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S Schaefer, N Boegershausen, S Meyer, D Ivan, K Schepelmann and P H Kann

Objective

Hypothalamic–pituitary insufficiency may have diverse causes. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of hypothalamic–pituitary insufficiency in patients with previous infectious diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) of different etiologies and mild-to-moderate clinical course.

Design

Patient series. Basal and stimulated (insulin tolerance test) pituitary function testing was performed in 19 patients with previous neuroborreliosis, encephalitis, or meningitis following an interval of between 10 and 56 months (mean 26.1±13.1 months) after the acute event.

Results

Four patients (21%; two males, two females) showed an isolated corticotropic insufficiency (peak cortisol <181.25 μg/l during the insulin tolerance test). Two patients (11%, males) showed borderline gonadotropic insufficiency (basal testosterone between 2.4 and 3.0 μg/l). No patient had somatotropic or thyrotropic insufficiency or evidence for diabetes insipidus; all had prolactin concentrations within the reference range.

Conclusions

Hypothalamic–pituitary dysfunction and especially isolated corticotropic insufficiency may develop in a relevant proportion of patients after infectious diseases of the CNS.

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Christopher S Hollenbeak, Melissa M Boltz, Eric W Schaefer, Brian D Saunders and David Goldenberg

Objective

Data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Medicare-linked database were used to estimate the incidence of and risk factors associated with recurrent thyroid cancer, and to assess the impact of recurrence on mortality following diagnosis, controlling for mortality as a competing risk.

Design

We identified 2883 patients over 65 years of age diagnosed with a single, primary well-differentiated thyroid cancer between 1995 and 2007. A recurrence was considered if the patient had evidence of I-131 therapy, imaging for metastatic thyroid carcinoma, or complete thyroidectomy beyond 6 months of diagnosis. Competing risk regressions were performed using Cox proportional hazards models with 1- and 2-year landmarks.

Results

Recurrence was observed in 1117 (39%) of the 2883 patients in the cohort. Age, stage, and treatment status were significant risk factors for developing recurrent disease (P<0.0001). Patients with recurrent disease had a higher risk of all-cause mortality within 10 years of diagnosis than patients with no recurrence at 1- and 2-year landmarks. Patients with follicular histology and a recurrence were less likely to die from cancer (hazard ratio 0.54; P=0.03) than patients with no recurrence.

Conclusions

The rate of recurrence of well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas in this sample of elderly patients was 39%. Extent of disease and older age negatively impacted the risk of recurrence from differentiated thyroid cancer. In these data, patients with follicular histology and a recurrence were less likely to die, suggesting that mortality and recurrence are competing risks. These data should be taken into account with individualized treatment strategies for elderly patients with recurrent malignant thyroid disease.

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P H Kann, D Ivan, A Pfützner, Th Forst, P Langer and S Schaefer

Objective: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a highly reliable procedure to localize insulinomas preoperatively. It has been considered to be important in planning surgical strategy, especially considering a minimal invasive approach. However, even under ideal conditions experienced examiners miss about 10–20% of insulinomas by EUS imaging.

Design and methods: This retrospective study aimed to identify factors associated with negative EUS imaging. Twenty-nine consecutive patients (24 benign and 5 malignant) with sporadic pancreatic insulinomas confirmed by successful surgery and positive histopathology were included. All EUS examinations were performed by one single experienced examiner over a period of one decade.

Results: Three of the tumors were not detected by preoperative EUS as they were isoechoic to the surrounding healthy pancreatic tissue; 25 could be detected as hypoechoic lesions, (including all malignant tumors), and one lesion was hyperechoic. Low body mass index (P=0.053) and young age (P=0.037) were associated with negative EUS imaging. All patients with negative imaging were females. The position on the examiner’s learning curve, the diameter and location of insulinoma, and endocrine parameters (insulin concentrations and insulin–glucose ratios in the prolonged fasting test) had no influence on the success of EUS imaging.

Conclusions: Some insulinomas are missed by preoperative EUS imaging as they are completely isoechoic. A low body mass index, female gender, and young age might be risk factors for negative imaging.

Free access

S Schaefer, M Shipotko, S Meyer, D Ivan, K J Klose, J Waldmann, P Langer and P H Kann

Objective

Adrenal lesion is one of the features of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1). This study aimed to assess prevalence, natural course and clinical relevance of small adrenal lesions without clinical symptoms, endocrine activity, or mechanical problems and thus without clear indication for surgical therapy by endoscopic ultrasound (EUS).

Design and methods

Forty-nine patients with familial MEN1 were studied. Twenty-seven of these with adrenal lesions were detected by EUS and at least two performed EUS examinations were included into a subgroup where changes in adrenal morphology were studied by measuring changes in the largest diameter of the dominant adrenal tumour.

Results

EUS detected adrenal lesions in 36 (73%) patients: 6 (12%) plump adrenals, 17 (35%) nodular hyperplasia, 12 (24%) adenomas and 1 (2%) cyst. Bilateral adrenal lesions were detected in 17 patients and unilateral in 19 patients. A change in the largest tumour diameter was found to be for nodular hyperplasia −0.02±1.41% per month (range −2.56 to 4.58%) and for adenomas −0.61±1.95% per month (range −6.25 to 1.15%). One patient had an adrenal cyst with significant growth. There was no evidence of carcinoma or metastatic disease during the study.

Conclusions

The prevalence of adrenal lesions in MEN1 is higher than that reported earlier. Except one cystic lesion, no significant change in the tumour size was observed over a mean observation period of more than 2 years. In a typical situation, small adrenal lesions in MEN1 seem to be constant in their morphology.