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Katharina Schilbach, Christina Gar, Andreas Lechner, Shiva Sophia Nicolay, Laura Schwerdt, Michael Haenelt, Jakob Dal, Jens-Otto Lunde Jørgensen, Sylvère Störmann, Jochen Schopohl and Martin Bidlingmaier

Objective

Growth hormone (GH) nadir (GHnadir) during oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is an important tool in diagnosing acromegaly, but data evaluating the need to adjust cut-offs to biological variables utilizing today's assay methods are scarce. We therefore investigated large cohorts of healthy subjects of both sexes to define normal GHnadir concentrations for a modern, sensitive, 22 kD-GH-specific assay.

Design

Multicenter study with prospective and retrospective cohorts (525 healthy adults: 405 females and 120 males).

Methods

GH concentrations were measured by the IDS-iSYS immunoassay after oral application of 75 g glucose.

Results

GHnadir concentrations (µg/L) were significantly higher in lean and normal weight subjects (group A) compared to overweight and obese subjects (group B); (males (M): A vs B, mean: 0.124 vs 0.065, P = 0.0317; premenopausal females without estradiol-containing OC (OC-EE) (FPRE): A vs B, mean: 0.179 vs 0.092, P < 0.0001; postmenopausal women (FPOST): A vs B, mean: 0.173 vs 0.078, P < 0.0061). Age, glucose metabolism and menstrual cycle had no impact on GHnadir. However, premenopausal females on OC-EE (FPREOC) exhibited significantly higher GHnadir compared to all other groups (all P < 0.0001). BMI had no impact on GHnadir in FPREOC (A vs B, mean: 0.624 vs 0.274, P = 0.1228).

Conclusions

BMI, sex and OC-EE intake are the major determinants for the GHnadir during OGTT in healthy adults. Using a modern sensitive GH assay, GHnadir concentrations in healthy subjects are distinctly lower than cut-offs used in previous guidelines for diagnosis and monitoring of acromegaly.

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Nicole Prinz, Katja Konrad, Christoph Brack, Eva Hahn, Antje Herbst, Andrea Icks, Jürgen Grulich-Henn, Norbert Jorch, Christian Kastendieck, Kirsten Mönkemöller, Oliver Razum, Claudia Steigleder-Schweiger, Michael Witsch, Reinhard W Holl and the DPV Initiative

Objective

With increasing migration to Europe, diabetes diagnosis and treatment of refugees became challenging. To describe the current experience with pediatric refugees in Germany and Austria.

Design and Methods

43,137 patients (<21 years) with type 1 diabetes from the diabetes patient follow-up registry (DPV) were studied and divided by refugee status into patients born in Middle East (n = 365) or Africa (n = 175) and native patients (child and parents born in Germany/Austria; G/A: n = 42,597). Groups were compared using multivariable regression adjusted for age, sex and diabetes duration (SAS 9.4). In refugees the first year after arrival was studied, and for native children the most recent year of care.

Results

After adjustment, HbA1c was highest in refugees (1. ME and 2. AFR vs 3. G/A: 72.3 ± 1.0 and 75.0 ± 1.4 vs 66.0 ± 0.1 mmol/mol, 1 vs 3: P < 0.001 and 2 vs 3: P < 0.001) and microalbuminuria (9.9 and 13.6 vs 6.5%, 1 vs 3: P = 0.039 and 2 vs 3: P = 0.002) was more prevalent. African children experienced severe hypoglycemia (17.8 ± 4.3 and 25.4 ± 8.7 vs 11.5 ± 0.3 per 100 patient years, 1 vs 3: P > 0.05 and 2 vs 3: P = 0.045) significantly more often, whereas hypoglycemia with coma (5.1 ± 1.1 and 4.1 ± 1.6 vs 2.6 ± 0.1 per 100 patient years, 1 vs 3: P = 0.006 and 2 vs 3: P > 0.05) and retinopathy (2.1 and n/a vs 0.2%, 1 vs 3: P < 0.001) were significantly more common in children from Middle East compared to natives. Insulin pumps were used in a markedly larger proportion of native patients (7.4 and 13.2 vs 43.0%, 1 vs 3: P < 0.001 and 2 vs 3: P < 0.001).

Conclusions

A relevant number of pediatric refugees with type 1 diabetes are treated in German/Austrian diabetes clinics. Refugee children, parents and caregivers are faced with several problems in diabetes therapy and outcome that should be addressed more intensively by pediatric diabetes teams.

