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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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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.

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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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Henry Crayton, Katherine Wu, David Leong, Nazim Bhimani, Matti Gild, and Anthony Glover

Diffuse sclerosing variant (DSV) of papillary thyroid carcinomais a rare form of thyroid cancer that demonstrates more aggressive histopathology than classical papillary thyroid carcinoma (c-PTC); however, if this leads to worse survival is debated. Many DSVs are driven by fusion events which are of recent clinical importance due to the advent of targeted RET inhibitors. A systematic search and meta-analysis of the literature was performed to compare outcomes of disease-specific mortality (DSM), metastatic and recurrent disease and the incidence of fusion events between DSV and c-PTC to July 2022. The Newcastle–Ottawa Quality Assessment studies was used to assess quality. An odds ratio (OR) was utilised to measure outcomes with 95% CIs. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guideline was followed. Seventeen studies were included with 874 DSV patients compared to 76,013 c-PTC patients. DSV patients had worse DSM (OR=2.50, 95% CI 1.39–4.51) and presented with a higher rate of metastatic lymph nodes (OR = 5.85, 95% CI 2.73–12.53) and more distant metastases (OR = 3.83, 95% CI 2.17–6.77). DSV patients had higher odds of recurrent disease (OR = 3.23, 95% CI 2.00–5.23) and overall distant metastasis (OR = 2.70, 95% CI 1.74–4.17). Rates of RET fusion alterations for DSV ranged from 25 to 83%. DSV has a worse prognosis than c-PTC with higher rates of recurrent disease and distant metastasis. The high prevalence of RET fusions offers the potential to improve outcomes for patients with DSV.

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Rachel Pimenta Riechelmann, Mauro Daniel Spina Donadio, Victor Hugo Fonseca de Jesus, Nathalia de Angelis de Carvalho, Karina Miranda Santiago, Milton J Barros, Laura Lopes, Gabriel Oliveira dos Santos, Maria Nirvana Formiga, Dirce Maria Carraro, and Giovana Tardin Torrezan

Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are a rare group of cancers with heterogeneous behaviour and mostly of unknown aetiology. Excluding some infrequent hereditary cancer syndromes, the extent and clinical significance of mutations in other cancer predisposing genes (CPGs) are not known. We aimed to investigate the frequency of pathogenic and likely germline pathogenic variants (GPVs) in known CPGs in young adults with NEN and the clinical and molecular characteristics of these patients. We recruited 108 patients with lung or digestive NEN diagnosed between 18 and 50 years and performed targeted sequencing of 113 CPGs on germline DNA. For some patients, tumour features such as loss of heterozygosity (LOH), tumour mutation burden and microsatellite instability were evaluated. GPVs were detected in 17 patients (15.7%). Median age, sex, stage at diagnosis, family history of NENs or any personal history of neoplasm were similar between patients with or without GPVs. GPV carriers had more gastric (P = 0.084), functioning NEN (P = 0.041), positive family history of cancer (P = 0.015) and exclusively well-differentiated histology. Genes affected were mostly involved in DNA repair (CHEK2, ERCC2, ERCC3, XPC, MSH6, POLE and SLX4), with most GPVs found in MUTYH (four cases). LOH was performed in eight tumours and detected only in an SLX4-positive case. Overall, our findings indicate a role of inherited genetic alterations, particularly in DNA repair genes, in NEN carcinogenesis in young adults. These patients more often had a family history of cancer and functioning NENs.

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Bence Sipos and Gunter Klöppel

Glucagon cell hyperplasia and neoplasia (GCHN) is the name of an endocrine receptor disease, whose morphology was first described in 2006. Three years later this rare disease was found to be to be caused by an inactivating mutation of the glucagon receptor (GCGR) gene. Functionally, the genetic defect mainly affects glucagon signaling in the liver with changes in the metabolism of glycogen, fatty acids and amino acids. Recent results of several studies in GCGR knockout mice suggested that elevated serum amino acid levels probably stimulate glucagon cell hyperplasia with subsequent transformation into glucagon cell neoplasia. This process leads over time to numerous small and some large pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors which are potentially malignant. Despite high glucagon serum levels, the patients develop no glucagonoma syndrome. In 2015 GCHN was identified as an autosomal recessive hereditary disorder.

