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Carmina Teresa Fuss Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Stephanie Burger-Stritt Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Silke Horn Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Ann-Cathrin Koschker Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Kathrin Frey Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Almuth Meyer Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Internal Medicine, Helios Klinikum Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany

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Stefanie Hahner Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Summary

Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism consists of supplementation of calcium and vitamin D analogues, which does not fully restore calcium homeostasis. In some patients, hypoparathyroidism is refractory to standard treatment with persistent low serum calcium levels and associated clinical complications. Here, we report on three patients (58-year-old male, 52-year-old female, and 48-year-old female) suffering from severe treatment-refractory postsurgical hypoparathyroidism. Two patients had persistent hypocalcemia despite oral treatment with up to 4 µg calcitriol and up to 4 g calcium per day necessitating additional i.v. administration of calcium gluconate 2–3 times per week, whereas the third patient presented with high frequencies of hypocalcemic and treatment-associated hypercalcemic episodes. S.c. administration of rhPTH (1–34) twice daily (40 µg/day) or rhPTH (1–84) (100 µg/day) only temporarily increased serum calcium levels but did not lead to long-term stabilization. In all three cases, treatment with rhPTH (1–34) as continuous s.c. infusion via insulin pump was initiated. Normalization of serum calcium and serum phosphate levels was observed within 1 week at daily 1–34 parathyroid hormone doses of 15 µg to 29.4 µg. Oral vitamin D and calcium treatment could be stopped or reduced and regular i.v. calcium administration was no more necessary. Ongoing efficacy of this treatment has been documented for up to 7 years so far. Therefore, we conclude that hypoparathyroidism that is refractory to both conventional treatment and s.c. parathyroid hormone (single or twice daily) may be successfully treated with continuous parathyroid hormone administration via insulin pump.

Learning points:

  • Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism still consists of administration of calcium and active vitamin D.

  • Very few patients with hypoparathyroidism also do not respond sufficiently to standard treatment or administration of s.c. parathyroid hormone once or twice daily.

  • In those cases, continuous s.c. administration of parathyroid hormone via insulin pump may represent a successful treatment alternative.

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S Hamidi Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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S Mottard Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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M J Berthiaume Department of Radiology, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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J Doyon Department of Pathology, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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M J Bégin Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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L Bondaz Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Canada

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Summary

Brown tumors (BTs) are expansile osteolytic lesions complicating severe primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). Clinical, radiological and histological features of BTs share many similarities with other giant cell-containing lesions of the bone, which can make their diagnosis challenging. We report the case of a 32-year-old man in whom an aggressive osteolytic lesion of the iliac crest was initially diagnosed as a giant cell tumor by biopsy. The patient was scheduled for surgical curettage, with a course of neoadjuvant denosumab. Routine biochemical workup prior to denosumab administration incidentally revealed high serum calcium levels. The patient was diagnosed with PHPT and a parathyroid adenoma was identified. In light of these findings, histological slices of the iliac lesion were reviewed and diagnosis of a BT was confirmed. Follow-up CT-scans performed 2 and 7 months after parathyroidectomy showed regression and re-ossification of the bone lesion. The aim of this case report is to underline the importance of distinguishing BTs from other giant cell-containing lesions of the bone and to highlight the relevance of measuring serum calcium as part of the initial evaluation of osteolytic bone lesions. This can have a major impact on patients’ management and can prevent unnecessary invasive surgical interventions.

Learning points:

  • Although rare, brown tumors should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of osteolytic giant cell-containing bone lesions.

  • Among giant cell-containing lesions of the bone, the main differential diagnoses of brown tumors are giant cell tumors and aneurysmal bone cysts.

  • Clinical, radiological and histological characteristics can be non-discriminating between brown tumors and giant cell tumors. One of the best ways to distinguish these two diagnoses appears to be through biochemical workup.

  • Differentiating brown tumors from giant cell tumors and aneurysmal bone cysts is crucial in order to ensure better patient care and prevent unnecessary morbid surgical interventions.

