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Bruno Lapauw and Jean-Marc Kaufman

Overt hypogonadism in men adversely affects body composition and metabolic health, which generally improve upon testosterone (TS) therapy. As obese men often display lower serum TS levels, in particular when they present with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) or type 2 diabetes (T2DM), there have been claims that androgen therapy prevents or reverses obesity and improves metabolic health. This has contributed to the increase in TS prescriptions during the past two decades. In this narrative review, based on findings from larger observational studies and randomized controlled intervention trials, we evaluate whether low TS predicts or predisposes to obesity and its metabolic consequences, and whether obese men with low TS are truly hypogonadal. We further describe the mechanisms underlying the bi-directional relationships of TS levels with obesity and metabolic health, and finally assess the evidence for TS therapy in men with obesity, MetS and/or T2DM, considering efficacy, safety concerns and possible alternative approaches. It is concluded that low serum sex hormone-binding globulin and total TS levels are highly prevalent in obese men, but that only those with low free TS levels and signs or symptoms of hypogonadism should be considered androgen deficient. These alterations are reversible upon weight loss. Whether low TS is a biomarker rather than a true risk factor for metabolic disturbances remains unclear. Considering the limited number of sound TS therapy trials have shown beneficial effects, the modest amplitude of these effects, and unresolved safety issues, one cannot in the present state-of-the-art advocate TS therapy to prevent or reverse obesity-associated metabolic disturbances. Instead, the focus should remain on lifestyle measures and management of obesity-related consequences.

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Gregory L Hundemer and Anand Vaidya

Primary aldosteronism is common and contributes to adverse cardiovascular, kidney, and metabolic outcomes. When instituted early and effectively, targeted therapies can mitigate these adverse outcomes. Surgical adrenalectomy is among the most effective treatments because it has the potential to cure, or attenuate the severity of, pathologic aldosterone excess, resulting in a host of biochemical and clinical changes that improve health outcomes. Herein, we review the role of surgical adrenalectomy in primary aldosteronism while emphasizing the physiologic ramifications of surgical intervention, and compare these to other targeted medical therapies for primary aldosteronism. We specifically review the role of curative adrenalectomy for unilateral primary aldosteronism, the role of non-curative adrenalectomy for bilateral primary aldosteronism, and how these interventions influence biochemical and clinical outcomes in relation to medical therapies for primary aldosteronism.

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Alessia Cozzolino, Tiziana Feola, Ilaria Simonelli, Giulia Puliani, Valeria Hasenmajer, Marianna Minnetti, Elisa Giannetta, Daniele Gianfrilli, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Andrea Lenzi, and Andrea M Isidori

Objective

Neurosurgery is the first-line treatment for acromegaly. Whether metabolic disorders are reversible after neurosurgery is still debated. The meta-analysis aimed to address the following questions: (i) Does neurosurgery affect glycolipid metabolism? (ii) Are these effects related to disease control or follow-up length?

Design

A meta-analysis and systematic review of the literature.

Methods

Three reviewers searched databases until August 2019 for prospective trials reporting glycometabolic outcomes after neurosurgery. Three other extracted outcomes, all assessed the risk of bias.

Results

Twenty studies were included. Neurosurgery significantly reduced fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (effect size (ES): −0.57 mmol/L, 95% CI: −0.82 to −0.31; P < 0.001), glucose load (ES: −1.10 mmol/L, 95% CI: −1.66 to −0.53; P < 0.001), glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (ES: −0.28%, 95% CI: −0.42 to −0.14; P < 0.001), fasting plasma insulin (FPI) (ES: −10.53 mU/L, 95% CI: −14.54 to −6.51; P < 0.001), homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (ES: −1.98, 95% CI: −3.24 to −0.72; P = 0.002), triglycerides (TGDs) (ES: −0.28 mmol/L, 95% CI: −0.36 to −0.20; P < 0.001) and LDL-cholesterol (LDLC) (ES: −0.23 mmol/L, 95% CI: −0.45 to −0.02 mmol/L); P = 0.030) and increased HDL-cholesterol (HDLC) (ES: 0.21 mmol/L, 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.28; P < 0.001). Meta-regression analysis showed that follow-up length – not disease control – had a significant effect on FPG, with the greatest reduction in the shortest follow-up (beta = 0.012, s.e. = 0.003; P = 0.001).

Conclusions

Neurosurgery improves metabolism with a significant decrease in FPG, glucose load, HbA1c, FPI, HOMA-IR, TGDs, and LDLC and increase in HDLC. The effect on FPG seems to be more related to follow-up length than to disease control.

