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Carlo Cappelli, Ilenia Pirola, Elena Gandossi, Annamaria Formenti and Maurizio Castellano

Objective

Taking levothyroxine (l-T4) with coffee or with water followed by coffee intake within a few minutes results in poor TSH response in many patients. T4 is available in tablet form worldwide, but novel formulations in soft gel capsule or liquid form are now available.

Design

We fortuitously identified a euthyroid patient who wrongly consumed liquid l-T4 with coffee at breakfast; after changing the time of consumption to 30 min before breakfast, no change in TSH, free T4 (fT4), and free tri-iodothyronine (fT3) concentrations was observed. Once the first patient was identified, additional stable euthyroid patients who consumed liquid l-T4 with coffee were identified.

Methods

Patients were recruited by searching our ‘thyroid patients’ database. All the patients on liquid l-T4 treatment were contacted by phone to ask them whether they took l-T4 at breakfast. We identified 54 patients who were submitted to TSH, fT4, and fT3 evaluation, with the indication that the same dosage of l-T4 be consumed 30 min before breakfast. We determined their TSH, fT4, and fT3 concentrations after 3 and 6 months again.

Results

No significant difference in thyroid hormone concentrations was observed in patients when they consumed l-T4 at breakfast or when they consumed it 30 min before breakfast for 3 and 6 months (TSH: 2.5±1.1 vs 2.5±1.1 and 2.4±1.1 mIU/l respectively, fT4: 12.4±2.4 vs 12.5±2.4 and 12.3±2.1 pg/ml respectively, and fT3: 3.4±0.6 vs 3.4±0.6 and 3.3±0.5 pg/ml respectively).

Conclusion

Oral liquid l-T4 formulations could diminish the problem of l-T4 malabsorption caused by coffee when using traditional tablet formulations.

Free access

Carlo Cappelli, Mario Rotondi, Ilenia Pirola, Barbara Agosti, Annamaria Formenti, Emanuela Zarra, Umberto Valentini, Paola Leporati, Luca Chiovato and Maurizio Castellano

Objective

A retrospective study to evaluate the changes in TSH concentrations in diabetic patients treated or not treated with metformin and/or l-thyroxine (l-T4).

Methods

Three hundred and ninety three euthyroid diabetic patients were divided into three groups on the basis of metformin and/or l-T4 treatment: Group (M−/L−), 119 subjects never treated with metformin and l-T4; Group (M+/L−), 203 subjects who started metformin treatment at recruitment; and Group (M+/L+), 71 patients on l-T4 who started metformin recruitment.

Results

The effect of metformin on serum TSH concentrations was analyzed in relation to the basal value of TSH (below 2.5 mIU/l (Q1) or between 2.51 and 4.5 mIU/l (Q2)). In patients of group M+/L+, TSH significantly decreased independently from the basal level (Q1, from 1.45±0.53 to 1.01±1.12 mU/l (P=0.037); Q2, from 3.60±0.53 to 1.91±0.89 mU/l (P<0.0001)). In M+/L− group, the decrease in TSH was significant only in those patients with a basal high-normal serum TSH (Q2: from 3.24±0.51 to 2.27±1.28 mU/l (P=0.004)); in M−/L− patients, no significant changes in TSH levels were observed.

 In patients of group M+/L− showing high-normal basal TSH levels, a significant decrease in TSH was observed independently from the presence or absence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (AbTPO; Q2 AbTPO +: from 3.38±0.48 to 1.87±1.08 mU/l (P<0.001); Q2 AbTPO −: from 3.21±0.52 to 2.34±1.31 mU/l (P<0.001)).

Conclusions

These data strengthen the known TSH-lowering effect of metformin in diabetic patients on l-T4 treatment and shows a significant reduction of TSH also in euthyroid patients with higher baseline TSH levels independently from the presence of AbTPO.

Free access

Teresa Porcelli, Filippo Maffezzoni, Letizia Chiara Pezzaioli, Andrea Delbarba, Carlo Cappelli and Alberto Ferlin

Male osteoporosis has been neglected for too long time and there is need for a change. This condition is clearly under-estimated, under-diagnosed and under-treated. The diagnosis is often made late in the natural history of the pathology or even after a fracture event. Guidelines on screening politics do not agree whether and when men should be considered, and clinical trials are far less performed in men with respect to women. Actually, most of our knowledge on male osteoporosis, especially regarding treatment, is extrapolate from the female counterpart. Male osteoporosis is frequently secondary to other conditions and often associated with comorbidities. Therefore, identification of specific causes of male osteoporosis is essential to drive a correct and personalized treatment. Moreover, men have more osteoporosis-related complications and higher mortality rate associated with fractures. Furthermore, not only fewer men receive a correct and timely diagnosis, but also fewer men receive adequate treatment, and adherence to therapy is far less in men than in women. Of note, very few studies assessed the effect of antiosteoporotic treatments in men and most of them considered only bone density as primary endpoint. This review focuses on the areas that are still nebulous in male osteoporosis field, from identification of subjects who need to be evaluated for osteoporosis and screening programs dealing with primary prevention to diagnostic procedures for good estimates of bone quantity and quality and precise calculation of fracture risk and personalized treatment that take into account the pathophysiology of osteoporosis.

