Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) are a class of tumours heterogeneous in terms of their anatomical sites of origin and clinical behaviour. Outdated perspectives of indolence have been superseded by appreciation for their myriad clinical challenges, such as the high rates of regional and distant metastases at initial diagnosis, lack of clarity on optimal treatment strategies/sequencing, and incompletely elucidated genetic/other pathophysiological drivers. The first randomised controlled trials in this arena were published approximately a decade ago – since then, increased understanding of the genetic drivers and signalling pathway perturbations in these tumours have suggested promise for precision therapy influenced by an individual tumour’s molecular sub-type, but this is yet to be realised for manifold reasons. In this article, the authors review the genetic landscapes as currently understood for selected forms of NEN and discuss the current and developing evidence to support the use of genetic information to influence therapy. They provide a critical assessment of the potential limitations of using such approaches and also posit avenues for future developments in this arena.
Ashley K Clift and Andrea Frilling
Andrea Frilling, Goran Åkerström, Massimo Falconi, Marianne Pavel, Jose Ramos, Mark Kidd and Irvin Mark Modlin
Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs) represent a heterogenous group of tumors arising from a variety of neuroendocrine cell types. The incidence and prevalence of GEP-NENs have markedly increased over the last three decades. Symptoms are often absent in early disease, or vague and nonspecific even in advanced disease. Delayed diagnosis is thus common. Chromogranin A is the most commonly used biomarker but has limitations as does the proliferative marker Ki-67%, which is often used for tumor grading and determination of therapy. The development of a multidimensional prognostic nomogram may be valuable in predicting tumor behavior and guiding therapy but requires validation. Identification of NENs that express somatostatin receptors (SSTR) allows for SSTR scintigraphy and positron emission tomography imaging using novel radiolabeled compounds. Complete surgical resection of limited disease or endoscopic ablation of small lesions localized in stomach or rectum can provide cure; however, the majority of GEP-NENs are metastatic (most frequently the liver and/or mesenteric lymph nodes) at diagnosis. Selected patients with metastatic disease may benefit from advanced surgical techniques including hepatic resection or liver transplantation. Somatostatin analogs are effective for symptomatic treatment and exhibit some degree of antiproliferative activity in small intestinal NENs. There is a place for streptozotocin, temozolomide, and capecitabine in the management of pancreatic NENs, while new agents targeting either mTOR (everolimus) or angiogenic (sunitinib) pathways have shown efficacy in these lesions.
Helen C Miller, Adam E Frampton, Anna Malczewska, Silvia Ottaviani, Euan A Stronach, Rashpal Flora, Daniel Kaemmerer, Gert Schwach, Roswitha Pfragner, Omar Faiz, Beata Kos-Kudła, George B Hanna, Justin Stebbing, Leandro Castellano and Andrea Frilling
Novel molecular analytes are needed in small bowel neuroendocrine tumours (SBNETs) to better determine disease aggressiveness and predict treatment response. In this study, we aimed to profile the global miRNome of SBNETs, and identify microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in tumour progression for use as potential biomarkers. Two independent miRNA profiling experiments were performed (n=90), including primary SBNETs (n=28), adjacent normal small bowel (NSB; n=14), matched lymph node (LN) metastases (n=24), normal LNs (n=7), normal liver (n=2) and liver metastases (n=15). We then evaluated potentially targeted genes by performing integrated computational analyses. We discovered 39 miRNAs significantly deregulated in SBNETs compared with adjacent NSB. The most upregulated (miR-204-5p, miR-7-5p and miR-375) were confirmed by qRT-PCR. Two miRNAs (miR-1 and miR-143-3p) were significantly downregulated in LN and liver metastases compared with primary tumours. Furthermore, we identified upregulated gene targets for miR-1 and miR-143-3p in an existing SBNET dataset, which could contribute to disease progression, and show that these miRNAs directly regulate FOSB and NUAK2 oncogenes. Our study represents the largest global miRNA profiling of SBNETs using matched primary tumour and metastatic samples. We revealed novel miRNAs deregulated during SBNET disease progression, and important miRNA–mRNA interactions. These miRNAs have the potential to act as biomarkers for patient stratification and may also be able to guide treatment decisions. Further experiments to define molecular mechanisms and validate these miRNAs in larger tissue cohorts and in biofluids are now warranted.
Esben Andreas Carlsen, Nicola Fazio, Dan Granberg, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Hojjat Ahmadzadehfar, Chiara Maria Grana, Wouter T Zandee, Jaroslaw Cwikla, Martin A Walter, Peter Sandor Oturai, Anja Rinke, Andrew Weaver, Andrea Frilling, Sara Gritti, Anne Kirstine Arveschoug, Amichay Meirovitz, Ulrich Knigge and Halfdan Sorbye
Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is an established treatment of metastatic neuroendocrine tumors grade 1–2 (G1–G2). However, its possible benefit in high-grade gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN G3) is largely unknown. We therefore aimed to assess the benefits and side effects of PRRT in patients with GEP NEN G3. We performed a retrospective cohort study at 12 centers to assess the efficacy and toxicity of PRRT in patients with GEP NEN G3. Outcomes were response rate, disease control rate, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicity. We included 149 patients (primary tumor: pancreatic n = 89, gastrointestinal n = 34, unknown n = 26). PRRT was first-line (n = 30), second-line (n = 62) or later-line treatment (n = 57). Of 114 patients evaluated, 1% had complete response, 41% partial response, 38% stable disease and 20% progressive disease. Of 104 patients with documented progressive disease before PRRT, disease control rate was 69%. The total cohort had median PFS of 14 months and OS of 29 months. Ki-67 21–54% (n = 125) vs Ki-67 ≥55% (n = 23): PFS 16 vs 6 months (P < 0.001) and OS 31 vs 9 months (P < 0.001). Well (n = 60) vs poorly differentiated NEN (n = 62): PFS 19 vs 8 months (P < 0.001) and OS 44 vs 19 months (P < 0.001). Grade 3–4 hematological or renal toxicity occurred in 17% of patients. This large multicenter cohort of patients with GEP NEN G3 treated with PRRT demonstrates promising response rates, disease control rates, PFS and OS as well as toxicity in patients with mainly progressive disease. Based on these results, PRRT may be considered for patients with GEP NEN G3.