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Shanika Samarasinghe Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA

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Simge Yuksel Division of Internal Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA

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Swati Mehrotra Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA

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Summary

We report a rare case of concurrent medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) with intermixed disease in several of the lymph node (LN) metastases in a patient who was subsequently diagnosed with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC). A 56 year old female presented with dysphagia and was found to have a left thyroid nodule and left superior cervical LN with suspicious sonographic features. Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) demonstrated PTC in the left thyroid nodule and MTC in the left cervical LN. Histopathology demonstrated multifocal PTC with 3/21 LNs positive for metastatic PTC. One LN in the left lateral neck dissection exhibited features of both MTC and PTC within the same node. In the right lobe, a 0.3 cm focus of MTC with extra-thyroidal extension was noted. Given persistent calcitonin elevation, a follow-up ultrasound displayed an abnormal left level 4 LN. FNAB showed features of both PTC and MTC on the cytopathology itself. The patient underwent repeat central and left radical neck dissection with 3/6 LNs positive for PTC in the central neck and 2/6 LNs positive for intermixed PTC and MTC in the left neck. There was no evidence of distant metastases on computed tomography and whole body scintigraphy, however a 1.9 x 2.5 cm enhancing mass within the right inter-polar kidney was discovered. This lesion was highly suspicious for RCC. Surgical pathology revealed a 2.5 cm clear cell RCC, Fuhrman grade 2/4, with negative surgical margins. She continues to be observed with stable imaging of her triple malignancies.

Learning points:

  • Mixed medullary-papillary thyroid neoplasm is characterized by the presence of morphological and immunohistochemical features of both medullary and papillary thyroid cancers within the same lesion. Simultaneous occurrence of these carcinomas has been previously reported, but a mixed disease within the same lymph node is an infrequent phenomenon.

  • Prognosis of mixed medullary-papillary thyroid carcinomas is determined by the medullary component. Therefore, when PTC and MTC occur concurrently, the priority should be given to the management of MTC, which involves total thyroidectomy and central lymph node dissection.

  • Patients with thyroid cancer, predominantly PTC, have shown higher than expected rates of RCC. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the combination of MTC, PTC, and RCC in a single patient.

Open access
C Greco Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Medical Specialties, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Ospedale Civile di Baggiovara, Modena, Italy

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G Brigante Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Medical Specialties, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Ospedale Civile di Baggiovara, Modena, Italy

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E Taliani Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Medical Specialties, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Ospedale Civile di Baggiovara, Modena, Italy

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S Corrado Department of Diagnostic, Clinical Medicine and Public Health, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Modena, Italy

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M Simoni Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Medical Specialties, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Ospedale Civile di Baggiovara, Modena, Italy

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B Madeo Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Medical Specialties, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Ospedale Civile di Baggiovara, Modena, Italy

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Summary

A 74-year-old man was referred to the Endocrinology Unit because of multinodular goiter. The dominant nodule (1.7 × 1.9 × 2.4 cm), at the medium-superior third of the left lobe, was inhomogeneously hypoechoic, with irregular margins, macrocalcifications and intranodular vascularization. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) was performed. The cytological diagnosis was TIR 2, benign, according to the 2013 Italian thyroid cytology classification system. Moderately high serum calcitonin (s-Ct) (61.5 pg/mL, n.r. 0–7.5) and normal CEA were detected. The Ct level in FNAB wash-out fluid (Ct-FNAB) was 1450 pg/mL. Based on s-Ct and Ct-FNAB levels, patient underwent total thyroidectomy. Macroscopically, a dominant circumscribed nodule of 2 ecm was described; the histological and immunohistochemical features identified medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) with paraganglioma (PG)-like pattern positive for Ct, CEA and chromogranin and negative for S-100 sustentacular cells (SC). Moreover, papillary carcinoma of 3 mm in the right lobe was also associated. No areas of hyperaccumulation of the tracer were documented at Ga68 PET/CT. No RET-proto-oncogene mutations were found. Post-surgery s-Ct levels were within normal range (4 pg/mL). Two years after thyroidectomy, the patient is still disease-free. We reported a case of sporadic and rare variant of MTC: this is the ninth described case of PG-like MTC. In this case, cytologically benign, the clinical suspicion arose from high Ct values at FNAB wash-out fluid. Even if clinical behavior of this variant seems indolent, additional studies are necessary to understand prognoses and predictive factors.

