A patient with acromegaly and hyperthyroidism due to a growth hormone-, thyrotrophin- and alpha-subunit-secreting pituitary adenoma is described. His deceased father had suffered from a pituitary tumour, and was likely to have had acromegaly as well. Plasma growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I concentrations were elevated, with levels between 10 and 20 μg/l and 4.4 and 7.3 kU/l, respectively. In spite of hyperthyroidism (free thyroxine, 45 pmol/l; free triiodothyronine, 24 pmol/l), plasma thyrotrophin remained at 2.8 mU/l without any response to thyrotrophin-releasing hormone and could not be suppressed with exogenous administration of triiodothyronine. Plasma alpha-subunits were raised to 3.3–3.7 U/l (normal 0.4–1.1 U/l). Pathological examination of the surgically removed tumour showed a pituitary adenoma with the immunohistochemical presence of growth hormone, thyrotrophin, prolactin and alpha-subunit. This is the first report of a growth hormone-, thyrotrophin- and alpha-subunit-producing pituitary adenoma, which occurred in a familial setting.
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Thera P Links, Jan F Monkelbaan, Robin PF Dullaart, and Timon W van Haeften
Thera P Links, Hans H G Verbeek, Robert M W Hofstra, and John Th M Plukker
The treatment for metastasised medullary thyroid cancer is still a topic of discussion. One of the main challenges remains to find effective adjuvant and palliative options for patients with metastatic disease. The diagnostic and treatment strategies for this tumour are discussed and possible new developments commented. Approaches that target rearranged during transfection (RET) are preferable to those that target RET downstream proteins as, theoretically, blocking RET downstream targets will block only one of the many pathways activated by RET. Combining several agents would seem to be more promising, in particular agents that target RET with those that independently target RET signalling pathways or the more general mechanism of tumour progression.
Marloes Nies, Eus G J M Arts, Astrid E P Cantineau, and Thera P Links
Stan Benjamens, Robin P F Dullaart, Wim J Sluiter, Michiel Rienstra, Isabelle C van Gelder, and Thera P Links
Amiodarone is used for the maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with arrhythmias, but thyroid dysfunction (amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis (AIT) or amiodarone-induced hypothyroidism (AIH)) is a common adverse effect. As the onset of AIT and AIH may be unpredictable, the value of long-term regular monitoring of amiodarone treated patients for thyroid dysfunction is still uncertain.
We retrospectively documented the frequency at which overt thyroid dysfunction was preceded by subclinical thyroid dysfunction.
We included 303 patients treated with amiodarone between 1984 and 2007. AIT was defined as a lowered TSH level with an elevated free thyroxine (FT4) and AIH was defined as an elevated TSH level with a decreased or subnormal FT4. Subclinical AIT was defined as a lowered TSH level with a normal FT4 and subclinical AIH as an elevated TSH level with a normal FT4.
200 men and 103 women, aged 62 ± 12.0 years, suffering from atrial (260) or ventricular (43) arrhythmias, were evaluated. During a median follow-up of 2.8 (1.0–25) years, 44 patients developed AIT and 33 AIH. In 42 (55%) patients who developed AIT/AIH, earlier thyroid function tests showed no subclinical AIT or subclinical AIH. In 35 (45%) patients, AIT/AIH was preceded by subclinical AIT or subclinical AIH (16/44 for AIT and 19/33 for AIH).
In a considerable proportion of patients who developed AIT/AIH, earlier thyroid function tests showed no subclinical AIT/AIH. Less than half of the patients with a subclinical event subsequently developed overt AIT/AIH. This study provides data to reconsider the yield of regular testing of thyroid function to predict overt thyroid dysfunction in amiodarone treated patients.
Ha T T Phan, Pieter L Jager, Jacqueline E van der Wal, Wim J Sluiter, John T M Plukker, Rudi A J O Dierckx, Bruce H R Wolffenbuttel, and Thera P Links
This retrospective study describes the role of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) in relation to tumor characteristics in the prediction of persistent/recurrent disease in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) with negative Tg at the time of ablation.
Between 1989 and 2006, 94 out of 346 (27%) patients with DTC had undetectable Tg at the time of 131I ablation and were included in this evaluation. The group of 94 patients consisted of 15 males and 79 females in the age range of 16–89 years with a median follow-up of 8 years (range 1–17). All medical records and follow-up parameters of the 94 patients were evaluated for the occurrence of persistent/recurrent disease. In patients with persistent/recurrent disease hematoxylin-eosin-stained slides of the primary tumors and/or metastatic lesions were also reviewed for histological features including immunostains for Tg.
