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Free access

Rosalinda M Savoy and Paramita M Ghosh

A new paper by Tawadros et al. in Endocrine-Related Cancer demonstrates a link between macrophage migration inhibitory factor and neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate cancer. This paper may have implications in explaining the effect of prostatitis and chronic inflammation on the development of aggressive prostate cancer.

Free access

Jennifer A Chan, David P Ryan, Andrew X Zhu, Thomas A Abrams, Brian M Wolpin, Paige Malinowski, Eileen M Regan, Charles S Fuchs, and Matthew H Kulke

Octreotide and everolimus have demonstrated efficacy in neuroendocrine tumors. Pasireotide is a somatostatin analog with binding affinity to a broader range of somatostatin receptor subtypes than octreotide. We performed a phase I study to evaluate the safety and feasibility of combining pasireotide with everolimus in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Cohorts of patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors were treated with escalating doses of pasireotide (600–1200 μg s.c. b.i.d., followed by pasireotide LAR 40–60 mg i.m. monthly) and everolimus (5–10 mg daily). Twenty-one patients were treated. Dose-limiting toxicities consisting of grade 3 rash and grade 3 diarrhea were observed. Twelve patients were safely treated at the maximum protocol-defined dose level of pasireotide LAR 60 mg i.m. monthly and everolimus 10 mg daily. Hyperglycemia was common; other observed toxicities were consistent with the known toxicities of either agent alone. Partial tumor response was observed in one patient; 17 (81%) patients experienced at least some tumor regression as their best response to therapy. In conclusion, pasireotide LAR 60 mg i.m. monthly in combination with everolimus 10 mg daily is feasible and associated with preliminary evidence of antitumor activity in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Further studies evaluating this combination are warranted.

Free access

G Rindi, C Klersy, F Inzani, G Fellegara, L Ampollini, A Ardizzoni, N Campanini, P Carbognani, T M De Pas, D Galetta, P L Granone, L Righi, M Rusca, L Spaggiari, M Tiseo, G Viale, M Volante, M Papotti, and G Pelosi

Lung neuroendocrine tumors are catalogued in four categories by the World Health Organization (WHO 2004) classification. Its reproducibility and prognostic efficacy was disputed. The WHO 2010 classification of digestive neuroendocrine neoplasms is based on Ki67 proliferation assessment and proved prognostically effective. This study aims at comparing these two classifications and at defining a prognostic grading system for lung neuroendocrine tumors. The study included 399 patients who underwent surgery and with at least 1 year follow-up between 1989 and 2011. Data on 21 variables were collected, and performance of grading systems and their components was compared by Cox regression and multivariable analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided. At Cox analysis, WHO 2004 stratified patients into three major groups with statistically significant survival difference (typical carcinoid vs atypical carcinoid (AC), P=0.021; AC vs large-cell/small-cell lung neuroendocrine carcinomas, P<0.001). Optimal discrimination in three groups was observed by Ki67% (Ki67% cutoffs: G1 <4, G2 4–<25, G3 ≥25; G1 vs G2, P=0.021; and G2 vs G3, P≤0.001), mitotic count (G1 ≤2, G2 >2–47, G3 >47; G1 vs G2, P≤0.001; and G2 vs G3, P≤0.001), and presence of necrosis (G1 absent, G2 <10% of sample, G3 >10% of sample; G1 vs G2, P≤0.001; and G2 vs G3, P≤0.001) at uni and multivariable analyses. The combination of these three variables resulted in a simple and effective grading system. A three-tiers grading system based on Ki67 index, mitotic count, and necrosis with cutoffs specifically generated for lung neuroendocrine tumors is prognostically effective and accurate.

Open access

Tobias Hofving, Yvonne Arvidsson, Bilal Almobarak, Linda Inge, Roswitha Pfragner, Marta Persson, Göran Stenman, Erik Kristiansson, Viktor Johanson, and Ola Nilsson

Experimental models of neuroendocrine tumour disease are scarce, and no comprehensive characterisation of existing gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumour (GEPNET) cell lines has been reported. In this study, we aimed to define the molecular characteristics and therapeutic sensitivity of these cell lines. We therefore performed immunophenotyping, copy number profiling, whole-exome sequencing and a large-scale inhibitor screening of seven GEPNET cell lines. Four cell lines, GOT1, P-STS, BON-1 and QGP-1, displayed a neuroendocrine phenotype while three others, KRJ-I, L-STS and H-STS, did not. Instead, these three cell lines were identified as lymphoblastoid. Characterisation of remaining authentic GEPNET cell lines by copy number profiling showed that GOT1, among other chromosomal alterations, harboured losses on chromosome 18 encompassing the SMAD4 gene, while P-STS had a loss on 11q. BON-1 had a homozygous loss of CDKN2A and CDKN2B, and QGP-1 harboured amplifications of MDM2 and HMGA2. Whole-exome sequencing revealed both disease-characteristic mutations (e.g. ATRX mutation in QGP-1) and, for patient tumours, rare genetic events (e.g. TP53 mutation in P-STS, BON-1 and QGP-1). A large-scale inhibitor screening showed that cell lines from pancreatic NETs to a greater extent, when compared to small intestinal NETs, were sensitive to inhibitors of MEK. Similarly, neuroendocrine NET cells originating from the small intestine were considerably more sensitive to a group of HDAC inhibitors. Taken together, our results provide a comprehensive characterisation of GEPNET cell lines, demonstrate their relevance as neuroendocrine tumour models and explore their therapeutic sensitivity to a broad range of inhibitors.

