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Junichi Ishigami, Yasuyuki Honda, Amy B Karger, Josef Coresh, Elizabeth Selvin, Pamela L Lutsey, and Kunihiro Matsushita

Objective

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) concentration increases in response to declining kidney function to preserve normal phosphate concentrations. However, the etiological association of change in FGF23 concentration with mortality has not been examined in the general population.

Design and methods

We analyzed 5458 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study who had intact FGF23 and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) assessed during midlife (visit 3, 1993–1995, mean age: 58 years) and late life (visit 5, 2011–2013, 76 years) to examine the association of FGF23 change over 18 years from mid-life to late life with the subsequent risk of mortality in late life using Cox regression models.

Results

The median 18-year change in intact FGF23 was +17.3 pg/mL. During a median follow-up of 7.2 years following visit 5, 1176 participants died. In multivariable Cox models, elevated mortality was seen in the highest quartile of FGF23 change (ΔFGF23: ≥31.3 pg/mL) (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 1.61 (95%CI: 1.36–1.90), or 1.37 (1.15–1.64) after additionally adjusting for eGFR change, compared with the lowest quartile (≤6.4 pg/mL)). When both FGF23 change and FGF23 in late life were simultaneously entered into the Cox model, FGF23 in late life, but not FGF23 change, was an independent predictor of mortality; however, we observed a high correlation between FGF23 change from midlife to late life and FGF23 in late life (r = 0.77).

Conclusions

Serum intact FGF23 change from midlife to late life was associated with subsequent risk of mortality independent of decline in kidney function. Our findings further support the implications of FGF23 beyond its association with kidney function.

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Cihan Atila, Odile Gaisl, Deborah R Vogt, Laura Werlen, Gabor Szinnai, and Mirjam Christ-Crain

Background

The differential diagnosis of diabetes insipidus is challenging. The most reliable approaches are copeptin measurements after hypertonic saline infusion or arginine, which is a known growth hormone secretagogue but has recently also been shown to stimulate the neurohypophysis. Similar to arginine, glucagon stimulates growth hormone release, but its effect on the neurohypophysis is poorly studied.

Design

Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial including 22 healthy participants, 10 patients with central diabetes insipidus, and 10 patients with primary polydipsia at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.

Methods

Each participant underwent the glucagon test (s.c. injection of 1 mg glucagon) and placebo test. The primary objective was to determine whether glucagon stimulates copeptin and to explore whether the copeptin response differentiates between diabetes insipidus and primary polydipsia. Copeptin levels were measured at baseline, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 min after injection.

Results

In healthy participants, glucagon stimulated copeptin with a median increase of 7.56 (2.38; 28.03) pmol/L, while placebo had no effect (0.10 pmol/L (−0.70; 0.68); P < 0.001). In patients with diabetes insipidus, copeptin showed no relevant increase upon glucagon, with an increase of 0.55 (0.21; 1.65) pmol/L, whereas copeptin was stimulated in patients with primary polydipsia with an increase of 15.70 (5.99; 24.39) pmol/L. Using a copeptin cut-off level of 4.6pmol/L had a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI: 100–100) and a specificity of 90% (95% CI: 70–100) to discriminate between diabetes insipidus and primary polydipsia.

Conclusion

Glucagon stimulates the neurohypophysis, and glucagon-stimulated copeptin has the potential for a safe, novel, and precise test in the differential diagnosis of diabetes insipidus.

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Jeffrey M McManus, Navin Sabharwal, Peter Bazeley, and Nima Sharifi

Context

A sex discordance in COVID exists, with males disproportionately affected. Although sex steroids may play a role in this discordance, no definitive genetic data exist to support androgen-mediated immune suppression neither for viral susceptibility nor for adrenally produced androgens.

Objective

The common adrenal-permissive missense-encoding variant HSD3B1(1245C) that enables androgen synthesis from adrenal precursors and that has been linked to suppression of inflammation in severe asthma was investigated in COVID susceptibility and outcomes reported in the UK Biobank.

Methods

The UK Biobank is a long-term study with detailed medical information and health outcomes for over 500 000 genotyped individuals. We obtained COVID test results, inpatient hospital records, and death records and tested for associations between COVID susceptibility or outcomes and HSD3B1(1245A/C) genotype. Primary analyses were performed on the UK Biobank Caucasian cohort. The outcomes were identification as a COVID case among all subjects, COVID positivity among COVID-tested subjects, and mortality among subjects identified as COVID cases.

Results

Adrenal-permissive HSD3B1(1245C) genotype was associated with identification as a COVID case (odds ratio (OR): 1.11 per C allele, 95% CI: 1.04–1.18, P  = 0.0013) and COVID-test positivity (OR: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.02–1.17, P  = 0.011) in older (≥70 years of age) women. In women identified as COVID cases, there was a positive linear relationship between age and 1245C allele frequency (P  < 0.0001). No associations were found between genotype and mortality or between genotype and circulating sex hormone levels.

Conclusion

Our study suggests that a common androgen synthesis variant regulates immune susceptibility to COVID infection in women, with increasingly strong effects as women age.

