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Isabella Chiardi Thyroid Unit of Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology, Lugano Regional Hospital, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Humanitas University, Rozzano, Milan, Italy

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Priska Gaffuri Istituto Cantonale di Patologia, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Bellinzona, Switzerland

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Andrea Leoncini Servizio di Radiologia e Radiologia Interventistica, Istituto di Imaging Della Svizzera Italiana (IIMSI), Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Bellinzona, Switzerland

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Pierpaolo Trimboli Thyroid Unit of Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology, Lugano Regional Hospital, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), Lugano, Switzerland

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Summary

Thyroid metastases from nonthyroidal malignancies (NTMs) represent a diagnostic challenge, often displaying heterogeneous clinical manifestations. These metastases are rare but significant, accounting for approximately 2% of thyroid malignancies. Distinguishing them from primary thyroid malignancies is challenging due to the lack of specific ultrasound features, and the ultrasound-based risk stratification systems offer limited utility in such cases. Fine needle aspiration cytology is crucial for definitive diagnosis, yet it may not always provide accurate results. In this case report, we describe a unique instance of thyroid metastases originating from renal cell carcinoma, emphasizing the complexities in diagnosis and the importance of considering oncological conditions when assessing thyroid masses. Awareness of thyroid metastasis from NTMs, particularly in cases of diffuse thyroid hypoechogenicity and hypothyroidism, is essential for clinicians in their diagnostic approach.

Learning points

  • Thyroid metastases from nonthyroidal malignancies are diagnostic challenges due to their heterogeneous clinical presentations, often mimicking primary thyroid malignancies.

  • Thyroid metastases from nonthyroidal malignancies are relatively rare, but they still account for approximately 2% of thyroid malignancies.

  • It is fundamental to consider oncological conditions when assessing thyroid masses, especially in cases of diffuse thyroid hypoechogenicity, hypothyroidism, and history of other tumors.

  • Thyroid presentation is quite similar to that of autoimmune hypothyroidism, endocrinologists must be aware of the possibility of thyroid hypofunction due to the massive invasion of the parenchyma.

Open access
Debby Christiana Soemitha Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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Deshinta Putri Mulya Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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Hemi Sinorita Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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Summary

Diabetes foot ulcer (DFU) is a common long-term complication of diabetes. Intractable chronic wounds to standard care of diabetic foot raise the question of whether other factors intervene in disease development. We report a case of a 54-year-old male patient who came to Sardjito General Hospital with leg pain and previous history of multiple debridement and amputation for DFU referred from a remote hospital yet no improvement was evident in the surrounding lesion following treatment. Consequently, a histopathological examination was carried out proving the presence of other aetiologic factors, vasculitis and panniculitis existing in the lesion. In this case, we report a rare type of causative factor of foot ulcers among diabetic patients. Vasculitis suspected for polyarteritis nodosa accompanied by panniculitis is considered in this patient. The treatment of choice is corticosteroids or immunosuppressants based on the clinical condition, contrary to usual wound care in DFU. Based on the evidence, clinicians need to consider other causes than only macrovascular complications in a diabetic patient with DFU that is intractable to standard wound care. In this patient, vasculitis may be considered in forming diabetic foot ulcers alongside macrovascular complications.

Learning points

  • A thorough examination is essential to rule out other processes in intractable DFU patients.

  • Prompt management based on proper diagnosis is crucial to prevent peripheral arterial disease complications.

  • Vasculitis and macrovascular complication are inseparable processes forming DFU in this patient.

Open access
Umberto Spennato Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Jennifer Siegwart Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Britta Hartmann Institute for Laboratory Medicine, Division Medical Genetics, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Elisabeth Julia Fischer Institute for Laboratory Medicine, Division Medical Genetics, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Cecilia Bracco Institute for Laboratory Medicine, Division Medical Genetics, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Joel Capraro Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland

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Beat Mueller Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland
Medical Faculty of the University of Basel, Switzerland

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Philipp Schuetz Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland
Medical Faculty of the University of Basel, Switzerland

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Andreas Werner Jehle Department of Internal Medicine, Hirslanden Klinik St. Anna, Lucerne, Switzerland
Transplantation Immunology and Nephrology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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Tristan Struja Medical University Clinic, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Switzerland
Medical Faculty of the University of Basel, Switzerland

