TREATMENT Parathyroid Tumors
Surgical removal of the abnormally overactive parathyroids in patients with MEN 1 is the definitive treatment. However, it is controversial whether to perform subtotal (e.g., removal of 3.5 glands) or total parathyroidectomy with or without autotransplantation of parathyroid tissue in the forearm, and whether surgery should be performed at an early or late stage. Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy is not recommended because all four parathyroid glands are usually affected with multiple adenomas or hyperplasia. Surgical experience should be taken into account given the variability in pathology in MEN 1. Calcimimetics (e.g., cinacalcet), which act via the calcium-sensing receptor, have been used to treat primary hyperparathyroidism in some patients when surgery is unsuccessful or contraindicated.
(See also Chap. 51) The incidence of pancreatic islet cell tumors, which are NETs, in patients with MEN 1 ranges from 30 to 80% in different series. Most of these tumors (Table 52-1) produce excessive amounts of hormone (e.g., gastrin, insulin, glucagon, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide [VIP]) and are associated with distinct clinical syndromes, although some are nonfunctioning or nonsecretory. These pancreatic islet cell tumors have an earlier age at onset in patients with MEN 1 than in patients without MEN 1.
Gastrin-secreting tumors (gastrinomas) are associated with marked gastric acid production and recurrent peptic ulcerations, a combination referred to as the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Gastrinomas occur more often in patients with MEN 1 who are older than age 30 years. Recurrent severe multiple peptic ulcers, which may perforate, and cachexia are major contributors to the high mortality. Patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may also suffer from diarrhea and steatorrhea. The diagnosis is established by demonstration of an elevated fasting serum gastrin concentration in association with increased basal gastric acid secretion (Table 52-3). However, the diagnosis of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may be difficult in hypercalcemic MEN 1 patients, because hypercalcemia can also cause hypergastrinemia. Ultrasonography, endoscopic ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), selective abdominal angiography, venous sampling, and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy are helpful in localizing the tumor prior to surgery. Gastrinomas represent more than 50% of all pancreatic NETs in patients with MEN 1, and approximately 20% of patients with gastrinomas will be found to have MEN 1. Gastrinomas, which may also occur in the duodenal mucosa, are the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with MEN 1. Most MEN 1 gastrinomas are malignant and metastasize before a diagnosis is established.
Medical treatment of patients with MEN 1 and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is directed toward reducing basal acid output to <10 mmol/L. Parietal cell H+-K+-adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) inhibitors (e.g., omeprazole or lansoprazole) reduce acid output and are the drugs of choice for gastrinomas. Some patients may also require additional treatment with the histamine H2 receptor antagonists, cimetidine or ranitidine. The role of surgery in the treatment of gastrinomas in patients with MEN 1 is controversial. The goal of surgery is to reduce the risk of distant metastatic disease and improve survival. For a nonmetastatic gastrinoma situated in the pancreas, surgical excision is often effective. However, the risk of hepatic metastases increases with tumor size, such that 25–40% of patients with pancreatic NETs >4 cm develop hepatic metastases, and 50–70% of patients with tumors 2–3 cm in size have lymph node metastases. Survival in MEN 1 patients with gastrinomas <2.5 cm in size is 100% at 15 years, but 52% at 15 years, if metastatic disease is present. The presence of lymph node metastases does not appear to adversely affect survival. Surgery for gastrinomas that are >2–2.5 cm has been recommended, because the disease-related survival in these patients is improved following surgery. In addition, duodenal gastrinomas, which occur more frequently in patients with MEN 1, have been treated successfully with surgery. However, in most patients with MEN 1, gastrinomas are multiple or extrapancreatic, and with the exception of duodenal gastrinomas, surgery is rarely successful. For example, the results of one study revealed that only ~15% of patients with MEN 1 were free of disease immediately after surgery, and at 5 years, this number had decreased to ~5%; the respective outcomes in patients without MEN 1 were better, at 45% and 40%. Given these findings, most specialists recommend a nonsurgical management for gastrinomas in MEN 1, except as noted earlier for smaller, isolated lesions. Treatment of disseminated gastrinomas is difficult. Chemotherapy with streptozotocin and 5-fluorouracil; hormonal therapy with octreotide or lanreotide, which are human somatostatin analogues; hepatic artery embolization; administration of human leukocyte interferon; and removal of all resectable tumor have been successful in some patients.
