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Abstract Summary The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is of an unprecedented magnitude and has made it challenging to properly treat patients with urgent or rare endocrine disorders. Little is known about the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with rare endocrine malignancies, such as pituitary carcinoma. We describe the case of a 43-year-old patient with adrenocorticotrophic hormone-secreting pituitary carcinoma who developed a severe COVID-19 infection. He had stabilized Cushing’s disease after multiple lines of treatment and was currently receiving maintenance immunotherapy with nivolumab (240 mg every 2 weeks) and steroidogenesis inhibition with ketoconazole (800 mg daily). On admission, he was urgently intubated for respiratory exhaustion. Supplementation of corticosteroid requirements consisted of high-dose dexamethasone, in analogy with the RECOVERY trial, followed by the reintroduction of ketoconazole under the coverage of a hydrocortisone stress regimen, which was continued at a dose depending on the current level of stress. He had a prolonged and complicated stay at the intensive care unit but was eventually discharged and able to continue his rehabilitation. The case points out that multiple risk factors for severe COVID-19 are present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. ‘Block-replacement’ therapy with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred in this patient population. Learning points Comorbidities for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are frequently present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. ‘Block-replacement’ with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred to reduce the need for biochemical monitoring and avoid adrenal insufficiency. The optimal corticosteroid dose/choice for COVID-19 is unclear, especially in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess. First-line surgery vs initial disease control with steroidogenesis inhibitors for Cushing’s disease should be discussed depending on the current healthcare situation. Keywords: Adult; Male; Other; Belgium; Pituitary; Adrenal; Neuroendocrinology; Oncology; Insight into disease pathogenesis or mechanism of therapy; February; 2022 Background The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had a significant impact on the health care systems to date. The clinical presentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is diverse, ranging from asymptomatic illness to respiratory failure requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Risk factors for severe course include old age, male gender, comorbidities such as arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung-, heart-, liver- and kidney disease, malignancy, immunodeficiency and pregnancy (1). Little is known about the risk of COVID-19 in patients with rare endocrine malignancies, such as pituitary carcinoma. Case presentation This case concerns a 43-year-old man with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary carcinoma (with cerebellar and cervical drop metastases) with a severe COVID-19 infection. He had previously received multiple treatment modalities including surgery, radiotherapy, ketoconazole, pasireotide, cabergoline, bilateral (subtotal) adrenalectomy and temozolomide chemotherapy as described elsewhere (2). His most recent therapy was a combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors consisting of ipilimumab (3 mg/kg) and nivolumab (1 mg/kg) (anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1, respectively) every 3 weeks for four cycles, after which maintenance therapy with nivolumab (240 mg) every 2 weeks was continued. Residual endogenous cortisol production was inhibited with ketoconazole 800 mg daily. He had stabilized disease with a decrease in plasma ACTH, urinary free cortisol and stable radiological findings (2). Surgical resection of the left adrenal remnant was planned but was not carried out due to the development of a COVID-19 infection. In March 2021, he consulted our emergency department for severe respiratory complaints. He had been suffering from upper respiratory tract symptoms for one week, with progressive dyspnoea in the last three days. