. Hydrocortisone treatment was initiated, and the symptoms resolved immediately. We describe a case of SCLC with EAS treated with atezolizumab plus chemotherapy, presenting with adrenal insufficiency. Close observation is required for patients with adrenal insufficiency receiving atezolizumab plus chemotherapy because of its stronger effect. Furthermore, advances in cancer therapy and care for endocrine paraneoplastic syndrome needs to be adapted.

Learning points

  • The immune checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab has recently been approved for the treatment of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).

  • Approximately 1–6% of tumour ectopically produce ACTH and cause ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) as an endocrine paraneoplastic syndrome.

  • The use of combined chemotherapy and atezolizumab in the ectopic ACTH syndrome secondary to small-cell lung cancer may cause a precipitous fall in circulating ACTH/cortisol, resulting in symptomatic adrenal insufficiency

  • The advances in cancer therapy and treatment for endocrine paraneoplastic syndrome need to be adapted.

Open access

Priya Darshani Chhiba and David Segal

Summary

Recombinant human growth hormone therapy (rhGH) has been available since 1985 for a variety of conditions and has expanded the indications for rhGH therapy and the number of patients receiving therapy. The very nature of the therapy exposes individuals to years of injections. There are a number of well-known adverse events, however, a lesser-known and rarely reported adverse event of rhGH therapy is localized lipoatrophy. We report nine cases of localized lipoatrophy during rhGH therapy accounting for 14.5% of patients taking rhGH presenting to a single centre for routine follow-up over just a 2-month period. The development of localized lipoatrophy does not appear to be age, indication or dose-related but rather related to repeated administration of rhGH into a limited number of sites. The most likely putative mechanism is the local lipolytic action of growth hormone (GH) itself, although the possibility of an excipient-based interaction cannot be excluded. Given the high prevalence of this adverse event and the potential to prevent it with adequate site rotation, we can recommend that patients be informed of the possible development of localized lipoatrophy. Doctors and nurses should closely examine injection sites at each visit, and site rotation should be emphasized during injection technique education.

Learning points

  • There are a number of well-known adverse events, however, a lesser-known and rarely reported adverse event of rhGH therapy is localized lipoatrophy.

  • Examination of the injection sites at each visit by the treating healthcare practitioner.

  • To advise the parents/caregivers/patients to change their injection site with each injection.

  • To advise the parents/caregivers/patients to change the needles after every use.

  • For parents, caregivers and patients to self-inspect their injection sites and have a high alert for the development of lipoatrophy and to then immediately report it to their doctor.

Open access

Niamh O’Donnell, Aisling McCarthy, and Ken Thong

Summary

Carbimazole is a commonly used antithyroid drug (ATD), which is associated with several well-established side effects. However, Carbimazole-induced rhabdomyolysis is rarely reported in the literature. We report a 27-year-old male who presented with upper limb myalgia and significantly raised creatine kinase elevation, 1-month post commencement of Carbimazole for Graves’ disease. Carbimazole was ceased with subsequent clinical and biochemical improvement. Though the pathophysiology remains unclear, we hope to raise awareness regarding this rare adverse effect with a view to promote early recognition and prompt discontinuation of the offending medication caused by a commonly used medication in endocrinology.

Learning points

  • Musculoskeletal complaints can relate to unidentified and untreated hyperthyroidism. However one must be mindful that the treatment for these disorders can too induce myopathies.

  • ATD-induced myopathy should be considered when there is a temporal relationship between introduction of ATDs and the onset of symptoms.

  • If ATD-induced myopathy is being considered, other causes of myopathy should still be outruled.

  • Prompt discontinuation of potentially offending medications may provide resolution of symptoms and avoid significant consequences.

Open access

P A D M Kumarathunga, N S Kalupahana, and C N Antonypillai

Summary

Whey protein is a popular dietary supplement that is claimed to provide multiple health benefits. It has been shown to delay gastric emptying and impair ileal nutrient absorption. Additionally, some of the other additives like papain enzyme, soy lecithin in these protein supplements could interfere with L-thyroxine absorption. There is no evidence in the literature for the effects of protein supplements on L-thyroxine absorption. Herein, we describe a case of a 34-year-old lady who was on endocrinology follow up for primary hypothyroidism with stable thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels within the normal range while on L-thyroxine with a dose of 125 µg daily for the last 3 years, presenting with mild hypothyroid symptoms and elevated TSH level following a recent introduction of a protein supplement by her physical care adviser. Her treatment adherence and ingestion technique were good throughout, she was not on other medications or herbal remedies, there were no other changes in her food pattern or features suggestive of malabsorption, she was not pregnant, was taking the same L-thyroxine brand and TSH test was done from the routine lab. Since the only factor which could have contributed to the deranged TSH levels was the recent introduction of the whey protein supplement, we advised her to stop the protein supplement while continuing the same dose of L-thyroxine. Her TSH level was repeated in 6 weeks and was found to be normal (1.7 mIU/L). Our case report demonstrates that over-the-counter protein supplements could interfere with L-thyroxine absorption. Therefore, patients on L-thyroxine should be cautious when taking them.