These β islet cell insulin-secreting tumors represent 10–30% of all pancreatic tumors in patients with MEN 1. Patients with an insulinoma present with hypoglycemic symptoms (e.g., weakness, headaches, sweating, faintness, seizures, altered behavior, weight gain) that typically develop after fasting or exertion and improve after glucose intake. The most reliable test is a supervised 72-h fast. Biochemical investigations reveal increased plasma insulin concentrations in association with hypoglycemia (Table 52-3). Circulating concentrations of C peptide and proinsulin, which are also increased, are useful in establishing the diagnosis. It also is important to demonstrate the absence of sulfonylureas in plasma and urine samples obtained during the investigation of hypoglycemia (Table 52-3). Surgical success is greatly enhanced by preoperative localization by endoscopic ultrasonography, CT scanning, or celiac axis angiography. Additional localization methods may include preoperative and perioperative percutaneous transhepatic portal venous sampling, selective intraarterial stimulation with hepatic venous sampling, and intraoperative direct pancreatic ultrasonography. Insulinomas occur in association with gastrinomas in 10% of patients with MEN 1, and the two tumors may arise at different times. Insulinomas occur more often in patients with MEN 1 who are younger than 40 years, and some arise in individuals younger than 20 years. In contrast, in patients without MEN 1, insulinomas generally occur in those older than 40 years. Insulinomas may be the first manifestation of MEN 1 in 10% of patients, and approximately 4% of patients with insulinomas will have MEN 1.
Medical treatment, which consists of frequent carbohydrate meals and diazoxide or octreotide, is not always successful, and surgery is the optimal treatment. Surgical treatment, which ranges from enucleation of a single tumor to a distal pancreatectomy or partial pancreatectomy, has been curative in many patients. Chemotherapy may include streptozotocin, 5-fluorouracil, and doxorubicin. Hepatic artery embolization has been used for metastatic disease.
These glucagon-secreting pancreatic NETs occur in <3% of patients with MEN 1. The characteristic clinical manifestations of a skin rash (necrolytic migratory erythema), weight loss, anemia, and stomatitis may be absent. The tumor may have been detected in an asymptomatic patient with MEN 1 undergoing pancreatic imaging or by the finding of glucose intolerence and hyperglucagonemia.
Surgical removal of the glucagonoma is the treatment of choice. However, treatment may be difficult because approximately 50–80% of patients have metastases at the time of diagnosis. Medical treatment with somatostatin analogues (e.g., octreotide or lanreotide) or chemotherapy with streptozotocin and 5-fluorouracil has been successful in some patients, and hepatic artery embolization has been used to treat metastatic disease.
Vasoactive intestinal peptide (Vip) tumors (VIPomas)
VIPomas have been reported in only a few patients with MEN 1. This clinical syndrome is characterized by watery diarrhea, hypokalemia, and achlorhydria and is also referred to as the Verner-Morrison syndrome, the WDHA (watery diarrhea, hypokalemia, and achlorhydria) syndrome, or the VIPoma syndrome. The diagnosis is established by excluding laxative and diuretic abuse, by confirming a stool volume in excess of 0.5–1.0 L/d during a fast, and by documenting a markedly increased plasma VIP concentration.
Surgical management of VIPomas, which are mostly located in the tail of the pancreas, can be curative. However, in patients with unresectable tumor, somatostatin analogues, such as octreotide and lanreotide, may be effective. Streptozotocin with 5-fluorouracil may be beneficial, along with hepatic artery embolization for the treatment of metastases.
