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Wenzel M Hackeng, Lodewijk A A Brosens, and Koen M A Dreijerink

Insulinomas are rare functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. While most insulinomas are indolent and cured after surgery, 10–15% of cases show aggressive or malignant tumor behavior and metastasize locally or to distant organs. Patients with metastatic insulinoma survive significantly shorter. Recognizing aggressive insulinomas can help to predict prognosis, guide therapy and determine follow-up intensity after surgery. This review offers a summary of the literature on the significant clinical, pathological, genetic and epigenetic differences between indolent and aggressive insulinomas. Aggressive insulinomas are characterized by rapid onset of symptoms, larger size, expression of ARX and alpha-1-antitrypsin and decreased or absent immunohistochemical expression of insulin, PDX1 and GLP-1R. Moreover, aggressive insulinomas often harbor ATRX or DAXX mutations, the alternative lengthening of telomeres phenotype and chromosomal instability. Tumor grade and MEN1 and YY1 mutations are less useful for predicting behavior. Aggressive insulinomas have similarities to normal alpha-cells and non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, while indolent insulinomas remain closely related to normal beta-cells. In conclusion, indolent and aggressive insulinoma are different entities, and distinguishing these will have future clinical value in determining prognosis and treatment.

Free access

Paul C Marker, Christopher J Unterberger, and Steven M Swanson

Interest in investigating the role of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) axis in the initiation and progression of experimentally induced carcinomas has arisen due to several observations in the human population. First, subjects with Laron syndrome who lack GH signaling have significantly lower rates of cancer than people who have normal GH signaling. Second, epidemiologic studies have found strong associations between elevated circulating IGF-1 and the incidence of several common cancers. Third, women who bear children early in life have a dramatically reduced risk of developing breast cancer, which may be due to differences in hormone levels including GH. These observations have motivated multiple studies that have experimentally altered activity of the GH/IGF-1 axis in the context of experimental carcinoma models in mice and rats. Most of these studies have utilized carcinoma models for four organ systems that are also frequent sites of carcinomas in humans: the mammary gland, prostate gland, liver, and colon. This review focuses on these studies and describes some of the most common genetic models used to alter the activity of the GH/IGF-1 axis in experimentally induced carcinomas. A recurring theme that emerges from these studies is that manipulations that reduce the activity of GH or mediators of GH action also inhibit carcinogenesis in multiple model systems.

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Tommaso Porcelli, Raffaele Ambrosio, Maria Angela De Stefano, Cristina Luongo, Daniela Terracciano, Caterina Miro, Monica Dentice, Martin Schlumberger, and Domenico Salvatore

Treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has been associated with alterations in circulating thyroid hormone levels, possibly related to perturbations in peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism. In this study, we evaluated the effect of the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib on the expression of the three deiodinase selenoenzymes, responsible for the thyroid hormone activation (type 1 and type 2 deiodinases) or for its inactivation (type 3 deiodinase). Here, we show that the multi-kinase inhibitor vandetanib determines a strong cell-specific downregulation of type 2 deiodinase (D2) expression and a significant reduction in D2 enzymatic activity. This occurs in the diffused population of fibro/adipogenic progenitors, which reside in different tissues – including the muscles – and normally express D2. Given the widespread diffusion of mesenchymal cells within the body, our results may explain at least partially the alterations in thyroid hormone levels that occur in vandetanib-treated patients. Our findings represent a step forward into the understanding of the mechanisms by which TKIs induce hypothyroidism and identify a resident cell population in which such an effect takes place.

Free access

Pia Roser, Bianca M Leca, Claudia Coelho, Klaus-Martin Schulte, Jackie Gilbert, Eftychia E Drakou, Christos Kosmas, Ling Ling Chuah, Husam Wassati, Alexander D Miras, James Crane, Simon J B Aylwin, Ashley B Grossman, and Georgios K Dimitriadis

Parathyroid carcinoma is one of the least common endocrine malignancies and accounts for approximately 1% of all patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature published between January 2000 and March 2022 via Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EudraCT,, CINAHL and SCOPUS was conducted. Manuscripts were eligible if they included data on adult non-pregnant populations with parathyroid carcinoma. No restrictions regarding interventions, comparators or duration of follow-up were imposed. Single case reports, reviews or meta-analyses were excluded. Outcomes of interest were molecular pathogenesis, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and overall survival. Study quality was evaluated using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale for observational studies.

