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Ioana N Milos, Karin Frank-Raue, Nelson Wohllk, Ana Luiza Maia, Eduardo Pusiol, Attila Patocs, Mercedes Robledo, Josefina Biarnes, Marta Barontini, Thera P Links, Jan Willem de Groot, Sarka Dvorakova, Mariola Peczkowska, Lisa A Rybicki, Maren Sullivan, Friedhelm Raue, Ioana Zosin, Charis Eng, and Hartmut P H Neumann

RET testing in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 for molecular diagnosis is the paradigm for the practice of clinical cancer genetics. However, precise data for distinct mutation-based risk profiles are not available. Here, we survey the clinical profile for one specific genotype as a model, TGC to TGG in codon 634 (C634W). By international efforts, we ascertained all available carriers of the RET C634W mutation. Age at diagnosis, penetrance, and clinical complications were analyzed for medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), pheochromocytoma, and hyperparathyroidism (HPT), as well as overall survival. Our series comprises 92 carriers from 20 unrelated families worldwide. Sixty-eight subjects had MTC diagnosed at age 3–72 years (mean 29). Lymph node metastases were observed in 16 subjects aged 20–72 and distant metastases in 4 subjects aged 28–69. Forty-one subjects had pheochromocytoma detected at age 18–67 (mean 36). Amongst the 28 subjects with MTC and pheochromocytoma, six developed pheochromocytoma before MTC. Six subjects had HPT diagnosed at age 26–52 (mean 39). Eighteen subjects died; of the 16 with known causes of death, 8 died of pheochromocytoma and 4 of MTC. Penetrance for MTC is 52% by age 30 and 83% by age 50, for pheochromocytoma penetrance is 20% by age 30 and 67% by age 50, and for HPT penetrance is 3% by age 30 and 21% by age 50. These data provide, for the first time, RET C634W-specific neoplastic risk and age-related penetrance profiles. The data may facilitate risk assessment and genetic counseling.

Free access

J -D Lin, B -Y Huang, and H -Y Chang

To investigate the difficulties in the diagnosis of thyroid microcarcinoma and to present the results of delaying diagnosis for these patients, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical information of 1259 thyroid carcinoma patients in one medical center. During a period of 20 years, from January 1977 to June 1997, 1259 thyroid cancer patients, including 921 papillary thyroid carcinoma patients, who received treatment and were followed-up at Chang Gung Medical Center in Linkou, Taiwan, were evaluated for inclusion in the study. Of these patients, 127 (13.2%) were diagnosed as having thyroid microcarcinoma. Forty-five patients were diagnosed as malignancy or suspicious malignancy preoperatively with ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration cytological examinations. In the analysis, the 127 thyroid microcarcinoma patients who received surgical treatment could be divided into four groups. Group I: patients with thyroid microcarcinoma with hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, in most of whom (except four patients) the thyroid microcarcinoma was found incidentally during the operation (28 cases). Group II: thyroid microcarcinoma in benign larger thyroid nodule or multinodular goiter, or thyroid microcarcinoma in coexistence with nodule goiter in one patient. The thyroid microcarcinomas in this group were found incidentally except in five patients (58 cases). Group III: thyroid microcarcinoma which could be detected as thyroid nodule preoperatively (28 cases). Group IV: thyroid microcarcinoma presented with neck lymph node metastases or distant metastases of the thyroid carcinoma (13 cases). Median follow-up period of these 127 patients was 4.7 years. During the follow-up period, two patients died, including one patient in group IV who died of skull metastasis with brain invasion. Another patient died of stroke, which was, however, not related to thyroid carcinoma. In conclusion, most thyroid microcarcinoma patients experienced rather benign clinical courses, but for patients with thyroid microcarcinoma with distant metastases, aggressive surgical treatment followed by radioactive 131I treatment is indicated.

