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Hartmut P H Neumann

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Angelica Malinoc, Maren Sullivan, Thorsten Wiech, Kurt Werner Schmid, Cordula Jilg, Joern Straeter, Serdar Deger, Michael M Hoffmann, Alexander Bosse, Gerd Rasp, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann

The etiology and pathogenesis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) are only partially understood. Key findings in hereditary RCC, which may be site specific or a component of a syndrome, have contributed to our current understanding. Important heritable syndromes of RCC are those associated with pheochromocytoma, especially von Hippel–Lindau disease (VHL) associated with germline VHL mutations, and pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma syndrome (PGL) associated with mutations in one of the four genes (SDHA D) encoding succinate dehydrogenase. A subset of individuals with SDHB and SDHD germline DNA mutations and variants develop RCC. RCC has never been described as a component of SDHC-associated PGL3. The European–American Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Registry comprises 35 registrants with germline SDHC mutations. A new registrant had carotid body tumor (CBT) and his mother had CBT and bilateral RCC. Blood DNA, paragangliomas, and RCCs were analyzed for mutations and loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH) in/flanking SDHC and VHL. The proband with unilateral CBT had a germline SDHC c.3G>A (p.M1I) mutation. His mutation-positive mother had CBT at age 42, clear cell RCC (ccRCC) at age 68, and papillary RCC (pRCC) at age 69. Both paraganglial tumors showed somatic LOH of the SDHC locus. Both ccRCC and pRCC did not have a somatic SDHC mutation but showed LOH for intragenic and flanking markers of the SDHC locus. LOH was also present for the VHL locus. Our findings suggest that RCC is a component of PGL3. Biallelic inactivation of the SDHC gene may represent a new pathway of pathogenesis of syndromic and nonsyndromic RCC, perhaps of both clear cell and papillary histologies.

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Caroline D E Margetts, Mark Morris, Dewi Astuti, Dean C Gentle, Alberto Cascon, Fiona E McRonald, Daniel Catchpoole, Mercedes Robledo, Hartmut P H Neumann, Farida Latif and Eamonn R Maher

The molecular genetics of inherited phaeochromocytoma have received considerable attention, but the somatic genetic and epigenetic events that characterise tumourigenesis in sporadic phaeochromocytomas are less well defined. Previously, we found considerable overlap between patterns of promoter region tumour suppressor gene (TSG) hypermethylation in two neural crest tumours, neuroblastoma and phaeochromocytoma. In order to identify candidate biomarkers and epigenetically inactivated TSGs in phaeochromocytoma and neuroblastoma, we characterised changes in gene expression in three neuroblastoma cell lines after treatment with the demethylating agent 5-azacytidine. Promoter region methylation status was then determined for 28 genes that demonstrated increased expression after demethylation. Three genes HSP47, homeobox A9 (HOXA9) and opioid binding protein (OPCML) were methylated in >10% of phaeochromocytomas (52, 17 and 12% respectively). Two of the genes, epithelial membrane protein 3 (EMP3) and HSP47, demonstrated significantly more frequent methylation in neuroblastoma than phaeochromocytoma. These findings extend epigenotype of phaeochromocytoma and identify candidate genes implicated in sporadic phaeochromocytoma tumourigenesis.

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Ioana N Milos, Karin Frank-Raue, Nelson Wohllk, Ana Luiza Maia, Eduardo Pusiol, Attila Patocs, Mercedes Robledo, Josefina Biarnes, Marta Barontini, Thera P Links, Jan Willem de Groot, Sarka Dvorakova, Mariola Peczkowska, Lisa A Rybicki, Maren Sullivan, Friedhelm Raue, Ioana Zosin, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann

RET testing in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 for molecular diagnosis is the paradigm for the practice of clinical cancer genetics. However, precise data for distinct mutation-based risk profiles are not available. Here, we survey the clinical profile for one specific genotype as a model, TGC to TGG in codon 634 (C634W). By international efforts, we ascertained all available carriers of the RET C634W mutation. Age at diagnosis, penetrance, and clinical complications were analyzed for medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), pheochromocytoma, and hyperparathyroidism (HPT), as well as overall survival. Our series comprises 92 carriers from 20 unrelated families worldwide. Sixty-eight subjects had MTC diagnosed at age 3–72 years (mean 29). Lymph node metastases were observed in 16 subjects aged 20–72 and distant metastases in 4 subjects aged 28–69. Forty-one subjects had pheochromocytoma detected at age 18–67 (mean 36). Amongst the 28 subjects with MTC and pheochromocytoma, six developed pheochromocytoma before MTC. Six subjects had HPT diagnosed at age 26–52 (mean 39). Eighteen subjects died; of the 16 with known causes of death, 8 died of pheochromocytoma and 4 of MTC. Penetrance for MTC is 52% by age 30 and 83% by age 50, for pheochromocytoma penetrance is 20% by age 30 and 67% by age 50, and for HPT penetrance is 3% by age 30 and 21% by age 50. These data provide, for the first time, RET C634W-specific neoplastic risk and age-related penetrance profiles. The data may facilitate risk assessment and genetic counseling.

