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Anela Blažević, Wouter T Zandee, Gaston J H Franssen, Johannes Hofland, Marie-Louise F van Velthuysen, Leo J Hofland, Richard A Feelders, and Wouter W de Herder

Mesenteric fibrosis (MF) surrounding a mesenteric mass is a hallmark feature of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumours (SI-NETs). Since this can induce intestinal obstruction, oedema and ischaemia, prophylactic resection of the primary tumour and mesenteric mass is often recommended. This study assessed the predictors for mesenteric metastasis and fibrosis and the effect of MF and palliative surgery on survival. A retrospective analysis of 559 patients with pathologically proven SI-NET and available CT-imaging data was performed. Clinical characteristics, presence of mesenteric mass and fibrosis on CT imaging and the effect of palliative abdominal surgery on overall survival were assessed. We found that MF was present in 41.4%. Older age, 5-HIAA excretion ≥67 μmol/24 h, serum CgA ≥121.5 μg/L and a mesenteric mass ≥27.5 mm were independent predictors of MF. In patients ≤52 years, mesenteric mass was less often found in women than in men (39% vs 64%, P = 0.002). Corrected for age, tumour grade, CgA and liver metastasis, MF was not a prognostic factor for overall survival. In patients undergoing palliative surgery, metastasectomy of mesenteric mass or prophylactic surgery did not result in survival benefit. In conclusion, we confirmed known predictors of MF and mesenteric mass and suggest a role for sex hormones as women ≤52 years have less often a mesenteric mass. Furthermore, the presence of MF has no effect on survival in a multivariate analysis, and we found no benefit of metastasectomy of mesenteric mass or prophylactic surgery on overall survival.

Free access

Yulong Li and William F Simonds

Familial syndromes of hyperparathyroidism, including multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN2A), and the hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor (HPT-JT), comprise 2–5% of primary hyperparathyroidism cases. Familial syndromes of hyperparathyroidism are also associated with a range of endocrine and nonendocrine tumors, including potential malignancies. Complications of the associated neoplasms are the major causes of morbidities and mortalities in these familial syndromes, e.g., parathyroid carcinoma in HPT-JT syndrome; thymic, bronchial, and enteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in MEN1; and medullary thyroid cancer and pheochromocytoma in MEN2A. Because of the different underlying mechanisms of neoplasia, these familial tumors may have different characteristics compared with their sporadic counterparts. Large-scale clinical trials are frequently lacking due to the rarity of these diseases. With technological advances and the development of new medications, the natural history, diagnosis, and management of these syndromes are also evolving. In this article, we summarize the recent knowledge on endocrine neoplasms in three familial hyperparathyroidism syndromes, with an emphasis on disease characteristics, molecular pathogenesis, recent developments in biochemical and radiological evaluation, and expert opinions on surgical and medical therapies. Because these familial hyperparathyroidism syndromes are associated with a wide variety of tumors in different organs, this review is focused on those endocrine neoplasms with malignant potential.

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S Crnalic, E Hörnberg, P Wikström, U H Lerner, Å Tieva, O Svensson, A Widmark, and A Bergh

Androgen receptors (ARs) are probably of importance during all phases of prostate cancer (PC) growth, but their role in bone metastases is largely unexplored. Bone metastases were therefore collected from hormone-naive (n=11), short-term castrated (n=7) and castration-resistant PC (CRPC, n=44) patients by biopsy (n=4) or at surgery to alleviate symptoms from metastases complications (metastasis surgery, n=58), and immunostained for nuclear ARs, Ki67, active caspase-3, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and chromogranin A, and results were related to serum PSA, treatments and outcome. Nuclear AR immunostaining was decreased and apoptosis was increased, but cell proliferation remained largely unaffected in metastases within a few days after surgical castration. In CRPC patients, nuclear AR staining of metastases was increased when compared to short-term castrated patients. The nuclear AR staining score was related to tumour cell proliferation, but it was not associated with other downstream effects of AR activation such as apoptosis and PSA staining, and it was only marginally related to the presence of neuroendocrine tumour cells. Serum PSA at metastasis surgery, although related to outcome, was not associated with AR staining, markers of metastasis growth or PSA staining in metastases. High nuclear AR immunostaining was associated with a particularly poor prognosis after metastasis surgery in CRPC patients, suggesting that such men may benefit from the potent AR blockers now tested in clinical trials.

