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Philippe Chanson, Charles P. Jedynak and Paul Czernichow

Abstract. Management of early postneurosurgical diabetes insipidus (DI) requires parenteral vasopressin before intranasal administration of desmopressin-1 desamino-8 D arginine vasopressin (dDAVP) can be initiated. We have evaluated in 15 neurosurgical patients the effect and the tolerance of a 3-day regimen of dDAVP administered im every 12 h. Patients were randomly ascribed to one of 3 treatment groups: 1 μg (N = 6), 2 μg (N = 5) or 4 μg (N = 4) were administered twice daily. dDAVP was effective whatever the dose, and DI was corrected by the 6th h of treatment. Effects were maximal on diuresis and urinary osmolality from the 18th h onwards. The effects were sustained throughout the treatment period. Reversal to pretreatment status occurred 24 h after the last injection. Moreover, 72 h after the last injection, natremia and osmolality reached values significantly below pretherapeutic values. The tolerance was excellent: hyponatremia which occurred in 11 patients, either occasionally or throughout the treatment period, remained mild and never had clinical consequences. In conclusion, before initiation of intranasal dDAVP, a 3-day treatment by 1, 2 or 4 μg of dDAVP injected im twice daily in neurosurgical patients corrected DI. Mild overhydration owing to a positive fluid balance was a side-effect which is also encountered in other therapeutic methods necessitating meticulous control of water intake.

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P Caron, A Tabarin, M Cogne, P Chanson and P Jaquet

OBJECTIVE: Intramuscular injections of 30mg slow-release (SR) lanreotide (every 10 to 14 days) are an effective treatment in acromegalic patients. Because of an ongoing need to assess the efficacy and the tolerance of a new formulation of a depot preparation of lanreotide, we have evaluated prospectively GH profiles following withdrawal of 30mg slow-release lanreotide in a cohort of acromegalic patients. PATIENTS: Fifty-one acromegalic patients, controlled during long-term 30mg SR lanreotide treatment (GH: 1.44 +/- 0.64 microgram/l, IGF-I: 316 +/- 145ng/ml) (mean +/- s.d.), were studied following the withdrawal of the drug. MEASUREMENTS: Mean GH (half-hour samples, 0800-1200h), IGF-I and lanreotide levels were evaluated 14, 28, and 42 days following the last 30mg SR lanreotide injection. RESULTS: Mean GH levels remained below 2.5 microgram/l in 32 patients (group 1) twenty-eight days following SR lanreotide withdrawal. In these patients, mean GH and IGF-I levels had increased from 1.2 +/- 0.6 to 1.7 +/- 0.5 microgram/l (P < 0001), and from 283 +/- 138 to 359 +/- 168ng/ml (P < 0.001) respectively. In the 19 other patients (group 2), mean GH concentrations had risen above 2.5 microgram/l at 28 days following SR lanreotide withdrawal. Mean GH and IGF-I levels had increased from 1.9 +/- 0.4 to 5.1 +/- 2.8 microgram/l (P < 0.001), and from 371 +/- 143 to 568 +/- 206ng/ml (P < 0.001) respectively. Patients of groups 1 and 2 were comparable with regard to age, sex, tumoral status, mean GH levels before somatostatin analogue treatment, and previous treatments such as radiotherapy and duration of somatostatin analogue therapy, but 75% of group 1 patients underwent surgery compared with 37% of group 2 patients (P < 0.01). Twenty-eight days following SR lanreotide withdrawal, mean lanreotide levels in group 1 and group 2 had decreased from 1.6 +/- 0.7 to 0.6 +/- 0.3ng/ml (P < 0.001), and from 2.7 +/- 2.0 to 0.7 +/- 0.7ng/ml (P < 0.001) respectively. A negative correlation was observed between the lanreotide levels and GH and IGF-I concentrations in the two groups of patients, but the inhibition of GH/IGF-I concentrations by lanreotide levels was higher in group 1 patients than in those of group 2. Six patients of group 1 were treated with 30mg SR lanreotide injected at monthly intervals. During monthly follow-up, mean GH levels increased above 2.5 microgram/l in 2 patients. After 12 months follow-up, mean GH and IGF-I levels from 4 other patients were similar to those obtained with previous therapeutic sequence (i.e. intramuscular injections every 14 days). CONCLUSION: The degree of responsiveness to lanreotide and the duration of somatotroph suppression following lanreotide withdrawal are variable in acromegalic patients controlled during long-term 30mg SR lanreotide treatment. In patients displaying high sensitivity to lanreotide, the interval between i.m. 30mg SR lanreotide injections can be increased to one month, thus reducing the cost of the therapy, without altering its efficacy upon GH/IGF-I control.

