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Open access

C T Fuss, M Treitl, N Rayes, P Podrabsky, W K Fenske, D A Heinrich, M Reincke, T-O Petersen, M Fassnacht, M Quinkler, R Kickuth and S Hahner

Objective

Adrenal vein sampling (AVS) represents the current diagnostic standard for subtype differentiation in primary aldosteronism (PA). However, AVS has its drawbacks. It is invasive, expensive, requires an experienced interventional radiologist and comes with radiation exposure. However, exact radiation exposure of patients undergoing AVS has never been examined.

Design and methods

We retrospectively analyzed radiation exposure of 656 AVS performed between 1999 and 2017 at four university hospitals. The primary outcomes were dose area product (DAP) and fluoroscopy time (FT). Consecutively the effective dose (ED) was approximately calculated.

Results

Median DAP was found to be 32.5 Gy*cm2 (0.3–3181) and FT 18 min (0.3–184). The calculated ED was 6.4 mSv (0.1–636). Remarkably, values between participating centers highly varied: Median DAP ranged from 16 to 147 Gy*cm2, FT from 16 to 27 min, and ED from 3.2 to 29 mSv. As main reason for this variation, differences regarding AVS protocols between centers could be identified, such as number of sampling locations, frames per second and the use of digital subtraction angiographies.

Conclusion

This first systematic assessment of radiation exposure in AVS not only shows fairly high values for patients, but also states notable differences among the centers. Thus, we not only recommend taking into account the risk of radiation exposure, when referring patients to undergo AVS, but also to establish improved standard operating procedures to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure.

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Marianne Andersen and Dorte Glintborg

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is common in premenopausal women. The majority of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is higher in women with PCOS compared to controls. In non-pregnant women with PCOS, glycemic status may be assessed by oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) or HbA1c. OGTT has been reckoned gold standard test for diagnosing T2D, but OGTT is rarely used for diagnostic purpose in other non-pregnant individuals at risk of T2D, apart from PCOS. OGTT has questionable reproducibility, and high sensitivity of the 2-h glucose value is at the expense of relatively low specificity, especially regarding impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Furthermore, lean women with PCOS are rarely diagnosed with T2D and only few percent of normal-weight women have prediabetes. Glycemic status is necessary at diagnosis and during follow-up of PCOS, especially in women with high risk of T2D (obesity, previous gestational diabetes (GDM)). We suggest that OGTT should be used in the same situations in PCOS as in other patient groups at risk of T2D. OGTT is indicated for diagnosing GDM; however, OGTT during pregnancy may not be indicated in lean women with PCOS without other risk factors for GDM.

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E B Conemans, L Lodewijk, C B Moelans, G J A Offerhaus, C R C Pieterman, F H Morsink, O M Dekkers, W W de Herder, A R Hermus, A N van der Horst-Schrivers, M L Drent, P H Bisschop, B Havekes, L A A Brosens, K M A Dreijerink, I H M Borel Rinkes, H Th M Timmers, G D Valk and M R Vriens

Objective

Epigenetic changes contribute to pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PanNET) development. Hypermethylation of promoter DNA as a cause of tumor suppressor gene silencing is a well-established oncogenic mechanism that is potentially reversible and therefore an interesting therapeutic target. Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is the most frequent cause of inherited PanNETs. The aim of this study was to determine promoter methylation profiles in MEN1-related PanNETs.

Design and methods

Methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification was used to assess promoter methylation of 56 tumor suppressor genes in MEN1-related (n = 61) and sporadic (n = 34) PanNETs. Differences in cumulative methylation index (CMI), individual methylation percentages and frequency of promoter hypermethylation between subgroups were analyzed.

Results

We found promoter methylation of a large number of potential tumor suppressor genes. CMI (median CMI: 912 vs 876, P = 0.207) was the same in MEN1-related and sporadic PanNETs. We found higher methylation percentages of CASP8 in MEN1-related PanNETs (median: 59% vs 16.5%, P = 0.002). In MEN1-related non-functioning PanNETs, the CMI was higher in larger PanNETs (>2 cm) (median: 969.5 vs 838.5; P = 0.021) and in PanNETs with liver metastases (median: 1036 vs 869; P = 0.013). Hypermethylation of MGMT2 was more frequent in non-functioning PanNETs compared to insulinomas (median: 44.7% vs 8.3%; P = 0.022). Hypermethylation of the Von Hippel–Lindau gene promoter was observed in one MEN1-related PanNET and was associated with loss of protein expression.

Conclusion

Promoter hypermethylation is a frequent event in MEN1-related and sporadic PanNETs. Targeting DNA methylation could be of therapeutic value in MEN1 patients with advanced PanNETs.

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Eyun Song, Min Ji Jeon, Hye-Seon Oh, Minkyu Han, Yu-Mi Lee, Tae Yong Kim, Ki-Wook Chung, Won Bae Kim, Young Kee Shong, Dong Eun Song and Won Gu Kim

Objective

Evidence for unfavorable outcomes of each type of aggressive variant papillary thyroid carcinoma (AV-PTC) is not clear because most previous studies are focused on tall cell variant (TCV) and did not control for other major confounding factors contributing to clinical outcomes.

