Publications by authors named "Ashley B Grossman"

267 Publications

Middle ear neuroendocrine tumours: Insight into their pathogenesis, diagnosis and management.

J Neuroendocrinol 2021 Aug 13;33(9):e13031. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

ENETS Centre of Excellence, Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

Recent advances in the diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) have led to the identification of NETs in unusual locations. NETs originating in the middle ear have been reported in a number of case reports with differing terminologies, where they were variously referred to as middle ear adenomas or middle ear carcinoids. In this report, we describe two cases of middle ear NETs with locally advanced disease and with distant metastases, respectively. The embryological origin, pathogenesis and histopathological characteristics, including immunohistochemical markers, are discussed aiming to clarify the terminology of these tumours. Functional imaging modalities (eg, Ga-DOTATATE positron emission tomography/computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging) play a pivotal role in the diagnosis, staging and determining the optimal systemic therapy in managing NETs of the middle ear. In addition, surgical, local and systemic therapeutic modalities are discussed, including the management option of long-acting somatostatin analogue therapy and targeted radionuclide therapy for somatostatin receptor-positive well-differentiated middle ear NETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jne.13031DOI Listing
August 2021

Metastatic Medullary Thyroid Cancer: The Role of 68Gallium-DOTA-Somatostatin Analogue PET/CT and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2021 Aug 11. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Neuroendocrine tumour unit, ENETS Centre of Excellence, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

Context: Metastatic medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare malignancy with minimal treatment options. Many, but not all, MTCs express somatostatin receptors.

Objective: Our aim was to explore the role of 68Ga-DOTA-somatostatin analogue (SSA) PET/CT in patients with metastatic MTC, and to determine their eligibility for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT).

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients with metastatic MTC who had 68Ga-DOTA-SSA PET/CT at five centers. We collected characteristics on contrast-enhanced CT, 68Ga-DOTA-SSA and 18F-FDG PET/CT. The efficacy of PRRT was explored in a subgroup of patients. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate time to treatment failure (TTF) and overall survival (OS).

Results: Seventy-one patients were included (10 local recurrence, 61 distant disease). Of the patients with distant disease, 16 (26%) had ≥50% of disease sites with tracer avidity greater than background liver, including 10 (10/61, 16%) with >90%. In 19 patients with contemporaneous contrast-enhanced CT, no disease regions were independently identified on 68Ga-DOTA-SSA PET/CT. Thirty-five patients had an 18F-FDG PET/CT, with 18F-FDG positive/ 68Ga-DOTA-SSA negative metastases identified in 15 (43%). Twenty-one patients had PRRT with a median TTF of 14 months (95%CI 8-25) and a median OS of 63 months (95%CI 21-not reached). Of the entire cohort, the median OS was 323 months (95%CI 152-not reached). Predictors of poorer overall survival included a short calcitonin doubling-time (≤24 months), strong 18F-FDG avidity and age ≥60 years.

Conclusions: The prevalence of high tumour avidity on 68Ga-DOTA-SSA PET/CT is low in the setting of metastatic MTC; nevertheless, PRRT may still be a viable treatment option in select patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab588DOI Listing
August 2021

MANAGEMENT OF ENDOCRINE DISEASE: Dysnatraemia in COVID-19: prevalence, prognostic impact, pathophysiology, and management.

Eur J Endocrinol 2021 Sep 6;185(4):R103-R111. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

First Department of Propaedeutic and Internal Medicine, Laiko University Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

This review examines the prevalence, aetiology, pathophysiology, prognostic value, and investigation of dysnatraemia in hospitalised COVID-19 patients, taking into account all relevant studies published in PubMed and Cochrane Library studies until March 2021. Hyponatraemia is commonly observed in patients with bacterial pneumonia and is an independent predictor for excess mortality and morbidity. However, it remains unknown whether this association applies to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Several studies reported a 20-35% prevalence for hyponatraemia and 2-5% for hypernatraemia in patients admitted with COVID-19. In addition, hyponatraemia on admission was a risk factor for progression to severe disease, being associated with an increased likelihood for the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.83-3.30. Hyponatraemia seems to be an independent risk factor for mortality, with an OR of 1.40-1.50 compared to normonatraemia, while hypernatraemia is related to even worse outcomes than hyponatraemia. Furthermore, preliminary data show an inverse association between serum sodium and interleukin-6 levels, suggesting that hyponatraemia might be used as a surrogate marker for the risk of a cytokine storm and the need for treatment with interleukin antagonists. In conclusion, dysnatraemia is common and carries a poor prognosis in COVID-19 patients, indicating that it may play a future role in risk stratification and individualising therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-21-0281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8428074PMC
September 2021

Mechanisms of Central Hypogonadism.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jul 30;22(15). Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK.

