Rahel Sahli

Inselspital, Universitätsspital Bern, Berna, Bern, Switzerland

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Publications (22)47.01 Total impact

  • Clinical neuropathology 01/2012; 31(2):99-103. · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemangioblastomas are rare, benign tumors occurring in any part of the nervous system. Most are found as sporadic tumors in the cerebellum or spinal cord. However, these neoplasms are also associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease. We report a rare case of a sporadic sellar hemangioblastoma that became symptomatic due to pituitary apoplexy. An 80-year-old, otherwise healthy Caucasian woman presented to our facility with severe headache attacks, hypocortisolism and blurred vision. A magnetic resonance imaging scan showed an acute hemorrhage of a known, stable and asymptomatic sellar mass lesion with chiasmatic compression accounting for our patient's acute visual impairment. The tumor was resected by a transnasal, transsphenoidal approach and histological examination revealed a capillary hemangioblastoma (World Health Organization grade I). Our patient recovered well and substitutional therapy was started for panhypopituitarism. A follow-up magnetic resonance imaging scan performed 16 months postoperatively showed good chiasmatic decompression with no tumor recurrence. A review of the literature confirmed supratentorial locations of hemangioblastomas to be very unusual, especially within the sellar region. However, intrasellar hemangioblastoma must be considered in the differential diagnosis of pituitary apoplexy.
    Journal of Medical Case Reports 10/2011; 5:496.
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that consensus guidelines recommend long-term dopamine agonist (DA) therapy as a first-line approach to the treatment of small prolactinoma, some patients continue to prefer a primary surgical approach. Concerns over potential adverse effects of long-term medical therapy and/or the desire to become pregnant and avoid long-term medication are often mentioned as reasons to pursue surgical removal. In this retrospective study, 34 consecutive patients (30 female, 4 male) preferably underwent primary pituitary surgery without prior DA treatment for small prolactinomas (microprolactinoma 1-10 mm, macroprolactinoma 11-20 mm) at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Bern, Switzerland. At the time of diagnosis, 31 of 34 patients (91%) presented with symptoms. Patients with microprolactinomas had significantly lower preoperative prolactin (PRL) levels compared to patients with macroprolactinomas (median 143 μg/l vs. 340 μg/l). Ninety percent of symptomatic patients experienced significant improvement of their signs and symptoms upon surgery. The postoperative PRL levels (median 3.45 μg/l) returned to normal in 94% of patients with small prolactinomas. There was no mortality and no major morbidities. One patient suffered from hypogonadotropic hypogonadism after surgery despite postoperative normal PRL levels. Long-term remission was achieved in 22 of 24 patients (91%) with microprolactinomas, and in 8 of 10 patients (80%) with macroprolactinomas after a median follow-up period of 33.5 months. Patients with small prolactinomas can safely consider pituitary surgery in a specialized centre with good chance of long-term remission as an alternative to long-term DA therapy.
    Pituitary 09/2011; 14(3):222-30. · 2.22 Impact Factor
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  • Rahel Sahli, S Pfäffli, E Christ
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    ABSTRACT: We report the case of a 59-year-old women with idiopathic insulin auto-immune syndrome, a rare cause of endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. It is characterized by extremely high levels of insulin in the presence of high titers of insulin antibodies despite the absence of previous insulin injections. Early postprandial increase in glucose concentrations due to impaired insulin action resulting from the buffering effect of the antibodies and late postprandial hypoglycemia as a consequence of the dissociation of insulin from the antibodies was observed. A correct diagnosis is important to avoid unnecessary investigations and surgery in these patients who are best treated conservatively - with a good prognosis - by fractionating carbohydrate intake during the day.
    Praxis 02/2010; 99(4):251-4.
  • R. Sahli, S. Pfäffli, E. Christ
    Praxis 02/2010; 099(04):251-254.
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    ABSTRACT: Pituitary apoplexy in pregnancy is rare. Its clinical features may range from unspecific complaints to panhypopituitarism resulting even in coma and death. Therefore, alertness to signs and symptoms of acute loss of pituitary function in pregnancy is mandatory. We report a woman in her 7th week of her first gestation presenting with sudden coma due to severe hyponatremia. Secondary adrenal insufficiency could be identified as the underlying cause. Panhypopituitarism including central diabetes insipidus and spontaneous abortion developed during the follow-up. Magnetic resonance imaging showed pituitary apoplexy without a pre-existing pituitary mass. The clinical course was notable for severe complications, including neurological deficits through cerebral ischemia, but eventual recovery could be achieved. We discuss the diagnostic difficulties in the evaluation of pituitary disease in pregnancy.