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Emanuel Christ, Donato Iacovazzo, Márta Korbonits, and Aurel Perren

Endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (EHH) is a rare condition with an incidence of approximately 4–6 per million person-years and comprises a group of disorders causing hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia without exogenous administration of insulin or its secretagogues. In adults, most cases (approximately 90%) are secondary to a single insulinoma. Other causes include insulinoma in the context of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (approximately 5% of cases) and non-insulinoma pancreatogenous hypoglycemia syndrome, which is estimated to account for 0.5–5% of all cases. Recently, an entity called insulinomatosis has been described as a novel cause of EHH in adults. The characteristic feature of insulinomatosis is the synchronous or metachronous occurrence of multiple pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors expressing exclusively insulin. While most cases arise sporadically, there is recent evidence that autosomal dominant inheritance of mutations in the v-maf avian musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A (MAFA) gene can cause a familial form of insulinomatosis. In these families, EHH is paradoxically associated with the occurrence of diabetes mellitus within the same family. This review summarizes the current clinical, biochemical, imaging and genetic knowledge of this disease.

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Guo-Qiang Zhang, Chuang Xi, Chen-Tian Shen, Hong-jun Song, Quan-Yong Luo, and Zhong-ling Qiu

Radioiodine treatment is a fundamental therapy for patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Sodium/iodide symporter (NIS)-mediated iodine uptake is a prerequisite for the efficacy of radioiodine therapy. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pro-tumor cytokine, but its regulation of NIS expression in PTC has not been elucidated. In this study, we found that IL-6 enhanced the proliferation ability of PTC cells. Moreover, the negative association between IL-6 and NIS expression in thyroid cancer tissues was demonstrated. IL-6 downregulated thyroid-specific genes such as NIS, thyroid peroxidase, and thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor and thyroid-specific transcription factors including thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) and paired box protein-8 (PAX-8). The inhibitory effects of IL-6 on NIS expression were alleviated by mitogen-activated protein kinase and Janus kinase inhibitors. Depletion of c-Jun or STAT3 also rescued IL-6–induced NIS downregulation, with STAT3 depletion exerting a stronger effect. TTF-1 protein expression was also restored by depleting c-Jun or STAT3. STAT3 depletion, but not c-Jun depletion, alleviated the inhibitory effect of IL-6 on PAX-8 expression. Moreover, the downregulation of NIS by IL-6 was rescued by overexpressing TTF-1 and PAX-8. Tocilizumab, an IL-6 receptor blocker, did not have any cytostatic activity in PTC cells, and it also failed to induce redifferentiation in vitro. However, we found that the drug blocked the inhibitory effect of IL-6 on NIS expression. In summary, IL-6 inhibits NIS transcription in PTC cells by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase and Janus kinase signaling.

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Alaa Sada, Travis J McKenzie, Adrian Vella, Michael J Levy, and Thorvardur R Halfdanarson

Localized insulinoma is an uncommon entity that can result in substantial morbidity due to the associated hypoglycemia. Recent studies have suggested an increase in the incidence of insulinoma in recent decades that may possibly be secondary to increased awareness, incidental diagnoses, and better diagnostic methods. Diagnosing and localizing insulinoma within the pancreas can be challenging, but advances in nuclear imaging may improve diagnostic accuracy. Delays in diagnosis are common, but once a localized insulinoma is diagnosed and appropriately treated, the long-term prognosis is excellent. Surgical resection is considered the standard of care management option for localized insulinoma, but tumor ablation with endoscopic ultrasound guidance has also been shown to be an effective and safe method for therapy.