Free access

Mario Rotondi, Carlo Cappelli, Paola Leporati, Spyridon Chytiris, Francesca Zerbini, Rodolfo Fonte, Flavia Magri, Maurizio Castellano and Luca Chiovato

Objective

Thyroid ultrasound (US) scan is a valuable tool for diagnosing thyroid diseases. In autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD), an hypoechoic pattern of the thyroid at US is related to circulating thyroid antibodies (Abs). The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of thyroid US for the detection of AITD in patients with morbid obesity.

Design

Thyroid US scans showing an hypoechoic pattern of the thyroid were collected from 105 morbid obese patients (body mass index (BMI) >40 kg/m2) and 105 non-obese patients (BMI≤30 kg/m2).

Results

A thyroid hypoechoic pattern at US was consistent with clinical/biochemical features of AITD in 90/105 (85.7%) non-obese patients and in 22/105 (20.9%) morbid-obese patients (P<0.0001). By performing a complete thyroid work-up, including clinical examination, thyroid morphology, serum hormones, and auto-Ab measurements, the discrepancy between the US pattern and the results of the thyroid Ab tests was justified in 6/15 non-obese patients, and only in 1/83 morbid obese patients. Thus, an unexplained hypoechoic pattern of the thyroid at US, defined as negative tests for thyroid Ab and absence of justifying thyroid disturbances, was found in 2/105 (1.9%) non-obese patients and in 68/105 (64.8%) morbid obese patients (P<0.0001).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that i) morbid obesity may affect thyroid morphology, and ii) an hypoechoic pattern of the thyroid at US, a well-established parameter for diagnosing AITD, has a poor diagnostic accuracy when patients with morbid obesity are taken into account.

Free access

Carlo Cappelli, Maurizio Castellano, Ilenia Pirola, Elena Gandossi, Elvira De Martino, Davide Cumetti, Barbara Agosti and Enrico Agabiti Rosei

Objective: To evaluate if a nodule with shape taller than wide (anteroposterior/transverse diameter ratio, A/T≥ 1) is a good predictor of malignancy independent of the size.

Methods: We retrospectively examined the cytological and histological results of 7455 nodules (5198 patients) referred for ultrasound-guided-fine needle aspiration cytology (US-FNAC) in our hospital from January 1991 to September 2004.

Results: A suitable FNAC was obtained from 6135 nodules (4495 patients); 34.6% were less than 1 cm in diameter (small nodules, SN). A diagnosis of carcinoma was histologically confirmed in 284/349 suspicious lesions after FNAC. The size of carcinoma nodules was not significantly associated with the occurrence of extracapsular growth (large nodules (LN): 10.5%, SN: 4.9%, NS) and lymph node metastasis (LN: 23.6%, SN: 25.0%, NS). Malignant lesions showed microcalcifications more frequently than benign nodules (72.2 vs 28.7%; P < 0.001; (odds ratio, OR(confidence intervals, CI) = 9.9(7.2–13.4)). Similarly, A/T≥ 1 (76 vs 40%; P < 0.001; OR(CI) = 8.6(5.5–13.1)), blurred margins (52.8 vs 18.8%; P < 0.001; OR(CI) = 7.7(5.6–10.2)), solid hypo-echoic appearance (80.6 vs 52.4%; P < 0.001; OR(CI) = 3.2(2.2–4.3)) and intranodular vascular pattern (type 2) (61.6 vs 49.7%; P < 0.001; OR(CI) = 1.7(1.3–2.3)) were significantly more frequent in malignant than in benign nodules.

Conclusions: Our data show that no single parameter, including nodule size, satisfactorily identifies a subset of patients to be electively investigated by FNAC. We concluded that A/T≥ 1 with at least two of US features (microcalcification, blurred margins, hypo-echoic pattern) is today the best compromise between missing cancers and cost–benefit.

Restricted access

Mario Rotondi, Gloria Groppelli, Laura Croce, Francesco Latrofa, Giuseppe Ancona, Francesca Coperchini, Daniela Pasquali, Carlo Cappelli, Alessandro Fugazza, Valeria Guazzoni, Giorgio Radetti and Luca Chiovato

Objective:

The association between chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) and differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) remains controversial. The incidence of DTC increases when screening procedures are implemented, as typically occurs in CAT patients being routinely submitted to thyroid ultrasound (US). The aim of this study was to longitudinally evaluate the long-term development of DTC in patients with CAT.

