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Open access

Jülide Durmuşoğlu, Henri J L M Timmers, Pepijn van Houten, Johan F Langenhuijsen, Ad R M M Hermus, and Annenienke C van de Ven


Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare malignancy with a poor prognosis. We hypothesized that patients with adrenocortical carcinoma are at high risk for venous thromboembolism, given the numerous risk factors such as malignancy, abdominal surgery, immobility and hormonal excess. The aim of this study was to determine retrospectively the incidence of venous thromboembolisms after surgical treatment in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma.

Materials and methods:

A retrospective study was performed, collecting data from all patients diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma from 2003 to 2018 at the Radboud University Medical Centre, The Netherlands.


In 34 patients, eight postoperative venous thromboembolisms, all pulmonary embolisms, were diagnosed in the first 6 months after adrenalectomy (23.5%). In addition, one patient developed pulmonary embolism just prior to surgery and one patient 7 years after surgery. Five of the eight patients with postoperative venous thromboembolisms presented with symptomatic pulmonary embolism whereas the other three pulmonary embolisms were incidentally found on regular follow up CT scans. Seven of the eight venous thromboembolisms occurred within 10 weeks after surgery. Seven of the eight patients had advanced stage adrenocortical carcinoma and four patients already received low-molecular weight heparin during the development of the venous thromboembolism. There was one case of fatal pulmonary embolism in a patient with a cortisol producing tumor with pulmonary metastases, despite the use of a therapeutic dose thromboprophylaxis.


Patients with adrenocortical carcinoma are at high risk of developing postoperative venous thromboembolisms. Prolonged postoperative thromboprophylaxis could be considered in these patients.

Open access

Anello Marcello Poma, Riccardo Giannini, Paolo Piaggi, Clara Ugolini, Gabriele Materazzi, Paolo Miccoli, Paolo Vitti, and Fulvio Basolo

The distinction between follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs) and follicular-patterned benign lesions is almost impossible on fine-needle aspiration cytology. Furthermore, minimally invasive FTCs (MI-FTCs) with less than 4 vascular invasion foci generally have an excellent prognosis, but there are exceptions and, so far, no molecular marker appears able to identify them reliably. We aimed to distinguish benign lesions from low- and high-risk FTCs by a small-scale combination of genes. The expression analysis of 75 selected genes was performed on 18 follicular adenomas (FAs), 14 MI-FTCs and 6 widely invasive FTC (WI-FTCs). The mutational status of the RAS genes, TERT promoter and PAX8-PPARG rearrangements was also investigated. Seven samples were mutated, namely 3 MI-FTCs and 4 WI-FTCs. Twenty-five genes were differentially expressed (FDR <0.05) between FAs and WI-FTCs. Six of these (ECM1, RXRG, SDPR, SLC26A4, TIFF3, TIMP1) were also differently expressed among MI-FTCs and FAs or WI-FTCs and were considered to build a classification model, which was tested to classify samples according to their histological class. Hence, 31 out of 38 were correctly classified, and accuracy remained high after cross-validation (27/38). The 2 MI-FTCs incorrectly classified as WI-FTCs harbored both RAS and TERT promoter mutations. The capability of these six genes to stratify benign, low- and high-risk lesions appears to be promising in supporting the diagnosis of indeterminate thyroid nodules.

Open access

Qi Zhang, Hongshan Wang, Yanhong Xie, Suming Huang, Ke Chen, Botian Ye, Yupeng Yang, Jie Sun, Hongyong He, Fenglin Liu, Zhenbin Shen, Weidong Chen, Kuntang Shen, Yuan Ji, and Yihong Sun

A new subcategory, grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, is incorporated into the grading system of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms in the 2017 WHO classification in order to differentiate grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors from neuroendocrine carcinomas. The 2019 WHO classification extends the concept of grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors to gastrointestinal high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms. However, there is still limited study focusing on the gastric grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors and gastric neuroendocrine carcinomas. We retrospectively enrolled 151 gastric high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms patients, who underwent radical resection from January 2007 to December 2015. Clinicopathologic and prognostic features were studied. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database was used to verify the prognostic determinants found in the Zhongshan cohort. Neuroendocrine carcinomas showed a higher Ki67 index and higher mitotic count than grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors. We identified 109 (72.2%) patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas, 12 (7.9%) patients with grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, and 30 (19.9%) patients with mixed neuroendocrine-non-neuroendocrine neoplasms. Although neuroendocrine carcinomas demonstrated higher Ki67 index (P = 0.004) and mitoses (P = 0.001) than grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, their prognosis after radical resection did not demonstrate significant differences (P = 0.709). Tumor size, perineural invasion, and TNM stage were independent prognostic factors of gastric high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms.