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 the day before admission. On examination, his O2 saturation was 72%, with tachypnoea (40/min) and bilateral pulmonary crepitations. His temperature was 37.2°C, blood pressure 124/86 mmHg and pulse rate 112 bpm. High-flow oxygen therapy was initiated but yielded insufficient improvement (O2 saturation of 89% and tachypnoea 35/min). He was urgently intubated for respiratory exhaustion. Investigation Initial investigations showed type 1 respiratory insufficiency with PaO2 of 52.5 mmHg (normal 75–90), PaCO2 of 33.0 mmHg (normal 36–44), pH of 7.47 (normal 7.35–7.45) and a P/F ratio of 65.7 (normal >300). His inflammatory parameters were elevated with C-reactive protein level of 275.7 mg/L (normal <5·0) and white blood cell count of 7.1 × 10⁹ per L with 72.3% neutrophils. His most recent morning plasma ACTH-cortisol level (measured using the Elecsys electrochemiluminescence immunoassays on a Cobas 8000 immunoanalyzer [Roche Diagnostics]) before his admission was 213 ng/L (normal 7.2–63) and 195 µg/L (normal 62–180) respectively, while a repeat measurement 3 weeks after his admission demonstrated increased cortisol levels of 547 µg/L (possibly iatrogenic due to treatment with high-dose hydrocortisone) and a decreased ACTH of 130 ng/L. Treatment On admission, he was started on high-dose dexamethasone therapy for 10 days together with broad-spectrum antibiotics for positive sputum cultures containing Serratia, methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae. Thromboprophylaxis with an intermediate dose of low molecular weight heparin (tinzaparin 14 000 units daily for a body weight of 119 kg) was initiated. A ‘block-replacement’ regimen was adopted with the continuation of ketoconazole (restarted on day 11) in view of his endocrine treatment and the supplementation of hydrocortisone at a dose depending on the current level of stress. The consecutive daily dose of hydrocortisone and ketoconazole is shown in Fig. 1. View Full Size Figure 1 ‘Block-replacement’ therapy with ketoconazole and hydrocortisone/dexamethasone. Dexamethasone 10 mg daily was initially started as COVID-19 treatment, followed by hydrocortisone at a dose consistent with current levels of stress. Ketoconazole was restarted on day 11 and titrated to a dose of 800 mg daily to suppress endogenous glucocorticoid production. Citation: Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports 2022, 1; 10.1530/EDM-21-0182 Download Figure Download figure as PowerPoint slide Outcome and follow-up He developed multiple organ involvement, including metabolic acidosis, acute renal failure requiring continuous venovenous hemofiltration, acute coronary syndrome type 2, septic thrombophlebitis of the right jugular vein, and critical illness polyneuropathy. He was readmitted twice to the ICU, for ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line-associated bloodstream infection respectively. He eventually recovered and was discharged from the hospital to continue his rehabilitation. Discussion We describe the case of a patient with severe COVID-19 infection with active Cushing’s disease due to pituitary carcinoma, who was treated with high-dose dexamethasone followed by ‘block-replacement’ therapy with hydrocortisone in combination with off-label use of ketoconazole as a steroidogenesis inhibitor. His hospitalization was prolonged by multiple readmissions to the ICU for infectious causes. Our case illustrates the presence of multiple comorbidities for a severe and complicated course of COVID-19 in a patient with active Cushing’s disease. Dexamethasone was initially chosen as the preferred corticosteroid therapy, in analogy with the RECOVERY trial, in which dexamethasone at a dose of 6mg once daily (oral or i.v.) resulted in lower 28-day mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen therapy or invasive mechanical ventilation (3). However, the optimal dose/choice of corticosteroid therapy is unclear, especially in a patient population with pre-existing hypercortisolaemia. A similar survival benefit for hydrocortisone compared to dexamethasone has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. This may be explained by differences in anti-inflammatory activity but could also be due to the fact that recent studies with hydrocortisone were stopped early and were underpowered (4, 5). Multiple risk factors for a complicated course of COVID-19 are present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome and might increase morbidity and mortality (6, 7). These include a history of obesity, arterial hypertension and impaired glucose metabolism. Prevention and treatment of these pre-existing comorbidities are essential. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome also have an increased thromboembolic risk, which is further accentuated by the development of severe COVID-19 infection (6, 7). Thromboprophylaxis with low molecular weight heparin is associated with lower mortality in COVID-19 patients with high sepsis‐induced coagulopathy score or high D-dimer levels (8) and is presently widely used in the treatment of severe COVID-19 disease (9). Subsequently, this treatment is indicated in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with Cushing’s syndrome. It is unclear whether therapeutic anticoagulation dosing could provide additional benefits (6, 7). An algorithm based on the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis-Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation score was proposed to evaluate the ideal anticoagulation therapy in severe/critical COVID-19 patients, with an indication for therapeutic low molecular weight heparin dose at a score ≥5 (9). Furthermore, the chronic cortisol excess induces suppression of the innate and adaptive immune response. