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Frédérique Albarel, Frédéric Castinetti, and Thierry Brue

In recent years, the development of immunotherapy has constituted a revolution in the therapy for many cancers, with a specific toxicity profile including endocrine immune-related adverse events. Immune check point inhibitors (ICI)-induced hypophysitis is a common endocrine side effect, particularly with CTLA-4 antibodies and combination therapy, with frequent hormonal deficiencies at diagnosis. It can be difficult to evoke such diagnosis as the initial clinical symptoms are not specific (headache, asthenia…); thus, patients receiving such immunomodulatory therapies should be closely monitored by systematic hormone measurements, especially in the first weeks of treatment. Usually, hormonal deficiencies improve, except for corticotroph function. Despite a lack of large prospective studies on ICI-induced hypophysitis, some detailed longitudinal cohort studies have focused on such cases of hypophysitis and allow for optimal monitoring, follow-up and management of patients with this immune-related adverse event. In the case of ICI-induced hypophysitis, patients need long-term multidisciplinary follow-up, with specific education for those patients with corticotropin deficiency to allow them to be autonomous with their treatment. In this review, based on a clinical case, we detail the most relevant and novel aspects related to the incidence, diagnosis, treatment, evolution and management of hypophysitis induced by immunotherapy, with a focus on possible mechanisms and current recommendations and guidelines. Lastly, we emphasize several key points, such as the absence of indication to systematically treat with high-dose glucocorticoid and the pursuit of immunotherapy in such hypophysitis. These points should be kept in mind by oncologists and endocrinologists who treat and monitor patients treated by immunotherapy.

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Frédérique Albarel, Caroline Gaudy, Frédéric Castinetti, Tiphaine Carré, Isabelle Morange, Bernard Conte-Devolx, Jean-Jacques Grob, and Thierry Brue

Objective

Few data are published on the long-term follow-up of ipilimumab-induced hypophysitis, a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 antibody. We characterized hypophysitis in terms of clinical signs, endocrinological profile, and imaging at diagnosis and during a long-term follow-up.

Design and patients

Fifteen patients, treated for malignant melanoma and who presented ipilimumab-induced hypophysitis, were observed between June 2006 and August 2012 in Timone Hospital, Marseille.

Methods

Symptoms, pituitary function, and pituitary imaging at diagnosis of hypophysitis and during the follow-up were recorded.

Results

Of 131 patients treated with ipilimumab or a placebo, 15 patients (10 mg/kg in 11/15) presented with hypophysitis (≥11.5%) at 9.5±5.9 weeks (mean±s.d.) after treatment start, occurring in 66% after the third infusion. The main initial symptoms were headache (n=13) and asthenia (n=11). All patients but one had at least one hormonal defect: thyrotroph (n=13), gonadotroph (n=12), or corticotroph (n=11) deficiencies. None had diabetes insipidus. Pituitary imaging showed a moderately enlarged gland in 12 patients. Clinical symptoms improved rapidly on high-dose glucocorticoids (n=11) or physiological replacement doses (n=4). At the end of follow-up (median 33.6 months, range 7–53.5), corticotroph deficiency remained in 13 patients, 11 recovered thyrotroph and ten gonadotroph functions. Pituitary imaging remained abnormal in 11 patients.

Conclusion

Ipilimumab-induced hypophysitis is a common side-effect with frequent hormonal deficiencies at diagnosis. Usually, hormonal deficiencies improved, except for corticotroph function. Patients receiving these immunomodulatory therapies should be closely monitored especially by systematic baseline hormone measurements after the third infusion and remain at a risk of adrenal insufficiency in the long-term.

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Rachel Fourneaux, Marie Vermalle, Frederique Albarel, Isabelle Morange, Thomas Graillon, Vincent Amodru, Thomas Cuny, Henry Dufour, Thierry Brue, and Frederic Castinetti

Objective

A relative can be an asset in dealing with chronic illnesses, such as acromegaly, where quality of life (QoL) is altered even after remission. However, it has been shown that quality of life of caregivers can also be impacted. Our main objective was to compare the perception of acromegaly in remission in the patient–relative dyad.

Methods

In this observational study, 27 patients in remission and relatives were first asked to complete QoL, anxiety/depression and coping strategy questionnaires. Then, the patient’s body image and self-esteem were evaluated from both the patient’s and the relative’s point of view using the same questionnaires with modified instructions.

Results

Relatives had overall an accurate estimation of patient body image using the Figure Rating Scale by Stunkard. However, there were wide variations between the patient’s and the relative’s responses regarding self-esteem and body perception. The QoL of relatives was not altered and was significantly higher in the social domain than for the patient.

Conclusions

Our results show that relatives require education concerning all the steps involved in the management of acromegaly, as they likely do not fully understand the sequelae of acromegaly.

Free access

Grégory Mougel, Arnaud Lagarde, Frédérique Albarel, Wassim Essamet, Perrine Luigi, Céline Mouly, Magaly Vialon, Thomas Cuny, Frédéric Castinetti, Alexandru Saveanu, Thierry Brue, Anne Barlier, and Pauline Romanet

Background:

The ‘3PAs’ syndrome, associating pituitary adenoma (PA) and pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL), is sometimes associated with mutations in PPGL-predisposing genes, such as SDHx or MAX. In ’3PAs’ syndrome, PAs can occur before PPGL, suggesting a new gateway into SDHx/MAX-related diseases.