Learning points:

  • Several unusual histological variants of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) have been described such as spindle cell, giant cell, clear cell, melanotic, squamous, angiosarcoma-like variants; even rarer is the paraganglioma (PG)-like pattern.

  • We here describe a case of medullary PG-like thyroid carcinoma in a 74-year-old man. This is a rare histological variant of MTC hardly diagnosed by cytology, since immunohistochemical investigations are necessary.

  • Measurement of calcitonin both in serum and in wash-out fluid from fine-needle aspiration could be an additional tool for an early and non-invasive identification of these variants.

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Maria P Yavropoulou 1st Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine, LAIKO General Hospital of Athens

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Efstathios Chronopoulos 2nd Orthopaedic Department, Konstantopouleio General Hospital

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George Trovas Laboratory for Research of the Musculoskeletal System, Th Garofalidis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

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Emmanouil Avramidis 2nd Orthopaedic Department, Konstantopouleio General Hospital

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Francesca Marta Elli Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

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Giovanna Mantovani Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

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Pantelis Zebekakis 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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John G Yovos 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Summary

Pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) is a heterogeneous group of rare endocrine disorders characterised by normal renal function and renal resistance to the action of the parathyroid hormone. Type 1A (PHP1A), which is the most common variant, also include developmental and skeletal defects named as Albright hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO). We present two cases, a 54- and a 33-year-old male diagnosed with PHP who were referred to us for persistently high levels of serum calcitonin. AHO and multinodular goitre were present in the 54-year-old male, while the second patient was free of skeletal deformities and his thyroid gland was of normal size and without nodular appearance. We performed GNAS molecular analysis (methylation status and copy number analysis by MS-MLPA) in genomic DNA samples for both patients. The analysis revealed a novel missense variant c.131T>G p.(Leu44Pro) affecting GNAS exon 1, in the patient with the clinical diagnosis of PHP1A. This amino acid change appears to be in accordance with the clinical diagnosis of the patient. The genomic DNA analysis of the second patient revealed the presence of the recurrent 3-kb deletion affecting the imprinting control region localised in the STX16 region associated with the loss of methylation (LOM) at the GNAS A/B differentially methylated region and consistent with the diagnosis of an autosomal dominant form of PHP type 1B (PHP1B). In conclusion, hypercalcitoninaemia may be encountered in PHP1A and PHP1B even in the absence of thyroid pathology.

Learning points:

  • We describe a novel missense variant c.131T>G p.(Leu44Pro) affecting GNAS exon 1 as the cause of PHP1A.

  • Hypercalcitoninaemia in PHP1A is considered an associated resistance to calcitonin, as suggested by the generalised impairment of Gsα-mediated hormone signalling.

  • GNAS methylation defects, as in type PHP1B, without thyroid pathology can also present with hypercalcitoninaemia.

Open access
Carine Ghassan Richa Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Endocrinology Department, Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Khadija Jamal Saad Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Endocrinology Department, Mount Lebanon Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Ali Khaled Chaaban Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Radiology, Beirut Governmental University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Diagnostic Radiology, Radiology Department

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Mohamad Souheil El Rawas Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon
Clinical Endocrinology, Endocrinology Department, Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

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Summary

The objective of the study is to report a case of acute pancreatitis secondary to hypercalcemia induced by primary hyperparathyroidism in a pregnant woman at the end of the first trimester. The case included a 32-year-old woman who was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and severe hypercalcemia refractory to many regimens of medical therapy in the first trimester of pregnancy. She was successfully treated with parathyroidectomy in the early second trimester with complete resolution of hypercalcemia and pancreatitis. Neonatal course was unremarkable. To our best knowledge, this is a rare case when primary hyperparathyroidism and its complications are diagnosed in the first trimester of pregnancy. In conclusion, primary hyperparathyroidism is a rare life-threatening condition to the fetus and mother especially when associated with complications such as pancreatitis. Early therapeutic intervention is important to reduce the morbidity and mortality. Parathyroidectomy performed in the second trimester can be the only solution.

