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Open access

Christopher W Rowe, Kirsten Murray, Andrew Woods, Sandeep Gupta, Roger Smith, and Katie Wynne

Metastatic thyroid cancer is an uncommon condition to be present at the time of pregnancy, but presents a challenging paradigm of care. Clinicians must balance the competing interests of long-term maternal health, best achieved by iatrogenic hyperthyroidism, regular radioiodine therapy and avoidance of dietary iodine, against the priority to care for the developing foetus, with inevitable compromise. Additionally, epidemiological and cellular data support the role of oestrogen as a growth factor for benign and malignant thyrocytes, although communicating the magnitude of this risk to patients and caregivers, as well as the uncertain impact of any pregnancy on long-term prognosis, remains challenging. Evidence to support treatment decisions in this uncommon situation is presented in the context of a case of a pregnant teenager with known metastatic papillary thyroid cancer and recent radioiodine therapy.

Learning points:

  • Pregnancy is associated with the growth of thyroid nodules due to stimulation from oestrogen receptors on thyrocytes and HCG cross-stimulation of the TSH receptor.

  • Thyroid cancer diagnosed during pregnancy has not been shown to be associated with increased rates of persistent or recurrent disease in most studies.

  • There is little evidence to guide the management of metastatic thyroid cancer in pregnancy, where both maternal and foetal wellbeing must be carefully balanced.

Open access

Vishal Navani, James F Lynam, Steven Smith, Christine J O’Neill, and Christopher W Rowe


We report concurrent metastatic prostatic adenocarcinoma (PC) and functioning androgen-secreting adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) in a 77-year-old man. The failure to achieve adequate biochemical castration via androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) as treatment for PC metastases, together with elevated DHEA-S, androstenedione, and discordant adrenal tracer uptake on FDG-PET and PSMA-PET, suggested the presence of a concurrent functional primary adrenal malignancy. On histopathological analysis, scant foci of PC were present throughout the ACC specimen. Castration was achieved post adrenalectomy with concurrent drop in prostate-specific antigen. We outline the literature regarding failure of testosterone suppression on ADT and salient points regarding diagnostic workup of functioning adrenal malignancies.

Learning points

  • Failure to achieve castration with androgen deprivation therapy is rare and should prompt careful review to identify the underlying cause.

  • All adrenal lesions should be evaluated for hormone production, as well as assessed for risk of malignancy (either primary or secondary).

  • Adrenocortical carcinomas are commonly functional, and can secrete steroid hormones or their precursors (androgens, progestogens, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids).

  • In this case, a co-incident, androgen-producing adrenocortical carcinoma was the cause of failure of testosterone suppression from androgen deprivation therapy as treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. Pathological adrenal androgen production contributed to the progression of prostate cancer.