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Open access

Izabelle Lövgren, Azadeh Abravan, Abigail Bryce-Atkinson, and Marcel van Herk

Brain tumours make up nearly one-third of paediatric malignancies. Over time, advancements in oncological treatments like radiotherapy have helped reduce normal-tissue toxicity when treating cancers in the brain. However, clinicians are still facing a trade-off between treatment efficacy and potential side effects. The aim of this review is to address the late effects of cranial irradiation on the neuroendocrine system and to identify factors that make patients more vulnerable to radiation-induced endocrine sequelae. Radiation damage to the hypothalamic–pituitary axis, which orchestrates hormone release, can lead to endocrinopathy; up to 48.8% of children who have undergone cranial irradiation develop a hormone deficiency. This may lead to further health complications that can appear up to decades after the last treatment, lowering the patients’ quality of life and increasing long-term costs as lifelong hormone replacement therapy may be required. Growth hormone deficiency is the most common sequelae, followed by either thyroid or gonadotropic hormone deficiency. Adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency tends to be the least common. Identified factors that increase the risk of late endocrine deficiency include total radiation dose, age at treatment, and time since last treatment. However, as there are various other factors that may potentiate the damage, a universal solution proven to be most effective in sparing the endocrine tissues is yet to be identified. Until then, accounting for the identified risk factors during treatment planning may in some cases help reduce the development of endocrine sequelae in childhood cancer survivors.

Open access

J Gebauer, R Skinner, R Haupt, L Kremer, H van der Pal, G Michel, G T Armstrong, M M Hudson, L Hjorth, H Lehnert, and T Langer

Many long-term childhood cancer survivors suffer from treatment-related late effects, which may occur in any organ and include a wide spectrum of conditions. Long-term follow-up (LTFU) is recommended to facilitate early diagnosis and to ensure better health outcomes. Due to the heterogeneity of these sequelae, different specialists work together in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Experts from both pediatric and internal medicine are involved in age-appropriate care by providing a transition process. Hence, LTFU of childhood cancer survivors is a prototypic example of multidisciplinary care for patients with complex needs treated in a specialized setting. International collaborations of healthcare professionals and scientists involved in LTFU of childhood cancer survivors, such as the International Guideline Harmonization Group, compile surveillance recommendations that can be clinically adopted all over the world. These global networks of clinicians and researchers make a joint effort to address gaps in knowledge, increase visibility and awareness of cancer survivorship and provide an excellent example of how progress in clinical care and scientific research may be achieved by international and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Open access

Ghazala Zaidi, Vijayalakshmi Bhatia, Saroj K Sahoo, Aditya Narayan Sarangi, Niharika Bharti, Li Zhang, Liping Yu, Daniel Eriksson, Sophie Bensing, Olle Kämpe, Nisha Bharani, Surendra Kumar Yachha, Anil Bhansali, Alok Sachan, Vandana Jain, Nalini Shah, Rakesh Aggarwal, Amita Aggarwal, Muthuswamy Srinivasan, Sarita Agarwal, and Eesh Bhatia

Objective

Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS1) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by progressive organ-specific autoimmunity. There is scant information on APS1 in ethnic groups other than European Caucasians. We studied clinical aspects and autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene mutations in a cohort of Indian APS1 patients.

Design

Twenty-three patients (19 families) from six referral centres in India, diagnosed between 1996 and 2016, were followed for [median (range)] 4 (0.2–19) years.

Methods

Clinical features, mortality, organ-specific autoantibodies and AIRE gene mutations were studied.

Results

Patients varied widely in their age of presentation [3.5 (0.1–17) years] and number of clinical manifestations [5 (2–11)]. Despite genetic heterogeneity, the frequencies of the major APS1 components (mucocutaneous candidiasis: 96%; hypoparathyroidism: 91%; primary adrenal insufficiency: 55%) were similar to reports in European series. In contrast, primary hypothyroidism (23%) occurred more frequently and at an early age, while kerato-conjunctivitis, urticarial rash and autoimmune hepatitis were uncommon (9% each). Six (26%) patients died at a young age [5.8 (3–23) years] due to septicaemia, hepatic failure and adrenal/hypocalcaemic crisis from non-compliance/unexplained cause. Interferon-α and/or interleukin-22 antibodies were elevated in all 19 patients tested, including an asymptomatic infant. Eleven AIRE mutations were detected, the most common being p.C322fsX372 (haplotype frequency 37%). Four mutations were novel, while six others were previously described in European Caucasians.

