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Free access

Daniel A Heinrich, Christian Adolf, Marcus Quinkler, Finn Holler, Benjamin Lechner, Nina Nirschl, Lisa Sturm, Veronika Görge, Felix Beuschlein, and Martin Reincke

Objective

Saline infusion test (SIT) and captopril challenge test (CCT) are standard confirmatory procedures routinely used in the diagnostic work-up of primary aldosteronism (PA). However, side effects and complications during testing have not been systematically studied.

Design

We performed a cohort study with patients undergoing SIT and/or CCT in two centers from 2016 until 2018.

Methods

We studied 272 study participants with suspected PA enrolled at two outpatient centers in Germany. We assessed the frequency and severity of side effects during adjustment of blood pressure medication and during SIT and CCT.

Results

During the adjustment phase prior confirmatory testing, side effects including palpitations, headaches, edema and hypertensive episodes occurred in 18.4% of study participants. Side effects were associated with higher defined daily doses (DDD) (r = 0.25, P < 0.005), number of antihypertensive drugs (r = 0.285, P < 0.005) and higher blood pressure (r = 0.145, P = 0.019). During SIT, 17.5% of study participants had side effects, associated with higher blood pressure (systolic: r = 0.541, P < 0.0005; diastolic: r = 0.426, P < 0.0005) and DDDs (r = 0.727, P < 0.0005). During CCT, only 1.5% of study participants developed side effects.

Conclusions

In contrast to the high rate of side effects during SIT, CCT appears to be the safer test with a very low event rate. This makes CCT especially suitable for severely hypertensive patients.

Free access

Zoran Erlic, Max Kurlbaum, Timo Deutschbein, Svenja Nölting, Aleksander Prejbisz, Henri Timmers, Susan Richter, Cornelia Prehn, Dirk Weismann, Jerzy Adamski, Andrzej Januszewicz, Martin Reincke, Martin Fassnacht, Mercedes Robledo, Graeme Eisenhofer, Felix Beuschlein, and Matthias Kroiss

Objective

Excess catecholamine release by pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) leads to characteristic clinical features and increased morbidity and mortality. The influence of PPGLs on metabolism is ill described but may impact diagnosis and management. The objective of this study was to systematically and quantitatively study PPGL-induced metabolic changes at a systems level.

Design

Targeted metabolomics by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of plasma specimens in a clinically well-characterized prospective cohort study.

Methods

Analyses of metabolic profiles of plasma specimens from 56 prospectively enrolled and clinically well-characterized patients (23 males, 33 females) with catecholamine-producing PPGL before and after surgery, as well as measurement of 24-h urinary catecholamine using LC-MS/MS.

Results

From 127 analyzed metabolites, 15 were identified with significant changes before and after surgery: five amino acids/biogenic amines (creatinine, histidine, ornithine, sarcosine, tyrosine) and one glycerophospholipid (PCaeC34:2) with increased concentrations and six glycerophospholipids (PCaaC38:1, PCaaC42:0, PCaeC40:2, PCaeC42:5, PCaeC44:5, PCaeC44:6), two sphingomyelins (SMC24:1, SMC26:1) and hexose with decreased levels after surgery. Patients with a noradrenergic tumor phenotype had more pronounced alterations compared to those with an adrenergic tumor phenotype. Weak, but significant correlations for 8 of these 15 metabolites with total urine catecholamine levels were identified.

Conclusions

This first large prospective metabolomics analysis of PPGL patients demonstrates broad metabolic consequences of catecholamine excess. Robust impact on lipid and amino acid metabolism may contribute to increased morbidity of PPGL patients.

Restricted access

Lucas Bouys, Anna Vaczlavik, Anne Jouinot, Patricia Vaduva, Stéphanie Espiard, Guillaume Assié, Rosella Libe, Karine Perlemoine, Bruno Ragazzon, Laurence Guignat, Lionel Groussin, Léopoldine Bricaire, Isadora Pontes Cavalcante, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Hervé Lefebvre, Marie-Laure Raffin-Sanson, Nicolas Chevalier, Philippe Touraine, Christel Jublanc, Camille Vatier, Gerald Raverot, Magalie Haissaguerre, Luigi Maione, Matthias Kroiss, Martin Fassnacht, Sophie Christin-Maitre, Eric Pasmant, Francoise Borson-Chazot, Antoine Tabarin, Marie Christine Vantyghem, Martin Reincke, Peter Kamenicky, Marie-Odile North, and Jérôme Bertherat

Objective: Primary Bilateral Macronodular Adrenal Hyperplasia (PBMAH) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by adrenal macronodules and variable levels of cortisol excess, with not clearly established clinical diagnostic criteria. It can be caused by ARMC5 germline pathogenic variants. We aimed to identify predictive criteria for ARMC5 variants.