Free access

Dorota Dworakowska and Ashley B Grossman

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant multisystem disorder characterised by the development of multiple hamartomas in numerous organs. It is caused by mutations of two tumour suppressor genes, TSC1 on chromosome 9q34 and TSC2 on chromosome 16p13.3, which encode for hamartin and tuberin respectively. The interaction between these two proteins, the tuberin–hamartin complex, has been shown to be critical to multiple intracellular signalling pathways, especially those controlling cell growth and proliferation. TSC may affect skin, central nervous system, kidneys, heart, eyes, blood vessels, lung, bone and gastrointestinal tract. Small series and case reports have documented that in tuberous sclerosis patients many endocrine system alterations might occur, affecting the function of the pituitary, parathyroid and other neuroendocrine tissue. There have been scattered reports of the involvement of such tissue in the pathological process of TSC, but no systematic review as to whether this is a true association. We have therefore systematically assessed all available published literature in this area. We conclude that there may be an association with pituitary and parathyroid tumours, and two recent descriptions of Cushing's disease are especially intriguing. However, the evidence seems more firm in the case of islet cell tumours, particularly insulinomas. As these latter may cause changes in mental state that may be confused with the cerebral manifestations of TSC per se, it is particularly important for physicians working with these patients to be aware of the putative and indeed likely association.

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Kenzo Nakano, Toshihiko Masui, Akitada Yogo, Yuichiro Uchida, Asahi Sato, Yosuke Kasai, Kazuyuki Nagai, Takayuki Anazawa, Yoshiya Kawaguchi, and Shinji Uemoto

Although pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PanNENs) are generally indolent, patients with distant metastasis have a dismal prognosis. Recently, the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) has been shown to suppress the tumour growth of PanNENs, but the detailed mechanisms have not been elucidated. Furthermore, these results were obtained from poorly differentiated cell lines rather than well-differentiated cell lines, which is the most prevalent type in this tumour. To explore the mechanism and efficacy of CQ on PanNENs, we applied CQ to cell lines and evaluated the resulting apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. CQ treatment induced ER stress, and an unfolded protein response was activated through the PERK-eIF2α-ATF4 pathway, resulting in the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), which reflects ER-stress-mediated apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was effective in Men1 heterozygous-deficient (Men1+/ΔN3-8) mice, a mouse PanNEN model that is considered to correspond to human low-grade PanNEN. HCQ administration decreased tumour size in Men1+/ΔN3-8 mice. In the HCQ group, histological analyses revealed that proliferative activity was unchanged, but apoptosis was accelerated, accompanied by CHOP expression. These results suggest that autophagy inhibition by CQ/HCQ could be used for the treatment of PanNEN, including the well-differentiated type.

Open access

Emanuel Christ, Kwadwo Antwi, Melpomeni Fani, and Damian Wild

Receptors for the incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1R) have been found overexpressed in selected types of human tumors and may, therefore, play an increasingly important role in endocrine gastrointestinal tumor management. In particular, virtually all benign insulinomas express GLP-1R in high density. Targeting GLP-1R with indium-111, technetium-99m or gallium-68-labeled exendin-4 offers a new approach that permits the successful localization of small benign insulinomas. It is likely that this new non-invasive technique has the potential to replace the invasive localization of insulinomas by selective arterial stimulation and venous sampling. In contrast to benign insulinomas, malignant insulin-secreting neuroendocrine tumors express GLP-1R in only one-third of the cases, while they more often express the somatostatin subtype 2 receptors. Importantly, one of the two receptors appears to be always overexpressed. In special cases of endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (EHH), that is, in the context of MEN-1 or adult nesidioblastosis GLP-1R imaging is useful whereas in postprandial hypoglycemia in the context of bariatric surgery, GLP-1R imaging is probably not helpful. This review focuses on the potential use of GLP-1R imaging in the differential diagnosis of EHH.

