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Sten Myrehaug, David L Chan, Victor Rodriguez-Freixinos, Hans Chung, Julie Hallet, Calvin Law, Chirag Patel, Laurent Milot, John Hudson, Hanbo Chen, and Simron Singh

Liver metastases are common in patients with neuroendocrine tumours. For patients, management must balance disease control with consideration of toxicity, given limited treatment options. Everolimus has demonstrated effectiveness in neuroendocrine neoplasms. Given emerging data of a synergistic effect with radiation therapy, we evaluated combined everolimus and radiation for neuroendocrine liver metastases. This single-arm, single-centre prospective pilot study evaluated the safety and efficacy of combined everolimus and radiotherapy for well-differentiated neuroendocrine liver metastases. Patients with unresectable liver metastases received everolimus for 30 days, followed by concurrent everolimus and liver radiotherapy, then a further 14 days of everolimus. Tolerability was evaluated using the CTCAE v.4.03. Individual metastasis response rate and local control were measured by RECIST v1.1. Overall survival, progression-free survival and freedom from a change in systemic therapy were estimated by the Kaplan–Meier method. Forty metastases were treated in 14 patients. No grade 3 or higher toxicities were identified in the concurrent treatment phase; one patient developed grade 3 toxicity in the post-radiation phase. Overall response rate was 38%. One- and 2-year local control were 97% and 71%. Median progression-free survival was 12 months. One- and 2-year overall survival were 100% and 92%. In conclusion, combined everolimus and radiation are well-tolerated for neuroendocrine liver metastases and are associated with excellent local control. The approach of selective local ablation of oligometastatic or oligoprogressive disease warrants further evaluation in this patient population.

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Anela Blazevic, Martijn P A Starmans, Tessa Brabander, Roy S Dwarkasing, Renza A H van Gils, Johannes Hofland, Gaston J H Franssen, Richard A Feelders, Wiro J Niessen, Stefan Klein, and Wouter W de Herder

Metastatic mesenteric masses of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) are known to often cause intestinal complications. The aim of this study was to identify patients at risk to develop these complications based on routinely acquired CT scans using a standardized set of clinical criteria and radiomics. Retrospectively, CT scans of SI-NET patients with a mesenteric mass were included and systematically evaluated by five clinicians. For the radiomics approach, 1128 features were extracted from segmentations of the mesenteric mass and mesentery, after which radiomics models were created using a combination of machine learning approaches. The performances were compared to a multidisciplinary tumor board (MTB). The dataset included 68 patients (32 asymptomatic, 36 symptomatic). The clinicians had AUCs between 0.62 and 0.85 and showed poor agreement. The best radiomics model had a mean AUC of 0.77. The MTB had a sensitivity of 0.64 and specificity of 0.68. We conclude that systematic clinical evaluation of SI-NETs to predict intestinal complications had a similar performance than an expert MTB, but poor inter-observer agreement. Radiomics showed a similar performance and is objective, and thus is a promising tool to correctly identify these patients. However, further validation is needed before the transition to clinical practice.

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Ophélie De Rycke, Thomas Walter, Marine Perrier, Olivia Hentic, Catherine Lombard-Bohas, Romain Coriat, Guillaume Cadiot, Anne Couvelard, Philippe Ruszniewski, Jérôme Cros, and Louis de Mestier

A rechallenge is common after the initial efficacy of alkylating-based chemotherapy (ALK) in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNET). High MGMT expression seems associated with a lower response to ALK. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of ALK rechallenge in PanNET, and to assess the evolution of MGMT expression under ALK. All consecutive patients with advanced PanNETs who received initial ALK (achieving tumor control) followed by a pause of > 3 months, then an ALK rechallenge (ALK2) upon progression were retrospectively studied (cohort A). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival under ALK2 (PFS2). The MGMT expression was retrospectively assessed by immunohistochemistry (H-score) in consecutive PanNET surgically resected following ALK (cohort B). We found that Cohort A included 62 patients (median Ki67 8%), for whom ALK1 followed by a pause achieved an objective response rate of 55% and a PFS1 of 23.7 months (95% IC, 19.8–27.6). ALK2 achieved no objective response and stability in 62% of patients. The median PFS2 was 9.2 months (IC 95% 7.1–11.3). At multivariable analysis, a hormonal syndrome (P = 0.032) and a pause longer than 12 months (P = 0.041) were associated with a longer PFS2. In cohort B (17 patients), the median MGMT H-score increased from 45 (IQR 18–105) before ALK to 100 (IQR 56–180) after ALK (P = 0.003). We conclude that after the initial efficacy of ALK treatment, a pause followed by ALK rechallenge might be appropriate to prolong tumor control, improve quality of life and limit long-term adverse events. Increased MGMT expression under ALK might explain the low efficacy of ALK rechallenge.

