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Lucie Allard, Frédérique Albarel, Jérôme Bertherat, Philippe Jean Caron, Christine Cortet, Carine Courtillot, Brigitte Delemer, Christel Jublanc, Dominique Maiter, Marie Laure Nunes, Gerald Raverot, Julie Sarfati, Sylvie Salenave, Emmanuelle Corruble, Walid Choucha, and Philippe Chanson

Context

In patients treated with antipsychotics, the rare occurrence of a macroprolactinoma represents a therapeutic challenge.

Objective

Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and psychiatric safety of dopamine agonists (DAs) prescribed for large macroprolactinomas in patients with psychosis treated with antipsychotics.

Design

This was a multicenter (France and Belgium) retrospective study.

Patients

Eighteen patients treated with antipsychotics were included.

Results

Under DA, median PRL levels decreased from 1247 (117–81 132) to 42 (4–573) ng/mL (P = 0.008), from 3850 (449–38 000) to 141 (60–6000) ng/mL (P = 0.037) and from 1664 (94–9400) to 1215 (48–5640) ng/mL (P = 0.56) when given alone (n = 8), before surgery (n = 7), or after surgery (n = 6), respectively. The prolactinoma median largest diameter decreased by 28% (0–57) in patients under DAs alone (P = 0.02) but did not change when given after surgery. Optic chiasm decompression was achieved in 82% of patients. Five patients (28%) were admitted for psychotic relapse while receiving DAs (but three of them had stopped antipsychotic treatment at that time). A more severe underlying psychosis, rather than the DA treatment itself, may explain such psychiatric admissions.

Conclusion

Even if the DA efficacy on PRL levels and tumor volume in patients with macroprolactinoma under antipsychotic drugs is less impressive than that typically observed, it may be considered satisfactory for half of our patients, particularly in cases of optic chiasm compression. Psychotic exacerbation was unusual in these patients, occurring mostly in those with the most severe psychotic forms. DAs may therefore be used as antitumor treatment for macroprolactinoma in patients with visual involvement, severe headaches or invasion into the skull base who receive antipsychotics.

Free access

Ruth T Casey, Gerlof D Valk, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti, Ashley B Grossman, and Rajesh V Thakker

In viral pandemics, most specifically Covid-19, many patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs), including phaeochromocytomas, paragangliomas and medullary thyroid carcinoma, may develop Covid-19 in a mild or severe form, or be concerned about the influence of viral infection relative to their anti-tumoral therapy. In general, newly presenting patients should be assessed, and patients recently receiving chemotherapy, targeted therapy or radionuclide therapy, or showing tumour growth, should be closely followed. For previously diagnosed patients, who have indolent disease, some delay in routine follow-up or treatment may not be problematic. However, patients developing acute secretory syndromes due to functional neuroendocrine neoplasms (such as of the pancreas, intestine or lung), phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas, will require prompt treatment. Patients with life-threatening Covid-19-related symptoms should be urgently treated and long-term anti-tumoral treatments may be temporarily delayed. In patients with especially aggressive NENs, a careful judgement should be made regarding the severity of any Covid-19 illness, tumour grade, and the immunosuppressant effects of any planned chemotherapy, immunotherapy (e.g. interferon-alpha), targeted therapy or related treatment. In other cases, especially patients with completely resected NENs, or who are under surveillance for a genetic disorder, a telephone or delayed consultation may be in order, balancing the risk of a delay against that of the possible development of Covid-19.

Free access

Shakila Thangaratinam, Shamil D Cooray, Nithya Sukumar, Mohammed S B Huda, Roland Devlieger, Katrien Benhalima, Fionnuala McAuliffe, Ponnusamy Saravanan, and Helena J Teede

The COVID-19 pandemic has required rapid transformation and adaptation of healthcare services. Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are one of the largest high-risk groups accessing antenatal care. In reformulating the care offered to those with GDM, there is a need to balance the sometimes competing requirement of lowering the risk of direct viral transmission against the potential adverse impact of service changes. We suggest pragmatic options for screening of GDM in a pandemic setting based on blood tests, and risk calculators applied to underlying risk factors. Alternative models for antenatal care provision for women with GDM, including targeting high-risk groups, early lifestyle interventions and remote monitoring are provided. Testing options and their timing for postpartum screening in women who had GDM are also considered. Our suggestions are only applicable in a pandemic scenario, and usual guidelines and care pathways should be re-implemented as soon as possible and appropriate.