Reproductive function depends upon an operational hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Due to its role in determining survival versus reproductive strategies, the HPG axis is vulnerable to a diverse plethora of signals that ultimately manifest with Central Hypogonadism (CH) in all its many guises. Acquired CH can result from any pituitary or hypothalamic lesion, including its treatment (such as surgical resection and/or radiotherapy). The HPG axis is particularly sensitive to the suppressive effects of hyperprolactinaemia that can occur for many reasons, including prolactinomas, and as a side effect of certain drug therapies. Physiologically, prolactin (combined with the suppressive effects of autonomic neural signals from suckling) plays a key role in suppressing the gonadal axis and establishing temporary CH during lactation. Leptin is a further key endocrine regulator of the HPG axis. During starvation, hypoleptinaemia (from diminished fat stores) results in activation of hypothalamic agouti-related peptide neurons that have a dual purpose to enhance appetite (important for survival) and concomitantly suppresses GnRH neurons via effects on neural kisspeptin release. Obesity is associated with hyperleptinaemia and leptin resistance that may also suppress the HPG axis. The suppressibility of the HPG axis also leaves it vulnerable to the effects of external signals that include morphine, anabolic-androgenic steroids, physical trauma and stress, all of which are relatively common causes of CH. Finally, the HPG axis is susceptible to congenital malformations, with reports of mutations within >50 genes that manifest with congenital CH, including Kallmann Syndrome associated with hyposmia or anosmia (reduction or loss of the sense of smell due to the closely associated migration of GnRH with olfactory neurons during embryogenesis). Analogous to the HPG axis itself, patients with CH are often vulnerable, and their clinical management requires both sensitivity and empathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22158217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8348115PMC
July 2021

Can COVID-19 immunisation cause subacute thyroiditis?

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2021 Jul 17. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit, ENETS Centre of Excellence, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cen.14555DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8444846PMC
July 2021

A clinical approach to parasellar lesions in the transition age.

J Neuroendocrinol 2021 Jun;33(6):e12995

Department of Endocrinology, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Many reviews have summarised the pathology and management of the parasellar region in adult patients, although an analysis of these aspects in the transition years, from puberty onset to the age of peak bone mass, has been lacking. A comprehensive search of English-language original articles, published from 2000 to 2020, was conducted in the MEDLINE database (December 2019 to March 2020). We selected all studies regarding epidemiology, diagnosis and management of the following parasellar lesions: germinoma, craniopharyngioma, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, optic glioma, hypothalamic hamartoma, tuber cinereum hamartoma, cranial chordoma, Rathke cleft cyst, hypophysitis and hypothalamitis during the transition age from childhood to adulthood. In the present review, we provide an overview of the principal parasellar lesions occurring in the transition age. Symptoms are usually a result of the mass effect of the lesions on nearby structures, as well as anterior pituitary deficits. Diabetes insipidus occurs frequently in these patients. In this age group, pubertal developmental disorders may be more evident compared to other stages of life. Parasellar lesions in the transition age mostly include neoplastic lesions such as germinomas, hamartomas, optic gliomas, craniopharyngiomas Langerhans cell histiocytosis and chordomas, and rarely inflammatory lesions (hypophysitis, hypothalamitis). There are limited data on the management of parasellar lesions in the transition age. Endocrine evaluation is crucial for identifying conditions that require hormonal treatment so that they can be treated early to improve the quality of life of the individual patient in this complex age range. The clinical approach to parasellar lesions involves a multidisciplinary effort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jne.12995DOI Listing
June 2021

International consensus on initial screening and follow-up of asymptomatic SDHx mutation carriers.

Nat Rev Endocrinol 2021 07 21;17(7):435-444. Epub 2021 May 21.

INSERM, PARCC, Equipe Labellisée par la Ligue contre le Cancer, Paris, France.

Approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with a phaeochromocytoma or paraganglioma carry a germline mutation in one of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDHx) genes (SDHA, SDHB, SDHC and SDHD), which encode the four subunits of the SDH enzyme. When a pathogenic SDHx mutation is identified in an affected patient, genetic counselling is proposed for first-degree relatives. Optimal initial evaluation and follow-up of people who are asymptomatic but might carry SDHx mutations have not yet been agreed. Thus, we established an international consensus algorithm of clinical, biochemical and imaging screening at diagnosis and during surveillance for both adults and children. An international panel of 29 experts from 12 countries was assembled, and the Delphi method was used to reach a consensus on 41 statements. This Consensus Statement covers a range of topics, including age of first genetic testing, appropriate biochemical and imaging tests for initial tumour screening and follow-up, screening for rare SDHx-related tumours and management of elderly people who have an SDHx mutation. This Consensus Statement focuses on the management of asymptomatic SDHx mutation carriers and provides clinicians with much-needed guidance. The standardization of practice will enable prospective studies in the near future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41574-021-00492-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8205850PMC
July 2021

Pituitary neuroendocrine tumors: a model for neuroendocrine tumor classification.