Objective:

To determine the SDHx/MAX mutation prevalence in patients with isolated PAs and characterize PAs of patients with SDHx/MAX mutations.

Design:

Genes involved in PAs (AIP/MEN1/CDKN1B) or PPGLs (SDHx/MAX) were sequenced in patients with isolated PAs. We then conducted a review of cases of PA in the setting of ’3PAs’ syndrome.

Results:

A total of 263 patients were recruited. Seven (likely) pathogenic variants were found in AIP, two in MEN1, two in SDHA, and one in SDHC. The prevalence of SDHx mutations reached 1.1% (3/263). Of 31 reported patients with PAs harboring SDHx/MAX mutations (28 published cases and 3 cases reported here), 6/31 (19%) developed PA before PPGL and 8/31 (26%) had isolated PA. The age of onset was later than in patients with AIP/MEN1 mutations. PAs were mainly macroprolactinomas and showed intracytoplasmic vacuoles seen on histopathology.

Conclusions:

We discovered SDHx mutations in patients bearing PA who had no familial or personal history of PPGL. However, the question of incidental association remains unresolved and data to determine the benefit of SDHx/MAX screening in these patients are lacking. We recommend that patients with isolated PA should be carefully examined for a family history of PPGLs. A family history of PPGL, as well as the presence of intracytoplasmic vacuoles in PA, requires SDHx/MAX genetic testing of patients.

Free access

Lucie Allard, Frédérique Albarel, Jérôme Bertherat, Philippe Jean Caron, Christine Cortet, Carine Courtillot, Brigitte Delemer, Christel Jublanc, Dominique Maiter, Marie Laure Nunes, Gerald Raverot, Julie Sarfati, Sylvie Salenave, Emmanuelle Corruble, Walid Choucha, and Philippe Chanson

Context

In patients treated with antipsychotics, the rare occurrence of a macroprolactinoma represents a therapeutic challenge.

Objective

Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and psychiatric safety of dopamine agonists (DAs) prescribed for large macroprolactinomas in patients with psychosis treated with antipsychotics.

Design

This was a multicenter (France and Belgium) retrospective study.

Patients

Eighteen patients treated with antipsychotics were included.

Results

Under DA, median PRL levels decreased from 1247 (117–81 132) to 42 (4–573) ng/mL (P = 0.008), from 3850 (449–38 000) to 141 (60–6000) ng/mL (P = 0.037) and from 1664 (94–9400) to 1215 (48–5640) ng/mL (P = 0.56) when given alone (n = 8), before surgery (n = 7), or after surgery (n = 6), respectively. The prolactinoma median largest diameter decreased by 28% (0–57) in patients under DAs alone (P = 0.02) but did not change when given after surgery. Optic chiasm decompression was achieved in 82% of patients. Five patients (28%) were admitted for psychotic relapse while receiving DAs (but three of them had stopped antipsychotic treatment at that time). A more severe underlying psychosis, rather than the DA treatment itself, may explain such psychiatric admissions.

Conclusion

Even if the DA efficacy on PRL levels and tumor volume in patients with macroprolactinoma under antipsychotic drugs is less impressive than that typically observed, it may be considered satisfactory for half of our patients, particularly in cases of optic chiasm compression. Psychotic exacerbation was unusual in these patients, occurring mostly in those with the most severe psychotic forms. DAs may therefore be used as antitumor treatment for macroprolactinoma in patients with visual involvement, severe headaches or invasion into the skull base who receive antipsychotics.

Restricted access

Frederic Castinetti, Philippe Caron, Isabelle Raingeard, Vincent Amodru, Frederique Albarel, Isabelle Morange, Philippe Chanson, Julie Calvo, Thomas Graillon, Karine Baumstarck, Henry Dufour, Jean Regis, and Thierry Brue

Introduction

Persistent growth hormone hypersecretion can be observed in roughly 50% of patients operated for somatotroph adenomas, requiring additional treatments. Despite its proven antisecretory efficacy, the use of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GK) is limited probably due to the lack of data on long-term side effects, including potential cognitive consequences.

Methods

The LATe Effects of Radiosurgery in Acromegaly study was a cross-sectional exposed/unexposed non-randomized study. The primary objective was to determine the long-term neurocognitive effects of GK focusing on memory, executive functions, and calculation ability. Exposed patients had been treated by GK for acromegaly at least 5 years before inclusion. Unexposed patients (paired for age) had to be cured or controlled at last follow-up without any radiation technique. Patients of both groups were cured or controlled at the last follow-up.

Results

Sixty-four patients were evaluated (27 exposed and 37 unexposed). Mean follow-up after GK was 13 ± 6 years (including 24 patients followed for at least 10 years). While up to 23.8% of the patients of the whole cohort presented at least one abnormal cognitive test, we did not observe any significant difference in neurocognitive function between both groups. During the follow-up, 11 patients presented at least one new pituitary deficiency (P  = 0.009 for thyroid-stimulating hormone deficiency with a higher rate in exposed patients), two presented a stroke (1 in each group), and one presented a meningioma (12 years after GK).

Conclusions

While GK exposes patients to a well-known risk of pituitary deficiency, it does not seem to induce long-term cognitive consequences in patients treated for acromegaly.