Open access

Rodrigo A Toledo, Roxanne Hatakana, Delmar M Lourenço Jr, Susan C Lindsey, Cleber P Camacho, Marcio Almeida, José V Lima Jr, Tomoko Sekiya, Elena Garralda, Michel S Naslavsky, Guilherme L Yamamoto, Monize Lazar, Osorio Meirelles, Tiago J P Sobreira, Maria Lucia Lebrao, Yeda A O Duarte, John Blangero, Mayana Zatz, Janete M Cerutti, Rui M B Maciel, and Sergio P A Toledo

Accurate interpretation of germline mutations of the rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene is vital for the proper recommendation of preventive thyroidectomy in medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)-prone carriers. To gain information regarding the most disputed variant of RET, ATA-A Y791F, we sequenced blood DNA samples from a cohort of 2904 cancer-free elderly individuals (1261 via Sanger sequencing and 1643 via whole-exome/genome sequencing). We also accessed the exome sequences of an additional 8069 individuals from non-cancer-related laboratories and public databanks as well as genetic results from the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) project. The mean allelic frequency observed in the controls was 0.0031, with higher occurrences in Central European populations (0.006/0.008). The prevalence of RET Y791F in the control databases was extremely high compared with the 40 known RET pathogenic mutations (P=0.00003), while no somatic occurrence has been reported in tumours. In this study, we report new, unrelated Brazilian individuals with germline RET Y791F-only: two tumour-free elderly controls; two individuals with sporadic MTC whose Y791F-carrying relatives did not show any evidence of tumours; and a 74-year-old phaeochromocytoma patient without MTC. Furthermore, we showed that the co-occurrence of Y791F with the strong RET C634Y mutation explains the aggressive MTC phenotypes observed in a large affected family that was initially reported as Y791F-only. Our literature review revealed that limited analyses have led to the misclassification of RET Y791F as a probable pathogenic variant and, consequently, to the occurrence of unnecessary thyroidectomies. The current study will have a substantial clinical influence, as it reveals, in a comprehensive manner, that RET Y791F only shows no association with MTC susceptibility.

Free access

Margarida M Moura, Branca M Cavaco, and Valeriano Leite

Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare malignancy originating from the calcitonin-secreting parafollicular thyroid C cells. Approximately 75% of cases are sporadic. Rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene plays a crucial role in MTC development. Besides RET, other oncogenes commonly involved in the pathogenesis of human cancers have also been investigated in MTC. The family of human RAS genes includes the highly homologous HRAS, KRAS, and NRAS genes that encode three distinct proteins. Activating mutations in specific hotspots of the RAS genes are found in about 30% of all human cancers. In thyroid neoplasias, RAS gene point mutations, mainly in NRAS, are detected in benign and malignant tumors arising from the follicular epithelium. However, recent reports have also described RAS mutations in MTC, namely in HRAS and KRAS. Overall, the prevalence of RAS mutations in sporadic MTC varies between 0–43.3%, occurring usually in tumors with WT RET and rarely in those harboring a RET mutation, suggesting that activation of these proto-oncogenes represents alternative genetic events in sporadic MTC tumorigenesis. Thus, the assessment of RAS mutation status can be useful to define therapeutic strategies in RET WT MTC. MTC patients with RAS mutations have an intermediate risk for aggressive cancer, between those with RET mutations in exons 15 and 16, which are associated with the worst prognosis, and cases with other RET mutations, which have the most indolent course of the disease. Recent results from exome sequencing indicate that, besides mutations in RET, HRAS, and KRAS, no other recurrent driver mutations are present in MTC.

Free access

Maria Rosaria Rusciano, Marcella Salzano, Sara Monaco, Maria Rosaria Sapio, Maddalena Illario, Valentina De Falco, Massimo Santoro, Pietro Campiglia, Lucio Pastore, Gianfranco Fenzi, Guido Rossi, and Mario Vitale