Mod Pathol 2021 09 21;34(9):1634-1650. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Medicine, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

The classification of adenohypophysial neoplasms as "pituitary neuroendocrine tumors" (PitNETs) was proposed in 2017 to reflect their characteristics as epithelial neuroendocrine neoplasms with a spectrum of clinical behaviors ranging from small indolent lesions to large, locally invasive, unresectable tumors. Tumor growth and hormone hypersecretion cause significant morbidity and mortality in a subset of patients. The proposal was endorsed by a WHO working group that sought to provide a unified approach to neuroendocrine neoplasia in all body sites. We review the features that are characteristic of neuroendocrine cells, the epidemiology and prognosis of these tumors, as well as further refinements in terms used for other pituitary tumors to ensure consistency with the WHO framework. The intense study of PitNETs has provided information about the importance of cellular differentiation in tumor prognosis as a model for neuroendocrine tumors in different locations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-021-00820-yDOI Listing
September 2021

Changing biological behaviour of NETs during the evolution of the disease: progress on progression.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2021 Apr 29;28(5):R121-R140. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Following improvements in the management and outcome of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) in recent years, we see a subset, particularly of pancreatic NENs, which become more aggressive during the course of the disease. This is reflected by an increase in the Ki-67 labelling index, as a marker of proliferation, which may lead to an occasion of increase in grading, but generally does not appear to be correlated with histologically confirmed dedifferentiation. A systematic review of the literature was performed in PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase until May 2020 to identify cases that have behaved in such a manner. We screened 244 articles: only seven studies included cases in their cohort, or in a subset of the cohort studied, with a proven increase in the Ki-67 during follow-up through additional biopsy. In addition to these studies, we have also tried to identify possible pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in advanced NENs, although currently no studies appear to have addressed the mechanisms implicated in the switch to a more aggressive biological phenotype over the course of the disease. Such progression of the disease course may demand a change in the management. Summarising the overall evidence, we suggest that future studies should concentrate on changes in the molecular pathways during disease progression with sequential biopsies in order to shed light on the mechanisms that render a neoplasm more aggressive than its initial phenotype or genotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-20-0473DOI Listing
April 2021

Calcitonin-secreting neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung: a systematic review and narrative synthesis.

Endocr Connect 2021 Apr 26;10(4):447-461. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Department of Endocrinology ASO/EASO COM, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK.

Calcitonin-secreting neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung are rare, with few cases reported in the literature. Differentiating between medullary thyroid carcinoma and an ectopic source of calcitonin secretion can represent a complex diagnostic conundrum for managing physicians, with cases of unnecessary thyroidectomy reported in the literature. This manuscript reports a case of ectopic hypercalcitonaemia from a metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasm of the lung with concurrent thyroid pathology and summarises the results of a systematic review of the literature. Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov and SCOPUS databases were systematically and critically appraised for all peer reviewed manuscripts that suitably fulfilled the inclusion criteria established a priori. The protocol for this systematic review was developed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis Protocols, and followed methods outlined in The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. This systematic review is registered with PROSPERO. It is vital to consider diagnoses other than medullary thyroid carcinoma when presented with a patient with raised calcitonin, as it is not pathognomonic of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Lung neuroendocrine neoplasms can appear similar to medullary thyroid carcinoma histologically, they can secrete calcitonin and metastasize to the thyroid. Patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma may show stimulated calcitonin values over two or more times above the basal values, whereas calcitonin-secreting neuroendocrine neoplasms may or may not show response to stimulation tests. The present review summarises existing evidence from cases of ectopic hypercalcitonaemia to lung neuroendocrine neoplasms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EC-21-0071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8111313PMC
April 2021

Posterior pituitary tumours: patient outcomes and determinants of disease recurrence or persistence.

Endocr Connect 2021 Apr;10(4):387-400

Department of Endocrinology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India.

Objective: Posterior pituitary tumours (PPTs) are rare neoplasms with the four recognised subtypes unified by thyroid transcription factor -1 (TTF-1) expression, according to the 2017 WHO classification. Though traditionally defined as low-grade neoplasms, a substantial proportion of them show recurrence/persistence following surgery.

Methods: We selected patients with PPTs in our cohort of 1760 patients operated for pituitary tumours over the past 10 years (2010-2019). The clinical, radiological, hormonal, histopathological profiles and long-term outcomes of the three cases identified (two pituicytomas and one spindle cell oncocytoma, SCO) were analysed. Following a literature review, data of all published cases with documented TTF-1 positive pituicytomas and SCOs were analysed to determine the predictors of recurrence/persistence in these tumours.

Results: Patients presented with compressive features or hypogonadism. Two had sellar-suprasellar masses. One had a purely suprasellar mass with a pre-operative radiological suspicion of pituicytoma. Two were operated by transsphenoidal surgery and one transcranially guided by neuronavigation. Histopathology confirmed spindle cells in a storiform arrangement and low Ki67 index. Immunohistochemistry showed positive TTF-1, S-100 expression and variable positivity for EMA, vimentin and GFAP. Re-evaluation showed recurrence/persistence in two patients. A literature review of recurrent/persistent pituicytoma (n = 17) and SCO (n = 9) cases revealed clinical clues (headache for pituicytomas, male gender for SCO), baseline tumour size (≥20.5 mm with sensitivity exceeding 80%) and longer follow-up duration as determinants of recurrence/persistence.

Conclusion: PPTs are rare sellar masses with quintessential TTF-1 positivity. Recurrent/persistent disease following surgery is determined by greater tumour size at baseline and duration of follow-up. This warrants intensive and long-term surveillance in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EC-20-0621DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8142326PMC
April 2021

The Pangenomic Classification of Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumors: Quality Histopathology is Required for Accurate Translational Research.

Endocr Pathol 2021 Sep 3;32(3):415-417. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Pathology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-021-09671-4DOI Listing
September 2021

COVID-19-related thyroiditis: A novel disease entity?

