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Elena V Varlamov, Fabienne Langlois, Greisa Vila, and Maria Fleseriu

Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is associated with increased mortality that is driven by cardiovascular, thromboembolic, and infection complications. Although complications can be expected to decrease during disease remission, incidence often transiently increases postoperatively and is not completely normalized in the long-term. It is important to diagnose and treat cardiovascular, thromboembolic, and infection complications concomitantly with CS treatment. Management of hyperglycemia/diabetes, hypertension, hypokalemia, hyperlipidemia, and other cardiovascular risk factors is generally undertaken in accordance with standard of clinical care. Medical therapy for CS may be needed even prior to surgery in severe and/or prolonged hypercortisolism, and treatment adjustments can be made based on disease pathophysiology and drug-drug interactions. Thromboprophylaxis should be considered for CS patients with severe hypercortisolism and/or postoperatively, based on individual risk factors of thromboembolism and bleeding. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia prophylaxis should be considered for patients with high urinary free cortisol at initiation of hypercortisolism treatment.

Open access

Maria Fleseriu, Olaf M Dekkers, and Niki Karavitaki

Patients with pituitary tumours, ensuing hormonal abnormalities and mass effects are usually followed in multidisciplinary pituitary clinics and can represent a management challenge even during the times of non-pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has put on hold routine medical care for hundreds of millions of patients around the globe, while many pituitary patients’ evaluations cannot be delayed for too long. Furthermore, the majority of patients with pituitary tumours have co-morbidities potentially impacting the course and management of COVID-19 (e.g. hypopituitarism, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease). Here, we summarize some of the diagnostic and management dilemmas encountered, and provide guidance on safe and as effective as possible delivery of care in the COVID-19 era. We also attempt to address how pituitary services should be remodelled in the event of similar crises, while maintaining or even improving patient outcomes. Regular review of these recommendations and further adjustments are needed, depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic status. We consider that the utilization of successful models of pituitary multidisciplinary care implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic should continue after the crisis is over by using the valuable and exceptional experience gained during these challenging times.

Free access

Ilan Shimon, Raquel S Jallad, Maria Fleseriu, Chris G Yedinak, Yona Greenman, and Marcello D Bronstein

Objectives

Patients with acromegaly usually harbor macroadenomas measuring between 10 and 30 mm in maximal diameter. Giant (adenoma size ≥40 mm) GH-secreting pituitary tumors are rarely encountered and the aim of this study is to analyze different methods for managing them.

Design and methods

We have identified 34 patients (15 men and 19 females) with giant adenomas among 762 subjects (4.5%) with acromegaly in our records, and characterized their clinical characteristics and response to treatment.

Results

Mean age at diagnosis was 34.9±12.5 years (range, 16–67 years). Mean adenoma size was 49.4±9.4 mm (range, 40–80 mm); 30 adenomas showed cavernous sinus invasion and 32 had suprasellar extension. Twenty-nine (85%) patients had visual field defects. Mean baseline IGF1 was 3.4±1.8×ULN. All patients except one underwent pituitary surgery (one to three procedures), but none achieved hormonal remission following first surgery. Among the 28 subjects with visual disturbances, 14 recovered post-operatively and 13 improved. Treatment with somatostatin analogs was given to all patients after surgical failure. Six achieved remission, nine others were partially controlled (IGF1<1.5×ULN; 3/9 when combined with cabergoline), and 17 did not respond (two were lost). Nine patients were treated with pegvisomant, alone (n=4) or in combination with somatostatin analogs (n=5); five are in remission and two are partially controlled. Pasireotide-LAR achieved hormonal remission in one of the six patients. Currently, after a mean follow-up period of 8.9 years, 17 patients are in biochemical remission, eight are partially controlled, and seven are uncontrolled (two were lost to follow-up).

Conclusions

Giant GH-secreting adenomas are invasive, uncontrolled by surgery, and respond poorly to medical treatment. Aggressive multimodal therapy is critical for their management, enhancing control rate and biochemical remission.

