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Free access

P E Goss

Third-generation aromatase inhibitors are able to reduce circulating plasma estrogen concentrations in postmenopausal women to below detectable limits and significantly inhibit aromatase, the enzyme responsible for estrogen synthesis, in normal breast tissue and breast tumors. Their role in the treatment of advanced breast cancer is well established and their use in adjuvant therapy is currently being explored. On the basis of these trials, evaluation of these inhibitors in the prevention of breast cancer may be appropriate. Aromatase inhibitors have non-specific toxic side effects including (but not limited to): asthenia, headache, nausea, peripheral edema, fatigue, vomiting and dyspepsia. In addition, certain endocrinological side effects in postmenopausal women are notable, namely hot flushes and vaginal dryness. In advanced breast cancer, these side effects result in treatment withdrawal in few (<4%) women. Of concern, however, are the potential long-term endocrinological side effects in women receiving treatment as first-line adjuvant therapy or in sequence or combination with tamoxifen or other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). Current studies of adjuvant treatments for breast cancer in healthy women are carefully evaluating, in addition to general toxicities, the effects on bone, lipid metabolism, cardiovascular risk, quality of life and menopausal symptoms. Careful evaluation of all-cause morbidity and mortality is necessary to plan trials and justify long-term use of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer in healthy women.

Free access

Hidewaki Nakagawa

Prostate cancer (PC) is the most common malignancy in males. It is evident that genetic factors at both germline and somatic levels play critical roles in prostate carcinogenesis. Recently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) by high-throughput genotyping technology have identified more than 70 germline variants of various genes or chromosome loci that are significantly associated with PC susceptibility. They include multiple 8q24 loci, prostate-specific genes, and metabolism-related genes. Somatic alterations in PC genomes have been explored by high-throughput sequencing technologies such as whole-genome sequencing and RNA sequencing, which have identified a variety of androgen-responsive events and fusion transcripts represented by E26 transformation-specific (ETS) gene fusions. Recent innovations in high-throughput genomic technologies have enabled us to analyze PC genomics more comprehensively, more precisely, and on a larger scale in multiple ethnic groups to increase our understanding of PC genomics and biology in germline and somatic studies, which can ultimately lead to personalized medicine for PC diagnosis, prevention, and therapy. However, these data indicate that the PC genome is more complex and heterogeneous than we expected from GWAS and sequencing analyses.

Free access

Yasuhiro Nakamura, Takashi Suzuki, Masao Nakabayashi, Mareyuki Endoh, Kazuhiro Sakamoto, Yoshiki Mikami, Takuya Moriya, Akihiro Ito, Shoki Takahashi, Shogo Yamada, Yoichi Arai and Hironobu Sasano

Androgens have been proposed to be actively produced in situ in human prostate cancer. These locally produced androgens have also been considered to play important roles in the pathogenesis and development of prostate cancer. Therefore, it is important to examine the status of this in situ androgen metabolism and/or synthesis in detail in order to improve the clinical response to hormonal therapy in patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Several studies have previously demonstrated the expression of androgen-producing enzymes such as 5α-reductase types 1 and 2, and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 5 (17β-HSD5), in human prostate carcinoma cells. However, their biological significance has remained largely unknown. In this study, we evaluated the immunoreactivities of these steroidogenic enzymes in human prostate cancer obtained from surgery (n=70), and correlated the findings with clinicopathological features of the patients. 17β-HSD5 immunoreactivity was detected in 54 cases (77%), 5α-reductase type 1 in 51 cases (73%) and 5α-reductase type 2 in 39 cases (56%). 5α-reductase type 2 immunoreactivity was significantly correlated with that of androgen receptor (AR), and 17β-HSD5 positive cases were significantly associated with clinical stage (TNM stage pT3 vs pT2). These data all suggest that androgen-producing enzymes, such as 5α-reductase type 1 and type 2, and 17β-HSD5 are expressed in a majority of prostate cancers, and are involved in the local production and actions of androgens in prostate cancers.

Open access

Ju-Yeon Moon, Man Ho Choi and Jayoung Kim

Cholesterol and sex steroid hormones including androgens and estrogens play a critical role in the development and progression of urological diseases such as prostate cancer. This disease remains the most commonly diagnosed malignant tumor in men and is the leading cause of death from different cancers. Attempts to understand the role of cholesterol and steroid metabolism in urological diseases have been ongoing for many years, but despite this, our mechanistic and translational understanding remains elusive. In order to further evaluate the problem, we have taken an interest in metabolomics; a discipline dedicated to the systematic study of biologically active metabolites in cells, tissues, hair and biofluids. Recently, we provided evidence that a quantitative measurement of cholesterol and sex steroid metabolites can be successfully achieved using hair of human and mouse models. The overall goal of this short review article is to introduce current metabolomic technologies for the quantitative biomarker assay development and also to provide new insight into understanding the underlying mechanisms that trigger the pathological condition. Furthermore, this review will place a particular emphasis on how to prepare biospecimens (e.g., hair fiber), quantify molecular profiles and assess their clinical significance in various urological diseases.

