Treatment of Cushing’s disease (CD) is one of the most challenging tasks in endocrinology. The first-line treatment, transsphenoidal pituitary surgery, is associated with a high failure rate and a high prevalence of recurrence. Re-operation is associated with an even higher rate of a failure and recurrence. There are three main second-line treatments for CD – pituitary radiation therapy (RT), bilateral adrenalectomy and chronic cortisol-lowering medical treatment. All these treatments have their limitations. While bilateral adrenalectomy provides permanent cure of the hypercortisolism in all patients, the unavoidable chronic adrenal insufficiency and the risk of development of Nelson syndrome are of concern. Chronic cortisol-lowering medical treatment is not efficient in all patients and side effects are often a limiting factor. RT is efficient for approximately two-thirds of all patients with CD. However, the high prevalence of pituitary insufficiency is of concern as well as potential optic nerve damage, development of cerebrovascular disease and secondary brain tumours. Thus, when it comes to decide appropriate treatment for patients with CD, who have either failed to achieve remission with pituitary surgery, or patients with recurrence, the pros and cons of all second-line treatment options must be considered.
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Frederic Castinetti, Thierry Brue and Oskar Ragnarsson
Paul Lips, Kevin D Cashman, Christel Lamberg-Allardt, Heike Annette Bischoff-Ferrari, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, Maria Luisa Bianchi, Jan Stepan, Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan and Roger Bouillon
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) <50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL) is common in Europe and the Middle East. It occurs in <20% of the population in Northern Europe, in 30–60% in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe and up to 80% in Middle East countries. Severe deficiency (serum 25(OH)D <30 nmol/L or 12 ng/mL) is found in >10% of Europeans. The European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) advises that the measurement of serum 25(OH)D be standardized, for example, by the Vitamin D Standardization Program. Risk groups include young children, adolescents, pregnant women, older people (especially the institutionalized) and non-Western immigrants. Consequences of vitamin D deficiency include mineralization defects and lower bone mineral density causing fractures. Extra-skeletal consequences may be muscle weakness, falls and acute respiratory infection, and are the subject of large ongoing clinical trials. The ECTS advises to improve vitamin D status by food fortification and the use of vitamin D supplements in risk groups. Fortification of foods by adding vitamin D to dairy products, bread and cereals can improve the vitamin D status of the whole population, but quality assurance monitoring is needed to prevent intoxication. Specific risk groups such as infants and children up to 3 years, pregnant women, older persons and non-Western immigrants should routinely receive vitamin D supplements. Future research should include genetic studies to better define individual vulnerability for vitamin D deficiency, and Mendelian randomization studies to address the effect of vitamin D deficiency on long-term non-skeletal outcomes such as cancer.
Balachandran Kumarendran, Dana Sumilo, Michael W O’Reilly, Konstantinos A Toulis, Krishna M Gokhale, Chandrika N Wijeyaratne, Arri Coomarasamy, Wiebke Arlt, Abd A Tahrani and Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar
Obesity is very common in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Longitudinal studies assessing OSA risk in PCOS and examining the role of obesity are lacking. Our objective was to assess the risk of OSA in women with vs without PCOS and to examine the role of obesity in the observed findings.
Population-based retrospective cohort study utilizing The Health Improvement Network (THIN), UK.
76 978 women with PCOS and 143 077 age-, BMI- and location-matched women without PCOS between January 2000 and May 2017 were identified. Hazard ratio (HR) for OSA among women with and without PCOS were calculated after controlling for confounding variables using multivariate Cox models.
Median patient age was 30 (IQR: 25–35) years; median follow-up was 3.5 (IQR: 1.4–7.1) years. We found 298 OSA cases in PCOS women vs 222 in controls, with incidence rates for OSA of 8.1 and 3.3 per 10 000 person years, respectively. Women with PCOS were at increased risk of developing OSA (adjusted HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.89–2.69, P < 0.001), with similar HRs for normal weight, overweight and obese PCOS women.
Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing OSA compared to control women irrespective of obesity. Considering the significant metabolic morbidity associated with OSA, clinicians should have a low threshold to test for OSA in women with PCOS. Whether OSA treatment has an impact on PCOS symptoms and outcomes needs to be examined.
Hermann L Müller
This review presents an update on current concepts of pathogenesis, diagnostics, multidisciplinary treatment and follow-up care, with special focus on neuropsychological sequelae of childhood-onset craniopharyngioma (CP) based on most recent publications on these topics. Recent insight in molecular pathogenesis of CP opens new perspectives on targeted therapy. Further research to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms and to prevent hypothalamic involvement of CP is warranted. Surgical treatment strategies should be based on a multidisciplinary approach involving experienced teams aiming at posterior hypothalamus-sparing treatment for prevention of quality of life impairments. Centralization of CP treatment in experienced ‘centers of excellence’ is recommended. However, such centralization includes high thresholds concerning infrastructure not achievable in all health systems. Alternatives such as multicenter-based networks used for reference assessments should be considered to assure high standards of treatment quality. Irradiation is efficient in preventing further growth or recurrence in CP patients with residual tumor. Proton beam therapy – available on a wider range in the near future – will help to avoid radiooncological side effects. Novel insights into neuropsychological sequelae after CP should be the basis for the development of future therapeutic neuropsychological interventions. Due to the rareness of the disease, common international efforts in research and treatment are recommended and should lead to an international registry for childhood-onset CP, as a first step toward efficient coordination of scientific and clinical initiatives.
Guy Fagherazzi, Gaelle Gusto, Douae El Fatouhi, Francesca Romana Mancini, Beverley Balkau, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault and Fabrice Bonnet
Previous work suggested no or inconsistent associations between components of work-related stress and type 2 diabetes risk, but suggested sex-specific differences should be further investigated, as women potentially had higher risks.
We analyzed data from 73 517 women, mostly teachers, from the E3N cohort study followed for 22 years (1992–2014), to study the association between mentally tiring work, used as a proxy of job demands, and type 2 diabetes risk. Univariate and multivariable Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
A total of 4187 incident cases of type 2 diabetes cases were observed. There was a higher type 2 diabetes risk for women with a ‘Very mentally tiring work’ when compared to women with ‘Little or not mentally tiring work’ (HR = 1.21 (1.09–1.35)). This association was independent of unhealthy lifestyle and traditional metabolic factors. An interaction between mentally tiring work and BMI was detected (P < 0.0001), with a stronger association being observed in non-overweight women, HR = 1.26 (1.08–1.47) vs HR = 1.14 (0.98, 1.32), in overweight women.
We observed an increased risk of type 2 diabetes associated with mentally tiring work, used as a proxy of job demands. These observational results suggest the importance of taking into consideration the potential long-term metabolic impact of work-related stress for women working in a demanding environment. Increased support for such women should be investigated in intervention studies.
Anne Marie Hannon, Triona O’Shea, Claire A Thompson, Mark J Hannon, Rosemary Dineen, Aftab Khattak, James Gibney, Domhnall J O’Halloran, Steven Hunter, Christopher J Thompson and Mark Sherlock
Pregnancy is rarely reported in acromegaly. Many patients are diagnosed in later life and younger patients may have subfertility due to hypopituitarism. We present a case series of 17 pregnancies in 12 women with acromegaly.
Twelve women with acromegaly who completed pregnancy were identified from centres involved in the Irish Pituitary Study. Eleven women had pituitary macroadenomas and one woman had a microadenoma. Only 5/17 pregnancies had optimal biochemical control of acromegaly preconception, as defined by IGF-1 concentration in the age-related reference level and plasma GH concentration of <2 μg/L. In 6/17 pregnancies, dopamine agonist treatment was continued during pregnancy; all other acromegaly treatments were discontinued during pregnancy.
