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Isabelle van Heeswijk Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Trust, Derby, UK

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Antonia Ugur Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Trust, Derby, UK

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Lynsey Havill Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Trust, Derby, UK

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Rebecca Kinton Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Trust, Derby, UK

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David Hughes Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Trust, Derby, UK

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Summary

Calciphylaxis is a rare disorder characterised by the development of painful necrotic skin lesions. Occlusion of cutaneous arterioles due to ectopic calcification leads to potentially life-threatening widespread skin loss. Most cases occur in patients with chronic renal disease, which leads to dysregulation of calcium and phosphate homeostasis. Only a handful of case reports exist describing calciphylaxis occurring in patients without chronic renal disease but with hypoparathyroidism. We report on a unique case of a 53-year-old man with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome and acquired hypoparathyroidism due to total parathyroidectomy who went on to develop calciphylaxis following cardiac surgery.

Learning points

  • Calciphylaxis most commonly occurs in the context of chronic renal disease but can rarely occur in its absence as a consequence of calcium and phosphate dysregulation.

  • Patients who develop necrotic skin lesions in the presence of hypoparathyroidism require an urgent dermatological opinion.

  • Mortality from calciphylaxis is high, with the majority of deaths occurring secondary to sepsis.

  • Management of calciphylaxis requires a multidisciplinary team approach to manage wound healing, infections and pain.

  • Recovery with full rehabilitation from calciphylaxis can take months to years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Summary

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

Learning points

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

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

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

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

Open access
Gabija Germanaitė Faculty of Medicine, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS), Kaunas, Lithuania

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Diana Šimonienė Department of Endocrinology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS), Kaunas, Lithuania

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Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a common endocrinological pathology; nonetheless, it is rarely diagnosed in pregnancy. Primary hyperparathyroidism can present with clinically expressed hypercalcemia. High Ca levels in the blood may lead to a miscarriage. We present the case of a 39-year-old woman who visited our Endocrinology clinic in search of a cause of infertility. Blood work showed elevated Ca and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. Upper left parathyroid gland adenoma was found during a neck ultrasound. Parathyroid gland adenoma was likely the cause of PHPT and was treated with parathyroidectomy. Surgery was carried out, and the upper left parathyroid lobe adenoma was removed. High levels of Ca were found in all performed blood works since the first visit to the clinic, but following the surgery, Ca levels of the patient were in the normal range and the woman got pregnant for the third time, later delivering a healthy baby. In conclusion, we would like to put forward the idea that an evaluation of Ca level in the blood should be included in the protocol for treating patients with recurrent miscarriages. Early detection of hypercalcemia can improve the outcomes of disease that primary hyperparathyroidism can cause. Swift and accurate decrease of serum Ca correspondingly safeguards the woman from a possible pregnancy loss along with complications that arise from it.–

Learning points

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a common endocrinological pathology, nonetheless, it is rarely diagnosed in pregnancy.

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism can present with clinically expressed hypercalcemia, and high Ca levels in the blood may lead to a miscarriage.

  • Early detection of hypercalcemia can improve the outcomes of disease that primary hyperparathyroidism can cause.

  • Swift and accurate decrease of serum Ca correspondingly safeguards the woman from a possible pregnancy loss along with complications that arise from it.

  • All pregnant patients with hypercalcemia should be assessed for the presence of primary hyperparathyroidism as it is likely the cause.

Open access
Ekaterina Kim Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Ekaterina Bondarenko Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Anna Eremkina Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Petr Nikiforovich Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Natalia Mokrysheva Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Summary

A 59-year-old male presented with an accidental thyroid mass in 2022. Ultrasound and CT scan showed a nodule 5.2 × 4.9 × 2.8 cm (EU-TIRADS 4) in the right lobe of the thyroid gland. Taking into account the results of the fine needle aspiration biopsy (Bethesda V), intrathyroid localization, and absence of clinical symptoms, a malignant tumor of the thyroid gland was suspected. The patient underwent total thyroidectomy using fluorescence angiography with indocyanine green, and two pairs of intact parathyroid glands were visualized in typical localization. Unexpected histological and immunohistochemistry examinations revealed parathyroid carcinoma. Due to the asymptomatic course of the disease and atypical localization of parathyroid tumor, primary hyperparathyroidism was not suspected before the surgery. The diagnosis of asymptomatic intrathyroid parathyroid cancer is a serious diagnostic challenge for a wide range of specialists.

