Endoscopic Surgery Should Be Standard for Cushing’s Patients with Large Tumors

Cushing’s disease patients with macroadenomas — pituitary tumors larger than 10 mm — should undergo transsphenoidal pituitary surgery using the endoscopic technique, according to a new systematic review.

The study, “Endoscopic vs. microscopic transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the journal Pituitary.

Cushing’s disease develops due to an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary adenoma. The first-choice treatment for Cushing’s disease is transsphenoidal pituitary surgery, which is performed through the nose to remove pituitary tumors.

There are two main methods to conduct this kind of surgery: microscopic, which is done using a magnifying tool, and endoscopic surgery, which uses a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera. The microscopic technique was the established method for transsphenoidal surgery, until physicians started doing endoscopic pituitary surgery in 1992.

Most surgical centers choose to perform either the microscopic or endoscopic technique but do not offer both. As a result, only a few small studies have compared the outcomes of microscopic and endoscopic surgical techniques in Cushing’s disease performed at the same center. These studies showed no clear differences in remission rates or surgical morbidity.

To date, no systematic review comparing the microscopic and the endoscopic surgical techniques in Cushing’s disease has been conducted and, therefore, convincing evidence to support either technique is lacking.

To address this, researchers set out to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis that compares the endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal surgery techniques for Cushing’s disease with regards to surgical outcomes and complication rates.

Researchers searched through nine electronic databases to identify potentially relevant articles. In total, 97 cohort studies with 6,695 patients were included in the study. Among the total patient population, 5,711 received microscopical surgery and 984 were endoscopically operated.

Overall remission was achieved in 80 percent of patients, with no clear differences between the techniques. The recurrence rate was around 10 percent, and short-term mortality was less than 0.5 percent.

Cerebrospinal fluid leak (due to a hole or a tear) occurred more often in patients who underwent endoscopic surgery. On the other hand, transient diabetes insipidus — short-term diabetes — occurred more often in patients who received endoscopic surgery.

When classifying patients by tumor size, however, researchers found that patients with macroadenomas — tumors larger than 10 mm — had higher rates of remission and lower recurrence rates after endoscopic surgery. Patients with microadenomas (tumors smaller than 10 mm) had comparable outcomes with either technique.

“Endoscopic surgery for patients with Cushing’s disease reaches comparable results for microadenomas, and probably better results for macroadenomas than microscopic surgery,” the investigators wrote.

Taking these results into account, the researchers suggest that endoscopic surgery may be considered the current standard of care, though microscopic surgery can be used based on the neurosurgeon’s preference.

They also emphasize that centers that solely perform the microscopic technique should consider at least referring Cushing’s disease patients with macroadenomas to a center that performs the endoscopic technique.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2018/05/24/endoscopic-surgery-more-effective-macroadenomas-cushings-study/

Intraoperative MRI improves complete resection of pituitary macroadenoma

A 63-year-old man was referred to the Massachusetts General Hospital Neuroendocrine & Pituitary Tumor Clinical Center for management of a pituitary macroadenoma. He experienced increasingly severe retro-orbital headaches in the past year. He reported no double vision, fatigue, orthostatic dizziness, change in beard growth or reduction in libido. An outside head CT scan showed an enlarged pituitary gland.

Imaging and laboratory tests

A pituitary MRI with magnified pituitary slices and gadolinium contrast was ordered. A well-circumscribed “snowman-shaped” sellar mass was identified, measuring 2.6 cm x 2 cm x 1.8 cm (anteroposterior x transverse x craniocaudal) with suprasellar extension (Figure 1). The lesion was heterogeneous on T1-weighted scans after enhancement with IV gadolinium contrast. An area of hypointensity in the superior margin was consistent with a small area of cystic or hemorrhagic degeneration.

Although the mass did not extend laterally into the cavernous sinus, the sellar mass extended upward into the suprasellar cistern through a hole in the dural, the diaphragma sellae, to compress the optic chiasm. The restriction of adenoma growth by the diaphragma sellae results in the snowman shape of the macroadenoma. The optic chiasm and infundibulum (pituitary stalk) could not be identified on coronal or sagittal images (Figure 1). Visual field on confrontation suggested lateral field deficits (bilateral lateral hemianopsia) that were confirmed on formal Goldmann kinetic perimetry visual fields.

