Elevated insulin levels have been associated with an increased cancer risk as well as with aggressive and metastatic cancer phenotypes characterized by a poor prognosis. Insulin stimulates the proliferation, migration, and invasiveness of cancer cells through diverse transduction pathways, including estrogen signaling. As G protein estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) mediates rapid cell responses to estrogens, we evaluated the potential of insulin to regulate GPER1 expression and function in leiomyosarcoma cancer cells (SKUT-1) and breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which were used as a model system. We found that insulin transactivates the GPER1 promoter sequence and increases the mRNA and protein expression of GPER1 through the activation of the PRKCD/MAPK1/c-Fos/AP1 transduction pathway, as ascertained by means of specific pharmacological inhibitors and gene-silencing experiments. Moreover, cell migration triggered by insulin occurred through GPER1 and its main target gene CTGF, whereas the insulin-induced expression of GPER1 boosted cell-cycle progression and the glucose uptake stimulated by estrogens. Notably, a positive correlation between insulin serum levels and GPER1 expression was found in cancer fibroblasts obtained from breast cancer patients. Altogether, our data indicate that GPER1 may be included among the complex network of transduction signaling triggered by insulin that drives cells toward cancer progression.
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.
Diego FeroneEndocrinology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties (DiMI), Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research (CEBR) IRCCS, AOU San Martino-IST, San Martino Hospital, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
Andreea Liliana SerbanEndocrinology and Diabetology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca` Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
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It is debated if acromegalic patients have an increased risk to develop malignancies. The aim of the present study was to assess the standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of different types of cancer in acromegaly on a large series of acromegalic patients managed in the somatostatin analogs era. It was evaluated the incidence of cancer in an Italian nationwide multicenter cohort study of 1512 acromegalic patients, 624 men and 888 women, mean age at diagnosis 45 ± 13 years, followed up for a mean of 10 years (12573 person-years) in respect to the general Italian population. Cancer was diagnosed in 124 patients, 72 women and 52 men. The SIRs for all cancers was significantly increased compared to the general Italian population (expected: 88, SIR 1.41; 95% CI, 1.18–1.68, P < 0.001). In the whole series, we found a significantly increased incidence of colorectal cancer (SIR 1.67; 95% CI, 1.07–2.58, P = 0.022), kidney cancer (SIR 2.87; 95% CI, 1.55–5.34, P < 0.001) and thyroid cancer (SIR 3.99; 95% CI, 2.32–6.87, P < 0.001). The exclusion of 11 cancers occurring before diagnosis of acromegaly (all in women) did not change remarkably the study outcome. In multivariate analysis, the factors significantly associated with an increased risk of malignancy were age and family history of cancer, with a non-significant trend for the estimated duration of acromegaly before diagnosis. In conclusion, we found evidence that acromegaly in Italy is associated with a moderate increase in cancer risk.
Deregulation of the IGF system observed in human tumors indicates a role in malignant cell transformation and in tumor cell proliferation. Although overexpression of the IGF2 and IGF1R genes was described in adrenocortical tumors (ACTs), few studies reported their profiles in pediatric ACTs. In this study, the IGF2 and IGF1R expression was evaluated by RT-qPCR according to the patient’s clinical/pathological features in 60 pediatric ACT samples, and IGF1R protein was investigated in 45 samples by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Whole transcriptome and functional assays were conducted after IGF1R inhibition with OSI-906 in NCI-H295A cell line. Significant IGF2 overexpression was found in tumor samples when compared with non-neoplastic samples (P<0.001), significantly higher levels of IGF1R in patients with relapse/metastasis (P=0.031) and moderate/strong IGF1R immunostaining in 62.2% of ACTs, but no other relationship with patient survival and clinical/pathological features was observed. OSI-906 treatment downregulated genes associated with MAPK activity, induced limited reduction of cell viability and increased the apoptosis rate. After 24h, the treatment also decreased the expression of genes related to the steroid biosynthetic process, the protein levels of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR), and androgen secretion in cell medium, supporting the role of IGF1R in steroidogenesis of adrenocortical carcinoma cells. Our data showed that the IGF1R overexpression could be indicative of aggressive ACTs in children. However, in vitro treatments with high concentrations of OSI-906 (>1μM) showed limited reduction of cell viability, suggesting that OSI-906 alone could not be a suitable therapy to abolish carcinoma cell growth.