This review included 75 studies from 17 countries, reporting on more than 3000 patients with parathyroid carcinoma. CDC73 mutation has been recognised as playing a pivotal role in molecular pathogenesis. Parathyroid carcinoma typically presents with markedly increased calcium and parathyroid hormone levels. The most frequently described symptoms were bone and muscle pain or weakness. En bloc resection remains the gold standard for the surgical approach. The 5-year overall survival ranged from 60 to 93%, with resistant hypercalcaemia a significant cause of mortality. Emerging evidence indicating that targeted therapy, based on molecular biomarkers, presents a novel treatment option. The rarity of PC and need for personalised treatment warrant multidisciplinary management in a ‘centre of excellence’ with a track record in PC management.

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Su Yon Jung, Jeanette C Papp, Eric M Sobel, Matteo Pellegrini, and Herbert Yu

Insulin resistance (IR) is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer (BC) development in African American (AA) postmenopausal women. While obesity and IR are more prevalent in AA than in white women, they are under-represented in genome-wide studies for systemic regulation of IR. By examining 780 genome-wide IR single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) available in our data, we tested 4689 AA women in a Random Survival Forest framework. With 37 BC-associated lifestyle factors, we conducted a gene–environment interaction analysis to estimate risk prediction for BC with the most influential genetic and behavioral factors and evaluated their combined and joint effects on BC risk. By accounting for variations of individual SNPs in BC in the prediction model, we detected four fasting glucose–associated SNPs in PCSK1, SPC25, ADCY5, and MTNR1B and three lifestyle factors (smoking, oral contraceptive use, and age at menopause) as the most predictive markers for BC risk. Our joint analysis of risk genotypes and lifestyle with smoking revealed a synergistic effect on the increased risk of BC, particularly estrogen/progesterone positive (ER/PR+) BC, in a gene–lifestyle dose-dependent manner. The joint effect of smoking was more substantial in women with prolonged exposure to cigarette smoking and female hormones. The top genome-wide association-SNPs associated with metabolic biomarkers in combination with lifestyles synergistically increase the predictability of invasive ER/PR+ BC risk among AA women. Our findings highlight generically targeted preventive interventions for women who carry particular risk genotypes and lifestyles.

Open access

Alessandra Mangone, Barbara Altieri, Mario Detomas, Alessandro Prete, Haider Abbas, Miriam Asia, Yasir S Elhassan, Giovanna Mantovani, and Cristina L Ronchi

Treatment for advanced adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) consists of mitotane alone or combined with etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (EDP). Although both therapies are widely used, markers of response are still lacking. Since inflammation-based scores have been proposed as prognostic factors in ACC, we aimed to investigate their role in predicting the response to first-line chemotherapy.

We performed a retrospective analysis of patients with advanced ACC treated with mitotane monotherapy or EDP ± mitotane. Clinical parameters (tumour stage at diagnosis, resection status, Ki67, time from diagnosis to treatment start, performance status, plasma mitotane levels, time in mitotane target ≥ 80%, clinically overt cortisol hypersecretion), and pretreatment inflammation-based scores (neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio, derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio) were investigated. The primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and time-to-progression (TTP) from treatment initiation, the secondary endpoint was the best objective response to treatment.

We included 90 patients (59% = women, median age = 51 years) treated with mitotane monotherapy (n = 40) or EDP ± mitotane (n = 50). In the mitotane monotherapy cohort, NLR ≥ 5 and PLR ≥ 190 predicted shorter OS (hazard ratio (HR): 145.83, 95% CI: 1.87–11,323.83; HR: 165.50, 95% CI: 1.76–15,538.04, respectively), remaining significant at multivariable analysis including clinical variables. NLR was also associated with shorter TTP (HR: 2.58, 95% CI: 1.28–5.20), but only at univariable analysis. Patients with NLR ≥ 5 showed a worse treatment response than those with NLR < 5 (P = 0.040). In the EDP ± mitotane cohort, NLR ≥ 5 predicted shorter OS (HR: 2.52, 95% CI: 1.30–4.88) and TTP (HR: 1.95, 95% CI: 1.04–3.66) at univariable analysis.