Learning points

  • Parathyroid cancer is a rare disease that may be asymptomatic.

  • Intrathyroidal localization of parathyroid carcinoma is casuistic and challenging for diagnosis, and the treatment strategy is not well defined.

  • Preoperative parathyroid hormone and serum calcium testing are recommended for patients with solid thyroid nodules (Bethesda IV–V).

Open access
E Pauline Liao Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York, USA

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Natalie E Cusano Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York, USA

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Summary

We present the first report of use of recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1-84) (rhPTH(1-84)) in a hypoparathyroid patient during early pregnancy and lactation. The patient developed postoperative hypoparathyroidism as a 28-year-old woman following total thyroidectomy for multinodular goiter. She was not well controlled with conventional therapy, and started rhPTH(1-84) in 2015 following its approval in the United States. She became pregnant in 2018 at age 40. She discontinued rhPTH(1-84) therapy at 5 weeks gestation but resumed in the postpartum period while breastfeeding. Her daughter’s serum calcium was borderline elevated at 8 days postpartum but within the normal range at 8 weeks postpartum. The patient stopped nursing at around 6 months postpartum. Her daughter is now at 4 years and 5 months of age and is healthy and meeting developmental milestones. She was again pregnant at 8 months postpartum from her first pregnancy, and she made an informed decision to continue parathyroid hormone. At 15 weeks gestation, rhPTH(1-84) was recalled in the United States due to issues with the delivery device, and she discontinued rhPTH(1-84) treatment and resumed calcium and calcitriol supplements. She gave birth to a baby boy at 39 weeks in January 2020. At 3 years and 2 months of age, he is overall healthy. Further data are needed regarding the safety of rhPTH(1-84) in pregnancy and lactation.

Learning points

  • rhPTH(1-84) is approved for therapy of patients with hypoparathyroidism; however, there are no data regarding the safety of treatment during nursing and pregnancy.

  • There are multiple alterations in mineral metabolism during normal pregnancy and lactation.

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Azusa Morishita Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Yasuo Hozumi Department of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Ibaraki Prefectural Central Hospital, Koibuchi, Kasama, Ibaraki, Japan

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Hiroaki Ishii Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Yukio Hokazono Department of Pathology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Clovis Manuel Yosei Kikuchi Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Megumi Shimasaki Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Mikiko Itaya Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Masaharu Oura Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Ken Kuriki Department of Pathology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Akira Hishida Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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George Seki Department of Nephrology, Yaizu City Hospital, Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan

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Summary

Hypercalcemia due to parathyroid carcinoma (PC) is safely and quickly controlled with rapidly increasing evocalcet doses. Most parathyroid carcinomas are detected because of hypercalcemia due to primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). Hypercalcemia becomes more severe in patients with PC than those with parathyroid adenoma or hyperplasia. Hypercalcemia often causes renal dysfunction, gastrointestinal symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms. Consequently, the serum calcium level needs to be promptly corrected. Here, we report a case of PC with remarkably persistent hypercalcemia, which we safely and quickly controlled with rapidly increasing evocalcet doses. A 77-year-old female presented with renal dysfunction. Her serum calcium (Ca) and intact parathyroid hormone serum levels were 13.9 mg/dL and 1.074 pg/mL, respectively. Her renal function worsened because of hypercalcemia due to PHPT. Technetium-99 m methoxy-isobutyl-isonitrile parathyroid scintigraphic examination revealed an accumulation below the right thyroid lobe. CT examination showed a 35-mm mass. Hypercalcemia needed to be immediately corrected because of the patient’s worsening renal function. Evocalcet treatment at a gradually increasing dose of up to 20 mg over 3 weeks allowed her serum Ca level to be maintained below 11 mg/dL. Only mild nausea was observed at the beginning of the treatment. The mass was suspected as PC because the hypercalcemia was refractory to high-dose evocalcet. The patient was treated with parathyroidectomy and ipsilateral thyroidectomy. PC was diagnosed based on the pathological findings of capsular and venous invasion. The patient’s renal function improved and surgery could be safely performed by promptly correcting hypercalcemia.

