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Dured Dardari Diabetology Department, Centre Hopitalier Sud Francilien, Corbeil-Essonnes, France
Sorbonne Université, Paris, France

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Alfred Penfornis Diabetology Department, Centre Hopitalier Sud Francilien, Corbeil-Essonnes, France
Paris-Sud Medical School, Paris-Saclay University, Orsay, France

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Agnes Hartemann Diabetology Department, AP-HP, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France
Sorbonne Université, Paris, France

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Summary

We report the onset of acute Charcot neuroarthropathy during pregnancy in two patients with type 1 diabetes using retrospective review of case notes. We describe for the first time the onset of acute Charcot neuroarthropathy during pregnancy in two patients with type 1 diabetes. Pregnancy may promote the onset and worsening of a number of diabetic complications. A link between pregnancy and the onset of acute Charcot neuroarthropathy is demonstrated for the first time in this report.

Learning points:

  • Patients with already diagnosed sensitive neuropathy can develop an active phase of Charcot neuroarthropathy during pregnancy.

  • The rapid correction of hyperglycaemia may induce an active phase of Charcot neuroarthropathy during pregnancy.

Open access
Kazuhisa Kusuki Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Kanto Central Hospital of the Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Saya Suzuki Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Kanto Central Hospital of the Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Yuzo Mizuno Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Kanto Central Hospital of the Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Summary

A 72-year-old man with no history of diabetes was referred to our department due to hyperglycemia during pembrolizumab treatment for non-small-cell lung carcinoma. His blood glucose level was 209 mg/dL, but he was not in a state of ketosis or ketoacidosis. Serum C-peptide levels persisted at first, but gradually decreased, and 18 days later, he was admitted to our hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The patient was diagnosed with fulminant type 1 diabetes (FT1D) induced by pembrolizumab. According to the literature, the insulin secretion capacity of a patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D) induced by anti-programmed cell death-1 (anti-PD-1) antibody is depleted in approximately 2 to 3 weeks, which is longer than that of typical FT1D. Patients with hyperglycemia and C-peptide persistence should be considered for hospitalization or frequent outpatient visits with insulin treatment because these could indicate the onset of life-threatening FT1D induced by anti-PD-1 antibodies. Based on the clinical course of this patient and the literature, we suggest monitoring anti-PD-1 antibody-related T1D.

Learning points:

  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as anti-PD-1 antibodies, are increasingly used as anticancer drugs. Anti-PD-1 antibodies can cause immune-related adverse events, including T1D.

  • FT1D, a novel subtype of T1D, is characterized by the abrupt onset of hyperglycemia with ketoacidosis, a relatively low glycated hemoglobin level and depletion of C-peptide level at onset.

  • In patients being treated with anti-PD-1 antibody, hyperglycemia with C-peptide level persistence should be monitored through regular blood tests. Because of C-peptide persistence and mild hyperglycemia, it is possible to miss a diagnosis of life-threatening FT1D induced by anti-PD-1 antibody.

  • In particular, in patients who have no history of diabetes, hyperglycemia without DKA is likely to be the very beginning of anti-PD-1 antibody-induced T1D. Therefore, such patients must be considered for either hospitalization or frequent outpatient visits with insulin injections and self-monitoring of blood glucose.

Open access
Åke Sjöholm Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Internal Medicine, Gävle Hospital, Gävle, Sweden

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Maria João Pereira Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Thomas Nilsson Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Torbjörn Linde Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Petros Katsogiannos Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Jan Saaf Department of Internal Medicine, Västmanland Hospital Köping, Köping, Sweden

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Jan W Eriksson Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Summary

Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIRS) is a very rare autoimmune disorder with polyclonal autoantibodies against the insulin receptor, resulting in severe and refractory hyperglycemia. Described here is a patient who within a few months after the onset of autoimmune type 1 diabetes increased her insulin requirements more than 20-fold; despite this she had considerable difficulty maintaining a plasma glucose value of <40–60 mmol/L (720–1100 mg/dL). On suspicion of TBIRS, the patient was started on tapering dose of glucocorticoids to overcome the autoimmune insulin receptor blockade, resulting in an immediate and pronounced effect. Within days, insulin requirements decreased by 80–90% and plasma glucose stabilized around 7–8 mmol/L (126–144 mg/dL). The presence of antibodies to the insulin receptor was detected by immunoprecipitation and binding assays. After a 4-month remission on low maintenance dose prednisolone, the patient relapsed, which required repeated plasmaphereses and immune column treatments with temporarily remarkable effect. Mixed and transient results were seen with rituximab, mycophenolic acid and bortezomib, but the glycemic status remained suboptimal. Lack of compliance and recurrent infections may have contributed to this.