    Gynecological Endocrinology 11/2009; 26(3):197-200. · 1.14 Impact Factor
  • Diabetic Medicine 10/2009; 26(10):1075-6. · 3.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 2 Diabetes is frequent among elderly people. The appropriate target for HbA1c in elderly patients ( > 70 years or life expectancy < 10 years) should be around 7.0% (maximally 8%). In patients with multiple co-morbidities, the goal must be an improvement of symptoms and preservation of weight, especially muscle mass. In the setting of an uncontrolled symptomatic diabetes with concomitant catabolism, insulin is the most effective therapy and, therefore, the treatment of choice. The prevention of hypoglycemia must be a major aim. A balanced and regular food intake facilitates therapy and improves quality of life. The priorities of the management of cardiovascular risk factors should be based upon the individual's overall health condition.
    Therapeutische Umschau 10/2009; 66(10):707-11.
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    ABSTRACT: The surgical removal of insulinomas is hampered by difficulties to localize it using conventional radiological procedures. Recently these tumors were shown to exhibit a very high density of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors (GLP-1R) in vitro that may be used as specific targets for in vivo receptor radiolabeling. The objective of the study was to test the 111In-labeled GLP-1R agonist 111In-DOTA-exendin-4 in localizing insulinomas using single photon emission computed tomography in combination with computed tomography images. This was a prospective open-label investigation. The study was conducted at three tertiary referral centers in Switzerland. Patients included six consecutive patients with proven clinical and biochemical endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. (111)In-DOTA-exendin-4 was administered iv at a dose of about 90 MBq (30 microg peptide) over 5 min. Whole-body planar images of the abdomen were performed at 20 min, 4 h, 23 h, 96 h, and up to 168 h after injection. After surgical removal of the insulinomas, GLP-1R expression was assessed in the tumor tissue in vitro by GLP-1R autoradiography. The detection rate of insulinomas was measured. In all six cases, the GLP-1R scans successfully detected the insulinomas identified using conventional methods in four cases. By using a gamma-probe intraoperatively, GLP-1R detection permitted a successful surgical removal of the tumors in all patients, diagnosed histopathologically as five pancreatic and one extrapancreatic insulinomas. In vitro GLP-1R autoradiography showed a high density of GLP-1R in all tested insulinomas. In vivo GLP-1R imaging is an innovative, noninvasive diagnostic approach that successfully localizes small insulinomas pre- and intraoperatively and that may in the future affect the strategy of insulinoma localization.
    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 10/2009; 94(11):4398-405. · 6.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a 74-year-old male patient who presented with progressive neuroophthalmologic symptoms soon after the administration of a long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist for treatment of a prostate cancer. Imaging revealed a destructively growing and extensively calcified sellar mass inconsistent with a pituitary adenoma. A transseptal transsphenoidal tumor mass reduction yielded a histological diagnosis of a collision tumor comprised of a gonadotroph adenoma intermingled with osteochondroma. We discuss a potential causal relationship between the administration of the long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist and the sudden appearance of the previously unsuspected sellar lesion. Although the association of these two tumors is very likely coincidental, the possibility of causal relationship is addressed.
    Pituitary 09/2009; 14(4):405-8. · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    The Journal of Rheumatology 02/2009; 36(1):204-7. · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism - J CLIN ENDOCRINOL METAB. 01/2009; 94(12).
  • R Sahli, E Christ
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    ABSTRACT: A 29-year-old woman with a long-lasting history of oligoamenorrhea, fell pregnant shortly after being diagnosed with acromegaly. LABORATORY TESTS AND IMAGING: A high IGF-1 concentration and an oral glucose tolerance test confirmed the diagnosis. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a macroadenoma of the pituitary with suprasellar extension and compression of the optic chiasm leading to incomplete hemianopsia. Transsphenoidal surgery was performed during the second trimester, impaired visual fields became normal and subsequent biochemical tests suggested remission. She delivered a healthy full-term infant via cesarean section after an uncomplicated pregnancy. The infant's development was unremarkable. Postpartum assessment showed persistent acromegaly activity and the patient was judged to require secondary multimodal therapy. Pituitary adenomas often cause oligoamenorrhea and may interfere with fertility. Although pregnancy rarely occurs during the course of active acromegaly, the maternal morbidity, including hypertension and gestational diabetes, is increased. While pregnancy may cause an increase in tumor size, biochemical improvement in acromegaly is--as illustrated by the present case--also possible. A maternal-to-fetal transfer of growth hormone or IGF-1 has not been proved.
