Among alternative therapeutic strategies in clinically aggressive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) of the lung, promising results have been obtained in experimental clinical trials with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors, though in the absence of a proven mTOR signaling activation status. This study analyzed the expression of phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR) and its major targets, the ribosomal p70S6-kinase (S6K) and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1) in a large series of 218 surgically resected, malignant lung NETs, including 24 metastasizing typical carcinoids, 73 atypical carcinoids, 60 large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (LCNECs), and 61 small cell carcinomas (SCLCs). By immunohistochemistry, low-to-intermediate-grade tumors as compared with high-grade tumors showed higher levels of p-mTOR and phosphorylated S6K (p-S6K) (P<0.001), at variance with phosphorylated 4EBP1 (p-4EBP1), which was mainly expressed in LCNECs and SCLCs (P<0.001). The activated status of mTOR pathway was proved by the strong correlation of p-mTOR with p-S6K and somatostatin receptor(s). Western blot analysis of NET tumor samples confirmed such findings, and differential sensitivity to mTOR inhibition according to mTOR pathway activation characteristics was determined in two lung carcinoid cell lines in vitro. None of the investigated molecules had an impact on survival. However, in low-grade tumors, low p-mTOR expression correlated with lymph node metastases (P=0.016), recurrent disease, and survival (P=0.005). In conclusion, these data demonstrate a differential mTOR activation status in the spectrum of pulmonary NETs, possibly suggesting that mTOR pathway profiling might play a predictive role in candidate patients for mTOR-targeted therapies.
Luisella Righi, Marco Volante, Ida Rapa, Veronica Tavaglione, Frediano Inzani, Giuseppe Pelosi, and Mauro Papotti
Cristina Gurizzan, Manuel Zamparini, Marco Volante, Valeria Tovazzi, Vito Amoroso, Francesca Consoli, Fausto Petrelli, Salvatore Grisanti, Paolo Bossi, and Alfredo Berruti
Intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma (ITC) is a rare thyroid tumor that resembles thymic carcinoma, for which there are no recommendations on diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We performed a pooled analysis of published ITC cases to describe the natural history of this disease and identify prognostic factors. We performed a systematic review of histopathological-confirmed ITC cases published in the English literature. The following keywords were used: “intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma”, “carcinoma showing thymus-like differentiation”, “CASTLE tumor”, “thyroid carcinoma showing thymus like differentiation”. Fifty eligible publications were identified, providing data from 132 patients, plus a case diagnosed at our Institution. Median disease-free survival (DFS) of this patient series was 144 months (range 91-197), while median overall survival (OS) was not reached. Upfront surgery was performed in 97% of patients and 24% of them experienced disease recurrence after a median of 19 months (range 13-25). Complaining of major symptoms, as a sign of more advanced local stage, was the only prognostic factor significantly associated with higher risk of death at multivariate analysis (HR 4.903, 95% CI: 1.092-22.008, p= 0.038). Postoperative radiation therapy was not associated with prognosis, while not enough data were available to assess the efficacy of chemotherapy. ITC is a rather indolent disease and ITC patients have a relatively good prognosis. Surgery is the mainstay of therapy. Survival outcome of patients depends on tumor burden and complete surgical resection. Postoperative radiation effect seems to be negligible. Data on the efficacy of chemotherapy in advanced patients are lacking.
Elisa Roca, Alfredo Berruti, Silviu Sbiera, Ida Rapa, Ester Oneda, Paola Sperone, Cristina L Ronchi, Laura Ferrari, Salvatore Grisanti, Antonina Germano, Barbara Zaggia, Giorgio Vittorio Scagliotti, Martin Fassnacht, Marco Volante, Massimo Terzolo, and Mauro Papotti
Topoisomerase II alpha (TOP2A) and thymidylate synthase (TS) are known prognostic parameters in several tumors and also predictors of efficacy of anthracyclines, topoisomerase inhibitors and fluoropirimidines, respectively. Expression of TOP2A and TS mRNA was assessed in 98 patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in a subset of 39 tumors. Ninety-two patients were radically resected for stage II–III disease and 38 of them received adjuvant mitotane. Twenty-six patients with metastatic disease received the EDP-M (etoposide, doxorubicin, Adriamycin, cisplatin plus mitotane). TOP2A and TS expression in ACC tissue was directly correlated with the clinical data. Both markers were not associated with either disease free survival (DFS) or overall survival (OS) in multivariate analyses and failed to be associated to mitotane efficacy. Disease response or stabilization to EDP-M treatment was observed in 12/17 (71%) and 1/9 (11%) patients with high and low TOP2A expressing tumors (P = 0.0039) and 9/13 (69%) and 4/13 (31%) patients with high and low TS expressing ACC, respectively (P = 0.049). High TOP2A expression was significantly associated with longer time to progression (TTP) after EDP-M. TOP2A and TS proteins assessed by immunohistochemistry significantly correlated with mRNA expression. Immunohistochemical TOP2A expression was associated with a non-significant better response and longer TTP after EDP-M. TOP2A and TS were neither prognostic nor predictive of mitotane efficacy in ACC patients. The predictive role of TOP2A expression of EDP-M activity suggests a significant contribution of Adriamycin and etoposide for the efficacy of the EDP scheme.