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Dongyun Zhang, Willy Hugo, Marvin Bergsneider, Marilene B Wang, Won Kim, Harry V Vinters, and Anthony P Heaney

Objective

Provide insights into the defective POMC processing and invasive behavior in silent pituitary corticotroph tumors.

Design and methods

Single-cell RNAseq was used to compare the cellular makeup and transcriptome of silent and active corticotroph tumors.

Results

A series of transcripts related to hormone processing peptidases and genes involved in the structural organization of secretory vesicles were reduced in silent compared to active corticotroph tumors. Most relevant to their invasive behavior, silent corticotroph tumors exhibited several features of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, with increased expression of mesenchymal genes along with the loss of transcripts that regulate hormonal biogenesis and secretion. Silent corticotroph tumor vascular smooth muscle cell and pericyte stromal cell populations also exhibited plasticity in their mesenchymal features.

Conclusions

Our findings provide novel insights into the mechanisms of impaired POMC processing and invasion in silent corticotroph tumors and suggest that a common transcriptional reprogramming mechanism simultaneously impairs POMC processing and activates tumor invasion.

Free access

Anders Sundin

The increasing use of cross-sectional imaging, mainly CT, results in an accelerating number of incidental findings, for instance of adrenal tumours. Although most ‘adrenal incidentalomas’ are benign, it is important to identify the malignant and the hormone producing (functional) tumours. For a small fraction of adrenal incidentalomas, the diagnosis is apparent on imaging, but the large majority requires radiological characterisation. To this end, a previous joint European Society of Endocrinology and European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours publication in this jounal, recommends CT measurements of the native (non-contrast) tumour attenuation ≤10 Hounsfield units, consistent with a lipid-rich benign adrenocortical adenoma, and imaging at least 6 months apart, on which unchanged tumour size implies a benign tumour. Because of weak evidence, calculation of CT contrast medium washout was not recommended as a means for tumour characterisation, but this technique has nevertheless still been applied in several countries. The recent article by Schloetelburg et al. in this journal is important because, in the largest study to date, the authors confirm that calculation of CT contrast medium washout with established thresholds is insufficient to reliably characterise adrenal tumours. Their results are therefore expected to impact the management of these patients.

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Esra Dülger, Melike Mut, Tomris Erbas, Levent Sahiner, Naciye Vardar Yağlı, and Sevil Bilgin

Objective

The pituitary gland is responsible for hormonal balance in the body, and disruption of hormonal balance in patients with pituitary adenoma (PA) indirectly affects the quality of life. This study aimed to examine the effects of yoga and combined aerobic and strength training (A+ST) on quality of life and related parameters such as sleep, fatigue, emotional state, sexual function, and cognitive status in women with PA.

Design

Ten women with PA were included in this randomized crossover study. Group 1 (n = 5, mean age: 52 ± 13.5 years) received A+ST for the first 6 weeks, a 2-week washout period, and yoga for the second 6 weeks. Group 2 (n = 5, mean age: 41.8 ± 14 years) received the yoga program first, followed by the A+ST program.

Methods

Participants were assessed using the following tools before and after each exercise intervention: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Brain (FACT-Br) (quality of life), Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale (MOCA).

Results

FACT-Br scores were higher after the yoga program, HADS anxiety score was lower after the A+ST program, and MOCA scores increased after both exercise programs (P  < 0.05). FSS score decreased after both exercise programs, but not significantly. In addition, nonsignificant decreases in HADS anxiety and depression scores and increased FSFI scores were observed after the yoga program.

Conclusion

A+ST and yoga have positive effects on the quality of life in PA. We recommend yoga and A+ST as a supportive therapy for this population that may face comorbidities after surgical and medical treatment. Our results indicate these patients may benefit from physiotherapist-guided exercise programs.

Open access

Steven G Waguespack, Alexander Drilon, Jessica J Lin, Marcia S Brose, Ray McDermott, Mohammed Almubarak, Jessica Bauman, Michela Casanova, Anuradha Krishnamurthy, Shivaani Kummar, Serge Leyvraz, Do-Youn Oh, Keunchil Park, Davendra Sohal, Eric Sherman, Ricarda Norenberg, Josh D Silvertown, Nicoletta Brega, David S Hong, and Maria E Cabanillas

Objective

Larotrectinib is a highly selective tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitor with demonstrated efficacy across various TRK fusion-positive solid tumours. We assessed the efficacy and safety of larotrectinib in patients with TRK fusion-positive thyroid carcinoma (TC).

Methods

We pooled data from three phase I/II larotrectinib clinical trials (NCT02576431, NCT02122913, and NCT02637687). The primary endpoint was the investigator-assessed objective response rate (ORR) per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1. Secondary endpoints included duration of response (DoR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety. Data cut-off: July 2020.

