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KeeMing Chia, Heloisa Milioli, Neil Portman, Geraldine Laven-Law, Rhiannon Coulson, Aliza Yong, Davendra Segara, Andrew Parker, Catherine E Caldon, Niantao Deng, Alexander Swarbrick, Wayne D Tilley, Theresa E Hickey and Elgene Lim

The role of androgen receptor (AR) in endocrine-resistant breast cancer is controversial and clinical trials targeting AR with an AR antagonist (e.g., enzalutamide) have been initiated. Here, we investigated the consequence of AR antagonism using in vitro and in vivo models of endocrine resistance. AR antagonism in MCF7-derived tamoxifen-resistant (TamR) and long-term estrogen-deprived breast cancer cell lines were achieved using siRNA-mediated knockdown or pharmacological inhibition with enzalutamide. The efficacy of enzalutamide was further assessed in vivo in an estrogen-independent endocrine-resistant patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model. Knockdown of AR inhibited the growth of the endocrine-resistant cell line models. Microarray gene expression profiling of the TamR cells following AR knockdown revealed perturbations in proliferative signaling pathways upregulated in endocrine resistance. AR loss also increased some canonical ER signaling events and restored sensitivity of TamR cells to tamoxifen. In contrast, enzalutamide did not recapitulate the effect of AR knockdown in vitro, even though it inhibited canonical AR signaling, which suggests that it is the non-canonical AR activity that facilitated endocrine resistance. Enzalutamide had demonstrable efficacy in inhibiting AR activity in vivo but did not affect the growth of the endocrine-resistant PDX model. Our findings implicate non-canonical AR activity in facilitating an endocrine-resistant phenotype in breast cancer. Unlike canonical AR signaling which is inhibited by enzalutamide, non-canonical AR activity is not effectively antagonized by enzalutamide, and this has important implications in the design of future AR-targeted clinical trials in endocrine-resistant breast cancer.

Free access

Fulvia Daffara, Silvia De Francia, Giuseppe Reimondo, Barbara Zaggia, Emiliano Aroasio, Francesco Porpiglia, Marco Volante, Angela Termine, Francesco Di Carlo, Luigi Dogliotti, Alberto Angeli, Alfredo Berruti and Massimo Terzolo

Toxicity of adjuvant mitotane treatment is poorly known; thus, our aim was to assess prospectively the unwanted effects of adjuvant mitotane treatment and correlate the findings with mitotane concentrations. Seventeen consecutive patients who were treated with mitotane after radical resection of adrenocortical cancer (ACC) from 1999 to 2005 underwent physical examination, routine laboratory evaluation, monitoring of mitotane concentrations, and a hormonal work-up at baseline and every 3 months till ACC relapse or study end (December 2007). Mitotane toxicity was graded using NCI CTCAE criteria. All biochemical measurements were performed at our center and plasma mitotane was measured by an in-house HPLC assay. All the patients reached mitotane concentrations >14 mg/l and none of them discontinued definitively mitotane for toxicity; 14 patients maintained consistently elevated mitotane concentrations despite tapering of the drug. Side effects occurred in all patients but were manageable with palliative treatment and adjustment of hormone replacement therapy. Mitotane affected adrenal steroidogenesis with a more remarkable inhibition of cortisol and DHEAS than aldosterone. Mitotane induced either perturbation of thyroid function mimicking central hypothyroidism or, in male patients, inhibition of testosterone secretion. The discrepancy between salivary and serum cortisol, as well as between total and free testosterone, is due to the mitotane-induced increase in hormone-binding proteins which complicates interpretation of hormone measurements. A low-dose monitored regimen of mitotane is tolerable and able to maintain elevated drug concentrations in the long term. Mitotane exerts a complex effect on the endocrine system that may require multiple hormone replacement therapy.