Open access

Mirjam Christ-Crain

Diabetes insipidus (DI), be it from central or nephrogenic origin, must be differentiated from secondary forms of hypotonic polyuria such as primary polydipsia. Differentiation is crucial since wrong treatment can have deleterious consequences. Since decades, the gold standard for differentiation has been the water deprivation test, which has limitations leading to an overall unsatisfying diagnostic accuracy. Furthermore, it is cumbersome for patients with a long test duration. Clinical signs and symptoms and MRI characteristics overlap between patients with DI and primary polydipsia. The direct test including vasopressin (AVP) measurement upon osmotic stimulation was meant to overcome these limitations, but failed to enter clinical practice mainly due to technical constraints of the AVP assay. Copeptin is secreted in equimolar amount to AVP but can easily be measured with a sandwich immunoassay. A high correlation between copeptin and AVP has been shown. Accordingly, copeptin mirrors the amount of AVP in the circulation and has led to a ‘revival’ of the direct test in the differential diagnosis of DI. We have shown that a baseline copeptin, without prior thirsting, unequivocally identifies patients with nephrogenic DI. In contrast, for the differentiation between central DI and primary polydipsia, a stimulated copeptin level of 4.9 pmol/L upon hypertonic saline infusion differentiates these two entities with a high diagnostic accuracy and is superior to the water deprivation test. Close sodium monitoring during the test is a prerequisite. Further new test methods are currently evaluated and might provide an even simpler way of differential diagnosis in the future.

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Peter Wolf, Johanna Mayr, Hannes Beiglböck, Paul Fellinger, Yvonne Winhofer, Marko Poglitsch, Alois Gessl, Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, Anton Luger and Michael Krebs

Background

In patients suffering from primary adrenal insufficiency (AI) mortality is increased despite adequate glucocorticoid (GC) and mineralocorticoid (MC) replacement therapy, mainly due to an increased cardiovascular risk. Since activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) plays an important role in the modulation of cardiovascular risk factors, we performed in-depth characterization of the RAAS activity.

Methods

Eight patients with primary AI (female = 5; age: 56 ± 21 years; BMI: 22.8 ± 2 kg/m2; mean blood pressure: 140/83 mmHg; hydrocortisone dose: 21.9 ± 5 mg/day; fludrocortisone dose: 0.061 ± 0.03 mg/day) and eight matched healthy volunteers (female = 5; age: 52 ± 21 years; BMI: 25.2 ± 4 kg/m2; mean blood pressure:135/84 mmHg) were included in a cross-sectional case–control study. Angiotensin metabolite profiles (RAS-fingerprints) were performed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.

Results

In patients suffering from primary AI, RAAS activity was highly increased with elevated concentrations of renin concentration (P = 0.027), angiotensin (Ang) I (P = 0.022), Ang II (P = 0.032), Ang 1-7 and Ang 1-5. As expected, aldosterone was not detectable in the majority of AI patients, resulting in a profoundly suppressed aldosterone-to-AngII ratio (AA2 ratio, P = 0.003) compared to controls. PRA-S, the angiotensin-based marker for plasma renin activity, correlated with plasma renin activity (r = 0.983; P < 0.01) and plasma renin concentration (r = 0.985; P < 0.001) and was significantly increased in AI patients.

Conclusions

AI is associated with a unique RAAS profile characterized by the absence of aldosterone despite strongly elevated levels of angiotensin metabolites, including the potent vasoconstrictor AngII. Despite state-of-the-art hormone replacement therapy, the RAAS remains hyperactivated. The contribution of Ang II in cardiovascular diseases in AI patients as well as a potential role for providing useful complementary information at diagnosis and follow up of AI should be investigated in future trials.

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A Ziagaki, D Blaschke, W Haverkamp and U Plöckinger

Objective

Growth hormone (GH) deficiency is related to increased cardiovascular mortality. We studied clinical status, concentration of amino-terminal-pro B-type natriuretic-peptide (NT-proBNP) and echocardiographic parameters during long-term GH replacement (GH-R).

Methods

Fifty-one patients (29 females), 45.9 ± 11.3 years (mean ± s.d.), median follow-up 36.2 months, echocardiography and laboratory determinations initially and at 12-months intervals.