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2021 09 3;95(3):369-377. Epub 2021 May 3.

Centre for Endocrinology, Barts, London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

The literature on COVID-19-related thyroid complications has accumulated over the past year or so as the pandemic has accelerated throughout the world. In particular, several recent case reports have been published describing a possible correlation between COVID-19 disease and subacute thyroiditis (SAT). In this review, we briefly present one of our own patients and review the current published literature in this area up to January 2021, including analyses of major series of thyroid function tests in patients with significant COVID-19 infection. We conclude that while the great majority of patients with severe COVID-19 infection may show manifestations of the sick euthyroid syndrome, clinicians should be aware of the possibility of SAT, especially in the early weeks and months following even mild COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cen.14453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8014067PMC
September 2021

Paediatric Cushing's disease: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical management and outcome.

Rev Endocr Metab Disord 2021 Jan 30. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, London, UK.

Cushing's disease (CD) is rare in paediatric practice but requires prompt investigation, diagnosis and therapy to prevent long-term complications. Key presenting features are a change in facial appearance, weight gain, growth failure, virilization, disturbed puberty and psychological disturbance. Close consultation with an adult endocrinology department is recommended regarding diagnosis and therapy. The incidence of CD, a form of ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome (CS), is equal to approximately 5% of that seen in adults. The majority of ACTH-secreting adenomas are monoclonal and sporadic, although recent studies of pituitary tumours have shown links to several deubiquitination gene defects. Diagnosis requires confirmation of hypercortisolism followed by demonstration of ACTH-dependence. Identification of the corticotroph adenoma by pituitary MRI and/or bilateral inferior petrosal sampling for ACTH may contribute to localisation before pituitary surgery. Transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) with selective microadenomectomy is first-line therapy, followed by external pituitary irradiation if surgery is not curative. Medical therapy to suppress adrenal steroid synthesis is effective in the short-term and bilateral adrenalectomy should be considered in cases unfit for TSS or radiotherapy or when urgent remission is needed after unsuccessful surgery. TSS induces remission of hypercortisolism and improvement of symptoms in 70-100% of cases, particularly when performed by a surgeon with experience in children. Post-TSS complications include pituitary hormone deficiencies, sub-optimal catch-up growth, and persisting excess of BMI. Recurrence of hypercortisolism following remission is recognised but infrequent, being less common than in adult CD patients. With experienced specialist medical and surgical care, the overall prognosis is good. Early referral to an experienced endocrine centre is advised.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11154-021-09626-4DOI Listing
January 2021

Molecular Pathology of Well-Differentiated Gastro-entero-pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.

Endocr Pathol 2021 Mar 18;32(1):169-191. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Green Templeton College, University of Oxford and ENETS Centre of Excellence, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK.

Well differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) arising in the gastrointestinal and pancreaticobiliary system are the most common neuroendocrine neoplasms. Studies of the molecular basis of these lesions have identified genetic mutations that predispose to familial endocrine neoplasia syndromes and occur both as germline events and in sporadic tumors. The mutations often involve epigenetic regulators rather than the oncogenes and tumor suppressors that are affected in other malignancies. Somatic copy number alterations and miRNAs have also been implicated in the development and progression of some of these tumors. The molecular profiles differ by location, but many are shared by tumors in other sites, including those outside the gastroenteropancreatic system. The approach to therapy relies on both the neuroendocrine nature of these tumors and the identification of specific alterations that can serve as targets for precision oncologic approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-021-09662-5DOI Listing
March 2021

Corticotroph tumor progression after bilateral adrenalectomy (Nelson's syndrome): systematic review and expert consensus recommendations.

Eur J Endocrinol 2021 Mar;184(3):P1-P16

Section on Genetics & Endocrinology Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Insitute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) National Institute of Health (NIH), NIH Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Background: Corticotroph tumor progression (CTP) leading to Nelson's syndrome (NS) is a severe and difficult-to-treat complication subsequent to bilateral adrenalectomy (BADX) for Cushing's disease. Its characteristics are not well described, and consensus recommendations for diagnosis and treatment are missing.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed focusing on clinical studies and case series (≥5 patients). Definition, cumulative incidence, treatment and long-term outcomes of CTP/NS after BADX were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results were presented and discussed at an interdisciplinary consensus workshop attended by international pituitary experts in Munich on October 28, 2018.

Results: Data covered definition and cumulative incidence (34 studies, 1275 patients), surgical outcome (12 studies, 187 patients), outcome of radiation therapy (21 studies, 273 patients), and medical therapy (15 studies, 72 patients).

Conclusions: We endorse the definition of CTP-BADX/NS as radiological progression or new detection of a pituitary tumor on thin-section MRI. We recommend surveillance by MRI after 3 months and every 12 months for the first 3 years after BADX. Subsequently, we suggest clinical evaluation every 12 months and MRI at increasing intervals every 2-4 years (depending on ACTH and clinical parameters). We recommend pituitary surgery as first-line therapy in patients with CTP-BADX/NS. Surgery should be performed before extrasellar expansion of the tumor to obtain complete and long-term remission. Conventional radiotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery should be utilized as second-line treatment for remnant tumor tissue showing extrasellar extension.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-1088DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8060870PMC
March 2021

Distinctive features of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms exhibiting an increment in proliferative activity during the course of the disease.