Free access

Francesco Caiazza, Alyson Murray, Stephen F Madden, Naoise C Synnott, Elizabeth J Ryan, Norma O’Donovan, John Crown and Michael J Duffy

Abstract

The androgen receptor (AR) is present in approximately 80% of invasive breast cancer patients and in up to 30% of patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Therefore, our aim was to investigate the targeting of AR as a possible hormonal approach to the treatment of TNBC. Analysis of 2091 patients revealed an association between AR expression and poor overall survival, selectively in patients with the basal subtype of breast cancer, the vast majority of which are TNBC. IC50 values for the second-generation anti-androgen enzalutamide across 11 breast cancer cell lines varied from 4 µM to >50 µM. The activity of enzalutamide was similar in TN and non-TN cell lines but was dependent on the presence of AR. Enzalutamide reduced clonogenic potential and cell growth in a 3D matrix in AR-positive cells. In addition, enzalutamide also inhibited cell migration and invasion in an AR-dependent manner. Enzalutamide appeared to mediate these processes through down-regulation of the transcription factors AP-1 and SP-1. The first-generation anti-androgen flutamide similarly blocked cell growth, migration and invasion. AR-positive TNBC cells clustered separately from AR-negative cells based on an androgen-related gene expression signature, independently of TNBC subtype. We conclude that targeting of the AR with drugs such as enzalutamide may provide an alternative treatment strategy for patients with AR-positive TNBC.

Free access

Rossella Libè, Amato Fratticci and Jérôme Bertherat

Adrenocortical cancer (ACC) is a rare tumor with a poor prognosis. By contrast, benign adrenocortical tumors are frequent, underlying the importance of a correct diagnosis of malignancy of such tumors. ACC can be diagnosed by the investigation of endocrine signs of steroid excess, symptoms due to tumor growth or an adrenal incidentaloma. Hormonal investigations demonstrate in most ACC steroid oversecretion, the dominant characteristics being a co-secretion of cortisol and androgens. Imaging by CT-scan or MRI shows a large heterogeneous tumor with a low fat content. Careful pathological investigation with the assessment of the Weiss score is important for the diagnosis of malignancy. Molecular markers can also be helpful and in the future might be important for prognosis. Tumors localized to the adrenal gland (McFarlane stages 1 and 2) have a better outcome than invasive and metastatic tumors (stages 3 and 4). Tumor removal by a specialized team is crucial for treatment and should always aim at complete removal. In patients with metastatic or progressive disease, medical treatment is started with mitotane that requires a close monitoring of its blood level. Surgery is indicated when possible for local recurrence but also in some cases of metastasis. Local treatment (radiofrequency, chemoembolization, and radiation therapy) can have some indications for metastatic disease. In patients with disease progression cytotoxic chemotherapy can be used. Despite the best care, the overall prognosis of ACC is poor with a 5-year survival rate below 30% in most series. Therefore, progress in the understanding of the pathophysiology of ACC is important. Despite the rarity of ACC, significant advances have been made in the understanding of its pathogenesis the last decade. These progresses came mainly from the study of the genetics of ACC, both at the germline level in rare familial diseases, and at the somatic level by the study of molecular alterations in sporadic tumors. These advances underline the importance of genetic alterations in ACC development and point-out to various chromosomal regions (2, 11p15, 11q, 17p13) and genes (IGF-II, p53, β-catenin, ACTH receptor). This review will summarize these advances as well as the current clinical management of ACC.

Free access

S Prekovic, T Van den Broeck, S Linder, M E van Royen, A B Houtsmuller, F Handle, S Joniau, W Zwart and F Claessens

Prostate cancer (PCa) is among the most common adult malignancies, and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. As PCa is hormone dependent, blockade of the androgen receptor (AR) signaling is an effective therapeutic strategy for men with advanced metastatic disease. The discovery of enzalutamide, a compound that effectively blocks the AR axis and its clinical application has led to a significant improvement in survival time. However, the effect of enzalutamide is not permanent, and resistance to treatment ultimately leads to development of lethal disease, for which there currently is no cure. This review will focus on the molecular underpinnings of enzalutamide resistance, bridging the gap between the preclinical and clinical research on novel therapeutic strategies for combating this lethal stage of prostate cancer.

Free access

Yuanyuan Cui, Nagalakshmi Nadiminty, Chengfei Liu, Wei Lou, Chad T Schwartz and Allen C Gao