During follow-up, 8 out of 94 (8.5%) patients showed persistent/recurrent disease: in the course of the disease two patients showed Tg positivity, three showed Tg antibody (TgAb) positivity, and the other three showed persistently undetectable Tg and TgAb. Patients who developed Tg and/or TgAb positivity during follow-up had a significantly shorter disease-free survival period when compared with patients with persistently undetectable Tg and TgAb (P<0.006). Histological features were not able to predict the recurrent status.
Follow-up of Tg and TgAb in patients with initially negative Tg and TgAb is useful since a number of patients had shown detectable Tg or TgAb during follow-up indicative for persistent/recurrent disease. Tg and TgAb negativity at the time of ablation is not a predictive determinant for future recurrent status.
Sarah C Clement, Chantal A Lebbink, Mariëlle S Klein Hesselink, Jop C Teepen, Thera P Links, Cecile M Ronckers, and Hanneke M van Santen
Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at increased risk to develop differentiated thyroid cancer predominantly after radiotherapy (subsequent DTC). It is insufficiently known whether subsequent DTC in CCS has a different presentation or outcome than sporadic DTC.
Patients with subsequent DTC (n = 31) were matched to patients with sporadic DTC (n = 93) on gender, age and year of diagnosis to compare presentation and DTC outcomes. Clinical data were collected retrospectively.
Among the CCS with subsequent DTC, all but one had received chemotherapy for their childhood cancer, 19 (61.3%) had received radiotherapy including the thyroid region, 3 (9.7%) 131I-MIBG and 8 (25.8%) had received treatment with chemotherapy only. Subsequent DTC was detected by surveillance through neck palpation (46.2%), as a self-identified mass (34.6%), or by chance. Among sporadic DTC patients, self detection predominated (68.8%). CCS with subsequent DTC tended to have on average smaller tumors (1.9 vs 2.4 cm, respectively, (P = 0.051), and more often bilateral (5/25 (60.0%) vs 28/92 (30.4%), P = 0.024). There were no significant differences in the occurrence of surgical complications, recurrence rate or disease-related death.
When compared to patients with sporadic DTC, CCS with subsequent DTC seem to present with smaller tumors and more frequent bilateral tumors. Treatment outcome seems to be similar. The finding that one-third of subsequent DTC cases had been treated with chemotherapy only needs further investigation. These results are important for the development of surveillance programs for CCS at risk for DTC and for treatment guidelines of subsequent DTC.
Marloes Nies, Eus G J M Arts, Evert F S van Velsen, Johannes G M Burgerhof, Anneke C Muller Kobold, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Romana T Netea-Maier, Robin P Peeters, Anouk N A van der Horst-Schrivers, Astrid E P Cantineau, and Thera P Links
Whilst radioactive iodine (RAI) is often administered in the treatment for differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC), long-term data on male fertility after RAI are scarce.
To evaluate long-term male fertility after RAI for DTC, and to compare semen quality before and after RAI.
Design, setting, and patients
Multicenter study including males with DTC ≥2 years after their final RAI treatment with a cumulative activity of ≥3.7 GBq.
Main outcome measure(s)
Semen analysis, hormonal evaluation, and a fertility-focused questionnaire. Cut-off scores for ‘low semen quality’ were based on reference values of the general population as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Fifty-one participants had a median age of 40.5 (interquartile range (IQR): 34.0–49.6) years upon evaluation and a median follow-up of 5.8 (IQR: 3.0–9.5) years after their last RAI administration. The median cumulative administered activity of RAI was 7.4 (range: 3.7–23.3) GBq. The proportion of males with a low semen volume, concentration, progressive motility, or total motile sperm count did not differ from the 10th percentile cut-off of a general population (P = 0.500, P = 0.131, P = 0.094, and P = 0.500, respectively). Cryopreserved semen was used by 1 participant of the 20 who had preserved semen.
Participants had a normal long-term semen quality. The proportion of participants with low semen quality parameters scoring below the 10th percentile did not differ from the general population. Cryopreservation of semen of males with DTC is not crucial for conceiving a child after RAI administration but may be considered in individual cases.
Sophie J van Asselt, Adrienne H Brouwers, Hendrik M van Dullemen, Eric J van der Jagt, Alfons H Bongaerts, Klaas P Koopmans, Ido P Kema, Bernard A Zonnenberg, Henri J Timmers, Wouter W de Herder, Wim J Sluiter, Elisabeth G de Vries, and Thera P Links
Patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease are prone to develop pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs). However, the best imaging technique for early detection of pNETs in VHL is currently unknown. In a head-to-head comparison, we evaluated endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and 11C-5-hydroxytryptophan positron emission tomography (11C-5-HTP PET) compared with conventional screening techniques for early detection of pancreatic solid lesions in VHL patients.
