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Andrea Panunzio, Stefano Tappero, Lukas Hohenhorst, Cristina Cano Garcia, Mattia Piccinelli, Francesco Barletta, Zhe Tian, Alessandro Tafuri, Alberto Briganti, Ottavio De Cobelli, Felix K H Chun, Derya Tilki, Carlo Terrone, Fred Saad, Shahrokh F Shariat, Isabelle Bourdeau, Maria Angela Cerruto, Alessandro Antonelli, and Pierre I Karakiewicz

In some primaries, African American race/ethnicity predisposes to higher stage and worse survival. We tested for differences in cancer-specific mortality (CSM) and other-cause mortality (OCM) in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) according to African American vs Caucasian race/ethnicity. We hypothesized that African Americans present with higher tumor stage and grade, do not receive the same treatment, and experience worse oncological outcomes than Caucasians. Within Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, we identified 1016 ACC patients: 123 (12.1%) African Americans vs 893 (87.9%) Caucasians. Propensity score matching (PSM) (age, sex, marital status, grade, T, N, and M stages, and treatment type), Poisson-smoothed cumulative incidence plots, and competing risk regression (CRR) were used. Compared to Caucasians, African Americans were more frequently unmarried (56.9% vs 35.5%, P < 0.001). No clinically meaningful or statistically significant differences were observed for age, grade, T, N, and M stages, as well as treatment type (all P > 0.05). After PSM (1:4), 123 African Americans and 492 Caucasians remained and were included in CRR analysis. In multivariable CRR models, CSM and OCM rates were not different between the two race/ethnicities (hazard ratio: 0.84, P = 0.3). In African Americans, 5-year CSM rates were 31.2% and 75.3% in European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumors (ENSAT) stages I-II and III-IV, respectively vs 32.9% and 75.4% in Caucasians. Overall 5-year OCM rates were 11.0% vs 10.1% in respectively African Americans and Caucasians. Unlike other primaries, in ACC, African American race/ethnicity is not associated with higher disease stage at initial diagnosis or worse survival.

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Masaki Shiota, Shuichi Tatarano, Toshiyuki Kamoto, Hideyasu Matsuyama, Hideki Sakai, Tsukasa Igawa, Tomomi Kamba, Naohiro Fujimoto, Yuya Sekine, Hiroko Kimura, Shintaro Narita, Naoki Terada, Yukihide Momozawa, Shusuke Akamatsu, Tomonori Habuchi, Akira Yokomizo, Seiji Naito, and Masatoshi Eto

Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) has been widely used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. However, prognosis and adverse events (AEs) vary among patients. This study aimed to identify genetic markers able to predict the outcome of ADT. Japanese patients treated with primary ADT for advanced prostate cancer in the KYUCOG-1401 trial were enrolled as a development set. A distinct population of advanced prostate cancer cases treated with ADT was included as a validation set. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) at 1 year and AEs including de novo diabetes mellitus (DM), arthralgia, and de novo dyslipidemia were identified in the development set by a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The SNPs associated with rPFS in the development study were then genotyped in the validation set. GWAS followed by validation identified SNPs (rs76237622 in PRR27 and rs117573572 in MTAP) that were associated with overall survival (OS) in ADT. A genetic prognostic model using these SNPs showed excellent predictive efficacy for PFS and OS in ADT. In addition, GWAS showed that several SNPs were associated with de novo DM, arthralgia, and de novo dyslipidemia in ADT. This study identified novel multiple SNPs that correlated with outcomes in ADT. Future studies on correlations affecting the therapeutic efficacy of ADT-based combination therapies would make a valuable contribution to the development of personalized medicine.