Free access

Leelamma M Panicker, Jian-Hua Zhang, Pradeep K Dagur, Matthew J Gastinger, and William F Simonds

The hyperparathyroidism–jaw tumor syndrome (HPT–JT) is a familial cancer syndrome that can result from germline inactivation of HRPT2/CDC73, a putative tumor suppressor gene that encodes parafibromin, a component of the transcriptional regulatory PAF1 complex with homology to the yeast protein Cdc73p. The vast majority of HRPT2/CDC73 germline mutations identified have been truncation or frameshift mutations, and loss of function due to missense mutation is rare. We report here a kindred with HPT–JT due to a germline L95P missense mutation in parafibromin. The mutant parafibromin was studied in vitro to understand the basis of its presumed loss-of-function. When transfected in cultured cells, the L95P mutant was expressed to a lower level than wild-type (wt) parafibromin, a difference that was not overcome by inhibition of the proteasomal degradation pathway. The L95P mutant parafibromin retained the ability to assemble with endogenous PAF1 complex components as evidenced by co-immunoprecipitation. Analysis of subcellular localization showed that the L95P mutant was markedly deficient in nucleolar localization compared to the wt, an impairment likely resulting from disruption of a putative nucleolar localization signal immediately upstream of the L95P mutation. Transfection of the L95P parafibromin mutant, but not the wt, enhanced cell cycle progression and increased cell survival in NIH-3T3 and HEK 293 cells, resulting apparently from dominant interference with endogenous parafibromin action. The simultaneous loss of nucleolar localization and acquisition of a growth stimulatory phenotype with the L95P mutation raise the possibility that parafibromin must interact with targets in the nucleolus to fully execute its tumor suppressor functions.

Free access

Débora R Siqueira, Mírian Romitti, Andreia P da Rocha, Lucieli Ceolin, Camila Meotti, Aline Estivalet, Marcia K Puñales, and Ana Luiza Maia

The possible role of RET variants in modifying the natural course of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is still a matter of debate. Here, we investigate whether the RET variants L769L, S836S, and G691S/S904S influence disease presentation in hereditary or sporadic MTC patients. One hundred and two patients with hereditary MTC and 81 patients with sporadic MTC attending our institution were evaluated. The frequencies of RET polymorphisms in hereditary MTC were as follows: L769L, 17.3%; S836S, 7.95%; and S904S/G691S, 18.2%. No associations were observed between these polymorphisms and pheochromocytoma, hyperparathyroidism, lymph node, or distant metastasis. However, patients harboring the S836S variant were younger than those without this allele (17±8.2 vs 28.6±14.4 years, P=0.01), suggesting that these patients had metastases at a young age. Accordingly, the cumulative frequency of local and/or distant metastases as estimated by Kaplan–Meier curves showed that lymph node and distant metastases occurred earlier in patients harboring the S836S variant (P=0.003 and P=0.026 respectively). The S836S allele frequency was higher in sporadic MTC patients than in controls (10.5 vs 3.1%, P=0.01). Individuals harboring the S836S variant were younger (38.6±13.3 vs 48.5±16.7 years, P=0.02) and showed a higher percentage of lymph node and distant metastases (P=0.02 and P=0.04 respectively). Kaplan–Meier estimates of lymph node and distant metastases yielded distinct curves for patients with or without the S836S allele (P=0.002 and P=0.001 respectively). Additional analyses using a COX regression model showed that the S836S variant was independently associated with metastatic disease (hazard ratio 2.82 (95% confidence interval 1.51–5.26), P=0.001). In conclusion, the RET S836S variant is associated with early onset and increased risk for metastatic disease in patients with hereditary or sporadic MTC.

Free access

Thais Biude Mendes, Bruno Heidi Nozima, Alexandre Budu, Rodrigo Barbosa de Souza, Marcia Helena Braga Catroxo, Rosana Delcelo, Marcos Leoni Gazarini, and Janete Maria Cerutti

We have identified previously a panel of markers (C1orf24, ITM1 and PVALB) that can help to discriminate benign from malignant thyroid lesions. C1orf24 and ITM1 are specifically helpful for detecting a wide range of thyroid carcinomas, and PVALB is particularly valuable for detecting the benign Hürthle cell adenoma. Although these markers may ultimately help patient care, the current understanding of their biological functions remains largely unknown. In this article, we investigated whether PVALB is critical for the acquisition of Hürthle cell features and explored the molecular mechanism underlying the phenotypic changes. Through ectopic expression of PVALB in thyroid carcinoma cell lines (FTC-133 and WRO), we demonstrated that PVALB sequesters free cytoplasmic Ca2+, which ultimately lowers calcium levels and precludes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ refilling. These results were accompanied by induced expression of PERK, an ER stress marker. Additionally, forced expression of PVALB reduces Ca2+ inflow in the mitochondria, which can in turn cause changes in mitochondria morphology, increase mitochondria number and alter subcellular localization. These findings share striking similarity to those observed in Hürthle cell tumors. Moreover, PVALB inhibits cell growth and induces cell death, most likely through the AKT/GSK-3β. Finally, PVALB expression coincides with Ca2+ deposits in HCA tissues. Our data support the hypothesis that the loss of PVALB plays a role in the pathogenesis of thyroid tumors.