Results

At the last follow-up (last observation carried forward) (LFU (LOCF)) insulin-like growth-factor-1 standard deviation score (IGF-1 SDS) was ±1 in 92% of the patients. The median NT-proBNP declined significantly and stabilized (−40.5%) at LFU (LOCF) due to patients with a basal NT-proBNP >125 ng/L (indicative of heart failure). The basal NT-proBNP and the final IGF-1 SDS were significant predictors of the NT-proBNP at LFU (LOCF). Initially left ventricular enddiastolic diameter (LVEDD), left ventricular posterior wall diameter (LVPWD) and ejection fraction (EF) were normal, while interventricular septum diameter (IVSD) and left ventricular mass index (LVMi) were slightly increased. LVPWD and IVSD had significantly declined by year three. The LVMi was moderately to severely abnormal in 37.3 and 52.0% of patients initially and at LFU (LOCF). At LFU (LOCF) LVMi and IGF-1 were significantly correlated in the 14 male patients of this subgroup.

Conclusion

Long-term GH-R of GHD positively affected ISVD and LVPWD. In a subgroup of patients with severe GHD, LVMi increased concomitantly to the decline in NT-proBNP and this was positively correlated to the final IGF-1 concentration. Whether this observation indicates a positive development in a structurally altered heart muscle (reversal of adverse remodelling) or poses a future risk for heart failure needs further follow-up.

Free access

Germano Gaudenzi, Alessandra Dicitore, Silvia Carra, Davide Saronni, Carlotta Pozza, Elisa Giannetta, Luca Persani and Giovanni Vitale

Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are traditionally considered as a single group of rare malignancies that originate from the highly spread neuroendocrine system. The clinical management is complex due to the high heterogeneity of these neoplasms in terms of clinical aggressiveness and response to the therapy. Indeed, a multidisciplinary approach is required to reach a personalization of the therapy, including cancer rehabilitation. In this review, we discuss the possibility to adopt a precision medicine (PM) approach in the management of NENs. To this purpose, we summarize current knowledge and future perspectives about biomarkers and preclinical in vitro and in vivo platforms, potentially useful to inform clinicians about the prognosis and for tailoring therapy in patients with NENs. This approach may represent a breakthrough in the therapy and tertiary prevention of these tumors.

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Nicholas Russell and Mathis Grossmann

Evidence has been accumulating that, in men, some of the biological actions traditionally attributed to testosterone acting via the androgen receptor may in fact be dependent on its aromatization to estradiol (E2). In men, E2 circulates at concentrations exceeding those of postmenopausal women, and estrogen receptors are expressed in many male reproductive and somatic tissues. Human studies contributing evidence for the role of E2 in men comprise rare case reports of men lacking aromatase or a functional estrogen receptor alpha, short-term experiments manipulating sex steroid milieu in healthy men, men with organic hypogonadism or men with prostate cancer treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and from observational studies in community-dwelling men. The collective evidence suggests that, in men, E2 is an important hormone for hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis regulation, reproductive function, growth hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 axis regulation, bone growth and maintenance of skeletal health, body composition and glucose metabolism and vasomotor stability. In other tissues, particularly brain, elucidation of the clinical relevance of E2 actions requires further research. From a clinical perspective, the current evidence supports the use of testosterone as the treatment of choice in male hypogonadism, rather than aromatase inhibitors (which raise testosterone and lower E2), selective androgen receptor modulators and selective estrogen receptor modulators (with insufficiently understood tissue-specific estrogenic effects). Finally, E2 treatment, either as add-back to conventional ADT or as sole mode of ADT could be a useful strategy for men with prostate cancer.

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Yujiro Nakano, Takanobu Yoshimoto, Ryo Watanabe, Masanori Murakami, Tatsuya Fukuda, Kazutaka Saito, Yasuhisa Fujii, Takumi Akashi, Toshihiro Tanaka, Tetsuya Yamada, Mitsuhide Naruse and Yoshihiro Ogawa

Objective

The pathophysiology of aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) has been intensively investigated using genetic and epigenetic approaches. However, the role of miRNAs in APA is not fully understood. The present study profiled miRNAs in APAs as an exploratory approach to elucidate their pathophysiological roles in APAs.

Design

Tissues of APAs and other adrenocortical adenomas were obtained from patients who underwent adrenalectomy.

Methods

Candidate miRNAs differentially detected from samples were examined by whole miRNA sequencing. The expression of candidate miRNAs in APA tissues were further validated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Further, differential miRNA expression between APAs with and without KCNJ5 somatic mutations was examined. Prediction of miRNA target genes was performed by bioinformatics analysis. For specific miRNAs, correlation analysis between the levels of their target genes and CYP11B2 was analyzed in APA tissues.

