Patients with complex endocrinopathies are challenging to manage, and a close collaboration between clinicians and laboratorians is critical. AACC members recognize the importance of this relationship, and several sessions at this year’s annual meeting deal with the role of the laboratory in evaluating endocrine disorders.

In Tuesday’s oral abstract session, “Endocrinology in Preventative and Chronic Care,” speakers presented cutting-edge data in several areas of endocrinology, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and diabetes, as well as adrenal and pituitary disorders. The presentations were packed with innovative research on promising new assays. Ajay Kumar, PhD, chief scientific officer and operations director at Ansh Labs, described a novel assay recognizing all circulating isoforms of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). He presented data suggesting that AMH could be used as a single test to screen adolescent and adult women for PCOS, compared to current diagnostic criteria requiring clinical, biochemical, and ultrasound assessment. He also suggested that AMH should be included among the diagnostic criteria for PCOS.

Laura Smy, a PhD candidate from the University of Toronto, presented a new sample matrix for measuring cortisol by EIA. She and her colleagues used hair to monitor cortisol concentrations over time in healthy and asthmatic pregnant women. She predicted that hair analysis will become increasingly important to endocrinologists who wish to follow hormone concentrations over time and analyze samples that reflect the patient’s past endocrine status.

One of Tuesday’s abstract presenters emphasized the importance of a close collaboration between laboratorians and clinicians in diagnosing complex endocrine disorders. Nicholas Heger, PhD, clinical chemist at Boston Children’s Hospital, discussed the case of a complex patient with a brain tumor and multiple associated endocrinopathies. He described the important role of the laboratorian as a consultant at all phases of the testing process. “It was important for the clinicians to get the right test and the right result at the right time to avoid any delays in establishing the correct diagnosis,” Heger said. “Working directly with the clinicians allowed us to anticipate and respond to their testing needs.”

In this spirit, the AACC Endocrinology Division is also reaching out to several clinical endocrinology societies to forge a closer relationship. The focus will be harmonization of hormone measurements. An update on harmonization of thyroid function tests was the highlight of the division’s meeting in Atlanta earlier this week.

Ready for more endocrinology? Today, Jim Faix, MD is reviewing some important publications on laboratory diagnosis of endocrine disorders in his brown bag sessions, “Diagnostic Endocrinology 2015”. Faix’s session will cover each endocrine organ separately.

“I want to try to duplicate the one-hour sessions at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society—The Year in Thyroid, The Year in Adrenal, etc.—in which an endocrinologist summarizes key advances in a particular area,” Faix said. His session will review the latest in thyroid dysfunction screening, measurement of insulin resistance in diabetes, adrenal disorders, PCOS, and andropause. “It sounds like a lot,” he said. “But the primary goal of the brown bag is to have a conversation about these problematic testing approaches, not review each report in great detail.”