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome, especially when severe and active, should be considered immunocompromised and have increased susceptibility for viral and other (hospital-acquired) infections. Prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jirovecii with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole should therefore be considered (6, 7). Additionally, there is a particular link between the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and Cushing’s syndrome. The SARS-CoV-2 virus (as well as other coronaviruses) enter human cells by binding the ACE2 receptor. The transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), expressed by endothelial cells, is additionally required for the priming of the spike-protein of SARS-CoV-2, leading to viral entry. TMPRSS2 was studied in prostate cancer and found to be regulated by androgen signalling. Consequently, the androgen excess frequently associated with Cushing’s syndrome might be an additional risk factor for contracting COVID-19 via higher TMPRSS2 expression (10), especially in women, in whom the effect of excess androgen would be more noticeable compared to male patients with Cushing’s syndrome. Treating Cushing’s syndrome with a ‘block-replacement’ approach, with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements, is an approach that should be considered, especially in severe or cyclic disease. The use of this method might decrease the need for monitoring and reduce the occurrence of adrenal insufficiency (7). Our patient was on treatment with ketoconazole, which was interrupted at initial presentation and then restarted under the coverage of a hydrocortisone stress regimen. Ketoconazole was chosen because of its availability. Advantages of ketoconazole over metyrapone include its antifungal activity with the potential for prevention of invasive pulmonary fungal infections, as well as its antiandrogen action (especially in female patients) and subsequent inhibition of TMPRSS2 expression (10). Regular monitoring of the liver function (every month for the first 3 months, at therapy initiation or dose increase) is necessary. Caution is needed due to its inhibition of multiple cytochrome P450 enzymes (including CYP3A4) and subsequently greater risk of drug-drug interactions vs metyrapone (7, 10). Another disadvantage of ketoconazole is the need for oral administration. In our patient, ketoconazole was delivered through a nasogastric tube. i.v. etomidate is an alternative in case of an unavailable enteral route. Finally, as a general point, the first-line treatment of a patient with a novel diagnosis of Cushing’s disease is transsphenoidal surgery. Recent endocrine recommendations pointed out the possibility of initial disease control with steroidogenesis inhibitors in patients without an indication for urgent intervention during a high prevalence of COVID-19 (7). This would allow the optimalization of metabolic parameters; emphasizing that the short-to mid-term prognosis is related to the cortisol excess and not its cause. Surgery could then be postponed until the health situation allows for safe elective surgery (7). This decision depends of course on the evolution of COVID-19 and the healthcare system in each country and should be closely monitored by policymakers and physicians. Declaration of interest The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported. Funding This work did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sector. Patient consent Written informed consent for publication of their clinical details and/or clinical images was obtained from the patient. Author contribution statement J M K de Filette is an endocrinologist-in-training and was the main author. All authors were involved in the clinical care of the patient. All authors contributed to the reviewing and editing process and approved the final version of the manuscript. References 1↑ Gao Y-D, Ding M, Dong X, Zhang J-J, Kursat Azkur A, Azkur D, Gan H, Sun Y-L, Fu W, Li W, et al.Risk factors for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients: a review. Allergy 2021 76 428–455.(https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14657) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 2↑ Sol B, de Filette JMK, Awada G, Raeymaeckers S, Aspeslagh S, Andreescu CE, Neyns B, Velkeniers B. Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for ACTH-secreting pituitary carcinoma: a new emerging treatment? European Journal of Endocrinology 2021 184 K1–K5. (https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-0151) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 3↑ The RECOVERY Collaborative Group. Dexamethasone in hospitalized patients with Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine 2021 3 84 693–704.(https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2021436) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 4↑ Angus DC, Derde L, Al-Beidh F, Annane D, Arabi Y, Beane A, van Bentum-Puijk W, Berry L, Bhimani Z & Bonten M et al.Effect of hydrocortisone on mortality and organ support in patients with severe COVID-19: the REMAP-CAP COVID-19 corticosteroid domain randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2020 324 1317–1329. (https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.17022) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 5↑ Dequin PF, Heming N, Meziani F, Plantefève G, Voiriot G, Badié J, François B, Aubron C, Ricard JD & Ehrmann S et al.Effect of hydrocortisone on 21-day mortality or respiratory support among critically ill patients with COVID-19: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2020 324 1298–1306. (https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.16761) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 6↑ Pivonello R, Ferrigno R, Isidori AM, Biller BMK, Grossman AB, Colao A. COVID-19 and Cushing’s syndrome: recommendations for a special population with endogenous glucocorticoid excess. Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology 2020 8 654–656. (https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(2030215-1) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 7↑ Newell-Price J, Nieman LK, Reincke M, Tabarin A. ENDOCRINOLOGY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19: Management of Cushing’s syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology 2020 183 G1–G7. (https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-0352) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 8↑ Tang N, Bai H, Chen X, Gong J, Li D, Sun Z. Anticoagulant treatment is associated with decreased mortality in severe coronavirus disease 2019 patients with coagulopathy. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2020 18 1094–1099. (https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.14817) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 9↑ Carfora V, Spiniello G, Ricciolino R, Di Mauro M, Migliaccio MG, Mottola FF, Verde N, Coppola N & Vanvitelli COVID-19 Group. Anticoagulant treatment in COVID-19: a narrative review. Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis 2021 51 642–648. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11239-020-02242-0) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 10↑ Barbot M, Ceccato F, Scaroni C. Consideration on TMPRSS2 and the risk of COVID-19 infection in Cushing’s syndrome. Endocrine 2020 69 235–236. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02390-6) Search Google Scholar Export Citation From https://edm.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/edm/2022/1/EDM21-0182.xml
MeganOrrMD, JamesFindlingMD, NathanZwagermanMD, JenniferConnellyMD, KatherineAlbanoMS, JosephBoviMD Show more https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2021.100813Get rights and content Under a Creative Commons license open access Abstract Pituitary carcinoma (PC) is an uncommon intracranial malignancy with a high rate of metastasis, mortality, and inconsistent response to therapy. Because PC is a rare condition (0.1%-0.2% of pituitary tumors), prospective studies and observable data are scarce. Some PC may have an endocrine secretory function and can arise from existing pituitary adenomas. Treatment often includes a combination of surgical resection, radiotherapy, and systemic therapies. Because of the poor treatment response rate and rapid progression, treatment is often palliative. Here we describe a unique, complete amelioration of severe Cushing's disease due to an ACTH secreting pituitary carcinoma followed by the development of pituitary hypoadrenalism after re-irradiation with concurrent temozolomide. Summary Pituitary carcinoma is a rare malignancy with high rates of metastases at diagnosis, inconsistent therapeutic response, and high mortality. Treatment includes a combination of surgical resections, radiotherapy, and medications. Because of the poor treatment response rate and rapid progression, treatment is often palliative. This report describes the complete resolution of severe Cushing's disease due to an ACTH secreting pituitary carcinoma followed by the development of pituitary hypoadrenalism after re-irradiation and concurrent temozolomide radio-sensitization. Introduction Pituitary adenomas (PA) are a common, benign tumor managed with combinations of surgery, radiotherapy, and medication. While