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Open access

Marilena Nakaguma, Fernanda A Correa, Lucas S Santana, Anna F F Benedetti, Ricardo V Perez, Martha K P Huayllas, Mirta B Miras, Mariana F A Funari, Antonio M Lerario, Berenice B Mendonca, Luciani R S Carvalho, Alexander A L Jorge and Ivo J P Arnhold

Aim

Congenital hypopituitarism has an incidence of 1:3500–10,000 births and is defined by the impaired production of pituitary hormones. Early diagnosis has an impact on management and genetic counselling. The clinical and genetic heterogeneity of hypopituitarism poses difficulties to select the order of genes to analyse. The objective of our study is to screen hypopituitarism genes (candidate and previously related genes) simultaneously using a target gene panel in patients with congenital hypopituitarism.

Methods

Screening of 117 subjects with congenital hypopituitarism for pathogenic variants in 26 genes associated with congenital hypopituitarism by massively parallel sequencing using a customized target gene panel.

Results

We found three novel pathogenic variants in OTX2 c.295C>T:p.Gln99*, GLI2 c.1681G>T:p.Glu561* and GHRHR c.820_821insC:p.Asp274Alafs*113, and the previously reported variants in GHRHR c.57+1G>A and PROP1 [c.301_302delAG];[c.109+1G>A].

Conclusions

Our results indicate that a custom-designed panel is an efficient method to screen simultaneously variants of biological and clinical relevance for congenital GH deficiency. A genetic diagnosis was possible in 5 out of 117 (4%) patients of our cohort. We identified three novel pathogenic variants in GHRHR, OTX2 and GLI2 expanding the spectrum of variants associated with congenital hypopituitarism.

Open access

Monica F Stecchini, Zilda Braid, Candy B More, Davi C Aragon, Margaret Castro, Ayrton C Moreira and Sonir R Antonini

Objective

To investigate the impact of early exposure to androgen excess on gonadotropin-dependent puberty (GDP) and final height (FH) of patients with androgen-secreting adrenocortical tumors (ACT) in childhood.

Methods

Retrospective cohort study. Occurrence of GDP and achievement of FH were evaluated. Central precocious puberty (CPP) and early fast puberty (EFP) were considered pubertal disorders. Patients with normal puberty and pubertal disorders were compared.

Results

The study included 63 patients (44F), followed in a single institution from 1975 until 2017. At diagnosis of ACT, median age was 25.8 months; duration of signs, 6 months; stature SDS, 0.5 (−3.6 to 3.9) and bone age advancement, 14.7 months (−27.9 to 85.4). To date, 37 patients developed GDP: 26 had normal puberty; one, precocious thelarche; seven, CPP and three, EFP. GnRHa effectively treated CPP/EFP. Tall stature and older age at diagnosis of ACT were associated with risk of CPP alone (RR 4.17 (95% CI 1.17–14.80)) and CPP/EFP (RR 3.0 (95% CI 1.04–8.65)). Recurrence/metastasis during follow-up were associated with risk of CPP alone (RR 4.17 (95% CI 1.17–14.80)) and CPP/EFP (RR 3.0 (95% CI 1.12–8.02)). Among the 19 patients that reached FH, stature SDS dropped from 1.4 to −0.02 since diagnosis of ACT (P = 0.01). Seventeen achieved normal FH. There was no difference in FH SDS between patients with normal puberty and pubertal disorders (P = 0.75).

Conclusions

Gonadotropin-dependent pubertal disorders are common in patients with androgen-secreting ACT in childhood. FH is usually not impaired. The study reinforces the importance of close follow-up after surgery to identify and treat consequences of early exposure to androgen excess.

Open access

T Szarvas, B Jardin-Watelet, N Bourgoin, M J Hoffmann, P Nyirády, C Oláh, T Széll, A Csizmarik, B Hadaschik and H Reis