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Tung Hoang, Quy Nguyen Ngoc, Jeonghee Lee, Eun Kyung Lee, Yul Hwangbo, and Jeongseon Kim

The cumulative effect of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on thyroid cancer has been adequately defined in individuals of European ancestry; however, similar evidence in the Korean population is limited. This study aimed to investigate the influence of modifiable factors and the polygenic risk score (PRS) and their interactive and combined effects on thyroid cancer. Using data from the cancer screenee cohort, this study included 759 thyroid cancer cases and 759 age- and sex-matched controls. We examined the effects of tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and regular exercise habits, BMI, and the PRS of six SNPs on thyroid cancer. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations were obtained using a conditional logistic regression model. The results indicated that family history, obesity, and the unweighted and weighted PRS were independently associated with susceptibility to thyroid cancer, with ORs (95% CIs) of 2.96 (1.63–5.36), 1.72 (1.20–2.48), 1.46 (1.10–1.93), and 1.56 (1.19–2.03), respectively, whereas the effect of smoking, drinking, and regular exercise was not significant. The contribution of the PRS remained after stratifying participants with healthy behaviors, such as nonsmokers/nondrinkers, and regular exercise. Although the PRS did not significantly contribute to the risk for thyroid cancer when participants were stratified according to BMI, BMI and the PRS had a cumulative effect on thyroid cancer risk. The combined effect of genetic polymorphisms on predisposition to thyroid cancer may differ based on tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, regular exercise behaviors and cumulative BMI. Larger population-based studies are needed to validate these findings.

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Milena Simões Peixoto, Andressa de Vasconcelos e Souza, Iris Soares Andrade, Carolina de Carvalho el Giusbi, Caroline Coelho Faria, Fabio Hecht, Leandro Miranda-Alves, Andrea Claudia Freitas Ferreira, Denise Pires Carvalho, and Rodrigo S Fortunato

Breast cancer and thyroid dysfunctions have been associated for decades. Although many studies suggest a biological correlation, the mechanisms linking these two pathologies have not been elucidated. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can oxidize lipids, proteins, and DNA molecules and may promote tumor initiation. Hence, we aimed at evaluating the mammary redox balance and genomic instability in a model of experimental hypothyroidism. Female Wistar rats were treated with 0.03% methimazole for 7 or 21 days to evaluate ROS generation, antioxidant enzyme activities, and oxidative stress biomarkers, as well as genomic instability. After 7 days, lower catalase, GPX, and DUOX activities were detected in the breast of hypothyroid group compared to the control while the levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) were higher. In addition, hypothyroid group showed an increase in γH2Ax/H2Ax ratio. Twenty-one days hypothyroid group had increased catalase and SOD activities, without significant differences between groups in the levels of oxidative stress biomarkers and DNA damage. TSH-treated MCF10A cells showed a higher extracellular, intracellular, and mitochondrial ROS production. Additionally, greater DNA damage was observed in these cells, demonstrated by a higher comet tail DNA percentage and increased 53BP1 foci. Finally, we found that TSH treatment was not able to alter cell viability. The Genome Cancer Atlas (TGCA) data showed that high TSHR expression is associated with more invasive breast cancer types. In conclusion, we demonstrate that oxidative stress and DNA damage in breast are early events of experimental hypothyroidism. Moreover, high TSH levels induce oxidative stress and genomic instability in mammary cells.