Methods: We included 352 consecutive index patients from 12 European centers, sequenced for germline ARMC5 alteration. Clinical, biological and imaging data were collected retrospectively.

Results: 52 patients (14.8%) carried ARMC5 germline pathogenic variants and showed a more distinct phenotype than non-mutated patients for cortisol excess (24-hour urinary free cortisol 2.32 vs 1.11-fold ULN, respectively, p<0.001) and adrenal morphology (maximal adrenal diameter 104 vs 83 mm, respectively, p<0.001); and were more often surgically or medically treated (67.9 vs 36.8%, respectively, p<0.001). ARMC5-mutated patients showed a constant bilateral adrenal involvement and at least a possible autonomous cortisol secretion (defined by a plasma cortisol after 1 mg dexamethasone suppression above 50 nmol/L) while these criteria were not systematic in wild-type patients (78.3%). The association of these two criteria holds a 100% sensitivity and a 100% negative predictive value for ARMC5 pathogenic variant.

Conclusion: We report the largest series of index patients investigated for ARMC5 and confirm that ARMC5 pathogenic variants are associated with a more severe phenotype in most cases. To minimize negative ARMC5 screening, genotyping should be limited to clear bilateral adrenal involvement and autonomous cortisol secretion, with an optimum sensitivity for routine clinical practice. These findings will also help to better define PBMAH diagnostic criteria.

Free access

Luis G Pérez-Rivas, Marily Theodoropoulou, Troy H Puar, Julia Fazel, Mareike R Stieg, Francesco Ferraù, Guillaume Assié, Monica R Gadelha, Timo Deutschbein, Maria C Fragoso, Benno Kusters, Wolfgang Saeger, Jürgen Honegger, Michael Buchfelder, Márta Korbonits, Jérôme Bertherat, Günter K Stalla, Ad R Hermus, Felix Beuschlein, and Martin Reincke

Objective

Somatic mutations in the ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) gene are frequent in corticotroph tumors causing Cushing’s disease (CD). Corticotroph tumor progression, the so-called Nelson’s syndrome (NS), is a potentially life-threatening complication of bilateral adrenalectomy in patients with refractory CD that is caused by the development of an ACTH-secreting tumor of the pituitary gland. Whether USP8 alterations are also present in progressive Nelson’s tumors has not been studied in detail so far.

Design and Methods

Retrospective, multicenter study involving tumors from 33 patients with progressive corticotroph tumors (29 females) and screening for somatic mutations on the mutational hotspot of the USP8 gene in the exon 14 with Sanger sequencing.

Results

Fifteen out of 33 tumors (45%) presented with a mutation in the exon 14 of USP8, with c.2159C>A (p.Pro720Gln) being the most frequent (9/33), followed by c.2155_2157delTCC (p.Ser718del, 4/33) and c.2152T>C (p.Ser718Pro, 2/33). This prevalence is similar to that previously reported for CD. Mutations were found exclusively in females. Other variables, such as age at diagnosis with NS, body mass index, hyperpigmentation, visual field defects, adenoma size or mortality, did not significantly differ between patients with wild-type and mutant tumors. Patients with USP8 mutant tumors exhibited higher levels of plasma ACTH after surgery (median: 640 vs 112 pg/mL, P = 0.03). No differences were observed in ACTH normalization (<50 pg/mL) and tumor control after surgery for Nelson’s tumor.

Conclusion

Somatic mutations in USP8 are common in Nelson’s tumors, indicating that they do not drive the corticotroph tumor progression that leads to NS, and may be associated with a less favorable biochemical outcome after surgery for Nelson’s tumor.

Free access

Elena Valassi, Holger Franz, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Romana Netea-Maier, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Susan M Webb, Maria Yaneva, Martin Reincke, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Dominique Maiter, Darko Kastelan, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeifer, Christian J Strasburger, Miklós Tóth, Olivier Chabre, Antoine Tabarin, Michal Krsek, Carmen Fajardo, Marek Bolanowski, Alicia Santos, John A H Wass, Peter J Trainer, and for the ERCUSYN Study Group

Objective

To evaluate which tests are performed to diagnose hypercortisolism in patients included in the European Registry on Cushing’s syndrome (ERCUSYN), and to examine if their use differs from the current guidelines.

Patients and methods

We analyzed data on the diagnostic tests performed in 1341 patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) who have been entered into the ERCUSYN database between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2016 from 57 centers in 26 European countries. Sixty-seven percent had pituitary-dependent CS (PIT-CS), 24% had adrenal-dependent CS (ADR-CS), 6% had CS from an ectopic source (ECT-CS) and 3% were classified as having CS from other causes (OTH-CS).