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Wiebke Werner, Katharina Detjen, Alix Bruneau, Isabella Lurje, Natalie Nestel, Henning Jann, Frank Tacke, Bertram Wiedenmann, Christoph Roderburg, and Linda Hammerich

Clinical management of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms remains challenging. We recently introduced the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FLT3LG) as a possible biomarker for a proinflammatory tumor microenvironment. Here, we put a spotlight on the quantitative assessment of classical dendritic cells (cDC) and T cells in the context of FLT3LG mRNA levels in a retrospective study on neuroendocrine tumor (NET) G2/G3 and neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) of pancreatic and gastric origin. The abundance of cDC and T cells and their relevant subpopulations were determined by immunofluorescent staining and correlated with FLT3LG mRNA levels as well as clinical outcomes. Immune cell counts attested to highly variable infiltration densities. Samples with the presence of cDC or high numbers of T cells exhibited increased FLT3LG expression. Abundance of cDC, defined as HLA-DR+CD11c+ cells with CLEC9a (cDC1) or CD1c (cDC2), as well as T cells correlated with FLT3LG mRNA levels and predicted disease-specific survival. Combining FLT3LG and T cell counts further improved this prediction. Therefore, tumor-infiltrating cDC and T cells are prognostic markers in NET G2/G3 or NEC and FLT3LG mRNA may serve as a simple-to-use biomarker for a quantitative estimate of their abundance, mandating prospective evaluation in the context of immune-targeted therapies.

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Melissa Bolier, Aart-Jan van der Lelij, Geert Janssens, Marry M van den Heuvel-Eibrink, and Sebastian J C M M Neggers

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a common complication in survivors of cancer and patients with tumors of the pituitary region. Growth hormone replacement therapy (GHT) has proven beneficial effects, including increased growth velocity, positive effects on body composition and skeletal integrity, and increased quality of life. However, due to known pro-proliferative, angiogenic, and anti-apoptotic properties of growth hormone, there are still some concerns about the safety of GHT in survivors. This narrative review aims to provide an overview of the long-term sequelae, and subsequently long-term safety, of GHT in survivors of (childhood) cancer and patients with tumors of the pituitary region. We identified predominantly reassuring results regarding the safety of survivors with GHT, although we must take into account the shortcomings of some studies and limited information on adult cancer survivors. Besides the already increased risk for second neoplasms, recurrences, or mortality in survivors due to host-, disease-, and treatment-related factors, we could not identify an increased risk due to GHT in particular. Therefore, we support the consensus that GHT can be considered in survivors after careful individual risk/benefit analysis and in open discussion with the patients and their families, taking into account the known morbidity of untreated GHD in cancer survivors and the positive effects of GHT.

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Vera Chesnokova and Shlomo Melmed

Non-pituitary growth hormone (npGH) expression is well established in extrapituitary tissues, but an understanding of the physiological role of npGH remains rather limited. Pro-tumorigenic npGH impacting the tumor microenvironment has been reviewed. We focus here on autocrine/paracrine npGH effects in non-tumorous tissues and discuss its mechanisms of action in the normal tissue microenvironment. We address the tissue-specific effects of npGH in regulating stem, endothelial, immune, and epithelial cells and highlight the related role of npGH-associated changes in tissue aging.

Open access

Liang Zhang, Tobias Åkerström, Kazhan Mollazadegan, Felix Beuschlein, Karel Pacak, Britt Skogseid, and Joakim Crona

Core needle biopsy (CNB) has been used with caution in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) due to concerns about catecholamine-related complications. While it is unclear what scientific evidence supports this claim, it has limited the acquisition of biological samples for diagnostic purposes and research, especially in metastatic PPGL. We performed a systematic review and individual patient meta-analysis to evaluate the risk of complications after CNB in PPGL patients. The primary and secondary objectives were to investigate the risk of death and the occurrence of complications requiring intervention or hospitalization, respectively. Fifty-six articles describing 86 PPGL patients undergoing CNB were included. Of the patients (24/71), 34% had metastases and 53.4% (31/58) had catecholamine-related symptoms before CNB. Of the patients (14/41), 34.1% had catecholamine excess testing prior to the biopsy. No CNB-related deaths were reported. Four patients (14.8%, 4/27) experienced CNB-related complications requiring hospitalization or intervention. One case had a temporary duodenal obstruction caused by hematoma, two cases had myocardial infarction, and one case had Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Eight patients (32%, 8/25) had CNB-related catecholamine symptoms, mainly transient hypertension, excessive diaphoresis, tachycardia, or hypertensive crisis. The scientific literature does not allow us to make any firm conclusion on the safety of CNB in PPGL. However, it is reasonable to argue that CNB could be conducted after thorough consideration, preparation, and with close follow-up for PPGL patients with a strong clinical indication for such investigation.