RET/papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), TRK-T, or activating mutations of Ras and BRaf are frequent genetic alterations in PTC, all leading to the activation of the extracellular-regulated kinase (Erk) cascade. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) in the signal transduction leading to Erk activation in PTC cells. In normal thyroid cells, CaMKII and Erk were in the inactive form in the absence of stimulation. In primary PTC cultures and in PTC cell lines harboring the oncogenes RET/PTC-1 or BRafV600E, CaMKII was active also in the absence of any stimulation. Inhibition of calmodulin or phospholipase C (PLC) attenuated the level of CaMKII activation. Expression of recombinant RET/PTC-3, BRafV600E, or RasV12 induced CaMKII activation. Inhibition of CaMKII attenuated Erk activation and DNA synthesis in thyroid papillary carcinoma (TPC-1), a cell line harboring RET/PTC-1, suggesting that CaMKII is a component of the Erk signal cascade in this cell line. In conclusion, PTCs contain an active PLC/Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent signal inducing constitutive activation of CaMKII. This kinase is activated by BRafV600E, oncogenic Ras, and by RET/PTC. CaMKII participates to the activation of the Erk pathway by oncogenic Ras and RET/PTC and contributes to their signal output, thus modulating tumor cell proliferation.

Free access

Nabahet Ameur, Ludovic Lacroix, Sophie Roucan, Véronique Roux, Sophie Broutin, Monique Talbot, Corinne Dupuy, Bernard Caillou, Martin Schlumberger, and Jean-Michel Bidart

RET oncogene mutations are found in familial medullary thyroid carcinomas (MTC) and in one-third of sporadic cases. Oncogenic mechanisms involved in non-RET mutated sporadic MTC remain unclear. To study alterations associated with the development of both inherited and sporadic MTC, pangenomic DNA microarrays were used to analyze the transcriptome of 13 MTCs (four familial and nine sporadic). By using an ANOVA test, a list of 173 gene sequences with at least a twofold change expression was obtained. A subset of differentially expressed genes was controlled by real-time quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry on a larger collection of MTCs. The expression pattern of those genes allowed us to distinguish two groups of sporadic tumors. The first group displays an expression profile similar to that expressed by inherited RET634 tumors. The second presents an expression profile close to that displayed by inherited RET918 tumors and includes tumors from patients with distant metastases. It is characterized by the overexpression of genes involved in proliferation and invasion (PTN, ESM1, and CEACAM6) or matrix remodeling (COL1A1, COL1A2, and FAP). Interestingly, RET918 tumors showed overexpression of the PTN gene, encoding pleiotrophin, a protein associated with metastasis. Using a MTC cell line, silencing of RET induced the inhibition of PTN gene expression. Overall, our results suggest that familial MTC and sporadic MTC could activate similar oncogenic pathways.

Free access

E Puxeddu, J A Knauf, M A Sartor, N Mitsutake, E P Smith, M Medvedovic, C R Tomlinson, S Moretti, and J A Fagin

RET/PTC rearrangements represent key genetic events involved in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) initiation. The aim of the present study was to identify the early changes in gene expression induced by RET/PTC in thyroid cells. For this purpose, microarray analysis was conducted on PCCL3 cells conditionally expressing the RET/PTC3 oncogene. Gene expression profiling 48 h after activation of RET/PTC3 identified a statistically significant modification of expression of 270 genes. Quantitative PCR confirmation of 20 of these demonstrated 90% accuracy of the microarray. Functional clustering of genes with greater than or less than 1.75-fold expression change (86 genes) revealed RET/PTC3-induced regulation of genes with key functions in apoptosis (Ripk3, Tdga), cell–cell signaling (Cdh6, Fn1), cell cycle (Il24), immune and inflammation response (Cxcl10, Scya2, Il6, Gbp2, Oas1, Tap1, RT1Aw2, C2ta, Irf1, Lmp2, Psme2, Prkr), metabolism (Aldob, Ptges, Nd2, Gss, Gstt1), signal transduction (Socs3, Nf1, Jak2, Cpg21, Dusp6, Socs1, Stat1, Stat3, Cish) and transcription (Nr4a1, Junb, Hfh1, Runx1, Foxe1). Genes coding for proteins involved in the immune response and in intracellular signal transduction pathways activated by cytokines and chemokines were strongly represented, indicating a critical role of RET/PTC3 in the early modulation of the immune response.

Restricted access

U Meyer-Pannwitt, K Kummerfeldt, G Froeschle, V A Dorss, and R Klapdor

INTRODUCTION Abdominal neuroendocrine tumors are mainly endocrine pancreatic and gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. Patients with these relatively rare malignancies often have long and unusual clinical courses that challenge surgeons, internists and pathologists (Moertel 1989). Neuron-specific enolase (NSE) is a glycolytic enzyme found in the cytoplasm of both nerve cells and neuroendocrine cells of various organs. Tumors derived from these cells produce large amounts of NSE that can be measured in serum by RIA (Tapia et al. 1981). In small-cell lung cancer, NSE was found to have a stage-dependent sensitivity of about 4080% (Carney et al. 1982). Most investigators have judged serum NSE measurements to be a useful tool for monitoring therapy and predicting survival in small-cell lung cancer (Fischbach et al. 1986, Noeu et al. 1990). Jorgensen et al. (1994) found that serum NSE is a good means for determining response and progression of the disease. Some authors prefer the combination