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Florence Gunawan Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Elizabeth George Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Mark Kotowicz Barwon Health, Geelong University Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

Denosumab is a fully human MAB that acts as a potent anti-resorptive by inhibiting activation of osteoclasts by inhibiting the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK) ligand. Hypocalcaemia has been reported as one of the serious adverse sequelae of use of denosumab. We present a case of refractory hypocalcaemia following administration of a single dose of denosumab in a patient with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. The patient’s serum calcium and vitamin D concentrations and renal function were normal prior to denosumab administration. Serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level was however elevated pre-morbidly consistent with known bone metastases. The patient was treated with high-dose oral and IV calcium without any appreciable response in serum calcium. During his 30-day hospital admission, he demonstrated disease progression with development of new liver metastases and bone marrow involvement. Normocalcaemia was not achieved despite 1 month of aggressive therapy. Given the patient was asymptomatic and prognosis guarded, he was eventually discharged for ongoing supportive care under the palliative care team.

Learning points:

  • Denosumab is a potent anti-resorptive therapy and hypocalcaemia is one of the known adverse effects.

  • Serum calcium and vitamin D concentrations must be replete prior to administration of denosumab to reduce the risk of hypocalcaemia.

  • Denosumab has been proven to be more effective than zoledronic acid in preventing skeletal-related adverse effects in patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Open access
Benjamin Kwan University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Bernard Champion University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Clinical Medicine, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Steven Boyages University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Craig F Munns University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Roderick Clifton-Bligh University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Catherine Luxford University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Laboratory, Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Bronwyn Crawford University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Endocrinology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Autosomal dominant hypocalcaemia type 1 (ADH1) is a rare familial disorder characterised by low serum calcium and low or inappropriately normal serum PTH. It is caused by activating CASR mutations, which produces a left-shift in the set point for extracellular calcium. We describe an Australian family with a novel heterozygous missense mutation in CASR causing ADH1. Mild neuromuscular symptoms (paraesthesia, carpopedal spasm) were present in most affected individuals and required treatment with calcium and calcitriol. Basal ganglia calcification was present in three out of four affected family members. This case highlights the importance of correctly identifying genetic causes of hypocalcaemia to allow for proper management and screening of family members.

Learning points:

  • ADH1 is a rare cause of hypoparathyroidism due to activating CASR mutations and is the mirror image of familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia.

  • In patients with ADH1, symptoms of hypocalcaemia may be mild or absent. Basal ganglia calcification may be present in over a third of patients.

  • CASR mutation analysis is required for diagnostic confirmation and to facilitate proper management, screening and genetic counselling of affected family members.

  • Treatment with calcium and activated vitamin D analogues should be reserved for symptomatic individuals due to the risk of exacerbating hypercalciuria and its associated complications.

Open access
Maria P Yavropoulou Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Christos Poulios Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

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Christoforos Foroulis Department of Thoracic Surgery, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Symeon Tournis Laboratory of Research of Musculoskeletal System ‘Th. Garofalidis’, KAT Hospital University of Athens, Greece

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Prodromos Hytiroglou Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

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Kalliopi Kotsa Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Isaak Kessisoglou 3rd Department of Surgery, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Pantelis Zebekakis Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Summary

Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is a rare form of hypophosphatemia usually caused by phosphaturic mesenchymal tumors (PMTs); the biologic behavior of PMTs is under investigation. Herein we present a case of TIO with a protracted course over 12 years leading to a fatal outcome. A 39-year-old man presented with weakness in 2004 and was found to have decreased serum phosphorus, phosphaturia and low levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Four years later he developed a painful left calf mass. The lesion was resected, but recurred causing extreme pain and dysfunction. Radiological examination showed a large cluster of soft tissue tumors affecting all the muscle compartments of the calf and a smaller lesion inside the metaphysis of the tibia. Above-knee amputation was performed. Histological examination of all lesions showed a cellular spindle cell neoplasm with variously sized vessels, wide vessel-like spaces and scattered deposits of calcified extracellular material. The tumor infiltrated skeletal muscles, subcutaneous fat and the proximal end of the fibula. The tibial lesion had identical histology. Three years after the amputation the patient presented with cough and dyspnea. Radiological examination, followed by an open biopsy, showed that there were multiple metastatic nodules of PMTs in both lungs. Shortly after the diagnosis the patient died. This case illustrates that even benign cases of PMTs may lead to a fatal outcome and the classification of PMTs into benign and malignant should be reassessed in order to correspond to its biological behavior.