Learning points

  • Hypercalcemia due to parathyroid carcinoma (PC) is often more severe than that caused by parathyroid adenoma or hyperplasia.

  • PC is a rare disease, but it should be considered if the patient has intractable hypercalcemia due to primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).

  • Evocalcet, which is used to treat hypercalcemia due to PHPT, does not interact with P450 (CYP) and causes few side effects.

  • Complications, including renal dysfunction, were improved and the surgery could be safely performed by promptly correcting hypercalcemia.

  • PC has a high recurrence rate. En-block excision is necessary when PC is suspected.

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Adele J Beck Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK

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Venkat M Reddy Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Tom Sulkin Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Duncan Browne Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) is the most common aetiology for hypercalcaemia. The incidence of PHP in pregnant women is reported to be 8/100 000 population/year. It presents a threat to the health of both mother (hyperemesis, nephrolithiasis) and fetus (fetal death, congenital malformations, and neonatal severe hypocalcaemia-induced tetany). However, there is a lack of clear guidance on the management of primary hyperparathyroidism in pregnancy. In this study, we describe the case of a 26-year-old female patient who presented with severe hypercalcaemia secondary to PHP and underwent successful parathyroid adenectomy under local anaesthesia.

Learning points

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is a rare complication in pregnancy, but the consequences for mother and fetus can be severe.

  • A perceived risk of general anaesthesia to the fetus in the first trimester has resulted in a general consensus to delay parathyroid surgery to the second trimester when possible – although the increased risk of fetal loss may occur before planned surgery.

  • If the patient presents with severe or symptomatic hypercalcaemia, minimally invasive surgery under local anaesthetic should be considered regardless of the gestational age of the pregnancy.

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Sophie Bondje Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK

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Camilla Barnes Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK

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Felicity Kaplan Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK

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Summary

Milk–alkali syndrome (MAS) is a triad of hypercalcaemia, metabolic alkalosis and renal insufficiency. In this study, we present a case of milk–alkali syndrome secondary to concurrent use of over-the-counter (OTC) calcium carbonate-containing antacid tablets (Rennie®) for dyspepsia and calcium carbonate with vitamin D3 (Adcal D3) for osteoporosis. A 72-year-old woman presented with a 2-day history of nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, constipation, lethargy and mild delirium. Past medical history included osteoporosis treated with daily Adcal D3. Initial blood tests showed elevated serum-adjusted calcium of 3.77 mmol/L (normal range, 2.2–2.6) and creatinine of 292 µmol/L (45–84) from a baseline of 84. This was corrected with i.v. pamidronate and i.v. fluids. She developed asymptomatic hypocalcaemia and rebound hyperparathyroidism. Myeloma screen, vasculitis screen and serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) were normal, while the CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis showed renal stones but no malignancy. A bone marrow biopsy showed no evidence of malignancy. Once the delirium resolved, we established that prior to admission, she had been excessively self-medicating with over-the-counter antacids (Rennie®) as required for epigastric pain. The increasing use of calcium preparations for the management of osteoporosis in addition to easily available OTC dyspepsia preparations has made MAS the third most common cause of hypercalcaemia hospitalisations. Educating patients and healthcare professionals on the risks associated with these seemingly safe medications is required. Appropriate warning labels on both calcium preparations used in the management of osteoporosis and OTC calcium-containing preparations would prevent further similar cases and unnecessary morbidity and hospital admission.