Free access

Adriana G Ioachimescu, Maria Fleseriu, Andrew R Hoffman, T Brooks Vaughan III, and Laurence Katznelson

Background

Dopamine agonists (DAs) are the main treatment for patients with hyperprolactinemia and prolactinomas. Recently, an increasing number of reports emphasized DAs’ psychological side effects, either de novo or as exacerbations of prior psychiatric disease.

Methods

Review of prospective and retrospective studies (PubMed 1976, September 2018) evaluating the psychological profile of DA-treated patients with hyperprolactinemia and prolactinomas. Case series and case reports of psychiatric complications were also reviewed.

Results

Most studies were cross-sectional and had a control group of healthy volunteers or patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas. There were few prospective studies, with/without control group, that included small numbers of patients. Compared with controls, patients with hyperprolactinemia generally had worse quality of life, anxiety, depression and certain personality traits. Patients receiving DAs had higher impulsivity scores than normoprolactinemic controls. Impulse control disorders (ICDs) were reported in both genders, with hypersexuality mostly in men. Multiple ICDs were sometimes reported in the same patient, usually reversible after DA discontinuation. In case reports, DA therapy was temporally associated with severe depression, manic episodes or psychosis, which improved after discontinuation and administration of psychiatric medications. Gender type of DA, dose and duration of therapy did not correlate with occurrence of psychiatric pathology.

Conclusion

Patients with hyperprolactinemia receiving DAs may develop changes in mood and behavior regardless of prior psychiatric history. Increased awareness for ICDs, depression, mania and other types of psychosis is needed by all physicians who prescribe DAs. Larger prospective controlled clinical studies are needed to delineate prevalence, risk stratification and management.

Open access

John Newell-Price, Rosario Pivonello, Antoine Tabarin, Maria Fleseriu, Przemysław Witek, Mônica R Gadelha, Stephan Petersenn, Libuse Tauchmanova, Shoba Ravichandran, Pritam Gupta, André Lacroix, and Beverly M K Biller

Objective

Monitoring of patients with Cushing’s disease on cortisol-lowering drugs is usually performed with urinary free cortisol (UFC). Late-night salivary cortisol (LNSC) has an established role in screening for hypercortisolism and can help to detect the loss of cortisol circadian rhythm. Less evidence exists regarding the usefulness of LNSC in monitoring pharmacological response in Cushing’s disease.

Design

Exploratory analysis evaluating LNSC during a Phase III study of long-acting pasireotide in Cushing’s disease (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01374906).

Methods

Mean LNSC (mLNSC) was calculated from two samples, collected on the same days as the first two of three 24-h urine samples (used to calculate mean UFC [mUFC]). Clinical signs of hypercortisolism were evaluated over time.

Results

At baseline, 137 patients had evaluable mLNSC measurements; 91.2% had mLNSC exceeding the upper limit of normal (ULN; 3.2 nmol/L). Of patients with evaluable assessments at month 12 (n = 92), 17.4% had both mLNSC ≤ULN and mUFC ≤ULN; 22.8% had mLNSC ≤ULN, and 45.7% had mUFC ≤ULN. There was high variability in LNSC (intra-patient coefficient of variation (CV): 49.4%) and UFC (intra-patient CV: 39.2%). mLNSC levels decreased over 12 months of treatment and paralleled changes in mUFC. Moderate correlation was seen between mLNSC and mUFC (Spearman’s correlation: ρ = 0.50 [all time points pooled]). Greater improvements in systolic/diastolic blood pressure and weight were seen in patients with both mLNSC ≤ULN and mUFC ≤ULN.

Conclusion

mUFC and mLNSC are complementary measurements for monitoring treatment response in Cushing’s disease, with better clinical outcomes seen for patients in whom both mUFC and mLNSC are controlled.

