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Gherardo Mazziotti, Andrea G A Lania, and Ernesto Canalis

Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) exert physiological actions on the skeleton throughout life, by stimulating longitudinal bone growth in children, the acquisition of bone mass during adolescence and the maintenance of skeletal architecture in adults. When GH and IGF-I are secreted in excess, bone remodeling is enhanced leading to deterioration of bone microstructure and impairment of bone strength. Indeed, acromegaly causes skeletal fragility, and vertebral fractures are reported in a remarkable number of subjects exposed to GH and IGF-I excess. The management of skeletal fragility in acromegaly is a challenge, since the awareness of this complication is low, the prediction of fracture risk is difficult to ascertain, the risk of fractures remains after the control of acromegaly and the effectiveness of bone-active drugs is unknown. This review is an update on bone disorders associated with acromegaly and provides a perspective of possible therapeutic approaches based on emerging pathophysiological and clinical information.

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Marilda Mormando, Luigi A Nasto, Antonio Bianchi, Gherardo Mazziotti, Antonella Giampietro, Enrico Pola, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Andrea Giustina, and Laura De Marinis

Objective

Acromegaly is associated with an increased prevalence of vertebral fractures (VFs) in close relationship with GH hypersecretion. Two isoforms of the GH receptor (GHR) have been identified; the two isoforms differ or not by the expression of the protein fragment encoded by exon 3 of the GHR gene. Deletion of the exon 3 may influence the functional properties of the GHR and affect fracture risk in acromegalic patients.

Design

A cross-sectional study was designed to investigate the association between the d3-GHR isoform and the prevalence of VFs in patients with acromegaly.

Methods

In this study, 109 acromegalic patients were included (M/F, 48/61): 73 with controlled/cured acromegaly and 36 with active disease. GHR genotype was assessed in each patient. All patients were evaluated for VFs and bone mineral density at lumbar spine and hip. Serum IGF1 levels and bone metabolism markers were measured. A multivariate analysis was performed to establish risk factors for VFs in our population.

Results

d3-GHR carriers showed an increased prevalence of VFs when compared with patients expressing full-length GHR (35/55 vs 12/54; P<0.001). The association between GHR deletion and VFs was demonstrated both in patients with active disease and in those with controlled/cured disease. Out of 35 patients who were prospectively evaluated, 13 (37.1%) developed incident VFs. The incidence of VFs was significantly higher in patients for whom the GHR gene has been deleted when compared with those harboring the fl gene (P=0.04). In multivariate analysis, male sex (odds ratio (OR), 3.250; P=0.041), IGF1 levels (OR, 1.183; P=0.031), length of active diseases (OR, 1.038; P=0.001), and d3-GHR genotype (OR, 3.060; P=0.015) were all confirmed as risk factors of VFs in our population.

Conclusions

This study suggests for the first time that exon 3 deletion of GHR may predispose patients with active and controlled acromegaly to a higher risk of VFs.

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Gherardo Mazziotti, Giovanni Amato, Francesca Sorvillo, Marco Piscopo, Maria Rosaria Rizzo, Eleonora Lalli, Lorenza Iride, Michele Cioffi, Anna Maria Molinari, Giuseppe Paolisso, and Carlo Carella

Aim: To evaluate serum osteoprotegerin (OPG) concentrations in relation to age-dependent changes in serum markers of bone metabolism and systemic inflammation.

Methods: Two-hundred and eighty-three healthy subjects were evaluated for plasma estimated crea-tinine clearance (Cr-clearance), C-reactive protein (CRP), bone alkaline phosphatase, C-telopeptides of type-1 collagen (CrossLaps), nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) and OPG concentrations.

Results: In adult subjects (82 cases aged between 27 and 64 years) serum OPG concentrations were significantly and independently correlated with RANKL and Cr-clearance (R2: 0.29), but not with CRP and biochemical markers of bone metabolism. In old subjects who were between 65 and 84 years of age (52 cases) serum OPG concentrations were significantly higher as compared with the adult subjects and correlated independently and significantly with serum RANKL, Cr-clearance and CrossLaps values (R2: 0.63). The highest OPG values were found in the long-lived subjects (149 cases with ages between 85 and 110 years) who also showed increased serum CrossLaps and CRP concentrations as compared with the younger subjects. However, in the long-lived subjects serum OPG concentrations were significantly and independently correlated with Cr-clearance and CRP (R2: 0.45) but not with CrossLaps values.