Endocrine 2021 04 11;72(1):279-286. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

ENETS Center of Excellence, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

Purpose: Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) differ in their biological behavior and growth potential in a way that can be predicted using histological classification and grading systems. A subset of pancreatic NENs (pNENs) may develop a more aggressive phenotype during the course of the disease, associated with an increase in the Ki-67 proliferation index (PI). The purpose of the study was to present the clinical characteristics of these patients.

Methods: Using re-biopsy of growing lesions, we investigated the increase in Ki-67 PI sufficient to change initial grading (G).

Results: Of 264 patients with well differentiated (WD) pNENs who showed progressive disease during follow-up, 15 (6%) exhibited an increase in Ki-67 PI at a median time 36.8 (9.3-255.8) months. All neoplasms had WD-morphology: five had G1 (Ki-67 median value 1%), nine G2 (median value 5%), one G3 (25%) grades. Upon change of Ki-67 PI, 3 patients had G2 (8%) and 12 G3 (57.5%) NENs, while all retained their WD-morphology. At last follow-up, eight patients were alive with a median overall survival (OS) of 52.5 (9.5-264.3) months. Μedian OS was shorter in patients who had a change in Ki-67 PI before 36 months compared to those who had a change of Ki-67 PI at a later stage (27.5 95%CI: 11.88-43.06 vs. 120.87 95%CI: 96.05-145.69; log-rank p = 0.018).

Conclusions: During the course of their disease, 6% patients with progressive pNENs develop an increase in Ki-67 PI resulting in an increase in grading status while maintaining their morphology. This process is associated with worse OS when it occurs at an early stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02540-wDOI Listing
April 2021

Understanding the Treatment Algorithm of Patients with Metastatic Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: A Single-Institution Retrospective Analysis Comparing Outcomes of Chemotherapy, Molecular Targeted Therapy, and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy in 255 Patients.

Neuroendocrinology 2021 18;111(9):863-875. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Department of Oncology, Royal Free Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Background: The number of therapeutic options for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PNEN) has increased, but the optimal therapeutic algorithm has not been defined due to lack of randomised trials comparing different modalities.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study in patients with metastatic PNEN treated with ≥1 line of systemic therapy. The relationship between baseline characteristics, treatment type, and time to treatment failure (TTF), time to progression (TTP), and overall survival (OS) was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: Two hundred and fifty-five patients with metastatic PNEN had 491 evaluable lines of therapy. Independent predictors of TTF included treatment type, Ki-67, tumour grade, and chromogranin A. To reduce selection bias, a subgroup of 114 patients with grade 2 (G2) metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNET) was analysed separately. These patients had received 234 lines of treatment (105 chemotherapy, 82 molecular targeted therapy, and 47 peptide receptor radionuclide therapy [PRRT]). In the G2 cohort, TTF and TTP were superior for PRRT compared with both chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy. OS in the G2 cohort was also superior for those that had received PRRT compared with those that had not (median 84 vs. 56 months; HR 0.55, 95% CI: 0.31-0.98, p = 0.04).

Conclusions: This study suggests that PRRT is associated with superior clinical outcomes relative to other systemic therapies for G2 metastatic PNET. Prospective studies are required to confirm these observations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000511662DOI Listing
September 2020

The role of the tumour microenvironment in the angiogenesis of pituitary tumours.

Endocrine 2020 12 18;70(3):593-606. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

Purpose: Angiogenesis has been studied in pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs), but the role of the tumour microenvironment (TME) in regulating PitNET angiogenesis remains unknown. We aimed to characterise the role of TME components in determining the angiogenetic PitNET profile, focusing on immune cells and tumour-derived cytokines.

Methods: Immune cells were studied by immunohistochemistry in 24 human PitNETs (16 non-functioning-PitNETs (NF-PitNETs) and 8 somatotrophinomas): macrophages (CD68, CD163, HLA-DR), cytotoxic (CD8) and T helper (CD4) lymphocytes, regulatory T cells (FOXP3), B cells (CD20) and neutrophils (neutrophil elastase); endothelial cells were assessed with CD31. Five normal pituitaries (NP) were included for comparison. Microvessel density and vascular morphology were estimated with ImageJ. The cytokine secretome from these PitNETs were assessed on culture supernatants using a multiplex immunoassay panel.

Results: Microvessel density/area was higher in NP than PitNETs, which also had rounder and more regular vessels. NF-PitNETs had vessels of increased calibre compared to somatotrophinomas. The M2:M1 macrophage ratio correlated with microvessel area. PitNETs with more CD4+ T cells had higher microvessel area, while tumours with more FOXP3+ cells were associated with lower microvessel density. PitNETs with more B cells had rounder vessels. Of the 42 PitNET-derived cytokines studied, CCL2, CXCL10 and CX3CL1 correlated with microvessel density and vessel architecture parameters.

Conclusions: M2 macrophages appear to play a role in PitNET neovascularisation, while B, CD4+ and FOXP3+ lymphocytes, as well as non-cellular TME elements such as CCL2, CXCL10 and CX3CL1, may also modulate the angiogenesis of PitNETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02478-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7674353PMC
December 2020

ENDOCRINOLOGY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19: Clinical management of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs).

