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A Luger, L H A Broersen, N R Biermasz, B M K Biller, M Buchfelder, P Chanson, J O L Jorgensen, F Kelestimur, S Llahana, D Maiter, G Mintziori, F Petraglia, R Verkauskiene, S M Webb, and O M Dekkers

Pregnancies are rare in women with pituitary adenomas, which may relate to hormone excess from secretory subtypes such as prolactinomas or corticotroph adenomas. Decreased fertility may also result from pituitary hormone deficiencies due to compression of the gland by large tumours and/or surgical or radiation treatment of the lesion. Counselling premenopausal women with pituitary adenomas about their chance of conceiving spontaneously or with assisted reproductive technology, and the optimal pre-conception treatment, should start at the time of initial diagnosis. The normal physiological changes during pregnancy need to be considered when interpreting endocrine tests in women with pituitary adenomas. Dose adjustments in hormone substitution therapies may be needed across the trimesters. When medical therapy is used for pituitary hormone excess, consideration should be given to the known efficacy and safety data specific to pregnant women for each therapeutic option. In healthy women, pituitary gland size increases during pregnancy. Since some pituitary adenomas also enlarge during pregnancy, there is a risk of visual impairment, especially in women with macroadenomas or tumours near the optic chiasm. Pituitary apoplexy represents a rare acute complication of adenomas requiring surveillance, with surgical intervention needed in some cases. This guideline describes the choice and timing of diagnostic tests and treatments from the pre-conception stage until after delivery, taking into account adenoma size, location and endocrine activity. In most cases, pregnant women with pituitary adenomas should be managed by a multidisciplinary team in a centre specialised in the treatment of such tumours.

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Mathis Grossmann and Thomas Hugh Jones

Clinicians commonly encounter middle-aged and older men who present with functional hypogonadism, that is, with clinical features compatible with androgen deficiency and lowered serum testosterone, but without evidence of organic hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis pathology. Whether, and when, testosterone therapy should be offered to such men remains uncertain and controversial, in part due to the lack of definitive evidence regarding long-term patient-important health outcomes with testosterone treatment. In this debate, we address this controversy and provide two opposing points of view on the role of testosterone treatment in older men with functional hypogonadism.

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Evert F S van Velsen, Robin P Peeters, Merel T Stegenga, Folkert J van Kemenade, Tessa M van Ginhoven, Frederik A Verburg, and W Edward Visser

Objective

Recent research suggests that the addition of age improves the 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA) Risk Stratification System for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The aim of our study was to investigate the influence of age on disease outcome in ATA-high risk patients with a focus on differences between patients with papillary (PTC) and follicular thyroid cancer (FTC).

Methods

We retrospectively studied adult patients with high-risk DTC from a Dutch University hospital. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the effects of age (at diagnosis) and several age cutoffs (per 5 years increment between 20 and 80 years) on (i) response to therapy, (ii) developing no evidence of disease (NED), (iii) recurrence, and (iv) disease-specific mortality (DSM).

Results

We included 236 ATA high-risk patients (32% FTC) with a median follow-up of 6 years. Age, either continuously or dichotomously, had a significant influence on having an excellent response after initial therapy, developing NED, recurrence, and DSM for PTC and FTC. For FTC, an age cutoff of 65 or 70 years showed the best statistical model performance, while this was 50 or 60 years for PTC.

Conclusions

In a population of patients with high-risk DTC, older age has a significant negative influence on disease outcomes. Slightly different optimal age cutoffs were identified for the different outcomes, and these cutoffs differed between PTC and FTC. Therefore, the ATA Risk Stratification System may further improve should age be incorporated as an additional risk factor.

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Alfredo Campennì, Rosaria Maddalena Ruggeri, Massimiliano Siracusa, Giulia Giacoppo, Flavia La Torre, Angiola Saccomanno, Angela Alibrandi, Gianlorenzo Dionigi, Giovanni Tuccari, Sergio Baldari, and Luca Giovanella

Aim

The risk of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) recurrence is widely evaluated according to the 2015 ATA Risk Stratification System. Topography of malignant nodules has been previously reported as an additional risk factor but is not included in the ATA system. Thus, our study aimed to evaluate the relationship between DTC topography and response to initial therapy.

