The pleura and the endocrine system

Claudio Sorino, Stefano Negri, Antonio Spanevello, David Feller-Kopman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The functioning of the pleura and the endocrine system are not entirely independent of each other. Some hormones can reach a greater concentration in the pleural exudate than in the blood. However, the clinical significance of this finding remains unknown. In some circumstances, hormonal changes are responsible for pathological manifestations in the pleura. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common diseases that can cause a pleural effusion, likely resulting from alterations in capillary permeability. The presence of ectopic endometrial tissue within the lung parenchyma, pleura, pericardium or diaphragm is known as thoracic endometriosis and is one of the causes of catamenial pneumothorax and /or catamenial hemothorax, which can affect women of childbearing age and arises within 72 h from the onset of menstruation. Treatment and prevention of recurrent catamenial pneumothorax / hemothorax usually requires an approach that combines surgery and hormone therapy. Malignant pleural effusion from breast cancer may contain estrogen receptor-positive cells. In such a case, endocrine treatment may be effective in reducing the amount of pleural fluid and the associated symptoms. Thyroid cancer and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) are further hormone-sensitive malignancies in which pleura is frequently involved. The solitary fibrous tumor of pleura (SFPT) is an example of a pleural disease that can cause hormonal balance disorders. It can lead to a rise in the releasing factor for growth hormone (GHRH), human beta chorionic gonadotropin (Beta-hCG), and insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2). The consequence of such hormonal imbalance include hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy, gynecomastia, and refractory hypoglycemia, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-37
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Catamenial
  • Endocrine system
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pneumothorax
  • Thoracic endometriosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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