Localisation of an occult thyrotropinoma withC-methionine PET-CT before and after somatostatin analogue therapy

Olympia Koulouri, Andrew C Hoole, Patrick English, Kieren Allinson, Nagui Antoun, Heok Cheow, Neil G Burnet, Neil Donnelly, Richard J Mannion, Mark Gurnell

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A 75-year-old woman presented to her local endocrine service with tiredness, palpitations, and enlargement of a longstanding goitre. Unexpectedly, her thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH]) concentration was not suppressed (6·3 mU/L; reference range 0·35–5·5) despite raised concentrations of thyroid hormones (free thyroxine [T4] 89·1 pmol/L [reference range 10–19·8]; free triiodothyronine [T3] 11·7 pmol/L [3·0–6·5]). After exclusion of laboratory assay interference, a thyrotropin-releasing hormone test showed an attenuated response (TSH at 0 min was 6·1 mU/L, at 20 min was 6·8 mU/L, and at 60 min was 8·5 mU/L), raising suspicion of a thyrotropinoma (also known as TSHoma). However, pituitary MRI was normal. The patient was referred to our centre for further assessment. On repeat MRI, the pituitary gland showed mild asymmetry (right larger than left; figure A). Functional imaging with 11C-methionine (11C-Met) PET-CT revealed intense tracer uptake (denoting active peptide synthesis) on the right side of the sella (red hot spot in figure A). Treatment with a depot somatostatin analogue (SSA) led to resolution of symptoms and normalisation of thyroid function (TSH 0·6 mU/L, free T4 12·5 pmol/L, and free T3 3·8 pmol/L). Repeat 11C-Met PET-CT showed absence of the right-sided focal hot spot (figure B). 14 months into treatment, the patient had several hypoglycaemic episodes, which resolved after discontinuation of SSA. However, thyrotoxicosis recurred (TSH 4·3 mU/L, free T4 38·1 pmol/L, free T3 11·6 pmol/L), and repeat 11C-Met PET-CT revealed the reappearance of the right-sided hot spot (figure C). During pituitary surgery, a microthyrotropinoma was resected from the right side of the gland (figure D). The patient remains in clinical and biochemical remission more than 12 months after surgery and has normal pituitary function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050
JournalThe Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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