Eur J Endocrinol 2020 Aug;183(2):G79-G88

Academic Endocrine Unit, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

In viral pandemics, most specifically Covid-19, many patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs), including phaeochromocytomas, paragangliomas and medullary thyroid carcinoma, may develop Covid-19 in a mild or severe form, or be concerned about the influence of viral infection relative to their anti-tumoral therapy. In general, newly presenting patients should be assessed, and patients recently receiving chemotherapy, targeted therapy or radionuclide therapy, or showing tumour growth, should be closely followed. For previously diagnosed patients, who have indolent disease, some delay in routine follow-up or treatment may not be problematic. However, patients developing acute secretory syndromes due to functional neuroendocrine neoplasms (such as of the pancreas, intestine or lung), phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas, will require prompt treatment. Patients with life-threatening Covid-19-related symptoms should be urgently treated and long-term anti-tumoral treatments may be temporarily delayed. In patients with especially aggressive NENs, a careful judgement should be made regarding the severity of any Covid-19 illness, tumour grade, and the immunosuppressant effects of any planned chemotherapy, immunotherapy (e.g. interferon-alpha), targeted therapy or related treatment. In other cases, especially patients with completely resected NENs, or who are under surveillance for a genetic disorder, a telephone or delayed consultation may be in order, balancing the risk of a delay against that of the possible development of Covid-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-0424DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938008PMC
August 2020

The tumour microenvironment of pituitary neuroendocrine tumours.

Front Neuroendocrinol 2020 07 15;58:100852. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. Electronic address:

The tumour microenvironment (TME) includes a variety of non-neoplastic cells and non-cellular elements such as cytokines, growth factors and enzymes surrounding tumour cells. The TME emerged as a key modulator of tumour initiation, progression and invasion, with extensive data available in many cancers, but little is known in pituitary tumours. However, the understanding of the TME of pituitary tumours has advanced thanks to active research in this field over the last decade. Different immune and stromal cell subpopulations, and several cytokines, growth factors and matrix remodelling enzymes, have been characterised in pituitary tumours. Studying the TME in pituitary tumours may lead to a better understanding of tumourigenic mechanisms, identification of biomarkers useful to predict aggressive disease, and development of novel therapies. This review summarises the current knowledge on the different TME cellular/non-cellular elements in pituitary tumours and provides an overview of their role in tumourigenesis, biological behaviour and clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2020.100852DOI Listing
July 2020

COVID-19 and Cushing's syndrome: recommendations for a special population with endogenous glucocorticoid excess.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2020 08 9;8(8):654-656. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Chirurgia, Sezione di Endocrinologia, Università Federico II di Napoli, Naples 80131, Italy; UNESCO Chair for Health Education and Sustainable Development, Federico II University, Naples, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30215-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282791PMC
August 2020

Thyroid disease in the time of COVID-19.

Endocrine 2020 06 7;68(3):471-474. Epub 2020 Jun 7.

Centre for Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

The novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 is produced by SARS-CoV-2. WHO has declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency, with the most susceptible populations (requiring ventilation) being the elderly, pregnant women and people with associated co-morbidities including heart failure, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and cancer. However, such general guidance does not provide information regarding COVID-19 risks in patients with suffering from pre-existing thyroid problems, and furthermore, we do not know whether patients with COVID-19 (symptomatic or without symptoms), who have not previously had thyroid issues develop endocrine thyroid dysfunction after infection. The European Society for Endocrinology recently published a statement on COVID-19 and endocrine diseases (Endocrine, 2020); however, thyroid diseases were not mentioned specifically. We have therefore reviewed the current literature on thyroid diseases (excluding cancer) and COVID-19, including data from the previous coronavirus pandemic caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), a member of the same family Coronaviridae leading to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). At the moment there are no data suggesting that thyroid patients are at higher risk of COVID-19, but this requites further research and data analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02364-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275975PMC
June 2020

GH deficiency in cancer survivors in the transition age: diagnosis and therapy.

Pituitary 2020 Aug;23(4):432-456

Department of Endocrinology, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Churchill Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 7LE, UK.

Background: Survival rates among childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) have significantly risen in the last 40 years due to substantial improvements in treatment protocols. However, this improvement has brought with it serious late effects that frequently involve the endocrine system. Of the endocrine disorders, GH deficiency (GHD) is the most common among CCSs as a consequence of a history of cancers, surgery, and/or radiotherapy involving the hypothalamo-pituitary region.

Methods: A comprehensive search of English language articles regardless of age was conducted in the MEDLINE database between December 2018 and October 2019. We selected all studies on GH therapy in CCSs during the transition age regarding the most challenging topics: when to retest; which diagnostic tests and cut-offs to use; when to start GH replacement therapy (GHRT); what GH dose to use; safety; quality of life, compliance and adherence to GHRT; interactions between GH and other hormonal replacement treatments.

Results: In the present review, we provide an overview of the current clinical management of challenges in GHD in cancer survivors in the transition age.