Results

Twenty-nine patients (median age: 60; range: 6–80) with TRK fusion-positive TC were treated. Tumour histology was papillary (PTC) in 20 (69%) patients, follicular (FTC) in 2 (7%), and anaplastic (ATC) in 7 (24%) patients. Among 28 evaluable patients, ORR was 71% (95% CI: 51–87); best responses were complete response in 2 (7%) patients, partial response in 18 (64%), stable disease in 4 (14%), progressive disease in 3 (11%), and undetermined in 1 (4%) due to clinical progression prior to the first post-baseline assessment. ORR was 86% (95% CI: 64–97) for PTC/FTC and 29% (95% CI 4–71) for ATC. Median time to response was 1.87 months (range 1.64–3.68). The 24-month DoR, PFS, and OS rates were 81, 69, and 76%, respectively. Treatment-related adverse events were mainly grades 1–2.

Conclusion

In TRK fusion-positive TC, larotrectinib demonstrates rapid and durable disease control and a favourable safety profile in patients with advanced disease requiring systemic therapy.

Significance statement

NTRK gene fusions are known oncogenic drivers and have been identified in various histologies of thyroid carcinoma, most commonly in papillary thyroid carcinoma. This is the first publication specifically studying a TRK inhibitor in a cohort of TRK fusion-positive thyroid carcinoma patients. In the current study, the highly selective TRK inhibitor larotrectinib showed durable antitumour efficacy and a favourable safety profile in patients with TRK fusion-positive thyroid carcinoma. Our findings show that patients with advanced non-medullary thyroid carcinoma who may require systemic therapy could be considered for testing for gene fusions by next-generation sequencing.

Free access

Sabina Ruiz, Federico Vázquez, Silvia Pellitero, and Manel Puig-Domingo

Obesity, the growing pandemic of the 21st century, is associated with multiple organ dysfunction, either by a direct increase in fatty organ content or by indirect modifications related to general metabolic changes driven by a specific increase in biologic products. The pituitary gland is not protected against such a situation. Different hypothalamic–pituitary axes experience functional modifications initially oriented to an adaptive situation that, with years of obesity, turn to maladaptive dynamics that contribute to perpetuating obesity and specific symptoms of their hormonal nature. This paper reviews the recent knowledge on obesity-related pituitary dysfunction and its pathogenic mechanisms and discusses potential therapeutic actions aimed at contributing to ameliorating the complex treatment of severe cases of obesity.

Open access

Niamh-Maire McLennan, Jonathan Hazlehurst, Shakila Thangaratinam, and Rebecca M Reynolds

There is an increase in maternal metabolic burden due to the rise in pregnancies complicated by obesity, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. Metabolic dysfunction during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of long-term morbidity and mortality for women and their offspring. Lifestyle interventions in pregnancy in women at risk of metabolic dysfunction have demonstrated short-term improvements such as reduced gestational weight gain and lowered risk of gestational diabetes. It is not known whether these interventions lead to sustained improvements in the metabolic health of the mother and baby. Pharmacological interventions have also shown benefits for the mother and baby in pregnancy, including improvements in glycaemic control, reduction in gestational weight gain and reduction in large for gestational age infants; however, there remains uncertainty over long-term outcomes for mother and child. Existing studies on interventions targeting metabolic health are limited to selected populations in the preconception and postpartum periods and lack follow-up beyond delivery of the intervention. The COVID-19 pandemic has refocused our attention on the effects of maternal metabolic ill-health that play a role in contributing to premature morbidity and mortality. There is an urgent need for strategies to accurately identify the growing number of women and offspring at risk of long-term adverse metabolic health. Strategies which focus on early identification and risk stratification using individualised risk scores in the pre and inter-conception periods must take priority if we are to target and improve the metabolic health of women and their offspring who are at highest risk.

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Laura E Dichtel, Melanie S Haines, Anu V Gerweck, Bryan Bollinger, Allison Kimball, David Schoenfeld, Miriam A Bredella, and Karen K Miller

Objective

Overweight/obesity is associated with relative growth hormone (GH) deficiency and increased fracture risk. We hypothesized that GH administration would improve bone endpoints in individuals with overweight/obesity.

Design

An 18-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of GH, followed by 6-month observation.

Methods

In this study, 77 adults (53% men), aged 18–65 years, BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, and BMD T- or Z-score ≤ −1.0 were randomized to daily subcutaneous GH or placebo, targeting IGF1 in the upper quartile of the age-appropriate normal range. Forty-nine completed 18 months. DXA, volumetric quantitative CT, and high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT were performed.

Results

Pre-treatment mean age (48 ± 12 years), BMI (33.1 ± 5.7 kg/m2), and BMD were similar between groups. P1NP, osteocalcin, and CTX increased (P < 0.005) and visceral adipose tissue decreased (P = 0.04) at 18 months in the GH vs placebo group. Hip and radius aBMD, spine and tibial vBMD, tibial cortical thickness, and radial and tibial failure load decreased in the GH vs placebo group (P < 0.05). Between 18 and 24 months (post-treatment observation period), radius aBMD and tibia cortical thickness increased in the GH vs placebo group. At 24 months, there were no differences between the GH and placebo groups in bone density, structure, or strength compared to baseline.

Conclusions

GH administration for 18 months increased bone turnover in adults with overweight/obesity. It also decreased some measures of BMD, bone microarchitecture, and bone strength, which all returned to pre-treatment levels 6 months post-therapy. Whether GH administration increases BMD with longer treatment duration, or after mineralization of an expanded remodeling space post-treatment, requires further investigation.