Free access

G Bidaux, M Roudbaraki, C Merle, A Crépin, P Delcourt, C Slomianny, S Thebault, J-L Bonnal, M Benahmed, F Cabon, B Mauroy, and N Prevarskaya

TRPM8 (melastatine-related transient receptor potential member 8), a member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily of cation channels, has been shown to be a calcium-channel protein. TRPM8 mRNA has also been shown to be overexpressed in prostate cancer and is considered to play an important role in prostate physiology. This study was designed to determine the androgen-regulation mechanisms for TRPM8 mRNA expression and to identify the phenotype of TRPM8-expressing cells in the human prostate. Our findings show that trpm8 gene expression requires a functional androgen receptor. Furthermore, this article argues strongly in favour of the fact that the trpm8 gene is a primary androgen-responsive gene. Single-cell reverse transcriptase PCR and immunohistochemical experiments also showed that the trpm8 gene was mainly expressed in the apical secretory epithelial cells of the human prostate and trpm8 down-regulation occurred during the loss of the apical differentiated phenotype of the primary cultured human prostate epithelial cells. The androgen-regulated trpm8 expression mechanisms are important in understanding the progression of prostate cancer to androgen-independence. These findings may contribute to design a strategy to predict prostate cancer status from the TRPM8 mRNA level. Furthermore, as the TRPM8 channel is localized in human prostate cells, it will be interesting to understand its physiological function in the normal prostate and its potential role in prostate cancer development.

Free access

Tanya K Day and Tina Bianco-Miotto

Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, are widely studied in cancer as they are stable and easy to measure genome wide. DNA methylation changes have been used to differentiate benign from malignant tissue and to predict tumor recurrence or patient outcome. Multiple genome wide DNA methylation studies in breast and prostate cancers have identified genes that are differentially methylated in malignant tissue compared with non-malignant tissue or in association with hormone receptor status or tumor recurrence. Although this has identified potential biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis, what is highlighted by reviewing these studies is the similarities between breast and prostate cancers. In particular, the gene families/pathways targeted by DNA methylation in breast and prostate cancers have significant overlap and include homeobox genes, zinc finger transcription factors, S100 calcium binding proteins, and potassium voltage-gated family members. Many of the gene pathways targeted by aberrant methylation in breast and prostate cancers are not targeted in other cancers, suggesting that some of these targets may be specific to hormonal cancers. Genome wide DNA methylation profiles in breast and prostate cancers will not only define more specific and sensitive biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis but also identify novel therapeutic targets, which may be direct targets of agents that reverse DNA methylation or which may target novel gene families that are themselves DNA methylation targets.

Free access

Mark A White, Efrosini Tsouko, Chenchu Lin, Kimal Rajapakshe, Jeffrey M Spencer, Sandi R Wilkenfeld, Sheiva S Vakili, Thomas L Pulliam, Dominik Awad, Fotis Nikolos, Rajasekhara Reddy Katreddy, Benny Abraham Kaipparettu, Arun Sreekumar, Xiaoliu Zhang, Edwin Cheung, Cristian Coarfa, and Daniel E Frigo

Despite altered metabolism being an accepted hallmark of cancer, it is still not completely understood which signaling pathways regulate these processes. Given the central role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in prostate cancer, we hypothesized that AR could promote prostate cancer cell growth in part through increasing glucose uptake via the expression of distinct glucose transporters. Here, we determined that AR directly increased the expression of SLC2A12, the gene that encodes the glucose transporter GLUT12. In support of these findings, gene signatures of AR activity correlated with SLC2A12 expression in multiple clinical cohorts. Functionally, GLUT12 was required for maximal androgen-mediated glucose uptake and cell growth in LNCaP and VCaP cells. Knockdown of GLUT12 also decreased the growth of C4-2, 22Rv1 and AR-negative PC-3 cells. This latter observation corresponded with a significant reduction in glucose uptake, indicating that additional signaling mechanisms could augment GLUT12 function in an AR-independent manner. Interestingly, GLUT12 trafficking to the plasma membrane was modulated by calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2 (CaMKK2)-5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling, a pathway we previously demonstrated to be a downstream effector of AR. Inhibition of CaMKK2-AMPK signaling decreased GLUT12 translocation to the plasma membrane by inhibiting the phosphorylation of TBC1D4, a known regulator of glucose transport. Further, AR increased TBC1D4 expression. Correspondingly, expression of TBC1D4 correlated with AR activity in prostate cancer patient samples. Taken together, these data demonstrate that prostate cancer cells can increase the functional levels of GLUT12 through multiple mechanisms to promote glucose uptake and subsequent cell growth.

