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O Alexopoulou, C Beguin, P De Nayer and D Maiter

OBJECTIVE: We studied the clinical and hormonal profiles of patients with central hypothyroidism (CH), the adequacy of levothyroxine (L-T4) treatment and the influence of other pituitary hormone replacement therapies. METHODS: We reviewed medical records of 108 adult patients with child-onset (CO; n=26) or adult-onset (AO; n=82) CH. RESULTS: At diagnosis, the most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue and headaches in AO patients, and growth retardation in CO patients. Serum TSH was normal in a majority of CH patients, low in 8% and elevated in 8%. Serum free thyroxine (fT(4)) was usually reduced, but remained within the low normal range in 28% of the study population (mostly CO patients). Similarly, serum total T(4) (tT(4)), total triiodothyronine (tT(3)) and free T(3) (fT(3)) were found to be within the normal range in significant subsets of patients. Interestingly, the clinical and biochemical characteristics of CH patients with normal f/t T(4) levels were not different from those of the patients with low fT(4) values. The thyroid hormonal profile was not influenced by gender, etiology or by the number of hormone deficiencies. At last evaluation, the mean dose of L-T(4) was 1.6+/-0.5 microg/kg/day and was negatively correlated to current age (P<0.001) but positively correlated to the number of hormone deficiencies (P<0.05). Treatment suppressed TSH in 75% of the patients, induced normal fT(4) in 94%, but normal fT(3) in only 49% of them. Male GH-treated patients and estrogen-treated females needed a higher L-T(4) dose compared with non-treated patients. CONCLUSIONS: fT(4) is clearly the best indicator of CH, but remains in the low normal range in a significant subset of patients, especially in those with CO disease. Adequacy of therapy is mostly reflected by the combination of upper normal fT(4) and low normal fT(3) levels. Pituitary hormone replacement therapy may require an adjustment of T(4) treatment, as female patients under estrogen treatment and male patients under GH treatment will need a higher T(4) dose in order to remain in the euthyroid range.

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P Selvais, J Donckier, M Buysschaert and D Maiter

Cushing's disease appears as a functionally heterogeneous disease, but criteria that are able to distinguish between different clinical forms remain elusive. We compared two subgroups of patients with proven Cushing's disease according to the size of the pituitary adenoma, evaluated by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Our series comprised 11 patients with a microadenoma and 10 with a macroadenoma (median volumes (range): 173 (13-270) and 3022 (500-10312) mm3 respectively; P < 0.0001). The clinical presentation was similar in the two groups, but the time elapsed before diagnosis was longer, and visual impairment was less frequent in the patients with a microadenoma (1.5+/-0.8 years and 0%) than in those with a macroadenoma (0.7+/-0.6 years and 40%; P < 0.05). Morning and evening peripheral concentrations of ACTH were greater in patients with macroadenoma (134+/-78 and 130+/-7 ng/l respectively) than in those with microadenoma (52+/-28 and 56+/-19 ng/l, P < 0.05). Hypokalaemia and lymphopenia were also more pronounced in patients with macroadenoma (3.4+/-0.3 mmol/l and 1273+/-401 lymphocytes/mm3) than in those with microadenoma (3.8+/-0.3 mmol/l and 1852+/-668 lymphocytes/mm3 P < 0.05), although morning and evening plasma cortisol concentrations were similar in both groups. In patients with macroadenoma, there was less relative nycthemeral variation of ACTH concentrations (28+/-24%, compared with 62+/-39% in those with microadenoma; P < 0.05), less suppression of plasma cortisol by high doses of dexamethasone (-30+/-14%, compared with -61+/-25%; P < 0.05), and a reduced concentration ratio of mean basal cortisol to ACTH (7+/-3, compared with 12+/-5; P < 0.05). Plasma IGF-I concentration and the TSH peak response to TRH were significantly lower in patients with macroadenoma than in those with microadenoma (0.4+/-0.2 x 10(3) IU/I and 2.3+/-1.8 mIU/I, compared with 1.8+/-0.6 x 10(3) IU/I and 5.2+/-1.6 mUI/l; P < 0.05). Thus, in comparison with microadenomas, corticotroph macroadenomas are characterized by a greater and more autonomous ACTH secretion, inducing more pronounced biological signs of hypercorticism, and are more often accompanied by visual field defects and impairment of other pituitary hormonal secretions.