Conclusions: These data would suggest that different factors might be responsible for the age-dependent enhancement of OPG production. Bone metabolism would seem to be the most important factor influencing serum OPG concentrations in old subjects under 85 years of age, whereas in long-lived subjects the circulating values of this cytokine seem to be mainly correlated with serum CRP which could be a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular risk.

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Andrea Lania, Maria Teresa Sandri, Miriam Cellini, Marco Mirani, Elisabetta Lavezzi, and Gherardo Mazziotti

Objective:

This study assessed thyroid function in patients affected by the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), based on the hypothesis that the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19 may influence thyroid function and/or the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may directly act on thyroid cells, such as previously demonstrated for SARS-CoV-1 infection.

Design and methods:

This single-center study was retrospective and consisted in evaluating thyroid function tests and serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) values in 287 consecutive patients (193 males, median age: 66 years, range: 27–92) hospitalized for COVID-19 in non-intensive care units.

Results:

Fifty-eight patients (20.2%) were found with thyrotoxicosis (overt in 31 cases), 15 (5.2%) with hypothyroidism (overt in only 2 cases), and 214 (74.6%) with normal thyroid function. Serum thyrotropin (TSH) values were inversely correlated with age of patients (rho −0.27; P < 0.001) and IL-6 (rho −0.41; P < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, thyrotoxicosis resulted to be significantly associated with higher IL-6 (odds ratio: 3.25, 95% confidence interval: 1.97–5.36; P < 0.001), whereas the association with age of patients was lost (P = 0.09).

Conclusions:

This study provides first evidence that COVID-19 may be associated with high risk of thyrotoxicosis in relationship with systemic immune activation induced by the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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Andrea Giustina, Stefania Bonadonna, Giovanna Bugari, Annamaria Colao, Renato Cozzi, Salvatore Cannavo, Laura de Marinis, Ettore degli Uberti, Fausto Bogazzi, Gherardo Mazziotti, Francesco Minuto, Marcella Montini, and Ezio Ghigo

Objective

In acromegaly, 25–50% of patients respond inadequately to conventional long-acting somatostatin analogue (SSA) therapy. Response may be improved by increasing SSA frequency or dose. This study evaluated the biochemical efficacy and safety of high-dose octreotide in patients with acromegaly.

Design

A 24-week prospective, multicentre, randomised, open-label trial conducted from 12 December 2005 to 23 October 2007 in patients with persistently uncontrolled acromegaly despite ≥6 month conventional SSA therapy.

Methods

Patients with ≥50% reduction in GH levels during previous SSA treatment were randomised to high-dose (60 mg/28 days) or high-frequency (30 mg/21 days) octreotide i.m. injection. Primary end-points were week 12 and 24 reduction in serum IGF1 and GH from baseline. Secondary end points included IGF1 normalisation and tumour shrinkage rates, and safety/tolerability evaluations.

Results

Significantly, more patients (10 out of 11) achieved week 24 IGF1 reduction in the high-dose than the high-frequency group (8 out of 15; P<0.05). In the high-dose group only, week-24 IGF1 values were significantly reduced (P=0.02) versus baseline. Normalisation of IGF1 occurred only with the high-dose regimen (4/11; P=0.02). Out of 14 patients experiencing adverse events, 5 reported drug-related gastrointestinal effects. No dose–response relationship was seen. Safety parameters were similar between treatment groups, apart from a slight decrease in HbA1c in the high-dose group only.

Conclusion

High-dose octreotide treatment is safe and effective (normalisation of IGF1 levels) in a subset of patients with active acromegaly inadequately controlled with long-term SSA. Individualised octreotide doses up to 60 mg/28 days may improve outcomes of SSA therapy.

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Domenico Albano, Francesco Bertagna, Mattia Bonacina, Rexhep Durmo, Elisabetta Cerudelli, Maria Gazzilli, Maria Beatrice Panarotto, Anna Maria Formenti, Gherardo Mazziotti, Andrea Giustina, and Raffaele Giubbini

Objective

According to the 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines, thyroid ablation by iodine-131 (I-131) therapy is absolutely recommended only in patients with high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Often distant metastases are not recognized early and they can stay silent for long time. The aim of our study was to retrospectively analyze the prevalence of metastatic disease before and after I-131 and to evaluate the influence of the new ATA guidelines in the management of DTC.

Methods

We retrospectively analyzed 140 patients showing distant metastases. All metastases were detected by whole-body scan after I-131 and confirmed by histology and/or other imaging modalities.

