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F Lumachi, M C Marzola, P Zucchetta, A Tregnaghi, D Cecchin, and F Bui

A series of 112 consecutive patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who underwent both high-resolution neck ultrasonography (US) and 99mTc-sestamibi/99mTc-pertechnetate subtraction scintigraphy (SS) prior to successful parathyroidectomy was reviewed. There were 29 (25.9%) men and 83 (74.1%) women, with a median age of 58 years (range 13-78 years). Patients were divided into two groups, according to the preoperative US findings: group A (87 patients, 77.7%) without thyroid diseases, and group B (25 patients, 22.3%) with either multinodular goitre or a solitary nontoxic thyroid nodule. In group B patients partial or total thyroidectomy was also performed, according to the intraoperative findings and frozen-section examination results. Final histopathology showed 99 (88.4%) solitary parathyroid (PT) adenomas and 3 (2.7%) PT carcinomas, while 10 (8.9%) patients had a multiglandular disease. The sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) were (group A vs group B) 79.8% vs 70.8% (P=0.25) and 95.7% vs 94.4% (P=0.58) for US, and 83.3% vs 87.0% (P=0.47) and 95.9% vs 90.9% (P=0.32) for SS respectively. Better but similar (P=not significant) results were obtained in patients with solitary PT tumours: 81.5% vs 77.8% (US) and 85.0 vs 94.1% (SS) sensitivity; 97.1% vs 93.3% (US) and 95.8% vs 88.9% (SS) PPV. Overall, the combination of US and SS was 92.9% sensitive (group A=93.1%, group B=92.0%; P=0.55), and the PPV reached 100% in each group. In conclusion, in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism the results of both US and SS are independent of coexistent thyroid disease, especially in patients with solitary PT tumours.

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Xiao-Hua Jiang, Jie-Li Lu, Bin Cui, Yong-Ju Zhao, Wei-qing Wang, Jian-Min Liu, Wen-Qiang Fang, Ya-Nan Cao, Yan Ge, Chang-xian Zhang, Huguette Casse, Xiao-Ying Li, and Guang Ning

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an inherited tumour syndrome characterized by the development of tumours of the parathyroid, anterior pituitary and pancreatic islets, etc. Heterozygous germ line mutations of MEN1 gene are responsible for the onset of MEN1. We investigated the probands and 31 family members from eight unrelated Chinese families associated with MEN1 and identified four novel mutations, namely 373_374ins18, 822delT, 259delT and 1092delC, as well as three previously reported mutations, such as 357_360delCTGT, 427_428delTA and R108X (CGA>TGA) of MEN1 gene. Furthermore, we detected a loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 11q in the removed tumours, including gastrinoma, insulinoma and parathyroid adenoma from two probands of MEN1 families. RT-PCR and direct sequencing showed that mutant MEN1 transcripts remained in the MEN1-associated endocrine tumours, whereas normal menin proteins could not be detected in those tumours by either immunohistochemistry or immunoblotting. In conclusion, MEN1 heterozygous mutations are associated with LOH and menin absence, which are present in MEN1-associated endocrine tumours.

Free access

F Cetani, E Pardi, C Banti, P Collecchi, P Viacava, S Borsari, G Fanelli, A G Naccarato, F Saponaro, P Berti, P Miccoli, A Pinchera, and C Marcocci

Aberrant accumulation of β-catenin has been found in various types of human tumors. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether Wnt/β-catenin signaling is activated in parathyroid carcinomas and adenomas. We studied 154 parathyroid tumors (18 carcinomas (13 with distant metastases), six atypical adenomas, and 130 adenomas). Three normal parathyroid tissues were used as control. Direct sequencing of exon 3 of the CTNNB1 gene showed absence of stabilizing mutations in all the tumors. Immunostaining of β-catenin was performed in all carcinomas and in 66 adenomas (including three atypical). Normal parathyroid showed a homogeneous distinct outer cell membrane staining in the majority of cells and no nuclear staining. A weak cytoplasmic staining was observed in one case. All tumors showed negative nuclear staining. With the exception of one carcinoma, which had a negative membrane staining, all other samples showed a membrane staining which was similar to that of the normal parathyroid. β-Catenin expression was heterogeneous with a range of positive cells between 5 and 80%, independently of tumor type. Our results suggest that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is not involved in the development of parathyroid carcinomas and adenomas.