Design

Retrospective cohort study.

Methods

This study included 763 patients with classical PTC (cPTC) and 144 with AV-PTC, including TCV, columnar cell variant (CCV) and hobnail variants. Disease-free survival (DFS) and dynamic risk stratification (DRS) were compared after two-to-one propensity score matching by age, sex, tumor size, lymph node metastasis and extrathyroidal extension.

Results

The AV-PTC group had significantly lower DFS rates than its matched cPTC group (HR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.12–4.16, P = 0.018). When TCV and CCV were evaluated separately, there was no significant differences in DFS and DRS between patients with TCV (n = 121) and matched cPTC. However, CCV group (n = 18) had significantly poorer DFS than matched cPTC group (HR = 12.19, 95% CI: 2.11–70.33, P = 0.005). In DRS, there were significantly more patients with structural incomplete responses in CCV group compared by matched cPTC group (P = 0.047). CCV was an independent risk factor for structural persistent/recurrent disease in multivariate analysis (HR = 4.28; 95% CI: 1.66–11.00, P = 0.001).

Conclusions

When other clinicopathological factors were similar, patients with TCV did not exhibit unfavorable clinical outcome, whereas those with CCV had significantly poorer clinical outcome. Individualized therapeutic approach might be necessary for each type of AV-PTCs.

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Lenore DeMartino, Rebecca McMahon, Michele Caggana and Norma P Tavakoli

Objective

Newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is based on testing for the markers thyroxine (T4) and/or thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Diagnosis of CH is complicated because many factors affect the levels of these hormones including infant birth weight, prematurity and age at specimen collection. We investigated whether the sex of the newborn affected the levels of T4 and TSH and consequently the outcome of newborn screening.

Design

In New York State, the Newborn Screening program initially tests all infants for T4 and any baby with a result in the lowest 10% is triaged for TSH screening. We analyzed data from 2008 to 2016 to determine mean and median T4 and TSH values and how these results correlate with the sex of infants who are reported as borderline, referred and confirmed with CH.

Methods

T4 and TSH concentrations in dried blood spots were measured using commercially available fluoroimmunoassays.

Results

From 2008 to 2016, of the 2.4 million specimens tested for thyroxine, 51.5% were from male and 48.5% were from female infants. Male infants constituted 60% of specimens triaged for TSH testing, 64.9% of repeat requests and 59.6% of referrals, but only 49% of confirmed CH cases. The mean and median T4 values were lower (a difference of approximately 0.8–1.1 μg/dL each year) and the median TSH values were higher in male compared to female infants.

Conclusions

Natural differences in thyroid hormone levels in male and female infants leads to male infants being disproportionately represented in the false-positive category.

Free access

Luca Persani, Tiziana de Filippis, Carla Colombo and Davide Gentilini

The technological advancements in genetics produced a profound impact on the research and diagnostics of non-communicable diseases. The availability of next-generation sequencing (NGS) allowed the identification of novel candidate genes but also an in-depth modification of the understanding of the architecture of several endocrine diseases. Several different NGS approaches are available allowing the sequencing of several regions of interest or the whole exome or genome (WGS, WES or targeted NGS), with highly variable costs, potentials and limitations that should be clearly known before designing the experiment. Here, we illustrate the NGS scenario, describe the advantages and limitations of the different protocols and review some of the NGS results obtained in different endocrine conditions. We finally give insights on the terminology and requirements for the implementation of NGS in research and diagnostic labs.

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Cheol Ryong Ku, Thierry Brue, Katharina Schilbach, Stanislav Ignatenko, Sandor Magony, Yoon-Sok Chung, Byung-Joon Kim, Kyu Yeon Hur, Ho-Cheol Kang, Jung Hee Kim, Min Seon Kim, Aldona Kowalska, Marek Bolanowski, Marek Ruchala, Svetozar Damjanovic, Juraj Payer, Yun Jung Choi, Su Jin Heo, Tae Kyoung Kim, MinKyu Heo, Joan Lee and Eun Jig Lee

Objective

Hybrid Fc-fused rhGH (GX-H9) is a long-acting recombinant human growth hormone (GH) under clinical development for both adults and children with GH deficiency (GHD). We compared the safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of weekly and every other week (EOW) dosages of GX-H9 with those of daily GH administration in adult GHD (AGHD) patients.

Design

This was a randomized, open-label, active-controlled and dose-escalation study conducted in 16 endocrinology centers in Europe and Korea.

Methods

Forty-five AGHD patients with or without prior GH treatment were enrolled. Patients with prior GH treatments were required to have received the last GH administration at least 1 month prior to randomization. Subjects were sequentially assigned to treatment groups. Fifteen subjects were enrolled to each treatment group and randomly assigned to receive either GX-H9 or Genotropin (4:1 ratio). GX-H9 dosage regimens for Groups 1, 2 and 3 were 0.1 mg/kg weekly, 0.3 mg/kg EOW and 0.2 mg/kg EOW, respectively. All Genotropin-assigned subjects received 6 µg/kg Genotropin, regardless of treatment group. Main outcome analyses included measurements of serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I), safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and immunogenicity.