Figure 1. Preoperative MRI scan. A large “snowman-shaped” pituitary adenoma (green arrow) has heterogeneous enhancement after gadolinium contrast administration. A small hypodense area in the adenoma likely represented hemorrhage/cystic degeneration (yellow arrow). The tumor does not surround the carotid siphon, an S-shaped portion of the internal carotid artery (red arrows) within the cavernous sinus located laterally from the sella turcica where the pituitary gland resides. (A) Coronal image. (B) Sagittal image. Abbreviation: SS = spenoid sinus.

Source: Stephanie L. Lee, MD, PhD, ECNU. Reprinted with permission.

Initial hormonal evaluation was normal and included morning adrenocorticotropic hormone 18 pg/mL, cortisol 13.64 µg/dL, thyroid-stimulating hormone 2.14 uIU/mL, free thyroxine 1.2 ng/dL and prolactin 12.6 ng/mL. The patient’s morning testosterone level was normal at 324 ng/dL, with follicle-stimulating hormone 2.4 mIU/mL and luteinizing hormone 1.6 mIU/mL. His insulin-like growth factor I level was normal at 124 ng/mL.

Tumor resection

The patient was treated preoperatively with stress-dose hydrocortisone 50 mg. He then underwent transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection. After the surgeon believed there was an adequate excision of the tumor, the extent of tumor resection was confirmed by an intraoperative MRI (Figure 2 on page 8).

Figure 2. Intraoperative MRI scan. The large macroadenoma is not seen after transsphenoidal surgery. The optic chiasm (yellow arrow) can be seen after removal of the tumor. (A) Coronal image. (B) Sagittal image. Abbreviation: SS = spenoid sinus.

The operation was concluded after the imaging confirmed the complete resection of the pituitary adenoma. The patient’s postoperative course was uneventful. Imaging 4 weeks after the resection confirmed complete resection of the suprasellar mass with residual enhancement of the resection bed and sphenoid sinuses (Figure 3 on page 8). The postoperative MRI revealed a normal optical chiasm and a downward tending of the infundibulum to the residual pituitary gland located inferiorly along the sella turcica (pituitary fossa) of the sphenoid bone. Pathology confirmed a pituitary adenoma. His anterior and posterior pituitary function were normal 6 weeks postoperatively, and his visual field deficit improved.

Intraoperative MRI

Imaging like that used in this case occurs in a specially designed operating room that allows MRI scans during surgery without moving the patient from the surgical table. The MRI is kept in a shielded enclosure during the procedure and then moved along a track into the operating room for imaging. Clinical indications for the use of intraoperative MRI in neurosurgery include resection of pituitary macroadenomas. In the past, these tumors underwent transsphenoidal resection, and the postoperative MRI was performed after 1 or more days after the procedure to check for complete removal. If residual tumor was found, the patients underwent watchful waiting, external radiation or repeat surgery.

The strategic advantage of an intraoperative MRI is that the imaging is performed during the operative procedure, and if there is any residual tumor, surgery can be resumed after the MRI is moved back into the shielded enclosure.

Figure 3. Four-week postoperative MRI scan. The large macroadenoma is not seen after the transsphenoidal survey. The optic chiasm and infundibulum (pituitary stalk) can be seen after resection of the tumor. The pituitary stalk is deviated to the left of the sella where the residual normal thyroid is locate along the sella turcica. The floor of the sella enhances with gadolinium infusion after surgery due to postoperative inflammation. (A) Coronal image. (B) Sagittal image. Abbreviation: SS = spenoid sinus.

It has been reported that the use of intraoperative MRI does not increase complication rates compared with conventional transsphenoidal surgery. Reports on the improvement of gross tumor resection using intraoperative MRI are variable, perhaps due to the expertise of the surgeon. Several reports suggest the use of intraoperative MRI allowed additional resection of noninvasive macroadenomas in 67% to 83% of the patients with a gross tumor resection. These results suggest that a substantial volume reduction and increased gross tumor resection of pituitary macroadenomas occurs with the use of intraoperative MRI compared with standard surgery. One study demonstrated that the gross tumor resection rates of invasive tumors was also improved with the use of intraoperative MRI compared with usual preoperative imaging and surgery (25% vs. 7%).