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Carole Guerin, Pauline Romanet, David Taieb, Thierry Brue, André Lacroix, Frederic Sebag, Anne Barlier, and Frederic Castinetti

Over the last years, the knowledge of MEN2 and non-MEN2 familial forms of pheochromocytoma (PHEO) has increased. In MEN2, PHEO is the second most frequent disease: the penetrance and age at diagnosis depend on the mutation of RET. Given the prevalence of bilateral PHEO (50% by age 50), adrenal sparing surgery, aimed at sparing a part of the adrenal cortex to avoid adrenal insufficiency, should be systematically considered in patients with bilateral PHEO. Non-MEN2 familial forms of PHEO now include more than 20 genes: however, only small phenotypic series have been reported, suggesting that phenotypic features of isolated hereditary PHEO must be better explored, and follow-up series are needed to better understand the outcome of patients carrying mutations of these genes. The first part of this review will mainly focus on these points. In the second part, a focus will be given on MEN2 and non-MEN2 familial forms of hyperparathyroidism (HPTH). Again, the management of MEN2 HPTH should be aimed at curing the disease while preserving an optimal quality of life by a tailored parathyroidectomy. The phenotypes and outcome of MEN1-, MEN4- and HRPT2-related HPTH are briefly described, with a focus on the most recent literature data and is compared with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia.

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Elham Barazeghi, Anthony J Gill, Stan Sidhu, Olov Norlén, Roberto Dina, F Fausto Palazzo, Per Hellman, Peter Stålberg, and Gunnar Westin

Primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) is rarely caused by parathyroid carcinoma (PC, <1–5% of pHPT cases). The TET proteins oxidize the epigenetic mark 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and inactivation by mutation or epigenetic deregulation of TET1 and TET2 play important roles in various cancers. Recently, we found that 5hmC was severely reduced in all of the analyzed PCs and with deranged expression of TET1 for the majority of PCs. Here, we have examined the expression of the TET2 protein in 15 5hmC-negative PCs from patients who had local invasion or metastases. Cell growth and cell migratory roles for TET2 as well as epigenetic deregulated expression were addressed. Immunohistochemistry revealed very low/undetectable expression of TET2 in all PCs and verified for two PCs that were available for western blotting analysis. Knockdown of TET2 in the parathyroid cell line sHPT-1 resulted in increased cell growth and increased cell migration. DNA sequencing of TET2 in PCs revealed two common variants and no obvious inactivating mutations. Quantitative bisulfite pyrosequencing analysis of the TET2 promoter CpG island revealed higher CpG methylation level in the PCs compared to that in normal tissues and treatment of a PC primary cell culture with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine caused increased expression of the methylated TET2 gene. Hence, the data suggest that deregulated expression of TET2 by DNA hypermethylation may contribute to the aberrantly low level of 5hmC in PCs and further that TET2 plays a cell growth and cell migratory regulatory role and may constitute a parathyroid tumor suppressor gene.

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Tomoko Sekiya, Marcello D Bronstein, Katiuscia Benfini, Viviane C Longuini, Raquel S Jallad, Marcio C Machado, Tatiana D Goncalves, Luciana H Osaki, Leonardo Higashi, Jose Viana-Jr, Claudio Kater, Misu Lee, Sara Molatore, Guilherme Francisco, Roger Chammas, Michel S Naslavsky, David Schlesinger, Patricia Gama, Yeda A O Duarte, Maria Lucia Lebrão, Mayana Zatz, Osorio Meirelles, Bernardo Liberman, Maria Candida B V Fragoso, Sergio P A Toledo, Natalia S Pellegata, and Rodrigo A Toledo

Abstract

Germline mutations in p27 kip1 are associated with increased susceptibility to multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN) both in rats and humans; however, the potential role of common polymorphisms of this gene in endocrine tumor susceptibility and tumorigenesis remains mostly unrecognized. To assess the risk associated with polymorphism rs2066827 (p27-V109G), we genotyped a large cohort of Brazilian patients with sporadic endocrine tumors (pituitary adenomas, n=252; pheochromocytomas, n=125; medullary thyroid carcinoma, n=51; and parathyroid adenomas, n=19) and 885 population-matched healthy controls and determined the odds ratios and 95% CIs. Significant associations were found for the group of patients with pituitary adenomas (P=0.01), particularly for those with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas (P=0.005). In contrast, no association was found with GH-secreting pituitary tumors alone or with the sporadic counterpart of MEN2-component neoplasias. Our in vitro analyses revealed increased colony formation and cell growth rate for an AtT20 corticotropin mouse cell line overexpressing the p27-V109G variant compared with cells transfected with the WT p27. However, the genotypic effects in genetic and in vitro approaches were divergent. In accordance with our genetic data showing specificity for ACTH-secreting pituitary tissues, the overexpression of p27-V109G in a GH3 somatotropin rat cell line resulted in no difference compared with the WT. Pituitary tumors are one of the major clinical components of syndromes associated with the p27 pathogenic mutations MENX and MEN4. Our genetic and in vitro data indicate that the common polymorphism rs2066827 may play a role in corticotropinoma susceptibility and tumorigenesis through a molecular mechanism not fully understood thus far.