Recently, a neuroendocrine-like molecular subtype has been discovered in muscle-invasive urothelial bladder cancer (BC). Chromogranin A (CGA) is a widely used tissue and serum marker in neuroendocrine tumors. Our aim was to evaluate serum CGA (sCGA) concentrations and their associations with clinical and follow-up data in BC and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). sCGA concentrations were analyzed in the following cohorts: (1) BC training set (n = 188), (2) BC validation set (n = 125), (3) RCC patients (n = 77), (4) healthy controls (n = 97). CGA immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR analyses were performed in 20 selected FFPE and 29 frozen BC tissue samples. Acquired data were correlated with clinicopathological parameters including comorbidities with known effect on sCGA as well as with patients’ follow-up data. sCGA levels were significantly higher in BC but not in RCC patients compared to healthy controls. High sCGA levels were independently associated with poor overall and disease-specific survival both in the BC training (P < 0.001, P = 0.002) and validation set (P = 0.009, P = 0.017). sCGA levels were inversely correlated with glomerulus filtrating rate (GFR) and linearly correlated with creatinine clearance and urea concentrations. These correlations were not related to the prognostic value of sCGA. Tissue CGA levels were low to absent independently of sCGA concentrations. Our results demonstrate elevated levels and an independent prognostic value for sCGA in BC but not in RCC. Despite the significant correlation between sCGA and GFR, the prognostic relevance of sCGA seems not related to impaired renal function or other comorbidities.

Open access

Madalena von Hafe, João Sergio Neves, Catarina Vale, Marta Borges-Canha and Adelino Leite-Moreira

Thyroid hormones have a central role in cardiovascular homeostasis. In myocardium, these hormones stimulate both diastolic myocardial relaxation and systolic myocardial contraction, have a pro-angiogenic effect and an important role in extracellular matrix maintenance. Thyroid hormones modulate cardiac mitochondrial function. Dysfunction of thyroid axis impairs myocardial bioenergetic status. Both overt and subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with a higher incidence of coronary events and an increased risk of heart failure progression. Endothelial function is also impaired in hypothyroid state, with decreased nitric oxide-mediated vascular relaxation. In heart disease, particularly in ischemic heart disease, abnormalities in thyroid hormone levels are common and are an important factor to be considered. In fact, low thyroid hormone levels should be interpreted as a cardiovascular risk factor. Regarding ischemic heart disease, during the late post-myocardial infarction period, thyroid hormones modulate left ventricular structure, function and geometry. Dysfunction of thyroid axis might even be more prevalent in the referred condition since there is an upregulation of type 3 deiodinase in myocardium, producing a state of local cardiac hypothyroidism. In this focused review, we summarize the central pathophysiological and clinical links between altered thyroid function and ischemic heart disease. Finally, we highlight the potential benefits of thyroid hormone supplementation as a therapeutic target in ischemic heart disease.

Open access

Eugenie S Lim, Shanty G Shah, Mona Waterhouse, Scott Akker, William Drake, Nick Plowman, Daniel M Berney, Polly Richards, Ashok Adams, Ewa Nowosinska, Carmel Brennan and Maralyn Druce

Context

Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is usually treated by thyroidectomy followed by radioiodine ablation and generally has a good prognosis. It may now be possible to limit the amount of treatment without impacting on efficacy. It is not known whether coexistent thyroiditis impacts on radioiodine uptake or on its potential efficacy, but this could provide a rationale for modification to current therapeutic protocols.

Design

This was a retrospective cohort study of radioiodine uptake on imaging after radioiodine ablation for DTC in patients with and without concurrent thyroiditis. All patients with histologically confirmed DTC treated with radioiodine ablation after thyroidectomy in a single centre from 2012 to 2015 were included. The primary outcome assessed was the presence of low or no iodine uptake on post-ablation scan, as reported by a nuclear medicine physician blinded to the presence or absence of thyroiditis.

Results

One hundred thirty patients with available histopathology results were included. Thyroiditis was identified in 42 post-operative specimens and 15 of these patients had low or no iodine uptake on post-ablation scan, compared to only 2 of 88 patients without thyroiditis (P < 0.0001) with further data analysis dividing the groups by ablation activity received (1100 MBq or 3000 MBq).

Conclusions

Concurrent thyroiditis may impair the uptake of radioactive iodine in management of DTC. Given that patients with DTC and thyroiditis already have a good prognosis, adopting a more selective approach to this step in therapy may be indicated. Large, longitudinal studies would be required to determine if omitting radioactive iodine therapy from those patients with concurrent thyroiditis has a measurable impact on mortality from thyroid cancer.