Results

Mean GX-H9 peak and total exposure increased with an increase in dose after a single-dose administration. The mean IGF-I response was sustained above baseline over the intended dose interval of 168 h for the weekly and 336 h for the EOW GX-H9 groups. Safety profiles and immunogenicity were not different across the treatment groups and with Genotropin.

Conclusions

GX-H9 has the potential for up to twice-monthly administration.

Free access

Ilpo Huhtaniemi

The two pituitary gonadotrophins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and in particular LH-stimulated high intratesticular testosterone (ITT) concentration, are considered crucial for spermatogenesis. We have revisited these concepts in genetically modified mice, one being the LH receptor (R)-knockout mouse (LuRKO), the other a transgenic mouse expressing in Sertoli cells a highly constitutively active mutated Fshr (Fshr-CAM). It was found that full spermatogenesis was induced by exogenous testosterone treatment in LuRKO mice at doses that restored ITT concentration to a level corresponding to the normal circulating testosterone level in WT mice, ≈5 nmol/L, which is 1.4% of the normal high ITT concentration. When hypogonadal LuRKO and Fshr-CAM mice were crossed, the double-mutant mice with strong FSH signaling, but minimal testosterone production, showed near-normal spermatogenesis, even when their residual androgen action was blocked with the strong antiandrogen flutamide. In conclusion, our findings challenge two dogmas of the hormonal regulation of male fertility: (1) high ITT concentration is not necessary for spermatogenesis and (2) strong FSH stimulation can maintain spermatogenesis without testosterone. These findings have clinical relevance for the development of hormonal male contraception and for the treatment of idiopathic oligozoospermia.

Free access

Mamta N Joshi, Benjamin C Whitelaw and Paul V Carroll

Hypophysitis is a rare condition characterised by inflammation of the pituitary gland, usually resulting in hypopituitarism and pituitary enlargement. Pituitary inflammation can occur as a primary hypophysitis (most commonly lymphocytic, granulomatous or xanthomatous disease) or as secondary hypophysitis (as a result of systemic diseases, immunotherapy or alternative sella-based pathologies). Hypophysitis can be classified using anatomical, histopathological and aetiological criteria. Non-invasive diagnosis of hypophysitis remains elusive, and the use of currently available serum anti-pituitary antibodies are limited by low sensitivity and specificity. Newer serum markers such as anti-rabphilin 3A are yet to show consistent diagnostic value and are not yet commercially available. Traditionally considered a very rare condition, the recent recognition of IgG4-related disease and hypophysitis as a consequence of use of immune modulatory therapy has resulted in increased understanding of the pathophysiology of hypophysitis. Modern imaging techniques, histological classification and immune profiling are improving the accuracy of the diagnosis of the patient with hypophysitis. The objective of this review is to bring readers up-to-date with current understanding of conditions presenting as hypophysitis, focussing on recent advances and areas for future development. We describe the presenting features, investigation and diagnostic approach of the patient with likely hypophysitis, including existing conventional techniques and those in the research/development arena. Hypophysitis usually results in acute and persistent pituitary hormone deficiency requiring long-term replacement. Management of hypophysitis includes control of the inflammatory pituitary mass using a variety of treatment strategies including surgery and medical therapy. Glucocorticoids remain the mainstay of medical treatment but other immunosuppressive agents (e.g. azathioprine, rituximab) show benefit in some cases, but there is a need for controlled studies to inform practice.

Free access

Walter L Miller

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of genetic disorders of adrenal steroidogenesis that impair cortisol synthesis, with compensatory increases in ACTH leading to hyperplastic adrenals. The term ‘CAH’ is generally used to mean ‘steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency’ (21OHD) as 21OHD accounts for about 95% of CAH in most populations; the incidences of the rare forms of CAH vary with ethnicity and geography. These forms of CAH are easily understood on the basis of the biochemistry of steroidogenesis. Defects in the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, StAR, disrupt all steroidogenesis and are the second-most common form of CAH in Japan and Korea; very rare defects in the cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, P450scc, are clinically indistinguishable from StAR defects. Defects in 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which also causes disordered sexual development, were once thought to be fairly common, but genetic analyses show that steroid measurements are generally unreliable for this disorder. Defects in 17-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase ablate synthesis of sex steroids and also cause mineralocorticoid hypertension; these are common in Brazil and in China. Isolated 17,20-lyase deficiency can be caused by rare mutations in at least three different proteins. P450 oxidoreductase (POR) is a co-factor used by 21-hydroxylase, 17-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase and aromatase; various POR defects, found in different populations, affect these enzymes differently. 11-Hydroxylase deficiency is the second-most common form of CAH in European populations but the retention of aldosterone synthesis distinguishes it from 21OHD. Aldosterone synthase deficiency is a rare salt-losing disorder. Mild, ‘non-classic’ defects in all of these factors have been described. Both the severe and non-classic disorders can be treated if recognized.