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Graeme Eisenhofer, Stefan R Bornstein, Frederieke M Brouwers, Nai-Kong V Cheung, Patricia L Dahia, Ronald R de Krijger, Thomas J Giordano, Lloyd A Greene, David S Goldstein, Hendrik Lehnert, William M Manger, John M Maris, Hartmut P H Neumann, Karel Pacak, Barry L Shulkin, David I Smith, Arthur S Tischler and William F Young Jr

Pheochromocytomas are rare catecholamine-producing neuroendocrine tumors that are usually benign, but which may also present as or develop into a malignancy. Predicting such behavior is notoriously difficult and there are currently no curative treatments for malignant tumors. This report follows from a workshop at the Banbury Conference Center, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, on the 16th–18th November 2003, held to review the state of science and to facilitate future progress in the diagnosis and treatment of malignant pheochromocytoma. The rarity of the tumor and the resulting fragmented nature of studies, typically involving small numbers of patients, represent limiting factors to the development of effective treatments and diagnostic or prognostic markers for malignant disease. Such development is being facilitated by the availability of new genomics-based tools, but for such approaches to succeed ultimately requires comprehensive clinical studies involving large numbers of patients, stringently collected clinical data and tumor samples, and interdisciplinary collaborations among multiple specialist centers. Nevertheless, the well-characterized hereditary basis and the unique functional nature of these neuroendocrine tumors provide a useful framework that offers advantages for establishing the pathways of tumorigenesis and malignancy. Such findings may have relevance for understanding the basis of other more common malignancies where similar frameworks are not available. As the relevant pathways leading to pheochromocytoma are established it should be possible to take advantage of the new generation of drugs being developed to target specific pathways in other malignancies. Again the success of this will require well-designed and coordinated multicenter studies.

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Birke Bausch, Ulrich Wellner, Dirk Bausch, Francesca Schiavi, Marta Barontini, Gabriela Sanso, Martin K Walz, Mariola Peczkowska, Georges Weryha, Patrizia Dall'Igna, Giovanni Cecchetto, Gianni Bisogno, Lars C Moeller, Detlef Bockenhauer, Attila Patocs, Karoly Rácz, Dmitry Zabolotnyi, Svetlana Yaremchuk, Iveta Dzivite-Krisane, Frederic Castinetti, David Taieb, Angelica Malinoc, Ernst von Dobschuetz, Jochen Roessler, Kurt W Schmid, Giuseppe Opocher, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann

A third of patients with paraganglial tumors, pheochromocytoma, and paraganglioma, carry germline mutations in one of the susceptibility genes, RET, VHL, NF1, SDHAF2, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, TMEM127, and MAX. Despite increasing importance, data for long-term prognosis are scarce in pediatric presentations. The European-American-Pheochromocytoma–Paraganglioma-Registry, with a total of 2001 patients with confirmed paraganglial tumors, was the platform for this study. Molecular genetic and phenotypic classification and assessment of gene-specific long-term outcome with second and/or malignant paraganglial tumors and life expectancy were performed in patients diagnosed at <18 years. Of 177 eligible registrants, 80% had mutations, 49% VHL, 15% SDHB, 10% SDHD, 4% NF1, and one patient each in RET, SDHA, and SDHC. A second primary paraganglial tumor developed in 38% with increasing frequency over time, reaching 50% at 30 years after initial diagnosis. Their prevalence was associated with hereditary disease (P=0.001), particularly in VHL and SDHD mutation carriers (VHL vs others, P=0.001 and SDHD vs others, P=0.042). A total of 16 (9%) patients with hereditary disease had malignant tumors, ten at initial diagnosis and another six during follow-up. The highest prevalence was associated with SDHB (SDHB vs others, P<0.001). Eight patients died (5%), all of whom had germline mutations. Mean life expectancy was 62 years with hereditary disease. Hereditary disease and the underlying germline mutation define the long-term prognosis of pediatric patients in terms of prevalence and time of second primaries, malignant transformation, and survival. Based on these data, gene-adjusted, specific surveillance guidelines can help effective preventive medicine.