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Nicola Viola, Laura Agate, Sonia Caprio, Loredana Lorusso, Alessandro Brancatella, Debora Ricci, Daniele Sgrò, Clara Ugolini, Paolo Piaggi, Paolo Vitti, Rossella Elisei, Ferruccio Santini, and Francesco Latrofa

The relevance of thyroid autoimmunity to the prognosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma is still unsettled. We decided to investigate the impact of thyroid autoimmunity on the prognosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma and the handling of TgAbs. We evaluated the clinical course of a large group of patients according to the presence (PTC-LT) or absence (PTC) of lymphocytic thyroiditis at histology. We studied 194 consecutive patients with a diagnosis of PTC and treated them with total thyroidectomy plus ¹³¹I ablation between 2007 and 2009. Median follow-up (with 25th–75th percentiles) was 84.0 (56.4–118.0) months. The remission criteria were: basal Tg < 0.2 ng/mL (or stimulated Tg: < 1), TgAbs < 8 IU/mL (otherwise ‘decreasing TgAb trend’, a decline of ≥20% in sequential TgAb measurements) and unremarkable imaging. PTC-LT and PTC patients had comparable treatment.TgAbs were detectable in 72.5% of PTC-LT and 16.5% of PTC patients. Time to remission was longer in the detectable than in the undetectable TgAb cohort (28.5 vs· 7.5 months (median); HR: 0.54, CI: 0.35–0.83, P = 0.005). When comparing PTC-LT to PTC patients, the difference was maintained in the detectable TgAb (29.3 vs 13.0 months; HR: 0.38, CI: 0.18–0.80; P = 0.01) but not in the undetectable TgAb cohort (7.7 vs 7.3 months; HR: 0.90, CI: 0.55–1.47; P = 0.68). Using the decreasing TgAb trend, the influence of detectable TgAbs on time to remission was abolished. Thyroid autoimmunity does not influence the prognosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma. A decreasing TgAb trend seems an appropriate criterion to establish the remission of papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Free access

Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, Gabriela Peña, Gabriel Pazmiño, William Acosta, Jannette Saavedra, Daniela Lescano, Alexandra Guevara, and Antonio W D Gavilanes

Meta-analyses from 2018–2022 have shown that obesity increases the risk of various cancers such as acute myeloid lymphoma, chronic myeloid lymphoma, diffuse beta cell lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, bladder, breast, cholangiocarcinoma, colorectal, ovarian, esophageal, kidney, liver, prostate, thyroid, and uterus. Contextually, obesity, and its comorbidities, is the largest, most lethal pandemics in the history of mankind; hence, identification of underlying mechanisms is needed to adequately address this global health threat. Herein, we present the metabolic and hormonal mechanisms linked to obesity that might etiologically contribute to neoplasia, including hyperinsulinemia and putative places in the insulin-signaling pathway. Excess insulin, acting as a growth factor, might contribute to tumorigenesis, while abundant ATP and GDP supply the additional energy needed for proliferation of rapidly dividing cells. Our observations in the Ecuadorian cohort of subjects with Laron syndrome (ELS) prove that obesity does not always associate with increased cancer risk. Indeed, despite excess body fat from birth to death, these individuals display a diminished incidence of cancer when compared to their age- and sex-matched relatives. Furthermore, in cell cultures exposed to potent oxidizing agents, addition of ELS serum induces less DNA damage as well as increased apoptosis. ELS individuals have absent growth hormone (GH) counter-regulatory effects in carbohydrate metabolism due to a defective GH receptor. The corresponding biochemical phenotype includes extremely low basal serum concentrations of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I, lower basal glucose and triglyceride (TG) levels, and diminished glucose, TG, and insulin responses to orally administered glucose or to a mixed meal.