    DMW - Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 12/2008; 133(45):2328-31. · 0.65 Impact Factor
  • R Sahli, E Christ
    DMW - Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 11/2008; 133(45):2328-2331. · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Folliculo-stellate cells are a nonendocrine, sustentacular-like complementary population of the anterior pituitary. They currently are considered as functionally and phenotypically heterogeneous, with one subpopulation of folliculo-stellate cells possibly representing resident adenohypophyseal macrophages. We took advantage of a limited T-cell mediated inflammatory reaction selectively involving tumor tissue in three cases of pituitary adenoma (2 prolactin cell adenomas, and 1 null cell adenoma) to test the hypothesis whether some folliculo-stellate cells within inflammatory foci would also assume monocytic/dendritic properties. Immunohistochemical double labeling for S-100 protein and the class II major histocompatibility antigen HLA-DR indeed showed several arborized cells to coexpress both epitopes. These were distributed both amidst adenomatous acini and along intratumoral vessels, and were morphologically undistinguishable from conventional folliculo-stellate cells. On the other hand, markers of follicular dendritic cells (CD21) and Langerhans' cells (CD1a) tested negative. Furthermore, no S-100/HLA-DR coexpressing folliculo-stellate cells were seen in either peritumoral parenchyma of the cases in point nor in control pituitary adenomas lacking inflammatory reaction. These findings suggest that a subset of folliculo-stellate cells may be induced by an appropriate local inflammatory microenvironment to assume a dendritic cell-like immunophenotype recognizable by their coexpression of S-100 protein and HLA-DR. By analogy with HLA-DR expressing cells in well-established extrapituitary inflammatory constellations, we speculate that folliculo-stellate cells with such immunophenotype may actually perform professional antigen presentation. A distinctly uncommon finding in pituitary adenomas, lymphocytic infiltrates may therefore be read as a manifestation of tumoral immunosurveillance.
    Diagnostic Pathology 02/2007; 2:20. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    Acta Neuropathologica 05/2006; 111(4):397-9. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a hitherto undocumented variant of dimorphic pituitary neoplasm composed of an admixture of neurosecretory cells and profuse leiomyomatous stroma around intratumoral vessels. Radiologically perceived as a macroadenoma of 3.8 cm in diameter, this pituitary mass developed in an otherwise healthy 43-year-old female. At the term of a yearlong history of amenorrhea and progressive bitemporal visual loss, subtotal resection was performed via transsphenoidal microsurgery. Discounting mild hyperprolactinemia, there was no evidence of excess hormone production. Histologically, solid sheets, nests and cords of epithelial-looking, yet cytokeratin-negative cells were seen growing in a richly vascularized stroma of spindle cells. While strong immunoreactivity for NCAM, Synaptophysin and Chromogranin-A was detected in the former, the latter showed both morphological and immunophenotypic hallmarks of smooth muscle, being positive for vimentin, muscle actin and smooth muscle actin. Architectural patterns varied from monomorphous stroma-dominant zones through biphasic neuroendocrine-leiomyomatous areas, to pseudopapillary fronds along vascular cores. Only endothelia were labeled with CD34. Staining for S100 protein and GFAP, characteristics of sustentacular cells, as well as bcl-2 and c-kit was absent. Except for alpha-subunit, anterior pituitary hormones tested negative in tumor cells, as did a panel of peripheral endocrine markers, including serotonin, somatostatin, calcitonin, parathormone and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. Mitotic activity was absent and the MIB-1 labeling index low (1-2%). While assignment of this lesion to any established neoplastic entity is not forthcoming, we propose it is being considered as a low-grade neuroendocrine tumor possibly related to null cell adenoma.