Results

In 26/140 patients metastases were detected before I-131, while in 114/140 were discovered after I-131. Comparing patients with metastases detected before and after I-131, no differences were demonstrated considering age, sex, histotype, tumor size, multifocality of cancer and metastatic localization. Metastatic DTC discovered before radioiodine had higher thyroglobulin and received a higher radioiodine total activity and number of treatments. Considering patients with distant metastases, according to the 2015 ATA guidelines, 38 patients would have been categorized as high risk, 22 as low risk and 80 as intermediate risk. Among intermediate-risk patients, only in 25 cases (31%) I-131 treatment would have been appropriate according to 2015 ATA recommendations; in the remaining 56 cases (69%), I-131 would not have been recommended.

Conclusions

According to the 2015 ATA guidelines, most of metastatic patients would not have been treated after surgery, with the risk of late diagnosis and delayed treatment.

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Gherardo Mazziotti, Teresa Porcelli, Fausto Bogazzi, Giovanna Bugari, Salvatore Cannavò, Annamaria Colao, Renato Cozzi, Laura De Marinis, Ettore degli Uberti, Silvia Grottoli, Francesco Minuto, Marcella Montini, Maurizio Spinello, and Andrea Giustina

Objective

In this study, the effect of high-dose octreotide LAR on glucose metabolism in patients with acromegaly was investigated.

Design

A post-hoc analysis of a clinical trial enrolling 26 patients with acromegaly not controlled by standard maximal somatostatin analog (SSAs) dose and randomized to receive high-dose (60 mg/28 days) or high-frequency (30 mg/21 days) octreotide i.m. injection (octreotide LAR) for 6 months.

Methods

Glucose metabolic status was defined as worsened when a progression from normoglycemia to impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or from IFG to diabetes occurred or when an increase of HbAlc by at least 0.5% was demonstrated. An improvement of glucose metabolism was defined in the presence of a regression from IFG to normoglycemia and/or when HbAlc decreased by at least 0.5%.

Results

Glucose metabolic status remained unchanged in a majority of patients (16/26 patients, 65.3%), worsened in six patients, and improved in four patients. Pre-existing metabolic status did not predict worsening of glucose metabolism, which, conversely, was significantly related to persistent biochemical activity of the disease. In fact, patients with worsened glucose metabolism exhibited a less frequent decrease in serum GH and IGF1 levels, compared with patients with improved or unchanged glucose metabolism (2/6 vs 18/20; P=0.01).

Conclusion

An increase in octreotide LAR dose or frequency did not impact on glucose metabolism in most patients. Worsening of glucose metabolic status occurred in close relation with persistently uncontrolled acromegaly.

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Alfredo Berruti, Rossella Libè, Marta Laganà, Hester Ettaieb, Mohamad Anas Sukkari, Jérôme Bertherat, Richard A Feelders, Salvatore Grisanti, Jérôme Cartry, Gherardo Mazziotti, Sandra Sigala, Eric Baudin, Harm Haak, Mouhammed Amir Habra, and Massimo Terzolo

Introduction

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare cancer that commonly spreads to the liver, lungs and lymph nodes. Bone metastases are infrequent.

Objective

The aim of this report was to describe the clinical characteristics, survival perspective, prognostic factors and frequency of adverse skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with ACC who developed bone metastasis.

Methods

This is a retrospective, observational, multicenter, multinational study of patients diagnosed with bone metastases from ACC who were treated and followed up in three European countries (France, Italy and The Netherlands) and one center in the United States.

Results

Data of 156 patients were captured. The median overall survival was 11 months. SREs occurred in 47% of patients: 17% bone fractures, 17% spinal cord compression, 1% hypercalcemia, 12% developed more than one SRE. In multivariate analysis, cortisol hypersecretion was the only prognostic factor significantly associated with a higher mortality risk (hazard ratio (HR) 2.24, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.19–4.23, P = 0.013) and with the development of a SREs (of border line significance). The administration of antiresorptive therapies (bisphosphonates and denosumab) was associated with a lower risk of death, even if not significant, and their survival benefit appeared confined in patients attaining serum mitotane levels within the therapeutic range.

Conclusion

Bone metastases in ACC patients are associated with poor prognosis and high risk of SREs. Cortisol hypersecretion was the only prognostic factor suggesting a potential benefit from antisecretory medications. The therapeutic role of bisphosphonates and denosumab to improve patient outcome deserves to be tested in a prospective clinical trial.