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Pepijn van Houten, Romana Netea-Maier, Margreet Wagenmakers, Sean Roerink, Ad Hermus, and Annenienke Van de Ven

Objective: Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is associated with osteoporosis and high fracture risk. Besides males sex it is unknown which variables influence bone mineral density (BMD) at diagnosis and it is unclear to what extent BMD normalizes during long-term follow-up after treatment of CS. The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with BMD at diagnosis of CS and to determine the long-term course of BMD and fracture rate after successful treatment of CS.

Design: Retrospective cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study.

Methods: Data were collected from 231 patients with CS who were treated at the Radboud University Medical Centre between 1968 and 2020.

Results: At diagnosis, male sex was associated with lower Z-scores at the lumbar spine (LS) compared with female sex: -0.97SD [-1.45 - -0.49] after correction for possible confounders. Shorter duration of symptoms and younger age were also associated with lower Z-scores at diagnosis, while etiology of CS, urinary cortisol excretion and gonadal status were not associated with Z-scores at diagnosis. Z-scores improved up to 20 years after treatment. Fifteen years after treatment, men showed larger improvements of Z-scores than women; +2.56 [1.82-3.30] increase in LS Z-score versus +1.48 [0.96-2.00] respectively. Fracture incidence was highest during the 2 years before diagnosis and decreased after treatment.

Conclusion: Male sex, younger age and shorter duration of symptoms are associated with lower BMD at diagnosis of CS. BMD continues to improve up to 20 years after treatment of CS. Fracture rate decreases after treatment of CS.

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Han J W J Repping-Wuts, Nike M M L Stikkelbroeck, Alida Noordzij, Mies Kerstens, and Ad R M M Hermus

Objective

To assess self-management in patients receiving glucocorticoid replacement therapy for primary or secondary adrenal failure before and 6 months after a glucocorticoid education group meeting.

Methods

All patients with primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency, treated at the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, were invited by their endocrinologist to participate in a 3-h glucocorticoid education group meeting, consisting of a lecture about the disease and glucocorticoid doses adjustments in case of stress, followed by an instruction on how to inject hydrocortisone i.m. Finally, all participants could practise the i.m. injection and discuss their experience with (imminent) adrenal crises with other patients and the health care providers. Two weeks before the meeting and 6 months after the meeting, patients were asked to fill out a questionnaire about how they would act in six different conditions (e.g. febrile illness or vomiting).

Results

Of the 405 patients who were invited, 246 patients (61%) participated. At baseline the response by the participants on the questionnaire was 100% (n=246) and at follow-up 74% (n=183). At follow-up, significantly more participants (P≤0.005) gave the correct answers to how to act in different situations (e.g. self-administration of a glucocorticoid injection and phone contact in case of vomiting/diarrhoea without fever). Moreover, the use of self-management tools, such as having a ‘medicine passport (travel document with information about disease and medication) (P=0.007) or SOS medallion (P=0.0007)’, increased.

Conclusion

A glucocorticoid education group meeting for patients with adrenal failure seems helpful to improve self-management and proper use of stress-related glucocorticoid dose adjustment.

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Jeanne Margot Kroese, Christiaan F Mooij, Marinette van der Graaf, Ad R M M Hermus, and Cees J Tack

Context

Patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) are chronically treated with supraphysiological doses of glucocorticoids, which are known to induce insulin resistance. Thiazolidinediones might reverse this effect and improve insulin sensitivity.

Objectives

To assess insulin sensitivity in CAH patients and the effect of pioglitazone treatment on insulin sensitivity in CAH patients. Secondary objectives were the effects of treatment with pioglitazone on blood pressure, body fat distribution, lipid, and steroid profiles.

Design

Randomized placebo controlled crossover trial.

Participants

Twelve CAH patients and 12 body mass and age-matched control subjects.

Intervention

Sixteen-week treatment with pioglitazone (45 mg/day) or placebo.