Learning points

  • Over-the-counter protein supplements could interfere with oral L-thyroxine absorption.

  • The underlying mechanism could be the effect of whey protein by delaying gastric emptying and reduced responsiveness of organic anion transporters in the ileum, and there may be a contribution from other additives like papain and soy lecithin present in these supplements.

  • When there is an elevation of previously stable thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) value in a hypothyroid patient on oral L-thyroxine, the patient's assessment should include inquiring for a recent introduction of protein supplement, in the absence of other well-known risk factors.

  • Discontinuation of protein supplement results in normalization of thyroid function tests.

  • Patients on oral L-thyroxine should be cautious when taking over-the-counter protein supplementation.

Open access

Ziad Hussein, Marta Korbonits, Stephanie E Baldeweg, and Teng-Teng Chung

Summary

We observed a novel therapeutic response with cabergoline in a male patient with a dopamine-secreting head and neck paraganglioma (HNPGL), macroprolactinoma and germline succinate dehydrogenase C mutation (SDHC). The macroprolactinoma was treated with cabergoline which gave an excellent response. He was found to have raised plasma 3-methoxytyramine of 1014 pmol/L (NR: 0–180 pmol/L); but it was unclear if this was a drug-induced phenomenon from dopamine agonist (DA) therapy. Cabergoline was stopped for 4 weeks and the 3-methoxytyramine level increased significantly to 2185 pmol/L, suggesting a biochemical response of his HNPGL. Subsequently, Gallium-68 Dotatate PET and MRI (Gallium-68 Dotatate PET/MRI) demonstrated a second lesion in the sacrum. Both the HNPGL and metastatic sacral deposit received external beam radiotherapy with a good biochemical and radiological response.

Conclusion

Our case report highlights the rare potential of germline SDHC mutations causing metastatic paraganglioma and concurrent pituitary tumours. Cabergoline treatment may lower elevated 3-methoxytyramine levels and, therefore, mask the biochemical evidence of metastatic disease but also may have therapeutic relevance in dopamine-secreting pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PPGLs).

Learning points

  • Several neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) express dopamine D2 and D4 receptors. In this case report, cabergoline significantly reduced plasma 3-methoxytyramine level in a patient with functional HNPGL. Cabergoline might have therapeutic relevance in dopamine-secreting PPGLs.

  • Paragangliomas associated with SDHC mutation classically present with asymptomatic non-functional HNPGL and have rare metastatic potential.

  • The association of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma and pituitary adenoma is now a well-described rare association (<1%), designated as the three P association. While the three P association is most commonly seen with succinate dehydrogenase B and D mutations, it has also been described in patients with SDHA and SDHC mutations.

  • Cabergoline treatment may lower elevated 3-methoxytyramine levels and mask the biochemical evidence of metastatic disease. Regular functional imaging with Gallium-68 Dotatate PET/MRI provides better evidence of metastatic disease.

Open access

Tomomi Taguchi, Sachiko Kimizuka, and Koji Takano

Summary

Acromegaly is associated with a low quality of life (QoL), which is partially attributable to appearance. However, appearance changes are only partially reversible with treatments of growth hormone excess. This case study describes a 41-year-old Japanese man who presented with mandibular prognathism. Acromegaly was suspected because of the patient’s facial features. Subsequent examination revealed a pituitary tumour with elevated levels of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), confirming a diagnosis of acromegaly. We assessed his QoL with the acromegaly QoL questionnaire (AcroQoL) before transsphenoidal surgery, and all AcroQoL scores were low. Although the pituitary adenoma was resected, his serum IGF1 levels started to increase again and MRI identified a residual pituitary lesion. After lanreotide and pegvisomant injection therapies improved his serum IGF1 levels, we reassessed his AcroQoL scores, however, the results showed worsening scores regarding appearance and personal relationships, and the patient expressed interest in surgery for mandibular prognathism. We performed sagittal split ramus osteotomy (SSRO) with Le Fort I osteotomy, thus, the patient’s AcroQoL scores improved. This case shows that SSRO with Le Fort I osteotomy for mandibular prognathism, rather than control of serum IGF1 level alone, improved the patient’s AcroQoL score, especially for both psychological well-being and approval of appearance. Acromegaly has many complications, including its negative impact on patients’ perception of their appearance and patients’ QoL can be improved using multiple options, in addition to controlling growth hormone levels.

