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  • Author: Roberto Salvatori x
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Francesco Torino, Agnese Barnabei, Rosa Maria Paragliola, Paolo Marchetti, Roberto Salvatori and Salvatore Maria Corsello

mAbs are established targeted therapies for several diseases, including hematological and solid malignancies. These agents have shown a favorable toxicity profile, but, despite their high selectivity, new typical side-effects have emerged. In cancer patients, pituitary dysfunction may be mainly due to brain metastases or primary tumors and to related surgery and radiotherapy. Anticancer agents may induce hypopituitarism in patients cured for childhood cancers. These agents infrequently affect pituitary function in adult cancer patients. Notably, hypophysitis, a previously very rare disease, has emerged as a distinctive side-effect of ipilimumab and tremelimumab, two mAbs inhibiting the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 receptor, being occasionally seen with nivolumab, another immune checkpoint inhibitor. Enhanced antitumor immunity is the suggested mechanism of action of these drugs and autoimmunity the presumptive mechanism of their toxicity. Recently, ipilimumab has been licensed for the treatment of patients affected by metastatic melanoma. With the expanding use of these drugs, hypophysitis will be progressively encountered by oncologists and endocrinologists in clinical practice. The optimal management of this potentially life-threatening adverse event needs a rapid and timely diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. Hypopituitarism caused by these agents is rarely reversible, requiring prolonged or lifelong substitutive hormonal treatment. Further studies are needed to clarify several clinical and pathogenic aspects of this new form of secondary pituitary dysfunction.

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Debraj Mukherjee, Hasan A Zaidi, Thomas Kosztowski, Kaisorn L Chaichana, Roberto Salvatori, David C Chang and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Objective

Surgery remains a common form of treatment for sellar and parasellar tumors involving the pituitary gland and adjacent structures. Studies have suggested that pituitary surgery procedures performed at high-volume centers are associated with less adverse outcomes, yet it remains unclear which types of patients are more likely to be admitted to such centers. We set out to determine which factors most influenced admission to these high-volume centers.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of the National Inpatient Sample over an 18-year period was linked to socioeconomic and environmental data contained within the Area Resource File. Only patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery in the United States, >18-years-old were included. The primary outcome was admission to a high-volume (>25 pituitary surgeries/year) hospital.

Results

Overall, patients' odds of admission to a high-volume center increased over an 18-year time period. However, African–Americans (odds ratio, OR=0.46), Hispanics (OR=0.28), and Asians (OR=0.49) experienced declining odds of admission over time. Patients from high-income brackets (OR=1.53) and from areas with higher neurosurgeon density (OR=1.61) were more likely to be admitted to high-volume centers. Conversely, patients coming from counties with higher poverty (OR=0.92) were less likely to be admitted to high-volume centers.

Conclusion

Racial and socioeconomic factors play a significant role in the admission of patients to high-volume pituitary surgery centers. This study demonstrates potential key policy areas for meaningful intervention to help ease disparities in access to quality care for surgical pituitary disease.

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Manuel H Aguiar-Oliveira, Anita H O Souza, Carla R P Oliveira, Viviane C Campos, Luíz A Oliveira-Neto and Roberto Salvatori

Twenty years ago, we described kindred of 105 individuals with isolated GH deficiency (IGHD) in Itabaianinha County, in northeast Brazil, carrying a homozygous mutation in the GH-releasing hormone receptor gene. These subjects exhibit markedly reduced GH responsiveness to stimulatory tests, and anterior pituitary hypoplasia. Serum concentrations of IGF-I, IGF binding protein type 3 and the acid-labile subunit are markedly reduced, with a lesser reduction of IGF-II. The most striking physical findings of these IGHD individuals are the proportionate short stature, doll facies, high-pitched voice and visceral obesity with reduced fat-free mass. There is neither microphallus, nor neonatal hypoglycemia. Puberty is delayed, menopause anticipated, but fertility is preserved in both genders. The reduction in bone sizes is not even, with mean standard deviation scores for height of −7.2, total maxillary length of −6.5, total facial height of −4.3 and cephalic perimeter of −2.7. In addition, the non-osseous growth is not uniform, preserving some organs, like pancreas, liver, kidney, brain and eyes, and compromising others such as thyroid, heart, uterus and spleen. These subjects present higher prevalence of dizziness, mild high-tones sensorineural hearing loss, reduction of vascular retinal branching points, increase of optic disk, genu valgum and increased systolic blood pressure. Biochemically, they have high low density lipoprotein cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels, but maintain increased insulin sensitivity, and do not show premature atherosclerosis. Finally, they have normal immune function, and normal longevity. This review details the findings and summarizes 20 years of clinical research carried out in this unique population.

