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Rosemary Dineen, Julie Martin-Grace, Khalid Mohamed Saeed Ahmed, Isolda Frizelle, Anjuli Gunness, Aoife Garrahy, Anne Marie Hannon, Michael W O’Reilly, Diarmuid Smith, John McDermott, Marie-Louise Healy, Amar Agha, Agnieszka Pazderska, James Gibney, Chris J Thompson, Lucy-Ann Behan, and Mark Sherlock

Background

Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and reduced quality of life (QoL). Optimum glucocorticoid (GC) dosing and timing are crucial in the treatment of AI, yet the natural circadian secretion of cortisol is difficult to mimic. The once-daily dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) preparation (Plenadren®), offers a more physiological cortisol profile and may address unmet needs.

Methods

An investigator-initiated, prospective, cross-over study in patients with AI. Following baseline assessment of cardiometabolic risk factors and QoL, patients switched from their usual hydrocortisone regimen to a once-daily dose equivalent of DR-HC and were reassessed after 12 weeks of treatment.

Results

Fifty-one patients (21 PAI/30 SAI) completed the study. Mean age was 41.6 years (s.d. 13), and 58% (n = 30) were male. The median daily HC dose before study entry was 20 mg (IQR 15–20 mg). After 3 months on DR-HC, the mean SBP decreased by 5.7 mmHg, P = 0.0019 and DBP decreased by 4.5 mmHg, P = 0.0011. There was also a significant reduction in mean body weight (−1.23 kg, P = 0.006) and BMI (−0.3 kg/m2, P = 0.003). In a sub-analysis, there was a greater reduction in SBP observed in patients with SAI when compared to PAI post-DR-HC. Patients reported significant improvements in QoL using three validated QoL questionnaires, with a greater improvement in PAI.

Conclusion

Dual-release hydrocortisone decreases BP, weight and BMI compared with conventional HC treatment, even at physiological GC replacement doses. Additionally, DR-HC confers significant improvements in QoL compared to immediate-release HC, particularly in patients with PAI, which is also reflected in the patient preference for DR-HC.

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Konstantina Vouzouneraki, Daniela Esposito, Sebastian Mukka, Daniel Granfeldt, Oskar Ragnarsson, Per Dahlqvist, and Daniel S Olsson

Objective

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is common in patients with acromegaly, with a reported prevalence of 19–64%. We studied CTS in a large national cohort of patients with acromegaly and the temporal relationship between the two diagnoses.

Design

Retrospective, nationwide, cohort study including patients diagnosed with acromegaly in Sweden, 2005–2017, identified in the Swedish Healthcare Registries.

Methods

CTS (diagnosis and surgery in specialised healthcare) was analysed from 8.5 years before the diagnosis of acromegaly until death or end of the study. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% CIs were calculated for CTS with the Swedish population as reference.

Results

The analysis included 556 patients with acromegaly (50% women) diagnosed at mean (s.d.) age 50.1 (15.0) years. During the study period, 48 patients were diagnosed with CTS and 41 patients underwent at least one CTS surgery. In the latter group, 35 (85%) were operated for CTS before the acromegaly diagnosis; mean interval (range) 2.2 (0.3–8.5) years and the SIR for having CTS surgery before the diagnosis of acromegaly was 6.6 (4.8–8.9). Women with acromegaly had a higher risk for CTS than men (hazard ratio: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.3–4.7).

Conclusions

Patients with acromegaly had a 6-fold higher incidence for CTS surgery before the diagnosis of acromegaly compared with the general population. The majority of patients with both diagnoses were diagnosed with CTS prior to acromegaly. Increased awareness of signs of acromegaly in patients with CTS might help to shorten the diagnostic delay in acromegaly, especially in women.

Open access

Dina B Stensen, Lars Småbrekke, Karina Olsen, Guri Grimnes, Christopher Sivert Nielsen, Johanna U E Sollid, Gunnar Skov Simonsen, Bjørg Almås, and Anne-Sofie Furberg

Objective

Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen, and nasal carriers have an increased risk for infection and disease. The exploration of host determinants for nasal carriage is relevant to decrease infection burden. Former studies demonstrate lower carriage prevalence in women and among users of progestin-only contraceptives. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible associations between circulating sex-steroid hormones and nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in a general population.