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Hartmut P Neumann, William F Young Jr, Tobias Krauss, Jean-Pierre Bayley, Francesca Schiavi, Giuseppe Opocher, Carsten C Boedeker, Amit Tirosh, Frederic Castinetti, Juri Ruf, Dmitry Beltsevich, Martin Walz, Harald-Thomas Groeben, Ernst von Dobschuetz, Oliver Gimm, Nelson Wohllk, Marija Pfeifer, Delmar M Lourenço Jr, Mariola Peczkowska, Attila Patocs, Joanne Ngeow, Özer Makay, Nalini S Shah, Arthur Tischler, Helena Leijon, Gianmaria Pennelli, Karina Villar Gómez de las Heras, Thera P Links, Birke Bausch and Charis Eng

Although the authors of the present review have contributed to genetic discoveries in the field of pheochromocytoma research, we can legitimately ask whether these advances have led to improvements in the diagnosis and management of patients with pheochromocytoma. The answer to this question is an emphatic Yes! In the field of molecular genetics, the well-established axiom that familial (genetic) pheochromocytoma represents 10% of all cases has been overturned, with >35% of cases now attributable to germline disease-causing mutations. Furthermore, genetic pheochromocytoma can now be grouped into five different clinical presentation types in the context of the ten known susceptibility genes for pheochromocytoma-associated syndromes. We now have the tools to diagnose patients with genetic pheochromocytoma, identify germline mutation carriers and to offer gene-informed medical management including enhanced surveillance and prevention. Clinically, we now treat an entire family of tumors of the paraganglia, with the exact phenotype varying by specific gene. In terms of detection and classification, simultaneous advances in biochemical detection and imaging localization have taken place, and the histopathology of the paraganglioma tumor family has been revised by immunohistochemical-genetic classification by gene-specific antibody immunohistochemistry. Treatment options have also been substantially enriched by the application of minimally invasive and adrenal-sparing surgery. Finally and most importantly, it is now widely recognized that patients with genetic pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma syndromes should be treated in specialized centers dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and surveillance of this rare neoplasm.

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Ernst von Dobschuetz, Helena Leijon, Camilla Schalin-Jäntti, Francesca Schiavi, Michael Brauckhoff, Mariola Peczkowska, Giovanna Spiazzi, Serena Demattè, Maria Enrica Cecchini, Paola Sartorato, Jolanta Krajewska, Kornelia Hasse-Lazar, Katarzyna Roszkowska-Purska, Elisa Taschin, Angelica Malinoc, Lars A Akslen, Johanna Arola, Dariusz Lange, Ambrogio Fassina, Gianmaria Pennelli, Mattia Barbareschi, Jutta Luettges, Aleksander Prejbisz, Andrzej Januszewicz, Tim Strate, Birke Bausch, Frederic Castinetti, Barbara Jarzab, Giuseppe Opocher, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann

The precise diagnosis of thyroid neoplasias will guide surgical management. Primary thyroid paraganglioma has been rarely reported. Data on prevalence, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and molecular genetics in a systematic series of such patients are pending. We performed a multinational population-based study on thyroid paraganglioma and analyzed prevalence, IHC, and molecular genetics. Patients with thyroid paraganglioma were recruited from the European-American-Head-and-Neck-Paraganglioma-Registry. Demographic and clinical data were registered. Histopathology and IHC were re-investigated. All patients with thyroid paraganglioma underwent molecular genetic analyses of the SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, RET, TMEM127, and MAX genes. Analyses included Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) for detection of large rearrangements. Of 947 registrants, eight candidates were initially identified. After immunohistochemical analyses of these eight subjects, 5 (0.5%) were confirmed to have thyroid paraganglioma. IHC was positive for chromogranin, synaptophysin, and S-100 and negative for calcitonin in all five thyroid paragangliomas, whereas the three excluded candidate tumors stained positive for pan-cytokeratin, a marker excluding endocrine tumors. Germline variants, probably representing mutations, were found in four of the five confirmed thyroid paraganglioma cases, two each in SDHA and SDHB, whereas the excluded cases had no mutations in the tested genes. Thyroid paraganglioma is a finite entity, which must be differentiated from medullary thyroid carcinoma, because medical, surgical, and genetic management for each is different. Notably, approximately 80% of thyroid paragangliomas are associated with germline variants, with implications for additional tumors and a potential risk for the family. As opposed to sporadic tumors, surgical management and extent of resection are different for heritable tumors, each guided by the precise gene involved.

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Frederic Castinetti, Ana Luiza Maia, Mariola Peczkowska, Marta Barontini, Kornelia Hasse-Lazar, Thera P Links, Rodrigo A Toledo, Sarka Dvorakova, Caterina Mian, Maria Joao Bugalho, Stefania Zovato, Maria Alevizaki, Andrei Kvachenyuk, Birke Bausch, Paola Loli, Simona R Bergmann, Attila Patocs, Marija Pfeifer, Josefina Biarnes Costa, Ernst von Dobschuetz, Claudio Letizia, Gerlof Valk, Marcin Barczynski, Malgorzata Czetwertynska, John T M Plukker, Paola Sartorato, Tomas Zelinka, Petr Vlcek, Svetlana Yaremchuk, Georges Weryha, Letizia Canu, Nelson Wohllk, Frederic Sebag, Martin K Walz, Charis Eng and Hartmut P H Neumann