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Francielle T Oliveira, Roberto Salvatori, José Marcondes, Larissa B Macena, Alecia A Oliveira-Santos, Augusto C N Faro, Viviane C Campos, Carla R P Oliveira, Ursula M M Costa and Manuel H Aguiar-Oliveira

Objectives

GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) exerts hypnotic actions increasing the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Conversely, GH stimulates the REM sleep. GH deficiency (GHD) often leads to sleep problems, daytime fatigue and reduced quality of life (QoL). GHD may be due to lack of hypothalamic GHRH or destruction of somatotroph cells. We have described a cohort with isolated GHD (IGHD) due to GHRH resistance caused by a homozygous null mutation (c.57 + 1G > A) in the GHRH receptor gene. They have normal QoL and no obvious complaints of chronic tiredness. The aim of this study was to determine the sleep quality in these subjects.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out in 21 adult IGHD subjects, and 21 age- and gender-matched controls. Objective sleep assessment included polygraphic records of the awake, stages NREM [N1 (drowsiness), N2 and N3 (already sleeping)] and REM (R). Subjective evaluation included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Insomnia Severity Index and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Results

IGHD subjects showed a reduction in sleep efficiency (P = 0.007), total sleep time (P = 0.028), duration of N2 and R in minutes (P = 0.026 and P = 0.046 respectively), but had increased duration and percentage of N1 stage (P = 0.029 and P = 0.022 respectively), wake (P = 0.007) and wake-time after sleep onset (P = 0.017). There was no difference in N3 or in sleep quality questionnaire scores.

Conclusion

Patients with IGHD due to GHRH resistance exhibit objective reduction in the sleep quality, with changes in NREM and REM sleep, with no detectable subjective consequences. GHRH resistance seems to have a preponderant role over GHD in the sleep quality of these subjects.

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Vanessa P Araujo, Manuel H Aguiar-Oliveira, Joselina L M Oliveira, Hertaline M N Rocha, Carla R P Oliveira, Tânia M A Rodrigues, Marco A Nunes, Isabella M P A Britto, Roberto Ximenes, Jose A S Barreto-Filho, Rafael A Meneguz-Moreno, Rossana M C Pereira, Eugênia H O Valença, Luiz A Oliveira-Neto, Taisa A R Vicente, Amanda Blackford and Roberto Salvatori

Objective

GH replacement therapy (GHRT) in adult-onset GH deficiency (AOGHD) reduces carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and increases myocardial mass, with improvement of systolic and diastolic function. These observations have reinforced the use of GHRT on AOGHD. Conversely, we have previously reported that in adults with lifetime congenital and severe isolated GH deficiency (IGHD) due to a mutation in GHRH receptor gene (GHRHR), a 6-month treatment with depot GH increased carotid IMT, caused the development of atherosclerotic plaques, and an increase in left ventricular mass index (LVMI), posterior wall, and septal thickness and ejection fraction. Such effects persisted 12 months after treatment (12-month washout – 12mo).

Methods

We have studied the cardiovascular status (by echocardiography and carotid ultrasonography) of these subjects 60 months after completion of therapy (60-month washout – 60mo).

Results

Carotid IMT reduced significantly from 12 to 60mo, returning to baseline (pre-therapy) value. The number of individuals with plaques was similar at 12 and 60mo, remaining higher than pre-therapy. LVMI, relative posterior wall thickness, and septum thickness did not change between 12 and 60mo, but absolute posterior wall increased from 12 to 60mo. Systolic function, evaluated by ejection fraction and shortening fraction, was reduced at 60mo in comparison with 12mo returning to baseline levels. The E/A wave ratio (expression of diastolic function) decreased at 60mo compared with both 12mo and baseline.

Conclusions

In adults with lifetime congenital IGHD, the increase in carotid IMT elicited by GHRT was transitory and returned to baseline 5 years after therapy discontinuation. Despite this, the number of subjects with plaques remained stable at 60mo and higher than at baseline.

Open access

Roberto Salvatori, Serban Radian, Yoan Diekmann, Donato Iacovazzo, Alessia David, Plamena Gabrovska, Giorgia Grassi, Anna-Marie Bussell, Karen Stals, Astrid Weber, Richard Quinton, Elizabeth C Crowne, Valentina Corazzini, Lou Metherell, Tara Kearney, Daniel Du Plessis, Ajay Kumar Sinha, Atik Baborie, Anne-Lise Lecoq, Philippe Chanson, Olaf Ansorge, Sian Ellard, Peter J Trainer, David Balding, Mark G Thomas and Márta Korbonits

Objective

Mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene are associated with pituitary adenoma, acromegaly and gigantism. Identical alleles in unrelated pedigrees could be inherited from a common ancestor or result from recurrent mutation events.

Design and methods

Observational, inferential and experimental study, including: AIP mutation testing; reconstruction of 14 AIP-region (8.3 Mbp) haplotypes; coalescent-based approximate Bayesian estimation of the time to most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) of the derived allele; forward population simulations to estimate current number of allele carriers; proposal of mutation mechanism; protein structure predictions; co-immunoprecipitation and cycloheximide chase experiments.

Results

Nine European-origin, unrelated c.805_825dup-positive pedigrees (four familial, five sporadic from the UK, USA and France) included 16 affected (nine gigantism/four acromegaly/two non-functioning pituitary adenoma patients and one prospectively diagnosed acromegaly patient) and nine unaffected carriers. All pedigrees shared a 2.79 Mbp haploblock around AIP with additional haploblocks privately shared between subsets of the pedigrees, indicating the existence of an evolutionarily recent common ancestor, the ‘English founder’, with an estimated median tMRCA of 47 generations (corresponding to 1175 years) with a confidence interval (9–113 generations, equivalent to 225–2825 years). The mutation occurred in a small tandem repeat region predisposed to slipped strand mispairing. The resulting seven amino-acid duplication disrupts interaction with HSP90 and leads to a marked reduction in protein stability.

Conclusions

The c.805_825dup allele, originating from a common ancestor, associates with a severe clinical phenotype and a high frequency of gigantism. The mutation is likely to be the result of slipped strand mispairing and affects protein–protein interactions and AIP protein stability.