Patients and methods:

We enrolled 401 low- to intermediate-risk patients with DTC who had undergone thyroidectomy and radioiodine therapy. DTC topography was recorded and compared with the response to therapy as assessed 12 months after the end of therapy.

Results

Overall, 366/401 (91.3%) patients had an excellent response to initial therapy while 22/401 (5.5%) and 13/401 (3.2%) had incomplete biochemical or structural responses, respectively. Incomplete response occurred in 10/36 (27.8%), 5/125 (4.0%), and 4/111 (3.6%) patients whose unifocal malignant nodules were located in the isthmus, right lobe, or left lobe. Incomplete response was also observed in 4/54 (7.4%) and 12/75 (16%) patients carrying multifocal cancers in one or both lobes, respectively. Patients with isthmic cancer more frequently demonstrated incomplete response compared with those who had cancer in other locations (P = 0.00). No significant relationship was found with age, gender, maximum size of malignant nodule, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, vascular invasion, and extrathyroidal extension (P = 0.78, P = 0.77, P = 0.52, P = 0.19, P = 0.73, and P = 0.26, respectively). The risk of incomplete response was about 65% higher in patients with isthmic lesions compared with other patients (odds ratio = 6.725). A log-rank test demonstrated that disease-free survival (DFS) of patients with isthmic lesions was significantly shorter than that of other patients (P = 0.02).

Conclusion

Our data show that isthmus topography of malignant thyroid nodules is a risk factor for having both persistent disease 12 months after primary treatment and reduced DFS.

Open access

Ruben Nogueiras

Obesity is a global pandemic with a large health and economic burden worldwide. Bodyweight is regulated by the ability of the CNS, and especially the hypothalamus, to orchestrate the function of peripheral organs that play a key role in metabolism. Gut hormones play a fundamental role in the regulation of energy balance, as they modulate not only feeding behavior but also energy expenditure and nutrient partitioning. This review examines the recent discoveries about hormones produced in the stomach and gut, which have been reported to regulate food intake and energy expenditure in preclinical models. Some of these hormones act on the hypothalamus to modulate thermogenesis and adiposity in a food intake-independent fashion. Finally, the association of these gut hormones to eating, energy expenditure, and weight loss after bariatric surgery in humans is discussed.

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Clara O Sailer, Bettina Winzeler, Sandrine A Urwyler, Ingeborg Schnyder, Julie Refardt, Anne Eckert, Nimmy Varghese, Martin Fassnacht, Irina Chifu, Elizabeth A Lawson, Joseph G Verbalis, Wiebke Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Objective

Oxytocin, secreted into circulation through the posterior pituitary, regulates lactation, weight, and socio-behavioral functioning. Oxytocin deficiency has been suggested in patients with hypopituitarism; however, diagnostic testing for oxytocin deficiency has not been developed. The aim of this study was to investigate known pituitary provocation tests to stimulate plasma oxytocin.

Design

Sixty-five healthy volunteers underwent either the hypertonic saline or arginine infusion test, known to stimulate copeptin, or the oral macimorelin test, known to stimulate growth hormone. Plasma oxytocin was measured before and once plasma sodium level ≥ 150 mmol/L for the hypertonic saline, after 60 min for the arginine infusion, and after 45 min for the oral macimorelin test (expected peak of copeptin and growth hormone levels, respectively). Primary outcome was a change from basal to stimulated oxytocin levels using paired t-tests.

Results

As expected, copeptin increased in response to hypertonic saline and arginine infusion (P < 0.001), and growth hormone increased to oral macimorelin (P < 0.001). Oxytocin increased in response to hypertonic saline infusion from 0.4 (0.2) to 0.6 pg/mL (0.3) (P = 0.003) but with a high variance. There was no change to arginine infusion (P = 0.4), and a trend to lower stimulated levels to oral macimorelin (P = 0.05).

