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Mawson Wang Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Blacktown Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Blacktown Clinical School, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

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Benjamin Jonker Department of Neurosurgery, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Louise Killen Department of Pathology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Yvonne Bogum NSW Health Pathology East, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Ann McCormack Department of Endocrinology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
St. Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Ramy H Bishay Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Blacktown Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Blacktown Clinical School, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

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Summary

Cushing’s disease is a rare disorder characterised by excessive cortisol production as a consequence of a corticotroph pituitary tumour. While the primary treatment is surgical resection, post-operative radiation therapy may be used in cases of ongoing inadequate hormonal control or residual or progressive structural disease. Despite improved outcomes, radiotherapy for pituitary tumours is associated with hypopituitarism, visual deficits and, rarely, secondary malignancies. We describe an unusual case of a 67-year-old female with presumed Cushing’s disease diagnosed at the age of 37, treated with transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary tumour with post-operative external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), ketoconazole for steroidogenesis inhibition, and finally bilateral adrenalectomy for refractory disease. She presented 30 years after her treatment with a witnessed generalised tonic-clonic seizure. Radiological investigations confirmed an extracranial mass infiltrating through the temporal bone and into brain parenchyma. Due to recurrent generalised seizures, the patient was intubated and commenced on dexamethasone and anti-epileptic therapy. Resection of the tumour revealed a high-grade osteoblastic osteosarcoma. Unfortunately, the patient deteriorated in intensive care and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest following a likely aspiration event. We describe the risk factors, prevalence and treatment of radiation-induced osteosarcoma, an exceedingly rare and late complication of pituitary irradiation. To our knowledge, this is the longest reported latency period between pituitary irradiation and the development of an osteosarcoma of the skull.

Learning points:

  • Cushing’s disease is treated with transsphenoidal resection as first-line therapy, with radiotherapy used in cases of incomplete resection, disease recurrence or persistent hypercortisolism.

  • The most common long-term adverse outcome of pituitary tumour irradiation is hypopituitarism occurring in 30–60% of patients at 10 years, and less commonly, vision loss and oculomotor nerve palsies, radiation-induced brain tumours and sarcomas.

  • Currently proposed characteristics of radiation-induced osteosarcomas include: the finding of a different histological type to the primary tumour, has developed within or adjacent to the path of the radiation beam, and a latency period of at least 3 years.

  • Treatment of osteosarcoma of the skull include complete surgical excision, followed by systemic chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

  • Overall prognosis in radiation-induced sarcoma of bone is poor.

  • Newer techniques such as stereotactic radiosurgery may reduce the incidence of radiation-induced malignancies.

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Diana Catarino Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal

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Cristina Ribeiro Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal

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Leonor Gomes Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal

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Isabel Paiva Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal

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Summary

Pituitary infections, particularly with fungus, are rare disorders that usually occur in immunocompromised patients. Cushing’s syndrome predisposes patients to infectious diseases due to their immunosuppression status. We report the case of a 55-year-old woman, working as a poultry farmer, who developed intense headache, palpebral ptosis, anisocoria, prostration and psychomotor agitation 9 months after initial diabetes mellitus diagnosis. Cranioencephalic CT scan showed a pituitary lesion with bleeding, suggesting pituitary apoplexy. Patient underwent transsphenoidal surgery and the neuropathologic study indicated a corticotroph adenoma with apoplexy and fungal infection. Patient had no preoperative Cushing’s syndrome diagnosis. She was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team who decided not to administer anti-fungal treatment. The reported case shows a rare association between a corticotroph adenoma and a pituitary fungal infection. The possible contributing factors were hypercortisolism, uncontrolled diabetes and professional activity. Transsphenoidal surgery is advocated in these infections; however, anti-fungal therapy is still controversial.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary infections are rare disorders caused by bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.

  • Pituitary fungal infections usually occur in immunocompromised patients.

  • Cushing’s syndrome, as immunosuppression factor, predisposes patients to infectious diseases, including fungal infections.

  • Diagnosis of pituitary fungal infection is often achieved during histopathological investigation.

  • Treatment with systemic anti-fungal drugs is controversial.

  • Endocrine evaluation is recommended at the time of initial presentation of pituitary manifestations.