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Summary

Barakat syndrome, also called HDR syndrome, is a rare genetic disorder encompassing hypoparathyroidism (H), sensorineural deafness (D) and renal disease (R). A 64-year-old woman was referred to our endocrinology clinic for a switch in treatment (from dihydrotachysterol to calcitriol). She had progressive sensorineural deafness since the age of 18 and idiopathic hypoparathyroidism diagnosed at age of 36. Her medical history included osteoporosis with hip/spine fractures, nephrolithiasis and a family history of hearing loss, osteoporosis and kidney disease. The patient’s clinical presentation indicated Barakat syndrome. Genetic analysis found a GATA3:c.916C>T nonsense variant. Further tests such as audiometry, labs and renal imaging supported the diagnosis. Due to rarity and manifold symptoms, diagnosis can be challenging. Optional GATA3 testing was suggested in 2018, except in cases of isolated sensorineural deafness or renal disease with pertinent family history. In isolated ‘H’ cases without ‘D’ and ‘R’, GATA3 studies are not required, as no haploinsufficiency cases were reported. Given the rise in genetic disorders, physicians should consistently consider rare genetic disorders in patients with suggestive symptoms, even decades after onset. Although diagnosis might not always impact management directly, it aids patients in accepting their condition and has broader family implications.

Learning points

  • There is currently an important increase in genetic and clinical characterization of new orphan diseases and their causative agents.

  • Unbiased re-evaluation for possible genetic disorders is necessary at every consultation.

  • It is essential to recognize the differential diagnosis of idiopathic hypoparathyroidism.

  • The patient’s clinical presentation and family history can be important to establish the correct diagnosis.

  • Physicians should not hesitate to search a patient’s signs and symptoms online.

Open access
Laura Marino Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Andrea Messina Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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James S Acierno Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Franziska Phan-Hug Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Nicolas J Niederländer Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Federico Santoni Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Stefano La Rosa Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Nelly Pitteloud Department of Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Summary

Complete androgen-insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), a disorder of sex development (46,XY DSD), is caused primarily by mutations in the androgen receptor (AR). Gonadectomy is recommended due to the increased risk of gonadoblastoma, however, surgical intervention is often followed by loss of libido. We present a 26-year-old patient with CAIS who underwent gonadectomy followed by a significant decrease in libido, which was improved with testosterone treatment but not with estradiol. Genetic testing was performed and followed by molecular characterization. We found that this patient carried a previously unidentified start loss mutation in the androgen receptor. This variant resulted in an N-terminal truncated protein with an intact DNA binding domain and was confirmed to be loss-of-function in vitro. This unique CAIS case and detailed functional studies raise intriguing questions regarding the relative roles of testosterone and estrogen in libido, and in particular, the potential non-genomic actions of androgens.

Learning points

  • N-terminal truncation of androgen receptor can cause androgen-insensitivity syndrome.

  • Surgical removal of testosterone-producing gonads can result in loss of libido.

  • Libido may be improved with testosterone treatment but not with estradiol in some forms of CAIS.

  • A previously unreported AR mutation – p.Glu2_Met190del (c.2T>C) – is found in a CAIS patient and results in blunted AR transcriptional activity under testosterone treatment.

Open access
Beryl Stütz Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland

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Marta Korbonits Department of Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Karl Kothbauer Department of Neurosurgery, Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland

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Werner Müller Department of Otorhinolarnygology, Head and Neck Surgery, Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland

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Stefan Fischli Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland

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Summary

The coincidence of a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma and a pituitary adenoma in the same patient is a rare condition. In the last few years SDHx and MAX mutations have been identified and discussed as a potential causal connection in cases of coincidence. We describe a case of a middle-aged female patient which presented with acromegaly, a growth hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma and a symptomatic neck paraganglioma. The patient was cured by surgery from both the pituitary tumour and the paraganglioma and is well after ten years follow-up. Due to the unusual coexistence of two neuroendocrine tumours, further molecular genetic testing was performed which revealed a variant in the TMEM127 gene (c245-10C>G).

Learning points:

  • Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and coexisting functioning pituitary adenoma are a very rare condition. An appropriate treatment of each tumour entity with a multi-disciplinary approach and regular follow-up is needed.

  • The possibility of a hereditary disease should be considered and genetic workup is recommended. Genetic testing should focus primarily on the genes with mutations related to pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.

  • Next-generation sequencing with multi-gene panel testing is the currently suggested strategy.

  • Genes associated with paragangliomas and pituitary adenomas are SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, MAX and MEN1, while case reports with VHL, RET and NF1 may represent coincidences.

  • Variants of uncertain significance may need ongoing vigilance, in case novel data become available of these variants.