Open access

Yusaku Mori, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Hideki Kushima, Tomomi Saito, Munenori Hiromura, Michishige Terasaki, Masakazu Koshibu, Hirokazu Ohtaki and Tsutomu Hirano

Nesfatin-1 is a novel anorexic peptide hormone that also exerts cardiovascular protective effects in rodent models. However, nesfatin-1 treatment at high doses also exerts vasopressor effects, which potentially limits its therapeutic application. Here, we evaluated the vasoprotective and vasopressor effects of nesfatin-1 at different doses in mouse models. Wild-type mice and those with the transgene nucleobindin-2, a precursor of nesfatin-1, were employed. Wild-type mice were randomly assigned to treatment with vehicle or nesfatin-1 at 0.2, 2.0 or 10 μg/kg/day (Nes-0.2, Nes-2, Nes-10, respectively). Subsequently, mice underwent femoral artery wire injury to induce arterial remodeling. After 4 weeks, injured arteries were collected for morphometric analysis. Compared with vehicle, nesfatin-1 treatments at 2.0 and 10 μg/kg/day decreased body weights and elevated plasma nesfatin-1 levels with no changes in systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, these treatments reduced neointimal hyperplasia without inducing undesirable remodeling in injured arteries. However, nesfatin-1 treatment at 0.2 μg/kg/day was insufficient to elevate plasma nesfatin-1 levels and showed no vascular effects. In nucleobindin-2-transgenic mice, blood pressure was slightly higher but neointimal area was lower than those observed in littermate controls. In cultured human vascular endothelial cells, nesfatin-1 concentration-dependently increased nitric oxide production. Additionally, nesfatin-1 increased AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, which was abolished by inhibiting liver kinase B1. We thus demonstrated that nesfatin-1 treatment at appropriate doses suppressed arterial remodeling without affecting blood pressure. Our findings indicate that nesfatin-1 can be a therapeutic target for improved treatment of peripheral artery disease.

Open access

M I Stamou, P Varnavas, L Plummer, V Koika and N A Georgopoulos

Isolated gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency (IGD) is a rare disease with a wide spectrum of reproductive and non-reproductive clinical characteristics. Apart from the phenotypic heterogeneity, IGD is also highly genetically heterogeneous with >35 genes implicated in the disease. Despite this genetic heterogeneity, genetic enrichment in specific subpopulations has been described. We have previously described low prevalence of genetic variation in the Greek IGD cohort discovered with utilization of Sanger sequencing in 14 known IGD genes. Here, we describe the expansion of genetic screening in the largest IGD Greek cohort that has ever been studied with the usage of whole-exome sequencing, searching for rare sequencing variants (RSVs) in 37 known IGD genes. Even though Sanger sequencing detected genetic variation in 21/81 IGD patients in 7/14 IGD genes without any evidence of oligogenicity, whole exome sequencing (WES) revealed that 27/87 IGD patients carried a rare genetic change in a total of 15 genes with 4 IGD cases being oligogenic. Our findings suggest that next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques can discover previously undetected variation, making them the standardized method for screening patients with rare and/or more common disorders.

Open access

G Giuffrida, F Ferraù, R Laudicella, O R Cotta, E Messina, F Granata, F F Angileri, A Vento, A Alibrandi, S Baldari and S Cannavò

In aggressive pituitary tumors (PT) showing local invasion or growth/recurrence despite multimodal conventional treatment, temozolomide (TMZ) is considered a further therapeutic option, while little data are available on peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). We analyzed PRRT effectiveness, safety and long-term outcome in three patients with aggressive PT, also reviewing the current literature. Patient #1 (F, giant prolactinoma) received five cycles (total dose 37 GBq) of 111In-DTPA-octreotide over 23 months, after unsuccessful surgery and long-term dopamine-agonist treatment. Patient #2 (M, giant prolactinoma) underwent two cycles (12.6 GBq) of 177Lu-DOTATOC after multiple surgeries, radiosurgery and TMZ. In patient #3 (F, non-functioning PT), five cycles (29.8 GBq) of 177Lu-DOTATOC followed five surgeries, radiotherapy and TMZ. Eleven more cases of PRRT-treated aggressive PT emerged from literature. Patient #1 showed tumor shrinkage and visual/neurological amelioration over 8-year follow-up, while the other PTs continued to grow causing blindness and neuro-cognitive disorders (patient #2) or monolateral amaurosis (patient #3). No adverse effects were reported. Including the patients from literature, 4/13 presented tumor shrinkage and clinical/biochemical improvement after PRRT. Response did not correlate with patients’ gender or age, neither with used radionuclide/peptide, but PRRT failure was significantly associated with previous TMZ treatment. Overall, adverse effects occurred only in two patients. PRRT was successful in 1/3 of patients with aggressive PT, and in 4/5 of those not previously treated with TMZ, representing a safe option after unsuccessful multimodal treatment. However, at present, considering the few data, PRRT should be considered only in an experimental setting.

