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Mike Lin Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

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Venessa Tsang Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Janice Brewer Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

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Roderick Clifton-Bligh Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Matti L Gild Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Genetics Unit, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, New South Wales, Australia
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Lymphocytic hypophysitis is a rare neuroendocrine disease characterised by an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the pituitary gland. We report a 50-year-old woman who presented with headaches and bilateral sixth cranial nerve palsies. MRI of the pituitary revealed extensive fibrosis involving the sellar and extending into both cavernous sinuses causing bilateral occlusion of the internal carotid arteries (ICA). Transphenoidal biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of infiltrative fibrotic lymphocytic hypophysitis. Symptoms resolved with high dose of oral steroids but relapsed on tapering, requiring several treatments of i.v. pulse steroids over 8 months. Rituximab combined with mycophenolate mofetil was required to achieve long-term symptom relief. Serial MRI pituitary imaging showed stabilisation of her disease without reduction in sellar mass or regression of ICA occlusion. The patient’s brain remained perfused solely by her posterior circulation. This case demonstrates an unusual presentation of a rare disease and highlights a successful steroid-sparing regimen in a refractory setting.

Learning points:

  • Lymphocytic hypophysitis is a rare inflammatory disorder of the pituitary gland. In exceptional cases, there is infiltration of the cavernous sinus with subsequent occlusion of the internal carotid arteries.

  • First-line treatment of lymphocytic hypophysitis is high-dose glucocorticoids. Relapse after tapering or discontinuation is common and its use is limited by long-term adverse effects.

  • There is a paucity of data for treatment of refractory lymphocytic hypophysitis. Goals of treatment should include improvement in symptoms, correction of hormonal insufficiencies, reduction in lesion size and prevention of recurrence.

  • Steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs such as rituximab and mycophenolate mofetil have been successful in case reports. This therapeutic combination represents a viable alternative treatment for refractory disease.

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Daniela Gallo Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Sara Rosetti Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Ilaria Marcon Department of Oncology, ASST dei Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy

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Elisabetta Armiraglio Pathology Unit, ASST Gaetano Pini, Centro Specialistico Ortopedico Traumatologico, Gaetano Pini-CTO, Milano, Italy

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Antonina Parafioriti Pathology Unit, ASST Gaetano Pini, Centro Specialistico Ortopedico Traumatologico, Gaetano Pini-CTO, Milano, Italy

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Graziella Pinotti Department of Oncology, ASST dei Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy

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Giuseppe Perrucchini I.R.C.C.S Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milano, Italy

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Bohdan Patera Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Linda Gentile Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Maria Laura Tanda Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Luigi Bartalena Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Eliana Piantanida Department of Medicine and Surgery, Endocrine Unit, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Summary

Brown tumors are osteoclastic, benign lesions characterized by fibrotic stroma, intense vascularization and multinucleated giant cells. They are the terminal expression of the bone remodelling process occurring in advanced hyperparathyroidism. Nowadays, due to earlier diagnosis, primary hyperparathyroidism keeps few of the classical manifestations and brown tumors are definitely unexpected. Thus, it may happen that they are misdiagnosed as primary or metastatic bone cancer. Besides bone imaging, endocrine evaluation including measurement of serum parathyroid hormone and calcium (Ca) levels supports the pathologist to address the diagnosis. Herein, a case of multiple large brown tumors misdiagnosed as a non-treatable osteosarcoma is described, with special regards to diagnostic work-up. After selective parathyroidectomy, treatment with denosumab was initiated and a regular follow-up was established. The central role of multidisciplinary approach involving pathologist, endocrinologist and oncologist in the diagnostic and therapeutic work-up is reported. In our opinion, the discussion of this case would be functional especially for clinicians and pathologists not used to the differential diagnosis in uncommon bone disorders.

Learning points:

  • Brown tumors develop during the remodelling process of bone in advanced and long-lasting primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism.

  • Although rare, they should be considered during the challenging diagnostic work-up of giant cell lesions.

  • Coexistence of high parathyroid hormone levels and hypercalcemia in primary hyperparathyroidism is crucial for the diagnosis.

