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Ana Carolina Bueno, Rui M P da Silva, Mônica F Stecchini, Junier Marrero-Gutiérrez, Danillo C de Almeida e Silva, Izilda Cardinalli, Carlos Alberto Scrideli, Thais Junqueira, Carlos A F Molina, Fernando Silva Ramalho, Silvio Tucci Jr, Fernanda Borchers Coeli-Lacchini, Ayrton Custodio Moreira, Leandra N Z Ramalho, Silvia Brandalise, José Andres Yunes, Margaret de Castro, Ricardo Zorzetto Nicoliello Vêncio, and Sonir R R Antonini

Children diagnosed with pediatric adrenocortical tumors (pACT) have variable outcomes, and, to date, the disease lacks robust prognostic biomarkers. The prognostic potential of tumor methylation has been demonstrated in several cancers. We aimed to evaluate the pACT methylation profile and its association with disease presentation and survival. In this cross-sectional study, we accessed the DNA methylation (MethylationEPIC Array, Illumina) of 57 primary pACT from Southeastern Brazil and the respective patients’ clinicopathological features. We also applied our analysis in an independent 48 pACT methylation dataset. Unsupervised learning whole-methylome analysis showed two groups with distinct methylation signatures: pACT-1 and pACT-2. Compared to pACT-2, pACT-1 tumors were enriched with higher methylation in CpG islands, mainly in gene promoter regions. The topmost hypermethylated gene in these samples was shown to be underexpressed. Patients in the pACT-1 group were older at diagnosis and were more likely to have carcinomas and nonlocalized/advanced and recurrent/metastatic disease. Univariate and bivariate regressions showed that pACT-1 methylation signature confers superior hazard ratio of disease progression and death than known prognostic features. The methylation groups had similar frequencies of germline mutations in the TP53 gene, including the regionally frequent p.R337H. Our analysis replication validated our findings and reproduced those recently described in pACT. We demonstrated the existence of different tumor methylation signatures associated with pACT presentation and clinical evolution, even in the context of germline TP53 mutations. Our data support tumor methylation profiling as a robust and independent prognostic biomarker for pACT and suggest a list of candidate genes for further validation.

Open access

N Tufton, R J Hearnden, D M Berney, W M Drake, L Parvanta, J P Chapple, and S A Akker

Emerging evidence suggests the composition of the tumour microenvironment (TME) correlates with clinical outcome and that each tumour type has a unique TME including a variable population of inflammatory cells. We performed immunohistochemistry on 65 phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) tumour samples with 20 normal adrenal medulla samples for comparison. The immune cells assessed were macrophages, lymphocytes and neutrophils, and we compared the proportion of infiltration of these immune cells with clinical and histopathological factors. There was a higher proportion of immune cells in tumour tissue compared to non-neoplastic adrenal medulla tissue, with a predominance of macrophages. There was a higher proportion of M2:M1 macrophages and T-helper lymphocytes in aggressive tumours compared to indolent ones. For SDHB-associated tumours, there was a higher proportion of M2 macrophage infiltration, with higher M2:M1 in aggressive SDHB PPGLs compared to indolent tumours. These data demonstrate that immune cells do infiltrate the TME of PPGLs, confirming that PPGLs are immunologically active tumours. Differences in the TME of PPGLs were observed between aggressive and indolent tumours. These differences could potentially be exploited as an aid in predicting tumour behaviour.

Free access

Marie-Claude Hofmann, Muthusamy Kunnimalaiyaan, Jennifer R Wang, Naifa L Busaidy, Steven I Sherman, Stephen Y Lai, Mark Zafereo, and Maria E Cabanillas

Protein kinases play critical roles in cell survival, proliferation, and motility. Their dysregulation is therefore a common feature in the pathogenesis of a number of solid tumors, including thyroid cancers. Inhibiting activated protein kinases has revolutionized thyroid cancer therapy, offering a promising strategy in treating tumors refractory to radioactive iodine treatment or cytotoxic chemotherapies. However, despite satisfactory early responses, these drugs are not curative and most patients inevitably progress due to drug resistance. This review summarizes up-to-date knowledge on various mechanisms that thyroid cancer cells develop to bypass protein kinase inhibition and outlines strategies that are being explored to overcome drug resistance. Understanding how cancer cells respond to drugs and identifying novel molecular targets for therapy still represents a major challenge for the treatment of these patients.