Open access

Agnieszka Bogusz, Svenja Boekhoff, Monika Warmuth-Metz, Gabriele Calaminus, Maria Eveslage and Hermann L Müller

Objective

Quality of life (QoL) is frequently impaired in childhood-onset craniopharyngioma (CP) by hypothalamic syndrome. The debate, whether pretreatment hypothalamic involvement (HI) has apriori prognostic impact or surgical hypothalamic lesions (HL) determine outcome, is controversial.

Design

Survival and outcome of CPs recruited between 2007 and 2014 in KRANIOPHARYNGEOM 2007 were analyzed with regard to reference-confirmed presurgical HI and surgical HL.

Methods

Radiological findings, BMI and QoL were assessed at diagnosis and during follow-up. QoL was assessed using Pediatric Quality of Life (PEDQOL) questionnaire.

Results

One hundred sixty-nine CPs were included presenting with no HI (n = 11), anterior (n = 49) and anterior + posterior (a + p) HI (n = 109) prior to surgery. The latter 109 were analyzed for postoperative HL (no lesion: n = 23, anterior HL: n = 29, a + pHL: n = 57). Progression-free survival (PFS) was higher after complete resection. The highest PFS was observed in CP with a + pHL, especially when compared between non-irradiated subgroups (P = 0.006). Overall survival (OS) rates were 1.0 in all subgroups. CP with a + pHL developed higher BMI (P ≤ 0.001) during follow-up compared between subgroups. 55/109 pts with a + pHI completed PEDQOL at diagnosis (48/109 at 3 years follow-up). QoL was worse for a + pHL patients in terms of physical, social and emotional functionality when compared with the anterior HL and no HL subgroup. BMI development and QoL during follow-up were similar for patients with anterior HL and without HL.

Conclusions

Posterior hypothalamus-sparing surgical strategies are associated with higher QoL, decreased development of obesity and lower PFS in CP.

Open access

Teresa Lam, Mark McLean, Amy Hayden, Anne Poljak, Birinder Cheema, Howard Gurney, Glenn Stone, Neha Bahl, Navneeta Reddy, Haleh Shahidipour and Vita Birzniece

Context

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in prostate cancer results in muscular atrophy, due to loss of the anabolic actions of testosterone. Recently, we discovered that testosterone acts on the hepatic urea cycle to reduce amino acid nitrogen elimination. We now hypothesize that ADT enhances protein oxidative losses by increasing hepatic urea production, resulting in muscle catabolism. We also investigated whether progressive resistance training (PRT) can offset ADT-induced changes in protein metabolism.

Objective

To investigate the effect of ADT on whole-body protein metabolism and hepatic urea production with and without a home-based PRT program.

Design

A randomized controlled trial.

Patients and intervention

Twenty-four prostate cancer patients were studied before and after 6 weeks of ADT. Patients were randomized into either usual care (UC) (n = 11) or PRT (n = 13) starting immediately after ADT.

Main outcome measures

The rate of hepatic urea production was measured by the urea turnover technique using 15N2-urea. Whole-body leucine turnover was measured, and leucine rate of appearance (LRa), an index of protein breakdown and leucine oxidation (Lox), a measure of irreversible protein loss, was calculated.

Results

ADT resulted in a significant mean increase in hepatic urea production (from 427.6 ± 18.8 to 486.5 ± 21.3; P < 0.01) regardless of the exercise intervention. Net protein loss, as measured by Lox/Lra, increased by 12.6 ± 4.9% (P < 0.05). PRT preserved lean body mass without affecting hepatic urea production.

Conclusion

As early as 6 weeks after initiation of ADT, the suppression of testosterone increases protein loss through elevated hepatic urea production. Short-term PRT was unable to offset changes in protein metabolism during a state of profound testosterone deficiency.