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Clara O Sailer, Bettina Winzeler, Sandrine A Urwyler, Ingeborg Schnyder, Julie Refardt, Anne Eckert, Nimmy Varghese, Martin Fassnacht, Irina Chifu, Elizabeth A Lawson, Joseph G Verbalis, Wiebke Fenske, and Mirjam Christ-Crain


Oxytocin, secreted into circulation through the posterior pituitary, regulates lactation, weight, and socio-behavioral functioning. Oxytocin deficiency has been suggested in patients with hypopituitarism; however, diagnostic testing for oxytocin deficiency has not been developed. The aim of this study was to investigate known pituitary provocation tests to stimulate plasma oxytocin.


Sixty-five healthy volunteers underwent either the hypertonic saline or arginine infusion test, known to stimulate copeptin, or the oral macimorelin test, known to stimulate growth hormone. Plasma oxytocin was measured before and once plasma sodium level ≥ 150 mmol/L for the hypertonic saline, after 60 min for the arginine infusion, and after 45 min for the oral macimorelin test (expected peak of copeptin and growth hormone levels, respectively). Primary outcome was a change from basal to stimulated oxytocin levels using paired t-tests.


As expected, copeptin increased in response to hypertonic saline and arginine infusion (P < 0.001), and growth hormone increased to oral macimorelin (P < 0.001). Oxytocin increased in response to hypertonic saline infusion from 0.4 (0.2) to 0.6 pg/mL (0.3) (P = 0.003) but with a high variance. There was no change to arginine infusion (P = 0.4), and a trend to lower stimulated levels to oral macimorelin (P = 0.05).


Neither the arginine infusion nor the oral macimorelin test stimulates plasma oxytocin levels, whereas there was an increase with high variance upon hypertonic saline infusion. As a predictable rise in most participants is required for a reliable pituitary provocation test, none of the investigated pituitary provocation tests can be recommended diagnostically to identify patients with an oxytocin deficiency.

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Masanori Murakami, Na Sun, Christian Greunke, Annette Feuchtinger, Stefan Kircher, Timo Deutschbein, Thomas Papathomas, Nicole Bechmann, Paal William Wallace, Mirko Peitzsch, Esther Korpershoek, Juliane Friemel, Anne-Paule Gimenez-Roqueplo, Mercedes Robledo, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Achim Weber, Ronald R de Krijger, Martin Fassnacht, Thomas Knösel, Thomas Kirchner, Martin Reincke, Axel Karl Walch, Matthias Kroiss, and Felix Beuschlein


Within the past decade, important genetic drivers of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGLs) development have been identified. The pathophysiological mechanism that translates these alterations into functional autonomy and potentially malignant behavior has not been elucidated in detail. Here we used MALDI-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens to comprehensively characterize the metabolic profiles of PPGLs.

Design and methods

MALDI-MSI was conducted in 344 PPGLs and results correlated with genetic and phenotypic information. We experimentally silenced genetic drivers by siRNA in PC12 cells to confirm their metabolic impact in vitro.


Tissue abundance of kynurenine pathway metabolites such as xanthurenic acid was significantly lower (P = 2.35E−09) in the pseudohypoxia pathway cluster 1 compared to PPGLs of the kinase-driven PPGLs cluster 2. Lower abundance of xanthurenic acid was associated with shorter metastasis-free survival (log-rank tests P = 7.96E−06) and identified as a risk factor for metastasis independent of the genetic status (hazard ratio, 32.6, P = 0.002). Knockdown of Sdhb and Vhl in an in vitro model demonstrated that inositol metabolism and sialic acids were similarly modulated as in tumors of the respective cluster.


The present study has identified distinct tissue metabolomic profiles of PPGLs in relation to tumor genotypes. In addition, we revealed significantly altered metabolites in the kynurenine pathway in metastatic PPGLs, which can aid in the prediction of its malignant potential. However, further validation studies will be required to confirm our findings.

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Fatemeh Majidi, Samuela Martino, Mustafa Kondakci, Christina Antke, Matthias Haase, Vasileios Chortis, Wiebke Arlt, Cristina L Ronchi, Martin Fassnacht, Claire Laurent, Jean-Michel Petit, Olivier Casasnovas, Mouhammed Amir Habra, Aleem Kanji, Roberto Salvatori, An Thi Nhat Ho, Ariadni Spyroglou, Felix Beuschlein, Diego Villa, Wasithep Limvorapitak, Björn Engelbrekt Wahlin, Oliver Gimm, Martina Rudelius, Matthias Schott, Ulrich Germing, Rainer Haas, and Norbert Gattermann


We sought to refine the clinical picture of primary adrenal lymphoma (PAL), a rare lymphoid malignancy with predominant adrenal manifestation and risk of adrenal insufficiency.


Ninety-seven patients from 14 centers in Europe, Canada and the United States were included in this retrospective analysis between 1994 and 2017.


Of the 81 patients with imaging data, 19 (23%) had isolated adrenal involvement (iPAL), while 62 (77%) had additional extra-adrenal involvement (PAL+). Among patients who had both CT and PET scans, 18FDG-PET revealed extra-adrenal involvement not detected by CT scan in 9/18 cases (50%). The most common clinical manifestations were B symptoms (55%), fatigue (45%), and abdominal pain (35%). Endocrinological assessment was often inadequate. With a median follow-up of 41.6 months, 3-year progression-free (PFS) and overall (OS) survival rates in the entire cohort were 35.5% and 39.4%, respectively. The hazard ratios of iPAL for PFS and OS were 40.1 (95% CI: 2.63–613.7, P = 0.008) and 2.69 (95% CI: 0.61–11.89, P = 0.191), respectively. PFS was much shorter in iPAL vs PAL+ (median 4 months vs not reached, P = 0.006), and OS also appeared to be shorter (median 16 months vs not reached), but the difference did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.16). Isolated PAL was more frequent in females (OR = 3.81; P = 0.01) and less frequently associated with B symptoms (OR = 0.159; P = 0.004).


We found unexpected heterogeneity in the clinical spectrum of PAL. Further studies are needed to clarify whether clinical distinction between iPAL and PAL+ is corroborated by differences in molecular biology.

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, Letizia Canu, 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.