Endocrine Journal
Online ISSN : 1348-4540
Print ISSN : 0918-8959
ISSN-L : 0918-8959
Paraneoplastic autoimmune hypophysitis: a novel form of paraneoplastic endocrine syndrome
Yutaka Takahashi
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2023 Volume 70 Issue 6 Pages 559-565


Paraneoplastic syndromes are defined by symptoms or signs resulting from damage to organs or tissues that are remote from the site of malignant neoplasms or its metastasis. They are due to tumor secretion of functional hormones or peptides or are related to immune cross-reactivity with the host tissue. In particular, paraneoplastic endocrine syndromes are mainly caused by ectopic hormone production by the tumor such as PTHrP in humoral hypercalcemia in malignancy and ACTH in ectopic ACTH syndrome. Recently, it has been reported that a specific form of hypophysitis is caused as an immune-mediated paraneoplastic syndrome; paraneoplastic autoimmune hypophysitis, in which an ectopic pituitary antigen expression in the tumor evoked autoimmunity against pituitary-specific antigens, resulting in hypophysitis and exhibiting the injury of specific anterior pituitary cells by cytotoxic T cells. This novel clinical entity, paraneoplastic autoimmune hypophysitis consists of several conditions such as anti-PIT-1 hypophysitis and a part of isolated ACTH deficiency and immune checkpoint inhibitor-related hypophysitis with common mechanisms. These conditions can explain at least in part, the underlying mechanisms of acquired specific pituitary hormone deficiencies. In addition, it is important to apply a comprehensive discipline of onco-immuno-endocrinology to understand the pathophysiology and this approach; the expansion and application of immune-mediated paraneoplastic syndrome to endocrine diseases may give a new clue to understand pathophysiology of the autoimmunity against endocrine organs.

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