Conclusions

Indian APS1 patients exhibited considerable genetic heterogeneity and had highly variable clinical features. While the frequency of major manifestations was similar to that of European Caucasians, other features showed significant differences. A high mortality at a young age was observed.

Open access

Elinor Chelsom Vogt, Francisco Gómez Real, Eystein Sverre Husebye, Sigridur Björnsdottir, Bryndis Benediktsdottir, Randi Jacobsen Bertelsen, Pascal Demoly, Karl Anders Franklin, Leire Sainz de Aja Gallastegui, Francisco Javier Callejas González, Joachim Heinrich, Mathias Holm, Nils Oscar Jogi, Benedicte Leynaert, Eva Lindberg, Andrei Malinovschi, Jesús Martínez-Moratalla, Raúl Godoy Mayoral, Anna Oudin, Antonio Pereira-Vega, Chantal Raherison Semjen, Vivi Schlünssen, Kai Triebner, and Marianne Øksnes

Objective

To investigate markers of premature menopause (<40 years) and specifically the prevalence of autoimmune primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) in European women.

Design

Postmenopausal women were categorized according to age at menopause and self-reported reason for menopause in a cross-sectional analysis of 6870 women.

Methods

Variables associated with the timing of menopause and hormone measurements of 17β-estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were explored using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Specific immunoprecipitating assays of steroidogenic autoantibodies against 21-hydroxylase (21-OH), side-chain cleavage enzyme (anti-SCC) and 17alpha-hydroxylase (17 OH), as well as NACHT leucine-rich-repeat protein 5 were used to identify women with likely autoimmune POI.

Results

Premature menopause was identified in 2.8% of women, and these women had higher frequencies of nulliparity (37.4% vs 19.7%), obesity (28.7% vs 21.4%), osteoporosis (17.1% vs 11.6%), hormone replacement therapy (59.1% vs 36.9%) and never smokers (60.1% vs 50.9%) (P < 0.05), compared to women with menopause ≥40 years. Iatrogenic causes were found in 91 (47%) and non-ovarian causes in 27 (14%) women, while 77 (39%) women were classified as POI of unknown cause, resulting in a 1.1% prevalence of idiopathic POI. After adjustments nulliparity was the only variable significantly associated with POI (odds ratio 2.46; 95% CI 1.63–3.42). Based on the presence of autoantibodies against 21 OH and SCC, 4.5% of POI cases were of likely autoimmune origin.

Conclusion

Idiopathic POI affects 1.1% of all women and almost half of the women with premature menopause. Autoimmunity explains 4.5% of these cases judged by positive steroidogenic autoantibodies.

Open access

Lia Ferreira, João Silva, Susana Garrido, Carlos Bello, Diana Oliveira, Hélder Simões, Isabel Paiva, Joana Guimarães, Marta Ferreira, Teresa Pereira, Rita Bettencourt-Silva, Ana Filipa Martins, Tiago Silva, Vera Fernandes, Maria Lopes Pereira, and Adrenal Tumors Study Group of the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology

Introduction

Primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) is a rare but severe and potentially life-threatening condition. No previous studies have characterized Portuguese patients with PAI.

Aims

To characterize the clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, treatment and follow‐up of Portuguese patients with confirmed PAI.

Methods

This multicentre retrospective study examined PAI patients in 12 Portuguese hospitals.

Results

We investigated 278 patients with PAI (55.8% were females), with a mean age of 33.6 ± 19.3 years at diagnosis. The most frequent presenting clinical features were asthenia (60.1%), mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation (55.0%) and weight loss (43.2%); 29.1% of the patients presented with adrenal crisis. Diagnosis was established by high plasma ACTH and low serum cortisol in most patients (43.9%). The most common aetiology of PAI was autoimmune adrenalitis (61.0%). There were 38 idiopathic cases. Autoimmune comorbidities were found in 70% of the patients, the most frequent being autoimmune thyroiditis (60.7%) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (17.3%). Seventy-nine percent were treated with hydrocortisone (mean dose 26.3 ± 8.3 mg/day) mostly in three (57.5%) or two (37.4%) daily doses. The remaining patients were treated with prednisolone (10.1%), dexamethasone (6.2%) and methylprednisolone (0.7%); 66.2% were also on fludrocortisone (median dose of 100 µg/day). Since diagnosis, 33.5% of patients were hospitalized for disease decompensation. In the last appointment, 17.2% of patients had complaints (7.6% asthenia and 6.5% depression) and 9.7% had electrolyte disturbances.