  • A detailed imaging study includes bone X-ray, bone scintiscan and total body CT; to rule out bone malignancy, evaluation of bone lesion biopsy should include immunostaining for neoplastic markers as H3G34W and Ki67 index.

  • If primary hyperparathyroidism is confirmed, selective parathyroidectomy is the first-line treatment.

  • In advanced bone disease, treatment with denosumab should be considered, ensuring a strict control of Ca levels.

Open access
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.

Open access
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.

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Eseoghene Ifie Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

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Samson O Oyibo Department of Endocrinology, Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough, UK

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Hareesh Joshi Department of Endocrinology, Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough, UK

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Olugbenro O Akintade Department of Elderly Care Medicine, Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough, UK

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Summary

Iron (ferric carboxymaltose) infusion therapy is used to treat severe iron deficiency which is not responding to the first-line oral iron therapy. However, it can also cause severe renal wasting of phosphate resulting in severe hypophosphataemia in some patients. Despite the growing number of case reports, this side effect is not well known to healthcare professionals. The product labelling information sheet does mention that hypophosphataemia can be a side effect, but also says that this side effect is usually transient and asymptomatic. We report a challenging case of a patient who developed severe, symptomatic and prolonged hypophosphataemia after an intravenous iron infusion for severe iron deficiency.

Learning points:

  • Clinicians prescribing ferric carboxymaltose (Ferinject®) should be aware of the common side effect of hypophosphataemia, which could be mild, moderate or severe.

  • Patients receiving iron infusion should be educated concerning this potential side effect.

  • Pre-existing vitamin D deficiency, low calcium levels, low phosphate levels or raised parathyroid hormone levels may be risk factors, and these should be evaluated and corrected before administering intravenous iron.

  • Patients may require phosphate and vitamin D replacement along with monitoring for a long period after iron infusion-induced hypophosphataemia.

  • Every incident should be reported to the designated body so that the true prevalence and management thereof can be ascertained.

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Andrew R Tang Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Laura E Hinz Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Aneal Khan Department of Medical Genetics and Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Gregory A Kline Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Summary

Hereditary hypophosphatemic rickets with hypercalciuria (HHRH) is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the SLC34A3 gene that encodes the renal sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter 2c (NaPi-IIc). It may present as intermittent mild hypercalcemia which may attract initial diagnostic attention but appreciation of concomitant hypophosphatemia is critical for consideration of the necessary diagnostic approach. A 21-year-old woman was assessed by adult endocrinology for low bone mass. She initially presented age two with short stature, nephrocalcinosis and mild intermittent hypercalcemia with hypercalciuria. She had no evidence of medullary sponge kidney or Fanconi syndrome and no bone deformities, pain or fractures. She had recurrent episodes of nephrolithiasis. In childhood, she was treated with hydrochlorothiazide to reduce urinary calcium. Upon review of prior investigations, she had persistent hypophosphatemia with phosphaturia, low PTH and a high-normal calcitriol. A diagnosis of HHRH was suspected and genetic testing confirmed a homozygous c.1483G>A (p.G495R) missense mutation of the SLC34A3 gene. She was started on oral phosphate replacement which normalized her serum phosphate, serum calcium and urine calcium levels over the subsequent 5 years. HHRH is an autosomal recessive condition that causes decreased renal reabsorption of phosphate, leading to hyperphosphaturia, hypophosphatemia and PTH-independent hypercalcemia due to the physiologic increase in calcitriol which also promotes hypercalciuria. Classically, patients present in childhood with bone pain, vitamin D-independent rickets and growth delay. This case of a SLC34A3 mutation illustrates the importance of investigating chronic hypophosphatemia even in the presence of other more common electrolyte abnormalities.

Learning points:

  • Hypophosphatemia is an important diagnostic clue that should not be ignored, even in the face of more common electrolyte disorders.

  • HHRH is a cause of PTH-independent hypophosphatemia that may also show hypercalcemia.

  • HHRH is a cause of hypophosphatemic nephrocalcinosis that should not be treated with calcitriol, unlike other congenital phosphate wasting syndromes.

  • Some congenital phosphate wasting disorders may not present until adolescence or early adulthood.