Learning points:

  • Learning how to make diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism in a woman during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Understanding the complications of hypercalcemia and be aware of the high mortality and sequelae in both fetus and mother.

  • Providing the adequate treatment in such complicated cases with coordinated care between endocrinologists and obstetricians to ensure optimal outcomes.

Open access
Nikolaos Asonitis National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
Msc Metabolic Bone Diseases, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Eva Kassi National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
Msc Metabolic Bone Diseases, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Michalis Kokkinos National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Ilias Giovanopoulos National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Foteini Petychaki National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Helen Gogas National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, First Department of Internal Medicine, Laikon Hospital, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece

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Summary

Hypercalcemia of malignancy is the most common cause of hypercalcemia in hospitalized patients. It is associated with a poor prognosis, since it reflects an advanced cancer stage. Among all cancer in females, breast cancer is the most common malignancy, and it has the highest prevalence of hypercalcemia. Approximately 70% of patients with breast cancer have bone metastases and 10% of them will have hypercalcemia as a complication at some point in the disease. Herein, we report a 69-year-old female patient with metastatic breast cancer, who developed severe hypercalcemia in the course of her disease and was diagnosed with humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (HHM). Intense hydration along with corticoisteroids and antiresorptive medication (calcitonin, bisphosphonates and denosumab) were administered to the patient. Despite the above treatment, serum calcium levels remain elevated and calcimimetic cinacalcet was added. Upon discontinuation of cinacalcet, calcium levels were raised and returned back to the normal levels following re-initiation of the calcimimetic. Her calcium level restored to normal, and she was discharged with the following medical treatment: denosumab monthly, and cinacalcet at a titrated dose of 90 mg per day. The patient is followed as an outpatient and 11 months later, her calcium level remained within the normal range.

Learning points:

  • Hypercalcemia of malignancy is the most common cause of hypercalcemia in hospitalized patients.

  • Breast cancer has the highest prevalence of hypercalcemia.

  • The cornerstone of therapy remains the intense hydration and intravenous bisphosphonates (preferably zoledronic acid).

  • In case of persistent hypercalcemia of malignancy, the administration of calcimimetic cinacalcet could be an additional effective therapeutic option.

Open access
Kursad Unluhizarci Department of Endocrinology

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Hulya Akgun Department of Pathology

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Bahadır Oz Department of Surgery, Erciyes University Medical School, Kayseri, Turkey

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Zuleyha Karaca Department of Endocrinology

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Fatih Tanriverdi Department of Endocrinology

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Fahrettin Kelestimur Department of Endocrinology

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Summary

Among various substances produced by C-cells, the most important one is calcitonin (CT) that is used for detection, post-operative follow-up and evaluation of individuals at risk of developing medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). However, the role of serum CT measurement in the evaluation of thyroid nodules has been widely discussed, and there is still no consensus about the role of CT in the initial evaluation of all thyroid nodules. Two patients with thyroid nodules whose fine-needle aspiration results were compatible with benign cytology besides having mildly elevated basal serum calcitonin levels were reported. Calcitonin responses (peak levels were 313 and 229 pg/mL, respectively) to calcium stimulation test were compatible with the possible diagnosis of MTC. However, the final diagnosis was papillary thyroid carcinoma of the thyroid gland. There are limited numbers of case reports showing such an increased serum calcitonin responses to calcium stimulation test associated with papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma of the thyroid. We suggest to measure serum CT level once and in case of normal levels, no further CT measurement is necessary. Physicians should keep in mind that thyroid carcinomas other than MTCs may also be associated with high serum CT levels.