Conclusion

This is the first multicentre Portuguese study regarding PAI. The results emphasize the need for standardization in diagnostic tests and etiological investigation and provide a framework for improving treatment.

Open access

Sriharsha Gunna, Mahaveer Singh, Rakesh Pandey, Rungmei S K Marak, Amita Aggarwal, Bibhuti Mohanta, Liping Yu, and Eesh Bhatia

The etiology, presentation and mortality of patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) in developing countries may differ from economically developed nations. However, information in this regard is scanty. The aim of this study was to determine the etiology and compare the clinical characteristics and mortality in infectious and autoimmune causes of PAI in Indian patients. All eligible (n = 89) patients (ages 15–83 years) diagnosed with PAI between 2006 and 2019 were studied. Patients were followed for a median duration of 5.9 (range 0.1–15.7) years. Eighty-six subjects underwent an abdominal computerized tomography scan or ultrasonography, and adrenal biopsy was performed in 60 patients. The most frequent etiologies of PAI were adrenal histoplasmosis (AH, 45%), adrenal tuberculosis (AT, 15%), autoimmunity (AI, 25%) and primary lymphoma (6%). Forty-two percent of patients presented with an acute adrenal crisis. AH and AT could not be differentiated on the basis of clinical features, except for a greater frequency of hepatomegaly–splenomegaly and type 2 diabetes mellitus (63% vs 15%, P < 0.01) in the former. Patients with an autoimmune etiology had a higher frequency of 21-hydroxylase antibodies (41% vs 3%) and autoimmune thyroid disease (46% vs 5%) vs those with infectious etiologies. Mortality was significantly higher in AH (45%) compared with AT (8%) or AI (5%) (P = 0.001). Causes of death included adrenal crises, progressive AH and unexplained acute events occurring at home. In conclusion, infections, especially AH, were the most frequent cause of PAI in north India. Despite appropriate therapy, AH had very high mortality as compared with AT and AI.

Open access

Hauke Thomsen, Xinjun Li, Kristina Sundquist, Jan Sundquist, Asta Försti, and Kari Hemminki

Design

Addison’s disease (AD) is a rare autoimmune disease (AID) of the adrenal cortex, present as an isolated AD or part of autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes (APSs) 1 and 2. Although AD patients present with a number of AID co-morbidities, population-based family studies are scarce, and we aimed to carry out an unbiased study on AD and related AIDs.

Methods

We collected data on patients diagnosed with AIDs in Swedish hospitals and calculated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) in families for concordant AD and for other AIDs, the latter as discordant relative risks.

Results

The number of AD patients was 2852, which accounted for 0.4% of all hospitalized AIDs. A total of 62 persons (3.6%) were diagnosed with familial AD. The SIR for siblings was remarkably high, reaching 909 for singleton siblings diagnosed before age 10 years. It was 32 in those diagnosed past age 29 years and the risk for twins was 323. SIR was 9.44 for offspring of affected parents. AD was associated with 11 other AIDs, including thyroid AIDs and type 1 diabetes and some rarer AIDs such as Guillain–Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, polymyalgia rheumatica and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Conclusions

The familial risk for AD was very high implicating genetic etiology, which for juvenile siblings may be ascribed to APS-1. The adult part of sibling risk was probably contributed by recessive polygenic inheritance. AD was associated with many common AIDs; some of these were known co-morbidities in AD patients while some other appeared to more specific for a familial setting.