Learning points

What is known?

  • An association between high-dose calcium supplementation and hypercalcaemia crisis has been seen in case studies.

  • After as little as 1 week of excessive calcium carbonate ingestion, patients can present with symptomatic hypercalcemia, acute renal failure and metabolic alkalosis ().

  • Women aged 50 and younger need 1 g of calcium per day, while aged 51 and older need 1.2 g ().

  • Although the amount of calcium required for MAS is generally thought to be more than 4 g per day, there have been reports at intakes as low as 1.0–1.5 g per day in pre-existing risk factors including renal impairment ().

What this study adds?

  • The danger of excessive ingestion of antacid is not adequately highlighted to prescribers and patients.

  • Appropriate warning labels on OTC calcium-containing preparations could prevent unnecessary morbidity and hospital admission.

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

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

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

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

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Summary

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

Learning points

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

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

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

Open access
Adrian Po Zhu Li Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Sheela Sathyanarayan Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Salvador Diaz-Cano Departments of Cellular Pathology and Molecular Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
Division of Cancer Studies, King’s College London, London, UK

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Sobia Arshad Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Eftychia E Drakou Department of Clinical Oncology, Guy’s Cancer Centre – Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Great Maze Pond, London, UK

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Royce P Vincent Department of Clinical Biochemistry, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK
Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK

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Ashley B Grossman Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Barts and the London School of Medicine, Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Institute, London, UK
Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

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Simon J B Aylwin Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK

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Georgios K Dimitriadis Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King ’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK
Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Immunometabolism Research Group, Department of Diabetes, Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK
Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

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Summary

A 49-year-old teacher presented to his general physician with lethargy and lower limb weakness. He had noticed polydipsia, polyuria, and had experienced weight loss, albeit with an increase in central adiposity. He had no concomitant illnesses and took no regular medications. He had hypercalcaemia (adjusted calcium: 3.34 mmol/L) with hyperparathyroidism (parathyroid hormone: 356 ng/L) and hypokalaemia (K: 2.7 mmol/L) and was admitted for i.v. potassium replacement. A contrast-enhanced CT chest/abdomen/pelvis scan revealed a well-encapsulated anterior mediastinal mass measuring 17 × 11 cm with central necrosis, compressing rather than invading adjacent structures. A neck ultrasound revealed a 2 cm right inferior parathyroid lesion. On review of CT imaging, the adrenals appeared normal, but a pancreatic lesion was noted adjacent to the uncinate process. His serum cortisol was 2612 nmol/L, and adrenocorticotrophic hormone was elevated at 67 ng/L, followed by inadequate cortisol suppression to 575 nmol/L from an overnight dexamethasone suppression test. His pituitary MRI was normal, with unremarkable remaining anterior pituitary biochemistry. His admission was further complicated by increased urine output to 10 L/24 h and despite three precipitating factors for the development of diabetes insipidus including hypercalcaemia, hypokalaemia, and hypercortisolaemia, due to academic interest, a water deprivation test was conducted. An 18flurodeoxyglucose-PET (FDG-PET) scan demonstrated high avidity of the mediastinal mass with additionally active bilateral superior mediastinal nodes. The pancreatic lesion was not FDG avid. On 68Ga DOTATE-PET scan, the mediastinal mass was moderately avid, and the 32 mm pancreatic uncinate process mass showed significant uptake. Genetic testing confirmed multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1.

Learning points

  • In young patients presenting with primary hyperparathyroidism, clinicians should be alerted to the possibility of other underlying endocrinopathies.

    In patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) and ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone syndrome (EAS), clinicians should be alerted to the possibility of this originating from a neoplasm above or below the diaphragm.

  • Although relatively rare compared with sporadic cases, thymic carcinoids secondary to MEN-1 may also be associated with EAS.

  • Electrolyte derangement, in particular hypokalaemia and hypercalcaemia, can precipitate mild nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Open access