Learning points:

  • Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIRS) is a very rare autoimmune disorder with acquired polyclonal autoantibodies against the insulin receptor, resulting in severe and refractory hyperglycemia.

  • We describe here a young patient in whom, a few months after the onset of a regular autoimmune diabetes, insulin requirements in a short time increased more than 20-fold, but despite this, the plasma glucose level could be kept at <40–60 mmol/L only with considerable difficulty. Did this patient have TBIRS?

  • On suspicion of TBIRS, the patient was started on tapering glucocorticoids to overcome the autoimmune insulin receptor blockade, resulting in an immediate and pronounced effect; within days insulin requirements decreased by 80–90% and plasma glucose stabilized around 7–8 mmol/L.

  • The presence of antibodies to the insulin receptor was detected by immunoprecipitation and binding assays.

    After a 4-month remission on low maintenance dose prednisolone, the patient relapsed, which required repeated plasmaphereses with temporarily remarkable effect.

  • TBIRS should be considered in diabetic patients whose glycemia and/or insulin requirements are inexplicably and dramatically increased.

Open access
Baris Akinci Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey

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Rasimcan Meral Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Diana Rus Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Rita Hench Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Adam H Neidert Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Frank DiPaola Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Maria Westerhoff Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Simeon I Taylor Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

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Elif A Oral Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

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Summary

A patient with atypical partial lipodystrophy who had a transient initial response to metreleptin experienced acute worsening of her metabolic state when neutralizing antibodies against metreleptin appeared. Because her metabolic status continued to deteriorate, a therapeutic trial with melanocortin-4 receptor agonist setmelanotide, that is believed to function downstream from leptin receptor in the leptin signaling system, was undertaken in an effort to improve her metabolic status for the first time in a patient with lipodystrophy. To achieve this, a compassionate use (investigational new drug application; IND) was initiated (NCT03262610). Glucose control, body fat by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and MRI, and liver fat by proton density fat fraction were monitored. Daily hunger scores were assessed by patient filled questionnaires. Although there was a slight decrease in hunger scales and visceral fat, stimulating melanocortin-4 receptor by setmelanotide did not result in any other metabolic benefit such as improvement of hypertriglyceridemia or diabetes control as desired. Targeting melanocortin-4 receptor to regulate energy metabolism in this setting was not sufficient to obtain a significant metabolic benefit. However, complex features of our case make it difficult to generalize these observations to all cases of lipodystrophy. It is still possible that melanocortin-4 receptor agonistic action may offer some therapeutic benefits in leptin-deficient patients.

Learning points:

  • A patient with atypical lipodystrophy with an initial benefit with metreleptin therapy developed neutralizing antibodies to metreleptin (Nab-leptin), which led to substantial worsening in metabolic control. The neutralizing activity in her serum persisted for longer than 3 years.

  • Whether the worsening in her metabolic state was truly caused by the development of Nab-leptin cannot be fully ascertained, but there was a temporal relationship. The experience noted in our patient at least raises the possibility for concern for substantial metabolic worsening upon emergence and persistence of Nab-leptin. Further studies of cases where Nab-leptin is detected and better assay systems to detect and characterize Nab-leptin are needed.

  • The use of setmelanotide, a selective MC4R agonist targeting specific neurons downstream from the leptin receptor activation, was not effective in restoring metabolic control in this complex patient with presumed diminished leptin action due to Nab-leptin.

  • Although stimulating the MC4R pathway was not sufficient to obtain a significant metabolic benefit in lowering triglycerides and helping with her insulin resistance as was noted with metreleptin earlier, there was a mild reduction in reported food intake and appetite.