Open access
Peter Novodvorsky Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

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Ziad Hussein Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Muhammad Fahad Arshad Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Ahmed Iqbal Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Malee Fernando Department of Histopathology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Alia Munir Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

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Sabapathy P Balasubramanian Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Department of General Surgery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Summary

Spontaneous remission of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) due to necrosis and haemorrhage of parathyroid adenoma, the so-called ‘parathyroid auto-infarction’ is a very rare, but previously described phenomenon. Patients usually undergo parathyroidectomy or remain under close clinical and biochemical surveillance. We report two cases of parathyroid auto-infarction diagnosed in the same tertiary centre; one managed surgically and the other conservatively up to the present time. Case #1 was a 51-year old man with PHPT (adjusted (adj.) calcium: 3.11 mmol/L (reference range (RR): 2.20–2.60 mmol/L), parathyroid hormone (PTH) 26.9 pmol/L (RR: 1.6–6.9 pmol/L) and urine calcium excretion consistent with PHPT) referred for parathyroidectomy. Repeat biochemistry 4 weeks later at the surgical clinic showed normal adj. calcium (2.43 mmol/L) and reduced PTH. Serial ultrasound imaging demonstrated reduction in size of the parathyroid lesion from 33 to 17 mm. Twenty months later, following recurrence of hypercalcaemia, he underwent neck exploration and resection of an enlarged right inferior parathyroid gland. Histology revealed increased fibrosis and haemosiderin deposits in the parathyroid lesion in keeping with auto-infarction. Case #2 was a 54-year-old lady admitted with severe hypercalcaemia (adj. calcium: 4.58 mmol/L, PTH 51.6 pmol/L (RR: 1.6–6.9 pmol/L)) and severe vitamin D deficiency. She was treated with intravenous fluids and pamidronate and 8 days later developed symptomatic hypocalcaemia (1.88 mmol/L) with dramatic decrease of PTH (17.6 pmol/L). MRI of the neck showed a 44 mm large cystic parathyroid lesion. To date, (18 months later), she has remained normocalcaemic.

Learning points:

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is characterised by excess parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion arising mostly from one or more autonomously functioning parathyroid adenomas (up to 85%), diffuse parathyroid hyperplasia (<15%) and in 1–2% of cases from parathyroid carcinoma.

  • PHPT and hypercalcaemia of malignancy, account for the majority of clinical presentations of hypercalcaemia.

  • Spontaneous remission of PHPT due to necrosis, haemorrhage and infarction of parathyroid adenoma, the so-called ‘parathyroid auto-infarction’, ‘auto-parathyroidectomy’ or ‘parathyroid apoplexy’ is a very rare in clinical practice but has been previously reported in the literature.

  • In most cases, patients with parathyroid auto-infarction undergo parathyroidectomy. Those who are managed conservatively need to remain under close clinical and biochemical surveillance long-term as in most cases PHPT recurs, sometimes several years after auto-infarction.

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
Yang Timothy Du Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia

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Angus Rutter School of Medicine, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia

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Jui T Ho Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia

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Summary

A 40-year-old man with achondroplasia presented with symptoms of hypogonadism, low libido and gynaecomastia. He was found to have hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, and karyotype and fluorescent in situ hybridisation analysis showed SRY-positive 46, XX disorder of sex development (DSD). He was tested to have the common activating mutation of the FGFR3 gene implicated in achondroplasia, indicating that he had the two rare conditions independently, with an extremely low incidence of 1 in 400 million. This, to the best of our knowledge, is the first report of an individual having these two rare conditions concurrently. This case highlights that individuals with achondroplasia should have normal sexual development, and in those presenting with incomplete sexual maturation or symptoms of hypogonadism should prompt further evaluation. We also propose a plausible link between achondroplasia and 46, XX DSD through the intricate interactions between the SRY, SOX9 and FGFR9 gene pathways.

Learning points:

  • The SOX9 and FGF9 genes, which are upregulated by the SRY gene, are important in both sex determination in the embryo, as well as endochondral bone growth.

  • Patients with achondroplasia should have normal sexual development and function in the absence of other confounding factors.

  • Patients with achondroplasia who present with symptoms and signs of abnormal sexual development and/or hypogonadism should be appropriately investigated for other causes.

Open access