Design and methods:

A retrospective longitudinal cohort study was designed. For the study, 510 patients with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) with a 10-year follow-up were enrolled. Patients were divided in two groups according to the presence (CAT+ NOD+; n = 115) or absence (CAT+ NOD−; n = 395) of co-existent nodules at diagnosis. The main outcome measures were appearance of new thyroid-nodules and development of DTC during follow-up.

Results:

During a 10-year median follow-up period, new thyroid-nodules were detected in 34/115 (29.5%) patients in the CAT+ NOD+ group and in 41/395 (10.3%) in the CAT+ NOD− group (P < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed that thyroid-volume at diagnosis and belonging to the CAT+ NOD+ group significantly predicted the appearance of a new thyroid nodule during follow-up, independently of baseline age and sex. Among the 75 patients experiencing the appearance of a new nodule, 27 (39%) met the criteria for fine-needle-aspiration-cytology (FNAC). A benign cytological diagnosis was rendered in all cases.

Conclusions:

In our series of CAT patients, the appearance of new thyroid-nodules was frequent, but none of them were found to be malignant. The presence of CAT appears to be associated with a negligible risk of developing clinically overt DTC.

Free access

Cristina Romei, Stefano Mariotti, Laura Fugazzola, Augusto Taccaliti, Furio Pacini, Giuseppe Opocher, Caterina Mian, Maurizio Castellano, Ettore degli Uberti, Isabella Ceccherini, Nadia Cremonini, Ettore Seregni, Fabio Orlandi, Piero Ferolla, Efisio Puxeddu, Francesco Giorgino, Annamaria Colao, Paola Loli, Fabio Bondi, Barbara Cosci, Valeria Bottici, Antonello Cappai, Giovanni Pinna, Luca Persani, Verga Uberta, Marco Boscaro, Maria Grazia Castagna, Carlo Cappelli, Maria Chiara Zatelli, Antongiulio Faggiano, Giuseppe Francia, Maria Luisa Brandi, Alberto Falchetti, Aldo Pinchera, Rossella Elisei and The ItaMEN network

The journal and the authors apologise for an error in the name of one of the authors (appears as Verga Uberta) of this article published in the European Journal of Endocrinology Vol 163 301–308. The correct name of the author should be Uberta Verga and not as published.

Free access

Cristina Romei, Stefano Mariotti, Laura Fugazzola, Augusto Taccaliti, Furio Pacini, Giuseppe Opocher, Caterina Mian, Maurizio Castellano, Ettore degli Uberti, Isabella Ceccherini, Nadia Cremonini, Ettore Seregni, Fabio Orlandi, Piero Ferolla, Efisio Puxeddu, Francesco Giorgino, Annamaria Colao, Paola Loli, Fabio Bondi, Barbara Cosci, Valeria Bottici, Antonello Cappai, Giovanni Pinna, Luca Persani, Verga Uberta, Marco Boscaro, Maria Grazia Castagna, Carlo Cappelli, Maria Chiara Zatelli, Antongiulio Faggiano, Giuseppe Francia, Maria Luisa Brandi, Alberto Falchetti, Aldo Pinchera, Rossella Elisei and The ItaMEN network

Objective

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) is a genetic disease characterized by medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) associated (MEN 2A and 2B) or not familial MTC (FMTC) with other endocrine neoplasia due to germline RET gene mutations. The prevalence of these rare genetic diseases and their corresponding RET mutations are unknown due to the small size of the study population.

Methods

We collected data on germline RET mutations of 250 families with hereditary MTC followed in 20 different Italian centres.

Results and conclusions

The most frequent RET amino acid substitution was Val804Met (19.6%) followed by Cys634Arg (13.6%). A total of 40 different germline RET mutations were present. Six families (2.4%) were negative for germline RET mutations. The comparison of the prevalence of RET germline mutations in the present study with those published by other European studies showed a higher prevalence of Val804Met and Ser891Ala mutations and a lower prevalence of Leu790Phe and Tyr791Phe (P<0.0001). A statistically significant higher prevalence of mutations affecting non-cysteine codons was also found (P<0.0001).

Furthermore, the phenotype data collection showed an unexpected higher prevalence of FMTC (57.6%) with respect to other MEN 2 syndromes (34% MEN 2A and 6.8% of MEN 2B). In conclusion, we observed a statistically significant different pattern of RET mutations in Italian MEN 2 families with respect to other European studies and a higher prevalence of FMTC phenotype. The different ethnic origins of the patients and the particular attention given to analysing apparently sporadic MTC for RET germline mutations may explain these findings.