The use of intraoperative MRI, especially with transsphenoidal reoperations for invasive and noninvasive pituitary macroadenomas, leads to significantly higher “gross tumor resection” rates. This method prevents additional operations or treatment, such as radiation, because it reduces the number of patients with residual adenoma after surgery. This technology is usually found in specialized tertiary care hospitals but should be considered for reoperation for large pituitary macroadenomas or initial operation for large invasive pituitary macroadenomas.

Disclosures: Lee and Swearingen report no relevant financial disclosures.

From https://www.healio.com/endocrinology/neuroendocrinology/news/print/endocrine-today/%7B23183444-4d29-477b-844f-6eb995ac74f4%7D/intraoperative-mri-improves-complete-resection-of-pituitary-macroadenoma

Imaging Technique Measures Tumor Stiffness to Aid Surgical Planning

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Important steps in planning tumor surgery include identifying borders between tumor and healthy tissue and assessing the tumor stiffness, e.g. hard and calcified or soft and pliant. For decades, tumors near the surface of the body have been evaluated for stiffness by simple palpation—the physician pressing on the tissue. Because tumors within the skull cannot be palpated, researchers used Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) to assess pituitary tumor stiffness by measuring waves transmitted through the skull into pituitary macroadenomas (PMAs). MRE reliably identified tumors that were soft enough for removal with a minimally-invasive suction technique versus harder tumors requiring more invasive surgery.

“The group developed brain MRE several years ago and is now successfully applying it to clinical diagnosis and treatment,” explained Guoying Liu, Ph.D., Director of the NIBIB Program in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. “This development of a new imaging technique followed by its practical application in surgical planning for better patient outcomes is an outstanding example of one of the main objectives of NIBIB-funded research.”

MRE is a special magnetic resonance imaging technique that captures snapshots of shear waves that move through the tissue and create elastograms—images that show tissue stiffness. John Huston III, M.D., Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and senior author of the study, explains how MRE works. “MRE is similar to a drop of water hitting a still pond to create the ripples that move out in all directions. We generate tiny, harmless ripples, or shear waves, that travel through the brain of the patient. Our instruments measure how the ripples change as they move through the brain and those changes give us an extremely accurate measure–and a color-coded picture–of the stiffness of the tissue.”

MRE data enables non-invasive surgical planning

Ninety percent of PMAs are soft—nearly the consistency of toothpaste. Therefore, without MRE, surgeons would routinely plan for a procedure called transphenoidal resection that employs very thin instruments that are threaded through the nasal cavity to the pituitary gland at the base of the skull, where suction is used to remove the tumor. However, in about 10% of the cases, the surgeon will encounter a hard tumor. At that point an attempt is made to break-up the tumor—essentially chipping away at it with sharp instruments. If that is not successful, the surgeon must perform a fully-invasive craniotomy that involves removing a piece of the skull bone in order to fully expose the tumor.

The more extensive procedure means added risk and discomfort for patients, and up to a week-long recovery in the hospital compared to the transphenoidal approach that allows patients to leave the hospital in a day or two. Using MRE, hard PMAs can be identified and the more extensive craniotomy can be planned before starting the surgery, which makes the more invasive procedure less taxing for both the surgeon and patient. Similarly, MRE showing a soft PMA gives surgeons confidence that the nasal entry and removal by suction will be successful-eliminating the likelihood that the surgeon may need to perform a second fully-invasive craniotomy.

In the study of PMA reported in the January 2016 issue of the journal Pituitary, the group performed pre-surgical MRE evaluation of the PMAs of 10 patients.The MRE measurements were compared to tumor classifications made by inspection of the tumor during surgery. The surgeons categorized six tumors as soft and four tumors as medium. No tumors were deemed to be hard. The comparison of the MRE results and reports of stiffness by the surgeons when the tumor was removed and inspected were in close agreement, which was confirmed by statistical analysis.