We conducted a cross-sectional, prospective study in 22 patients at a tertiary care university medical center. Patients with VHL mutation or with one VHL manifestation and a mutation carrier as first-degree family member, with recent screening by abdominal computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS), were eligible. Patients underwent EUS by linear Pentax echoendoscope and Hitachi EUB-525, and 11C-5-HTP PET. Patient-based and lesion-based positivity for pancreatic solid lesions were calculated for all imaging techniques with a composite reference standard.
In 10 of the 22 patients, 20 pancreatic solid lesions were detected: 17 with EUS (P < 0.05 vs CT/MRI+ SRS), 3 with 11C-5-HTP PET, 3 with SRS, 9 with CT/MRI, and 9 with CT/MRI + SRS. EUS evaluations showed solid lesions with a median size of 9.7 mm (range 2.9–55 mm) and most of them were homogeneous, hypoechoic, isoelastic, and hypervascular. Moreover, EUS detected multiple pancreatic cysts in 18 patients with a median of 4 cysts (range 1–30).
EUS is superior to CT/MRI + SRS for detecting pancreatic solid lesions in VHL disease.11C-5-HTP PET has no value as a screening method in this setting. EUS performs well in early detection of pNETs, but its role in VHL surveillance is unclear.
Hanneke M van Santen, Erik K Alexander, Scott A Rivkees, Eva Frey, Sarah C Clement, Miranda P Dierselhuis, Chantal A Lebbink, Thera P Links, Kerstin Lorenz, Robin P Peeters, Christoph Reiners, Menno R Vriens, Paul Nathan, Arthur B Schneider, and Frederik Verburg
The incidence of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) has increased rapidly over the past several years. Thus far, the only conclusively established risk factor for developing DTC is exposure to ionizing radiation, especially when the exposure occurs in childhood. Since the number of childhood cancer survivors (CCS) is increasing due to improvements in treatment and supportive care, the number of patients who will develop DTC after surviving childhood cancer (secondary thyroid cancer) is also expected to rise. Currently, there are no recommendations for management of thyroid cancer specifically for patients who develop DTC as a consequence of cancer therapy during childhood. Since complications or late effects from prior cancer treatment may elevate the risk of toxicity from DTC therapy, the medical history of CCS should be considered carefully in choosing DTC treatment. In this paper, we emphasize how the occurrence and treatment of the initial childhood malignancy affects the medical and psychosocial factors that will play a role in the diagnosis and treatment of a secondary DTC. We present considerations for clinicians to use in the management of patients with secondary DTC, based on the available evidence combined with experience-based opinions of the authors.
Edward Buitenwerf, Tijmen Korteweg, Anneke Visser, Charlotte M S C Haag, Richard A Feelders, Henri J L M Timmers, Letizia Canu, Harm R Haak, Peter H L T Bisschop, Elisabeth M W Eekhoff, Eleonora P M Corssmit, Nanda C Krak, Elise Rasenberg, Janneke van den Bergh, Jaap Stoker, Marcel J W Greuter, Robin P F Dullaart, Thera P Links, and Michiel N Kerstens
A substantial proportion of all pheochromocytomas is currently detected during the evaluation of an adrenal incidentaloma. Recently, it has been suggested that biochemical testing to rule out pheochromocytoma is unnecessary in case of an adrenal incidentaloma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 Hounsfield Units (HU) at computed tomography (CT).
We aimed to determine the sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold value to exclude a pheochromocytoma.
Retrospective multicenter study with systematic reassessment of preoperative unenhanced CT scans performed in patients in whom a histopathologically proven pheochromocytoma had been diagnosed. Unenhanced attenuation values were determined independently by two experienced radiologists. Sensitivity of the 10 HU threshold was calculated, and interobserver consistency was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).
214 patients were identified harboring a total number of 222 pheochromocytomas. Maximum tumor diameter was 51 (39–74) mm. The mean attenuation value within the region of interest was 36 ± 10 HU. Only one pheochromocytoma demonstrated an attenuation value ≤10 HU, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.6% (95% CI: 97.5–99.9). ICC was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75–0.86) with a standard error of measurement of 7.3 HU between observers.
The likelihood of a pheochromocytoma with an unenhanced attenuation value ≤10 HU on CT is very low. The interobserver consistency in attenuation measurement is excellent. Our study supports the recommendation that in patients with an adrenal incidentaloma biochemical testing for ruling out pheochromocytoma is only indicated in adrenal tumors with an unenhanced attenuation value >10 HU.