Methods

In the population-based sixth Tromsø study (2007–2008) nurses collected nasal swab samples from 724 women aged 30–87 not using any exogenous hormones, and 700 of the women had a repeated nasal swab taken (median interval 28 days). We analysed a panel of serum sex-steroids by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, and collected information about lifestyle, health and anthropometric measures. Multivariable logistic regression was used to study the association between circulating sex-steroids and Staphylococcus aureus carriage (one swab) and persistent carriage (two swabs), while adjusting for potential confounding factors. Women in luteal phase were excluded in the analysis of androgens.

Results

Staphylococcus aureus persistent nasal carriage prevalence was 22%. One standard deviation increase in testosterone and bioavailable testosterone was associated with lower odds of persistent nasal carriage, (OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.35–0.92 and OR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.30–0.92) respectively. Analysis stratified by menopause gave similar findings. Persistent carriers had lower average levels of androstenedione and DHEA, however, not statistically significant.

Conclusion

This large population-based study supports that women with lower levels of circulating testosterone may have increased probability of Staphylococcus aureus persistent carriage.

Open access

Peter Bang, Joachim Woelfle, Valerie Perrot, Caroline Sert, and Michel Polak

Objective

The European Increlex® Growth Forum Database Registry monitors the effectiveness and safety of recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1 (rhIGF1; mecasermin, Increlex®) therapy in patients with severe primary IGF1 deficiency (SPIGFD). We present data from patients with and without a reported genetic diagnosis of Laron syndrome (LS).

Design

Ongoing, open-label, observational registry (NCT00903110).

Methods

Children and adolescents receiving rhIGF1 therapy from 10 European countries were enrolled in 2008–2017 (n = 242). The treatment-naïve/prepubertal (NPP) cohort (n = 138) was divided into subgroups based on reported genetic diagnosis of LS (n = 21) or non-LS (n = 117). Multivariate analysis of the NPP-non-LS subgroup was conducted to identify factors predictive of growth response (first-year-height standard deviation score (SDS) gain ≥ 0.3). Assessments included change in height and weight over 5 years and adverse events (AEs).

Results

Height SDS gain from baseline was greater in the NPP-LS than the NPP-non-LS subgroup after 1 years’ treatment (P < 0.05). In the NPP-non-LS subgroup, 56% were responders; young age at baseline was a positive independent predictive factor (P < 0.001). NPP-non-LS-responders and the NPP-LS subgroup had a similar mean age (6.07 years vs 7.00 years) at baseline and height SDS gain in year 1 (0.64 vs 0.70), although NPP-non-LS-responders were taller (P < 0.001) at baseline. BMI SDS changes did not differ across subgroups. Treatment-emergent AEs were experienced by 65.3% of patients; hypoglycaemia was most common.

Conclusions

In most NPP children with SPIGFD, with or without LS, rhIGF1 therapy promotes linear growth. The safety profile was consistent with previous studies.

Open access

Xiaozhen Ye, Heng Zhao, Jun Liu, Bin Lu, Jiaqing Shao, and Jian Wang

Background

Tripterygium glycosides (TG) has been used to treat a spectrum of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Our preliminary studies have shown that TG is effective in the treatment of active Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO).

Objective

We aimed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of TG with intravenous methylprednisolone (iv.MP) in patients with active moderate-to-severe GO.

Methods

This study was an observer-masked, single-centre, block-randomised trial. Patients with active moderate-to-severe GO were randomly assigned to receive iv.MP (500 mg once per week for 6 weeks followed by 250 mg per week for 6 weeks) or with TG (20 mg tablet three times per day for 24 weeks). The primary endpoints were the overall response rate and the patients’ quality of life at 12 and 24 weeks.