Main outcome measure

Insulin sensitivity measured by euglycemic clamp and oral glucose tolerance test. Further measures were 24-h blood pressure profiles, body fat distribution measured by magnetic resonance imaging, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and bioimpedance procedures, liver fat by magnetic resonance spectroscopy, lipid, and steroid profiles.

Results

CAH patients were insulin resistant compared with healthy controls. Treatment with pioglitazone significantly improved insulin sensitivity in CAH patients (glucose infusion rate (GIR) from 28.5±11.6 to 38.9±11.0 μmol/kg per min, P=0.000, GIR in controls 46.2±23.4 μmol/kg per min, P<0.05 versus CAH). Treatment with pioglitazone decreased blood pressure (systolic: 124.0±13.6 vs 127.0±14.9 mmHg, P<0.001, diastolic: 72.8±11.5 vs 77.4±12.6 mmHg, P<0.001). No changes in body fat distribution, lipid, and steroid profiles were observed.

Conclusions

CAH patients are insulin resistant compared with matched control subjects. Treatment with pioglitazone improves insulin sensitivity and decreases blood pressure in CAH patients.

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Peter A. van Liessum, Gerlach F. Pieters, Anthony G. Smals, Ad R. Hermus, TheoJ. Benraad, and Peter W. Kloppenborg

Abstract.

The recommended dosage schedules for intermittent sc therapy with the somatostatin analogue octreotide in acromegaly vary widely, from 100 to 1500 μg daily. As acute administration of octreotide has been shown to predict its long-term response, we performed a single-dose response study in 5 patients with active acromegaly using doses of 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 μg octreotide as well as a placebo injection. Plasma GH of 2 patients did not normalize after any of the injections, but nadir plasma GH overall gradually decreased as doses were increased from 25 to 400 μg. The 400 μg octreotide dose was superior with regard to the duration of plasma GH suppression to below 5 μg/l or 25% of the basal GH level, the mean GH as a percentage of the basal level over the first 4 and 8 h, and the integrated reduction of plasma GH during the first 4 and 8 h. The postprandial integrated insulin secretion during the first 3 h after injection of the octapeptide was significantly lower after 50, 100 and 400 μg than after the placebo injection. The mean plasma glucose as a percentage of the basal level during the first 8 h was significantly higher after octreotide after the 200 and 400 μg injections. Minor adverse events were seen in 2 patients after injection of 200 and 400 μg octreotide. Within the limitations of this single-dose response study it was concluded that injection of 400 μg octreotide yields the best results with regard to suppression of GH secretion, whereas the 50, 100 and 200 μg doses are superior to 25 μg, but do not differ from each other.

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Sandra Loves, Jos de Jong, Adriaan van Sorge, Darryl Telting, Cees J Tack, Ad Hermus, Klaas Westerterp, and Hans de Boer

Introduction

Reduced testosterone levels are frequently observed in obese men. Increased aromatase activity may be an etiological factor.

Objective

In this study, we evaluate the clinical effects of aromatase inhibition in obesity-related hypogonadotropic hypotestosteronemia (OrHH).

Methods

Double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-month trial in 42 obese men with a BMI >35 kg/m2, and a serum total testosterone <10 nmol/l. All patients started on one tablet of 2.5 mg/week, with subsequent dose escalation every month until a serum total testosterone of 20 nmol/l was reached.

Endpoints

Psychological function, body composition, exercise capacity, and glucose, lipid, and bone metabolism.

Results

Thirty-nine patients completed the study according to protocol. Letrozole decreased serum estradiol from 119.1±10.1 to 59.2±6.1 pmol/l (P<0.001), and increased serum LH from 3.3±0.3 to 8.8±0.9 U/l (P<0.0001) and serum total testosterone from 8.6±0.7 to 21.5±1.3 nmol/l (P<0.0001). Significant effects on the predefined endpoints were not observed.

Conclusion

Despite a marked rise in serum testosterone, low-dose aromatase inhibition had no somatic or psychological effects in men with OrHH.

