We report our findings on markers of cell proliferation (Ki-67 labelling index and topoisomerase-α expression) in a somatotroph pituitary tumour before and after exposure to pegvisomant, a GH receptor antagonist developed for the treatment of acromegaly. Specimens from two separate pituitary operations, separated by a period of 17 years that included 4 years of pegvisomant treatment, were stained for markers of cellular proliferation. Ki-67 labelling index and topoisomerase-α expression were both markedly greater (1–3% compared with 0–0.5% and 15–80% compared with 2–10% respectively) in the pegvisomant-exposed tumour compared with the earlier specimen. Clearly, caution must be exercised when interpreting findings from a single case, particularly one sufficiently refractory to conventional therapies to require treatment with pegvisomant. However, our data reinforce the requirement for careful radiological surveillance of the pituitary in the context of a drug that does not target the tumour responsible and where serum GH cannot serve as a marker of disease activity or tumour size.
W M Drake, D M Berney, K Kovacs and J P Monson
V J Moyes, G Alusi, H I Sabin, J Evanson, D M Berney, K Kovacs, J P Monson, P N Plowman and W M Drake
A 64-year-old woman was previously treated for Cushing's disease with trans-sphenoidal surgery, external beam radiotherapy and bilateral adrenalectomy. Progression of an aggressive corticotroph adenoma was evident 3 years post-adrenalectomy; involvement of the clivus was treated with surgery and gamma knife radiosurgery. Tumour spread through the skull base, occiput and left ear with persistent facial pain and left ear discharge; progression continued despite second gamma knife treatment. ACTH levels peaked at 2472 and 2265 pmol/l pre- and post-hydrocortisone respectively. Treatment with temozolomide resulted in a significant improvement in symptoms, a reduction of plasma ACTH to 389 pmol/l and regression of tumour on magnetic resonance imaging scan after four cycles of treatment. We propose that temozolomide is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic tool for the treatment of Nelson's syndrome and a useful addition to the range of therapies available to treat this condition.
C M Ogilvie, P L Brown, M Matson, J Dacie, R H Reznek, K Britton, R Carpenter, D Berney, W M Drake, P J Jenkins, S L Chew and J P Monson
Objective: The role of preoperative localisation of abnormal parathyroid glands remains controversial but is particularly relevant to the management of patients with recurrent or persistent hyperparathyroidism and familial syndromes. We report our experience of the use of selective parathyroid venous sampling (PVS) in the localisation of parathyroid disease in such patients.
Design: We report a retrospective 10-year experience (n = 27) of the use of PVS in complicated primary hyperparathyroidism and contrast the use of PVS with neck ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and sestamibi imaging modalities.
Results: In 14 out of 25 patients who underwent surgery PVS results were completely concordant with surgical and histological findings and 88% of patients achieved post-operative cure. Out of 13 patients referred after previous failed surgery, 12 underwent further surgery which was curative in 9. In total PVS yielded useful positive (n = 13) and/or negative information (n = 6) in 19 out of 25 patients undergoing surgery. Using histology as the gold standard, 59% of PVS studies were entirely consistent with histology, as compared with 39% of ultrasound scans, 36% of sestamibi scans and 17% of MRI/CT scans.
Conclusions: PVS is a valuable adjunct to MRI/CT and sestamibi scanning in selected patients with complicated hyperparathyroidism when performed in an experienced unit.