Results

In this study, 161 patients were enrolled and randomised from 2015 to 2019. A total of 79 were randomly assigned to receive iv.MP and 82 to receive TG. A greater overall response rate was found in the TG group compared with the iv.MP group at week 24 (90.2% vs 68.4%, P = 0.000). Similarly, the patients’ quality of life of the TG group showed a significantly higher response than the iv.MP group at week 24 (89.02% vs 72.15%, P = 0.001). The TG therapy showed a better CAS response than the iv.MP (91.5% vs 70.9% improved, P < 0.05), and up to 91.2% of patients were inactive. Also, the TG group showed a significantly higher improved rate of diplopia, proptosis, visual acuity, soft tissue involved and the decrease of eye muscle motility than the iv.MP group at week 24. Significantly more patients in the iv.MP group than the TG group experienced adverse events.

Conclusion

Compared with iv.MP treatment, TG therapy is more effective and safer for patients with active moderate to severe GO.

Free access

Davide Calebiro

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of membrane receptors and major drug targets. They play a fundamental role in the endocrine system, where they mediate the effects of several hormones and neurotransmitters. As a result, alterations of GPCR signalling are a major cause of endocrine disorders such as congenital hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome. My group develops innovative optical methods such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and single-molecule microscopy, which allow us to investigate GPCR signalling in living cells with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. Using this innovative approach, we have contributed to elucidate some long-debated questions about the mechanisms of GPCR signalling and their involvement in human disease. Among other findings, these studies have led to the unexpected discovery that GPCRs are not only signalling at the cell surface, as previously assumed, but also at various intracellular sites. This has important implications to understand how hormones and neurotransmitters produce specific responses in our cells and might pave the way to innovative treatments for common diseases like diabetes or heart failure.

Free access

Joakim Crona, Eric Baudin, Massimo Terzolo, Alexandra Chrisoulidou, Anna Angelousi, Cristina L Ronchi, Cristina Lamas Oliveira, Els J M Nieveen van Dijkum, Filippo Ceccato, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Giuseppe Reimondo, Guido A M Tiberi, Hester Ettaieb, Andreas Kiriakopoulos, Canu Letizia, Darko Kastelan, Esthr Osher, Eugenia Yiannakopoulou, Giorgio Arnaldi, Guillaume Assié, Isabel Paiva, Isabelle Bourdeau, John Newell-Price, Karolina M Nowak, M Tous Romero, Maria Cristina De Martino, Maria João Bugalho, Mark Sherlock, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, Michael Conall Dennedy, Paula Loli, Patrice Rodien, Richard Feelders, Ronald de Krijger, Sam Van Slycke, Simon Aylwin, Valentina Morelli, Laurent Vroonen, Zulfiya Shafigullina, Irina Bancos, Małgorzata Trofimiuk-Müldner, Marcus Quinkler, Michaela Luconi, Matthias Kroiss, Mitsuhide Naruse, Peter Igaz, Radu Mihai, Silvia Della Casa, Alfredo Berruti, Martin Fassnacht, and Felix Beuschlein

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an orphan disease lacking effective systemic treatment options. The low incidence of the disease and high cost of clinical trials are major obstacles in the search for improved treatment strategies. As a novel approach, registry-based clinical trials have been introduced in clinical research, so allowing for significant cost reduction, but without compromising scientific benefit. Herein, we describe how the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumours (ENSAT) could transform its current registry into one fit for a clinical trial infrastructure. The rationale to perform randomized registry-based trials in ACC is outlined including an analysis of relevant limitations and challenges. We summarize a survey on this concept among ENSAT members who expressed a strong interest in the concept and rated its scientific potential as high. Legal aspects, including ethical approval of registry-based randomization were identified as potential obstacles. Finally, we describe three potential randomized registry-based clinical trials in an adjuvant setting and for advanced disease with a high potential to be executed within the framework of an advanced ENSAT registry. Thus we, therefore, provide the basis for future registry-based trials for ACC patients. This could ultimately provide proof-of-principle of how to perform more effective randomized trials for an orphan disease.