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M. Maes, Y. Amand, L. E. Underwood, D. Maiter and J.-M. Ketelslegers

Abstract. In protein-calorie malnutrition, serum IGF-I concentrations are low despite high GH. This GH resistance might be due to a reduced number of liver GH binding sites as suggested by studies performed in fasted rats that were refed a low protein diet. To determine whether a postreceptor defect in GH action might also contribute to the GH resistance, we measured the number and the affinity constant of the liver GH binding sites and the serum IGF-I responses to injections of recombinant bGH in hypophysectomized female rats, fed a standard (15% protein) diet (N = 25) or a low (5%) protein diet (N = 25) for 8 days. There were no significant differences in the liver GH binding capacities between the 15% and the 5% protein-fed rats, whether expressed as pmol per liver (20.6 ± 3.5 vs 14.4 ± 1.3; mean ± sem; P < 0.2; N = 5, respectively), pmol per mg DNA (1.08 ± 0.16 vs 0.84 ± 0.07; P <0.4) or fmol per mg of protein (28.98 ± 5.04 vs 30.26 ± 2.00; P > 0.5). Likewise, the affinity constants of the GH binding sites of the 15% and the 5% protein-fed rats were not significantly different (0.78 ± 0.05 vs 0.78 ± 0.07 × 109 l/mol; P > 0.5). Despite these non-significant reductions in liver GH binding sites, the IGF-I responses 24 h after sc injections of increasing doses of bovine GH were blunted in the rats fed the 5% protein diet. The maximal IGF-I response in the rats with the normal protein intake was 360 ± 30 U/I, but only 130 ± 40 U/l in the 5% protein-fed animals (P < 0.001). The blunted serum IGF-I responses to GH, together with decreased maximal stimulation in the 5% protein-fed hypophysectomized rats, support the possibility that a postreceptor defect in GH action contributes to the GH resistance in protein-calorie malnutrition.

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O Alexopoulou, P Abrams, J Verhelst, K Poppe, B Velkeniers, R Abs and D Maiter

OBJECTIVE: This open label, multicentre study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of lanreotide Autogel (L-Autogel) in acromegalic patients over a 24-week period. The outcome of treatment with this new, long-acting, aqueous formulation of lanreotide was also compared with the patients' previous treatment with octreotide long acting repeatable (LAR). DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-five acromegalic patients (13 males, mean age 51+/-12 years) were switched from octreotide LAR (20-40 mg/4 weeks for at least 6 months) to L-Autogel, given deep subcutaneously at a fixed dose of 90 mg/4 weeks. After 12 weeks, the dose of L-Autogel was titrated according to patients' mean GH and IGF-I levels at week 8. It was increased to 120 mg/4 weeks if GH>2.5 microg/l or if IGF-I was above the age-adjusted normal range. It was reduced to 60 mg/4 weeks if mean GH<1 microg/l and IGF-I was within the normal range. If the values did not fall within these ranges, the dose remained unchanged at 90 mg. RESULTS: After 24 weeks of treatment with L-Autogel (final doses 60 mg in 3 patients, 90 mg in 4 patients and 120 mg in 18 patients), mean serum GH (2.9+/-2.4 microg/l) and IGF-I concentrations (332+/-193 microg/l) remained statistically unchanged when compared with baseline values under octreotide LAR (GH 2.4+/-1.8 microg/l and IGF-I 337+/-201 microg/l, non significant (NS)). There was a significant improvement of the acromegalic symptom score over the study period, from 4.8+/-3.4 to 2.8+/-2.5 (P<0.001) and a small but significant reduction in the residual pituitary tumour volume (P<0.05). Local side-effects were observed less frequently and no technical problems were encountered with the L-Autogel injections, as opposed to treatment with octreotide LAR (60 difficult injections/150 (P<0.001)). CONCLUSIONS: L-Autogel appears to be as effective as octreotide LAR in lowering GH and IGF-I concentrations in acromegalic patients. This treatment was also well tolerated by the patients, giving fewer local side-effects and technical problems with injections. These advantages may improve the long-term acceptability of medical treatment in acromegaly.

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D Maiter, R Abs, G Johannsson, M Scanlon, P J Jönsson, P Wilton and M Koltowska-Häggström

Objective: To test the hypothesis whether the effects of GH replacement therapy in adults could be affected by prior pituitary irradiation, the baseline characteristics and response to GH were evaluated in adults with severe GH deficiency (GHD), who had received or not irradiation for the treatment of pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma.

Design: Data from 447 patients, who had received radiotherapy (427 in addition to surgery), and 630 patients, who were operated on but not irradiated for their tumour, were retrieved from Pfizer International Metabolic Database (KIMS) and compared at baseline and 1 and 2 years following the onset of GH replacement.