Open access

John E M Midgley, Rolf Larisch, Johannes W Dietrich, and Rudolf Hoermann

Several influences modulate biochemical responses to a weight-adjusted levothyroxine (l-T4) replacement dose. We conducted a secondary analysis of the relationship of l-T4 dose to TSH and free T3 (FT3), using a prospective observational study examining the interacting equilibria between thyroid parameters. We studied 353 patients on steady-state l-T4 replacement for autoimmune thyroiditis or after surgery for malignant or benign thyroid disease. Peripheral deiodinase activity was calculated as a measure of T4–T3 conversion efficiency. In euthyroid subjects, the median l-T4 dose was 1.3 μg/kg per day (interquartile range (IQR) 0.94,1.60). The dose was independently associated with gender, age, aetiology and deiodinase activity (all P<0.001). Comparable FT3 levels required higher l-T4 doses in the carcinoma group (n=143), even after adjusting for different TSH levels. Euthyroid athyreotic thyroid carcinoma patients (n=50) received 1.57 μg/kg per day l-T4 (IQR 1.40, 1.69), compared to 1.19 μg/kg per day (0.85,1.47) in autoimmune thyroiditis (P<0.01, n=76) and 1.08 μg/kg per day (0.82, 1.44) in patients operated on for benign disease (P< 0.01, n=80). Stratifying patients by deiodinase activity categories of <23, 23–29 and >29 nmol/s revealed an increasing FT3–FT4 dissociation; the poorest converters showed the lowest FT3 levels in spite of the highest dose and circulating FT4 (P<0.001). An l-T4-related FT3–TSH disjoint was also apparent; some patients with fully suppressed TSH failed to raise FT3 above the median level. These findings imply that thyroid hormone conversion efficiency is an important modulator of the biochemical response to l-T4; FT3 measurement may be an additional treatment target; and l-T4 dose escalation may have limited success to raise FT3 appropriately in some cases.

Open access

Mírian Romitti, Vitor C Fabris, Patricia K Ziegelmann, Ana Luiza Maia, and Poli Mara Spritzer

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most prevalent endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. PCOS has been associated with distinct metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and with autoimmune conditions, predominantly autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). AITD has been reported in 18–40% of PCOS women, depending on PCOS diagnostic criteria and ethnicity. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the available evidence regarding the likelihood of women with PCOS also having AITD in comparison to a reference group of non-PCOS women. We systematically searched EMBASE and MEDLINE for non-interventional case control, cross-sectional or cohort studies published until August 2017. The Ottawa–Newcastle Scale was used to assess the methodological quality of studies. Statistical meta-analysis was performed with R. Thirteen studies were selected for the present analysis, including 1210 women diagnosed with PCOS and 987 healthy controls. AITD was observed in 26.03 and 9.72% of PCOS and control groups respectively. A significant association was detected between PCOS and chance of AITD (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.32–4.63). Notably, after geographical stratification, the higher risk of AITD in PCOS women persisted for Asians (OR = 4.56, 95% CI 2.47–8.43), Europeans (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.07–5.15) and South Americans (OR = 1.86, 95% CI 1.05–3.29). AIDT is a frequent condition in PCOS patients and might affect thyroid function. Thus, screening for thyroid function and thyroid-specific autoantibodies should be considered in patients with PCOS even in the absence of overt symptoms. This systematic review and meta-analysis is registered in PROSPERO under number CRD42017079676.

Open access

Elin Kahlert, Martina Blaschke, Knut Brockmann, Clemens Freiberg, Onno E Janssen, Nikolaus Stahnke, Domenika Strik, Martin Merkel, Alexander Mann, Klaus-Peter Liesenkötter, and Heide Siggelkow

Objective

Turner syndrome (TS) is characterized by the complete or partial loss of the second sex chromosome and associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. We aimed to assess the medical care of adult patients with TS in Germany.

Design

Retrospective multicenter observational study.

Methods

Data were collected from medical records of 258 women with TS treated between 2001 and 2017 in five non-university endocrinologic centers in Germany.

Results

Mean age was 29.8 ± 11.6 years, mean height 152 ± 7.7 cm, and mean BMI 26.6 ± 6.3 kg/m2. The karyotype was known in 50% of patients. Information on cholesterol state, liver enzymes, and thyroid status was available in 81–98% of women with TS; autoimmune thyroiditis was diagnosed in 37%. Echocardiography was performed in 42% and cardiac MRI in 8.5%, resulting in a diagnosis of cardiovascular disorder in 28%. Data on growth hormone therapy were available for 40 patients (15%) and data concerning menarche in 157 patients (61%).

Conclusion

In 258 women with TS, retrospective analysis of healthcare data indicated that medical management was focused on endocrine manifestations. Further significant clinical features including cardiovascular disease, renal malformation, liver involvement, autoimmune diseases, hearing loss, and osteoporosis were only marginally if at all considered. Based on this evaluation and in accordance with recent guidelines, we compiled a documentation form facilitating the transition from pediatric to adult care and further medical management of TS patients. The foundation of Turner Centers in March 2019 will improve the treatment of TS women in Germany.