uncommon, there are atypical PA with aggressive behaviors that are refractory to treatment. In rare instances, pituitary tumors can metastasize or spread. These malignant behaving tumors are called pituitary carcinomas (PC). PC is challenging to manage as they metastasize early and have a poor response to treatment. In reported PC cases, malignant transformation of atypical adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) secreting PA is a common pathogenesis.1 Features of PC include functional ACTH production and resistance to radiation. Because of the aggressive nature and systemic spread, the prognosis is poor with a high mortality rate of 66% at one year.2 Prospective studies and observable data are scarce. Prior reports of treatment include a combination of surgical resection, radiotherapy, and medication with inconsistent responses. Because of the poor treatment response rate and rapid progression, treatment is often palliative. This report describes a complete resolution of severe Cushing disease due to an ACTH secreting pituitary carcinoma followed by the development of pituitary hypoadrenalism after re-irradiation with concurrent temozolomide. Case Description A 53-year female presented with complaints of blurry vision, right-sided cranial nerve (CN) III palsy, diffuse edema of her face and extremities, and a 15 lb. weight gain over 2 weeks. Visual field testing revealed bitemporal hemianopsia which prompted imaging. MRI demonstrated a large intracranial sellar mass (4.0 × 4.3 cm) invading the suprasellar cistern and compressing the optic chiasm. ACTH and cortisol were elevated, which combined with radiographic evidence, established a diagnosis of an ACTH-secreting pituitary macroadenoma and Cushing's disease (CD). The patient underwent a transsphenoidal tumor debulking, followed by CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery two months after surgery (treated to 24 Gy, seeTable 2). Pathology revealed an atypical PA, positive for p53 and with a low Ki-67 index. Table 1. Clinical Course Date Condition 24 h urinary cortisol* Late salivary cortisol* Serum morning cortisol* ACTH* Nov 2009 Before 1st debulking surgery 3,192 N/A N/A 635 Feb 2010 Cyberknife 6.9 1.5 9.6 134 May 2014 Redo-Debulking 40.2 5.5 11.8 190.0 August 2017 3 months post RT 20.1 5.5 39.4 240.8 May 2018 1 year post RT 16.0 5.9 12.6 199.8 Feb 2019 1 year and 6 months post RT 2.1 3.6 6.8 111.8 Jan 2020 Post 3rd Debulking N/A N/A 8.4 88.5 ⁎ 24h urinary cortisol (NR:30-310 ug/24h). Late salivary cortisol(NR < 0.13 ug/dL). Serum morning cortisol (NR: 5-25 ug/dL). ACTH (NR <46 pg/dL) GC: glucocorticoids, CS: Cushing syndrome Table 2. CyberKnife Radiation Treatment Plan Cyber Knife Feb 2010 Target/OAR Volume(cm3) Max Dose(cGy) Min Dose(cGy) Mean Dose(cGy) Standard deviation (SD)(cGy) CTV 7 2817 1214 2403 240 PTV 6 2817 1323 2457 204 Brain Stem 34 1023 28 250 160 Left Eye 7 65 16 29 7 LON 2 1069 39 233 223 Optic Chiasm 1 845 194 448 164 Right Eye 7 164 16 31 12 RON 2 1267 48 298 216 After three years in remission, she experienced worsening symptoms associated with cortisol excess. Medical management of cabergoline (D2 receptor agonist) followed by pasireotide (somatostatin analog) was tried without clinical improvement. Imaging demonstrated the mass had recurred with non-congruent intracranial spread. This noncontiguous intracranial growth met the criteria for PC. A second transsphenoidal subtotal resection was performed. Pathology revealed atypical ACTH secreting adenoma with a similarly low Ki-67, but with a new loss of p53 signaling. Despite debulking, she had biochemical persistence of hypercortisolism. Over the next two months, the patient declined rapidly with weakness, and worsening Cushing's symptoms. She was enrolled in a Phase III clinical trial with osilodrostat (11-Beta hydroxylase inhibitor) however, could not tolerate the investigational drug and was taken off. Subsequent MRI showed evidence of progression with gross residual disease and interval growth. She was referred to radiation oncology. She completed a course of image-guided, intensity modulated, radiotherapy (IG-IMRT) with concurrent temodar (TMZ) radiosensitization. TMZ was dosed at 75 mg/m2 per day for 42 days during radiation. Her IG-IMRT plan consisted of a gross tumor volume (GTV); drawn for MR defined gross disease and a clinical target volume (CTV) encompassing gross disease at risk areas of microscopic disease extension (Figure 1). These volumes were then expanded to 2 planning target volumes (PTV). The first, and larger, PTV was created by expanding the CTV to PTV1 and treated to 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions (180 cGy/fraction). The GTV alone was expanded to PTV2 (integrated boost) and was treated to a total dose of 56 Gy in 28 fractions (200 cGy/fraction) (See Table 3). Over the next two