Future plans

Although brain MRE is not yet widely available, Huston explained that the surgeons at the Mayo Clinic are now routinely using MRE to plan the best procedure for the removal of PMAs as well as several other types of brain tumor. And, even though this study of the 10 PMA patients is a very small set, Huston believes that as Mayo surgeons continue to use MRE in planning, the technique will likely begin to be adopted by other surgical centers.

Huston explained that an important aspect of some of the other brain tumor types, which the surgeons are finding extremely useful, is the ability of MRE to identify tumor adhesion to the brain. Adhesion refers to whether the brain tumor and healthy brain tissue are connected by an extensive network of blood vessels and connective tissue. This is in comparison with a tumor that is in the brain but is isolated from healthy tissue.

When MRE is used to analyze this aspect of the tumor, it clearly identifies those that are non-adhered, showing a border around the tumor through which there are no vascular connections. Conversely, MRE of adhered tumors show no border between the tumor and healthy brain, indicating extensive vascular and soft tissue connections between brain and tumor. Mutual blood vessels make removal of adherent tumors much more difficult, with a much higher chance of damage to healthy tissue and potential loss of function for the patient.

Huston and his colleagues are continuing to apply MRE, often called “palpating by imaging” to diagnosis of other brain disorders. In addition to characterizing focal brain disorders such as tumors, the group is testing the potential for MRE to provide diagnostic information about diffuse brain disease, and are currently using MRE brain stiffness patterns to identify different types of neural disorders including dementia.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering grant EB001981.

Magnetic resonance elastography detects tumoral consistency in pituitary macroadenomas. Hughes JD, Fattahi N, Van Gompel J, Arani A, Ehman R, Huston J 3rd. Pituitary. 2016 Jun;19(3):286-92

From http://www.rdmag.com/news/2017/01/imaging-technique-measures-tumor-stiffness-aid-surgical-planning

Macroadenoma biochemical behavior in pediatric patients with Cushing’s disease differs from adult cases

Cushing’s disease in children is associated with similar biochemical measures whether the disease is due to macroadenomas or microadenomas, according to a presentation at the AACE 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress.

This contrasts with the disease behavior in adults, in whom macrodenomas demonstrate less glucocorticoid suppression and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) response to laboratory tests than do microadenomas, according to researchers.

“Children with pituitary macroadenomas are more likely to have the classical response to Cushing’s disease functional testing as microadenomas,”Ricardo Correa, MD, a clinical and research endocrinology fellow at National Institutes of Health, told Endocrine Today.

Correa and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of patients with Cushing’s disease who were younger than 18 years when they were admitted to the NIH between 1997 and 2014. All Cushing’s diagnoses were confirmed by pathology.

Pituitary macroadenoma was identified in 13 patients (69% female) and microadenoma in 74 (58% female). The groups had similar mean age (14 years) and BMI (31.8 kg/m2 and 30.2 kg/m2 for macroadenoma and microadenoma, respectively). The macroadenoma group had a median (25% to 75%) 24-hour urine free cortisol of  263.60 mcg/24 hr (range 170.7-528) compared with 371.6 mcg/ 24 hr (range 244.2-625.3) in the microadenoma group (P = 0.47). Median 24-hr urinary 17-hydroxysteroid excretion in the macroadenoma group was 12.6 mg/24 hr (range 8.9-42.5) and 31.6 mg/24 hr (range 4.3-39.9) in the microadenoma group.

Mean morning serum cortisol was 38.9 ± 40.4 mcg/dL compared with  20.2 ± 15.8 mcg/dL in the macroademona and microadenoma groups, respectively (P = 0.16). Mean morning basal plasma ACTH was 106.3 ± 112.3 pg/mL compared with 49.9±44.3 pg/mL for the macroadenoma and microadenoma groups, respectively (P = 0.11), while ACTH responses to the ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone test revealed no statistically significant differences. Using the high dose dexamethasone suppression test, 58% (7/12) suppressed more than 69% in the macroadenoma group compared to 69% (44/64) in the microadenoma group (P = .51).