Results: Irradiated and non-irradiated patients exhibited the expected phenotype of GHD at baseline. However, irradiated patients had a greater impairment in the quality of life (QoL), a higher fat mass, lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and a lower bone mineral content (BMC) than non-irradiated patients. Treatment with GH induced similar changes in both groups. After 1 year of GH replacement, there was an increase in serum IGF-I and fat-free mass, a reduction in fat mass and an improvement in QoL, all changes being equivalent in irradiated and non-irradiated patients. The lipid profile also improved with the irradiated patients showing a better response. These beneficial effects were maintained and the BMC also increased in both groups by the second year of treatment.

Conclusions: This analysis shows that prior irradiation for pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma does not compromise the beneficial effects of GH replacement therapy.

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JA Verhelst, AM Pedroncelli, R Abs, M Montini, MV Vandeweghe, G Albani, D Maiter, MD Pagani, JJ Legros, D Gianola, M Bex, K Poppe, J Mockel and G Pagani

OBJECTIVE: Slow-release (SR) lanreotide is a long-acting somatostatin analog that has been developed in order to overcome the inconvenience of multiple daily subcutaneous injections of octreotide, required for metabolic control in acromegaly. Lanreotide SR has been found to be well tolerated and effective in reducing GH and IGF-I levels but clinical data are still limited compared with those with subcutaneous octreotide treatment. DESIGN: Sixty-six unselected patients with active acromegaly were therefore evaluated in a multi-center, prospective, open label study. Lanreotide SR was given at a dose of 30mg intramuscular every 7-14 days. METHODS: At baseline and after 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 36 and 48 weeks patients underwent a clinical examination with assessment of acromegaly related symptoms, and blood was sampled for serum GH, IGF-I, prolactin, glycosylated hemoglobin, fasting glucose, hematology, kidney function and liver function tests. Biliary ultrasonography and pituitary magnetic resonance imaging were performed at baseline and after one year. RESULTS: Treatment resulted in a significant improvement in the symptom score from 2.69+/-0.27 to 1.06+/-0.17 (P<0.0001). Serum IGF-I levels fell from 699+/-38microg/l at baseline to 399+/-26microg/l (P<0.0001, n=60) after one month, after which levels remained stable: 480+/-37microg/l after 6 months (n=54) and 363+/-32microg/l after one year (n=46). GH levels dropped from 13.8+/-3.2microg/l to 4.3+/-0.7microg/l after one month (P<0.0001, n=60) and remained stable thereafter: 3.9+/-0.4microg/l (n=54) after 6 months and 3.5+/-1.1microg/l after one year (n=46). Twenty-nine out of 66 patients (44%) attained a normal age-corrected IGF-I level and 30 patients (45%) attained a GH level below 2.5microg/l. Pituitary adenoma shrinkage of at least 25% was found in 5 of 14 patients (36%) after one year. Side effects were mainly transient gastrointestinal symptoms and pain at the injection site, resulting in drug discontinuation in only 6 patients (9%). Two patients developed new gall stones. No difference was found between subcutaneous octreotide and lanreotide SR in efficacy and almost all patients preferred the easier dose administration of lanreotide SR. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term treatment of acromegaly with SR-lanreotide is effective in controlling GH and IGF-I levels and symptoms and is well tolerated in the majority of patients. Compared with subcutaneous octreotide, lanreotide SR considerably improves patient's acceptance of therapy while having the same overall efficacy.

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A Ferriere, C Cortet, P Chanson, B Delemer, P Caron, O Chabre, Y Reznik, J Bertherat, V Rohmer, C Briet, I Raingeard, F Castinetti, A Beckers, L Vroonen, D Maiter, F L Cephise-Velayoudom, M L Nunes, M Haissaguerre and A Tabarin

Objective

The efficacy of cabergoline in Cushing’s disease (CD) is controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of cabergoline in a large contemporary cohort of patients with CD.

Design

We conducted a retrospective multicenter study from thirteen French and Belgian university hospitals.

Methods

Sixty-two patients with CD received cabergoline monotherapy or add-on therapy. Symptom score, biological markers of hypercortisolism and adverse effects were recorded.

Results

Twenty-one (40%) of 53 patients who received cabergoline monotherapy had normal urinary free cortisol (UFC) values within 12 months (complete responders), and five of these patients developed corticotropic insufficiency. The fall in UFC was associated with significant reductions in midnight cortisol and plasma ACTH, and with clinical improvement. Compared to other patients, complete responders had similar median baseline UFC (2.0 vs 2.5xULN) and plasma prolactin concentrations but received lower doses of cabergoline (1.5 vs 3.5 mg/week, P < 0.05). During long-term treatment (>12 months), cabergoline was withdrawn in 28% of complete responders because of treatment escape or intolerance. Overall, sustained control of hypercortisolism was obtained in 23% of patients for 32.5 months (19–105). Nine patients on steroidogenesis inhibitors received cabergoline add-on therapy for 19 months (1–240). Hypercortisolism was controlled in 56% of these patients during the first year of treatment with cabergoline at 1.0 mg/week (0.5–3.5).

