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J K Witczak Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Prince Phillip Hospital
Centre for Endocrine and Diabetes Sciences, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK

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N Ubaysekara Centre for Endocrine and Diabetes Sciences, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK

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R Ravindran Centre for Endocrine and Diabetes Sciences, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK

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S Rice Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Prince Phillip Hospital

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Z Yousef Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK

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L D Premawardhana Centre for Endocrine and Diabetes Sciences, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK

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Summary

Graves’ disease is associated with tachydysrythmia, cardiac ischaemia and cardiomyopathy – all uncommon in young adults without previous cardiac disease. We present three young individuals who developed cardiac complications after periods of uncontrolled Graves’ disease. Subject 1: A 34-year-old female had severe thyrotoxic symptoms for weeks. Investigations showed fT4: 98.4 (11–25 pmol/L), fT3: 46.9 (3.1–6.8 pmol/L), TSH <0.01 (0.27–4.2 mU/L) and thyrotrophin receptor antibody (TRAb): 34.8 (<0.9 U//l). She had appropriate treatment but several weeks later she became breathless despite improving thyroid function. Echocardiography showed a pericardial effusion of 2.9 cm. She responded well to steroids and NSAIDs but developed active severe Graves’ orbitopathy after early total thyroidectomy. Subject 2: A 28-year-old male developed thyrotoxic symptoms (fT4: 38 pmol/L, fT3: 13.9 pmol/L, TSH <0.01 (for over 6 months) and TRAb: 9.3 U/L). One month after starting carbimazole, he developed acute heart failure (HF) due to severe dilated cardiomyopathy – EF 10–15%. He partially recovered after treatment – EF 28% and had early radioiodine treatment. Subject 3: A 42-year-old woman who had been thyrotoxic for several months (fT4: 54.3; fT3 >46.1; TSH <0.01; TRAb: 4.5) developed atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure. Echocardiography showed cardiomegaly – EF 29%. She maintains sinus rhythm following early total thyroidectomy (EF 50%). Significant cardiac complications may occur in previously fit young adults, who have had uncontrolled Graves’ disease for weeks to months. Cardiac function recovers in the majority, but early definitive treatment should be discussed to avoid Graves’ disease relapse and further cardiac decompensation.

Learning points:

  • Cardiac complications of Graves’ disease are uncommon in young adults without previous cardiac disease.

  • These complications may however occur if Graves’ disease had been poorly controlled for several weeks or months prior to presentation.

  • Persistent symptoms after adequate control should alert clinicians to the possibility of cardiac disease.

  • Specific treatment of Graves’ disease and appropriate cardiac intervention results in complete recovery in the majority and carries a good prognosis.

  • Early definitive treatment should be offered to them to prevent cardiac decompensation at times of further relapse.

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Huilin Koh Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Manish Kaushik Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Julian Kenrick Loh Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

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Chiaw Ling Chng Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Summary

Thyroid storm with multi-organ failure limits the use of conventional treatment. A 44-year-old male presented with thyroid storm and experienced cardiovascular collapse after beta-blocker administration, with resultant fulminant multi-organ failure requiring inotropic support, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and continuous renal replacement therapy. Hepatic and renal failure precluded the use of conventional thyroid storm treatment and early plasma exchange was instituted. The patient underwent emergency thyroidectomy after four effective exchanges, with subsequent rapid reversal of multi-organ failure. The challenges of institution of plasma exchanges with ongoing ECMO support, dialysis and timing of thyroidectomy are discussed. This case highlights the important role of early therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) as an effective salvage therapy for lowering circulating hormones and stabilization of patients in preparation for emergency thyroidectomy in patients with thyroid storm and fulminant multi-organ failure.

Learning points:

  • Administration of beta-blockers in thyroid storm presenting with congestive cardiac failure may precipitate cardiovascular collapse due to inhibition of thyroid-induced hyperadrenergic compensation which maintains cardiac output.

  • TPE can be an effective bridging therapy to emergency total thyroidectomy when conventional thyroid storm treatment is contraindicated.