Free access

Neil J Gittoes, Sherwin Criseno, Natasha M Appelman-Dijkstra, Jens Bollerslev, Ernesto Canalis, Lars Rejnmark, and Zaki Hassan-Smith

Endocrinologists have had to make rapid changes to services so that resources can be focused on the COVID-19 response to help prevent spread of the virus. Herein we provide pragmatic advice on the management of commonly encountered calcium metabolic problems and osteoporosis. Non-urgent elective appointments should be postponed, and remote consultations and digital health solutions promoted. Patients should be empowered to self-manage their conditions safely. Patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers should be directed to assured national or international online resources and specific patient groups. For patients in acute hospital settings, existing emergency guidance on the management of hyper- and hypo-calcaemia should be followed. An approach to osteoporosis management is outlined. IV zoledronic acid infusions can be delayed for 6–9 months during the pandemic. Patients established on denosumab, teriparatide and abaloparatide should continue planned therapy. In the event of supply issues with teriparatide or abaloparatide, pausing this treatment in the short term is likely to be relatively harmless, whereas delaying denosumab may cause an immediate increased risk of fracture. The challenge of this pandemic will act as a catalyst to innovate within our management of metabolic bone and mineral disorders to ensure best use of resources and resilience of healthcare systems in its aftermath.

Free access

Deborah J Wake, Fraser W Gibb, Partha Kar, Brian Kennon, David C Klonoff, Gerry Rayman, Martin K Rutter, Chris Sainsbury, and Robert K Semple

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major international emergency leading to unprecedented medical, economic and societal challenges. Countries around the globe are facing challenges with diabetes care and are similarly adapting care delivery, with local cultural nuances. People with diabetes suffer disproportionately from acute COVID-19 with higher rates of serious complications and death. In-patient services need specialist support to appropriately manage glycaemia in people with known and undiagnosed diabetes presenting with COVID-19. Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, people with diabetes may suffer longer-term harm caused by inadequate clinical support and less frequent monitoring of their condition and diabetes-related complications. Outpatient management need to be reorganised to maintain remote advice and support services, focusing on proactive care for the highest risk, and using telehealth and digital services for consultations, self-management and remote monitoring, where appropriate. Stratification of patients for face-to-face or remote follow-up should be based on a balanced risk assessment. Public health and national organisations have generally responded rapidly with guidance on care management, but the pandemic has created a tension around prioritisation of communicable vs non-communicable disease. Resulting challenges in clinical decision-making are compounded by a reduced clinical workforce. For many years, increasing diabetes mellitus incidence has been mirrored by rising preventable morbidity and mortality due to complications, yet innovation in service delivery has been slow. While the current focus is on limiting the terrible harm caused by the pandemic, it is possible that a positive lasting legacy of COVID-19 might include accelerated innovation in chronic disease management.

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Stefan M Constantinescu, Natacha Driessens, Aurélie Lefebvre, Raluca M Furnica, Bernard Corvilain, and Dominique Maiter

Introduction

Intravenous etomidate infusion is effective to rapidly lower cortisol levels in severe Cushing’s syndrome (CS) in the intensive care unit (ICU). Recently, etomidate treatment has also been proposed at lower doses in non-ICU wards, but it is not yet clear how this approach compares to ICU treatment.

Methods

We compared data from patients with severe CS treated with high starting doses of etomidate (median: 0.30 mg/kg BW/day) in ICU or with lower starting doses (median: 0.025 mg/kg BW/day) in non-ICU medical wards.

Results

Fourteen patients were included, among which ten were treated with low starting doses (LD) and four with high starting doses etomidate (HD). All patients had severe and complicated CS related to adrenal carcinoma (n = 8) or ectopic ACTH secretion (n = 6). Etomidate was effective in reducing cortisol levels below 500 nmol/L in a median of 1 day in the HD group compared to 3 days in the LD group (P = 0.013). However, all patients of the HD group had etomidate-induced cortisol insufficiency and needed frequent monitoring, while no patient from the LD group required hydrocortisone supplementation. No patient in either group died from complications of CS or etomidate treatment, but final outcome was poor as six patients in the LD group and all four patients in the HD group died from their cancer during follow-up.

Conclusion

Our study suggests that, for patients with severe CS who do not require intensive organ-supporting therapy, the use of very low doses of etomidate in medical wards should be considered.

Free access

Daniel G Bichet

For an endocrinologist, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is an end-organ disease, that is the antidiuretic hormone, arginine-vasopressin (AVP) is normally produced but not recognized by the kidney with an inability to concentrate urine despite elevated plasma concentrations of AVP. Polyuria with hyposthenuria and polydipsia are the cardinal clinical manifestations of the disease. For a geneticist, hereditary NDI is a rare disease with a prevalence of five per million males secondary to loss of function of the vasopressin V2 receptor, an X-linked gene, or loss of function of the water channel AQP2. These are small genes, easily sequenced, with a number of both recurrent and private mutations described as disease causing. Other inherited disorders with mild, moderate or severe inability to concentrate urine include Bartter’s syndrome and cystinosis. MAGED2 mutations are responsible for a transient form of Bartter’s syndrome with severe polyhydramnios. The purpose of this review is to describe classical phenotype findings that will help physicians to identify early, before dehydration episodes with hypernatremia, patients with familial NDI. A number of patients are still diagnosed late with repeated dehydration episodes and large dilations of the urinary tract leading to a flow obstructive nephropathy with progressive deterioration of glomerular function. Families with ancestral X-linked AVPR2 mutations could be reconstructed and all female heterozygote patients identified with subsequent perinatal genetic testing to recognize affected males within 2 weeks of birth. Prevention of dehydration episodes is of critical importance in early life and beyond and decreasing solute intake will diminish total urine output.

