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Miklós Tóth, Károly Rácz, Ibolya Varga, Vilmos Adleff, Csilla Jakab, László Fütõ, Róbert Kiss and Edit Gláz

Abstract

To investigate the clinical significance of plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) measurements, 175 patients with histologically confirmed adrenal tumors, 10 cortisol-producing adenomas, 59 aldosterone-producing adenomas, 56 non-hyperfunctioning adenomas, 13 adrenocortical carcinomas, 13 adrenal cysts, and 24 adrenomedullary tumors were studied. Plasma DHEAS levels were expressed as percentage of the mean of sex- and age-matched groups of healthy, normal subjects (DHEAS %). We found that before adrenal surgery, DHEAS % values were significantly reduced in patients with cortisol-producing (mean, 15·2% of control; 95% confidence interval (CI), 9·4–24·7%), non-hyperfunctioning (28·4%; 22·4–36·0% as well as aldosterone-producing adrenocortical adenomas (55·4%; 47·1–65·1%) compared with controls, while values were normal in patients with adrenal cysts and in those with adrenomedullary tumors. Plasma DHEAS % values exhibited a great variability in adrenocortical carcinomas (mean, 84·0%; 95% CI, 33·2–212·5%). Death from adrenocortical carcinoma was more frequent in patients with high plasma DHEAS % values compared with those with low DHEAS %. During long-term postoperative monitoring, we found that plasma DHEAS levels of patients with aldosterone-producing and non-hyperfunctioning adenomas returned to normal in the second and fourth postoperative year respectively. In patients with cortisol-producing adenomas, plasma DHEAS remained suppressed for as long as 8 years after the operation. These findings show that except in adrenocortical carcinomas and cysts, plasma DHEAS levels are significantly decreased in all groups of adrenocortical tumors, including non-hyperfunctioning and aldosteroneproducing tumors. The extent of this decrease and the postoperative persistence of suppressed plasma DHEAS levels may be related to the glucocorticoid production of adrenocortical tumors.

European Journal of Endocrinology 136 290–295

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Márta Sereg, Ágnes Szappanos, Judit Tőke, Kinga Karlinger, Karolina Feldman, Éva Kaszper, Ibolya Varga, Edit Gláz, Károly Rácz and Miklós Tóth

Objective

Despite the increased prevalences of hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hyperlipidemy, and obesity in patients with non-functioning adrenal adenomas (NFAAs), there is a paucity of data on long-term atherosclerotic morbidity as well as the long-term cardiovascular effects of adrenalectomy in these patients.

Design, patients, and methods

This retrospective study includes the results of baseline and follow-up investigations of 125 patients (29 males and 96 females; mean age 60.1 years) with NFAAs referred for endocrine evaluation between 1990 and 2001. Of the 125 patients, 47 underwent unilateral adrenalectomy, while 78 patients were followed conservatively. These patients were reinvestigated after a mean follow-up time of 9.1 (5–16) years in 2006, with special emphasis on laboratory and other atherosclerotic risk factors (ARF), vascular events, and interventions.

Results

The prevalences of hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance or T2DM, hyperlipidemy, and obesity were 82, 43, 58, and 50%, and 89, 58, 82, and 50% at baseline and follow-up, respectively. None of the investigated ARF prevalences were different between patients treated and not treated with adrenalectomy, and between patients with and without subclinical Cushing's syndrome. The prevalences of angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction, coronary, and peripheral arterial interventions or cerebrovascular stroke did not differ significantly between patients treated and not treated with adrenalectomy.

Conclusion

Our study confirms previous investigations reporting markedly increased prevalences of various ARF in patients with NFAAs. Adrenalectomy performed in these patients failed to decrease the prevalence of ARF and atherosclerotic morbidity.

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Aliya Khan, John Bilezikian, Henry Bone, Andrey Gurevich, Peter Lakatos, Waldemar Misiorowski, Liudmila Rozhinskaya, Marie-Louise Trotman and Miklós Tóth

Objective

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is diagnosed by the presence of hypercalcemia and elevated or nonsuppressed parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. Although surgery is usually curative, some individuals fail or are unable or unwilling to undergo parathyroidectomy. In such individuals, targeted medical therapy may be of value. Cinacalcet normalized calcium level and lowered PTH in patients with PHPT in several phase 2 and open-label studies. We compared cinacalcet and placebo in subjects with PHPT unable to undergo parathyroidectomy.