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Ha Nguyen, Komal Shah, Steven G Waguespack, Mimi I Hu, Mouhammed Amir Habra, Maria E Cabanillas, Naifa L Busaidy, Roland Bassett, Shouhao Zhou, Priyanka C Iyer, Garrett Simmons, Diana Kaya, Marie Pitteloud, Sumit K Subudhi, Adi Diab, and Ramona Dadu

Data on the diagnosis, natural course and management of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-related hypophysitis (irH) are limited. We propose this study to validate the diagnostic criteria, describe characteristics and hormonal recovery and investigate factors associated with the occurrence and recovery of irH. A retrospective study including patients with suspected irH at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 5/2003 to 8/2017 was conducted. IrH was defined as: (1) ACTH or TSH deficiency plus MRI changes or (2) ACTH and TSH deficiencies plus headache/fatigue in the absence of MRI findings. We found that of 83 patients followed for a median of 1.75 years (range 0.6–3), the proposed criteria used at initial evaluation accurately identified 61/62 (98%) irH cases. In the irH group (n = 62), the most common presentation was headache (60%), fatigue (66%), central hypothyroidism (94%), central adrenal insufficiency (69%) and MRI changes (77%). Compared with non-ipilimumab (ipi) regimens, ipi has a stronger association with irH occurrence (P = 0.004) and a shorter time to irH development (P < 0.01). Thyroid, gonadal and adrenal axis recovery occurred in 24, 58 and 0% patients, respectively. High-dose steroids (HDS) or ICI discontinuation was not associated with hormonal recovery. In the non-irH group (n = 19), one patient had isolated central hypothyroidism and six had isolated central adrenal insufficiency. All remained on hormone therapy at the last follow-up. We propose a strict definition of irH that identifies the vast majority of patients. HDS and ICI discontinuation is not always beneficial. Long-term follow-up to assess recovery is needed.

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Murali Kesavan, Piyush Grover, Wei-sen Lam, Phillip G Claringbold, and J Harvey Turner

Thirty-seven patients with advanced gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEPNETs) were treated on a prospective phase II single-center study with four cycles of 7.8 GBq 177Lu-octreotate combined with capecitabine and temozolomide chemotherapy (CAPTEM). Each 8-week cycle combined radiopeptide therapy with 14 days of capecitabine (1500 mg/m2) and 5 days of temozolomide (200 mg/m2). The incidence of grade ≥ 3 hematologic toxicity was analyzed. At a median follow-up of 7-years (range 1–10), six (16%) patients developed persistent hematologic toxicity (PHT) (defined as sustained grade ≥ 3 hematologic toxicity beyond 36-months follow-up) and three (8%) developed MDS/AL with a median time-to-event of 46 and 34 months, respectively. The estimated cumulative incidence of MDS/AL was 11% (95% CI: 3.45–24.01). Development of PHT was the only significant risk factor for secondary MDS/AL (RR, 16; 95% CI: 2.53 to 99.55; P < 0.001). The median PFS was 48 months (95% CI: 40.80–55.20), and the median OS was 86 months (95% CI: 56.90–115.13). Twenty-one deaths were recorded, including 13 (62%) due to progressive disease and all 3 (14%) patients with MDS/AL. 177Lu-octreotate CAPTEM therapy for GEPNETs is associated with a risk of long-term hematologic toxicity. The rising cumulative incidence of MDS/AL > 10% mandates the long-term monitoring of treated patients. However, time to onset is unpredictable, and incidence does not correlate with conventional baseline risk factors. Novel methods are required for the stratification of prospective patients based on genetic risk.

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Huy Gia Vuong, Truong P X Nguyen, Hanh T T Ngo, Lewis Hassell, and Kennichi Kakudo

Malignant thyroid teratoma (MTT) is a very rare thyroid malignancy. These neoplasms have been reported only in case reports and small-sized case series so far. In this study, we searched for MTTs in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result (SEER) program during 1975–2016. Subsequently, we incorporated the SEER data with published MTT cases in the literature to analyze the characteristics and prognostic factors of MTTs. Integrated data were analyzed using chi-square or Fisher’s exact test for categorical covariates, and t-test or Mann-Whitney test for continuous variables. We included 28 studies with 36 MTT cases and found additional 8 cases from the SEER program for final analyses. Our results showed that MTT is typically seen in adult females. These neoplasms were associated with an aggressive clinical course with high rates of extrathyroidal extension (80%) and nodal involvement (62%). During follow-up, the development of recurrence and metastases were common (42% and 46%, respectively), and one-third of patients died at the last follow-up. Large tumor size (P  = 0.022) and the presence of metastases during follow-up (P  = 0.008) were associated with a higher mortality rate. In conclusion, our study demonstrated the characteristic features of MTT patients and outlined some parameters associated with a negative outcome which could help clinicians better predict the clinical course of these neoplasms.