Open access

Luciana Martel-Duguech, Jens Otto L Jorgensen, Márta Korbonits, Gudmundur Johannsson, Susan M Webb, and the ESE AGHD Study Group for a Pan-European audit

Guidelines recommend adults with pituitary disease in whom GH therapy is contemplated, to be tested for GH deficiency (AGHD); however, clinical practice is not uniform.

Aims

(1) To record current practice of AGHD management throughout Europe and benchmark it against guidelines; (2) To evaluate educational status of healthcare professionals about AGHD.

Design

Online survey in endocrine centres throughout Europe.

Patients and methods

Endocrinologists voluntarily completed an electronic questionnaire regarding AGHD patients diagnosed or treated in 2017–2018.

Results

Twenty-eight centres from 17 European countries participated, including 2139 AGHD patients, 28% of childhood-onset GHD. Aetiology was most frequently non-functioning pituitary adenoma (26%), craniopharyngioma (13%) and genetic/congenital midline malformations (13%). Diagnosis of GHD was confirmed by a stimulation test in 52% (GHRH+arginine: 45%; insulin-tolerance: 42%, glucagon: 6%; GHRH alone and clonidine tests: 7%); in the remaining, ≥3 pituitary deficiencies and low serum IGF-I were diagnostic. Initial GH dose was lower in older patients, but only women <26 years were prescribed a higher dose than men; dose titration was based on normal serum IGF-I, tolerance and side-effects. In one country, AGHD treatment was not approved. Full public reimbursement was not available in four countries and only in childhood-onset GHD in another. AGHD awareness was low among non-endocrine professionals and healthcare administrators. Postgraduate AGHD curriculum training deserves being improved.

Conclusion

Despite guideline recommendations, GH replacement in AGHD is still not available or reimbursed in all European countries. Knowledge among professionals and health administrators needs improvement to optimise the care of adults with GHD.

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Arrate Pereda, Francesca M Elli, Suzanne Thiele, Luisa de Sanctis, Anya Rothenbuhler, Patrick Hanna, Bruno Francou, Diana Alexandra Ertl, Guiomar Perez de Nanclares, Agnès Linglart, and Giovanna Mantovani

Objective

Pseudohypoparathyroidism and related disorders belong to a group of heterogeneous rare diseases that share an impaired signaling downstream of Gsα-protein-coupled receptors. Affected patients may present with various combination of symptoms including resistance to PTH and/or to other hormones, ectopic ossifications, brachydactyly type E, early onset obesity, short stature and cognitive difficulties. Several years ago we proposed a novel nomenclature under the term of inactivating PTH/PTHrP signaling disorders (iPPSD). It is now of utmost importance to validate these criteria and/or improve the basis of this new classification.

Design

Retrospective study of a large international series of 459 probands and 85 relatives molecularly characterized.

Methods

Information on major and minor criteria associated with iPPSD and genetic results were retrieved from patient files. We compared the presence of each criteria according to the iPPSD subtype, age and gender of the patients.

Results

More than 98% of the probands met the proposed criteria for iPPSD classification. Noteworthy, most patients (85%) presented a combination of symptoms rather than a single sign suggestive of iPPSD and the overlap among the different genetic forms of iPPSD was confirmed. The clinical and molecular characterization of relatives identified familial history as an additional important criterion predictive of the disease.

Conclusions

The phenotypic analysis of this large cohort confirmed the utility of the major and minor criteria and their combination to diagnose iPPSD. This report shows the importance of having simple and easily recognizable signs to diagnose with confidence these rare disorders and supports a better management of patients.

Free access

Alice J Sitch, Olaf M Dekkers, Barnaby R Scholefield, and Yemisi Takwoingi

Diagnostic accuracy studies are fundamental for the assessment of diagnostic tests. Researchers need to understand the implications of their chosen design, opting for comparative designs where possible. Researchers should analyse test accuracy studies using the appropriate methods, acknowledging the uncertainty of results and avoiding overstating conclusions and ignoring the clinical situation which should inform the trade-off between sensitivity and specificity. Test accuracy studies should be reported with transparency using the STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies (STARD) checklist.