Pancreatic polypeptide-secreting tumors (Ppomas) and nonfunctioning pancreatic NETs
PPomas are found in a large number of patients with MEN 1. No pathologic sequelae of excessive polypeptide (PP) secretion are apparent, and the clinical significance of PP is unknown. Many PPomas may have been unrecognized or classified as nonfunctioning pancreatic NETs, which likely represent the most common enteropancreatic NET associated with MEN 1 (Fig. 52-1). The absence of both a clinical syndrome and specific biochemical abnormalities may result in a delayed diagnosis of nonfunctioning pancreatic NETs, which are associated with a worse prognosis than other functioning tumors, including insulinoma and gastrinoma. The optimum screening method and its timing interval for nonfunctioning pancreatic NETs remain to be established. At present, endoscopic ultrasound likely represents the most sensitive method of detecting small pancreatic tumors, but somatostatin receptor scintography is the most reliable method for detecting metastatic disease (Table 52-3).
Pancreatic nonfunctioning neuroendocrine tumor (NET) in a 14-year-old patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1). A. An abdominal magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a low-intensity >2.0 cm (anteroposterior maximal diameter) tumor within the neck of pancreas. There was no evidence of invasion of adjacent structures or metastases. The tumor is indicated by white dashed circle. B. The pancreatic NET was removed by surgery, and macroscopic examination confirmed the location of the tumor (white dashed circles) in the neck of the pancreas. Immunohistochemistry showed the tumor to immunostain for chromogranin A, but not gastrointestinal peptides or menin, thereby confirming that it was a nonsecreting NET due to loss of menin expression. (Part A adapted with permission from PJ Newey et al: J Clin Endocrinol Metab 10:3640, 2009.)
TREATMENT PPomas and Nonfunctioning Pancreatic NETs
The management of nonfunctioning pancreatic NETs in the asymptomatic patient is controversial. One recommendation is to undertake surgery irrespective of tumor size after biochemical assessment is complete. Alternatively, other experts recommend surgery based on tumor size, using either >1 cm or >3 cm at different centers. Pancreatoduodenal surgery is successful in removing the tumors in 80% of patients, but more than 40% of patients develop complications, including diabetes mellitus, frequent steatorrhea, early and late dumping syndromes, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. However, ~50–60% of patients treated surgically survive >5 years. When considering these recommendations, it is important to consider that occult metastatic disease (e.g., tumors not detected by imaging investigations) is likely to be present in a substantial proportion of these patients at the time of presentation. Inhibitors of tyrosine kinase receptors (TKRs) and of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway have been reported to be effective in treating pancreatic NETs and in doubling the progression-free survival time.
NETs secreting growth hormone–releasing hormone (GHRH), GHRHomas, have been reported rarely in patients with MEN 1. It is estimated that ~33% of patients with GHRHomas have other MEN 1–related tumors. GHRHomas may be diagnosed by demonstrating elevated serum concentrations of growth hormone and GHRH. More than 50% of GHRHomas occur in the lung, 30% occur in the pancreas, and 10% are found in the small intestine. Somatostatinomas secrete somatostatin, a peptide that inhibits the secretion of a variety of hormones, resulting in hyperglycemia, cholelithiasis, low acid output, steatorrhea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anemia, and weight loss. Although 7% of pancreatic NETs secrete somatostatin, the clinical features of somatostatinoma syndrome are unusual in patients with MEN 1.