Cancer cells reprogram their metabolic pathways to facilitate fast proliferation. Previous studies have shown that overexpression of NF-κB2/p52 (p52) in prostate cancer cells promotes cell growth and leads to castration resistance through aberrant activation of androgen receptor (AR). In addition, these cells become resistant to enzalutamide. In this study, we investigated the effects of p52 activation on glucose metabolism and on response to enzalutamide therapy. Data analysis of gene expression arrays showed that genes including GLUT1 (SLC2A1), PKM2, G6PD, and ME1 involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism were altered in LNCaP cells overexpressing p52 compared with the parental LNCaP cells. We demonstrated an increased amount of glucose flux in the glycolysis pathway, as well as the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) upon p52 activation. The p52-overexpressing cells increase glucose uptake and are capable of higher ATP and lactate production compared with the parental LNCaP cells. The growth of p52-overexpressing cells depends on glucose in the culture media and is sensitive to glucose deprivation compared with the parental LNCaP cells. Targeting glucose metabolism by the glucose analog 2-deoxy-d-glucose synergistically inhibits cell growth when combined with enzalutamide, and resensitizes p52-overexpressing cells to enzalutamide treatment. These results suggest that p52 modulates glucose metabolism, enhances glucose flux to glycolysis and PPPs, thus facilitating fast proliferation of the cells. Co-targeting glucose metabolism together with AR axis synergistically inhibits cell growth and restores enzalutamide-resistant cells to enzalutamide treatment.

Free access

Masaki Shiota, Akira Yokomizo, Ario Takeuchi, Eiji Kashiwagi, Takashi Dejima, Junichi Inokuchi, Katsunori Tatsugami, Takeshi Uchiumi and Masatoshi Eto

The progression of prostate cancer to metastatic and castration-resistant disease represents a critical step. We previously showed that protein kinase C (PKC) activation followed by Twist1 and androgen receptor (AR) induction played a critical role in castration resistance, but the precise molecular mechanism remains unknown. This study aimed to elucidate the relevant molecular mechanism, focusing on NF-κB transcription factor. We examined the activity of NF-κB after PKC inhibition, and the expression of Twist1 and AR after inhibition of NF-κB in human prostate cancer cells. We also investigated the status of PKC/NF-κB after inhibition of AR signaling in cells resistant to hormonal therapy. As a result, inhibition of PKC signaling using knockdown and small-molecule inhibition of PKC suppressed RelA activity, while blocking NF-κB suppressed Twist1 and AR expression. Conversely, inhibition of AR signaling by androgen depletion and the novel antiandrogen enzalutamide induced PKC and RelA activation, resulting in Twist1/AR induction at the transcript level. Moreover, inhibition of NF-κB signaling prevented enzalutamide-induced Twist1 and AR induction. Finally, NF-κB was activated in both castration-resistant and enzalutamide-resistant cells. In conclusion, NF-κB signaling was responsible for Twist1 upregulation by PKC in response to AR inhibition, resulting in aberrant activation of AR. NF-κB signaling thus appears to play a critical role in promoting both castration resistance and enzalutamide resistance in PKC/Twist1 signaling in prostate cancer.

Free access

Odelia Cooper, George Vlotides, Hidenori Fukuoka, Mark I Greene and Shlomo Melmed

The role of ErbB family in discreet pituitary functions is reviewed. Several ErbB receptor ligands, EGF, TGFα, and heregulin are differentially expressed in normal gonadotroph and lacto-somatotroph lineages, and other elements of the anterior pituitary. ErbB receptors, i.e. EGFR and ErbB2, are also localized to the anterior pituitary with preferential EGFR lactosomatotroph expression. EGF regulates CRH and ACTH secretion and corticotroph proliferation as well as exhibiting autocrine and paracrine effects on gonadotrophs and on lactosomatotroph proliferation, gene and protein expression, and hormonal secretion. EGF and EGFR are expressed in both functioning and non-functioning pituitary adenomas, with higher expression in more aggressive tumor subtypes. ErbB2 receptor is detected in all tumor subtypes, particularly in invasive tumors. ErbB tyrosine kinase inhibitors regulate hormonal secretion, cell morphology, and proliferation in lacto-somatotroph tumors, reflecting the emerging application of targeted pituitary therapeutics.

Free access

Carole Guerin, David Taieb, Giorgio Treglia, Thierry Brue, André Lacroix, Frederic Sebag and Frederic Castinetti

Therapeutic options available for the treatment of Cushing's syndrome (CS) have expanded over the last 5 years. For instance, the efficient management of severe hypercortisolism using a combination of fast-acting steroidogenesis inhibitors has been reported. Recent publications on the long-term efficacy of drugs or radiation techniques have also demonstrated low toxicity. These data should encourage endocrinologists to reconsider the place of bilateral adrenalectomy in patients with ACTH-dependent aetiologies of CS; similarly, the indication of bilateral adrenalectomy is reassessed in primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia. The objective of this review is to compare the efficacy and side effects of the various therapeutic options of hypercortisolism with those of bilateral adrenalectomy, in order to better define its indications in the 21st century.

Free access

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.