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Anke W van der Eerden, Marcel Th B Twickler, Fred C G J Sweep, Tjemme Beems, Henk T Hendricks, Ad R M M Hermus, and Pieter E Vos

Context

A wide range (15–56%) of prevalences of anterior pituitary insufficiency are reported in patients after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, different study populations, study designs, and diagnostic procedures were used. No data are available on emergency-department-based cohorts of TBI patients.

Objective

To assess the prevalence of pituitary dysfunction in an emergency-department-based cohort of TBI patients using strict endocrinological diagnostic criteria.

Methods

Of all the patients presenting in the emergency department with TBI over a 2-year period, 516 matched the inclusion criteria. One hundred and seven patients (77 with mild TBI and 30 with moderate/severe TBI) agreed to participate. They were screened for anterior pituitary insufficiency by GHRH–arginine testing, evaluation of fasting morning hormone levels (cortisol, TSH, free thyroxine, FSH, LH, and 17β-estradiol or testosterone), and menstrual history 3–30 months after TBI. Abnormal screening results were defined as low peak GH to GHRH–arginine, or low levels of any of the end-organ hormones with low or normal pituitary hormone levels. Patients with abnormal screening results were extensively evaluated, including additional hormone provocation tests (insulin tolerance test, ACTH stimulation test, and repeated GHRH–arginine test) and assessment of free testosterone levels.

Results

Screening results were abnormal in 15 of 107 patients. In a subsequent extensive endocrine evaluation, anterior pituitary dysfunction was diagnosed in only one patient (partial hypocortisolism).

Conclusion

By applying strict diagnostic criteria to an emergency-department-based cohort of TBI patients, it was shown that anterior pituitary dysfunction is rare (<1%). Routine pituitary screening in unselected patients after TBI is unlikely to be cost-effective.

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Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Fred C G J Sweep, Johan G Blickman, Ad R M M Hermus, and Barto J Otten

Objective: Testicular adrenal rest tumours (TART) are a well-known complication in adult male patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), with a reported prevalence of up to 94%. In adulthood, the tumours are associated with gonadal dysfunction most probably due to longstanding obstruction of the seminiferous tubules. The aim of our study was to determine the presence of TART and their influence on gonadal function in childhood.

Design: Retrospective study.

Patients and methods: Scrotal ultrasound was performed in 34 children with CAH due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency who were between 2 and 18 years old. FSH, LH, testosterone and inhibin B concentrations were measured in serum of 27 patients.

Results: TART were detected by ultrasound in 8 out of 34 (24%) children. In two of them, bilateral tumours were found. All lesions were located in the rete testis. Seven patients had the salt-wasting type of CAH; one patient had the simple virilising type of CAH. Mean tumour size was 4.1 mm (range 2–8 mm). In none of the patients were the tumours palpable. Two children with TART were between 5 and 10 years old, the other six children were above 10 years old. In all children with TART, LH, FSH, testosterone and inhibin B levels were similar to the patients without TART.

Conclusion: TART can be found in CAH children before the age of 10 years. The absence of gonadal dysfunction in our group of children suggests that gonadal dysfunction as frequently reported in adult CAH patients with TART develops after childhood.

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Ad R Hermus, Gerlach F Pieters, George F Borm, Albert A Verhofstad, Anthony G Smals, Theo J Benraad, and Peter W Kloppenborg

A 70-year-old man with mild signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome due to an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma is described. He had a completely unpredictable pattern of urinary excretion of cortisol; 24 h urine for determination of cortisol excretion was collected daily at home on 725 consecutive days. During this period there were eight episodes in which urinary cortisol excretion exceeded the upper limit of normal. Within these episodes the pattern of cortisol secretion was extremely unpredictable, with cortisol excretion ranging from normal to highly elevated. Using a Cluster Analysis Program 61 pulses of cortisol excretion were detected within the eight periods of cortisol hypersecretion. The interval between two pulses varied from 2 to 12 days. Between the periods of cortisol hypersecretion, urinary cortisol excretion was completely normal, lasting from 4 to 102 days. There was no difference in the clinical expression of Cushing's syndrome between the periods of elevated and normal urinary cortisol excretion. During the last 439 days of the observation, cortisol was also measured in saliva collected at home at 09.00 after an overnight fast. The salivary cortisol pattern closely resembled that of urinary cortisol excretion and there was a significant correlation between salivary cortisol levels and 24 h urinary cortisol excretion in the 24 h after (r=0.42, p<0.0001, Spearman) and before saliva collection (r = 0.44, p<0.0001). On 71% of occasions cortisol peaks in saliva, as detected by the Cluster Analysis Program, coincided with urinary cortisol peaks. We conclude that daily measurement of cortisol in saliva, collected at home, is a convenient and reliable method for detecting intermittent hypercortisolism in patients with Cushing's syndrome.

