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Jörg Flitsch, Christian Bernreuther, Christian Hagel and Dieter K. Lüdecke

The growth of prostate cancer is controlled by several hormones and growth factors. In cases of metastasized prostate cancer, antigonadotropic therapy is currently considered state-of-the-art treatment. Surgical therapies such as adrenalectomy and hypophysectomy are no longer in use. Nevertheless, hypophysectomy has proven efficacy for palliative pain treatment as well as increasing duration of survival.

The authors present the case of a 63-year-old man with metastatic prostate cancer who presented with high serum prostate-specific antigen levels (1216 μg/L) and cavernous sinus syndrome. His disease was progressing despite leuprorelin and docetaxel therapy, and he had severe bone pain despite high-dose pain therapy. He was also anemic. Contrast-enhanced MR imaging showed a pituitary lesion as well as metastatic infiltration of the skull base including the cavernous sinus. The patient's serum level of prolactin was mildly elevated, testosterone was below the detection limit, and insulin-like growth factor–I (IGF-I) was in the upper range for a patient of his age (233 μg/L). Because of the elevated prolactin and high-normal IGF-I levels he was offered a hypophysectomy in addition to pituitary tumor removal. Histological examination of the resected lesion confirmed a nonsecreting pituitary adenoma with infiltration of prostate cancer cells. Postoperatively the patient's prostate-specific antigen levels dropped to 876 μg/L, his bone pain resolved, and the cavernous sinus syndrome improved. Nevertheless, he died of septicemia 4 months after surgery.

Older publications as well as this case have shown the benefit of hypophysectomy for pain treatment. A reduction of IGF-I levels even in the final stage metastasized prostate cancer may play a major role. Respectively, clinical studies with somatostatin analogs are currently in progress, which may lead to a “new” way of treatment in these otherwise hopeless patients. On the basis of the pain relief seen after hypophysectomy in this case and similar benefits reported in older publications, the authors raise the question whether this treatment should be offered more frequently, and whether additional medical options of hormone treatment may be beneficial in similar cases.

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Caroline Gewiss, Christian Hagel and Kara Krajewski


To shed light on the role of relaxin in cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) in adults and children, the authors investigated endothelial cell (EC) expression of relaxin 1, 2, and 3; vascular endothelial growth factor receptor–1 and –2 (VEGFR-1 and -2); Ki-67; vascular geometry; and hemorrhage, as well as the clinical presentation of 32 patients with surgically resected lesions.


Paraffin-embedded sections of 32 CCMs and 5 normal nonvascular lesion control (NVLC) brain tissue samples were immunohistochemically stained with antibodies to relaxin 1, 2, and 3; angiogenesis growth factor receptors Flt-1 (VEGFR-1) and Flk-1 (VEGFR-2); and proliferation marker Ki-67. For morphometric analysis, Elastica van Gieson stain was used, and for hemorrhage demonstration, Turnbull stain was used. Data from the pediatric and adult CCMs were compared with each other and with those obtained from the NVLCs. Statistical analyses were performed with Fisher’s exact test, the chi-square test, the phi correlation coefficient, and the Student t-test. A p value < 0.05 was considered significant.


Pediatric and adult cavernoma vessels did not significantly differ in diameter. Hemorrhage was observed in CCMs but not in NVLC samples (p < 0.05). There was no difference in expression of Ki-67, VEGFR-1 and -2, and relaxin 1, 2, and 3 in the ECs of pediatric and adult CCMs. The ECs of CCMs were largely negative for relaxin 3 compared to NVLCs (p < 0.05), whereas CCMs, compared to control brain tissue samples, more frequently expressed Flt-1 and relaxin 2 (p < 0.05). Ki-67 was not expressed in the NVLCs, but the difference was not statistically significant. Relaxin 1 and 2 expression and increased expression of VEGFR-1 were associated with a supra- versus infratentorial location (p < 0.05).


Relaxin 1 and 2 and VEGFR-1 play a role in supratentorial cavernomas. Relaxin 3 may play a physiological role in normal brain vasculature. Relaxin 1 and 3 are also found in normal cerebral vasculature. Relaxin 1, 2, and 3 are associated with increased VEGFR-1 expression.