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Mirela Diana Ilie, Alexandre Vasiljevic, Emmanuel Jouanneau, and Gérald Raverot

Once temozolomide has failed, there is no recommended treatment option for pituitary carcinomas and aggressive pituitary tumors. Immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) represent the most recent therapeutic avenue, having raised hope with the publication of the first successful case in 2018. Here, we present an overview of immunotherapy in pituitary carcinomas and aggressive pituitary tumors, starting with the rationale for using ICIs and the implications of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in anterior pituitary tumors, followed by a systematic review of all published cases, analyzing both treatment response and potential predictors of response and finishing with research and clinical perspectives. Seven corticotroph and four lactotroph tumors have been so far treated with ICIs. Corticotroph tumors showed radiological partial response in 57% of cases, followed by stable disease in 29% of cases, which was accompanied by biochemical partial or complete response in 83% of cases. Half of lactotroph tumors showed radiological complete or partial response, accompanied by biochemical complete response in 33% of the cases. In the case of a dissociate response, continuation of immunotherapy combined with local treatment represents a good option. At this time, a high tumor mutational burden appears to be the most promising predictive marker of response. MMR deficiency does not guarantee a response. Negative PD-L1 staining should not preclude ICIs administration. Therefore, ICIs are a promising option after temozolomide failure. This review highlights key clinical aspects that can already be implemented into practice and also discusses tumor biology concepts and perspectives expected to improve immunotherapy outcomes.

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Anne Wierinckx, Carole Auger, Pauline Devauchelle, Arlette Reynaud, Pascale Chevallier, Michel Jan, Gilles Perrin, Michelle Fèvre-Montange, Catherine Rey, Dominique Figarella-Branger, Gérald Raverot, Marie-Françoise Belin, Joël Lachuer, and Jacqueline Trouillas

Although most pituitary tumors are benign, some are invasive or aggressive. In the absence of specific markers of malignancy, only tumors with metastases are considered malignant. To identify markers of invasion and aggressiveness, we focused on prolactin (PRL) tumors in the human and rat. Using radiology and histological methods, we classified 25 human PRL tumors into three groups (non-invasive, invasive, and aggressive–invasive) and compared them with a model of transplantable rat PRL tumors with benign and malignant lineages. Combining histological(mitoses and labeling for Ki-67, P53, pituitary transforming tumor gene (PTTG), and polysialic acid neural cell adhesion molecule) and transcriptomic (microarrays and q-RTPCR) methods with clinical data (post-surgical outcome with case–control statistical analysis), we found nine genes implicated in invasion (ADAMTS6, CRMP1, and DCAMKL3) proliferation (PTTG, ASK, CCNB1, AURKB, and CENPE), or pituitary differentiation (PITX1) showing differential expression in the three groups of tumors (P = 0.015 to 0.0001). A case–control analysis, comparing patients in remission (9 controls) and patients with persistent or recurrent tumors (14 cases) revealed that eight out of the nine genes were differentially up- or downregulated (P = 0.05 to 0.002), with only PTTG showing no correlation with clinical course (P = 0.258). These combined histological and transcriptomic analyses improve the pathological diagnosis of PRL tumors, indicating a reliable procedure for predicting tumor aggressiveness and recurrence potential. The similar gene profiles found between non-invasive human and benign rat tumors, as well as between aggressive–invasive human and malignant rat tumors provide new insights into malignancy in human pituitary tumors.

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Iulia Potorac, Patrick Petrossians, Adrian F Daly, Franck Schillo, Claude Ben Slama, Sonia Nagi, Mouna Sahnoun, Thierry Brue, Nadine Girard, Philippe Chanson, Ghaidaa Nasser, Philippe Caron, Fabrice Bonneville, Gérald Raverot, Véronique Lapras, François Cotton, Brigitte Delemer, Brigitte Higel, Anne Boulin, Stéphan Gaillard, Florina Luca, Bernard Goichot, Jean-Louis Dietemann, Albert Beckers, and Jean-François Bonneville

Responses of GH-secreting adenomas to multimodal management of acromegaly vary widely between patients. Understanding the behavioral patterns of GH-secreting adenomas by identifying factors predictive of their evolution is a research priority. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between the T2-weighted adenoma signal on diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in acromegaly and clinical and biological features at diagnosis. An international, multicenter, retrospective analysis was performed using a large population of 297 acromegalic patients recently diagnosed with available diagnostic MRI evaluations. The study was conducted at ten endocrine tertiary referral centers. Clinical and biochemical characteristics, and MRI signal findings were evaluated. T2-hypointense adenomas represented 52.9% of the series, were smaller than their T2-hyperintense and isointense counterparts (P<0.0001), were associated with higher IGF1 levels (P=0.0001), invaded the cavernous sinus less frequently (P=0.0002), and rarely caused optic chiasm compression (P<0.0001). Acromegalic men tended to be younger at diagnosis than women (P=0.067) and presented higher IGF1 values (P=0.01). Although in total, adenomas had a predominantly inferior extension in 45.8% of cases, in men this was more frequent (P<0.0001), whereas in women optic chiasm compression of macroadenomas occurred more often (P=0.0067). Most adenomas (45.1%) measured between 11 and 20 mm in maximal diameter and bigger adenomas were diagnosed at younger ages (P=0.0001). The T2-weighted signal differentiates GH-secreting adenomas into subgroups with particular behaviors. This raises the question of whether the T2-weighted signal could represent a factor in the classification of acromegalic patients in future studies.

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Iulia Potorac, Patrick Petrossians, Adrian F Daly, Orsalia Alexopoulou, Sophie Borot, Mona Sahnoun-Fathallah, Frederic Castinetti, France Devuyst, Marie-Lise Jaffrain-Rea, Claire Briet, Florina Luca, Marion Lapoirie, Flavius Zoicas, Isabelle Simoneau, Alpha M Diallo, Ammar Muhammad, Fahrettin Kelestimur, Elena Nazzari, Rogelio Garcia Centeno, Susan M Webb, Marie-Laure Nunes, Vaclav Hana, Véronique Pascal-Vigneron, Irena Ilovayskaya, Farida Nasybullina, Samia Achir, Diego Ferone, Sebastian J C M M Neggers, Brigitte Delemer, Jean-Michel Petit, Christof Schöfl, Gerald Raverot, Bernard Goichot, Patrice Rodien, Bernard Corvilain, Thierry Brue, Franck Schillo, Luaba Tshibanda, Dominique Maiter, Jean-François Bonneville, and Albert Beckers

GH-secreting pituitary adenomas can be hypo-, iso- or hyper-intense on T2-weighted MRI sequences. We conducted the current multicenter study in a large population of patients with acromegaly to analyze the relationship between T2-weighted signal intensity on diagnostic MRI and hormonal and tumoral responses to somatostatin analogs (SSA) as primary monotherapy. Acromegaly patients receiving primary SSA for at least 3 months were included in the study. Hormonal, clinical and general MRI assessments were performed and assessed centrally. We included 120 patients with acromegaly. At diagnosis, 84, 17 and 19 tumors were T2-hypo-, iso- and hyper-intense, respectively. SSA treatment duration, cumulative and mean monthly doses were similar in the three groups. Patients with T2-hypo-intense adenomas had median SSA-induced decreases in GH and IGF-1 of 88% and 59% respectively, which were significantly greater than the decreases observed in the T2-iso- and hyper-intense groups (P < 0.001). Tumor shrinkage on SSA was also significantly greater in the T2-hypo-intense group (38%) compared with the T2-iso- and hyper-intense groups (8% and 3%, respectively; P < 0.0001). The response to SSA correlated with the calculated T2 intensity: the lower the T2-weighted intensity, the greater the decrease in random GH (P < 0.0001, r = 0.22), IGF-1 (P < 0.0001, r = 0.14) and adenoma volume (P < 0.0001, r = 0.33). The T2-weighted signal intensity of GH-secreting adenomas at diagnosis correlates with hormone reduction and tumor shrinkage in response to primary SSA treatment in acromegaly. This study supports its use as a generally available predictive tool at diagnosis that could help to guide subsequent treatment choices in acromegaly.