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Free access

Christina Pamporaki, Michael Bursztyn, Manja Reimann, Tjalf Ziemssen, Stefan R Bornstein, Fred C G J Sweep, Henri Timmers, Jacques W M Lenders and Graeme Eisenhofer

Background

Higher plasma concentrations of catecholamines in winter than in summer are established; whether this impacts plasma concentrations of metanephrines used for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma is unknown.

Objective

In this study, we examined seasonal variations in plasma concentrations of metanephrines, the impact of this on diagnostic test performance and the influences of forearm warming (‘arterialization’ of venous blood) on blood flow and measured concentrations.

Methods

Measurements of plasma concentrations of metanephrines were recorded from 4052 patients tested for pheochromocytoma at two clinical centers. Among these patients, 107 had tumors. An additional 26 volunteers were enrolled for measurements of plasma metanephrines and forearm blood flow before and after forearm warming.

Results

There was no seasonal variation in the plasma concentrations of metanephrines among patients with pheochromocytoma, whereas among those without tumors, plasma concentrations of normetanephrine were higher (P<0.0001) in winter than in summer. Lowest concentrations of normetanephrine were measured in July, with those recorded from December to April being more than 21% higher (P<0.0001). These differences resulted in a twofold higher (P=0.0012) prevalence of false-positive elevations of normetanephrine concentrations in winter than in summer, associated with a drop in overall diagnostic specificity from 96% in summer to 92% in winter (P=0.0010). Forearm warming increased blood flow and lowered (P=0.0020) plasma normetanephrine concentrations.

Conclusions

Plasma concentrations of normetanephrine are subject to seasonal variation with a resulting higher prevalence of false-positive results in winter than in summer. Lowered plasma concentrations of normetanephrine with forearm warming suggest an effect of temperature. These results have implications for considerations of temperature to minimize false-positive results.

Free access

Mariko Sue, Victoria Martucci, Florina Frey, Jacques W M Lenders, Henri J Timmers, Mariola Pęczkowska, Aleksander Prejbisz, Brede Swantje, Stefan R Bornstein, Wiebke Arlt, Martin Fassnacht, Felix Beuschlein, Mercedes Robledo, Karel Pacak and Graeme Eisenhofer

Objective

Testing for succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) mutations is recommended in all patients with metastatic phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs), but may not be required when metastatic disease is accompanied by adrenaline production. This retrospective cohort study aimed to establish the prevalence of SDHB mutations among patients with metastatic PPGLs, characterised by production of adrenaline compared with those without production of adrenaline, and to establish genotype–phenotype features of metastatic PPGLs according to underlying gene mutations.

Design and methods

Presence of SDHB mutations or deletions was tested in 205 patients (114 males) aged 42±16 years (range 9–86 years) at diagnosis of metastatic PPGLs with and without adrenaline production.

Results

Twenty-three of the 205 patients (11%) with metastatic PPGLs had disease characterised by production of adrenaline, as defined by increased plasma concentrations of metanephrine larger than 5% of the combined increase in both normetanephrine and metanephrine. None of these 23 patients had SDHB mutations. Of the other 182 patients with no tumoural adrenaline production, 51% had SDHB mutations. Metastases in bone were 36–41% more prevalent among patients with SDHB mutations or extra-adrenal primary tumours than those without mutations or with adrenal primary tumours. Liver metastases were 81% more prevalent among patients with adrenal than extra-adrenal primary tumours.

Conclusion

SDHB mutation testing has no utility among patients with adrenaline-producing metastatic PPGLs, but is indicated in other patients with metastatic disease. Our study also reveals novel associations of metastatic spread with primary tumour location and presence of SDHB mutations.

Open access

Dipti Rao, Mirko Peitzsch, Aleksander Prejbisz, Katarzyna Hanus, Martin Fassnacht, Felix Beuschlein, Christina Brugger, Stephanie Fliedner, Katharina Langton, Christina Pamporaki, Volker Gudziol, Anthony Stell, Andrzej Januszewicz, Henri J L M Timmers, Jacques W M Lenders and Graeme Eisenhofer

Context

Measurements of plasma methoxytyramine, the O-methylated dopamine metabolite, are useful for detecting rare dopamine-producing pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) and head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs), but utility for screening beyond that achieved using standard measurements of normetanephrine and metanephrine is unclear.

Objective

Evaluation of the additional utility of methoxytyramine compared to plasma normetanephrine and metanephrine for diagnosis of PPGLs and HNPGLs.

Design

Comparative prospective study.

Methods

Comparison of mass spectrometric-based measurements of plasma methoxytyramine, normetanephrine and metanephrine in 1963 patients tested for PPGLs at six tertiary medical centers according to reference intervals verified in 423 normotensive and hypertensive volunteers.