Open access

Sasha R Howard, Sarah Freeston, Barney Harrison, Louise Izatt, Sonali Natu, Kate Newbold, Sabine Pomplun, Helen A Spoudeas, Sophie Wilne, Tom R Kurzawinski, and Mark N Gaze

This guideline is written as a reference document for clinicians presented with the challenge of managing paediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma up to the age of 19 years. Care of paediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma differs in key aspects from that of adults, and there have been several recent developments in the care pathways for this condition; this guideline has sought to identify and attend to these areas. It addresses the presentation, clinical assessment, diagnosis, management (both surgical and medical), genetic counselling, follow-up and prognosis of affected patients. The guideline development group formed of a multi-disciplinary panel of sub-speciality experts carried out a systematic primary literature review and Delphi Consensus exercise. The guideline was developed in accordance with The Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation Instrument II criteria, with input from stakeholders including charities and patient groups. Based on scientific evidence and expert opinion, 58 recommendations have been collected to produce a clear, pragmatic set of management guidelines. It is intended as an evidence base for future optimal management and to improve the quality of clinical care of paediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma.

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Segolene Hescot, Abir Al Ghuzlan, Theophraste Henry, Hala Sheikh-Alard, Livia Lamartina, Isabelle Borget, Julien Hadoux, Eric Baudin, Corinne Dupuy, Alyaksandr V Nikitski, Yuri E Nikiforov, Martin Schlumberger, Marina N Nikiforova, and Sophie Leboulleux

The prognosis of poorly differentiated thyroid carcinomas (PDTC) defined by the Turin criteria is variable. The aim of this study on 51 PDTC patients was to determine clinical, histological and molecular prognostic factors associated with recurrence in patients with localized disease at initial treatment and with overall survival in patients with distant metastases. Of 40 patients for whom next-generation sequencing (NGS) by ThyroSeq v3 was able to be performed on historical samples, we identified high-risk molecular signature (TERT, TP53 mutations) in 24 (60%) cases, intermediate risk signature in 9 (22.5%) cases and low-risk signature in 7 (17.5%) cases. Potentially actionable mutations were identified in 10% of cases. After a median follow-up of 57.5 months, recurrence occurred in 11 (39%) of the 28 patients with localized disease. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) high risk of relapse, high mitotic count, high molecular risk signature and CD163 expression were associated with recurrence (P = 0.009, 0.01, 0.049, 0.03 respectively). After a median follow-up of 49.5 months, thyroid cancer-related death occurred in 53% of the patients with distant metastases. There was no significant prognostic factor associated with death in univariate analysis. However, none of the patients with intermediate ATA risk of recurrence and none of the patients with low-risk molecular signature died from the disease. In addition, high molecular-risk signature was associated with the presence of synchronous or metachronous distant metastasis (P = 0.007) and with poor overall survival (P = 0.01). In conclusion, ATA risk of relapse and high mitotic count was associated with higher rate of recurrence in localized PDTC. High molecular-risk signature was associated with the presence of distant metastasis and poor overall survival. Further studies are needed to determine if molecular testing adds to ATA risk stratification or response to therapy in predicting outcomes.

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Isadora P Cavalcante, Marthe Rizk-Rabin, Christopher Ribes, Karine Perlemoine, Constanze Hantel, Annabel Berthon, Jérôme Bertherat, and Bruno Ragazzon

ARMC5

is a tumor suppressor gene frequently mutated in primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (PBMAH), an adrenal cause of Cushing’s syndrome. The function of ARMC5 is poorly understood, aside from the fact that it regulates cell viability and adrenal steroidogenesis by mechanisms still unknown. Tumor suppressor genes play an important role in modifying intracellular redox response, which in turn regulates diverse cell signaling pathways. In this study, we demonstrated that inactivation in adrenocortical cells increased the expression of actors scavenging reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide dismutases (SOD) and peroxiredoxins (PRDX) by increasing the transcriptional regulator NRF1. Moreover, ARMC5 is involved in the NRF1 ubiquitination and in its half-life. Finally, inactivation alters adrenocortical steroidogenesis through the activation of p38 pathway and decreases cell sensitivity to ferroptosis participation to increase cell viability. Altogether, this study uncovers a function of ARMC5 as a regulator of redox homeostasis in adrenocortical cells, controlling steroidogenesis and cell survival.