Open access

Annamaria Colao, Marcello D Bronstein, Thierry Brue, Laura De Marinis, Maria Fleseriu, Mirtha Guitelman, Gerald Raverot, Ilan Shimon, Jürgen Fleck, Pritam Gupta, Alberto M Pedroncelli, and Mônica R Gadelha

Objective

In the Phase III PAOLA study (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01137682), enrolled patients had uncontrolled acromegaly despite ≥6 months of octreotide/lanreotide treatment before study start. More patients achieved biochemical control with long-acting pasireotide versus continued treatment with octreotide/lanreotide (active control) at month 6. The current work assessed the extent of comorbidities at baseline and outcomes during a long-term extension.

Design/methods

Patients receiving pasireotide 40 or 60 mg at core study end could continue on the same dose in an extension phase if biochemically controlled or receive pasireotide 60 mg if uncontrolled. Uncontrolled patients on active control were switched to pasireotide 40 mg, with the dose increased at week 16 of the extension if still uncontrolled (crossover group). Efficacy and safety are reported to 304 weeks (~5.8 years) for patients randomized to pasireotide (core + extension), and 268 weeks for patients in the crossover group (extension only).

Results

Almost half (49.5%; 98/198) of patients had ≥3 comorbidities at core baseline. During the extension, 173 patients received pasireotide. Pasireotide effectively and consistently reduced GH and IGF-I levels for up to 5.8 years’ treatment; 37.0% of patients achieved GH <1.0 µg/L and normal IGF-I at some point during the core or extension. Improvements were observed in key symptoms. The long-term safety profile was similar to that in the core study; 23/173 patients discontinued treatment because of adverse events.

Conclusions

In this patient population with a high burden of comorbid illness, pasireotide was well tolerated and efficacious, providing prolonged maintenance of biochemical control and improving symptoms.

Restricted access

Sabrina Chiloiro, Antonella Giampietro, Federica Mirra, Federico Donfrancesco, Tommaso Tartaglione, Pier Paolo Mattogno, Flavia Angelini, Lauretti Liverana, Marco Gessi, Anile Carmelo, Guido Rindi, Andrea Giustina, Maria Fleseriu, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Laura De Marinis, and Antonio Bianchi

Background

The treatment of acromegaly resistant to first-generation somatostatin receptor ligands (SRLs) is often difficult. Pegvisomant and Pasireotide LAR are mostly used in these subset of patients, as second line therapies. Choice of the type of second line therapies is difficult, since predictors of response are still unclear, impairing personalized therapy. We aimed to investigate predictors of response to Pegvisomant and Pasireotide LAR.

Methods

Seventy-four acromegaly patients entered this observational, cross-sectional and retrospective study if (i) resistant to high dose first-generation SRLs and (ii) treated with Pegvisomant and Pasireotide LAR for at least 12 consecutive months. Patients treated with radiotherapy in the previous 10 years were excluded.

Results

Fourty-one patients were treated with Pegvisomant and 33 with Pasireotide LAR. At the end of the study, acromegaly was controlled in 35 patients treated with Pegvisomant (85.4%) and in 23 treated with Pasireotide LAR (69.7%). In this cohort, a poor Pegvisomant response and a shorter progression free time were observed in cases with tumor extension to the third ventricle (P = 0.004, HR: 1.6, 95%CI: 1.2–4.6), with a Ki67-Li >4% (P = 0.004, HR: 3.49, 95%CI: 1.4–4.0) and with pre-treatment IGF-I >3.3×ULN (P=0.03, HR: 1.3, 95%CI: 1.1–6.0). A poor Pasireotide LAR response and a shorter progression free time were observed in cases with tumor extension to the third ventricle (P=0.025, HR: 1.6 95%CI: 1.4–3.4), pre-treatment IGF-I >2.3×ULN (P=0.049, HR: 2.4, 95%CI: 1.4–8.0), absent/low SST5 membranous expression (P=0.023 HR: 4.56 95%CI: 1.3–6.4) and in patients carried the d3-delated GHR isoform (P=0.005, HR: 11.37, 95%CI: 1.3–20.0).

Conclusion

Molecular and clinical biomarkers can be useful in predicting the responsiveness to Pegvisomant and Pasireotide LAR.