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Open access

Sandeep Kumar, Anurag Ranjan Lila, Saba Samad Memon, Vijaya Sarathi, Virendra A Patil, Santosh Menon, Neha Mittal, Gagan Prakash, Gaurav Malhotra, Nalini S Shah, and Tushar R Bandgar

Risk of metastatic disease in the cluster 2-related pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL) is low. In MEN2 patients, identification of origin of metastases from pheochromocytoma (PCC) or medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is challenging as both are of neuroendocrine origin. We aim to describe our experience and perform a systematic review to assess prevalence, demographics, biochemistry, diagnostic evaluation, management, and predictors of cluster 2-related metastatic PPGL. Retrospective analysis of 3 cases from our cohort and 43 cases from world literature was done. For calculation of prevalence, all reported patients (n = 3063) of cluster 2 were included. We found that the risk of metastasis in cluster 2-related PPGL was 2.6% (2% in RET, 5% in NF1, 4.8% in TMEM127 and 16.7% in MAX variation). In metastatic PCC in MEN2, median age was 39 years, bilateral tumors were present in 71% and median tumor size was 9.7 cm (range 4–19) with 43.5% mortality. All patients had a primary tumor size ≥4 cm. Origin of primary tumor was diagnosed by histopathology of metastatic lesion in 11 (57.9%), 131I-MIBG scan in 6 (31.6%), and selective venous sampling and CT in 1 (5.3%) patient each. In subgroup of neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1), median age was 46 years (range 14–59) with median tumor size 6 cm and 57% mortality. To conclude, the risk of metastatic disease in cluster 2-related PPGL is low, being especially high in tumors with size ≥4 cm and associated with high mortality. One-third patients of NF1 with metastatic PPGL had presented in second decade of life. Long-term studies are needed to formulate management recommendations.

Open access

Cristina Lamas, Elena Navarro, Anna Casterás, Paloma Portillo, Victoria Alcázar, María Calatayud, Cristina Álvarez-Escolá, Julia Sastre, Evangelina Boix, Lluis Forga, Almudena Vicente, Josep Oriola, Jordi Mesa, and Nuria Valdés

Primary hyperparathyroidism is the most frequent manifestation of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome. Bone and renal complications are common. Surgery is the treatment of choice, but the best timing for surgery is controversial and predictors of persistence and recurrence are not well known. Our study describes the clinical characteristics and the surgical outcomes, after surgery and in the long term, of the patients with MEN1 and primary hyperparathyroidism included in the Spanish Registry of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas (REGMEN). Eighty-nine patients (49 men and 40 women, 34.2 ± 13 years old) were included. Sixty-four out of the 89 underwent surgery: a total parathyroidectomy was done in 13 patients, a subtotal parathyroidectomy in 34 and a less than subtotal parathyroidectomy in 15. Remission rates were higher after a total or a subtotal parathyroidectomy than after a less than subtotal (3/4 and 20/22 vs 7/12, P < 0.05), without significant differences in permanent hypoparathyroidism (1/5, 9/23 and 0/11, N.S.). After a median follow-up of 111 months, 20 of the 41 operated patients with long-term follow-up had persistent or recurrent hyperparathyroidism. We did not find differences in disease-free survival rates between different techniques, patients with or without permanent hypoparathyroidism and patients with different mutated exons, but a second surgery was more frequent after a less than subtotal parathyroidectomy.

Open access

Katherine Van Loon, Li Zhang, Jennifer Keiser, Cendy Carrasco, Katherine Glass, Maria-Teresa Ramirez, Sarah Bobiak, Eric K Nakakura, Alan P Venook, Manisha H Shah, and Emily K Bergsland