  • End-organ support using ECMO and CRRT can be combined with TPE effectively in the management of critically ill cases of thyroid storm.

  • The effectiveness of plasma exchange in lowering thyroid hormones appears to wane after 44–48 h of therapy in this case, highlighting the importance early thyroidectomy.

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Wei Lin Tay Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Wann Jia Loh Department of Endocrinology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Lianne Ai Ling Lee Department of Pathology, Sengkang Health, Singapore, Singapore

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Chiaw Ling Chng Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Summary

We report a patient with Graves’ disease who remained persistently hyperthyroid after a total thyroidectomy and also developed de novo Graves’ ophthalmopathy 5 months after surgery. She was subsequently found to have a mature cystic teratoma containing struma ovarii after undergoing a total hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy for an incidental ovarian lesion.

Learning points:

  • It is important to investigate for other causes of primary hyperthyroidism when thyrotoxicosis persists after total thyroidectomy.

  • TSH receptor antibody may persist after total thyroidectomy and may potentially contribute to the development of de novo Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

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Colin L Knight Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Shamil D Cooray Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Jaideep Kulkarni Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Michael Borschmann Ear, Nose and Throat, Head and Neck Surgery, St. John of God Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Director of Otolaryngology, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Mark Kotowicz Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Deakin University School of Medicine, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Melbourne Clinical School-Western Campus, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia

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A 51 year old man presented with sepsis in the setting of thioamide-induced agranulocytosis. Empiric broad-spectrum antibiotics was followed by directed narrow-spectrum antibiotics, and his neutrophil count recovered with support from granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) analogue transfusions. After a brief period of multi-modal therapy for nine days including potassium iodide (Lugol’s iodine), cholestyramine, propanolol and lithium to temper his persisting hyperthyroidism, a total thyroidectomy was performed while thyroid hormone levels remained at thyrotoxic levels. Postoperative recovery was uncomplicated and he was discharged home on thyroxine. There is limited available evidence to guide treatment in this unique cohort of patients who require prompt management to avert impending clinical deterioration. This case report summarises the successful emergent control of thyrotoxicosis in the setting of thioamide-induced agranulocytosis complicated by sepsis, and demonstrates the safe use of multi-modal pharmacological therapies in preparation for total thyroidectomy.

Learning points:

  • Thioamide-induced agranulocytosis is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening complication of which all prescribers and patients need to be aware.

  • A multi-modal preoperative pharmacological approach can be successful, even when thioamides are contraindicated, when needing to prepare a thyrotoxic patient for semi-urgent total thyroidectomy.

  • There is not enough evidence to confidently predict the safe timing when considering total thyroidectomy in this patient cohort, and therefore it should be undertaken when attempts have first been made to safely reduce thyroid hormone levels.

  • Thyroid storm is frequently cited as a potentially severe complication of thyroid surgery undertaken in thyrotoxic patients, although the evidence does not demonstrate this as a common occurrence.

Open access
Alfredo Di Cerbo Endocrinology, ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’, IRCCS, San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy

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Federica Pezzuto Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Dental School, University ‘G. d’Annunzio’ of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy

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Alessandro Di Cerbo Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Dental School, University ‘G. d’Annunzio’ of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy

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Summary

Graves’ disease, the most common form of hyperthyroidism in iodine-replete countries, is associated with the presence of immunoglobulins G (IgGs) that are responsible for thyroid growth and hyperfunction. In this article, we report the unusual case of a patient with acromegaly and a severe form of Graves’ disease. Here, we address the issue concerning the role of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) in influencing thyroid function. Severity of Graves’ disease is exacerbated by coexistent acromegaly and both activity indexes and symptoms and signs of Graves’ disease improve after the surgical remission of acromegaly. We also discuss by which signaling pathways GH and IGF1 may play an integrating role in regulating the function of the immune system in Graves’ disease and synergize the stimulatory activity of Graves’ IgGs.

Learning points:

  • Clinical observations have demonstrated an increased prevalence of euthyroid and hyperthyroid goiters in patients with acromegaly.