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Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Kristof Duthoi, Barto J Otten, Frank C H d'Ancona, Christina A Hulsbergen-vd Kaa, and Ad R M M Hermus

Background

In contrast to the high incidence of testicular adrenal rest tumours (TART) in adult male patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), ovarian adrenal rest tumours in female CAH patients are very rare and other locations of adrenal rest tumours have never been reported. Here, we report on an adult patient with CAH due to 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) deficiency with bilateral TART and additionally a large perirenal adrenal rest tumour.

Case report

The patient was known with CAH due to 3β-HSD deficiency and treated with hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone since the neonatal period. In puberty, there was lack of compliance with consequently high POMC concentrations. At the age of 16 years, bilateral TART were detected by scrotal ultrasound. Intensifying glucocorticoid medication did not result in decrease in POMC concentrations and shrinkage of size of the tumours. At the age of 23 years, abdominal ultrasound was performed because of abdominal complaints, showing a round inhomogeneous structure with a diameter of 4 cm near the left renal hilus. A computer tomography scan showed a multinodular lesion in the retroperitoneal region beside the left kidney. Histological investigation after removal of the tumour showed sheets of large polygonal cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, separated by dense fibrous tissue strands. The histological and immunohistochemical profile resulted in a diagnosis of an adrenal rest tumour.

Conclusion

In adult CAH patients, ectopic adrenal rest tumours can be present outside the testicular region. Further investigations are necessary to determine whether regularly screening for these tumours is useful.

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Mark R Postma, Romana T Netea-Maier, Gerrit van den Berg, Jens Homan, Wim J Sluiter, Margreet A Wagenmakers, Alfons C M van den Bergh, Bruce H R Wolffenbuttel, Ad R M M Hermus, and André P van Beek

Objective

To assess the influence of long-acting somatostatin analogs (SSTA) after initial pituitary surgery on long-term health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in relation to disease control in patients with acromegaly.

Design

This is a cross-sectional study in two tertiary referral centers in The Netherlands.

Patients and methods

One hundred and eight patients with acromegaly, in whom transsphenoidal (n=101, 94%) or transcranial (n=7, 6%) surgery was performed. Subsequently, 46 (43%) received additional radiotherapy and 41 (38%) were on postoperative treatment with SSTA because of persistent or recurrent disease at the time of study. All subjects filled in standardized questionnaires measuring HR-QoL. Disease control at the time of study was assessed by local IGF1 SDS.

Results

IGF1 SDS were slightly higher in patients treated with SSTA in comparison with patients without use of SSTA (0.85±1.52 vs 0.25±1.21, P=0.026), but the percentage of patients with insufficient control (IGF1 SDS >2) was not different (17 vs 9%, P=0.208). Patients using SSTA reported poorer scores on most subscales of the RAND-36 and the acromegaly QoL and on all subscales of the multidimensional fatigue inventory-20. A subgroup analysis in patients with similar IGF1 levels (SSTA+, n=26, IGF1 SDS 0.44±0.72 vs SSTA−, n=44, IGF1 SDS 0.41±0.65) revealed worse scores on physical functioning, physical fatigue, reduced activity, vitality, and general health perception across all HR-QoL questionnaires in patients treated with SSTA.

Conclusion

QoL is impaired in association with the need for prolonged postoperative therapy by SSTA in patients with acromegaly despite similar IGF1 levels.