Pituitary tumors occur in 15–50% of patients with MEN 1 (Table 52-1). These occur as early as 5 years of age or as late as the ninth decade. MEN 1 pituitary adenomas are more frequent in women than men and significantly are macroadenomas (i.e., diameter >1 cm). Moreover, about one-third of these pituitary tumors show invasive features such as infiltration of tumor cells into surrounding normal juxtatumoral pituitary tissue. However, no specific histologic parameters differentiate between MEN 1 and non–MEN 1 pituitary tumors. Approximately 60% of MEN 1–associated pituitary tumors secrete prolactin, <25% secrete growth hormone, 5% secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and the remainder appear to be nonfunctioning, with some secreting glycoprotein subunits (Table 52-1). However, pituitary tumors derived from MEN 1 patients may exhibit immunoreactivity to several hormones. In particular, there is a greater frequency of somatolactotrope tumors. Prolactinomas are the first manifestation of MEN 1 in ~15% of patients, whereas somatotrope tumors occur more often in patients older than 40 years of age. Fewer than 3% of patients with anterior pituitary tumors will have MEN 1. Clinical manifestations are similar to those in patients with sporadic pituitary tumors without MEN 1 and depend on the hormone secreted and the size of the pituitary tumor. Thus, patients may have symptoms of hyperprolactinemia (e.g., amenorrhea, infertility, and galactorrhea in women, or impotence and infertility in men) or have features of acromegaly or Cushing’s disease. In addition, enlarging pituitary tumors may compress adjacent structures such as the optic chiasm or normal pituitary tissue, causing visual disturbances and/or hypopituitarism. In asymptomatic patients with MEN 1, periodic biochemical monitoring of serum prolactin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) levels, as well as MRI of the pituitary, can lead to early identification of pituitary tumors (Table 52-3). In patients with abnormal results, hypothalamic-pituitary testing should characterize the nature of the pituitary lesion and its effects on the secretion of other pituitary hormones.
TREATMENT Pituitary Tumors
Treatment of pituitary tumors in patients with MEN 1 consists of therapies similar to those used in patients without MEN 1 and includes appropriate medical therapy (e.g., bromocriptine or cabergoline for prolactinoma; or octreotide or lanreotide for somatotrope tumors) or selective transsphenoidal adenomectomy, if feasible, with radiotherapy reserved for residual unresectable tumor tissue. Pituitary tumors in MEN 1 patients may be more aggressive and less responsive to medical or surgical treatments.
Patients with MEN 1 may also develop carcinoid tumors, adrenal cortical tumors, facial angiofibromas, collagenomas, thyroid tumors, and lipomatous tumors.
(See also Chap. 51) Carcinoid tumors occur in more than 3% of patients with MEN 1 (Table 52-1). The carcinoid tumor may be located in the bronchi, gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, or thymus. At the time of diagnosis, most patients are asymptomatic and do not have clinical features of the carcinoid syndrome. Importantly, no hormonal or biochemical abnormality (e.g., plasma chromogranin A) is consistently observed in individuals with thymic or bronchial carcinoid tumors. Thus, screening for these tumors is dependent on radiologic imaging. The optimum method for screening has not been established. CT and MRI are sensitive for detecting thymic and bronchial tumors (Table 52-3), although repeated CT scanning raises concern about exposure to repeated doses of ionizing radiation. Octreotide scintigraphy may also reveal some thymic and bronchial carcinoids, although there is insufficient evidence to recommend its routine use. Gastric carcinoids, of which the type II gastric enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell carcinoids (ECLomas) are associated with MEN 1 and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, may be detected incidentally at the time of gastric endoscopy for dyspeptic symptoms in MEN 1 patients. These tumors, which may be found in >10% of MEN 1 patients, are usually multiple and smaller than 1.5 cm. Bronchial carcinoids in patients with MEN 1 occur predominantly in women (male-to-female ratio, 1:4). In contrast, thymic carcinoids in European patients with MEN 1 occur predominantly in men (male-to-female ratio, 20:1), with cigarette smokers having a higher risk for these tumors; thymic carcinoids in Japanese patients with MEN 1 have a less marked sex difference (male-to-female ratio 2:1). The course of thymic carcinoids in MEN 1 appears to be particularly aggressive. The presence of thymic tumors in patients with MEN 1 is associated with a median survival after diagnosis of approximately 9.5 years, with 70% of patients dying as a direct result of the tumor.
TREATMENT Carcinoid Tumors
If resectable, surgical removal of carcinoid tumors is the treatment of choice. For unresectable tumors and those with metastatic disease, treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapeutic agents (e.g., cisplatin, etoposide) may be used. In addition, somatostatin analogues, such as octreotide or lanreotide, have resulted in symptom improvement and regression of some tumors. Little is known about the malignant potential of gastric type II ECLomas, but treatment with somatostatin analogues, such as octreotide or lanreotide, has resulted in regression of these ECLomas.