Results

Of the first-line tests, urinary free cortisol (UFC) test was performed in 78% of patients, overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) in 60% and late-night salivary cortisol (LSaC) in 25%. Use of LSaC increased in the last five years as compared with previous years (P < 0.01). Use of HDDST was slightly more frequent in the last 5 years as compared with previous years (P < 0.05). Of the additional tests, late-night serum cortisol (LSeC) was measured in 62% and 48-h 2 mg/day low-dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDST) in 33% of cases. ACTH was performed in 78% of patients. LSeC and overnight 1 mg DST supported the diagnosis of both PIT-CS and ADR-CS more frequently than UFC (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Use of diagnostic tests for CS varies across Europe and partly differs from the currently available guidelines. It would seem pertinent that a European consensus be established to determine the best diagnostic approach to CS, taking into account specific inter-country differences with regard to the availability of diagnostic tools.

Restricted access

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

Objective

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Open access

Roberta Armignacco, Anne Jouinot, Lucas Bouys, Amandine Septier, Thomas Lartigue, Mario Neou, Cassandra Gaspar, Karine Perlemoine, Leah Braun, Anna Riester, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Anne Blanchard, Laurence Amar, Carla Scaroni, Filippo Ceccato, Gian Paolo Rossi, Tracy Ann Williams, Casper K Larsen, Stéphanie Allassonnière, Maria-Christina Zennaro, Felix Beuschlein, Martin Reincke, Jérôme Bertherat, and Guillaume Assié

Objective

Cushing’s syndrome represents a state of excessive glucocorticoids related to glucocorticoid treatments or to endogenous hypercortisolism. Cushing’s syndrome is associated with high morbidity, with significant inter-individual variability. Likewise, adrenal insufficiency is a life-threatening condition of cortisol deprivation. Currently, hormone assays contribute to identify Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency. However, no biomarker directly quantifies the biological glucocorticoid action. The aim of this study was to identify such markers.

Design

We evaluated whole blood DNA methylome in 94 samples obtained from patients with different glucocorticoid states (Cushing’s syndrome, eucortisolism, adrenal insufficiency). We used an independent cohort of 91 samples for validation.

Methods

Leukocyte DNA was obtained from whole blood samples. Methylome was determined using the Illumina methylation chip array (~850 000 CpG sites). Both unsupervised (principal component analysis) and supervised (Limma) methods were used to explore methylome profiles. A Lasso-penalized regression was used to select optimal discriminating features.

Results

Whole blood methylation profile was able to discriminate samples by their glucocorticoid status: glucocorticoid excess was associated with DNA hypomethylation, recovering within months after Cushing’s syndrome correction. In Cushing’s syndrome, an enrichment in hypomethylated CpG sites was observed in the region of FKBP5 gene locus. A methylation predictor of glucocorticoid excess was built on a training cohort and validated on two independent cohorts. Potential CpG sites associated with the risk for specific complications, such as glucocorticoid-related hypertension or osteoporosis, were identified, needing now to be confirmed on independent cohorts.

Conclusions

Whole blood DNA methylome is dynamically impacted by glucocorticoids. This biomarker could contribute to better assessment of glucocorticoid action beyond hormone assays.

Free access

Martin Reincke, Adriana Albani, Guillaume Assie, Irina Bancos, Thierry Brue, Michael Buchfelder, Olivier Chabre, Filippo Ceccato, Andrea Daniele, Mario Detomas, Guido Di Dalmazi, Atanaska Elenkova, James Findling, Ashley B Grossman, Celso E Gomez-Sanchez, Anthony P Heaney, Juergen Honegger, Niki Karavitaki, Andre Lacroix, Edward R Laws, Marco Losa, Masanori Murakami, John Newell-Price, Francesca Pecori Giraldi, Luis G Pérez‐Rivas, Rosario Pivonello, William E Rainey, Silviu Sbiera, Jochen Schopohl, Constantine A Stratakis, Marily Theodoropoulou, Elisabeth F C van Rossum, Elena Valassi, Sabina Zacharieva, German Rubinstein, and Katrin Ritzel

Background

Corticotroph tumor progression (CTP) leading to Nelson’s syndrome (NS) is a severe and difficult-to-treat complication subsequent to bilateral adrenalectomy (BADX) for Cushing’s disease. Its characteristics are not well described, and consensus recommendations for diagnosis and treatment are missing.

Methods

A systematic literature search was performed focusing on clinical studies and case series (≥5 patients). Definition, cumulative incidence, treatment and long-term outcomes of CTP/NS after BADX were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results were presented and discussed at an interdisciplinary consensus workshop attended by international pituitary experts in Munich on October 28, 2018.

Results

Data covered definition and cumulative incidence (34 studies, 1275 patients), surgical outcome (12 studies, 187 patients), outcome of radiation therapy (21 studies, 273 patients), and medical therapy (15 studies, 72 patients).

