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A Colao, G Vitale, R Pivonello, A Ciccarelli, C Di Somma and G Lombardi

Several experimental and clinical studies have indicate that the heart is an end-organ of GH action. Patients with either childhood- or adulthood-onset GH deficiency (GHD) have abnormalities of cardiac structure and function, such as reduced cardiac mass, impaired diastolic filling and reduced left ventricular response at peak exercise. These cardiovascular abnormalities can be reversed, at least partially, after GH replacement therapy. On the other hand, the chronic overproduction of GH and IGF-I in acromegaly leads to the development of a specific cardiomyopathy. Concentric cardiac hypertrophy occurs in more than two-thirds of patients at diagnosis and is commonly associated with diastolic dysfunction. In later stages, impaired systolic function ending in heart failure can occur if GH/IGF-I excess is not controlled. Additionally, acromegalic cardiomyopathy is complicated by abnormalities of cardiac rhythm and cardiac valves. Successful control of acromegaly is accompanied by a decrease of the left ventricular mass and improvement of cardiac function. These beneficial effects appear earlier in young patients with short disease duration than in elderly patients. In conclusion, GH and IGF-I play a main role in the regulation of cardiac development and performance.

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A Ciccarelli, H Valdes-Socin, J Parma, SK Khoo, J Schoumans, A Colao, E Hamoir and A Beckers

OBJECTIVE: Atypical forms of hyperthyroidism represent a diagnostic challenge for clinicians. Struma ovarii is an ovarian teratoma and constitutes a rare cause of ectopic thyroidal hormonal production. We describe a case of struma ovarii that combined two different sources of hyperthyroidism in the same patient and report genetic studies in order to contribute a better understanding of the autonomy and tumorigenesis of the struma ovarii. CASE REPORT: A 73-year-old nulliparous woman presented a thyroid toxic adenoma that was successfully treated with 10 mCi radioiodine. Unexpectedly, a new onset of hyperthyroidism prompted us to look for a second etiology. A whole-body scan with (123)I detected a pelvic hyperfixation suggesting struma ovarii, and a thyroid differentiated left ovarian teratoma 3 cm in size was surgically removed. We screened for mutations of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor and Gs-alpha protein genes, as these mutations are common in thyroid adenomas. We did not identify any mutations. Androgen receptor study demonstrated a monoclonal status. Comparative genomic hybridization did not reveal any chromosomal abnormality. However, loss of heterozygosity analysis showed several structural abnormalities, compared with the majority of benign ovarian teratomas, which show a normal karyotype. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first well-documented report of thyrotoxic struma ovarii revealed after treatment of a single thyroid toxic adenoma. We have shown in this case that struma ovarii originates from a single germ cell, and, albeit benign, this tumor presents several chromosomal abnormalities. Struma ovarii-induced hyperthyroidism is likely to be mediated by mechanisms different from those of the classical thyroid toxic adenoma.

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E. Ciccarelli, S. M. Corsello, P. N. Plowman, A. E. Jones, R. Touzel, L. H. Rees, G. M. Besser and J. A. H. Wass


In 61 acromegalic patients, serum PRL was assessed (off medical treatment) before and 2 to 12 (mean 6.4) years after external beam radiotherapy. Before radiotherapy elevated PRL levels were present in 22 of 35 males (63%) and 12 of 26 females (46%) and were above 1000 mU/l in 11 males and 5 females. When studied for up to 5 years after radiotherapy, 22 of 23 (96%) patients who had not had surgery and who had normal PRL pre-radiotherapy showed an increased PRL level and this was also seen in 17 of 27 (63%) who had been hyperprolactinaemic initially. In contrast, 10 of 27 patients (37%) who had elevated pre-radiotherapy levels (all greater than 1000 mU/l) had a reduction in PRL values after radiotherapy. In all 11 patients who underwent surgery before radiotherapy, an increase in PRL was seen after radiotherapy. In the 21 patients followed for 10–12 years, the peak PRL value occurred 1–16 years after radiotherapy. After this, a progressive reduction of PRL to normal was seen. Normal levels were reached 4 to 10 years after radiotherapy. No correlation was found between pre-treatment PRL values and final GH values in the whole group, nor between changes in PRL and the development of impaired ACTH or TSH secretion. Thus, different patterns of PRL behaviour suggest that radiotherapy treatment may either produce hyperprolactinemia from mild hypothalamic damage or ablate PRL secreting cells if they were present in the tumour before treatment. These changes do not predict final GH results or the development of hypopituitarism after radiotherapy.

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Laurent Vroonen, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Patrick Petrossians, Gianluca Tamagno, Philippe Chanson, Lucio Vilar, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Luciana A Naves, Thierry Brue, Blandine Gatta, Brigitte Delemer, Enrica Ciccarelli, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Philippe Caron, Adrian F Daly and Albert Beckers

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Laurent Vroonen, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Patrick Petrossians, Gianluca Tamagno, Philippe Chanson, Lucio Vilar, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Luciana A Naves, Thierry Brue, Blandine Gatta, Brigitte Delemer, Enrica Ciccarelli, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Philippe Caron, Adrian F Daly and Albert Beckers


Dopamine agonist resistance in prolactinoma is an infrequent phenomenon. Doses of cabergoline (CAB) of up to 2.0 mg/week are usually effective in controlling prolactin (PRL) secretion and reducing tumor size in prolactinomas. The clinical presentation, management, and outcome of patients that are not well controlled by such commonly used doses of CAB-resistant patients are poorly understood.

Design and methods

A multicenter retrospective study was designed to collect a large series of resistant prolactinoma patients, defined by uncontrolled hyperprolactinemia on CAB ≥2.0 mg weekly.


Ninety-two patients (50 F, 42 M) were analyzed. At diagnosis, most had macroprolactinomas (82.6%); males were significantly older than females (P=0.0003) and presented with a more aggressive disease. A genetic basis was identified in 12 patients. Thirty-six patients (39.1%) received only medical therapy, most underwent surgery (60.9%, including multiple interventions in 10.9%), and 14.1% received postoperative radiotherapy. Eight patients developed late CAB resistance (8.7%). The median maximal weekly dose of CAB (CABmax/w) was 3.5 mg (2.0–10.5). Despite a higher CABmax/w in patients treated with multimodal therapy (P=0.003 vs exclusive pharmacological treatment), a debulking effect of surgery was shown in 14 patients, with a higher rate of PRL control (P=0.006) and a significant reduction in CABmax/w (P=0.001) postoperatively. At last follow-up (median 88 months), PRL normalization and tumor disappearance were achieved in 28 and 19.9% of the patients respectively, with no significant sex-related difference observed in CABmax/w or disease control. Mortality was 4.8%, with four patients developing aggressive tumors (4.3%) and three a pituitary carcinoma (3.3%).


CAB-resistant prolactinomas remain a serious concern. Surgical debulking, newer therapeutic strategies, and early diagnosis of genetic forms could help to improve their outcome.