  • The coexistence of acromegaly and Graves’ disease is a very unusual event, the prevalence being <1%.

  • Previous in vitro studies have showed that IGF1 synergizes the TSH-induced thyroid cell growth-activating pathways independent of TSH/cAMP/PKA cascade.

  • We report the first case of a severe form of Graves’ disease associated with acromegaly and show that surgical remission of acromegaly leads to a better control of symptoms of Graves’ disease.

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Ji Wei Yang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Jacques How Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Summary

Lugol’s solution is usually employed for a limited period for thyroidectomy preparation in patients with Graves’ disease and for the control of severe thyrotoxicosis and thyroid storm. We describe a rare case of Lugol’s solution-induced painless thyroiditis. In November 2014, a 59-year-old woman was prescribed Lugol’s solution four drops per day for the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. She was referred to our clinic in June 2015 for fatigue, hair loss, and a 20-lb weight loss without thyroid pain or discomfort. Physical examination revealed a normal thyroid gland. On 7 May 2015, laboratory tests revealed a suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) 0.01 U/L with elevated free T4 3.31 ng/dL (42.54 pmol/L). Repeat testing on 25 May 2015 showed spontaneous normalization of the free thyroid hormone levels with persistently low TSH 0.10 U/L. Following these results, a family physician prescribed methimazole 10 mg PO TID and very soon after, the TSH concentration rose to >100 U/L along with subnormal free T4 and T3 levels. Methimazole was promptly discontinued, namely within 18 days of its initiation. Over the course of the next few months, the patient spontaneously achieved clinical and biochemical euthyroidism. To our knowledge, this is a unique case of painless thyroiditis induced by Lugol’s solution, which has not been reported before. Lugol’s solution is a short-term medication given for the preparation of thyroidectomy in patients with Graves’ disease and for the control of severe thyrotoxicosis. Iodine excess can cause both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Rarely, Lugol’s solution can cause acute painless thyroiditis.

Learning points:

  • Lugol’s solution is used for thyroidectomy preparation in patients with Graves’ disease and for the control of severe thyrotoxicosis and thyroid storm.

  • Iodine excess can cause both hypothyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. Thyroid glands with an underlying pathology are particularly susceptible to the adverse effect of iodine.

  • The prolonged off-label use of Lugol’s solution can be harmful. Rarely, Lugol’s solution can cause acute painful thyroiditis.

Open access
Laila Ennazk Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases, Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech, Caddi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco

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Ghizlane El Mghari Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases, Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech, Caddi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco

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Nawal El Ansari Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases, Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech, Caddi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco

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Summary

Autoimmune pancreatitis is a new nosological entity in which a lymphocytic infiltration of the exocrine pancreas is involved. The concomitant onset of autoimmune pancreatitis and type 1 diabetes has been recently described suggesting a unique immune disturbance that compromises the pancreatic endocrine and exocrine functions. We report a case of type1 diabetes onset associated with an autoimmune pancreatitis in a young patient who seemed to present a type 2 autoimmune polyglandular syndrome. This rare association offers the opportunity to better understand pancreatic autoimmune disorders in type 1 diabetes.

Learning points:

  • The case makes it possible to understand the possibility of a simultaneous disturbance of the endocrine and exocrine function of the same organ by one autoimmune process.

  • The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes should make practitioner seek other autoimmune diseases. It is recommended to screen for autoimmune thyroiditis and celiac diseases. We draw attention to consider the autoimmune origin of a pancreatitis associated to type1 diabetes.

  • Autoimmune pancreatitis is a novel rare entity that should be known as it is part of the IgG4-related disease spectrum.

