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Perrine Raymond, Gérald Raverot, and Mirela-Diana Ilie


The purpose of this work was toinvestigate the clinicopathological characteristics at the initial diagnosis of the pituitary tumor and at pituitary carcinoma (PC) diagnosis, alongside with the management and outcomes of PCs, and identify potential prognostic factors and therapeutic strategies associated with the clinical outcome.


PubMed was searched in May 2021 for articles in English and French reporting PCs, the diagnosis of which was made on the presence of metastases. The cases without histological proof and with either another cancer present or an atypical history for a pituitary tumor were excluded.


One hundred and eighty-one articles reporting 207 cases were included, which included 38% corticotroph and 29% lactotroph carcinomas. An initial Ki67 index ≥10% was associated with shorter survival after the initial diagnosis (P = 0.01). Cases with early metastases were associated with both higher initial Ki67 index (P = 0.01) and shorter survival after PC diagnosis (P = 0.001). Interestingly, cases with short survival after PC diagnosis were associated with shorter time between the initial diagnosis and PC diagnosis (P = 0.0006) and had both higher initial Ki67 index (P = 0.003) and higher Ki67 index of the metastasis (P = 0.03). In addition, cases with long survival after PC diagnosis had received more frequently both systemic treatment after PC diagnosis (P = 0.0005) and local treatment for metastases (P < 0.0001).


An initial Ki67 index ≥10% is associated with worse outcome and appears as a promising early marker of future metastasis. Its presence should lead to an intensified surveillance and to a more timely management. Clinicians should not hesitate to use local treatment, independent of whether systemic treatment is used.

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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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Audrey Ziverec, Marie Chanal, Perrine Raymond, Mirela Diana Ilie, Dario De Alcubierre, Arja Pasternack, Olli Ritvos, Gerald Raverot, and Philippe Bertolino

Pituitary tumours are benign neoplasms that derive from hormone-producing cells of the pituitary gland. While medical treatments have emerged for most subtypes, gonadotroph tumours that express follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and/or luteinizing hormone still lack therapeutic options apart from surgery and radiotherapy. Activin ligands are physiological regulators of production and secretion of FSH by gonadotroph cells, but their role in gonadotroph tumourigenesis remains little explored. Using the LβT2 mouse gonadotroph cell line which produces FSH under activin stimulation, we first tested whether subcutaneous xenografts of LβT2 cells resulted in tumour formation in Rag2KO mice. Histological analysis confirmed the presence of LβT2 tumours with endothelial cells and macrophages in their microenvironment. FSH expression was found in a subset of clusters of LβT2 cells in the tumours. We subsequently addressed the consequences of targeting activin signalling via injection of a soluble activin decoy receptor (sActRIIB-Fc). sActRIIB-Fc treatment resulted in significantly decreased LβT2 tumour volume. Reduced Smad2 phosphorylation as well as inhibition of tumour-induced FSH production confirmed the efficient targeting of activin-downstream signalling in treated tumours. More interestingly, treated tumours showed significantly fewer endothelial cells associated with reduced Vegfa expression. In vitro treatment of LβT2 cells with sActRIIB-Fc had no effect on cell proliferation or apoptosis, but Vegfa expression was inhibited, pointing to a likely paracrine effect of LβT2 cells on endothelial cells through activin-mediated Vegfa regulation. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are now needed to pinpoint the exact roles of activin signalling in these processes prior to translating these observations to the clinic.