Conclusions: Endocrine dysfunction among CCSs has a high prevalence in the transition age and increase with time. Many endocrine disorders, including GHD, are often not diagnosed or under-diagnosed, probably due to the lack of specialized centers for the long-term follow-up. Therefore, it is crucial that transition specialized clinics should be increased in terms of number and specific skills in order to manage endocrine disorders in adolescence, a delicate and complex period of life. A multidisciplinary approach, also including psychological counseling, is essential in the follow-up and management of these patients in order to minimize their disabilities and maximize their quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11102-020-01052-0DOI Listing
August 2020

Random 'spot' urinary metanephrines compared with 24-h-urinary and plasma results in phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas.

Eur J Endocrinol 2020 Aug;183(2):129-139

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK.

Background: In patients with phaeochromocytomas or paragangliomas (PPGLs), 24-h urine collections for metanephrines (uMNs) are cumbersome.

Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic utility of ratios to creatinine of 'spot' uMNs.

Methods: Concentrations of uMNs and plasma metanephrines (pMNs) were measured by HPLC-mass-spectrometry. We retrospectively compared correlations of 24-h-urine output and ratio to creatinine in historical specimens and prospectively assessed 24-h and contemporaneous spot urines and, where possible, pMNs. Using trimmed log-transformed values, we derived reference intervals based on age and sex for spot urines. We used multiples of upper limit of normal (ULNs) to compare areas under curves (AUCs) for receiver-operator characteristic curves of individual, and sum and product of, components.

Results: In 3143 24-h-urine specimens on 2416 patients, the correlation coefficients between the ratios and outputs of metanephrine, normetanephrine and 3-methoxytyramine in 24-h urines were 0.983, 0.905 and 0.875, respectively. In 96 patients, the correlations between plasma concentrations, urine output and ratios in spot specimens were similar to those for raw output or ratios in 24-h specimens. Of the 160 patients with PPGLs, the CIs for AUCs for individual metabolites overlapped for all four types of measurement, as did those for the sum of the multiple ULNs although these were slightly higher (AUC for spot urine: 0.838 (0.529-1), plasma: 0.929 (0.874-0.984) and output: 0.858 (0.764-0.952)).

Conclusions: Ratios of fractionated metanephrines to creatinine in spot urine samples appear to have a similar diagnostic power to other measurements. The ease of spot urine collection may facilitate diagnosis and follow-up of PPGLs through improved patient compliance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-19-0809DOI Listing
August 2020

Metformin to reduce metabolic complications and inflammation in patients on systemic glucocorticoid therapy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept, phase 2 trial.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2020 04 25;8(4):278-291. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: An urgent need to reduce the metabolic side-effects of glucocorticoid overexposure has been recognised, as glucocorticoid excess can lead to Cushing's syndrome, which is associated with high morbidity. We aimed to evaluate the potential of metformin to reverse such effects while sparing the anti-inflammatory benefits of glucocorticoids.

Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept, phase 2 trial involving four hospitals in the UK. Patients without diabetes were eligible if they were between the ages of 18 and 75 years with an inflammatory disease treated with continuous prednisolone (≥20 mg/day for ≥4 weeks and remaining on ≥10 mg/day for the subsequent 12 weeks, or its cumulative dose-equivalent). Eligible patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to either the metformin or placebo groups, using a computer-generated randomisation table stratified according to age and BMI. Metformin and placebo were administered orally for 12 weeks in escalating doses: 850 mg/day for the first 5 days, 850 mg twice a day for the next 5 days, and 850 mg three times a day subsequently. The primary outcome was the between-group difference in visceral-to-subcutaneous fat area ratio over 12 weeks, assessed by CT. Secondary outcomes included changes in metabolic, bone, cardiovascular, and inflammatory parameters over 12 weeks. Our analysis followed a modified intention-to-treat principle for the primary outcome. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01319994.

Findings: Between July 17, 2012, and Jan 14, 2014, 849 patients were assessed for study eligibility, of which 53 were randomly assigned to receive either metformin (n=26) or placebo (n=27) for 12 weeks. 19 patients in the metformin group and 21 in the placebo group were eligible for the primary outcome analysis. Both groups received an equivalent cumulative dose of glucocorticoids (1860 mg prednisolone-equivalent [IQR 1060-2810] in the metformin group vs 1770 mg [1020-2356] in the placebo group); p=0·76). No change in the visceral-to-subcutaneous fat area ratio between the treatment groups was observed (0·11, 95% CI -0·02 to 0·24; p=0·09), but patients in the metformin group lost truncal subcutaneous fat compared with the placebo group (-3835 mm, 95% CI -6781 to -888; p=0·01). Improvements in markers of carbohydrate, lipid, liver, and bone metabolism were observed in the metformin group compared with the placebo group. Additionally, those in the metformin group had improved fibrinolysis, carotid intima-media thickness, inflammatory parameters, and clinical markers of disease activity. The frequency of pneumonia (one event in the metformin group vs seven in the placebo group; p=0·01), overall rate of moderate-to-severe infections (two vs 11; p=0·001), and all-cause hospital admissions due to adverse events (one vs nine; p=0·001) were lower in the metformin group than in the placebo group. Patients in the metformin group had more events of diarrhoea than the placebo group (18 events vs eight; p=0·01).