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Nathalie Oliveira Santana, Antonio Marcondes Lerario, Cláudia Kliemann Schmerling, Suemi Marui, Venancio Avancini Ferreira Alves, Ana O Hoff, Peter Kopp, and Debora Lucia Seguro Danilovic

Objective

Genomic alterations in Hürthle cell carcinomas (HCC) include chromosomal losses, mitochondrial DNA mutations, and changes in the expression profile of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR and Wnt/β-catenin pathways. This study aimed at characterizing the mutational profile of HCC.

Methods

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of 40 HCC using a 102-gene panel including, among others, the MAPK, PI3K-AKT-mTOR, Wnt/β-catenin, and Notch pathways. HCC was widely invasive in 57.5%, and lymph node and distant metastases were diagnosed in 5% and 7.5% of cases. During follow-up, 10% of patients presented with persistent/recurrent disease, but there were no cancer-related deaths.

Results

Genetic alterations were identified in 47.5% of HCC and comprised 190 single-nucleotide variants and 5 insertions/deletions. The Wnt/β-catenin pathway was most frequently affected (30%), followed by MAPK (27.5%) and PI3K-AKT-mTOR (25%). FAT1 and APC were the most frequently mutated genes and present in 17.5%. RAS mutations were present in 12.5% but no BRAF mutation was found. There was no association between the mutational profile and clinicopathological features.

Conclusions

This series of HCC presents a wide range of mutations in the Wnt/β-catenin, MAPK and PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathways. The recurrent involvement of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, particularly mutations in APC and FAT1, are of particular interest. The data suggest that mutated FAT1 may represent a potential novel driver in HCC tumorigenesis and that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays a critical role in this distinct thyroid malignancy.

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France Devuyst, Paraskevi Kazakou, Danielle Balériaux, Orsalia Alexopoulou, Agnès Burniat, Sylvie Salenave, Philippe Chanson, Bernard Corvilain, and Dominique Maiter

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Jacopo Burrello, Alessio Burrello, Jacopo Pieroni, Elisa Sconfienza, Vittorio Forestiero, Martina Amongero, Denis Rossato, Franco Veglio, Tracy A Williams, Silvia Monticone, and Paolo Mulatero

Objective

Adrenal venous sampling (AVS) is the gold standard to discriminate patients with unilateral primary aldosteronism (UPA) from bilateral disease (BPA). AVS is technically demanding and in cases of unsuccessful cannulation of adrenal veins, the results may not always be interpreted. The aim of our study was to develop diagnostic models to distinguish UPA from BPA, in cases of unilateral successful AVS and the presence of contralateral suppression of aldosterone secretion.

Design

Retrospective evaluation of 158 patients referred to a tertiary hypertension unit who underwent AVS. We randomly assigned 110 patients to a training cohort and 48 patients to a validation cohort to develop and test the diagnostic models.

Methods

Supervised machine learning algorithms and regression models were used to develop and validate two prediction models and a simple 19-point score system to stratify patients according to their subtype diagnosis.

Results

Aldosterone levels at screening and after confirmatory testing, lowest potassium, ipsilateral and contralateral imaging findings at CT scanning, and contralateral ratio at AVS, were associated with a diagnosis of UPA and were included in the diagnostic models. Machine learning algorithms correctly classified the majority of patients both at training and validation (accuracy: 82.9–95.7%). The score system displayed a sensitivity/specificity of 95.2/96.9%, with an AUC of 0.971. A flow-chart integrating our score correctly managed all patients except 3 (98.1% accuracy), avoiding the potential repetition of 77.2% of AVS procedures.

Conclusions

Our score could be integrated in clinical practice and guide surgical decision-making in patients with unilateral successful AVS and contralateral suppression.

Open access

Claire L Wood, Michael Cole, Malcolm Donaldson, David B Dunger, Ruth Wood, Niamh Morrison, John N S Matthews, Simon H S Pearce, Timothy D Cheetham, and the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED)

Objective

First-line treatment of thyrotoxicosis in young people is thionamide anti-thyroid drug (ATD) in a blocking dose with levothyroxine replacement (block and replace, BR) or in a smaller dose tailored to render the patient euthyroid (dose titration, DT). Our objective was to determine which regimen provides more stable biochemical control.

Design

A multi-centre phase III, open-label randomised trial comparing BR with DT in patients aged 2–17 years with newly diagnosed thyrotoxicosis at 15 UK centres.

Methods

Patients were randomised shortly after diagnosis and treated for 3 years. The primary outcome was the percentage of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in the reference range between 6 months and 3 years. Secondary outcomes included the proportion of Free thyroxine (FT4) levels in the reference range, adverse event frequency and 4 years outcome (remission/relapse).