Open access

Simonetta Piana, Eleonora Zanetti, Alessandra Bisagni, Alessia Ciarrocchi, Davide Giordano, Federica Torricelli, Teresa Rossi, and Moira Ragazzi

The NOTCH signaling is an evolutionarily conserved signaling pathway that regulates cell–cell interactions. NOTCH family members play a fundamental role in a variety of processes during development in particular in cell fate decisions. As other crucial factors during embryogenesis, NOTCH signaling is aberrantly reactivated in cancer where it has been linked to context-dependent effects. In thyroid cancer, NOTCH1 expression has been associated to aggressive features even if its in vivo expression within the entire spectrum of thyroid tumors has not definitively established. A series of 106 thyroid specimens including non-neoplastic lesions, benign and malignant tumors of common and rare histotypes, were investigated by immunohistochemistry to assess NOTCH1 expression. Extent of positivity and protein localization were investigated and correlated with clinical and morphological parameters. NOTCH1 positivity was predominantly associated with papillary carcinomas and only occasionally found in follicular carcinomas. Poorly differentiated and undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas showed only a partial positivity. NOTCH1 expression pattern also seemed differently distributed according to histotype. Our data confirm a role of NOTCH1 in thyroid cancer and highlight for the first time the specific involvement of this pathway in papillary carcinomas. Our data also indicate that other thyroid malignancies do not rely on NOTCH1 signaling for development and progression.

Open access

Luigia Cinque, Angelo Sparaneo, Antonio S Salcuni, Danilo de Martino, Claudia Battista, Francesco Logoluso, Orazio Palumbo, Roberto Cocchi, Evaristo Maiello, Paolo Graziano, Geoffrey N Hendy, David E C Cole, Alfredo Scillitani, and Vito Guarnieri


The occurrence of parathyroid carcinoma in multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MENI) is rare and the 15 cases of malignant parathyroid tumor reported so far have been associated with MENI in individuals and not with multiple members within a family.


We report on a 61-year-old male, operated for a 7.3 cm parathyroid carcinoma infiltrating the esophagus. In his brother, a 4.6 cm parathyroid carcinoma was diagnosed histologically, while in the daughter, neck ultrasonography revealed 2 extrathyroidal nodules, yet to be excised.


Screening of the MEN1 gene identified a known germline heterozygous missense mutation (c.1252G>A; p.D418N) in exon 9, in all affected subjects.


The occurrence of parathyroid carcinoma in more than one affected member of a single MEN1 family represents the first reported familial case. This suggests that additional constitutional genetic mutations may contribute to the variation in malignant potential and clinical behavior of parathyroid tumors in MEN1.

Open access

M S Elston, V B Crawford, M Swarbrick, M S Dray, M Head, and J V Conaglen

Cushing’s syndrome (CS) due to ectopic adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) is associated with a variety of tumours most of which arise in the thorax or abdomen. Prostate carcinoma is a rare but important cause of rapidly progressive CS. To report a case of severe CS due to ACTH production from prostate neuroendocrine carcinoma and summarise previous published cases. A 71-year-old male presented with profound hypokalaemia, oedema and new onset hypertension. The patient reported two weeks of weight gain, muscle weakness, labile mood and insomnia. CS due to ectopic ACTH production was confirmed with failure to suppress cortisol levels following low- and high-dose dexamethasone suppression tests in the presence of a markedly elevated ACTH and a normal pituitary MRI. Computed tomography demonstrated an enlarged prostate with features of malignancy, confirmed by MRI. Subsequent prostatic biopsy confirmed neuroendocrine carcinoma of small cell type and conventional adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Adrenal steroidogenesis blockade was commenced using ketoconazole and metyrapone. Complete biochemical control of CS and evidence of disease regression on imaging occurred after four cycles of chemotherapy with carboplatin and etoposide. By the sixth cycle, the patient demonstrated radiological progression followed by recurrence of CS and died nine months after initial presentation. Prostate neuroendocrine carcinoma is a rare cause of CS that can be rapidly fatal, and early aggressive treatment of the CS is important. In CS where the cause of EAS is unable to be identified, a pelvic source should be considered and imaging of the pelvis carefully reviewed.

Open access

Adrian F Daly, Liliya Rostomyan, Daniela Betea, Jean-François Bonneville, Chiara Villa, Natalia S Pellegata, Beatrice Waser, Jean-Claude Reubi, Catherine Waeber Stephan, Emanuel Christ, and Albert Beckers

Acromegaly is a rare disease due to chronic excess growth hormone (GH) and IGF-1. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations are associated with an aggressive, inheritable form of acromegaly that responds poorly to SST2-specific somatostatin analogs (SSA). The role of pasireotide, an SSA with affinity for multiple SSTs, in patients with AIP mutations has not been reported. We studied two AIP mutation positive acromegaly patients with early-onset, invasive macroadenomas and inoperable residues after neurosurgery. Patient 1 came from a FIPA kindred and had uncontrolled GH/IGF-1 throughout 10 years of octreotide/lanreotide treatment. When switched to pasireotide LAR, he rapidly experienced hormonal control which was associated with marked regression of his tumor residue. Pasireotide LAR was stopped after >10 years due to low IGF-1 and he maintained hormonal control without tumor regrowth for >18 months off pasireotide LAR. Patient 2 had a pituitary adenoma diagnosed when aged 17 that was not cured by surgery. Chronic pasireotide LAR therapy produced hormonal control and marked tumor shrinkage but control was lost when switched to octreotide. Tumor immunohistochemistry showed absent AIP and SST2 staining and positive SST5. Her AIP mutation positive sister developed a 2.5 cm follicular thyroid carcinoma aged 21 with tumoral loss of heterozygosity at the AIP locus and absent AIP staining. Patients 1 and 2 required multi-modal therapy to control diabetes. On stopping pasireotide LAR after >10 years of treatment, Patient 1’s glucose metabolism returned to baseline levels. Long-term pasireotide LAR therapy can be beneficial in some AIP mutation positive acromegaly patients that are resistant to first-generation SSA.