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Anna Popławska-Kita Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Marta Wielogórska Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Łukasz Poplawski Radiology, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Katarzyna Siewko Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Agnieszka Adamska Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Piotr Szumowski Departments of Nuclear Medicine, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Piotr Myśliwiec 1st Clinic Department of General and Endocrine Surgery, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Janusz Myśliwiec Departments of Nuclear Medicine, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Joanna Reszeć Departments of Medical Pathomorphology, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Grzegorz Kamiński Department of Endocrinology and Radioisotopy Therapy, Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland

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Janusz Dzięcioł Departments of Human Anatomy, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Dorota Tobiaszewska Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Małgorzata Szelachowska Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Adam Jacek Krętowski Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Summary

Papillary thyroid gland carcinoma is the most common type of malignancy of the endocrine system. Metastases to the pituitary gland have been described as a complication of papillary thyroid cancer in few reported cases since 1965. We report the case of a 68-year-old female patient with a well-differentiated form of thyroid gland cancer. Despite it being the most common malignant cancer of the endocrine system, with its papillary form being one of the two most frequently diagnosed thyroid cancers, the case we present is extremely rare. Sudden cardiac arrest during ventricular fibrillation occurred during hospitalization. Autopsy of the patient revealed papillary carcinoma of the thyroid, follicular variant, with metastasis to the sella turcica, and concomitant sarcoidosis of heart, lung, and mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes. Not only does atypical metastasis make our patient’s case most remarkable, but also the postmortem diagnosis of sarcoidosis makes her case particularly unusual.

Learning points:

  • The goal of presenting this case is to raise awareness of the clinical heterogeneity of papillary cancer and promote early diagnosis of unexpected metastasis and coexisting diseases to improve clinical outcomes.

  • Clinicians must be skeptical. They should not fall into the trap of diagnostic momentum or accept diagnostic labels at face value. Regardless of the potential mechanisms, clinicians should be aware of the possibility of the coexistence of thyroid cancer and sarcoidosis as a differential diagnosis of lymphadenopathy.

  • This case highlights the importance of the diagnostic and therapeutic planning process and raises awareness of the fact that one uncommon disease could be masked by another extremely rare disorder.

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Shinichiro Teramoto Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

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Yuichi Tange Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

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Hisato Ishii Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University Urayasu Hospital, Chiba, Japan

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Hiromasa Goto Department of Metabolism and Endocrinology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

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Ikuko Ogino Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

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Hajime Arai Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

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Summary

A 67-year-old woman with a past history of type 2 diabetes mellitus presented with worsening glycemic control. She had some acromegaly symptoms and magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a pituitary tumor. Endocrinological examination found the resting growth hormone (GH) level within the normal range, but elevated insulin-like growth factor 1 level. A 75 g oral glucose tolerance test showed inadequate suppression of nadir GH levels. Acromegaly due to GH-secreting pituitary tumor was diagnosed. The patient underwent endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery resulting in gross total removal of the tumor and recovered well postoperatively. Histological examination of the tumor showed coexistence of relatively large gangliocytoma cells and pituitary adenoma cells, suggesting mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma. In addition, colocalization of GH and GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) in pituitary adenoma cells was revealed, so the adenomatous components were more likely to produce GHRH in our mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma case. Mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma is very rare, and the present unique case demonstrated only the adenomatous components associated with GHRH production.

Learning points:

  • Sellar gangliocytoma coexisting with pituitary adenoma is recognized as a mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma and is very rare.

  • A proposed developmental mechanism of growth hormone (GH)-secreting mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma involves GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) produced by the gangliocytic components promoting the growth of tumor including GH-secreting adenomatous components.

  • Since our present case indicated that the adenomatous components of mixed gangliocytoma-pituitary adenoma could secrete both GH and GHRH simultaneously, progression of GH-secreting mixed gangliocytoma and pituitary adenoma may involve exposure to spontaneously produced GHRH due to the adenomatous components.

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Sharmin Jahan Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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M A Hasanat Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Tahseen Mahmood Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Shahed Morshed Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Raziul Haq Department of Neurosurgery, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Md Fariduddin Department of Endocrinology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Summary

Silent corticotroph adenoma (SCA) is an unusual type of nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFA) that is silent both clinically and biochemically and can only be recognized by positive immunostaining for ACTH. Under rare circumstances, it can transform into hormonally active disease presenting with severe Cushing syndrome. It might often produce diagnostic dilemma with difficult management issue if not thoroughly investigated and subtyped accordingly following surgery. Here, we present a 21-year-old male who initially underwent pituitary adenomectomy for presumed NFA with compressive symptoms. However, he developed recurrent and invasive macroadenoma with severe clinical as well as biochemical hypercortisolism during post-surgical follow-up. Repeat pituitary surgery was carried out urgently as there was significant optic chiasmal compression. Immunohistochemical analysis of the tumor tissue obtained on repeat surgery proved it to be an aggressive corticotroph adenoma. Though not cured, he showed marked clinical and biochemical improvement in the immediate postoperative period. Anticipating recurrence from the residual tumor, we referred him for cyber knife radio surgery.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary NFA commonly present with compressive symptoms such as headache and blurred vision.