Learning points:

  • Although serum calcitonin is a valuable tumor marker for MTC, it is well known that mild elevations may be seen in some other diseases such as Hashimoto thyroiditis, neuroendocrine tumors or due to medications such as proton pump inhibitors, calcium salts, beta blockers and glucocorticoids.

  • Those two cases indicate that high calcitonin responses to calcium stimulation test, mimicking MTC, may also be seen in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma although the mechanism is not clear.

Open access
Ayanthi A Wijewardene Departments of Medicine

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Sarah J Glastras Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Diana L Learoyd Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Bruce G Robinson Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Venessa H M Tsang Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Summary

Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine tumour that originates from the parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland. The most common presentation of MTC is with a single nodule; however, by the time of diagnosis, most have spread to the surrounding cervical lymph nodes. Cushing’s syndrome is a rare complication of MTC and is due to ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) secretion by tumour cells. Cushing’s syndrome presents a challenging diagnostic and management issue in patients with MTC. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) previously used for the management of metastatic MTC have become an important therapeutic option for the management of ectopic ACTH in metastatic MTC. The article describes three cases of ectopic ACTH secretion in MTC and addresses the significant diagnostic and management challenges related to Cushing’s syndrome in metastatic MTC.

Learning points:

  • Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine tumour.

  • Cushing’s syndrome is a rare complication of MTC that has a significant impact on patients’ morbidity and mortality.

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) provide an important therapeutic option for the management of ectopic ACTH in metastatic MTC.

Open access
Rowena Speak Departments of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield

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Jackie Cook Department of Genetics, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield, UK

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Barney Harrison Endocrine Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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John Newell-Price Departments of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield
Endocrinology

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Mutations of the rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene, located on chromosome 10q11.2, cause multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN2A). Patients with mutations at the codon 609 usually exhibit a high penetrance of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), but a sufficiently low penetrance of phaeochromocytoma that screening for this latter complication has been called to question. Patients with other RET mutations are at higher risk of younger age onset phaeochromocytoma if they also possess other RET polymorphisms (L769L, S836S, G691S and S904S), but there are no similar data for patients with 609 mutations. We investigated the unusual phenotypic presentation in a family with MEN2A due to a C609Y mutation in RET. Sanger sequencing of the entire RET-coding region and exon–intron boundaries was performed. Five family members were C609Y mutation positive: 3/5 initially presented with phaeochromocytoma, but only 1/5 had MTC. The index case aged 73 years had no evidence of MTC, but presented with phaeochromocytoma. Family members also possessed the G691S and S904S RET polymorphisms. We illustrate a high penetrance of phaeochromocytoma and low penetrance of MTC in patients with a RET C609Y mutation and polymorphisms G691S and S904S. These data highlight the need for life-long screening for the complications of MEN2A in these patients and support the role for the screening of RET polymorphisms for the purposes of risk stratification.

Learning points:

  • C609Y RET mutations may be associated with a life-long risk of phaeochromocytoma indicating the importance of life-long screening for this condition in patients with MEN2A.

  • C609Y RET mutations may be associated with a lower risk of MTC than often quoted, questioning the need for early prophylactic thyroid surgery discussion at the age of 5 years.

  • There may be a role for the routine screening of RET polymorphisms, and this is greatly facilitated by the increasing ease of access to next-generation sequencing.