Open access

Ayako Sato, Katsuya Matsuda, Takahiro Motoyama, Zhanna Mussazhanova, Ryota Otsubo, Hisayoshi Kondo, Yuko Akazawa, Miyoko Higuchi, Ayana Suzuki, Mitsuyoshi Hirokawa, Akira Miyauchi, Takeshi Nagayasu, and Masahiro Nakashima

We have previously reported that the expression of p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) in nuclear foci (NF), a marker reflecting DNA damage response (DDR), detected using immunofluorescence (IF) is useful to estimate the malignant potency of diverse cancers. In this prospective study, we clarified the impact of 53BP1 expression via IF as a biomarker to differentiate thyroid follicular tumors (FTs) with liquid-based cytology (LBC). A total of 183 consecutively obtained-LBC samples, which were preoperatively suspected as FTs, were analyzed. Before histological diagnosis, the type of 53BP1 immunoreactivity in LBC was classified as follows: low DDR type, one or two NF; high DDR type, three or more NF; large foci type, larger than 1.0 μm; abnormal type, intense nuclear staining. Among the 183 cases, 136 cases were postoperatively diagnosed as FTs, including adenomatous goiter (AG, n = 30), follicular adenoma (FA, n = 60), FT-uncertain malignant potency (FT-UMP, n = 18), and follicular carcinoma (FC, n = 28), and 47 cases were diagnosed as tumors other than FTs or technically inadequate materials. Total 136 FT cases were collated with the type of 53BP1 immunoreactivity in LBC. The mean incidence expressing abnormal 53BP1 expression was significantly higher in FC than FA (9.5% vs 2.6%, P-value < 0.001). When adopting 4.3% as a cut-off value to distinguish FC from FA, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 89.3, 83.3, 71.4, and 94.3%, respectively. Therefore, IF analysis of 53BP1 expression can be employed as a novel technique to diagnose FTs and to distinguish between different types of FTs using LBC.

Open access

E M Winter, A Ireland, N C Butterfield, M Haffner-Luntzer, M-N Horcajada, A G Veldhuis-Vlug, L Oei, G Colaianni, and N Bonnet

In this review we discuss skeletal adaptations to the demanding situation of pregnancy and lactation. Calcium demands are increased during pregnancy and lactation, and this is effectuated by a complex series of hormonal changes. The changes in bone structure at the tissue and whole bone level observed during pregnancy and lactation appear to largely recover over time. The magnitude of the changes observed during lactation may relate to the volume and duration of breastfeeding and return to regular menses. Studies examining long-term consequences of pregnancy and lactation suggest that there are small, site-specific benefits to bone density and that bone geometry may also be affected. Pregnancy- and lactation-induced osteoporosis (PLO) is a rare disease for which the pathophysiological mechanism is as yet incompletely known; here, we discuss and speculate on the possible roles of genetics, oxytocin, sympathetic tone and bone marrow fat. Finally, we discuss fracture healing during pregnancy and lactation and the effects of estrogen on this process.

Open access

Tiemo S Gerber, Arno Schad, Nils Hartmann, Erik Springer, Ulrich Zechner, and Thomas J Musholt

Poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma (PDTC) is a rare malignancy with higher mortality than well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma. The histological diagnosis can be difficult as well as the therapy. Improved diagnosis and new targeted therapies require knowledge of DNA sequence changes in cancer-relevant genes. The TruSeq Amplicon Cancer Panel was used to screen cancer genomes from 25 PDTC patients for somatic single-nucleotide variants in 48 genes known to represent mutational hotspots. A total of 4490 variants were found in 23 tissue samples of PDTC. Ninety-eight percent (4392) of these variants did not meet the inclusion criteria, while 98 potentially pathogenic or pathogenic variants remained after filtering. These variants were distributed over 33 genes and were all present in a heterozygous state. Five tissue samples harboured not a single variant. Predominantly, variants in P53 (43% of tissue samples) were identified, while less frequently, variants in APC, ERBB4, FLT3, KIT, SMAD4 and BRAF (each in 17% of tissue samples) as well as ATM, EGFR and FBXW7 (each in 13% of tissue samples) were observed. This study identified new potential genetic targets for further research in PDTC. Of particular interest are four observed ERBB4 (alias HER4) variants, which have not been connected to this type of thyroid carcinoma so far. In addition, APC and SMAD4 mutations have not been reported in this subtype of cancer either. In contrast to other reports, we did not find CTNNB1 variants.