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) metastasize to bone; however, a multi-institution evaluation of the natural history and complications of bone metastases across multiple NET subtypes has not, to our knowledge, previously been conducted. At two tertiary academic centers, we identified patients with bone metastases from databases of patients with a diagnosis of NET between 2004 and 2008. Detection of bone metastases, occurrence of skeletal-related events (SREs), and interventions were analyzed using summary statistics and categorical methods. Time-to-event data were assessed using Kaplan–Meier estimates and log-rank tests. Between 2004 and 2008, 82 out of 691 NET patients (12%) were reported to have bone metastases. Of the 82 patients with bone metastases, 55% were men and their median age was 49. Bone metastases occurred in 25% of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, 20% of high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas, 9% of carcinoid tumors, and 8% of pancreatic NETs. At time of detection of bone metastases, 60% reported symptoms, including pain; 10% developed cord compression, 9% suffered a pathological fracture, and 4% developed hypercalcemia. Occurrence of SREs did not differ significantly with regard to tumor histology. Of patients with bone metastases, 67 (82%) received at least one form of bone-directed treatment, 50% received radiation, 45% received a bisphosphonate, 18% underwent surgery, 11% received 131I-MIBG, 5% received denosumab, and 46% were treated with more than one treatment modality. Bone metastases occur in a substantial number of patients diagnosed with NETs. Patients are often symptomatic and many develop SREs. Given the recent therapeutic advances and increasing life expectancy of patients with NETs, development of guidelines for surveillance and clinical care of bone metastases from NETs is needed.

Open access

Henrik Falhammar, Magnus Kjellman, and Jan Calissendorff

Background

With the increasing access to imaging more pheochromocytomas are diagnosed in the workup of adrenal incidentalomas. This may have changed the occurrence of the classic presentation with hypertension and the classic triad (headaches, sweating and palpitation).

Methods

We reviewed 94 consecutive cases of pheochromocytomas. Two cases of ectopic ACTH-syndrome were subsequently excluded.

Results

Of the 92 cases included 64% had presented as an incidentaloma, 32% as a suspected pheochromocytoma and 4% had been screened because of previously diagnosed MEN2A. Those screened were youngest while those with incidentalomas were oldest. The females were more common in the incidentaloma and the screening groups, and males in the suspected pheochromocytoma group. Measurements of noradrenaline/normetanephrine levels were highest in the suspected pheocromocytoma group and lowest in the screening group. Hypertension was present in 63% of the incidentalomas, 79% of suspected pheochromocytomas and in none of the screening group. Paroxysmal symptoms were present in almost all with suspected pheochromocytoma while only in half of the other groups. The suspected pheocromocytoma group had most symptoms and the screening group least. The classic triad was present in 14% of the incidentalomas, in 28% of the suspected and in none of the screening group, while no symptoms at all was present in 12%, 0% and 25%, respectively. Pheochromocytoma crisis occurred in 5%. There was a positive correlation between tumor size vs hormone levels, and catecholamine levels vs blood pressure.

Conclusion

Clinicians need to be aware of the modern presentation of pheochromocytomas since early identification can be life-saving.

Open access

Anastasia P Athanasoulia-Kaspar, Kathrin H Popp, and Gunter Karl Stalla

The dopaminergic treatment represents the primary treatment in prolactinomas, which are the most common pituitary adenomas and account for about 40% of all pituitary tumours with an annual incidence of six to ten cases per million population. The dopaminergic treatment includes ergot and non-ergot derivatives with high affinity for the dopamine receptors D1 or/and D2. Through the activation of the dopaminergic pathway on pituitary lactotrophs, the dopamine agonists inhibit the prolactin synthesis and secretion, therefore normalizing the prolactin levels and restoring eugonadism, but they also lead to tumour shrinkage. Treatment with dopamine agonists has been associated – apart from the common side effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness and hypotension – with neuropsychiatric side effects such as impulse control disorders (e.g. pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, hypersexuality and binge eating) and also with behavioral changes from low mood, irritability and verbal aggressiveness up to psychotic and manic symptoms and paranoid delusions not only in patients with prolactinomas but also in patients with Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome. They usually have de novo onset after initiation of the dopaminergic treatment and have been mainly reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who are being treated with higher doses of dopamine agonists. Moreover, dopamine and prolactin seem to play an essential role in the metabolic pathway. Patients with hyperprolactinemia tend to have increased body weight and an altered metabolic profile with hyperinsulinemia and increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus in comparison to healthy individuals and patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas. Treatment with dopamine agonists in these patients in short-term studies seems to lead to weight loss and amelioration of the metabolic changes. Together these observations provide evidence that dopamine and prolactin have a crucial role both in the regard and metabolic system, findings that merit further investigation in long-term studies.