Interpretation: No significant changes in the visceral-to-subcutaneous fat area ratio between the treatment groups were observed; however, metformin administration did improve some of the metabolic profile and clinical outcomes for glucocorticoid-treated patients with inflammatory disease, which warrants further investigation.

Funding: Barts Charity and Merck Serono.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30021-8DOI Listing
April 2020

Significant Benefits of AIP Testing and Clinical Screening in Familial Isolated and Young-onset Pituitary Tumors.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2020 06;105(6)

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

Context: Germline mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene are responsible for a subset of familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA) cases and sporadic pituitary neuroendocrine tumors (PitNETs).

Objective: To compare prospectively diagnosed AIP mutation-positive (AIPmut) PitNET patients with clinically presenting patients and to compare the clinical characteristics of AIPmut and AIPneg PitNET patients.

Design: 12-year prospective, observational study.

Participants & Setting: We studied probands and family members of FIPA kindreds and sporadic patients with disease onset ≤18 years or macroadenomas with onset ≤30 years (n = 1477). This was a collaborative study conducted at referral centers for pituitary diseases.

Interventions & Outcome: AIP testing and clinical screening for pituitary disease. Comparison of characteristics of prospectively diagnosed (n = 22) vs clinically presenting AIPmut PitNET patients (n = 145), and AIPmut (n = 167) vs AIPneg PitNET patients (n = 1310).

Results: Prospectively diagnosed AIPmut PitNET patients had smaller lesions with less suprasellar extension or cavernous sinus invasion and required fewer treatments with fewer operations and no radiotherapy compared with clinically presenting cases; there were fewer cases with active disease and hypopituitarism at last follow-up. When comparing AIPmut and AIPneg cases, AIPmut patients were more often males, younger, more often had GH excess, pituitary apoplexy, suprasellar extension, and more patients required multimodal therapy, including radiotherapy. AIPmut patients (n = 136) with GH excess were taller than AIPneg counterparts (n = 650).

Conclusions: Prospectively diagnosed AIPmut patients show better outcomes than clinically presenting cases, demonstrating the benefits of genetic and clinical screening. AIP-related pituitary disease has a wide spectrum ranging from aggressively growing lesions to stable or indolent disease course.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137887PMC
June 2020

A prolapsing pituitary adenoma.

Endocrine 2020 02 20;67(2):501-502. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Centre for Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine, London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02204-9DOI Listing
February 2020

Endocrinological Toxicity Secondary to Treatment of Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (GEP-NENs).

Trends Endocrinol Metab 2020 03 12;31(3):239-255. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece; EKPA-LAIKO ENETS Center of Excellence, Athens, Greece.

Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs) are increasingly recognized, characterized by prolonged survival even with metastatic disease. Their medical treatment is complex involving various specialties, necessitating awareness of treatment-related adverse effects (AEs). As GEP-NENs express somatostatin receptors (SSTRs), long-acting somatostatin analogs (SSAs) that are used for secretory syndrome and tumor control may lead to altered glucose metabolism. Everolimus and sunitinib are molecular targeted agents that affect glucose and lipid metabolism and may induce hypothyroidism or hypocalcemia, respectively. Chemotherapeutic drugs can affect the reproductive system and water homeostasis, whereas immunotherapeutic agents can cause hypophysitis and thyroiditis or other immune-mediated disorders. Treatment with radiopeptides may temporarily lead to radiation-induced hormone disturbances. As drugs targeting GEP-NENs are increasingly introduced, recognition and management of endocrine-related AEs may improve compliance and the quality of life of these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2019.11.003DOI Listing
March 2020

Role of Receptor Profiling for Personalized Therapy in a Patient with a Growth Hormone-Secreting Macroadenoma Resistant to First-Generation Somatostatin Analogues.

J Pers Med 2019 Nov 15;9(4). Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Centre for Endocrinology, William Harvey Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine, E1 2AT London, UK.

Background: Acromegaly is almost always caused by a pituitary adenoma and is associated with high morbidity and mortality when uncontrolled. Trans-sphenoidal removal of the adenoma is the mainstay of therapy, but fails to control the disease in a significant number of patients who require further treatment. Somatostatin analogues (SSAs) as monotherapy or in combination with growth hormone (GH)-receptor antagonists and/or dopamine agonists are used either alone or in combination following surgical failure to achieve disease control. The use of specific biomarkers may help to individualize the therapeutic plan after surgical failure and direct towards a more personalized approach.

Methods: We report a 41-year-old man with acromegaly and residual disease after repeated surgery that was resistant to first-generation SSAs.

Results: Biochemical and tumor control were achieved following the administration of a second-generation SSA, pasireotide, combined with pegvisomant, both at maximal doses and along with cabergoline. Histology specimens showed a sparsely-granulated GH-immunostaining pituitary adenoma with intense positivity for somatostatin receptors 2 and 5 and low levels of E-cadherin.

Conclusion: Personalized medical therapy guided by currently available biomarkers, such as immunohistochemically-characterized receptor profiling or adhesion molecules, resulted in controlled insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and GH levels and symptom alleviation following the combination of three drug-classes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm9040048DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963904PMC
November 2019
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