(See also Chap. 53) Asymptomatic adrenocortical tumors occur in 20–70% of patients with MEN 1 depending on the radiologic screening methods used (Table 52-1). Most of these tumors, which include cortical adenomas, hyperplasia, multiple adenomas, nodular hyperplasia, cysts, and carcinomas, are nonfunctioning. Indeed, <10% of patients with enlarged adrenal glands have hormonal hypersecretion, with primary hyperaldosteronism and ACTH-independent Cushing’s syndrome being encountered most commonly. Occasionally, hyperandrogenemia may occur in association with adrenocortical carcinoma. Pheochromocytoma in association with MEN 1 is rare. Biochemical investigation (e.g., plasma renin and aldosterone concentrations, low-dose dexamethasone suppression test, urinary catecholamines, and/or metanephrines) should be undertaken in those with symptoms or signs suggestive of functioning adrenal tumors or in those with tumors >1 cm. Adrenocortical carcinoma occurs in approximately 1% of MEN 1 patients but increases to >10% for adrenal tumors larger than 1 cm.
TREATMENT Adrenocortical Tumors
Consensus has not been reached about the management of MEN 1–associated nonfunctioning adrenal tumors, because the majority are benign. However, the risk of malignancy increases with size, particularly for tumors with a diameter >4 cm. Indications for surgery for adrenal tumors include: size >4 cm in diameter; atypical or suspicious radiologic features (e.g., increased Hounsfield unit on unenhanced CT scan) and size of 1–4 cm in diameter; or significant measurable growth over a 6-month period. The treatment of functioning (e.g., hormone-secreting) adrenal tumors is similar to that for tumors occurring in non–MEN 1 patients.
Central nervous system (CNS) tumors, including ependymomas, schwannomas, and meningiomas, have been reported in MEN 1 patients (Table 52-1). Meningiomas are found in <10% of patients with other clinical manifestations of MEN 1 (e.g., primary hyperparathyroidism) for >15 years. The majority of meningiomas are not associated with symptoms, and 60% do not enlarge. The treatment of MEN 1–associated meningiomas is similar to that in non–MEN 1 patients.
Subcutaneous lipomas occur in >33% of patients with MEN 1 (Table 52-1) and are frequently multiple. In addition, visceral, pleural, or retroperitoneal lipomas may occur in patients with MEN 1. Management is conservative. However, when surgically removed for cosmetic reasons, they typically do not recur.
Facial angiofibromas and collagenomas
The occurrence of multiple facial angiofibromas in patients with MEN 1 may range from >20 to >90%, and occurrence of collagenomas may range from 0 to >70% (Table 52-1). These cutaneous findings may allow presymptomatic diagnosis of MEN 1 in the relatives of a patient with MEN 1. Treatment for these cutaneous lesions is usually not required.
Thyroid tumors, including adenomas, colloid goiters, and carcinomas, have been reported to occur in >25% of patients with MEN 1. However, the prevalence of thyroid disorders in the general population is high, and it has been suggested that the association of thyroid abnormalities in patients with MEN 1 may be incidental. The treatment of thyroid tumors in MEN 1 patients is similar to that for non–MEN 1 patients.