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Ling Zhu Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Sueziani Binte Zainudin Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Manish Kaushik Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Li Yan Khor Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Chiaw Ling Chng Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Summary

Type II amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis (AIT) is an uncommon cause of thyroid storm. Due to the rarity of the condition, little is known about the role of plasma exchange in the treatment of severe AIT. A 56-year-old male presented with thyroid storm 2months following cessation of amiodarone. Despite conventional treatment, his condition deteriorated. He underwent two cycles of plasma exchange, which successfully controlled the severe hyperthyroidism. The thyroid hormone levels continued to fall up to 10h following plasma exchange. He subsequently underwent emergency total thyroidectomy and the histology of thyroid gland confirmed type II AIT. Management of thyroid storm secondary to type II AIT can be challenging as patients may not respond to conventional treatments, and thyroid storm may be more harmful in AIT patients owing to the underlying cardiac disease. If used appropriately, plasma exchange can effectively reduce circulating hormones, to allow stabilisation of patients in preparation for emergency thyroidectomy.

Learning points

  • Type II AIT is an uncommon cause of thyroid storm and may not respond well to conventional thyroid storm treatment.

  • Prompt diagnosis and therapy are important, as patients may deteriorate rapidly.

  • Plasma exchange can be used as an effective bridging therapy to emergency thyroidectomy.

  • This case shows that in type II AIT, each cycle of plasma exchange can potentially lower free triiodothyronine levels for 10h.

  • Important factors to consider when planning plasma exchange as a treatment for thyroid storm include timing of each session, type of exchange fluid to be used and timing of surgery.

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Marco Russo Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

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Ilenia Marturano Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Romilda Masucci Surgical Oncology, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Melania Caruso Gynecology and Obstetrics, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Maria Concetta Fornito Nuclear Medicine, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Dario Tumino Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Martina Tavarelli Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Sebastiano Squatrito Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Gabriella Pellegriti Endocrinology, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital, Catania, Italy

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Summary

Struma ovarii is a rare ovarian teratoma characterized by the presence of thyroid tissue as the major component. Malignant transformation of the thyroidal component (malignant struma ovarii) has been reported in approximately 5% of struma ovarii. The management and follow-up of this unusual disease remain controversial. We report the case of a woman with a history of autoimmune thyroiditis and a previous resection of a benign struma ovarii that underwent hystero-annexiectomy for malignant struma ovarii with multiple papillary thyroid cancer foci and peritoneal involvement. Total thyroidectomy and subsequent radioiodine treatment lead to complete disease remission after 104 months of follow-up. The diagnosis and natural progression of malignant struma ovarii are difficult to discern, and relapses can occur several years after diagnosis. A multidisciplinary approach is mandatory; after surgical excision of malignant struma, thyroidectomy in combination with 131I therapy should be considered after risk stratification in accordance with a standard approach in differentiated thyroid cancer patients.

Learning points

  • Malignant struma ovarii is a rare disease; diagnosis is difficult and management is not well defined.

  • Predominant sites of metastasis are adjacent pelvic structures.

  • Thyroidectomy and 131I therapy should be considered after risk stratification in accordance with standard approaches in DTC patients.

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Jin-Ying Lu Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Po-Ju Hung Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Pei-Lung Chen Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medical Genetics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Medical Genomics and Proteomics, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Research Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Ruoh-Fang Yen Department of Nuclear Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Kuan-Ting Kuo Graduate Institute of Pathology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tsung-Lin Yang Department of Otolaryngology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Chih-Yuan Wang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tien-Chun Chang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tien-Shang Huang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Social Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, 106, Taiwan

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Ching-Chung Chang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, 404, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, 404, Taiwan

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Summary

We report a case of follicular thyroid carcinoma with concomitant NRAS p.Q61K and GNAS p.R201H mutations, which manifested as a 13.5 cm thyroid mass with lung, humerus and T9 spine metastases, and exhibited good response to radioactive iodine treatment.

Learning points

  • GNAS p.R201H somatic mutation is an activating or gain-of-function mutation resulting in constitutively activated Gs-alpha protein and downstream cAMP cascade, independent of TSH signaling, causing autonomously functioning thyroid nodules.

  • NRAS p.Q61K mutations with GNAS p.R201H mutations are known for a good radioactive iodine treatment response.

  • Further exploration of the GNAS-activating pathway may provide therapeutic insights into the treatment of metastatic follicular carcinoma.

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