Design

Phase 3, double-blind, multi centere, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

Methods

Sixty-seven subjects (78% women) with moderate PHPT were randomized (1:1) to cinacalcet or placebo for ≤28 weeks.

Main outcome measure

Achievement of a normal mean corrected total serum calcium concentration of ≤10.3 mg/dl (2.575 mmol/l).

Results

Baseline median (quartile 1 (Q1), Q3) serum PTH was 164.0 (131.0, 211.0) pg/ml and mean (s.d.) serum Ca was 11.77 (0.46) mg/dl. Serum Ca normalized (≤10.3 mg/dl) in 75.8% of cinacalcet- vs 0% of placebo-treated subjects (P<0.001). Corrected serum Ca decreased by ≥1.0 mg/dl from baseline in 84.8% of cinacalcet- vs 5.9% of placebo-treated subjects (P<0.001). Least squares mean (s.e.m.) plasma PTH change from baseline was −23.80% (4.18%) (cinacalcet) vs −1.01% (4.05%) (placebo) (P<0.001). Similar numbers of subjects in the cinacalcet and placebo groups reported adverse events (AEs) (27 vs 20) and serious AEs (three vs four). Most commonly reported AEs were nausea and muscle spasms.

Conclusions

These results demonstrate that cinacalcet normalizes serum calcium in this PHPT population and appears to be well tolerated.

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Peter Gergics, Attila Patocs, Miklos Toth, Peter Igaz, Nikolette Szucs, Istvan Liko, Ferenc Fazakas, Istvan Szabo, Balazs Kovacs, Edit Glaz and Karoly Racz

Objective

Von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease is a hereditary tumor syndrome caused by mutations or deletions of the VHL tumor-suppressor gene. Germline VHL gene alterations may be also present in patients with apparently sporadic pheochromocytoma (ASP), although a wide variation in mutation frequencies has been reported in different patient cohorts.

Design

Herein, we report the analysis of the VHL gene in Hungarian families with VHL disease and in those with ASP.

Methods

Seven families (35 members) with VHL disease and 37 unrelated patients with unilateral ASP were analyzed. Patients were clinically evaluated and the VHL gene was analyzed using direct sequencing, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, and real-time PCR with SYBR Green chemistry.

Results

Disease-causing genetic abnormalities were identified in each of the seven VHL families and in 3 out of the 37 patients with ASP (one nonsense and six missense mutations, two large gene deletions and one novel 2 bp deletion). Large gene deletions and other genetic alterations resulting in truncated VHL protein were found only in families with VHL type 1, whereas missense mutations were associated mainly, although not exclusively, with VHL type 2B and type 2C.

Conclusions

The spectrum of VHL gene abnormalities in the Hungarian population is similar to that observed in Western, Japanese, or Chinese VHL kindreds. The presence of VHL gene mutations in 3 out of the 37 patients with ASP suggests that genetic testing is useful not only in patients with VHL disease but also in those with ASP.

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Elena Valassi, Alicia Santos, Maria Yaneva, Miklós Tóth, Christian J Strasburger, Philippe Chanson, John A H Wass, Olivier Chabre, Marija Pfeifer, Richard A Feelders, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Peter J Trainer, Holger Franz, Kathrin Zopf, Sabina Zacharieva, Steven W J Lamberts, Antoine Tabarin and Susan M Webb

Objective

The European Registry on Cushing's syndrome (ERCUSYN) is designed to collect prospective and follow-up data at EU level on Cushing's syndrome (CS).

Design and methods

Baseline data on 481 CS patients (390 females, 91 males; mean age (±s.d.): 44±14 years) collected from 36 centres in 23 countries, including new patients from 2008 and retrospective cases since 2000. Patients were divided into four major aetiologic groups: pituitary-dependent CS (PIT-CS) (66%), adrenal-dependent CS (ADR-CS) (27%), CS from an ectopic source (ECT-CS) (5%) and CS from other aetiologies (2%).

Results

Proportion of men in the ECT-CS group was higher than in the other groups (P<0.05). The ADR-CS group was older than the PIT-CS (P<0.05). Prevalence of hirsutism (92%) and diabetes (74%) in ECT-CS was higher than in the other groups (P<0.05 and P<0.01 respectively). PIT-CS had more skin alterations, menstrual irregularities and hirsutism than ADR-CS (P<0.01). Reduced libido was more prevalent in men than women (P<0.01). Prevalence of spine osteoporosis was higher in men than women (P<0.05), and males had more vertebral and rib fractures than females (52 vs 18% for vertebrae; P<0.001 and 34 vs 23% for ribs; P<0.05). ECT-CS consulted a diabetologist more frequently than ADR-CS (P<0.05), while a gynaecologist was consulted more often by women with PIT-CS or ADR-CS than with ECT-CS (P<0.05). Overall, weight gain was more common in women than men (P<0.01). CushingQoL and EuroQoL visual analogue scale scores did not differ between the groups.