In conclusion, inflammation-based scores, calculated from routinely measured parameters, may help predict response to chemotherapy in advanced ACC.

Free access

David Taïeb, Christelle Fargette, Abhishek Jha, and Karel Pacak

Precision medicine (PM) aims to maximize the risk–benefit balance of medical decisions by integrating individual patient and disease characteristics. This approach is gaining increasing recognition from clinicians, healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, patients, and governments. Nuclear medicine plays a critical role in PM by its virtue of providing critical information at every step of disease management, digital markers, and companion diagnostics/therapeutics. It is anticipated that technological breakthroughs and new tracers will continue to position nuclear medicine among the significant players in PM.

Free access

Maria Riedmeier, Lester D R Thompson, Carlos Augusto Fernandes Molina, Boris Decarolis, Christoph Härtel, Paul-G Schlegel, Martin Fassnacht, and Verena Wiegering

Histopathological differentiation in pediatric adrenocortical carcinoma (pACC) is difficult and clinical prediction and stratification scores are not evaluated yet. Therefore, this review aims to summarize current evidence on the value and accuracy of the two commonly used scoring systems (Weiss/Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP)) pACC. On this base, one might be able to evaluate if patients may benefit from a unique scoring system. For this, we performed a systematic review of the published literature and included 128 patients in our analysis. The majority (72%) of the pACCs had a good clinical course. The follow-up time ranged from 0 to 420 months with a mean age of 5.6 years at diagnosis. Patients with a good clinical course were younger (mean 4.8 years) than patients with a poor outcome (mean 7.6 years). Comparing the two scoring systems, the specificity of the Weiss score was very low (25%), whereas the sensitivity was 100%. According to the AFIP score, specificity (77%) was higher than the Weiss score, whereas the sensitivity of the AFIP score was minimal lower with 92%. Age differences were recognizable as the specificity was lower in infants <4 years (20%) than in older children (32%). In contrast, the specificity of the AFIP score was higher in infants <4 years (82%) than in older age groups (76%). Summarizing our results, we could show that the Weiss score is not a suitable tool for the prediction of malignancy in pACC in comparison with the AFIP score, but further efforts may seek to ensure early and accurate stratification through augmented scoring.

Free access

Cesar Luiz Boguszewski, Margaret Cristina da Silva Boguszewski, and Wouter W de Herder

The association between growth hormone (GH) and carcinogenesis has long been postulated. The rationale for this association is that several components of the GH axis play an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis and have been tested as targets for cancer therapy. Epidemiological and clinical studies have examined the association between height, growth patterns, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) levels with the most common types of malignancies, while genome-wide association studies have revealed several height-associated genes linked to cancer and/or metastasis-driving pathways. In this context, a permissive role of the GH–IGF signaling system in the link between height and cancer risk has also been investigated. In animal and human models, genetic defects associated with GH deficiency or resistance are associated with protection from tumor development, while the risk of malignancies in acromegaly or in patients exposed to recombinant GH therapy has long been a matter of concern and scrutiny. In this review, we present a narrative and historical review covering the potential relations among height, growth patterns, GH axis, and cancer.

Open access

Anne-Paule Gimenez-Roqueplo, Mercedes Robledo, and Patricia L M Dahia

Paragangliomas (PGL) of the adrenal (also known as pheochromocytomas) or extra-adrenal neural crest-derived cells are highly heritable tumors, usually driven by single pathogenic variants that occur mutually exclusively in genes involved in multiple cellular processes, including the response to hypoxia, MAPK/ERK signaling, and WNT signaling. The discovery of driver mutations has led to active clinical surveillance with outcome implications in familial PGL. The spectrum of mutations continues to grow and reveal unique mechanisms of tumorigenesis that inform tumor biology and provide the rationale for targeted therapy. Here we review recent progress in the genetics and molecular pathogenesis of PGLs and discuss new prospects for advancing research with new disease models and ongoing clinical trials presented at the recent International Symposium of Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas (ISP2022) held in October 2022 in Prague.