Open access
Anna Luiza Galeazzi Rech Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Yvon Stüve Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Andreas Toepfer Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Orthopädische Chirurgie und Traumatologie des Bewegungsapparts, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Katrin E Schimke Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Summary

Acute Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN) is a clinical entity which can easily go unrecognized in its acute early stages due to lack of awareness and unspecific presentation. However, missing early diagnosis can lead to severe complications. We present the case of a 72-year-old male patient who went through the natural course of the disease unnoticed before the very eyes of his physicians leading to a tragic end. We aim to raise awareness for this rare diabetic complication, emphasizing the necessity of early diagnosis and adequate, interdisciplinary treatment.

Learning points:

  • Clinical signs and symptoms of acute Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN).

  • Red flags.

  • Importance of early diagnosis and correct treatment.

  • Diagnostic challenges of acute CN.

  • Awareness of high morbidity and mortality.

Open access
Snezana Burmazovic Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Christoph Henzen Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Lukas Brander Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Luca Cioccari Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland
Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Prahran, Australia

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Summary

The combination of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state and central diabetes insipidus is unusual and poses unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for clinicians. In a patient with diabetes mellitus presenting with polyuria and polydipsia, poor glycaemic control is usually the first aetiology that is considered, and achieving glycaemic control remains the first course of action. However, severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia and discordance between urine-specific gravity and urine osmolality suggest concurrent symptomatic diabetes insipidus. We report a rare case of concurrent manifestation of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state and central diabetes insipidus in a patient with a history of craniopharyngioma.

Learning points:

  • In patients with diabetes mellitus presenting with polyuria and polydipsia, poor glycaemic control is usually the first aetiology to be considered.

  • However, a history of craniopharyngioma, severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia and discordance between urine-specific gravity and osmolality provide evidence of concurrent diabetes insipidus.

  • Therefore, if a patient with diabetes mellitus presents with severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia, a low or low normal urinary-specific gravity and worsening polyuria despite correction of hyperglycaemia, concurrent diabetes insipidus should be sought.

Open access
Lukas Burget Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Laura Audí Parera Pediatric Endocrinology Research Unit, Vall d`Hebron, Institut de Recerca, CIBERER, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Barcelona, Spain

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Monica Fernandez-Cancio Pediatric Endocrinology Research Unit, Vall d`Hebron, Institut de Recerca, CIBERER, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Barcelona, Spain

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Rolf Gräni Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Christoph Henzen Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Christa E Flück Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism, Bern University Children’s Hospital and Department of BioMedical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

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Summary

Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR) is a key protein for the intracellular transport of cholesterol to the mitochondrium in endocrine organs (e.g. adrenal gland, ovaries, testes) and essential for the synthesis of all steroid hormones. Several mutations have been described and the clinical phenotype varies strongly and may be grouped into classic lipoid congenital adrenal hyperplasia (LCAH), in which all steroidogenesis is disrupted, and non-classic LCAH, which resembles familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD), which affects predominantly adrenal functions. Classic LCAH is characterized by early and potentially life-threatening manifestation of primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) with electrolyte disturbances and 46,XY disorder of sex development (DSD) in males as well as lack of pubertal development in both sexes. Non-classic LCAH manifests usually later in life with PAI. Nevertheless, life-long follow-up of gonadal function is warranted. We describe a 26-year-old female patient who was diagnosed with PAI early in life without detailed diagnostic work-up. At the age of 14 months, she presented with hyperpigmentation, elevated ACTH and low cortisol levels. As her older brother was diagnosed with PAI two years earlier, she was put on hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone replacement therapy before an Addisonian crisis occurred. Upon review of her case in adulthood, consanguinity was noted in the family. Genetic analysis for PAI revealed a homozygous mutation in the STAR gene (c.562C>T, p.Arg188Cys) in both siblings. This mutation has been previously described in non-classic LCAH. This case illustrates that early onset, familial PAI is likely due to autosomal recessive genetic mutations in known genes causing PAI.

Learning points:

  • In childhood-onset PAI, a genetic cause is most likely, especially in families with consanguinity.

  • Adult patients with an etiologically unsolved PAI should be reviewed repeatedly and genetic work-up should be considered.

  • Knowing the exact genetic diagnosis in PAI is essential for genetic counselling and may allow disease-specific treatment.

  • Young men and women with NCLAH due to homozygous STAR Arg188Cys mutation should be investigated for their gonadal function as hypogonadism and infertility might occur during puberty or in early adulthood.