Open access

Serena Martinelli, Mario Maggi, and Elena Rapizzi

Pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare neuroendocrine tumours linked to more than 15 susceptibility genes. PPGLs present with very different genotype/phenotype correlations. Certainly, depending on the mutated gene, and the activated intracellular signalling pathways, as well as their metastatic potential, each tumour is immensely different. One of the major challenges in in vitro research, whatever the study field, is to choose the best cellular model for that study. Unfortunately, most of the time there is not ‘a best’ cell model. Thus, in order to avoid observations that could be related to and/or dependent on a specific cell line, researchers often perform the same experiments using different cell lines simultaneously. The situation is even more complicated when there are only very few cell models obtained in different species for a disease. This is the case for PPGLs. In this review, we will describe the characteristics of the different cell lines and of mouse models, trying to understand if there is one that is more appropriate to use, depending on which aspect of the tumours one is trying to investigate.

Open access

Natalie Rogowski-Lehmann, Aikaterini Geroula, Aleksander Prejbisz, Henri J L M Timmers, Felix Megerle, Mercedes Robledo, Martin Fassnacht, Stephanie M J Fliedner, Martin Reincke, Anthony Stell, Andrzej Januszewicz, Jacques W M Lenders, Graeme Eisenhofer, and Felix Beuschlein

Background

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare but potentially harmful tumors that can vary in their clinical presentation. Tumors may be found due to signs and symptoms, as part of a hereditary syndrome or following an imaging procedure.

Objective

To investigate potential differences in clinical presentation between PPGLs discovered by imaging (iPPGLs), symptomatic cases (sPPGLs) and those diagnosed during follow-up because of earlier disease/known hereditary mutations (fPPGL).

Design

Prospective study protocol, which has enrolled patients from six European centers with confirmed PPGLs. Data were analyzed from 235 patients (37 iPPGLs, 36 sPPGLs, 27% fPPGLs) and compared for tumor volume, biochemical profile, mutation status, presence of metastases and self-reported symptoms. iPPGL patients were diagnosed at a significantly higher age than fPPGLs (P < 0.001), found to have larger tumors (P = 0.003) and higher metanephrine and normetanephrine levels at diagnosis (P = 0.021). Significantly lower than in sPPGL, there was a relevant number of self-reported symptoms in iPPGL (2.9 vs 4.3 symptoms, P < 0.001). In 16.2% of iPPGL, mutations in susceptibility genes were detected, although this proportion was lower than that in fPPGL (60.9%) and sPPGL (21.5%). Patients with PPGLs detected by imaging were older, have higher tumor volume and more excessive hormonal secretion in comparison to those found as part of a surveillance program. Presence of typical symptoms indicates that in a relevant proportion of those patients, the PPGL diagnosis had been delayed.

Précis

Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma discovered by imaging are often symptomatic and carry a significant proportion of germline mutations in susceptibility genes.

Open access

Sanjeet Kumar Jaiswal, Vijaya Sarathi, Saba Samad Memon, Robin Garg, Gaurav Malhotra, Priyanka Verma, Ravikumar Shah, Manjeet Kaur Sehemby, Virendra A Patil, Swati Jadhav, Anurag Ranjan Lila, Nalini S Shah, and Tushar R Bandgar

Introduction:

177Lu-DOTATATE-based peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is a promising therapy for metastatic and/or inoperable pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL). We aim to evaluate the efficacy and safety of and identify predictors of response to 177Lu-DOTATATE therapy in metastatic and/or inoperable PPGL.

Methods:

This retrospective study involved 15 patients of metastatic or unresectable PPGL, who received 177Lu-DOTATATE PRRT therapy. Clinical, biochemical (plasma-free normetanephrine), and radiological (anatomical and functional) responses were compared before and after the last therapy.