Free access

Joanna Grey and Kym Winter

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) refers to the autosomal-dominant neuroendocrine tumour syndromes, MEN type 2A (MEN2A) and MEN type 2B (MEN2B). They are typified by the development of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), phaeochromocytoma and parathyroid hyperplasia in MEN2A and MTC, phaeochromocytomas, ganglioneuromatosis and skeletal abnormalities in MEN2B. The aggressiveness of MTC is variable according to genotype, and although it is still the major cause of mortality in both conditions, prognosis has improved dramatically in those diagnosed and treated at a young age thanks to predictive genetic testing. Nevertheless, metastatic MTC, ganglioneuromatosis and a variety of other negative clinical and psychosocial impacts on quality of life and/or prognosis in MEN2 persist. In the absence, at the time of writing, of any large-scale research into quality of life specifically in MEN2, this review includes data from patient surveys and anonymised patient anecdotes from the records of the Association for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Disorders (AMEND), for whom the authors work. We recommend that these patients are cared for only in centres of expertise able to provide expert diagnosis, treatment and continuity of care, including psychological and transition support. Only in this way can the clinical advances of the last two and half decades be built upon further to ensure that the care of these complex, lifelong patients can be considered truly holistic.

Free access

Francesca Marini, Francesca Giusti, Francesco Tonelli, and Maria Luisa Brandi

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant endocrine tumor syndrome, caused by inactivating mutations of the MEN1 tumor suppressor gene at 11q13 locus, which predisposes to develop tumors in target neuroendocrine tissues. As the positional cloning and identification of the causative gene in 1997, genetic diagnosis, by the sequencing-based research of gene mutations, has become an important tool in the early and differential diagnosis of the disease. Application of the genetic test, in MEN1 index cases and in first-degree relatives of mutated patients, has been constantly increasing during the last two decades, also thanks to the establishment of multidisciplinary referral centers and specific genetic counseling, and thanks to the wide availability of high throughput instruments for gene sequencing and gene mutation identification. The MEN1 genetic test helps the specific diagnosis of probands, and allows the early identification of asymptomatic carriers, strongly contributing, together with progressions in tumor diagnostic techniques and in pharmacological and surgical therapeutic approaches, to the reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with the syndrome. International clinical guidelines for MEN1 have been drafted by panels of specialists in the field, with the main goal to improve the management of the disease and grant patients a better quality of life. Here, we review main recommendations and suggestions derived by the last published general guidelines in 2012, and by most recent published studies about MEN1 syndrome diagnosis, clinical management, therapeutic approaches and patients’ quality of life.

Free access

Jenny Welander, Peter Söderkvist, and Oliver Gimm

Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and paragangliomas (PGLs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal glands and the sympathetic and parasympathetic paraganglia. They can occur sporadically or as a part of different hereditary tumor syndromes. About 30% of PCCs and PGLs are currently believed to be caused by germline mutations and several novel susceptibility genes have recently been discovered. The clinical presentation, including localization, malignant potential, and age of onset, varies depending on the genetic background of the tumors. By reviewing more than 1700 reported cases of hereditary PCC and PGL, a thorough summary of the genetics and clinical features of these tumors is given, both as part of the classical syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2), von Hippel–Lindau disease, neurofibromatosis type 1, and succinate dehydrogenase-related PCC–PGL and within syndromes associated with a smaller fraction of PCCs/PGLs, such as Carney triad, Carney–Stratakis syndrome, and MEN1. The review also covers the most recently discovered susceptibility genes including KIF1B β , EGLN1/PHD2, SDHAF2, TMEM127, SDHA, and MAX, as well as a comparison with the sporadic form. Further, the latest advances in elucidating the cellular pathways involved in PCC and PGL development are discussed in detail. Finally, an algorithm for genetic testing in patients with PCC and PGL is proposed.

Free access

Jennifer L Bishop, Alastair Davies, Kirsi Ketola, and Amina Zoubeidi

Prostate cancer (PCa) has become the most common form of cancer in men in the developed world, and it ranks second in cancer-related deaths. Men that succumb to PCa have a disease that is resistant to hormonal therapies that suppress androgen receptor (AR) signaling, which plays a central role in tumor development and progression. Although AR continues to be a clinically relevant therapeutic target in PCa, selection pressures imposed by androgen-deprivation therapies promote the emergence of heterogeneous cell populations within tumors that dictate the severity of disease. This cellular plasticity, which is induced by androgen deprivation, is the focus of this review. More specifically, we address the emergence of cancer stem-like cells, epithelial–mesenchymal or myeloid plasticity, and neuroendocrine transdifferentiation as well as evidence that demonstrates how each is regulated by the AR. Importantly, because all of these cell phenotypes are associated with aggressive PCa, we examine novel therapeutic approaches for targeting therapy-induced cellular plasticity as a way of preventing PCa progression.