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HV Socin, P Chanson, B Delemer, A Tabarin, V Rohmer, J Mockel, A Stevenaert and A Beckers

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to report the recent changes in diagnosis and management of TSH-secreting pituitary adenomas. METHODS: We retrieved 43 consecutive patients with TSH-secreting pituitary tumors (23 male and 20 female) among 4400 pituitary adenomas followed between 1976 and 2001 in six Belgian and French centers. RESULTS: TSH was elevated in 18/43 and alpha subunit in 13/32 patients. In patients with intact thyroid (n=30), mean free tri-iodothyronine was 13.1 pmol/l (range 3.5-23) and mean free thyroxine was 38.4 pmol/l (range 10.2-62.7). Hyperprolactinemia and acromegaly were associated in 9/43 and 8/43 cases. The number of associated hypersecretions was higher in macroadenomas than in microadenomas (Chi square = 11.2, P<0.01). Two women had sporadic multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1-associated syndrome. The proportion of microadenomas versus macroadenomas was 1/11 (period 1974-1986) and 8/32 (period 1987-2001). Bilateral petrosal sinus sampling, (111)In-pentreotide scintigraphy and ((11)C)-l-methionine positron emission tomography scan confirmed diagnosis in four questionable microadenomas. Macroadenomas with extrasellar extension (31 cases) had a tendency to be medially located. Medical treatment with somatostatin analogs was initiated as first-line treatment in 26 patients. TSH levels were reduced by more than 50% in 23/26 cases. A tumoral shrinkage of more than 20% was observed in 5/13 cases. Surgery was performed in 36 patients. After 1 year, 21 of them (58.3%) met the criteria of surgical favorable outcome. Pituitary radiotherapy (n=8) and somatostatin analogs allowed normalization in cases not cured by surgery. CONCLUSION: Ultrasensitive methods for TSH measurement led to an earlier recognition of TSH-secreting pituitary tumors. In this series, we observed that TSH-secreting pituitary tumors are today more frequently found at the stage of microadenomas, medially located, without associated hypersecretions and needing new exploration methods as compared with older series. This changing spectrum in the presentation of TSH-secreting pituitary tumors and the excellent response to somatostatin analogs has been accompanied by an improvement in the prognosis of the disease.

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P Chanson, N De Roux, J Young, JM Bidart, P Jacquet, M Misrahi, E Milgrom and G Schaison

The monoclonal origin of gonadotropin-secreting pituitary adenomas has been well demonstrated but only few molecular abnormalities have so far been recognized in these tumors. For many years, several authors have suggested a role for GnRH and/or GnRH receptors (GnRH-R) in the development of these pituitary adenomas. To test the hypothesis that mutant genes encoding a constitutively activated GnRH-R might be involved in the pathogenesis of these tumors, the sequence of the GnRH-R gene was analyzed in tumoral pituitary tissue obtained from ten patients (six female, four male). The pituitary gonadotropin-secreting adenoma was associated with in vivo hypersecretion of FSH, LH and/or free alpha-subunit (n = 7) or was clinically silent (normal plasma levels of gonadotropins or free alpha-subunit, n = 3). In all cases, immunocytochemical studies of the removed adenoma confirmed their gonadotroph nature by revealing positivity for FSH, LH and/or alpha-subunit. Genomic DNA was extracted from the pathological tissue obtained at neurosurgery. Eight sequencing primers were used to amplify the three exons of the GnRH-R gene from tumoral DNA. The entire coding sequence of the GnRH-R gene was sequenced in the ten adenomas. No mutation was found in any of the tumor specimens examined. In conclusion, mutations in the GnRH receptor coding sequence occur infrequently if at all in gonadotropin-secreting pituitary adenomas.

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A Ciofu, E Baudin, P Chanson, AF Cailleux, E Comoy, JC Sabourin, M Ducreux, G Schaison and M Schlumberger

OBJECTIVE: Amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation is a classical feature of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine tumors (NET). Production of catecholamines was studied in GEP NET and non-NET patients. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was undertaken. METHODS: We studied catecholamine and metabolite secretion in 115 consecutive GEP NET patients and in 20 patients with non-NET. After specific extraction, vanilmandelic acid, homovanilic acid, catecholamines (norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine) and methoxylated derivates (metanephrine, normetanephrine, methoxytyramine) in urinary extracts were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography. Results were indexed to the 24-h urinary creatinine levels. RESULTS: Among the 115 patients with NET, 9 (8%) had an increase of at least one urinary catecholamine or metabolite; in 7 out of the 9 the increase was slight being less than twice the upper value of the normal range. Elevated urinary dopamine (3 patients), methoxytyramine (6 patients), norepinephrine (2 patients) and normetanephrine (2 patients) were found. No increased urinary excretion of epinephrine nor metanephrine was observed. An adrenal mass existed in one of these nine patients but metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy was negative as was immunohistochemistry for epithelial markers. None of the 20 patients with non-NET demonstrated an increased excretion of catecholamine or metabolites. No relationships were found between catecholamine and metabolite excretions and patients' tumor and treatment characteristics. CONCLUSION: Production of catecholamines and metabolites is a rare event in GEP NET patients. Histological results, including positive immunohistochemistry for epithelial markers may help to diagnose GEP NET.

