*(F Branzoli and B Salgues contributed equally to this work)
Germline mutations in genes encoding succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) are frequently involved in pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PPGL) development and were implicated in patients with the ‘3PAs’ syndrome (associating pituitary adenoma (PA) and PPGL) or isolated PA. However, the causality link between SDHx mutation and PA remains difficult to establish, and in vivo tools for detecting hallmarks of SDH deficiency are scarce. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) can detect succinate in vivo as a biomarker of SDHx mutations in PGL. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the causality link between PA and SDH deficiency in vivo using 1H-MRS as a novel noninvasive tool for succinate detection in PA. Three SDHx-mutated patients suffering from a PPGL and a macroprolactinoma and one patient with an apparently sporadic non-functioning pituitary macroadenoma underwent MRI examination at 3 T. An optimized 1H-MRS semi-LASER sequence (TR = 2500 ms, TE = 144 ms) was employed for the detection of succinate in vivo. Succinate and choline-containing compounds were identified in the MR spectra as single resonances at 2.44 and 3.2 ppm, respectively. Choline compounds were detected in all the tumors (three PGL and four PAs), while a succinate peak was only observed in the three macroprolactinomas and the three PGL of SDHx-mutated patients, demonstrating SDH deficiency in these tumors. In conclusion, the detection of succinate by 1H-MRS as a hallmark of SDH deficiency in vivo is feasible in PA, laying the groundwork for a better understanding of the biological link between SDHx mutations and the development of these tumors.
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