Results

Of the screened patients, 213 had PPGLs and 38 HNPGLs. Using an upper cut-off of 0.10 nmol/L for methoxytyramine, 0.45 nmol/L for metanephrine and age-specific upper cut-offs for normetanephrine, diagnostic sensitivity with the addition of methoxytyramine increased from 97.2% to 98.6% for patients with PPGLs and from 22.1% to 50.0% for patients with HNPGLs, with a small decrease in specificity from 95.9% to 95.1%. Addition of methoxytyramine did not significantly alter areas under receiver operating characteristic curves for patients with PPGLs (0.984 vs 0.991), but did increase (P < 0.05) areas for patients with HNPGLs (0.627 vs 0.801). Addition of methoxytyramine also increased the proportion of patients with PPGLs who showed highly positive predictive elevations of multiple metabolites (70.9% vs 49.3%).

Conclusions

While the benefit of additional measurements of plasma methoxytyramine for the detection of PPGLs is modest, the measurements do assist with positive confirmation of disease and are useful for the detection of HNPGLs.

Restricted access

Hanneke J B H Beijers, Nike M L Stikkelbroeck, Arjen R Mensenkamp, Rolph Pfundt, Rob B van der Luijt, Henri J L M Timmers, Ad R M M Hermus and Marlies J E Kempers

Context

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the tumor suppressor gene MEN1 and can be diagnosed based on clinical, familial and/or genetic criteria. We present a family in which we found both germline and somatic mosaicism for MEN1.

Family description

In our proband, we diagnosed MEN1. The mutation was not detected in her parents (DNA extracted from leucocytes). When her brother was found to harbor the same MEN1 mutation as our proband and, around the same time, their father was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine carcinoma, this tumor was investigated for the MEN1 mutation as well. In the histologic biopsy of this tumor, the same MEN1 mutation was detected as previously found in his children. Re-analysis of his blood using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) showed a minimal, but consistently decreased signal for the MEN1-specific MLPA probes. The deletion was confirmed in his son by high-resolution array analysis. Based on the array data, we concluded that the deletion was limited to the MEN1 gene and that the father had both germline and somatic mosaicism for MEN1.

Conclusions

To our knowledge, this is the first reported family with combined germline and somatic mosaicism for MEN1. This study illustrates that germline mosaicism is important to consider in apparently sporadic de novo MEN1 mutations, because of its particular importance for genetic counseling, specifically when evaluating the risk for family members and when considering the possibility of somatic mosaicism in the parent with germline mosaicism.

Free access

Sophie J van Asselt, Adrienne H Brouwers, Hendrik M van Dullemen, Eric J van der Jagt, Alfons H Bongaerts, Klaas P Koopmans, Ido P Kema, Bernard A Zonnenberg, Henri J Timmers, Wouter W de Herder, Wim J Sluiter, Elisabeth G de Vries and Thera P Links

Background

Patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease are prone to develop pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs). However, the best imaging technique for early detection of pNETs in VHL is currently unknown. In a head-to-head comparison, we evaluated endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and 11C-5-hydroxytryptophan positron emission tomography (11C-5-HTP PET) compared with conventional screening techniques for early detection of pancreatic solid lesions in VHL patients.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional, prospective study in 22 patients at a tertiary care university medical center. Patients with VHL mutation or with one VHL manifestation and a mutation carrier as first-degree family member, with recent screening by abdominal computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS), were eligible. Patients underwent EUS by linear Pentax echoendoscope and Hitachi EUB-525, and 11C-5-HTP PET. Patient-based and lesion-based positivity for pancreatic solid lesions were calculated for all imaging techniques with a composite reference standard.

Results

In 10 of the 22 patients, 20 pancreatic solid lesions were detected: 17 with EUS (P < 0.05 vs CT/MRI+ SRS), 3 with 11C-5-HTP PET, 3 with SRS, 9 with CT/MRI, and 9 with CT/MRI + SRS. EUS evaluations showed solid lesions with a median size of 9.7 mm (range 2.9–55 mm) and most of them were homogeneous, hypoechoic, isoelastic, and hypervascular. Moreover, EUS detected multiple pancreatic cysts in 18 patients with a median of 4 cysts (range 1–30).

Conclusions

EUS is superior to CT/MRI + SRS for detecting pancreatic solid lesions in VHL disease.11C-5-HTP PET has no value as a screening method in this setting. EUS performs well in early detection of pNETs, but its role in VHL surveillance is unclear.

Free access

Edward Buitenwerf, Tijmen Korteweg, Anneke Visser, Charlotte M S C Haag, Richard A Feelders, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Harm R Haak, Peter H L T Bisschop, Elisabeth M W Eekhoff, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Nanda C Krak, Elise Rasenberg, Janneke van den Bergh, Jaap Stoker, Marcel J W Greuter, Robin P F Dullaart, Thera P Links and Michiel N Kerstens

Background

A substantial proportion of all pheochromocytomas is currently detected during the evaluation of an adrenal incidentaloma. Recently, it has been suggested that biochemical testing to rule out pheochromocytoma is unnecessary in case of an adrenal incidentaloma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 Hounsfield Units (HU) at computed tomography (CT).