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A Perren, S Schmid, T Locher, P Saremaslani, C Bonvin, P U Heitz, and P Komminoth

The tumorigenesis of sporadic endocrine tumors is still not fully understood. Activating point mutations of the serine/threonine kinase gene BRAF located on 7q34 are found in a wide range of malignancies, with the highest frequency (66%) occurring in malignant melanomas. Melanomas are tumors of neural-crest-derived cells as are medullary thyroid carcinomas, pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. BRAF has not been examined in endocrine tumors of the diffuse neuroendocrine system or of neural-crest-derived cells.

We examined 130 endocrine tumors of the pancreas, parathyroid gland, adrenal medulla, paraganglia, lung and gastrointestinal tract as well as follicular and c-cell-derived thyroid tumors. We found a high rate of V559E mutations in papillary thyroid carcinomas (47%), one V599E mutation in a well-differentiated gastric endocrine carcinoma (malignant carcinoid), but no activating BRAF mutations in all other endocrine tumors examined. These results point towards different pathways in tumorigenesis of endocrine tumors of various localizations and only rare involvement of the MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway in a subset of malignant neuroendocrine tumors.

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Filomena Cetani, Claudio Marcocci, Liborio Torregrossa, and Elena Pardi

Atypical parathyroid adenomas represent a group of intermediate form of parathyroid neoplasms of uncertain malignant potential which show some atypical histological features that represent a challenge for the differential diagnosis with parathyroid carcinomas. They may occur as sporadic or as a part of hereditary syndromes. The molecular signature of these neoplasms is still unknown and the germline CDC73 mutations appears to be the most common anomaly in this setting suggesting that these cases might represent variants of the hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor syndrome. The identification of markers predicting the outcome is of great importance to guide an adequate postoperative monitoring and, the same time, relieve of the anxiety of relatively strict monitoring patients not at risk. This review will summarize the current knowledge of the clinical, biochemical, molecular and histological profile of atypical parathyroid adenomas.

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Ta-Chun Yuan, Suresh Veeramani, Fen-Fen Lin, Dmitry Kondrikou, Stanislav Zelivianski, Tsukasa Igawa, Dev Karan, Surinder K. Batra, and Ming-Fong Lin

Neuroendocrine (NE) cells are the minor cell populations in normal prostate epithelial compartments. During prostate carcinogenesis, the number of NE cells in malignant lesions increases, correlating with its tumorigenicity and hormone-refractory growth. It is thus proposed that cancerous NE cells promote prostate cancer (PCa) cell progression and its androgen-independent proliferation, although the origin of the cancerous NE cells is not clear. To investigate the role of cancerous NE cells in prostate carcinogenesis, we characterized three NE subclone cell lines–NE-1.3, NE-1.8 and NE-1.9, which were transdifferentiated from androgen-sensitive human PCa LNCaP cells by culturing in an androgen-depleted environment, resembling clinical androgen-ablation therapy. These subclone cells acquire many features of NE cells seen in clinical prostate carcinomas, for example exhibiting a neuronal morphology and expressing multiple NE markers, including neuron-specific enolase, chromogranin B, neurotensin, parathyroid hormone-related peptide, and to a lesser degree for chromogranin A, while lacking androgen receptor (AR) or prostate specific antigen (PSA) expression. These cells represent terminally differentiated stable cells because after 3 months of re-culturing in a medium containing androgenic activity, they still retained the NE phenotype and expressed NE markers. Despite these NE cells having a slow growth rate, they readily developed xenograft tumors. Furthermore, media conditioned by these NE cells exhibited a stimulatory effect on proliferation and PSA secretion by LNCaP cells in androgen-deprived conditions. Additionally, we found that receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase α plays a role in upregulating multiple NE markers and acquiring the NE phenotype. These NE cells thus represent cancerous NE cells and could serve as a useful cell model system for investigating the role of cancerous NE cells in hormone-refractory proliferation of PCa cells.

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Elizabeth Grubbs, Daniel Halperin, Steven G Waguespack, and Robert F Gagel

The multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) workshops had their beginnings at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in June 1984. This initial meeting brought clinicians and scientists together to focus on mapping the gene for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2). These efforts culminated in the identification of the RET protooncogene as the causative gene a decade later. Over the next 35 years there were a total of 16 international workshops focused on the several MEN syndromes. Importantly, these workshops were instrumental in efforts to define the molecular basis for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), MEN2, von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL), Carney Complex, hereditary pheochromocytoma and hyperparathyroidism. In this same spirit some 150 scientists and clinicians met at MD Anderson Cancer Center, 27–29 March 2019, for the 16th International Workshop on Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN2019). Appropriate to its location in a cancer centre, the workshop focused on important issues in the causation and treatment of malignant aspects of the MEN syndromes: medullary thyroid carcinoma, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, malignant pheochromocytoma and parathyroid carcinoma. Workshops at the meeting focused on a better understanding of how the identified molecular defects in these genetic syndromes lead to transformation, how to apply targeted kinase inhibitors and immunotherapy to treat these tumours and important clinical management issues. This issue of Endocrine-Related Cancer describes these discussions and recommendations.