  • Post-surgical development of Cushing syndrome in such a case could be either drug induced or endogenous.

  • In the presence of recurrent pituitary tumor, ACTH-dependent Cushing syndrome indicates CD.

  • Rarely a SCA presenting initially as NFA can transform into an active corticotroph adenoma.

  • Immunohistochemical marker for ACTH in the resected tumor confirms the diagnosis.

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Hui Yi Ng Department of Clinical Medicine, Level 4, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

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Divya Namboodiri Department of Clinical Medicine, Level 4, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

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Diana Learoyd University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Northern Clinical School, Reserve Road St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia

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Andrew Davidson Department of Neurosurgery, Level 2, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

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Bernard Champion Department of Clinical Medicine, Level 4, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

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Veronica Preda Department of Clinical Medicine, Level 4, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Co-secreting thyrotropin/growth hormone (GH) pituitary adenomas are rare; their clinical presentation and long-term management are challenging. There is also a paucity of long-term data. Due to the cell of origin, these can behave as aggressive tumours. We report a case of a pituitary plurihormonal pit-1-derived macroadenoma, with overt clinical hyperthyroidism and minimal GH excess symptoms. The diagnosis was confirmed by pathology showing elevated thyroid and GH axes with failure of physiological GH suppression, elevated pituitary glycoprotein hormone alpha subunit (αGSU) and macroadenoma on imaging. Pre-operatively the patient was rendered euthyroid with carbimazole and underwent successful transphenoidal adenomectomy (TSA) with surgical cure. Histopathology displayed an elevated Ki-67 of 5.2%, necessitating long-term follow-up.

Learning points:

  • Thyrotropinomas are rare and likely under-diagnosed due to under-recognition of secondary hyperthyroidism.

  • Thyrotropinomas and other plurihormonal pit-1-derived adenomas are more aggressive adenomas according to WHO guidelines.

  • Co-secretion occurs in 30% of thyrotropinomas, requiring diligent investigation and long-term follow-up of complications.

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Stephanie Wei Ping Wong Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK

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Yew Wen Yap Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK

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Ram Prakash Narayanan Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK

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Mohammad Al-Jubouri Department of Biochemistry, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK

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Ashley Grossman Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Christina Daousi Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK

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Yahya Mahgoub Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK

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Summary

We report our experience on managing a case of florid Cushing’s disease with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sepsis using intravenous etomidate in the intensive care unit of a UK district general hospital.

Learning points:

  • Severe Cushing’s syndrome is associated with high morbidity and mortality.

  • Etomidate is a safe and effective medical therapy to rapidly lower cortisol levels even in the context of severe sepsis and immunosuppression.

  • Etomidate should ideally be administered in an intensive care unit but is still feasible in a district general hospital.

  • During treatment with etomidate, accumulation of serum 11β-deoxycortisol (11DOC) levels can cross-react with laboratory cortisol measurement leading to falsely elevated serum cortisol levels. For this reason, serum cortisol measurement using a mass spectrometry assay should ideally be used to guide etomidate prescription.

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Yoko Olmedilla Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Gregorio Marañón General Universitary Hospital, Madrid, Spain

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Shoaib Khan Oxford Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Victoria Young Departments of Neuroradiology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Robin Joseph Departments of Neuroradiology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Simon Cudlip Departments of Neurosurgery, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Olaf Ansgorge Departments of Neuropathology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Ashley Grossman Oxford Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Aparna Pal Oxford Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Summary

A 21 year-old woman was found to have a pituitary macroadenoma following an episode of haemophilus meningitis. Biochemical TSH and GH excess was noted, although with no clear clinical correlates. She was treated with a somatostatin analogue (SSA), which restored the euthyroid state and controlled GH hypersecretion, but she re-presented with a further episode of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak and recurrent meningitis. Histology following transsphenoidal adenomectomy revealed a Pit-1 lineage plurihormonal adenoma expressing GH, TSH and PRL. Such plurihormonal pituitary tumours are uncommon and even more unusual to present with spontaneous bacterial meningitis. The second episode of CSF leak and meningitis appears to have been due to SSA therapy-induced tumour shrinkage, which is not a well-described phenomenon in the literature for this type of tumour.