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Nicola Fazio, Lorenzo Gervaso, Thorvardur R Halfdanarson, Mohamad Sonbol, Rachel A Eiring, Sara Pusceddu, Natalie Prinzi, Benedetta Lombardi Stocchetti, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, David J Gross, Thomas Walter, Patrick Robelin, Catherine Lombard-Bohas, Samuele Frassoni, Vincenzo Bagnardi, Lorenzo Antonuzzo, Clotilde Sparano, Sara Massironi, Fabio Gelsomino, Alberto Bongiovanni, Nicoletta Ranallo, Salvatore Tafuto, Maura Rossi, Mauro Cives, Ibrahim Rasul Kakil, Hytam Hamid, Alessandra Chirco, Michela Squadroni, Anna La Salvia, Jorge Hernando, Johannes Hofland, Anna Koumarianou, Sabrina Boselli, Darina Tamayo, Cristina Mazzon, Manila Rubino, and Francesca Spada

We conducted a retrospective/prospective worldwide study on patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) and a molecularly proven SARS-CoV-2 positivity. Preliminary results regarding 85 patients of the INTENSIVE study have been published in 2021. Now we are reporting the 2-year analysis.Here, we are reporting data from consecutive patients enrolled between 1 June 2020, and 31 May 2022. Among the 118 contacted centers, 25 were active to enroll and 19 actively recruiting at the time of data cut-off for a total of 280 patients enrolled. SARS-CoV-2 positivity occurred in 47.5% of patients in 2020, 35.1% in 2021, and 17.4% in 2022. The median age for COVID-19 diagnosis was 60 years. Well-differentiated tumors, non-functioning, metastatic stage, and gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) primary sites represented most of the NENs. COVID-19-related pneumonia occurred in 22.8% of the total, with 61.3% of them requiring hospitalization; 11 patients (3.9%) needed sub-intensive or intensive care unit therapies and 14 patients died (5%), in 11 cases (3.9%) directly related to COVID-19. Diabetes mellitus and age at COVID-19 diagnosis > 70 years were significantly associated with COVID-19 mortality, whereas thoracic primary site with COVID-19 morbidity. A significant decrease in both hospitalization and pneumonia occurred in 2022 vs 2020. In our largest series of NEN patients with COVID-19, the NEN population is similar to the general population of patients with NEN regardless of COVID-19. However, older age, non-GEP primary sites and diabetes mellitus should be carefully considered for increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Relevant information could be derived by integrating our results with NENs patients included in other cancer patients with COVID-19 registries.

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Nidhi Singh and Hannelore V Heemers

Prostate cancer (CaP) remains the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in American men. Systemic treatments for metastatic CaP, which causes the majority of deaths, include androgen deprivation therapy and chemotherapy. These treatments induce remissions but do not cure CaP. Novel and functionally diverse therapeutic targets that control the cell biology that drives aggressive CaP progression are needed to overcome treatment resistance. Because signal transduction that mediates CaP cell behavior is tightly regulated by phosphorylation, kinases have attracted interest as alternative targets for CaP treatments. Here, we examine emerging evidence from recent NextGen sequencing and (phospho) proteomics analyses on clinical CaP specimens that were obtained during lethal disease progression to determine the role for deregulated kinase action in CaP growth, treatment resistance and recurrence. We provide an overview of kinases that are impacted by gene amplification, gene depletion of somatic mutations during the progression from localized treatment-naïve CaP to metastatic castration-resistant CaP (CRPC) or neuroendocrine CaP (NEPC) and the potential impact of such alterations on aggressive CaP behavior and treatment efficacy. Furthermore, we review knowledge on alterations in the phosphoproteome that occur during the progression to treatment-resistant CaP, the molecular mechanisms in control of these changes and the signal transduction associated with them. Finally, we discuss kinase inhibitors under evaluation in CaP clinical trials and the potential, challenges and limitations to moving knowledge on the CaP kinome forward to new therapeutic strategies.