Learning points:

  • PMTs, aside from having locally aggressive behavior, may metastasize and cause death

  • PMTs may behave aggressively despite ‘benign’ histological findings

  • Accurate diagnosis of tumor-induced osteomalacia and patient management require a multidisciplinary approach

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
Hans-Christof Schober Departments of Internal Medicine
Endocrinology, Rheumatology/Immunology, Klinikum Südstadt Rostock, Rostock, Germany

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Christian Kneitz Endocrinology, Rheumatology/Immunology, Klinikum Südstadt Rostock, Rostock, Germany

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Franziska Fieber Endocrinology, Rheumatology/Immunology, Klinikum Südstadt Rostock, Rostock, Germany

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Kathrin Hesse Departments of Internal Medicine
Endocrinology, Rheumatology/Immunology, Klinikum Südstadt Rostock, Rostock, Germany

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Henry Schroeder Department of Neurosurgery, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

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Summary

Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is caused by the hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23). It is mainly produced in the tissue of mesenchymal tumors. Patients with TIO frequently suffer from a chronic decompensated pain syndrome and/or muscle weakness with postural deformity. Despite the severity of the disease, the diagnosis is frequently established late. In some cases, it takes several years to establish the condition. This case report concerning a 68-year old woman demonstrates the selective blood sampling for FGF-23 as path-breaking diagnostics to confirm the diagnosis of a neuroendocrine tumor.

Learning points:

  • Tumor-induced osteomalacia is a rare condition compared to other paraneoplastic syndromes.

  • It causes complex symptoms such as progressive reduction of physical capacity, exhaustion, fatigue, a decompensated pain syndrome of the musculoskeletal system and fractures of several bones.

  • Elevated serum levels of FGF-23 implicate massive phosphate elimination and resulting hypophosphatemia.

  • The diagnosis is often established over a period of several years because the localization of small FGF-23-producing tumors is complicated.

  • It is the combination of MRI and selective blood sampling for FGF-23 which permits reliable identification of tumors causing TIO and leads to accurate localization.

  • In a patient with generalized pain and reduced physical capacity, osteological parameters such as phosphate, 25-OH vitamin D3 and 1,25-(OH)2D3, as well as bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels in serum should be determined. Hypophosphatemia should always lead to further diagnostic investigations aiming at the detection of an FGF-23-producing tumor.

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Marta Araujo Castro Endocrinology and Nutrition Department, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain

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Ainhoa Abad López Endocrinology and Nutrition Department, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain

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Luz Martín Fragueiro Pathological Anatomy Department, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain

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Nuria Palacios García Endocrinology and Nutrition Department, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain

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Summary

The 85% of cases of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) are due to parathyroid adenomas (PA) and less than 1% to parathyroid carcinomas (PC). The PA usually measure <2 cm, weigh <1 g and generate a mild PHPT, whereas the PC usually exceeds these dimensions and are associated with a severe PHPT. However, giant PA (GPA), which is defined as those larger than 3 g, has been documented. Those may be associated with very high levels of PTH and calcium. In these cases, their differentiation before and after surgery with PC is very difficult. We present a case of severe PHPT associated with a large parathyroid lesion, and we discuss the differential aspects between the GPA and PC.

Learning points:

  • In parathyroid lesions larger than 2 cm, the differential diagnosis between GPA and PC should be considered.

  • Pre and postsurgical differentiation between GPA and PC is difficult; however, there are clinical, analytical and radiographic characteristics that may be useful.

  • The depth/width ratio larger or smaller than 1 seems to be the most discriminatory ultrasound parameter for the differential diagnosis.

  • Loss of staining for parafibromin has a specificity of 99% for the diagnosis of PC.

  • The simultaneous presence of several histological characteristics, according to the classification of Schantz and Castleman, is frequent in PC and rare in GPA.

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Anna Casteràs Department of Endocrinology

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Lídia Darder Department of Maxilofacial Surgery

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Carles Zafon Department of Endocrinology

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Juan Antonio Hueto Department of Maxilofacial Surgery

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Margarita Alberola Department of Endocrine Surgery, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain

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Enric Caubet Department of Pathology

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Jordi Mesa Department of Endocrinology