Results:

A total of 15 patients (4 PCC, 4 sPGL, 5 HNPGL, 1 PCC + sPGL, 1 HNPGL + sPGL) were included. The median duration of follow up was 27 (range: 11–62) months from the start of PRRT. Based on the RECIST (1.1) criteria, progressive disease was seen in three (20%), stable disease in eight (53%), partial response in one (7%), and minor response in three (20%) and controlled disease in 12 (80%). On linear regression analysis the presence of PGL (P= 0.044) and baseline SUVmax >21 (P < 0.0001) were significant positive predictors of early response to PRRT. Encouraging safety profiles were noted with no long term nephrotoxicity and hematotoxicity.

Conclusion:

177Lu-DOTATATE therapy is an effective and safe modality of treatment for patients with metastatic/inoperable PPGL. Although it is not prudent to withhold PRRT in metastatic PPGL with baseline SUVmax < 21, baseline SUVmax >21 can be used to predict early response to PRRT.

Open access

Xinlei Chen, Liru Hu, Caojie Liu, Guangcheng Ni, and Yuwei Zhang

Objective

The proportion of incidentally discovered pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) has increased over time. However, our knowledge of them is quite limited. The purpose of this retrospective study is to generalize the commonalities in incidentally discovered PPGL, offer evidence for clinical diagnosis and management.

Methods

Five hundred twenty-six patients were included in our study after filtration from the database of West China Hospital of Sichuan University between May, 2007 and December, 2016. Among the patients, 148 of them were incidental findings and 378 of them were suspected findings. All patients’ demography and tumor characteristics were recorded in detail, especially hemodynamic records and hormonal assays. The reasons for taking radiography were also collected. Most patients received preoperative medical preparation. Intraoperative and postoperative courses as well as surgical outcomes were also analyzed to identify differences between incidental findings and suspected findings.

Results

Incidentally discovered PPGL took up 28.1% of the study population. Suspected PPGLs had a higher prevalence of hypertension, lower proportion of non-functioning PPGL, higher prevalence of MEN2 and better post-surgical blood pressure recovery than incidental finding group. However, patients in the incidental finding group showed no significant difference in preoperative blood pressure and hormonal assays with suspected findings in metaphrine and normetaphrine in plasma and urine (P > 0.05).

Conclusions

Due to the development of technology, more PPGLs are discovered incidentally. Considering the tumor characteristics and surgical outcome, surgical decisions should be made more cautiously.

Open access

Nilesh Lomte, Tushar Bandgar, Shruti Khare, Swati Jadhav, Anurag Lila, Manjunath Goroshi, Rajeev Kasaliwal, Kranti Khadilkar, and Nalini S Shah

Background

Bilateral adrenal masses may have aetiologies like hyperplasia and infiltrative lesions, besides tumours. Hyperplastic and infiltrative lesions may have coexisting hypocortisolism. Bilateral tumours are likely to have hereditary/syndromic associations. The data on clinical profile of bilateral adrenal masses are limited.

Aims

To analyse clinical, biochemical and radiological features, and management outcomes in patients with bilateral adrenal masses.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of 70 patients with bilateral adrenal masses presenting to a single tertiary care endocrine centre from western India (2002–2015).

Results

The most common aetiology was pheochromocytoma (40%), followed by tuberculosis (27.1%), primary adrenal lymphoma (PAL) (10%), metastases (5.7%), non-functioning adenomas (4.3%), primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (4.3%), and others (8.6%). Age at presentation was less in patients with pheochromocytoma (33 years) and tuberculosis (41 years) compared with PAL (48 years) and metastases (61 years) (P<0.001). The presenting symptoms for pheochromocytoma were hyperadrenergic spells (54%) and abdominal pain (29%), whereas tuberculosis presented with adrenal insufficiency (AI) (95%). The presenting symptoms for PAL were AI (57%) and abdominal pain (43%), whereas all cases of metastasis had abdominal pain. Mean size of adrenal masses was the largest in lymphoma (5.5cm) followed by pheochromocytoma (4.8cm), metastasis (4cm) and tuberculosis (2.1cm) (P<0.001). Biochemically, most patients with pheochromocytoma (92.8%) had catecholamine excess. Hypocortisolism was common in tuberculosis (100%) and PAL (71.4%) and absent with metastases (P<0.001).

Conclusion

In evaluation of bilateral adrenal masses, age at presentation, presenting symptoms, lesion size, and biochemical features are helpful in delineating varied underlying aetiologies.