  • Complex features of our case make it difficult to generalize our observation to all leptin-deficient patients. It is possible that some leptin-deficient patients (especially those who need primarily control of food intake) may still theoretically benefit from MC4R agonistic action, and further studies in carefully selected patients may help to tease out the differential pathways of metabolic regulation by the complex network of leptin signaling system.

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Shamaila Zaman Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Bijal Patel Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Paul Glynne The Physicians’ Clinic, London, UK

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Mark Vanderpump The Physicians’ Clinic, London, UK

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Ali Alsafi Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Sairah Khan Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Rashpal Flora Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Fausto Palazzo Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Florian Wernig Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

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Summary

Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production is an uncommon cause of Cushing’s syndrome and, rarely, the source can be a phaeochromocytoma. A 55-year-old man presented following an episode of presumed gastroenteritis with vomiting and general malaise. Further episodes of diarrhoea, joint pains and palpitations followed. On examination, he was hypertensive with no clinical features to suggest hypercortisolaemia. He was subsequently found to have raised plasma normetanephrines of 3.98 nmol/L (NR <0.71) and metanephrines of 0.69 nmol/L (NR <0.36). An adrenal CT showed a 3.8 cm right adrenal nodule, which was not MIBG-avid but was clinically and biochemically consistent with a phaeochromocytoma. He was started on alpha blockade and referred for right adrenalectomy. Four weeks later, on the day of admission for adrenalectomy, profound hypokalaemia was noted (serum potassium 2.0 mmol/L) with non-specific ST-segment ECG changes. He was also diagnosed with new-onset diabetes mellitus (capillary blood glucose of 28 mmol/L). He reported to have gained weight and his skin had become darker over the course of the last 4 weeks. Given these findings, he underwent overnight dexamethasone suppression testing, which showed a non-suppressed serum cortisol of 1099 nmol/L. Baseline serum ACTH was 273 ng/L. A preliminary diagnosis of ectopic ACTH secretion from the known right-sided phaeochromocytoma was made and he was started on metyrapone and insulin. Surgery was postponed for 4 weeks. Following uncomplicated laparoscopic adrenalectomy, the patient recovered with full resolution of symptoms.

Learning points:

  • Phaeochromocytomas are a rare source of ectopic ACTH secretion. A high clinical index of suspicion is therefore required to make the diagnosis.

  • Ectopic ACTH secretion from a phaeochromocytoma can rapidly progress to severe Cushing’s syndrome, thus complicating tumour removal.

  • Removal of the primary tumour often leads to full recovery.

  • The limited literature suggests that the presence of ectopic Cushing’s syndrome does not appear to have any long-term prognostic implications.

Open access
Janani Devaraja Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Charlotte Elder Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Adrian Scott Academic Directorate of Diabetes & Endocrinology at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Summary

This case report describes a family pedigree of a mother and her children with an E227K mutation in the KCNJ11 gene. People with this particular gene mutation typically present with transient neonatal diabetes; with more than half the cohort relapsing into permanent diabetes in adolescence or early adulthood. However, the mother developed diabetes as an adolescent and thus was initially diagnosed as having Type 1 Diabetes. All her children have inherited the same genetic mutation but with differing presentations. Her second, third and fourth child presented with transient neonatal diabetes which remitted at varying times. Her first child is 16 years old but had not developed diabetes at the time of writing. The KCNJ11 gene codes for the KIR6.2 subunit of the KATP channels of the pancreatic beta cells. Mutations in this gene limit insulin release from beta cells despite high blood glucose concentrations. Most people with diabetes caused by this genetic mutation can be successfully managed with glibenclamide. Learning of the genetic mutation changed the therapeutic approach to the mother’s diabetes and enabled rapid diagnosis for her children. Through this family, we identified that an identical genetic mutation does not necessarily lead to the same diabetic phenotype. We recommend clinicians to consider screening for this gene in their patients whom MODY is suspected; especially in those presenting before the age of 25 who remain C-peptide positive.

Learning points:

  • KATP channel closure in pancreatic beta cells is a critical step in stimulating insulin release. Mutations in the KIR6.2 subunit can result in the KATP channels remaining open, limiting insulin release.

  • People with KCNJ11 mutations may not present with neonatal diabetes as the age of presentation of diabetes can be highly variable.