Objectives

We aimed to determine the sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold value to exclude a pheochromocytoma.

Methods

Retrospective multicenter study with systematic reassessment of preoperative unenhanced CT scans performed in patients in whom a histopathologically proven pheochromocytoma had been diagnosed. Unenhanced attenuation values were determined independently by two experienced radiologists. Sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold was calculated, and interobserver consistency was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

Results

214 patients were identified harboring a total number of 222 pheochromocytomas. Maximum tumor diameter was 51 (39–74) mm. The mean attenuation value within the region of interest was 36 ± 10 HU. Only one pheochromocytoma demonstrated an attenuation value ≤10 HU, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.6% (95% CI: 97.5–99.9). ICC was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75–0.86) with a standard error of measurement of 7.3 HU between observers.

Conclusion

The likelihood of a pheochromocytoma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 HU on CT is very low. The interobserver consistency in attenuation measurement is excellent. Our study supports the recommendation that in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma biochemical testing for ruling out pheochromocytoma is only indicated in adrenal tumors with an unenhanced attenuation value >10 HU.

Restricted access

Aikaterini Geroula, Timo Deutschbein, Katharina Langton, Jimmy Masjkur, Christina Pamporaki, Mirko Peitzsch, Stephanie Fliedner, Henri J L M Timmers, Stefan R Bornstein, Felix Beuschlein, Anthony Stell, Andrzej Januszewicz, Aleksander Prejbisz, Martin Fassnacht, Jacques W M Lenders and Graeme Eisenhofer

Objective

Hypertension and symptoms of catecholamine excess are features of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs). This prospective observational cohort study assessed whether differences in presenting features in patients tested for PPGLs might assist establishing likelihood of disease.

Design and methods

Patients were tested for PPGLs because of signs and symptoms, an incidental mass on imaging or routine surveillance due to previous history or hereditary risk. Patients with (n = 245) compared to without (n = 1820) PPGLs were identified on follow-up. Differences in presenting features were then examined to assess the probability of disease and relationships to catecholamine excess.

Results

Hyperhidrosis, palpitations, pallor, tremor and nausea were 30–90% more prevalent (P < 0.001) among patients with than without PPGLs, whereas headache, flushing and other symptoms showed little or no differences. Although heart rates were higher (P < 0.0001) in patients with than without PPGLs, blood pressures were not higher and were positively correlated to BMI, which was lower (P < 0.0001) in patients with than without PPGLs. From these differences in clinical features, a score system was established that indicated a 5.8-fold higher probability of PPGLs in patients with high than low scores. Higher scores among patients with PPGLs were associated, independently of tumor size, with higher biochemical indices of catecholamine excess.

Conclusions

This study identifies a complex of five signs and symptoms combined with lower BMI and elevated heart rate as key features in patients with PPGLs. Prevalences of these features, which reflect variable tumoral catecholamine production, may be used to triage patients according to likelihood of disease.

Free access

Kim Freriks, Theo C J Sas, Maaike A F Traas, Romana T Netea-Maier, Martin den Heijer, Ad R M M Hermus, Jan M Wit, Janiëlle A E M van Alfen-van der Velden, Barto J Otten, Sabine M P F de Muinck Keizer-Schrama, Martin Gotthardt, Philippe H Dejonckere, Gladys R J Zandwijken, Leonie A Menke and Henri J L M Timmers

Objective

Short stature is a prominent feature of Turner syndrome (TS), which is partially overcome by GH treatment. We have previously reported the results of a trial on the effect of oxandrolone (Ox) in girls with TS. Ox in a dose of 0.03 mg/kg per day (Ox 0.03) significantly increased adult height gain, whereas Ox mg/kg per day (0.06) did not, at the cost of deceleration of breast development and mild virilization. The aim of this follow-up study in adult participants of the pediatric trial was to investigate the long-term effects of previous Ox treatment.

Design and methods

During the previous randomized controlled trial, 133 girls were treated with GH combined with placebo (Pl), Ox 0.03, or Ox 0.06 from 8 years of age and estrogen from 12 years. Sixty-eight women (Pl, n=23; Ox 0.03, n=27; and Ox 0.06, n=18) participated in the double-blind follow-up study (mean age, 24.0 years; mean time since stopping GH, 8.7 years; and mean time of Ox/Pl use, 4.9 years). We assessed height, body proportions, breast size, virilization, and body composition.