Open access
Regina Streuli Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine

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Ina Krull Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine

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Michael Brändle Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine

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Walter Kolb Department of Surgery, Kantonsspital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland

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Günter Stalla Clinical Neuroendocrinology, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

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Marily Theodoropoulou Clinical Neuroendocrinology, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

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Annette Enzler-Tschudy Institute of Pathology, Kantonsspital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland

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Stefan Bilz Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine

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Summary

Ectopic ACTH/CRH co-secreting tumors are a very rare cause of Cushing’s syndrome and only a few cases have been reported in the literature. Differentiating between Cushing’s disease and ectopic Cushing’s syndrome may be particularly difficult if predominant ectopic CRH secretion leads to pituitary corticotroph hyperplasia that may mimic Cushing’s disease during dynamic testing with both dexamethasone and CRH as well as bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS). We present the case of a 24-year-old man diagnosed with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome caused by an ACTH/CRH co-secreting midgut NET. Both high-dose dexamethasone testing and BIPSS suggested Cushing’s disease. However, the clinical presentation with a rather rapid onset of cushingoid features, hyperpigmentation and hypokalemia led to the consideration of ectopic ACTH/CRH-secretion and prompted a further workup. Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen revealed a cecal mass which was identified as a predominantly CRH-secreting neuroendocrine tumor. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of an ACTH/CRH co-secreting tumor of the cecum presenting with biochemical features suggestive of Cushing’s disease.

Learning points:

  • The discrimination between a Cushing’s disease and ectopic Cushing’s syndrome is challenging and has many caveats.

  • Ectopic ACTH/CRH co-secreting tumors are very rare.

  • Dynamic tests as well as BIPSS may be compatible with Cushing’s disease in ectopic CRH-secretion.

  • High levels of CRH may induce hyperplasia of the corticotroph cells in the pituitary. This could be the cause of a preserved pituitary response to dexamethasone and CRH.

  • Clinical features of ACTH-dependent hypercortisolism with rapid development of Cushing’s syndrome, hyperpigmentation, high circulating levels of cortisol with associated hypokalemia, peripheral edema and proximal myopathy should be a warning flag of ectopic Cushing’s syndrome and lead to further investigations.

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Julien Ducry Services of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Fulgencio Gomez Services of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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John O Prior Nuclear Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Ariane Boubaker Nuclear Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Maurice Matter Visceral Surgery, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Matteo Monti Internal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Yan Pu Institute of Pathology, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, CH-1011, Switzerland

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Nelly Pitteloud Services of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Luc Portmann Services of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Summary

Ectopic ACTH Cushing's syndrome (EAS) is often caused by neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) of lungs, pancreas, thymus, and other less frequent locations. Localizing the source of ACTH can be challenging. A 64-year-old man presented with rapidly progressing fatigue, muscular weakness, and dyspnea. He was in poor condition and showed facial redness, proximal amyotrophy, and bruises. Laboratory disclosed hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, and markedly elevated ACTH and cortisol levels. Pituitary was normal on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and bilateral inferior petrosal sinus blood sampling with corticotropin-releasing hormone stimulation showed no significant central-to-periphery gradient of ACTH. Head and neck, thoracic and abdominal computerized tomography (CT), MRI, somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SSRS), and 18F-deoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) failed to identify the primary tumor. 18F-dihydroxyphenylalanine (F-DOPA)-PET/CT unveiled a 20-mm nodule in the jejunum and a metastatic lymph node. Segmental jejunum resection showed two adjacent NETs, measuring 2.0 and 0.5 cm with a peritoneal metastasis. The largest tumor expressed ACTH in 30% of cells. Following surgery, after a transient adrenal insufficiency, ACTH and cortisol levels returned to normal values and remain normal over a follow-up of 26 months. Small mid-gut NETs are difficult to localize on CT or MRI, and require metabolic imaging. Owing to low mitotic activity, NETs are generally poor candidates for FDG-PET, whereas SSRS shows poor sensitivity in EAS due to intrinsically low tumor concentration of type-2 somatostatin receptors (SST2) or to receptor down regulation by excess cortisol. However, F-DOPA-PET, which is related to amine precursor uptake by NETs, has been reported to have high positive predictive value for occult EAS despite low sensitivity, and constitutes a useful alternative to more conventional methods of tumor localization.

Learning points

  • Uncontrolled high cortisol levels in EAS can be lethal if untreated.

  • Surgical excision is the keystone of NETs treatment, thus tumor localization is crucial.

  • Most cases of EAS are caused by NETs, which are located mainly in the lungs. However, small gut NETs are elusive to conventional imaging and require metabolic imaging for detection.

  • FDG-PET, based on tumor high metabolic rate, may not detect NETs that have low mitotic activity. SSRS may also fail, due to absent or low concentration of SST2, which may be down regulated by excess cortisol.

  • F-DOPA-PET, based on amine-precursor uptake, can be a useful method to localize the occult source of ACTH in EAS when other methods have failed.

Open access