“Studies in adult patients have demonstrated that macroadenomas have less glucocorticoid suppressibility after the high-dose dexamethasone suppression test and attenuated ACTH response to CRH compared to pituitary microadenomas,” according to Correa. “However, the present study shows that this is not true in children; although patients with macroadenomas had a tendency for higher baseline serum ACTH and cortisol levels, their responses to dynamic testing were similar to those with microadenomas.”

Reference:

Correa R, et al. Abstract #803. Presented at: AACE 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress; May 13-17, 2015; Nashville, Tenn.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/online/%7Bb4fbf36f-ac88-4eff-9278-90f0a8d1aec2%7D/macroadenoma-biochemical-behavior-in-pediatric-patients-with-cushings-disease-differs-from-adult-cases?sc_trk=internalsearch

From Bangladesh ~ Pituitary Adenoma: When headache is a headache

Location of the pituitary gland in the human brain

Location of the pituitary gland in the human brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Got headache? Take a paracetamol and get relieved in a short while.”

This is common practice in our country. Almost everyone has had a headache, but rarely headache becomes a headache in our lives. Not all headaches require doctor’s attention but sometimes it represent the tip of a huge iceberg.

Mr Shafiul Islam, 38 years of age, an active male developed a gradual onset of headache, which worsened at the morning, followed by vomiting. He visited a general practitioner and took prescribed medicines, but that failed to cure the symptoms. Rather he was gradually experiencing loss of outer side vision of both eyes.

When he revisited a doctor and was advised for MRI of brain he was diagnosed with a core of “Pituitary Macrodenoma,” a tumor of a hormone producing gland of brain. Then Shafiul was referred to Neurosurgeon of Comfort Nursing home Assistant Professor Dr Moshiur Rahman, who decided to perform operation for removal of the tumor after the initial evaluation.

The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighing 5 grams (0.18 oz) in humans. It is a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, and rests in a small, bony cavity (sella turcica). The pituitary gland secretes nine hormones. A pituitary adenoma is a slow growing and less harmful tumor arising from cells in the pituitary gland. Because they originate from cells in the pituitary gland, which is the master hormone gland, they often cause problems related to hormonal dysfunction.

Some pituitary tumors result in excessive production and over-secretion of hormones, which can result in a variety of syndromes. A large proportion of these tumors, however, do not produce any functional hormones, but instead grow to a size where they cause symptoms because they compress surrounding structures. For these reasons, larger pituitary tumors (called macroadenomas) often present with headache, visual loss and pituitary gland dysfunction.

The specific cause of pituitary adenoma development is unknown, although they are likely to be caused in part by random mutations in cells of the pituitary gland. Surgery is the first line of treatment for many symptomatic pituitary tumors in patients that are good surgical candidates, especially in patients with nonfunctioning macroadenomas.

Dr Moshiur approached the tumor by entering through nasal opening with the help of ENT specialist Associate Professor Dr Sajol Ashfaq, under general aenesthesia (fully unconscious) done by Aenesthesiologist Associate Professor Dr Shamsul Alam. After elevation of a thin membrane over the nasal partition and breaking a bone in the base of the skull they got a vision of the tumor through endoscope. After that, the tumor was removed through the nose. After three days of post-operative care, the patient was discharged. All his symptoms, headache, vomiting and poor vision improved dramatically and he got back to his normal life.

Dr Moshiur Rahman said: “The surgical approach for removing pituitary tumours is usually an endonasal (through the nostril) transsphenoidal (through the sphenoid sinus) approach. This procedure is Endoscopic Transnasal Transphenoidal Pituitary Adenomectomy, which is a safe, minimally invasive but effective, modern treatment option for Pituitary Adenoma, with few side effects and short post-operative hospital stay. This latest technology is being practiced in some centres of the capital for last few years.”

He also said, he performed three operations before successfully with no long term adverse effect. He also paid gratefulness to Associate Professor Dr Sajol Ashfaq and Associate Professor Dr Shamsul Alam for their sincere and great effort.

Once, people had to go outside of the country for this operation. Nowadays, this operation is often performed by many neurosurgeons of the capital. A few centres have also developed to provide these facilities of operation. People can take this oppurtunity confidently by choosing a competent surgical team.

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