Learning points

  • The patient’s AcroQoL scores worsened despite biochemical normalization of IGF-1 levels.

  • Mandibular prognathism due to acromegaly can be successfully operated by performing sagittal split ramus osteotomy with Le Fort I osteotomy.

  • Frequent monitoring of AcroQoL scores and appropriate response to negative results can improve the overall QoL.

Open access

Omayma Elshafie and Nicholas Woodhouse

Summary

A 79-year-old male presented with a 10-year history of intermittent headache, sweating, persistent hand numbness and uncontrolled hypertension. He was receiving Nifedipine and Hydrochorothizide. On examination (O/E), his BP was 180/100 he was acromegalic. His growth hormone (GH) was 10 mIU/L (0.0–0.1) and his insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1): 952 µg/L (76–160). An MRI of the pituitary revealed a 3 × 2 cm pituitary macroadenoma. Surgery was refused and the family agreed for a therapeutic trial of octreotide. His GH levels fell immediately. Two weeks later he was switched to long-acting monthly octreotide in September 2003. During his 16-year follow-up, he has remained well and asymptomatic off medications for hypertension. His BP and IGF-1 levels were also normal until octreotide Long acting (LA) octrotide was stopped for 3 months at age 96. During this period the IGF-1 level returned to pretreatment levels 500 ng/L (50–141), GH 24 mIU/L (0.0–0.1), and a small residual tumour 0.5–0.8 cm was seen on the MRI. Octreotide LA was restarted and the IGF-1 and GH levels returned to normal. He continues the same treatment to date age 97 without side effects. We conclude that the successful control of IGF-1, GH levels, hypertension, tumour size and clinical symptoms for more than 16 years occurred using octreotide LA in an elderly advanced acromegalic patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the successful use of octreotide LA for more than 16 years.

Learning points:

  • The value of a therapeutic trial of octreotide to identify responders.

  • Control of GH and IGF-1 secretion using octreotide LA.

  • The report of the successful use of octreotide for more than 16 years irrespective of age.

Open access

Deeb Daoud Naccache

Summary

Ten years after the successful withdrawal from heroin abuse, a person with diabetes suffered intractable pain and severe muscular emaciation consistent with the syndrome of diabetic neuropathic cachexia. Anti-neuropathic medications failed neither to alleviate suffering and reverse weight loss, nor to stop muscular emaciation. Vigilant evaluation for weight loss aetiologies revealed no responsible aetiology. Prescribing medical cannabis became mandatory, with the intention to alleviate neuropathic pain, regain muscular mass and strengthen legs, enable standing upright and walking normally. Medical cannabis for pain-relief, and the orexigenic properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ingredient successfully achieved these goals.

Learning points:

  • Medical cannabis can serve to promptly alleviate severe diabetic neuropathic pain.

  • Past history of heroin abuse was not an absolute contraindication to medical cannabis use.

  • Medical cannabis increased appetite and reversed muscular emaciation.

  • Medical cannabis decreased chronic pain and hence, its catabolic consequences.

Open access

Daramjav Narantsatsral, Takagi Junko, Iwayama Hideyuki, Inukai Daisuke, Takama Hiroyuki, Nomura Yuka, Hirase Syo, Morita Hiroyuki, Otake Kazuo, Ogawa Tetsuya, and Takami Akiyoshi

Summary

Dupilumab an inhibitor of the interleukin (IL)-4R-alpha subunit is used for the treatment of allergic diseases. The patient was a 49-year-old man who received dupilumab for the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis. He presented hyperthyroidism with elevated thyroglobulin and anti-thyroid antibody negativity at 4 months after the initiation of therapy. On scintigraphy, the thyroid radioiodine uptake was low. Ultrasonography showed a diffuse hypoechoic area in the thyroid gland. A pathological study revealed lymphocytic infiltration. The administration of dupilumab was continued because of his atopic dermatitis that showed an excellent response. The patient`s hyperthyroidism changed to hypothyroidism 3 weeks later. Six months later his thyroid function normalized without any treatment. We herein describe the case of a patient with atopic dermatitis who developed painless thyroiditis under treatment with dupilumab. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of this event in the literature.

Learning points:

  • Dupilumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that blocks interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, has been shown to be effective in the treatment atopic dermatitis and asthma with eosinophilia.

  • Painless thyroiditis is characterized by transient hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism and recovery without anti-thyroid treatment.

  • This is the first report of painless thyroiditis as an adverse effect of dupilumab, although conjunctivitis and nasopharyngitis are the main adverse effects of dupilumab.