Results

Height gain (final minus predicted adult height) was maintained at follow-up (Ox 0.03 10.2±4.9 cm, Ox 0.06 9.7±4.4 cm vs Pl 8.0±4.6 cm). Breast size, Tanner breast stage, and body composition were not different between groups. Ox-treated women reported more subjective virilization and had a lower voice frequency.

Conclusion

Ox 0.03 mg/kg per day has a beneficial effect on adult height gain in TS patients. Despite previously reported deceleration of breast development during Ox 0.03 treatment, adult breast size is not affected. Mild virilization persists in only a small minority of patients. The long-term evaluation indicates that Ox 0.03 treatment is effective and safe.

Restricted access

Zoran Erlic, Max Kurlbaum, Timo Deutschbein, Svenja Nölting, Aleksander Prejbisz, Henri Timmers, Susan Richter, Cornelia Prehn, Dirk Weismann, Jerzy Adamski, Andrzej Januszewicz, Martin Reincke, Martin Fassnacht, Mercedes Robledo, Graeme Eisenhofer, Felix Beuschlein and Matthias Kroiss

Objective

Excess catecholamine release by pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) leads to characteristic clinical features and increased morbidity and mortality. The influence of PPGLs on metabolism is ill described but may impact diagnosis and management. The objective of this study was to systematically and quantitatively study PPGL-induced metabolic changes at a systems level.

Design

Targeted metabolomics by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of plasma specimens in a clinically well-characterized prospective cohort study.

Methods

Analyses of metabolic profiles of plasma specimens from 56 prospectively enrolled and clinically well-characterized patients (23 males, 33 females) with catecholamine-producing PPGL before and after surgery, as well as measurement of 24-h urinary catecholamine using LC-MS/MS.

Results

From 127 analyzed metabolites, 15 were identified with significant changes before and after surgery: five amino acids/biogenic amines (creatinine, histidine, ornithine, sarcosine, tyrosine) and one glycerophospholipid (PCaeC34:2) with increased concentrations and six glycerophospholipids (PCaaC38:1, PCaaC42:0, PCaeC40:2, PCaeC42:5, PCaeC44:5, PCaeC44:6), two sphingomyelins (SMC24:1, SMC26:1) and hexose with decreased levels after surgery. Patients with a noradrenergic tumor phenotype had more pronounced alterations compared to those with an adrenergic tumor phenotype. Weak, but significant correlations for 8 of these 15 metabolites with total urine catecholamine levels were identified.

Conclusions

This first large prospective metabolomics analysis of PPGL patients demonstrates broad metabolic consequences of catecholamine excess. Robust impact on lipid and amino acid metabolism may contribute to increased morbidity of PPGL patients.

Free access

Nicolasine D Niemeijer, Johannes A Rijken, Karin Eijkelenkamp, Anouk N A van der Horst-Schrivers, Michiel N Kerstens, Carli M J Tops, Anouk van Berkel, Henri J L M Timmers, Henricus P M Kunst, C René Leemans, Peter H Bisschop, Koen M A Dreijerink, Marieke F van Dooren, Jean-Pierre Bayley, Alberto M Pereira, Jeroen C Jansen, Frederik J Hes, Erik F Hensen and Eleonora P M Corssmit

Objective

Succinate dehydrogenase B subunit (SDHB) gene germline mutations predispose to pheochromocytomas, sympathetic paragangliomas, head and neck paragangliomas and non-paraganglionic tumors (e.g. renal cell carcinoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor and pituitary neoplasia). The aim of this study was to determine phenotypical characteristics of a large Dutch cohort of SDHB germline mutation carriers and assess differences in clinical phenotypes related to specific SDHB mutations.

Design

Retrospective descriptive study.

Methods

Retrospective descriptive study in seven academic centers.

Results

We included 194 SDHB mutation carriers consisting 65 (33.5%) index patients and 129 (66.5%) relatives. Mean age was 44.8 ± 16.0 years. Median duration of follow-up was 2.6 years (range: 0–36). Sixty persons (30.9%) carried the exon 3 deletion and 46 (23.7%) the c.423 + 1G > A mutation. Fifty-four mutation carriers (27.8%) had one or multiple head and neck paragangliomas, 4 (2.1%) had a pheochromocytoma and 26 (13.4%) had one or more sympathetic paragangliomas. Fifteen patients (7.7%) developed metastatic paraganglioma and 17 (8.8%) developed non-paraganglionic tumors. At study close, there were 111 (57.2%) unaffected mutation carriers. Statistical analyses showed no significant differences in the number and location of head and neck paragangliomas, sympathetic paragangliomas or pheochromocytomas, nor in the occurrence of metastatic disease or other tumors between carriers of the two founder SDHB mutations (exon 3 deletion vs c.423+ 1G > A).

Conclusions

In this nationwide study of disease-affected and unaffected SDHB mutation carriers, we observed a lower rate of metastatic disease and a relatively high number of head and neck paragangliomas compared with previously reported referral-based cohorts.