Open access
Hashem Bseiso Department of Medicine, Neuroendocrine Tumor Unit, Endocrinology & Metabolism Service

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Naama Lev-Cohain Department of Radiology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel

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David J Gross Department of Medicine, Neuroendocrine Tumor Unit, Endocrinology & Metabolism Service

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Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg Department of Medicine, Neuroendocrine Tumor Unit, Endocrinology & Metabolism Service

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Summary

A 55-year-old woman diagnosed with sporadic MTC underwent total thyroidectomy 20 years ago. After the first surgery, elevated calcitonin levels in parallel with local disease persistence were noted and therefore she underwent repeated neck dissections. During follow-up, multiple foci of metastatic disease were noted in the neck and mediastinal lymph nodes, lungs and bones; however, the disease had an indolent course for a number of years, in parallel with a calcitonin doubling time of more than two years and without significant symptoms. During a routine follow-up visit 2 years ago, findings suggestive of Cushing’s syndrome were observed on physical examination. The biochemical evaluation demonstrated markedly elevated serum calcitonin level, in parallel with lack of cortisol suppression after an overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test, lack of cortisol and ACTH suppression after high-dose IV dexamethasone 8 mg, elevated plasma ACTH up to 79 pg/mL (normal <46 pg/mL) and elevated 24-h urinary free cortisol up to 501 µg/24 h (normal 9–90 µg/24 h). After a negative pituitary MRI, she underwent IPSS, which was compatible with EAS. Whole-body CT demonstrated progressive disease at most of the tumor sites. Treatment with vandetanib at a dosage of 200 mg/day was commenced. The patient showed a significant, rapid and consistent clinical improvement already after two months of treatment, in parallel with biochemical improvement, whereas a decrease in tumor size was demonstrated on follow-up CT.

Learning points:

  • Ectopic Cushing’s syndrome due to ectopic ACTH secretion (EAS) by MTC is an uncommon and a poor prognostic event, being associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

  • We demonstrate that vandetanib is effective in controlling the signs and symptoms related to the EAS in patients with advanced progressive MTC.

  • We demonstrate that vandetanib is effective in decreasing tumor size and in inducing tumor control.

Open access
Taiba Zornitzki Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Hebrew University Medical School of Jerusalem, Bilu 176100, Rehovot, Israel

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Hadara Rubinfeld Institute of Endocrinology and Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva, 49100, Israel
Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel

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Lyudmila Lysyy Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Hebrew University Medical School of Jerusalem, Bilu 176100, Rehovot, Israel

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Tal Schiller Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Hebrew University Medical School of Jerusalem, Bilu 176100, Rehovot, Israel

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Véronique Raverot Laboratoire d'Hormonologie – CBPE, Hospices Civils de Lyon, 59 bd Pinel69677, Bron Cedex, France

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Ilan Shimon Institute of Endocrinology and Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva, 49100, Israel
Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel

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Hilla Knobler Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Hebrew University Medical School of Jerusalem, Bilu 176100, Rehovot, Israel

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Summary

Acromegaly due to ectopic GHRH secretion from a neuroendocrine tumor (NET) is rare and comprises <1% of all acromegaly cases. Herein we present a 57-year-old woman with clinical and biochemical features of acromegaly and a 6 cm pancreatic NET (pNET), secreting GHRH and calcitonin. Following surgical resection of the pancreatic tumor, IGF1, GH and calcitonin normalized, and the clinical features of acromegaly improved. In vitro studies confirmed that the tumor secreted large amounts of both GHRH and calcitonin, and incubation of pNET culture-derived conditioned media stimulated GH release from a cultured human pituitary adenoma. This is a unique case of pNET secreting both GHRH and calcitonin. The ability of the pNET-derived medium to stimulate in vitro GH release from a human pituitary-cell culture, combined with the clinical and hormonal remission following tumor resection, confirmed the ectopic source of acromegaly in this patient.

Learning points

  • Signs, symptoms and initial work-up of acromegaly due to ectopic GHRH secretion are similar to pituitary-dependent acromegaly. However, if no identifiable pituitary lesion is found, somatostatin receptor scan and further imaging (CT, MRI) should be performed.

  • Detection of GHRH in the blood and in the tumor-derived medium supports the diagnosis of ectopic GHRH secretion.

  • Functional bioactivity of pNET-secreted GHRH can be proved in vitro by releasing GH from human pituitary cells.

Open access