Results

Eighty-two patients were randomised, with details on clinical course in 81 (62 Female); 40 were allocated to BR (41 DT). Three withdrew with one ineligible. The mean percentage of serum TSH within reference range was 60.2% in BR and 63.8% in DT patients; adjusted difference 4.3%, 95% CI (−7.8 to 16.4); P = 0.48. Proportions for FT4 were 79.2% in BR and 85.7% in DT patients; adjusted difference 6.8%, (−0.2 to 15.6); P = 0.13. Three patients developed neutropenia – all on BR. 6 BR and 10 DT patients were in remission at 4y.

Conclusion

This randomised trial has shown no evidence to suggest that BR, when managing the young patient with thyrotoxicosis, is associated with improved biochemical stability when compared to DT.

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Emily Cottrell, Claudia P Cabrera, Miho Ishida, Sumana Chatterjee, James Greening, Neil Wright, Artur Bossowski, Leo Dunkel, Asma Deeb, Iman Al Basiri, Stephen J Rose, Avril Mason, Susan Bint, Joo Wook Ahn, Vivian Hwa, Louise A Metherell, Gudrun E Moore, and Helen L Storr

Objective

Copy number variation (CNV) has been associated with idiopathic short stature, small for gestational age and Silver-Russell syndrome (SRS). It has not been extensively investigated in growth hormone insensitivity (GHI; short stature, IGF-1 deficiency and normal/high GH) or previously in IGF-1 insensitivity (short stature, high/normal GH and IGF-1).

Design and methods

Array comparative genomic hybridisation was performed with ~60 000 probe oligonucleotide array in GHI (n = 53) and IGF-1 insensitivity (n = 10) subjects. Published literature, mouse models, DECIPHER CNV tracks, growth associated GWAS loci and pathway enrichment analyses were used to identify key biological pathways/novel candidate growth genes within the CNV regions.

Results

Both cohorts were enriched for class 3–5 CNVs (7/53 (13%) GHI and 3/10 (30%) IGF-1 insensitivity patients). Interestingly, 6/10 (60%) CNV subjects had diagnostic/associated clinical features of SRS. 5/10 subjects (50%) had CNVs previously reported in suspected SRS: 1q21 (n = 2), 12q14 (n = 1) deletions and Xp22 (n = 1), Xq26 (n = 1) duplications. A novel 15q11 deletion, previously associated with growth failure but not SRS/GHI was identified. Bioinformatic analysis identified 45 novel candidate growth genes, 15 being associated with growth in GWAS. The WNT canonical pathway was enriched in the GHI cohort and CLOCK was identified as an upstream regulator in the IGF-1 insensitivity cohorts.

Conclusions

Our cohort was enriched for low frequency CNVs. Our study emphasises the importance of CNV testing in GHI and IGF-1 insensitivity patients, particularly GHI subjects with SRS features. Functional experimental evidence is now required to validate the novel candidate growth genes, interactions and biological pathways identified.

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Anna-Maria Eleftheriadou, Sebastian Mehl, Kostja Renko, Rega H Kasim, Jasmin-Annabelle Schaefer, Waldemar B Minich, and Lutz Schomburg

Objective

Iodide transport across thyrocytes constitutes a critical step for thyroid hormone biosynthesis, mediated mainly by the basolateral sodium-iodide-symporter (NIS (SLC5A5)) and the apical anion exchanger pendrin (PDS (SLC26A4)). Both transmembrane proteins have been described as autoantigens in thyroid disease, yet the reports on autoantibody (aAb) prevalence and diagnostic usefulness are conflicting. Reasons for the inconclusive findings may be small study groups and principle differences in the technologies used.

Design

We decided to re-evaluate this important issue by establishing novel non-radioactive tests using full-length antigens and comparable protocols, and analyzing a large cohort of thyroid patients (n = 323) and control samples (n = 400).

Methods

NIS and PDS were recombinantly expressed as fusion protein with firefly luciferase (Luc). Stably transfected HEK293 cells were used as reproducible source of the autoantigens.

Results

Recombinant NIS-Luc showed iodide transport activity, indicating successful expression and correct processing. Commercial antibodies yielded dose-dependent responses in the newly established assays. Reproducibility of assay signals from patient sera was verified with respect to linearity, stability and absence of matrix effects. Prevalence of PDS-aAb was similar in thyroid patients and controls (7.7% vs 5.0%). NIS-aAb were more prevalent in patients than controls (7.7% vs 1.8%), especially in Graves’ Disease (12.3%). Neither NIS-aAb nor PDS-aAb concentrations were related to TPO-aAb or TSH-receptor-aAb concentrations, or to serum zinc or selenium status.

Conclusions

Our data highlight a potential relevance of autoimmunity against NIS for thyroid disease, whereas an assessment of PDS-aAb in thyroid patients seems not to be of diagnostic value (yet).