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Xiong Wang, Li Ma, Qiao-yan Ding, Wen-yu Zhang, Yong-gang Chen, Jin-hu Wu, Hong-feng Zhang, and Xiu-li Guo

Prolactinomas have harmful effects on human health, and the pathogenesis is still unknown. Furthermore, 25% of prolactinoma patients do not respond to the therapy of dopamine receptor agonist in the clinic. Thus, it is important to reveal the pathogenesis and develop new therapeutic methods for prolactinomas. Herein, two animal models of prolactinomas, namely oestrogen-treated rats and transgenic D2 dopamine receptor-deficient mice, were used. PET/CT imaging detection showed that translocator protein-mediated microglia activation and inflammation significantly increased in the pituitary glands of prolactinomas rats. Messenger RNA microarrays were used to analyze and compare the differential gene and signal pathways of the pituitary glands between control and prolactinomas rats. Statistical results pertaining to gene enrichment showed that the innate immune response genes were upregulated in the pituitary glands of prolactinoma rats. This suggested that the innate immune response was activated. We analyzed the NLRP3 (NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing protein 3) inflammasome that is one of the most important members of the innate immune system in mammals and found that the expressions of NLRP3, Caspase-1, apoptosis-associated speck-like, interleukin 1B (IL1B) and IL18 proteins of pituitary glands in prolactinomas rats were increased considerably compared with those in control rats. This suggested the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome during the emergence and evolution of prolactinomas. Immunohistochemistry results also confirmed that the NLRP3 expression was elevated in human prolactinoma tissues, and the microglia marker-ionised calcium binding adaptor molecule-1 was co-located with the NLRP3 protein in prolactinomas by immunofluorescence assay. Finally, compared with the WT mice, NLRP3−/− mice had smaller pituitary glands (weight/body weight) and diminished prolactin (PRL) expressions and secretions. These findings were associated with a reduction in the caspase-1 activation and maturation of IL1B. Furthermore, MCC950 decreased the PRL expression and secretion following the inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome activation in GH3 cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and nigericin. And MCC950 inhibited the pituitary tumor overgrowth and PRL expression and secretion in prolactinoma rats. These data confirm that the microglial NLRP3 inflammasome activation upregulates the inflammatory cytokines IL1/IL18 in the pituitary glands and induces prolactinomas. Our findings showed that microglial NLRP3 inflammasome activation-mediated IL1B-related inflammation promoted the development of prolactinomas and identified the inflammasome as a new therapeutic target for prolactinomas.

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Chiara Borga, Carlo Alberto Dal Pozzo, Elisabetta Trevellin, Francesca Bergamo, Sabina Murgioni, Anna Caterina Milanetto, Claudio Pasquali, Umberto Cillo, Giada Munari, Chiara Martini, Eugenio De Carlo, Vittorina Zagonel, Vincenza Guzzardo, Gianmaria Pennelli, Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, Roberto Vettor, and Matteo Fassan

The knowledge of the molecular landscape of ileal neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is affected by the lack of systematic studies investigating intra-tumoral heterogeneity. In this study, intra-tumoral heterogeneity was investigated in 27 primary ileal G1-NETs and their matched nodal and liver metastases in order to assess the tumor grading, the expression status of two somatostatin receptor isoforms (i.e. SSTR2A and SSTR5) and mTOR signaling dysregulation (ph-mTOR, ph-p70S6K, ph-4EBP1, PTEN and miR-21). Among the 27 G1 primary tumors, 4 shifted to G2 in the matched liver metastasis. Although mTOR activation was pretty consistent between primary and secondary malignancies, mTOR effectors (ph-p70S6K and ph-4EBP1) were overexpressed in matched liver metastases, whereas PTEN expression profile changed in only two cases. MiR-21 was significantly up-regulated in the metastatic setting. Although SSTRs expression was present in most of the primary tumors and matched metastasis, we found SSTR5 expression to be significantly increased in liver metastases. Notably, SSTRs expression was heterogeneous within the same lesions in most of the lesions. Overall, despite primary and metastatic ileal NETs show a similar molecular landscape, tumor grading and mTOR signaling pathway may diverge in the metastatic setting, thus affecting prognosis and treatment.