Pituitary adenomas are frequently occurring neoplasms that produce clinically significant disease in 1:1000 of the general population. The pathogenesis of pituitary tumors is a matter of interest as it could help to improve diagnosis and treatment. Until recently, however, disruptions in relatively few genes were known to predispose to pituitary tumor formation. In the last decade, several more genes and pathways have been described. Germline pathogenic variants in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene were found in familial or sporadic pituitary adenomas, usually with an aggressive clinical course. Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B (CDKN1B) pathogenic variants lead to multiple endocrine neoplasia type 4 (MEN4) syndrome, in which pituitary adenomas can occur. Xq26.3 duplications involving the gene GPR101 cause X-linked acrogigantism. The pheochomocytoma and/or paraganglioma with pituitary adenoma association (3PAs) syndrome suggests that pathogenic variants in the genes of the succinate dehydrogenase complex or MYC-associated factor X (MAX) might be involved in pituitary tumorigenesis. New recurrent somatic alterations were also discovered in pituitary adenomas, such as, ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) and USP48 pathogenic variants in corticotropinomas. The aim of the present review is to provide an overview of the genetic pathophysiology of pituitary adenomas and their clinical relevance.
Silvia Vandeva, Adrian F Daly, Patrick Petrossians, Sabina Zacharieva and Albert Beckers
Annamaria Colao, Silvia Vandeva, Rosario Pivonello, Ludovica Francesca Stella Grasso, Emil Nachev, Renata S Auriemma, Krasimir Kalinov and Sabina Zacharieva
Mortality in acromegaly strictly depends on optimal control of GH and IGF1 levels. Modern medical therapy with somatostatin analogs (SSAs) and GH receptor antagonists (GHRAs) is not available in many countries due to funding restrictions. This retrospective, comparative, cohort study investigated the impact of different treatment modalities on disease control (GH and IGF1) and mortality in acromegaly patients.
Two cohorts of patients with acromegaly from Bulgaria (n=407) and Campania, Italy (n=220), were compared, and mortality rates were evaluated during a 10-year period (1999–2008).
The major difference in treatment approach between cohorts was the higher utilization of SSAs and GHRAs in Italy, leading to a decreased requirement for radiotherapy. Significantly more Italian than Bulgarian patients had achieved disease control (50.1 vs 39.1%, P=0.005) at the last follow-up. Compared with the general population, the Bulgarian cohort had a decreased life expectancy with a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 2.0 (95% CI 1.54–2.47) that was restored to normal in patients with disease control – SMR 1.25 (95% CI 0.68–1.81). Irradiated patients had a higher cerebrovascular mortality – SMR 7.15 (95% CI 2.92–11.37). Internal analysis revealed an independent role of age at diagnosis and last GH value on all-cause mortality and radiotherapy on cerebrovascular mortality. Normal survival rates were observed in the Italian cohort: SMR 0.66 (95% CI 0.27–1.36).
Suboptimal biochemical control was associated with a higher mortality in the Bulgarian cohort. Modern treatment options that induce a strict biochemical control and reduce the necessity of radiotherapy might influence the life expectancy. Other factors, possibly management of comorbidities, could contribute to survival rates.
Elena Livadariu, Renata S Auriemma, Catherine Rydlewski, Silvia Vandeva, Etienne Hamoir, Maria C Burlacu, Sylvie Maweja, Anne S Thonnard, Daniela Betea, Gilbert Vassart, Adrian F Daly and Albert Beckers
Genetic disorders of calcium metabolism arise in a familial or sporadic setting. The calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) plays a key role in maintaining calcium homeostasis and study of the CASR gene can be clinically useful in determining etiology and appropriate therapeutic approaches. We report two cases of novel CASR gene mutations that illustrate the varying clinical presentations and discuss these in terms of the current understanding of CASR function.
Patients and methods
A 16-year-old patient had mild hypercalcemia associated with low-normal urinary calcium excretion and normal-to-high parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. Because of negative family history, familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia was originally excluded. The second patient was a 54-year-old man with symptomatic hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, low PTH, and mild hypercalciuria. Familial investigation revealed the same phenotype in the patient's sister. The coding region of the CASR gene was sequenced in both probands and their available first-degree relatives.
The first patient had a novel heterozygous inactivating CASR mutation in exon 4, which predicted a p.A423K change; genetic analysis was negative in the parents. The second patient had a novel heterozygous activating CASR mutation in exon 6, which predicted a p.E556K change; the affected sister of the proband was also positive.
We reported two novel heterozygous mutations of the CASR gene, an inactivating mutation in exon 4 and the first activating mutation reported to date in exon 6. These cases illustrate the importance of genetic testing of CASR gene to aid correct diagnosis and to assist in clinical management.