  • Most affected individuals can be treated successfully with glibenclamide, which closes the KATP channels via an independent mechanism.

  • All first degree relatives of the index case should be offered genetic testing, including asymptomatic individuals. Offspring of affected individuals should be monitored for neonatal diabetes from birth.

  • Affected individuals will require long-term follow-up as there is a high risk of recurrence in later life.

Open access
Shivani Patel Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Diabetes and Metabolism, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Venessa Chin The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia

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Jerry R Greenfield Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Diabetes and Metabolism, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
St Vincent’s Clinical School, UNSW Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Durvalumab is a programmed cell death ligand 1 inhibitor, which is now approved in Australia for use in non-small-cell lung and urothelial cancers. Autoimmune diabetes is a rare immune-related adverse effect associated with the use of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. It is now being increasingly described reflecting the wider use of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. We report the case of a 49-year-old female who presented with polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss, 3 months following the commencement of durvalumab. On admission, she was in severe diabetic ketoacidosis with venous glucose: 20.1 mmol/L, pH: 7.14, bicarbonate 11.2 mmol/L and serum beta hydroxybutyrate: >8.0 mmol/L. She had no personal or family history of diabetes or autoimmune disease. Her HbA1c was 7.8% and her glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies were mildly elevated at 2.2 mU/L (reference range: <2 mU/L) with negative zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) and islet cell (ICA) antibodies. Her fasting C-peptide was low at 86 pmol/L (reference range: 200–1200) with a corresponding serum glucose of 21.9 mmol/L. She was promptly stabilised with an insulin infusion in intensive care and discharged on basal bolus insulin. Durvalumab was recommenced once her glycaemic control had stabilised. Thyroid function tests at the time of admission were within normal limits with negative thyroid autoantibodies. Four weeks post discharge, repeat thyroid function tests revealed hypothyroidism, with an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) at 6.39 mIU/L (reference range: 0.40–4.80) and low free T4: 5.9 pmol/L (reference range: 8.0–16.0). These findings persisted with repeat testing despite an absence of clinical symptoms. Treatment with levothyroxine was commenced after excluding adrenal insufficiency (early morning cortisol: 339 nmol/L) and hypophysitis (normal pituitary on MRI).

Learning points:

  • Durvalumab use is rarely associated with fulminant autoimmune diabetes, presenting with severe DKA.

  • Multiple endocrinopathies can co-exist with the use of a single immune checkpoint inhibitors; thus, patients should be regularly monitored.

  • Regular blood glucose levels should be performed on routine pathology on all patients on immune checkpoint inhibitor.

  • Clinician awareness of immunotherapy-related diabetes needs to increase in an attempt to detect hyperglycaemia early and prevent DKA.

Open access
Isabella Lupi Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Alessandro Brancatella Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Mirco Cosottini Neuroradiology, Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Nicola Viola Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Giulia Lanzolla Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Daniele Sgrò Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Giulia Di Dalmazi Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine and Aging Sciences, Ce.S.I-Me.T., “G.D’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy

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Francesco Latrofa Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Patrizio Caturegli Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland, USA

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Claudio Marcocci Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

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Summary

Programmed cell death protein 1/programmed cell death protein ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4/B7 (CTLA-4/B7) pathways are key regulators in T-cell activation and tolerance. Nivolumab, pembrolizumab (PD-1 inhibitors), atezolizumab (PD-L1 inhibitor) and ipilimumab (CTLA-4 inhibitor) are monoclonal antibodies approved for treatment of several advanced cancers. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs)-related hypophysitis is described more frequently in patients treated with anti-CTLA-4; however, recent studies reported an increasing prevalence of anti-PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis which also exhibits slightly different clinical features. We report our experience on hypophysitis induced by anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 treatment. We present four cases, diagnosed in the past 12 months, of hypophysitis occurring in two patients receiving anti-PD-1, in one patient receiving anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 combined therapy and in one patient receiving anti-PD-L1. In this case series, timing, clinical presentation and association with other immune-related adverse events appeared to be extremely variable; central hypoadrenalism and hyponatremia were constantly detected although sellar magnetic resonance imaging did not reveal specific signs of pituitary inflammation. These differences highlight the complexity of ICI-related hypophysitis and the existence of different mechanisms of action leading to heterogeneity of clinical presentation in patients receiving immunotherapy.