Open access

Haojun Luo, Guanglun Yang, Tenghua Yu, Shujuan Luo, Chengyi Wu, Yan Sun, Manran Liu, and Gang Tu

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are crucial co-mediators of breast cancer progression. Estrogen is the predominant driving force in the cyclic regulation of the mammary extracellular matrix, thus potentially affecting the tumor-associated stroma. Recently, a third estrogen receptor, estrogen (G-protein-coupled) receptor (GPER), has been reported to be expressed in breast CAFs. In this study, GPER was detected by immunohistochemical analysis in stromal fibroblasts of 41.8% (59/141) of the primary breast cancer samples. GPER expression in CAFs isolated from primary breast cancer tissues was confirmed by immunostaining and RT-PCR analyses. Tamoxifen (TAM) in addition to 17β-estradiol (E2) and the GPER agonist G1 activated GPER, resulting in transient increases in cell index, intracellular calcium, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Furthermore, TAM, E2, and G1 promoted CAF proliferation and cell-cycle progression, both of which were blocked by GPER interference, the selective GPER antagonist G15, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor AG1478, and the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126. Importantly, TAM as well as G1 increased E2 production in breast CAFs via GPER/EGFR/ERK signaling when the substrate of E2, testosterone, was added to the medium. GPER-induced aromatase upregulation was probably responsible for this phenomenon, as TAM- and G1-induced CYP19A1 gene expression was reduced by GPER knockdown and G15, AG1478, and U0126 administration. Accordingly, GPER-mediated CAF-dependent estrogenic effects on the tumor-associated stroma are conceivable, and CAF is likely to contribute to breast cancer progression, especially TAM resistance, via a positive feedback loop involving GPER/EGFR/ERK signaling and E2 production.

Free access

Antônio Ribeiro-Oliveira Jr, Giulia Franchi, Blerina Kola, Paolo Dalino, Sérgio Veloso Brant Pinheiro, Nabila Salahuddin, Madalina Musat, Miklós I Góth, Sándor Czirják, Zoltán Hanzély, Deivid Augusto da Silva, Eduardo Paulino Jr, Ashley B Grossman, and Márta Korbonits

The molecular analysis of pituitary tumours has received a great deal of attention, although the majority of studies have concentrated on the genome and the transcriptome. We aimed to study the proteome of human pituitary adenomas. A protein array using 1005 monoclonal antibodies was used to study GH-, corticotrophin- and prolactin-secreting as well as non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs). Individual protein expression levels in the tumours were compared with the expression profile of normal pituitary tissue. Out of 316 proteins that were detected in the pituitary tissue samples, 116 proteins had not previously been described in human pituitary tissue. Four prominent differentially expressed proteins with potential importance to tumorigenesis were chosen for validation by immunohistochemistry and western blotting. In the protein array analysis heat shock protein 110 (HSP110), a chaperone associated with protein folding, and B2 bradykinin receptor, a potential regulator of prolactin secretion, were significantly overexpressed in all adenoma subtypes, while C-terminal Src kinase (CSK), an inhibitor of proto-oncogenic enzymes, and annexin II, a calcium-dependent binding protein, were significantly underexpressed in all adenoma subtypes. The immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the overexpression of HSP110 and B2 bradykinin receptor and underexpression of CSK and annexin II in pituitary adenoma cells when compared with their corresponding normal pituitary cells. Western blotting only partially confirmed the proteomics data: HSP110 was significantly overexpressed in prolactinomas and NFPAs, the B2 bradykinin receptor was significantly overexpressed in prolactinomas, annexin II was significantly underexpressed in somatotrophinomas, while CSK did not show significant underexpression in any tumour. Protein expression analysis of pituitary samples disclosed both novel proteins and putative protein candidates for pituitary tumorigenesis, though validation using conventional techniques are necessary to confirm the protein array data.