    Acta Neuropathologica 04/2006; 111(3):278-83. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Silent corticotroph adenomas (SCA) are rare pituitary tumors with histologic hallmarks of corticotroph differentiation, including ACTH immunoreactivity, but lacking clinical evidence of Cushing's syndrome. We report on four female patients, aged 19-66 years, each presenting with a nonfunctional macroadenoma. Leading symptoms were headache in two cases and visual field deficits in one. One patient was incidentally diagnosed while undergoing cranial MRI for an unrelated condition. Three patients had marked obesity; none of them presented constitutional signs of Cushing's syndrome. Serum cortisol levels were moderately elevated in the two patients systematically tested in this respect. Marginal to moderate hyperprolactinemia was present in two cases. Two patients also were shown to be deficient in either gonadotroph or thyrotroph axis, while a third had a combined insufficiency of both gonadotroph and thyrotroph axis. MRI scans revealed intratumoral hemorrhage and/or cystic change in three cases, as well as tumor-related occlusive hydrocephalus in one. The latter patient was biopsied only, while the remaining underwent gross total resection. Histologically, all four lesions were diagnosed as SCA subtype I displaying intense immunoreactivity for ACTH. In three tumors, scattered cells coexpressed PRL as well. In addition, Crooke's hyaline change was noted in a significant number of tumor cells and in residual non-neoplastic corticotrophs in one case each. With MIB-1 labeling indices of 1-3%, none of the tumors qualified as atypical adenoma. We conclude that SCAs are more likely to be discovered as expansile tumors, whose advanced local space-occupying character at surgery rather than an inherently aggressive growth potential may negatively influence the clinical outcome. Subtle morphologic evidence of corticotroph suppression in residual pituitary adjacent to tumor lends further support to literature data indicating minimal or intermittent functional activity in this tumor type.
    Pathology - Research and Practice 02/2006; 202(6):457-64. · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) is a recently described, rare neoplasm of the anterior pituitary. Clinically and radiologically simulating a non-functioning macroadenoma, its eponymous fusiform cells display a non-epithelial phenotype with conspicuous cytoplasmic accumulation of mitochondria. We report a case of SCO retrospectively identified in a biopsy specimen 16 years after transsphenoidal operation of a 48-year-old woman. Presenting symptoms were adynamia and transient decrease of visual acuity. Neuroimaging showed an isointense, enhancing, sellar-centered mass 1.8 cm in diameter without evidence of invasive growth. No postoperative adjuvant therapy was administered. The patient was left with panhypopituitarism, yet no recurrence was seen during follow-up. Initially diagnosed as a null cell adenoma of oncocytic type, repeat immunohistochemistry showed the characteristic coexpression of S100 protein, vimentin, and epithelial membrane antigen. Oncocytic granula stained intensely with antimitochondrial antibody 113-1, and were negative with the lysosomal marker CD68. Anterior pituitary hormones tested negative, and there was no evidence of neuroendocrine differentiation using antibodies to synaptophysin and chromogranin. Few cells stained for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). SCO has been proposed to represent a neoplasm of folliculo-stellate cells (FSCs). While the dynamic properties of the latter are incompletely characterized, and indeed no specific marker allows for their identification, overlapping features of SCO with look alikes, in particular pituicytoma, point to FSCs being a potential adult stem cell. The favorable outcome of the present case further argues for SCO to be considered a low-grade neoplasm. Moderate tumor size, lack of invasiveness, and low proliferation rate are likely predictors of benign behavior.
    Pathology - Research and Practice 02/2006; 202(10):745-50. · 1.56 Impact Factor
  • R Sahli, P Diem, E R Christ
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    ABSTRACT: We report three women with hypercortisolism presenting with symptoms and signs of Cushing's syndrome. In two of the patients, initial symptoms of hypercortisolism were associated with spontaneous amelioration of previously known atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, respectively. Diagnosis was established by demonstrating both lack of responsiveness to dexamethasone (1mg) suppression test and increased 24-hour urine cortisol secretion. One patient had a low serum ACTH level indicating Cushing's syndrome of adrenal origin. In the other two patients hypercortisolism proved to be ACTH-dependent, the source being the pituitary, as demonstrated by CRH stimulation test (elevation of ACTH and cortisol by 35 % and 20 %, respectively) and sampling of the petrosus sinus. In both patients imaging confirmed the presence of a pituitary adenoma. All three patients underwent successful surgery: the first patient had an adrenalectomy, the other two transseptal transsphenoidal hypophysectomy. As symptoms and signs of hypercortisolism improved, the previously quiescent signs of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis recurred and one patient developed Graves' disease. Following successful treatment of endogenous hypercortisolism, symptoms of unrelated immunologically mediated conditions, especially autoimmune thyroiditis, may occasionally appear. Furthermore, the clinical course of coexisting immunologically mediated diseases may help to diagnose Cushing's syndrome and to monitor the patients after surgical treatment.
    DMW - Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 11/2005; 130(41):2316-8. · 0.55 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

160 Citations
47.01 Total Impact Points


  • 2005–2012
    • Inselspital, Universitätsspital Bern
      • • Department of Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Allergology
      • • University Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition
      • • Department of Neurosurgery
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2006
    • Universität Bern
      • Institut für Pathologie
      Bern, BE, Switzerland