Learning points:

  • Pit-1 lineage GH/TSH/PRL-expressing plurihormonal pituitary adenomas are uncommon. Moreover, this case is unique as the patient first presented with bacterial meningitis.

  • Inmunohistochemical plurihormonality of pituitary adenomas does not necessarily correlate with biochemical and clinical features of hormonal hypersecretion.

  • Given that plurihormonal Pit-1 lineage adenomas may behave more aggressively than classical pituitary adenomas, accurate pathological characterization of these tumours has an increasing prognostic relevance.

  • Although unusual, a CSF leak and meningitis may be precipitated by SSA therapy of a pituitary macroadenoma via tumour shrinkage.

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Chloe Broughton Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK

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Jane Mears Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK

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Adam Williams Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK

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Kathryn Lonnen Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK

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Summary

Pituitary adenomas can be classified as functioning or non-functioning adenomas. Approximately 64% of clinically non-functioning pituitary adenomas are found to be gonadotroph adenomas on immunohistochemistry. There are reported cases of gonadotroph adenomas causing clinical symptoms, but this is unusual. We present the case of a 36-year-old female with abdominal pain. Multiple large ovarian cysts were identified on ultrasound requiring bilateral cystectomy. Despite this, the cysts recurred resulting in further abdominal pain, ovarian torsion and right oophorectomy and salpingectomy. On her 3rd admission with abdominal pain, she was found to have a rectus sheath mass which was resected and histologically confirmed to be fibromatosis. Endocrine investigations revealed elevated oestradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) at the upper limit of the normal range and a suppressed luteinising hormone (LH). Prolactin was mildly elevated. A diagnosis of an FSH-secreting pituitary adenoma was considered and a pituitary MRI revealed a 1.5 cm macroadenoma. She underwent transphenoidal surgery which led to resolution of her symptoms and normalisation of her biochemistry. Subsequent pelvic ultrasound showed normal ovarian follicular development. Clinically functioning gonadotroph adenomas are rare, but should be considered in women presenting with menstrual irregularities, large or recurrent ovarian cysts, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and fibromatosis. Transphenoidal surgery is the first-line treatment with the aim of achieving complete remission.

Learning points:

  • Pituitary gonadotroph adenomas are usually clinically non-functioning, but in rare cases can cause clinical symptoms.

  • A diagnosis of a functioning gonadotroph adenoma should be considered in women presenting with un-explained ovarian hyperstimulation and/or fibromatosis.

  • In women with functioning gonadotroph adenomas, the main biochemical finding is elevated oestradiol levels. Serum FSH levels can be normal or mildly elevated. Serum LH levels are usually suppressed.

  • Transphenoidal surgery is the first-line treatment for patients with functioning gonadotroph adenomas, with the aim of achieving complete remission.

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Benedetta Zampetti Endocrinology Unit, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy

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Giorgia Simonetti Neurooncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy

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Roberto Attanasio Endocrinology Service, Galeazzi Institute IRCCS, Milan, Italy

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Antonio Silvani Neurooncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy

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Renato Cozzi Endocrinology Unit, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy

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Summary

We describe the 20-year course of a 63-year-old male with a macroprolactinoma that acquired resistance to treatment and aggressive behavior after a 4-year successful treatment with cabergoline. He was submitted to multiple surgical resections by a skilled surgeon, fractionated radiotherapy and was eventually treated with temozolomide. After a first 6-month standard cycle, a relapse occurred and he was treated again successfully.

Learning points:

  • Prolactinomas are the most frequent type of pituitary adenoma.

  • They usually have a benign course.

  • In most cases dopamine-agonist drugs, mainly cabergoline, are first-line (and usually only) treatment.

  • Occasionally prolactinomas can have or acquire resistance to treatment and/or aggressive behavior.

  • Temozolomide (TMZ), an oral alkylating drug, can be effective in such aggressive tumors.

  • Multimodal treatment (surgery, radiation, cabergoline and TMZ) is warranted in aggressive pituitary tumors.

  • We describe here successful rechallenge with TMZ after relapse occurring 18 months after a first TMZ cycle.

Open access