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Na Li, Huanni Li, Lanqin Cao and Xianquan Zhan

Mitochondria play important roles in growth, signal transduction, division, tumorigenesis and energy metabolism in epithelial ovarian carcinomas (EOCs) without an effective biomarker. To investigate the proteomic profile of EOC mitochondrial proteins, a 6-plex isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) proteomics was used to identify mitochondrial expressed proteins (mtEPs) in EOCs relative to controls, followed by an integrative analysis of the identified mtEPs and the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data from 419 patients. A total of 5115 quantified proteins were identified from purified mitochondrial samples, and 262 proteins were significantly related to overall survival in EOC patients. Furthermore, 63 proteins were identified as potential biomarkers for the development of an EOC, and our findings were consistent with previous reports on a certain extent. Pathway network analysis identified 70 signaling pathways. Interestingly, the results demonstrated that cancer cells exhibited an increased dependence on mitophagy, such as peroxisome, phagosome, lysosome, valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation and fatty acid degradation pathways, which might play an important role in EOC invasion and metastasis. Five proteins (GLDC, PCK2, IDH2, CPT2 and HMGCS2) located in the mitochondrion and enriched pathways were selected for further analysis in an EOC cell line and tissues, and the results confirmed reliability of iTRAQ proteomics. These findings provide a large-scale mitochondrial proteomic profiling with quantitative information, a certain number of potential protein biomarkers and a novel vision in the mitophagy bio-mechanism of a human ovarian carcinoma.

Free access

Lars C Moeller and Dagmar Führer

Thyroid hormones (THs) may play a role in diseases other than hyper- and hypothyroidism. Several lines of evidence suggest tumor-promoting effects of TH and TH receptors. They are possibly mediated by phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and MAPK and involve among others stimulation of angiogenesis via αvβ3. Thus, an increased risk for colon, lung, prostate, and breast cancer with lower TSH has been demonstrated in epidemiological studies, even suggesting a TH dose effect on cancer occurrence. Furthermore, higher TH levels were associated with an advanced clinical stage of breast and prostate cancer. In rodent models, TH stimulated growth and metastasis of tumor transplants, whereas hypothyroidism had opposite effects. In clinical studies of glioblastoma and head and neck cancer, hypothyroid patients showed longer survival than euthyroid patients. Also, patients with renal cell cancer that were treated with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib and developed hypothyroidism in due course showed significantly longer survival than patients that remained euthyroid. Development of hypothyroidism was an independent predictor for survival in two studies. Yet, it is still possible that hypothyroidism is only a surrogate marker for treatment efficacy and does not positively influence treatment outcome by itself. Future cancer treatment studies, especially with substances that can induce hypothyroidism, should therefore be designed in a way that allows for an analysis of thyroid function status and its contribution on treatment outcome.

Restricted access

Xiang Zhang, Ya Hu, Mengyi Wang, Ronghua Zhang, PeiPei Wang, Ming Cui, Zhe Su, Xiang Gao, Quan Liao and Yupei Zhao

Parathyroid carcinoma (PCa) is a rare endocrine neoplasia that typically has unfavourable outcomes. The contribution of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) to the development of malignant and benign parathyroid tumours remains largely unknown. In this study, we explored transcriptomic profiling of lncRNA and mRNA expression in 6 PCa, 6 parathyroid adenoma (PAd) and 4 normal parathyroid (PaN) tissues. In total, 2641 lncRNA transcripts and 2165 mRNA transcripts were differentially expressed between PCa and PAd. Enrichment analysis demonstrated that dysregulated transcripts were involved mainly in the extracellular matrix (ECM)–receptor interaction and energy metabolism pathways. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that ATF3, ID1, FOXM1, EZH2 and MITF may be crucial to parathyroid carcinogenesis. Series test of cluster analysis segregated differentially expressed lncRNAs and mRNAs into several expression profile models, among which the ‘plateau’ profile representing components specific to parathyroid carcinogenesis was selected to build a co-expression network. Seven lncRNAs and three mRNAs were selected for quantitative RT-PCR validation in 16 PCa, 41 PAd and 4 PaN samples. Receiver-operator characteristic curves analysis showed that lncRNA PVT1 and GLIS2-AS1 yielded the area under the curve values of 0.871 and 0.860, respectively. Higher hybridization signals were observed in PCa for PVT1 and PAd for GLIS2-AS1. In conclusion, the current evidence indicates that PAd and PCa partially share common signalling molecules and pathways, but have independent transcriptional events. Differentially expressed lncRNAs and mRNAs have intricate interactions and are involved in parathyroid tumourigenesis. The lncRNA PVT1 and GLIS2-AS1 may be new potential markers for the diagnosis of PCa.