Conclusions

The ERCUSYN project demonstrates a heterogeneous clinical presentation of CS at a European level, depending on gender and aetiology.

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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, Antoine Tabarin, Michal Krsek, Carmen Fajardo, Marek Bolanowski, Alicia Santos, John A H Wass, Peter J Trainer and for the ERCUSYN Study Group

Objective

To evaluate which tests are performed to diagnose hypercortisolism in patients included in the European Registry on Cushing’s syndrome (ERCUSYN), and to examine if their use differs from the current guidelines.

Patients and methods

We analyzed data on the diagnostic tests performed in 1341 patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) who have been entered into the ERCUSYN database between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2016 from 57 centers in 26 European countries. Sixty-seven percent had pituitary-dependent CS (PIT-CS), 24% had adrenal-dependent CS (ADR-CS), 6% had CS from an ectopic source (ECT-CS) and 3% were classified as having CS from other causes (OTH-CS).

Results

Of the first-line tests, urinary free cortisol (UFC) test was performed in 78% of patients, overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) in 60% and late-night salivary cortisol (LSaC) in 25%. Use of LSaC increased in the last five years as compared with previous years (P < 0.01). Use of HDDST was slightly more frequent in the last 5 years as compared with previous years (P < 0.05). Of the additional tests, late-night serum cortisol (LSeC) was measured in 62% and 48-h 2 mg/day low-dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDST) in 33% of cases. ACTH was performed in 78% of patients. LSeC and overnight 1 mg DST supported the diagnosis of both PIT-CS and ADR-CS more frequently than UFC (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Use of diagnostic tests for CS varies across Europe and partly differs from the currently available guidelines. It would seem pertinent that a European consensus be established to determine the best diagnostic approach to CS, taking into account specific inter-country differences with regard to the availability of diagnostic tools.

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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.

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Elena Valassi, Antoine Tabarin, Thierry Brue, Richard A Feelders, Martin Reincke, Romana Netea-Maier, Miklós Tóth, Sabina Zacharieva, Susan M Webb, Stylianos Tsagarakis, Philippe Chanson, Marija Pfeiffer, Michael Droste, Irina Komerdus, Darko Kastelan, Dominique Maiter, Olivier Chabre, Holger Franz, Alicia Santos, Christian J Strasburger, Peter J Trainer, John Newell-Price, Oskar Ragnarsson and the ERCUSYN Study Group

Objective

Patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) have increased mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the causes and time of death in a large cohort of patients with CS and to establish factors associated with increased mortality.

Methods

In this cohort study, we analyzed 1564 patients included in the European Registry on CS (ERCUSYN); 1045 (67%) had pituitary-dependent CS, 385 (25%) adrenal-dependent CS, 89 (5%) had an ectopic source and 45 (3%) other causes. The median (IQR) overall follow-up time in ERCUSYN was 2.7 (1.2–5.5) years.

Results

Forty-nine patients had died at the time of the analysis; 23 (47%) with pituitary-dependent CS, 6 (12%) with adrenal-dependent CS, 18 (37%) with ectopic CS and two (4%) with CS due to other causes. Of 42 patients whose cause of death was known, 15 (36%) died due to progression of the underlying disease, 13 (31%) due to infections, 7 (17%) due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease and 2 due to pulmonary embolism. The commonest cause of death in patients with pituitary-dependent CS and adrenal-dependent CS were infectious diseases (n = 8) and progression of the underlying tumor (n = 10) in patients with ectopic CS. Patients who had died were older and more often males, and had more frequently muscle weakness, diabetes mellitus and ectopic CS, compared to survivors. Of 49 deceased patients, 22 (45%) died within 90 days from start of treatment and 5 (10%) before any treatment was given. The commonest cause of deaths in these 27 patients were infections (n = 10; 37%). In a regression analysis, age, ectopic CS and active disease were independently associated with overall death before and within 90 days from the start of treatment.

Conclusion

Mortality rate was highest in patients with ectopic CS. Infectious diseases were the commonest cause of death soon after diagnosis, emphasizing the need for careful clinical vigilance at that time, especially in patients presenting with concomitant diabetes mellitus.

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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.