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Summary

Skeletal manifestations of primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) include brown tumors (BT), which are osteoclastic focal lesions often localized in the jaws. Brown tumors are a rare manifestation of pHTP in Europe and USA; however, they are frequent in developing countries, probably related to vitamin D deficiency and longer duration and severity of disease. In the majority of cases, the removal of the parathyroid adenoma is enough for the bone to remineralize, but other cases require surgery. Hyperparathyroidism in MEN1 develops early, and is multiglandular and the timing of surgery remains questionable. To our knowledge, there are no reports of BT in MEN 1 patients. We present a 29-year-old woman with MEN 1 who developed a brown tumor of the jaw 24 months after getting pregnant, while breastfeeding. Serum corrected calcium remained under 2.7 during gestation, and at that point reached a maximum of 2.82 mmol/L. Concomitant PTH was 196 pg/mL, vitamin D 13.7 ng/mL and alkaline phosphatase 150 IU/L. Bone mineral density showed osteopenia on spine and femoral neck (both T-scores = −1.6). Total parathyroidectomy was performed within two weeks, with a failed glandular graft autotransplantation, leading to permanent hypoparathyroidism. Two months after removal of parathyroid glands, the jaw tumor did not shrink; thus, finally it was successfully excised. We hypothesize that higher vitamin D and mineral requirements during maternity may have triggered an accelerated bone resorption followed by appearance of the jaw BT. We suggest to treat pHPT before planning a pregnancy in MEN1 women or otherwise supplement with vitamin D, although this approach may precipitate severe hypercalcemia.

Learning points:

  • Brown tumors of the jaw can develop in MEN 1 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism at a young age (less than 30 years).

  • Pregnancy and lactation might trigger brown tumors by increasing mineral and vitamin D requirements.

  • Early parathyroidectomy is advisable in MEN 1 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism, at least before planning a pregnancy.

  • Standard bone mineral density does not correlate with the risk of appearance of a brown tumor.

  • Removal of parathyroid glands does not always lead to the shrinkage of the brown tumor, and surgical excision may be necessary.

Open access
Maria P Yavropoulou Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1 Stilponos, Kyriakidi Street, Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece

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Nikolina Gerothanasi Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1 Stilponos, Kyriakidi Street, Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece

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Athanasios Frydas Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1 Stilponos, Kyriakidi Street, Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece

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Evangelia Triantafyllou Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1 Stilponos, Kyriakidi Street, Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece

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Chris Poulios Pathology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Prodromos Hytiroglou Pathology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Panagiotis Apostolou Research Genetic Cancer Centre Ltd (RGCC Ltd), Florina, Greece

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Ioannis Papasotiriou Research Genetic Cancer Centre Ltd (RGCC Ltd), Florina, Greece

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Symeon Tournis Laboratory of Research of Musculoskeletal System ‘Th. Garofalidis’, Medical School, KAT Hospital, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

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Isaak Kesisoglou 3rd Department of Surgery, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

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John G Yovos Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, 1st Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA University Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1 Stilponos, Kyriakidi Street, Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece

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Summary

Tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO) is a rare paraneoplastic syndrome caused primarily by benign mesenchymal tumors. These tumors typically follow a benign clinical course and local recurrence occurs in <5% of cases. We investigated a 49-year-old man with a recurrent mesenchymal phosphaturic tumor showing no signs of malignancy. The patient suffered from chronic muscle weakness, myalgia and cramps. His medical record included the diagnosis of oncogenic osteomalacia, for which he was submitted to tumor resection in the left leg three times before. Laboratory examination showed hypophosphatemia, hyperphosphaturia and an elevated serum FGF23 level. A radical surgical approach (amputation) was advised, however, complete biochemical and clinical remission was not reached. Molecular analysis of the tumor cells demonstrated overexpression of growth factor receptors implicated in tumor angiogenesis and metastatic potential (platelet derived growth factor type A (PDGFRA), PDGFRB and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor) together with increased expression of FGF23, x-linked-phosphate-regulating endopeptidase and KLOTHO. TIO is usually associated with benign phosphauturic tumors and, when identified, resection of the tumor leads to complete remission in the majority of cases. The underlying pathophysiology of recurrences in these tumors is not known. This is the first report showing increased expression of growth factor receptors in a locally aggressive but histopathologically benign phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor.

Learning points

  • TIO is usually associated with benign soft tissue or bone neoplasms of mesenchymal origin.

  • These tumors typically follow a benign clinical course and even in the rare malignant cases local recurrence occurs in <5%.

  • Successful identification and removal of the tumor leads to full recovery in the majority of cases.

Open access