Free access

Mariacarolina Salerno, Nicola Improda, and Donatella Capalbo

Subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) is biochemically defined as serum TSH levels above the upper limit of the reference range in the presence of normal free T4 (FT4) concentrations. While there is a general agreement to treat subjects with serum TSH levels above 10 mU/L, the management of mild form (TSH concentrations between 4.5 and 10 mU/L) is still a matter of debate. In children, mild SH is often a benign and remitting condition and the risk of progression to overt thyroid dysfunction depends on the underlying condition, being higher in the autoimmune forms. The major concern is to establish whether SH in children should always be considered an expression of mild thyroid dysfunction and may deserve treatment. Current data indicate that children with mild SH have normal linear growth, bone health and intellectual outcome. However, slight metabolic abnormalities and subtle deficits in specific cognitive domains have been reported in children with modest elevation of TSH concentration. Although these findings are not sufficient to recommend levothyroxine treatment for all children with mild SH, they indicate the need for regular monitoring to ensure early identification of children who may benefit from treatment. In the meanwhile, the decision to initiate therapy in children with mild SH should be based on individual factors.

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Victoria S Sprung, Kelly A Bowden Davies, Juliette A Norman, Andrew Thompson, Katie L Mitchell, John P H Wilding, Graham J Kemp, and Daniel J Cuthbertson

Background

Data suggest that metabolic health status, incorporating components of metabolic syndrome (MetS), predicts cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk better than BMI. This study explored the association of MetS and obesity with endothelial function, a prognostic risk factor for incident CVD.

Methods

Forty-four participants were phenotyped according to BMI as non-obese vs obese (<30 or >30 kg/m2) and according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria of MetS: ≤2 criteria MetS (MetS−) vs ≥3 criteria MetS (MetS+); (1.)non-obese MetS− vs (2.) non-obese MetS+ and (3.) obese MetS vs (4.) obese MetS+. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD), body composition including liver fat (MRI and spectroscopy), dietary intake, intensities of habitual physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness were determined. Variables were analysed using a one-factor between-groups ANOVA and linear regression; mean (95% CI) are presented.

Results

Individuals with MetS+ displayed lower FMD than those with MetS−. For non-obese individuals mean difference between MetS+ and MetS− was 4.1% ((1.0, 7.3); P = 0.004) and obese individuals had a mean difference between MetS+ and MetS− of 6.2% ((3.1, 9.2); P < 0.001). Although there was no association between BMI and FMD (P = 0.27), an increased number of MetS components was associated with a lower FMD (P = 0.005), and after adjustment for age and sex, 19.7% of the variance of FMD was explained by MetS, whereas only 1.1% was explained by BMI.

Conclusions

In this study cohort, components of MetS, rather than obesity per se, contribute to reduced FMD, which suggests a reduced bioavailability of nitric oxide and thus increased risk of CVD.

Open access

Friso de Vries, Mees Bruin, Angelica Cersosimo, Charlotte N van Beuzekom, S Faisal Ahmed, Robin P Peeters, Nienke R Biermasz, Olaf Hiort, and Alberto M Pereira

Objective

Given that volumes of patients and interventions are important criteria to qualify as a reference centre (RC) for the European Reference Network on Rare Endocrine Conditions (Endo-ERN), the present study aimed to evaluate the data that were reported in the original application against subsequent assessments of activity and review the criteria that may define RCs using two main thematic groups (MTGs): Pituitary and Thyroid, as examples.

Methods

Review of content in application forms and continuous monitoring data and of a survey distributed to RCs. A list of ‘key procedures’ for the assessment of performance of RCs was composed with the help of the Pituitary and Thyroid MTG chairs.

Results

In the original application, the number of undefined procedures ranged from 20 to 5500/year (Pituitary) and from 10 to 2700/year (phyroid) between applicants. In the survey, the number of key procedures per centre ranged from 18 to 150/year (Pituitary) and from 20 to 1376/year (Thyroid). The median numbers of new patients reported in the continuous monitoring program were comparable with the application and survey; however, some centres reported large variations.

Conclusions

Monitoring of clinical activity in an ERN requires clear definitions that are optimally aligned with clinical practice, diagnosis registration, and hospital IT systems. This is a particular challenge in the rare disease field where the centre may also provide expert input in collaboration with local hospitals. Application of uniform definitions, in addition to condition-specific clinical benchmarks, which can include patient-reported- as well as clinician-reported outcome measures, is urgently needed to allow benchmarking of care across Endo-ERN.