Conclusions

We endorse the definition of CTP-BADX/NS as radiological progression or new detection of a pituitary tumor on thin-section MRI. We recommend surveillance by MRI after 3 months and every 12 months for the first 3 years after BADX. Subsequently, we suggest clinical evaluation every 12 months and MRI at increasing intervals every 2–4 years (depending on ACTH and clinical parameters). We recommend pituitary surgery as first-line therapy in patients with CTP-BADX/NS. Surgery should be performed before extrasellar expansion of the tumor to obtain complete and long-term remission. Conventional radiotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery should be utilized as second-line treatment for remnant tumor tissue showing extrasellar extension

Free access

Elena Valassi, Antoine Tabarin, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Martin Reincke, Romana Netea-Maier, Miklós Tóth, Sabina Zacharieva, Susan M Webb, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeiffer, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Darko Kastelan, Dominique Maiter, Olivier Chabre, Holger Franz, Alicia Santos, Christian J Strasburger, Peter J Trainer, John Newell-Price, Oskar Ragnarsson, and the ERCUSYN Study Group

Objective

Patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) have increased mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the causes and time of death in a large cohort of patients with CS and to establish factors associated with increased mortality.

Methods

In this cohort study, we analyzed 1564 patients included in the European Registry on CS (ERCUSYN); 1045 (67%) had pituitary-dependent CS, 385 (25%) adrenal-dependent CS, 89 (5%) had an ectopic source and 45 (3%) other causes. The median (IQR) overall follow-up time in ERCUSYN was 2.7 (1.2–5.5) years.

Results

Forty-nine patients had died at the time of the analysis; 23 (47%) with pituitary-dependent CS, 6 (12%) with adrenal-dependent CS, 18 (37%) with ectopic CS and two (4%) with CS due to other causes. Of 42 patients whose cause of death was known, 15 (36%) died due to progression of the underlying disease, 13 (31%) due to infections, 7 (17%) due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease and 2 due to pulmonary embolism. The commonest cause of death in patients with pituitary-dependent CS and adrenal-dependent CS were infectious diseases (n = 8) and progression of the underlying tumor (n = 10) in patients with ectopic CS. Patients who had died were older and more often males, and had more frequently muscle weakness, diabetes mellitus and ectopic CS, compared to survivors. Of 49 deceased patients, 22 (45%) died within 90 days from start of treatment and 5 (10%) before any treatment was given. The commonest cause of deaths in these 27 patients were infections (n = 10; 37%). In a regression analysis, age, ectopic CS and active disease were independently associated with overall death before and within 90 days from the start of treatment.

Conclusion

Mortality rate was highest in patients with ectopic CS. Infectious diseases were the commonest cause of death soon after diagnosis, emphasizing the need for careful clinical vigilance at that time, especially in patients presenting with concomitant diabetes mellitus.

Free access

Elena Valassi, Holger Franz, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Romana Netea-Maier, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Susan M Webb, Maria Yaneva, Martin Reincke, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Dominique Maiter, Darko Kastelan, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeifer, Christian J Strasburger, Miklós Tóth, Olivier Chabre, Michal Krsek, Carmen Fajardo, Marek Bolanowski, Alicia Santos, Peter J Trainer, John A H Wass, Antoine Tabarin, and for the ERCUSYN Study Group

Background

Surgery is the definitive treatment of Cushing’s syndrome (CS) but medications may also be used as a first-line therapy. Whether preoperative medical treatment (PMT) affects postoperative outcome remains controversial.

Objective

(1) Evaluate how frequently PMT is given to CS patients across Europe; (2) examine differences in preoperative characteristics of patients who receive PMT and those who undergo primary surgery and (3) determine if PMT influences postoperative outcome in pituitary-dependent CS (PIT-CS).

Patients and methods

1143 CS patients entered into the ERCUSYN database from 57 centers in 26 countries. Sixty-nine percent had PIT-CS, 25% adrenal-dependent CS (ADR-CS), 5% CS from an ectopic source (ECT-CS) and 1% were classified as having CS from other causes (OTH-CS).

Results

Twenty per cent of patients took PMT. ECT-CS and PIT-CS were more likely to receive PMT compared to ADR-CS (P < 0.001). Most commonly used drugs were ketoconazole (62%), metyrapone (16%) and a combination of both (12%). Median (interquartile range) duration of PMT was 109 (98) days. PIT-CS patients treated with PMT had more severe clinical features at diagnosis and poorer quality of life compared to those undergoing primary surgery (SX) (P < 0.05). Within 7 days of surgery, PIT-CS patients treated with PMT were more likely to have normal cortisol (P < 0.01) and a lower remission rate (P < 0.01). Within 6 months of surgery, no differences in morbidity or remission rates were observed between SX and PMT groups.

Conclusions

PMT may confound the interpretation of immediate postoperative outcome. Follow-up is recommended to definitely evaluate surgical results.