Paola Sperone, Anna Ferrero, Fulvia Daffara, Adriano Priola, Barbara Zaggia, Marco Volante, Daniele Santini, Bruno Vincenzi, Giuseppe Badalamenti, Chiara Intrivici, Sabrina Del Buono, Silvia De Francia, Emmanouil Kalomirakis, Riccardo Ratti, Alberto Angeli, Luigi Dogliotti, Mauro Papotti, Massimo Terzolo, and Alfredo Berruti
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare neoplasm characterized by poor prognosis. First-line systemic treatments in advanced disease include mitotane, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Studies evaluating second-line therapy options have obtained disappointing results. This trial assessed the activity and toxicity of gemcitabine plus metronomic fluoropyrimidines in heavily pretreated advanced ACC patients. From 1998 to 2008, 28 patients with advanced ACC progressing after mitotane plus one or two systemic chemotherapy lines were enrolled. They received a combination of i.v. gemcitabine (800 mg/m2, on days 1 and 8, every 21 days) and i.v. 5-fluorouracil protracted infusion (200 mg/m2/daily without interruption until progression) in the first six patients, or oral capecitabine (1500 mg/daily) in the subsequent patients. Mitotane administration was maintained in all cases. The rate of non-progressing patients after 4 months of treatment was 46.3%. A complete response was observed in 1 patient (3.5%); 1 patient (3.5%) obtained a partial regression, 11 patients (39.3%) obtained a disease stabilization and 15 patients (53.7%) progressed. Treatment was well tolerated, with grade III and IV toxicities consisting of leukopenia in six patients (21.4%), thrombocytopenia in one patient (3.5%), and mucositis in one patient (3.5%). Median time to progression and overall survival in the patient population were 5.3 (range: 1–43) and 9.8 months (range: 3–73) respectively. Gemcitabine plus metronomic fluoropyrimidines is a well-tolerated and moderately active regimen in heavily pretreated ACC patients.
Fulvia Daffara, Silvia De Francia, Giuseppe Reimondo, Barbara Zaggia, Emiliano Aroasio, Francesco Porpiglia, Marco Volante, Angela Termine, Francesco Di Carlo, Luigi Dogliotti, Alberto Angeli, Alfredo Berruti, and Massimo Terzolo
Toxicity of adjuvant mitotane treatment is poorly known; thus, our aim was to assess prospectively the unwanted effects of adjuvant mitotane treatment and correlate the findings with mitotane concentrations. Seventeen consecutive patients who were treated with mitotane after radical resection of adrenocortical cancer (ACC) from 1999 to 2005 underwent physical examination, routine laboratory evaluation, monitoring of mitotane concentrations, and a hormonal work-up at baseline and every 3 months till ACC relapse or study end (December 2007). Mitotane toxicity was graded using NCI CTCAE criteria. All biochemical measurements were performed at our center and plasma mitotane was measured by an in-house HPLC assay. All the patients reached mitotane concentrations >14 mg/l and none of them discontinued definitively mitotane for toxicity; 14 patients maintained consistently elevated mitotane concentrations despite tapering of the drug. Side effects occurred in all patients but were manageable with palliative treatment and adjustment of hormone replacement therapy. Mitotane affected adrenal steroidogenesis with a more remarkable inhibition of cortisol and DHEAS than aldosterone. Mitotane induced either perturbation of thyroid function mimicking central hypothyroidism or, in male patients, inhibition of testosterone secretion. The discrepancy between salivary and serum cortisol, as well as between total and free testosterone, is due to the mitotane-induced increase in hormone-binding proteins which complicates interpretation of hormone measurements. A low-dose monitored regimen of mitotane is tolerable and able to maintain elevated drug concentrations in the long term. Mitotane exerts a complex effect on the endocrine system that may require multiple hormone replacement therapy.
Massimo Milione, Patrick Maisonneuve, Alessio Pellegrinelli, Federica Grillo, Luca Albarello, Paola Spaggiari, Alessandro Vanoli, Giovanna Tagliabue, Eleonora Pisa, Luca Messerini, Giovanni Centonze, Frediano Inzani, Aldo Scarpa, Mauro Papotti, Marco Volante, Fausto Sessa, Nicola Fazio, Giancarlo Pruneri, Guido Rindi, Enrico Solcia, Stefano La Rosa, and Carlo Capella
Mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinomas (MANECs) are composed of a poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) and a non-neuroendocrine (non-NEC) neoplastic epithelial component, each representing at least 30% of the tumor. At present, prognostic factors for MANECs remain largely unexplored. We investigated the clinical-pathologic features of a large multicenter series of digestive system MANECs. Surgical specimens of 200 MANEC candidates were centrally reviewed; diagnosis was confirmed in 160 cases. While morphology, proliferation (mitotic count (MC), Ki67 index) and immunophenotype (p53, SSTR2a, beta-Catenin, Bcl-2, p16, Rb1, ALDH, mismatch repair proteins and CD117) were investigated separately in both components, genomic (TP53, KRAS, BRAF) alterations were searched for on the entire tumor. Data were correlated with overall survival (OS). MANEC sites were: 92 colorectal, 44 gastroesophageal and 24 pancreatobiliary. Median OS was 13.2 months. After adjustment for primary site, Ki67 index of the NEC component (but not of the non-NEC component) was the most powerful prognostic marker. At multivariable analysis, patients with Ki67 ≥ 55% had an 8-fold risk of death (hazard ratio (HR) 7.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.17–14.7; P < 0.0001) and a median OS of 12.2 months compared to those with Ki67 < 55% (median OS 40.5 months). MC (HR 1.51; 95% CI 1.03–2.20, P = 0.04) was a weaker prognostic index. Colorectal primary site (HR 1.60; 95% CI 1.11–2.32; P = 0.01) was significantly associated with poorer survival. No single immunomarker, in either component, was statistically significant. This retrospective analysis of a large series of digestive system MANECs, showed that the NEC component, particularly its Ki67 index, was the main prognostic driver.