Effect of pregnancy on acromegaly: No patient developed new visual field abnormalities, or symptoms suggestive of tumour expansion during pregnancy. In 9/12 patients, plasma IGF-1 concentrations that were elevated preconception normalised during pregnancy. There was a reduction in plasma IGF-1 concentrations, though not into the normal range, in a further two pregnancies.
Effect of acromegaly on pregnancy: 15 healthy babies were born at term; one patient underwent emergency C-section at 32 weeks for pre-eclampsia, and one twin pregnancy had an elective C-section at 35 weeks’ gestation. Blood pressure remained within normal limits in the remainder of the pregnancies. Gestational diabetes did not develop in any pregnancy.
Our data suggests that pregnancy in women with acromegaly is generally safe, from a maternal and foetal perspective. Furthermore, biochemical control tends to improve despite the withdrawal of somatostatin analogue therapy during pregnancy.
Guodong Xu, Dingyun You, Liping Wong, Donghui Duan, Fanqian Kong, Xiaohong Zhang, Jinshun Zhao, Wenhua Xing, Liyuan Han and Li Li
Previous studies have shown sex-specific differences in all-cause and CHD mortality in type 2 diabetes. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to provide a global picture of the estimated influence of type 2 diabetes on the risk of all-cause and CHD mortality in women vs men.
We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science for studies published from their starting dates to Aug 7, 2018. The sex-specific hazard ratios (HRs) and their pooled ratio (women vs men) of all-cause and CHD mortality associated with type 2 diabetes were obtained through an inverse variance-weighted random-effects meta-analysis. Subgroup analyses were used to explore the potential sources of heterogeneity.
The 35 analyzed prospective cohort studies included 2 314 292 individuals, among whom 254 038 all-cause deaths occurred. The pooled women vs men ratio of the HRs for all-cause and CHD mortality were 1.17 (95% CI: 1.12–1.23, I 2 = 81.6%) and 1.97 (95% CI: 1.49–2.61, I 2 = 86.4%), respectively. The pooled estimate of the HR for all-cause mortality was approximately 1.30 in articles in which the duration of follow-up was longer than 10 years and 1.10 in articles in which the duration of follow-up was less than 10 years. The pooled HRs for all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes was 2.33 (95% CI: 2.02–2.69) in women and 1.91 (95% CI: 1.72–2.12) in men, compared with their healthy counterparts.
The effect of diabetes on all-cause and CHD mortality is approximately 17 and 97% greater, respectively, for women than for men.
K van der Tuin, M Ventayol Garcia, W E Corver, M N Khalifa, D Ruano Neto, E P M Corssmit, F J Hes, T P Links, J W A Smit, T S Plantinga, E Kapiteijn, T van Wezel and H Morreau
Gene alterations leading to activation of the MAPK pathway are of interest for targeted therapy in patients with advanced radioactive iodine refractory (RAI-R) thyroid carcinoma. Due to technical reasons gene fusion analysis in RNA isolated from formalin-fixed tumor tissues has till now been limited. The objective of the present study was to identify targetable gene rearrangements in RNA isolated from formalin-fixed RAI-R thyroid carcinomas.
Retrospective study in 132 patients with RAI-R thyroid carcinoma (59 papillary-, 24 follicular-, 35 Hürthle cell- and 14 anaplastic thyroid carcinoma).
Total nucleic acid (undivided DNA and RNA) was isolated from formalin-fixed tissue. Extensive gene fusion analysis was performed in all samples that tested negative for pathogenic BRAF, NRAS, HRAS and KRAS variants.
Seven targetable gene fusions were identified in the remaining 60 samples without known DNA variants. This includes frequently reported gene fusions such as CCDC6/RET (PTC1), PRKAR1A/RET (PTC2) and ETV6/NTRK3 , and gene fusions that are less common in thyroid cancer (TPM3/NTRK1, EML4/ALK and EML4/NTRK3). Of note, most gene fusions were detected in papillary thyroid carcinoma and MAPK-associated alterations in Hürthle cell carcinomas are rare (2/35).