Conclusions

About 20–25% of CD patients are good responders to cabergoline therapy allowing long-term control of hypercortisolism at relatively low dosages and with acceptable tolerability. No single parameter, including the baseline UFC and prolactin levels, predicted the response to cabergoline.

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Maria A Tichomirowa, Anne Barlier, Adrian F Daly, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Cristina Ronchi, Maria Yaneva, Jonathan D Urban, Patrick Petrossians, Atanaska Elenkova, Antoine Tabarin, Rachel Desailloud, Dominique Maiter, Thomas Schürmeyer, Renato Cozzi, Marily Theodoropoulou, Caroline Sievers, Ignacio Bernabeu, Luciana A Naves, Olivier Chabre, Carmen Fajardo Montañana, Vaclav Hana, Georges Halaby, Brigitte Delemer, José Ignacio Labarta Aizpún, Emmanuel Sonnet, Ángel Ferrandez Longás, Marie-Thérèse Hagelstein, Philippe Caron, Günter K Stalla, Vincent Bours, Sabina Zacharieva, Anna Spada, Thierry Brue and Albert Beckers

Background

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations (AIPmut) cause aggressive pituitary adenomas in young patients, usually in the setting of familial isolated pituitary adenomas. The prevalence of AIPmut among sporadic pituitary adenoma patients appears to be low; studies have not addressed prevalence in the most clinically relevant population. Hence, we undertook an international, multicenter, prospective genetic, and clinical analysis at 21 tertiary referral endocrine departments.

Methods

We included 163 sporadic pituitary macroadenoma patients irrespective of clinical phenotype diagnosed at <30 years of age.

Results

Overall, 19/163 (11.7%) patients had germline AIPmut; a further nine patients had sequence changes of uncertain significance or polymorphisms. AIPmut were identified in 8/39 (20.5%) pediatric patients. Ten AIPmut were identified in 11/83 (13.3%) sporadic somatotropinoma patients, in 7/61 (11.5%) prolactinoma patients, and in 1/16 non-functioning pituitary adenoma patients. Large genetic deletions were not seen using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Familial screening was possible in the relatives of seven patients with AIPmut and carriers were found in six of the seven families. In total, pituitary adenomas were diagnosed in 2/21 AIPmut-screened carriers; both had asymptomatic microadenomas.

Conclusion

Germline AIPmut occur in 11.7% of patients <30 years with sporadic pituitary macroadenomas and in 20.5% of pediatric patients. AIPmut mutation testing in this population should be considered in order to optimize clinical genetic investigation and management.

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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.

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Ann McCormack, Olaf M Dekkers, Stephan Petersenn, Vera Popovic, Jacqueline Trouillas, Gerald Raverot, Pia Burman and ESE survey collaborators

Objective

To collect outcome data in a large cohort of patients with aggressive pituitary tumours (APT)/carcinomas (PC) and specifically report effects of temozolomide (TMZ) treatment.

Design

Electronic survey to ESE members Dec 2015–Nov 2016.

Results

Reports on 166 patients (40 PC, 125 APT, 1 unclassified) were obtained. Median age at diagnosis was 43 (range 4–79) years. 69% of the tumours were clinically functioning, and the most frequent immunohistochemical subtype were corticotroph tumours (45%). Ki-67 index did not distinguish APT from PC, median 7% and 10% respectively. TMZ was first-line chemotherapy in 157 patients. At the end of the treatment (median 9 cycles), radiological evaluation showed complete response (CR) in 6%, partial response (PR) in 31%, stable disease (SD) in 33% and progressive disease in 30%. Response was more frequent in patients receiving concomitant radiotherapy and TMZ. CR was seen only in patients with low MGMT expression. Clinically functioning tumours were more likely to respond than non-functioning tumours, independent of MGMT status. Of patients with CR, PR and SD, 25, 40 and 48% respectively progressed after a median of 12-month follow-up. Other oncological drugs given as primary treatment and to TMZ failures resulted in PR in 20%.

Conclusion

This survey confirms that TMZ is established as first-line chemotherapeutic treatment of APT/PC. Clinically functioning tumours, low MGMT and concurrent radiotherapy were associated with a better response. The limited long-term effect of TMZ and the poor efficacy of other drugs highlight the need to identify additional effective therapies.