years, the patient had a steady decline in ACTH and cortisol levels and experienced a significant improvement in CD symptoms. Amazingly, she developed hypocortisolemia. Following concurrent chemo-RT, her leg strength and ambulation improved, and she endorsed improvements in vision. Surveillance images taken a year and a half after chemo-RT showed stable size and configuration of the residual sella and parasellar lesion with obvious shrinkage of the residual PC compared to prior scans. Download : Download high-res image (798KB) Download : Download full-size image Figure 1. IG-IMRT Planning Images Radiotherapy Planning session MRI T1 weighted images with contrast (March 2017) showing PTV's and prescribed isodose lines. Red lines: 5600 cGy, dose1. Yellow lines: 5040 cGy, dose 2. Orange lines: PTV1. Purple lines: PTV2. Table 3. IG-IMRT Radiation Treatment Plan IG-IMRT May 2017 Target/OAR Volume(cm3) Max Dose(cGy) Min Dose(cGy) Mean Dose(cGy) SD(cGy) EqD2 (cGy) GTV 83 6091 4922 5621 233 CTV 24 6083 5292 5793 102 PTV 1 241 6118 4753 5423 270 PTV 2 51 6118 5074 5779 106 Brain Stem 32 5784 2374 4701 586 4324 CHIASM PRV 5 5640 4881 5266 171 5109 Eye_L 8 3173 537 1355 574 841 Eye_R 7 3680 542 1551 644 990 EyeLens_L 0.1 997 614 765 81 435 EyeLens_R 0.1 830 626 719 41 406 InnerEar_L 0.5 5088 4235 4687 164 4305 InnerEar_R 0.4 5673 4853 5165 112 5175 LacrimalGland_L 0.7 2207 734 1313 382 810 LacrimalGland_R 0.8 2518 1064 1736 340 1137 OpticChiasm 0.8 5367 4881 5177 89 4981 OpticNerve_L 0.5 5325 2742 4723 592 4353 OpticNerve_R 0.6 5327 3149 4799 493 4456 EqD2: Equivalent dose in 2 Gy fractions Two years following concurrent chemo-RT, a new clival nodule was noted on imaging. Biopsy confirmed pituitary carcinoma. This was managed with single fraction Gamma Knife delivering a margin dose of 16 Gy (Figure 2) to the biopsied area of recurrence. She remains in clinical remission with stable tumor appearance on recent imaging (Figure 3). Download : Download high-res image (686KB) Download : Download full-size image Figure 2. Gamma Knife Radiation Therapy Planning Images Gamma Knife Planning session MRI T1 weighted images with contrast (May 2020) showing GTV and prescribed isodose line. Red lines: 1600 cGy prescribed dose. Blue lines: GTV. Download : Download high-res image (469KB) Download : Download full-size image Figure 3. Follow-up Imaging Follow up MRI imaging (Jan 2021) showing stable tumor appearance at 8 months post-GK, and 46 months post-IGMRT with TMZ. Discussion Over a ten-year history of persistent symptoms and aggressive tumor behavior, this patient's diagnosis evolved from an atypical ACTH secreting pituitary macroadenoma to an invasive ACTH secreting pituitary carcinoma (PC) that was managed by fractionated imaged-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IG-IMRT) with concurrent temozolomide (TMZ). Approximately two years post-IG-IMRT, ACTH/cortisol labs had declined, and the lesion was reduced radiographically. Remarkably, she developed hypocortisolemia mandating hydrocortisone replacement therapy despite an elevated plasma ACTH. It is postulated that the remission of Cushing's disease was likely related to chemo-radiotherapy-induced alterations in the post-translation processing of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) with the production of biologically inactive ACTH and significant decreases in cortisol biosynthesis.4 To date, the patient endorses substantial strength, visual, and cognitive improvement. The mainstay of PC treatment begins with surgical transsphenoidal resection, followed by radiotherapy for residual tumor growth, and adjuvant medical treatment. Studies show in the case of atypical PA that progress to PC, early and aggressive treatment provides the longest survival.3 Surgical resection is the initial intervention to avoid morbidity and mortality related to mass effect of these large aggressive tumors, however, it is rarely complete.3 As a result, the residual disease progresses, and multiple surgeries may be performed after a recurrence of disease. Primary pituitary tumors that present with metastases at diagnosis are termed PC. If no metastases are present, histological evaluation can aid in the management of the tumor.3 Tumors with a high mitotic index, high Ki-67 index >3%, and/or p53 immunoreactivity are termed atypical PA for their aggressive growth and tendency to recur after resection.3 In both PC and atypical PA guidelines, evidence of post-surgical growth is treated with radiation therapy. In general, radiotherapy provides a modest benefit of local tumor control, especially when administered before distant metastases arise in atypical PA with malignant potential.3 Focal stereotactic treatment has shown mostly palliative benefit with little prognostic improvement.3 Finally, medical therapy is used to combat tumor growth and hypersecretory