Targetable gene fusions were found in 12% of RAI-R thyroid carcinoma without DNA variants and can be effectively identified in formalin-fixed tissue. These gene fusions might provide a preclinical rationale to include specific kinase inhibitors in the treatment regimen for these patients. The latter intends to restore iodine transport and/or take advantage of the direct effect on tumor cell vitality once progressive disease is seen.
Jan Idkowiak, Yasir S Elhassan, Pascoe Mannion, Karen Smith, Rachel Webster, Vrinda Saraff, Timothy G Barrett, Nicholas J Shaw, Nils Krone, Renuka P Dias, Melanie Kershaw, Jeremy M Kirk, Wolfgang Högler, Ruth E Krone, Michael W O’Reilly and Wiebke Arlt
Androgen excess in childhood is a common presentation and may signify sinister underlying pathology. Data describing its patterns and severity are scarce, limiting the information available for clinical decision processes. Here, we examined the differential diagnostic value of serum DHEAS, androstenedione (A4) and testosterone in childhood androgen excess.
Retrospective review of all children undergoing serum androgen measurement at a single center over 5 years.
Serum A4 and testosterone were measured by tandem mass spectrometry and DHEAS by immunoassay. Patients with at least one increased androgen underwent phenotyping by clinical notes review.
In 487 children with simultaneous DHEAS, A4 and testosterone measurements, we identified 199 with androgen excess (140 pre- and 59 post-pubertal). Premature adrenarche (PA) was the most common pre-pubertal diagnosis (61%), characterized by DHEAS excess in 85%, while A4 and testosterone were only increased in 26 and 9% respectively. PCOS was diagnosed in 40% of post-pubertal subjects, presenting equally frequent with isolated excess of DHEAS (29%) or testosterone (25%) or increases in both A4 and testosterone (25%). CAH patients (6%) predominantly had A4 excess (86%); testosterone and DHEAS were increased in 50 and 33% respectively. Concentrations increased above the two-fold upper limit of normal were mostly observed in PA for serum DHEAS (>20-fold in the single case of adrenocortical carcinoma) and in CAH for serum androstenedione.
Patterns and severity of childhood androgen excess provide pointers to the underlying diagnosis and can be used to guide further investigations.
Pouneh K Fazeli, Alexander T Faje, Miriam A Bredella, Sai Polineni, Stephen Russell, Megi Resulaj, Clifford J Rosen and Anne Klibanski
In anorexia nervosa, a psychiatric disease characterized by self-induced starvation and a model of chronic undernutrition, levels of subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue are low, whereas marrow adipose tissue (MAT) levels are elevated compared to normal-weight women. The reason for this paradoxical elevation of an adipose tissue depot in starvation is not known. We sought to understand changes in MAT in response to subacute changes in weight and to compare these changes with those of other fat depots and body composition parameters.
Design and methods
We conducted a 12-month longitudinal study including 46 premenopausal women (n = 26 with anorexia nervosa and n = 20 normal-weight controls) with a mean (s.e.m.) age of 28.2 ± 0.8 years. We measured MAT, SAT, VAT and bone mineral density (BMD) at baseline and after 12 months.
At baseline, SAT (P < 0.0001), VAT (P < 0.02) and BMD of the spine and hip (P ≤ 0.0002) were significantly lower and vertebral and metaphyseal MAT (P ≤ 0.001) significantly higher in anorexia nervosa compared to controls. Weight gain over 12 months was associated with increases not only in SAT and VAT, but also epiphyseal MAT (P < 0.03). Changes in epiphyseal MAT were positively associated with changes in BMD (P < 0.03).
In contrast to the steady state, in which MAT levels are higher in anorexia nervosa and MAT and BMD are inversely associated, short-term weight gain is associated with increases in both MAT and BMD. These longitudinal data demonstrate the dynamic nature of this fat depot and provide further evidence of its possible role in mineral metabolism.