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  • Author: Jean-Yves Scoazec x
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Mairéad G McNamara, Jean-Yves Scoazec and Thomas Walter

Patients with extrapulmonary poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (EP-PD-NECs) have a poor prognosis. Surgery is offered for those with localised disease, but the majority of patients present with advanced disease. Treatment strategies adopted are analogous to that of high grade NECs of the lung, with platinum/etoposide-based regimens advocated in the first-line setting for advanced disease. There is no standard second-line therapy. Research into their molecular and immune pathways may pave the way for novel drug discovery. The molecular drivers of NEC are best identified in small cell lung carcinoma, which present with near universal genomic alterations in TP53 and RB1. The genetics of EP-PD-NEC remain poorly understood; TP53, KRAS, PIK3CA/PTEN and BRAF mutations have been identified, with alterations in the BRCA pathway reported additionally in small cell NEC of the cervix and absence of argininosuccinate synthetase 1 expression in NEC of the urinary bladder. The use of cell lines and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) to predict response to treatment in NEC and the emergence of alternative biomarkers, such as circulating tumour cells and cell-free DNA, will also be explored. Despite limited published data on the immune microenvironment of EP-NEC, there are a number of clinical trials investigating the use of immune-targeted agents in this disease category, with conflicting emerging data from studies thus far. This review will summarise the treatment and available molecular and immune data in this under researched diagnosis and may stimulate the direction of future exploratory studies.

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Louis de Mestier, Clarisse Dromain, Gaspard d'Assignies, Jean-Yves Scoazec, Nathalie Lassau, Rachida Lebtahi, Hedia Brixi, Emmanuel Mitry, Rosine Guimbaud, Frédéric Courbon, Michèle d'Herbomez and Guillaume Cadiot

Well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a group of heterogeneous rare tumors. They are often slow-growing and patients can have very long survival, even at the metastatic stage. The evaluation of tumor progression and therapeutic responses is currently based on Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors v1.1 (RECIST) criteria. As for other malignancies, RECIST criteria are being reexamined for NETs in the era of targeted therapies because tumor response to targeted therapies is rarely associated with shrinkage, as opposed to prolonged progression-free survival. Therefore, size-based criteria no longer seem to be suitable to the assessment of NET progression and therapeutic responses, especially considering targeted therapies. New imaging criteria, combining morphological and functional techniques, have proven relevant for other malignancies treated with targeted therapies. To date, such studies have rarely been conducted on NETs. Moreover, optimizing the management of NET patients also requires considering clinical, biological, and pathological aspects of tumor evolution. Our objectives herein were to comprehensively review current knowledge on the assessment of tumor progression and early prediction of therapeutic responses and to broaden the outlook on well-differentiated NETs, in the era of targeted therapies.

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Margaux Foulfoin, Emmanuelle Graillot, Mustapha Adham, Pascal Rousset, Julien Forestier, Valérie Hervieu, Philip Robinson, Jean-Yves Scoazec, Catherine Lombard-Bohas and Thomas Walter

The choice of first-line treatment for metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (mP-NET) is mainly based on prognostic factors. ENETS-2016 guidelines stratified treatment according to 3 groups: Group 1, patients in whom all lesions could be removed; Group 2, patients with Ki67 <10%, low tumor burden, no symptoms and stable disease, for whom a watch-and-wait strategy or somatostatin analogs are proposed; Group 3, symptomatic patients or with Ki67 >10% or significant tumor burden or progressive disease, for whom a systemic chemotherapy is proposed. This retrospective study aimed to determine patient distribution, characteristics and outcome among these 3 groups. Patients with mP-NET diagnosis from 2004 to 2016 were categorized into the three groups. Prognosis was calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method. All treatments were recorded, and consistency with ENETS guidelines was explored. 104 patients were analyzed: 64% synchronous mP-NET, 80% grade 2 tumors and median overall survival (OS) of 104 (95% CI: 65–143) months. There were 15 patients in ENETS Group 1, 16 in Group 2 and 73 in Group 3. Median OS was not reached in Groups 1 and 2 and was 64 months (35–93) in Group 3. High liver tumor volume, high-grade tumor and progressive disease were associated with worse OS in multivariate analysis. The first-line treatment was in accordance with guidelines in 82%. 77% percent of deceased patients received less than 4 lines of treatment. Most patients are in Group 3 and do not receive all available treatments. Thus, trials are warranted to improve first-line chemotherapy. Alternative treatments may be considered for less aggressive disease.

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Fritz-Line Vélayoudom-Céphise, Pierre Duvillard, Lydia Foucan, Julien Hadoux, Cecile N Chougnet, Sophie Leboulleux, David Malka, Joël Guigay, Diane Goere, Thierry Debaere, Caroline Caramella, Martin Schlumberger, David Planchard, Dominique Elias, Michel Ducreux, Jean-Yves Scoazec and Eric Baudin

The new WHO classification of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine tumors (NET) implies that G3 neoplasms with mitotic index >20 and/or Ki67 index >20% are neuroendocrine carcinomas (NEC), described as poorly differentiated, small or large cell types, by analogy with lung NEC. To characterize the subgroup of non-small-cell-type GEP and thoracic NET with mitotic index >20 and/or Ki67 >20% according to their pathological features, response to cisplatin and overall survival (OS). We reviewed pathological and clinical presentation of G3 non-small-cell-type NET referred to our institution for 5 years. Data from 166 patients with metastatic thoracic and GEP-NET were collected. Twenty-eight patients (17%) fulfill the inclusion criteria. Tumors were classified as well-differentiated NET (G3-WDNET) in 42.8% of cases and poorly differentiated, large-cell NEC (G3-LCNEC) in 57.2% of cases. Plasma chromogranin A or neuron-specific enolase were elevated in 42 and 25% respectively of G3-WDNET and 31 and 50% of G3-LCNEC. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy was positive in 88 and 50% of G3-WDNET or G3-LCNEC respectively. Complete or partial response to cisplatin was observed in 31% of cases, all classified as G3-LCNEC. The median OS was 41 months for G3-WDNET but 17 months for G3-LCNEC (P=0.34). Short survival was observed in 25% of G3-WDNET but 62.5% of G3-LCNEC patients (P=0.049). G3 ENETS GEP and thoracic neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) could constitute a heterogeneous subgroup of NEN as regards diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. If confirmed, future classifications may consider splitting them into two groups according to their morphological differentiation.