The MEN1 gene is located on chromosome 11q13 and consists of 10 exons, which encode a 610–amino acid protein, menin, that regulates transcription, genome stability, cell division, and proliferation. The pathophysiology of MEN 1 follows the Knudson two-hit hypothesis with a tumor-suppressor role for menin. Inheritance of a germline MEN1 mutation predisposes an individual to developing a tumor that arises following a somatic mutation, which may be a point mutation or more commonly a deletion, leading to loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the tumor DNA. The germline mutations of the MEN1 gene are scattered throughout the entire 1830-bp coding region and splice sites, and there is no apparent correlation between the location of MEN1 mutations and clinical manifestations of the disorder, in contrast with the situation in patients with MEN 2 (Table 52-1). More than 10% of MEN1 germline mutations arise de novo and may be transmitted to subsequent generations. Some families with MEN 1 mutations develop parathyroid tumors as the sole endocrinopathy, and this condition is referred to as familial isolated hyperparathyroidism (FIHP). However, between 5 and 25% of patients with MEN 1 do not harbor germline mutations or deletions of the MEN1 gene. Such patients with MEN 1–associated tumors but without MEN1 mutations may represent phenocopies or have mutations involving other genes. Other genes associated with MEN 1–like features include: CDC73, which encodes parafibromin, whose mutations result in the hyperparathyroid-jaw tumor syndrome; the calcium-sensing receptor gene (CaSR), whose mutations result in familial benign hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FBHH); and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein gene (AIP), a tumor suppressor located on chromosome 11q13 whose mutations are associated with familial isolated pituitary adenomas (FIPA). Genetic testing to determine the MEN1 mutation status in symptomatic family members within a MEN 1 kindred, as well as to all index cases (e.g., patients) with two or more endocrine tumors, is advisable. If an MEN1 mutation is not identified in the index case with two or more endocrine tumors, then clinical and genetic tests for other disorders such as hyperparathyroid-jaw tumor syndrome, FBHH, FIPA, MEN 2, or MEN 4 should be considered, because these patients may represent phenocopies for MEN 1.
The current guidelines recommend that MEN1 mutational analysis should be undertaken in: (1) an index case with two or more MEN 1–associated endocrine tumors (e.g., parathyroid, pancreatic, or pituitary tumors); (2) asymptomatic first-degree relatives of a known MEN1 mutation carrier; and (3) first-degree relatives of a MEN1 mutation carrier with symptoms, signs, or biochemical or radiologic evidence for one or more MEN 1–associated tumors. In addition, MEN1 mutational analysis should be considered in patients with suspicious or atypical MEN 1. This would include individuals with parathyroid adenomas before the age of 30 years or multigland parathyroid disease; individuals with gastrinoma or multiple pancreatic NETs at any age; or individuals who have two or more MEN 1–associated tumors that are not part of the classical triad of parathyroid, pancreatic islet, and anterior pituitary tumors (e.g., parathyroid tumor plus adrenal tumor). Family members, including asymptomatic individuals who have been identified to harbor a MEN1 mutation, will require biochemical and radiologic screening (Table 52-3). In contrast, relatives who do not harbor the MEN1 mutation have a risk of developing MEN 1–associated endocrine tumors that is similar to that of the general population; thus, relatives without the MEN1 mutation do not require repeated screening.
Mutational analysis in asymptomatic individuals should be undertaken at the earliest opportunity and, if possible, in the first decade of life because tumors have developed in some children by the age of 5 years. Appropriate biochemical and radiologic investigations (Table 52-3) aimed at detecting the development of tumors should then be undertaken in affected individuals. Mutant gene carriers should undergo biochemical screening at least once per annum and also have baseline pituitary and abdominal imaging (e.g., MRI or CT), which should then be repeated at 1- to 3-year intervals (Table 52-3). Screening should commence after 5 years of age and should continue for life because the disease may develop as late as the eighth decade. The screening history and physical examination elicit the symptoms and signs of hypercalcemia, nephrolithiasis, peptic ulcer disease, neuroglycopenia, hypopituitarism, galactorrhea and amenorrhea in women, acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, and visual field loss and the presence of subcutaneous lipomas, angiofibromas, and collagenomas. Biochemical screening should include measurements of serum calcium, PTH, gastrointestinal hormones (e.g., gastrin, insulin with a fasting glucose, glucagon, VIP, PP), chromogranin A, prolactin, and IGF-I in all individuals. More specific endocrine function tests should be undertaken in individuals who have symptoms or signs suggestive of a specific clinical syndrome. Biochemical screening for the development of MEN 1 tumors in asymptomatic members of families with MEN 1 is of great importance to reduce morbidity and mortality from the associated tumors.