Results

Our study determined differential expression of six miRNAs in APA or APA with KCNJ5 mutations. We further demonstrated that miR299 levels were negatively correlated with mRNA levels of CACNB2, which encodes the beta-subunit of the L-type calcium channel. Additionally, we found significant correlations among miR299, CACNB2, and CYP11B2 levels in APA tissues.

Conclusions

Our study suggests the possible pathophysiological involvement of specific miRNAs in calcium signaling and aldosterone hypersecretion in APAs. Further studies, including in vitro analyses, are required to clarify these findings.

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Simona Censi, Susi Barollo, Elisabetta Grespan, Sara Watutantrige-Fernando, Jacopo Manso, Maurizio Iacobone, Eric Casal Ide, Francesca Galuppini, Ambrogio Fassina, Loris Bertazza, Federica Vianello, Gianmaria Pennelli and Caterina Mian

Objective

Follicular-derived thyroid cancers generally have a good prognosis, but in a minority of cases, they have an aggressive behavior and develop distant metastases, with an increase in the associated mortality. None of the prognostic markers currently available prior to surgery can identify such cases.

Methods

TERT promoter and BRAF gene mutations were examined in a series of 436 consecutive TIR-4 and TIR-5 nodes referred for surgery. Follow-up (median: 59 months, range: 7–293 months) was available for 384/423 patients with malignant nodes.

Results

TERT promoter and BRAF mutations were detected in 20/436 (4.6%) and 257/434 thyroid nodules (59.2%), respectively. At the end of the follow-up, 318/384 patients (82.8%) had an excellent outcome, 48/384 (12.5%) had indeterminate response or biochemical persistence, 18/384 (4.7%) had a structural persistence or died from thyroid cancer. TERT promoter mutations correlated with older age (P < 0.0001), larger tumor size (P = 0.0002), oxyntic and aggressive PTC variants (P = 0.01), higher tumor stages (P < 0.0001), distant metastases (<0.0001) and disease outcome (P < 0.0001). At multivariate analysis, TERT promoter mutation was not an independent predictor of disease outcome. TERT promoter mutation- (OR: 40.58; 95% CI: 3.06–539.04), and N1b lymph node metastases (OR: 40.16, 95% CI: 3.48–463.04) were independent predictors of distant metastases. BRAF mutation did not predict the outcome, and it correlated with a lower incidence of distant metastases (P = 0.0201).

Conclusions

TERT promoter mutation proved an independent predictor of distant metastases, giving clinicians the chance to identify many of the patients who warranted more aggressive initial treatment and closer follow-up.

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Wouter T Zandee, Richard A Feelders, Daan A Smit Duijzentkunst, Johannes Hofland, R Mick Metselaar, Rogier A Oldenburg, Anne van Linge, Boen L R Kam, Jaap J M Teunissen, Esther Korpershoek, Johanna M Hendriks, Huda Abusaris, Cleo Slagter, Gaston J H Franssen, Tessa Brabander and Wouter W De Herder

Objectives

Inoperable or metastatic paragangliomas (PGLs) and malignant pheochromocytomas (PCCs) are rare tumours with limited options for systemic treatment. Aim of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of the radiolabelled somatostatin analogue (177LutetiumDOTA0-Tyr3)octreotate (177Lu-DOTATATE) for the treatment of PGLs and PCCs.

Methods

Patients with histologically proven inoperable or malignant PGLs and PCCs treated with 177Lu-DOTATATE at our centre were retrospectively analysed. Patients were treated with up to four cycles of 177Lu-DOTATATE with an intended dose of 7.4 Gb per cycle. Response was assessed with use of RECIST 1.1.

Results

Thirty patients were included: 17 with parasympathetic, 10 with sympathetic PGLs and 3 with PCCs. Grade 3/4 subacute haematotoxicity occurred in 6 (20%) of patients. A reversible subacute adverse event due to cardiac failure following possible catecholamine release occurred in two patients. Best tumour response was partial response in 7 (23%) and stable disease in 20 (67%), whereas 3 (10%) patients had progressive disease. In 20 patients with baseline disease progression, tumour control was observed in 17 (85%); the median progression-free survival was 91 months in patients with parasympathetic PGLs, 13 months in patients with sympathetic PGLs and 10 months in patients with metastatic PCCs.

Conclusion

This study suggests that PRRT with 177Lu-DOTATATE is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with inoperable or malignant PGL and PCC.