function. Non-chemotherapy biotherapy includes somatostatin analogs, particularly in the case of GH and TSH-producing tumors, with variable tumor reduction and a limited period of control. Chemotherapy agents such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, and etoposide-based chemotherapy have been implicated in the treatment of PC.3 Responses are variable and not widely replicated, but observational studies indicated prolonged survival in cases of distant metastases, and in aggressive atypical PA before malignant transformation.1-3 One report demonstrated significant regression of an ACTH-secreting PC and distant metastases induced with cisplatin and etoposide, two cytotoxic platinum-based chemotherapy drugs.4 These agents have variable CNS penetrance, unlike TMZ, but have potential benefit in cases of PC with high mitotic indices. Without prospective, randomized studies, significant conclusions on the benefits of chemotherapeutic agents have yet to be made. Current guidelines for PC that demonstrate progression after primary tumor debulking and radiotherapy include further surgery (alpha), focused radiotherapy (beta), chemotherapy (gamma), and treatment with radionuclides (delta).3 In this case, a complex PC/recurrent atypical PA had a stable positive response to combined fractionated IG-IMRT and TMZ, demonstrating radiological decrease in tumor volume, clinical improvement, and endocrine remission status post 1 year and 8 months. The lasting results of a combined therapy approach in treating PC have been illustrated in other literature examples. In a similar case, an ACTH secreting PC was treated with a course of concurrent radiotherapy, TMZ, and bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody.5 The multimodality course was implemented six weeks post-resection. At eight weeks, the resolution of a distant metastasis helped established a positive outcome. The patient followed up this course with a year of adjuvant TMZ. Five years post treatment, there has been no evidence of recurrent disease on imaging or with ACTH monitoring.5 Another report found that an aggressive, functional ACTH-producing pituitary adenoma was managed with concurrent TMZ and radiotherapy after failing maximal conventional therapy. As in the presented PC case, this PA was recurrent after surgical, medical, and radiotherapy interventions. It rapidly progressed biochemically, radiologically, and clinically. After initiating the combined concurrent TMZ and radiation, a rapid biochemical response was observed with cortisol normalization and regression of intracranial tumor volume on MRI at 3 and 6 months. The TMZ therapy was stopped after the sixth cycle, and at twenty-two months out from treatment, the patient continues to have stable tumor volume and biochemical remission. Although the patient did not have metastasis necessary for classification of PC, the recurrent clinical course and aggressive functional nature of the tumor demonstrate the lasting positive outcome of a combined modality approach on tumor growth and endocrine remission.6 In presenting this case, fractionated IG-IMRT with TMZ was effective in achieving stable endocrine remission and partial tumor regression for several years’ duration. The recurrent clival PA is ACTH non-secreting after IG-IMRT and concurrent TMZ which has improved the patient's clinical condition. Although this mass recurred after treatment, it is quite remarkable that her tumor has remained hormonally nonfunctional, and the patient continues to have a resolution of CD symptoms. Limited clinical information exists on successful treatment options for PC. Recurrence, metastasis, and mortality are high after exhausting conventional treatment. The alternative combined therapeutic approach of current TMZ and radiation has shown rare, and lasting effects in this patient. These findings may further support the use of combined fractionated radiotherapy with concurrent TMZ treating in patients with ACTH-secreting PC who fail standard surgical and medical interventions. References 1 Joehlin-Price, A. S., Hardesty, D. A., Arnold, C. A., Kirschner, L. S., Prevedello, D. M., & Lehman, N. L. (2017). Case report: ACTH-secreting pituitary carcinoma metastatic to the liver in a patient with a history of atypical pituitary adenoma and Cushing's disease. Diagnostic Pathology, 12(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13000-017-0624-5 2 Borba, C. G., Batista, R. L., Musolino, N. R. de C., Machado, V. C., Alcantara, A. E. E., Silva, G. O. da, … Cunha Neto, M. B. C. da. (2015). Progression of an Invasive ACTH Pituitary Macroadenoma with Cushing's Disease to Pituitary Carcinoma. Case Reports in Oncological Medicine, 2015(Cd), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/810367 3 Kaltsas, G. A., Nomikos, P., Kontogeorgos, G., Buchfelder, M., & Grossman, A. B. (2005). Clinical review: Diagnosis and management of pituitary carcinomas. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 90(5), 3089–3099. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2004-2231 4 Cornell, R.F., Kelly, D. F., Bordo, G., Corroll, T. B., Duong, H. T., Kim, J., Takasumi, Y., Thomas, J. P., Wong, Y. L., & Findling, J. W. (2013). Chemotherapy-Induced Regression of an Adrenocorticotropin-Secreting Pituitary Carcinoma Accompanied by Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency. Case Reports in Endocrinology, 2013;2013:675298 https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/675298 5 Touma, W., Hoostal, S., Peterson, R. A., Wiernik, A., SantaCruz, K. S., & Lou, E. (2017). Successful treatment of pituitary carcinoma with concurrent radiation, temozolomide, and bevacizumab after resection. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 41, 75–77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2017.02.052 6 Misir Krpan, A., Dusek, T., Rakusic, Z., Solak, M., Kraljevic, I., Bisof, V., … Kastelan, D. (2017). A Rapid Biochemical and Radiological Response to the Concomitant Therapy with Temozolomide and Radiotherapy in an Aggressive ACTH Pituitary Adenoma. Case Reports in Endocrinology, 2017, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2419590 Funding: None Disclosures: Dr. Findling reports grants, personal fees and other from Novartis, personal fees and other from Corcept Therapeutics, personal fees from Recordati, outside the submitted work. Research data are stored in an institutional repository and will be shared upon request to the corresponding author. © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Society for Radiation Oncology. From https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2452109421001718
January 19, 2020 Adrenococortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare cancer, occurring at the rate of one case in two million person years. Cushing syndrome or a mixed picture of excess androgen and glucocorticoid production are the most common presentations of ACC. Other uncommon presentations include abdominal pain and adrenal incidentalomas. In the present report, a 71-year-old male presented with abdominal pain and was eventually diagnosed with ACC. He was found to have pulmonary thromboembolism following an investigation for hypoxemia, with the tumor thrombus extending upto the right atrium. This interesting case represents the unique presentation of a rare tumor, which if detected late or left untreated is associated with poor outcomes, highlighting the need for a low index of suspicion for ACC when similar presentations are encountered in clinical practice. ACC is a rare but aggressive tumor. ACC commonly presents with rapid onset of hypercortisolism, combined hyperandrogenism and hypercortisolism, or uncommonly with compressive symptoms. Clinicians should have a low index of suspicion for ACC in patients presenting with rapid onset of symptoms related to hypercortisolism and/or hyperandrogenism. Venous thromboembolism and extension of the tumor thrombus to the right side of the heart is a very rare but serious complication of ACC that clinicans should be wary of. The increased risk of venous thromboembolism in ACC could be explained by direct tumor invasion, tumor thrombi or hypercoagulability secondary to hypercortisolism. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can improve the long-term survival of patients with ACC. Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism case reports. 2019 Nov 25 [Epub ahead of print] Skand Shekhar, Sriram Gubbi, Georgios Z Papadakis, Naris Nilubol, Fady Hannah-Shmouni Section on Endocrinology & Genetics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA., Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA., Department of Medical Imaging, Heraklion University Hospital, Medical School, University of Crete, Crete, Greece., Surgical Oncology Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31765326 From https://www.urotoday.com/recent-abstracts/urologic-oncology/adrenal-diseases/118539-adrenocortical-carcinoma-and-pulmonary-embolism-from-tumoral-extension.html
The Surgeon, 03/04/2013 Clinical Article Toniato A et al. – The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether minimally–invasive surgery is a safe and effective treatment for adrenal carcinoma and metastases. This study shows that laparoscopic resection is inappropriate for patients with known or suspected adrenocortical carcinoma, while the laparoscopic approach can be justified and is feasible in case of adrenal metastases. Read this article at http://www.mdlinx.com/endocrinology/newsl-article.cfm/4458602/ZZ4747461521296427210947/?news_id=561&newsdt=030413&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=DailyNL&utm_content=General-Article&utm_campaign=Article-Section