Learning points:

  • PD-1/PD-L1 blockade can induce hypophysitis with a different clinical presentation when compared to CTLA-4 blockade.

  • Diagnosis of PD-1/PD-L1 induced hypophysitis is mainly made on clinical grounds and sellar MRI does not show radiological abnormalities.

  • Hyponatremia due to acute secondary adrenal insufficiency is often the principal sign of PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis and can be masked by other symptoms due to oncologic disease.

  • PD-1/PD-L1-induced hypophysitis can present as an isolated manifestation of irAEs or be in association with other autoimmune diseases

Open access
Punith Kempegowda Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Eka Melson Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Gerald Langman University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Fady Khattar University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Muhammad Karamat University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Quratul-Ain Altaf University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

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Summary

Diabetic myonecrosis, also known as diabetic muscle infarction is a rare complication of diabetes mellitus usually associated with longstanding suboptimal glycaemic control. Although theories of atherosclerosis, diabetic microangiopathy, vasculitis, ischaemia-reperfusion injury and hypercoagulable state have been proposed to explain the pathophysiology, none of these have been able to individually explain the pathophysiology in entirety. Diabetic renal disease is the most common risk factor for developing DMN and its recurrence. The diagnosis is often missed due to lack of awareness and the presentation mimicking other conditions associated with DM. The routine laboratory investigations are often non-specific and do not provide much value in the diagnosis as well. Muscle biopsy can provide a definite diagnosis but is not currently recommended due to its invasiveness and association with prolonged time to symptoms resolution. Magnetic resonance imaging, in combination with classic history and risk factors can clinch the diagnosis. Treatment is generally analgesia and rest, although the former’s use may be limited in the presence of renal disease.

Learning points:

  • Diabetic myonecrosis is a rare complication of diabetes mellitus associated with longstanding suboptimal glycaemic control.

  • Diabetic renal disease is a known risk factor, although the evidence is merely observational.

  • Although muscle biopsy could provide a definite diagnosis, it is not recommended as it can prolong the disease process and should be reserved only for cases not responding to conventional treatment.

  • Typical MRI findings in combination with classic symptoms and risk factors can clinch the diagnosis

  • Current treatment recommendations include NSAIDs and/or aspirin (if not contraindicated) alongside bed rest. Physiotherapy is not recommended in the acute phase but should be started as soon as patient is discharged from hospital.

  • Optimal glycaemic control is key to prevent recurrence.

Open access
Khaled Aljenaee Department of Endocrinology, St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Osamah Hakami Department of Endocrinology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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Colin Davenport Department of Endocrinology, St Columcille’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Gemma Farrell Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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Tommy Kyaw Tun Department of Endocrinology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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Agnieszka Pazderska Department of Endocrinology, St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Niamh Phelan Department of Endocrinology, St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Marie-Louise Healy Department of Endocrinology, St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

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Seamus Sreenan Department of Endocrinology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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John H McDermott Department of Endocrinology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

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Summary

Measurement of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) has been utilised in assessing long-term control of blood glucose in patients with diabetes, as well as diagnosing diabetes and identifying patients at increased risk of developing diabetes in the future. HbA1c reflects the level of blood glucose to which the erythrocyte has been exposed during its lifespan, and there are a number of clinical situations affecting the erythrocyte life span in which HbA1c values may be spuriously high or low and therefore not reflective of the true level of glucose control. In the present case series, we describe the particulars of three patients with diabetes who had spuriously low HbA1c levels as a result of dapsone usage. Furthermore, we discuss the limitations of HbA1c testing and the mechanisms by which it may be affected by dapsone in particular.

Learning points:

  • Various conditions and medications can result in falsely low HbA1c.

  • Dapsone can lead to falsely low HbA1c by inducing haemolysis and by forming methaemoglobin.

  • Capillary glucose measurement, urine glucose measurements and fructosamine levels should be used as alternatives to HbA1c for monitoring glycaemic control if it was falsely low or high.

Open access