Free access

David A Pattison and Rodney J Hicks

There has been recent progress in molecular imaging using a variety of cellular targets for the investigation of adult non-diabetic hypoglycaemic syndromes and its integration into patient management. These targets include peptide receptors (somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R)) the amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation system utilising the diphydroxyphenylaline (DOPA) analogue 6-[18F]-l-fluoro-l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-FDOPA), and glycolytic metabolism with 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG). Accurate preoperative localisation and staging is critical to enable directed surgical excision or enucleation with minimal morbidity and preservation of residual pancreatic function. Benign insulinoma has near ubiquitous dense GLP-1R expression enabling accurate localisation with radiolabelled-exendin-4 compounds (e.g. 68Ga-NOTA-exendin-4 PET/CT), whilst the rarer and more difficult to manage metastatic insulinoma typically express SSTR and is preferably imaged with radiolabelled-SSTR analogues such as 68Ga-DOTA-octreotate (DOTATATE) PET/CT for staging and assessment of suitability for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). Similar to other metastatic neuroendocrine tumours, FDG PET/CT is used in the setting of higher-grade metastatic insulinoma to provide important prognostic information that can guide treatment and determine suitability for PRRT. Interestingly, these three tracers appear to represent a spectrum of differentiation, which we conceptually describe as the ‘triple-flop’ phenomenon, with GLP-1R > SSTR > FDG in benign insulinoma and the opposite in higher-grade disease. This paper will review the clinical syndromes of adult hypoglycaemia (including a practical overview of the differential diagnoses to be considered), comparison of techniques for insulinoma localisation with emphasis on molecular imaging before discussing its implications for management of metastatic insulinoma.

Restricted access

Xiao-hui Luo, Jian-zhou Liu, Bo Wang, Qun-li Men, Yu-quan Ju, Feng-yan Yin, Chao Zheng and Wei Li

Insights into the mechanisms by which key factors stimulate cell growth under androgen-depleted conditions is a premise to the development of effective treatments with clinically significant activity in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Herein, we report that, the expression of Krüppel-like factor 14 (KLF14), a master transcription factor in the regulation of lipid metabolism, was significantly induced in castration-insensitive PCa cells and tumor tissues from a mouse xenograft model of CRPC. KLF14 upregulation in PCa cells, which was stimulated upstream by oxidative stress, was dependent on multiple pathways including PI3K/AKT, p42/p44 MAPK, AMPK and PKC pathways. By means of ectopic overexpression and genetic inactivation, we further show that KLF14 promoted cell growth via positive regulation of the antioxidant response under androgen-depleted conditions. Mechanistically, KLF14 coupled to p300 and CBP to enhance the transcriptional activation of HMOX1, the gene encoding the antioxidative enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) that is one of the most important mechanisms of cell adaptation to stress. Transient knockdown of HMOX1 is sufficient to overcome KLF14 overexpression-potentiated PCa cell growth under androgen-depleted conditions. From a pharmacological standpoint, in vivo administration of ZnPPIX (a specific inhibitor of HO-1) effectively attenuates castration-resistant progression in the mouse xenograft model, without changing KLF14 level. Together, these results provide comprehensive insight into the KLF14-dependent regulation of antioxidant response and subsequent pathogenesis of castration resistance and indicate that interventions targeting the KLF14/HO-1 adaptive mechanism should be further explored for CRPC treatment.

Free access

Joanna M Day, Helena J Tutill, Atul Purohit and Michael J Reed

17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (17β-HSDs) are enzymes that are responsible for reduction or oxidation of hormones, fatty acids and bile acids in vivo, regulating the amount of the active form that is available to bind to its cognate receptor. All require NAD(P)(H) for activity. Fifteen 17β-HSDs have been identified to date, and with one exception, 17β-HSD type 5 (17β-HSD5), an aldo–keto reductase, they are all short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases, although overall homology between the enzymes is low. Although named as 17β-HSDs, reflecting the major redox activity at the 17β-position of the steroid, the activities of these 15 enzymes vary, with several of the 17β-HSDs able to reduce and/or oxidise multiple substrates at various positions. These activities are involved in the progression of a number of diseases, including those related to steroid metabolism. Despite the success of inhibitors of steroidogenic enzymes in the clinic, such as those of aromatase and steroid sulphatase, the development of inhibitors of 17β-HSDs is at a relatively early stage, as at present none have yet reached clinical trials. However, many groups are now working on inhibitors specific for several of these enzymes for the treatment of steroid-dependent diseases, including breast and prostate cancer, and endometriosis, with demonstrable efficacy in in vivo disease models. In this review, the recent advances in the validation of these enzymes as targets for the treatment of these diseases, with emphasis on 17β-HSD1, 3 and 5, the development of specific inhibitors, the models used for their evaluation, and their progress towards the clinic will be discussed.