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G Sassolas, FB Chazot, P Jaquet, I Bachelot, P Chanson, CC Rudelli, JP Tauber, H Allannic, J Bringer, N Roudaut, V Rohmer, P Roger, JL Latapie, P Reville and M Leutenegger

OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of adult onset GH deficiency (GH-D) is poorly documented. Epidemiological data are now required to estimate the financial cost of GH treatment in adults. The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of GH-D, from a cohort of 1652 adult patients with hypothalamo-pituitary diseases. DESIGN: The hormonal status of all patients presenting with pituitary diseaseand observed during the year 1994 in 15 endocrine units was retrospectively analyzed, irrespective of the date of disease onset, of the nature and date of pituitary investigations, and whether or not they included specific testing of the GH axis. Of the whole population of 1652 patients, a selected group (RG2) was chosen after exclusion of patients with active acromegaly (n=1414). RESULTS: GH stimulation tests had been performed in 549 patients of the RG2 group and a documented GH-D was found in 301. A relationship between the value of the GH peak and the number of pituitary deficits was evaluated. For instance, it was shown that 93% of patients with three deficits had GH-D. These results constituted the basis for estimating the number of GH-D in the group of untested patients. The number of GH-D deduced from the number of established GH-D (n=301) and from the number of GH-D hypothesized from other pituitary deficits (n=406) was 707 cases. Prevalence and annual incidence were calculated from data recorded in a referral center with a well-defined catchment area, Marseilles (Bouches du Rhone department). We projected a prevalence of 2638 for France and an annual incidence of 12 GH-D per million of the adult population.

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G S Conway, M Szarras-Czapnik, K Racz, A Keller, P Chanson, M Tauber, M Zacharin and on behalf of the 1369 GHD to GHDA Transition Study Group

Objective

Discontinuation of growth hormone (GH) therapy on completion of linear growth may adversely affect bone mineral density (BMD) in young adults with childhood-onset GH-deficiency (GHD). In the present study, we analyzed the impact of GH treatment on bone in young adults with GHD.

Methods

BMD at the lumbar spine (L2–L4), total hip, and total body was measured at baseline and after 24 months in a cohort of young adults (18–25 years; n=160) with severe GHD treated with GH during childhood who were randomized to GH (n=109) or no treatment (n=51) in a multicenter, multinational, open-label study. GH starting doses (0.2 mg/day (males), 0.4 mg/day (females)) were increased after 1 month to 0.6 mg/day (males) and 0.9 mg/day (females) and then to 1.0 mg/day (males) and 1.4 mg/day (females) at 3 months for the remainder of the study.

Results

After 24 months, lumbar spine BMD had increased significantly more in GH-treated patients than in controls (6 vs 2%; estimated treatment difference; 3.5% (95% confidence interval, 1.52–5.51) P<0.001). GH also had a significant positive effect on total hip BMD (P=0.015). Total body BMD was unchanged from baseline (P=0.315).

Conclusions

In young adults treated for childhood-onset GHD, there is a beneficial effect of continued GH treatment on BMD in adult life. Twenty-four months of GH treatment in these young adults was associated with an estimated 3.5% greater increase in BMD of the lumbar spine compared with controls.

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F Castinetti, M Fassnacht, S Johanssen, M Terzolo, P Bouchard, P Chanson, C Do Cao, I Morange, A Picó, S Ouzounian, J Young, S Hahner, T Brue, B Allolio and B Conte-Devolx

Objective

Mifepristone is the only available glucocorticoid receptor antagonist. Only few adult patients with hypercortisolism were treated to date by this drug. Our objective was to determine effectiveness and tolerability of mifepristone in Cushing's syndrome (CS).

Design

Retrospective study of patients treated in seven European centers.

Methods

Twenty patients with malignant (n=15, 12 with adrenocortical carcinoma, three with ectopic ACTH secretion) or benign (n=5, four with Cushing's disease, one with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia) CS were treated with mifepristone. Mifepristone was initiated with a median starting dose of 400 mg/day (200–1000). Median treatment duration was 2 months (0.25–21) for malignant CS, and 6 months (0.5–24) for benign CS. Clinical (signs of hypercortisolism, blood pressure, signs of adrenal insufficiency), and biochemical parameters (serum potassium and glucose) were evaluated.

Results

Treatment was stopped in one patient after 1 week due to severe uncontrolled hypokalemia. Improvement of clinical signs was observed in 11/15 patients with malignant CS (73%), and 4/5 patients with benign CS (80%). Psychiatric symptoms improved in 4/5 patients within the first week. Blood glucose levels improved in 4/7 patients. Signs of adrenal insufficiency were observed in 3/20 patients. Moderate to severe hypokalemia was observed in 11/20 patients and increased blood pressure levels in 3/20 patients.

Conclusion

Mifepristone is a rapidly effective treatment of hypercortisolism, but requires close monitoring of potentially severe hypokalemia, hypertension, and clinical signs of adrenal insufficiency. Mifepristone provides a valuable treatment option in patients with severe CS when surgery is unsuccessful or impossible.