Free access

Masaki Shiota, Shusuke Akamatsu, Shigehiro Tsukahara, Shohei Nagakawa, Takashi Matsumoto, and Masatoshi Eto

Hormonal therapies including androgen deprivation therapy and androgen receptor (AR) pathway inhibitors such as abiraterone and enzalutamide have been widely used to treat advanced prostate cancer. However, treatment resistance emerges after hormonal manipulation in most prostate cancers, and it is attributable to a number of mechanisms, including AR amplification and overexpression, AR mutations, the expression of constitutively active AR variants, intra-tumor androgen synthesis, and promiscuous AR activation by other factors. Although various AR mutations have been reported in prostate cancer, specific AR mutations (L702H, W742L/C, H875Y, F877L, and T878A/S) were frequently identified after treatment resistance emerged. Intriguingly, these hot spot mutations were also revealed to change the binding affinity of ligands including steroids and antiandrogens and potentially result in altered responses to AR pathway inhibitors. Currently, precision medicine utilizing genetic and genomic data to choose suitable treatment for the patient is becoming to play an increasingly important role in clinical practice for prostate cancer management. Since clinical data between AR mutations and the efficacy of AR pathway inhibitors are accumulating, monitoring the AR mutation status is a promising approach for providing precision medicine in prostate cancer, which would be implemented through the development of clinically available testing modalities for AR mutations using liquid biopsy. However, there are few reviews on clinical significance of AR hot spot mutations in prostate cancer. Then, this review summarized the clinical landscape of AR mutations and discussed their potential implication for clinical utilization.

Free access

Maria Eugenia Sabatino, Juan Pablo Petiti, Liliana del Valle Sosa, Pablo Anibal Pérez, Silvina Gutiérrez, Carolina Leimgruber, Alexandra Latini, Alicia Inés Torres, and Ana Lucía De Paul

Open access

Kreepa G Kooblall, Victoria J Stokes, Omair A Shariq, Katherine A English, Mark Stevenson, John Broxholme, Benjamin Wright, Helen E Lockstone, David Buck, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Christopher J Yates, Rajesh V Thakker, and Kate E Lines

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), caused by mutations in the MEN1 gene encoding menin, is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined occurrence of parathyroid, pituitary and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Development of these tumours is associated with wide variations in their severity, order and ages (from <5 to >80 years), requiring life-long screening. To improve tumour surveillance and quality of life, better circulating biomarkers, particularly for pancreatic NETs that are associated with higher mortality, are required. We, therefore, examined the expression of circulating miRNA in the serum of MEN1 patients. Initial profiling analysis followed by qRT-PCR validation studies identified miR-3156-5p to be significantly downregulated (−1.3 to 5.8-fold, P < 0.05–0.0005) in nine MEN1 patients, compared to matched unaffected relatives. MEN1 knock-down experiments in BON-1 human pancreatic NET cells resulted in reduced MEN1 (49%, P < 0.05), menin (54%, P < 0.05) and miR-3156-5p expression (20%, P < 0.005), compared to control-treated cells, suggesting that miR-3156-5p downregulation is a consequence of loss of MEN1 expression. In silico analysis identified mortality factor 4-like 2 (MOR4FL2) as a potential target of miR-3156-5p, and in vitro functional studies in BON-1 cells transfected with either miR-3156-5p mimic or inhibitors showed that the miR-3156-5p mimic significantly reduced MORF4L2 protein expression (46%, P < 0.005), while miR-3156-5p inhibitor significantly increased MORF4L2 expression (1.5-fold, P < 0.05), compared to control-treated cells, thereby confirming that miR-3156-5p regulates MORF4L2 expression. Thus, the inverse relationship between miR-3156-5p and MORF4L2 expression represents a potential serum biomarker that could facilitate the detection of NET occurrence in MEN1 patients.

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Han Chen, Ming Ni, Yun Xu, and Li-Yong Zhong

Children with intracranial germ cell tumors may present premature sexual development via either gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-dependent cause or GnRH-independent cause. We conducted a single-center retrospective study on 37 precocious puberty (PP) patients with intracranial germ cell tumors and 25 age-matched prepubertal patients with elevated human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. Classification of PP was derived from hCG, gonadotropin and sex steroid levels and their changes. Five boys were assigned to GnRH-dependent group (G1). Thirty-one boys and one girl were assigned to GnRH-independent group (G2) with a median hCG of 76.75 (8.29–2747) IU/L. Seven boys and 18 girls were conducted as controls, with a median hCG of 17.12 (2.91–1062) IU/L. Patients in G1 had constant pubertal LH and testosterone levels after tumor complete response. Patients in G2 had hCG levels that decreased simultaneously with testosterone/estradiol levels, prior to tumor regression. The differences in hCG levels and the gender ratio were significant between G2 and controls (P = 0.006 and P < 0.001, separately). Among intracranial germ cell tumor patients with positive hCG, boys with significantly higher hCG levels more easily developed PP. Our results suggest that GnRH-independent PP commonly regresses together with tumor regression. In comparison, results were inconclusive in tying tumor regression to the regression of GnRH-dependent PP.