Conclusion

Neither the arginine infusion nor the oral macimorelin test stimulates plasma oxytocin levels, whereas there was an increase with high variance upon hypertonic saline infusion. As a predictable rise in most participants is required for a reliable pituitary provocation test, none of the investigated pituitary provocation tests can be recommended diagnostically to identify patients with an oxytocin deficiency.

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Davide Giordano, Cecilia Botti, Simonetta Piana, Michele Zini, Andrea Frasoldati, Francesca Lusetti, Silvio Cavuto, Luisa Savoldi, Carmine Pernice, and Angelo Ghidini

Objective

Thyroid surgery may lead to postoperative complications. The aim of this paper was to determine whether the rate of postoperative hypoparathyroidism (HPT) is influenced by whether surgery is staged.

Design

Single-institution retrospective observational study.

Methods

The clinical records of 786 patients treated at the Otolaryngology Unit of the Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia between January 1990 and December 2015 were reviewed. Patients were divided into two groups according to the surgical treatment received: group TT (637 patients, 81.04%) underwent single-stage total thyroidectomy; Group cT (149 patients, 18.96%) underwent loboisthmusectomy and delayed completion total thyroidectomy. Transient and permanent HPT, assessed after 6 months of follow-up, were the primary endpoints. Risk factors of postoperative HPT were also analysed as secondary outcomes.

Results

Rates of transient HPT in group TT were higher than those observed in group cT, (P = 0.0057). Analysis of risk factors identified sex as an independent risk factor for transient HPT only for group TT (P = 0.0012) and the number of parathyroid glands remaining in situ (PGRIS) as an independent risk factor for transient and permanent HPT for group TT (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0002, respectively).

Conclusions

This study suggests that the risk of transient postoperative HPT is lower in patients that undergo completion thyroidectomy. Further independent risk factors for postoperative HPT are female sex and PGRIS score. In light of the growing use of conservative surgery for thyroid neoplasms, these findings could help to adequately plan surgery in order to reduce endocrine complications.

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Viktoria Stachanow, Uta Neumann, Oliver Blankenstein, Uwe Fuhr, Wilhelm Huisinga, Robin Michelet, Nicole Reisch, and Charlotte Kloft

Context

Prenatal dexamethasone therapy is used in female foetuses with congenital adrenal hyperplasia to suppress androgen excess and prevent virilisation of the external genitalia. The traditional dexamethasone dose of 20 µg/kg/day has been used since decades without examination in clinical trials and is thus still considered experimental.

Objective

As the traditional dexamethasone dose potentially causes adverse effects in treated mothers and foetuses, we aimed to provide a rationale of a reduced dexamethasone dose in prenatal congenital adrenal hyperplasia therapy based on a pharmacokinetics-based modelling and simulation framework.

Methods

Based on a published dexamethasone dataset, a nonlinear mixed-effects model was developed describing maternal dexamethasone pharmacokinetics. In stochastic simulations (n = 1000), a typical pregnant population (n = 124) was split into two dosing arms receiving either the traditional 20 µg/kg/day dexamethasone dose or reduced doses between 5 and 10 µg/kg/day. Target maternal dexamethasone concentrations, identified from the literature, served as a threshold to be exceeded by 90% of mothers at a steady state to ensure foetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression.

Results

A two-compartment dexamethasone pharmacokinetic model was developed and subsequently evaluated to be fit for purpose. The simulations, including a sensitivity analysis regarding the assumed foetal:maternal dexamethasone concentration ratio, resulted in 7.5 µg/kg/day to be the minimum effective dose and thus our suggested dose.

Conclusions

We conclude that the traditional dexamethasone dose is three-fold higher than needed, possibly causing harm in treated foetuses and mothers. The clinical relevance and appropriateness of our recommended dose should be tested in a prospective clinical trial.

Free access

Robin P Peeters and Juan P Brito