Multiple endocrine adenomas

What Are Multiple Endocrine Adenomas?

Multiple endocrine adenomas (MEAs) are rare, benign tumors of the endocrine glands. MEAs usually involve multiple endocrine glands at the same time, resulting in unregulated hormone production. MEAs occur in only about 2% of people with endocrine neoplasia. While they are usually benign and not cancerous, they can cause severe complications if left untreated.

MEAs can occur in any of the endocrine glands, but the most common are parathyroid adenomas (tumors of the parathyroid glands) and pituitary adenomas (tumors of the pituitary gland). Other endocrine glands that can be affected include the adrenal glands, thyroid, pancreas, and testes.

Symptoms of Multiple Endocrine Adenomas

MEAs cause symptoms when the tumor’s hormone production is unregulated. Depending on the endocrine gland involved, and the type and amount of hormone being produced, symptoms can be very different. Some of the more common symptoms of MEAs can include:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Body weakness
  • Changes in skin color or texture
  • Diabetes
  • Swelling of the hands, face, feet, and/or ankles
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Diagnosis and Treatment Of Multiple Endocrine Adenomas

MEAs can usually be diagnosed by imaging studies such as CT scans, MRI scans, and/or ultrasounds. In some cases, a biopsy of the tumor may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of MEAs is based on the size and location of the tumor, the type and amount of hormones being produced, and the severity of the symptoms. Depending on the tumor, treatment may be surgical, medical, or a combination of both. In some cases, the tumor may be small enough that no treatment is needed.

It is important to find and treat MEAs to avoid complications. MEAs can cause severe problems such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure if not treated. So it’s important to speak with your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing.