Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) occur usually as sporadic tumours; however, rarely, they may arise in the context of a hereditary syndrome, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined development of pancreatic NENs (pNENs) together with parathyroid and anterior pituitary tumours. The therapeutic decision for sporadic pNENs patients is multi-disciplinary and complex: based on the grade and stage of the tumor, various options (and their combinations) are considered, such as surgical excision (either curative or for debulking aims), biological drugs (somatostatin analogues), targeted therapies (mTOR inhibitors or tyrosine kinases (TK)/receptors inhibitors), peptide receptor radioligand therapy (PRRT), chemotherapy, and liver-directed therapies. However, treatment of MEN1-related NENs’ patients is even more challenging, as these tumours are usually multifocal with co-existing foci of heterogeneous biology and malignant potential, rendering them more resistant to the conventional therapies used in their sporadic counterparts, and therefore associated with a poorer prognosis. Moreover, clinical data using standard therapeutic options in MEN1-related NENs are scarce. Recent preclinical studies have identified potentially new targeted therapeutic options for treating MEN1-associated NENs, such as epigenetic modulators, Wnt pathway-targeting β-catenin antagonists, Ras signalling modulators, Akt/mTOR signalling modulators, novel somatostatin receptors analogues, anti-angiogenic drugs, as well as MEN1 gene replacement therapy. The present review aims to summarize these novel therapeutic opportunities for NENs developing in the context of MEN1 syndrome, with an emphasis on pancreatic NENs, as they are the most frequent ones studied in MEN1-NENs models to date; moreover, due to the recent shifting nomenclature of ‘pituitary adenomas’ to ‘pituitary neuroendocrine neoplasms’, relevant data on MEN1-pituitary tumours, when appropriate, are briefly described.
Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Kate E Lines, Shani Avniel-Polak, Chas Bountra, and Rajesh V Thakker
Brian Harding, Manuel C Lemos, Anita A C Reed, Gerard V Walls, Jeshmi Jeyabalan, Michael R Bowl, Hilda Tateossian, Nicky Sullivan, Tertius Hough, William D Fraser, Olaf Ansorge, Michael T Cheeseman, and Rajesh V Thakker
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized in man by parathyroid, pancreatic, pituitary and adrenal tumours. The MEN1 gene encodes a 610-amino acid protein (menin) which is a tumour suppressor. To investigate the in vivo role of menin, we developed a mouse model, by deleting Men1 exons 1 and 2 and investigated this for MEN1-associated tumours and serum abnormalities. Men1 +/− mice were viable and fertile, and 220 Men1 +/− and 94 Men1 +/+ mice were studied between the ages of 3 and 21 months. Survival in Men1 +/− mice was significantly lower than in Men1 +/+ mice (<68% vs >85%, P<0.01). Men1 +/− mice developed, by 9 months of age, parathyroid hyperplasia, pancreatic tumours which were mostly insulinomas, by 12 months of age, pituitary tumours which were mostly prolactinomas, and by 15 months parathyroid adenomas and adrenal cortical tumours. Loss of heterozygosity and menin expression was demonstrated in the tumours, consistent with a tumour suppressor role for the Men1 gene. Men1 +/− mice with parathyroid neoplasms were hypercalcaemic and hypophosphataemic, with inappropriately normal serum parathyroid hormone concentrations. Pancreatic and pituitary tumours expressed chromogranin A (CgA), somatostatin receptor type 2 and vascular endothelial growth factor-A. Serum CgA concentrations in Men1 +/− mice were not elevated. Adrenocortical tumours, which immunostained for 3-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, developed in seven Men1 +/− mice, but resulted in hypercorticosteronaemia in one out of the four mice that were investigated. Thus, these Men1 +/− mice are representative of MEN1 in man, and will help in investigating molecular mechanisms and treatments for endocrine tumours.
Kreepa G Kooblall, Victoria J Stokes, Omair A Shariq, Katherine A English, Mark Stevenson, John Broxholme, Benjamin Wright, Helen E Lockstone, David Buck, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Christopher J Yates, Rajesh V Thakker, and Kate E Lines
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), caused by mutations in the MEN1 gene encoding menin, is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by the combined occurrence of parathyroid, pituitary and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Development of these tumours is associated with wide variations in their severity, order and ages (from <5 to >80 years), requiring life-long screening. To improve tumour surveillance and quality of life, better circulating biomarkers, particularly for pancreatic NETs that are associated with higher mortality, are required. We, therefore, examined the expression of circulating miRNA in the serum of MEN1 patients. Initial profiling analysis followed by qRT-PCR validation studies identified miR-3156-5p to be significantly downregulated (−1.3 to 5.8-fold, P < 0.05–0.0005) in nine MEN1 patients, compared to matched unaffected relatives. MEN1 knock-down experiments in BON-1 human pancreatic NET cells resulted in reduced MEN1 (49%, P < 0.05), menin (54%, P < 0.05) and miR-3156-5p expression (20%, P < 0.005), compared to control-treated cells, suggesting that miR-3156-5p downregulation is a consequence of loss of MEN1 expression. In silico analysis identified mortality factor 4-like 2 (MOR4FL2) as a potential target of miR-3156-5p, and in vitro functional studies in BON-1 cells transfected with either miR-3156-5p mimic or inhibitors showed that the miR-3156-5p mimic significantly reduced MORF4L2 protein expression (46%, P < 0.005), while miR-3156-5p inhibitor significantly increased MORF4L2 expression (1.5-fold, P < 0.05), compared to control-treated cells, thereby confirming that miR-3156-5p regulates MORF4L2 expression. Thus, the inverse relationship between miR-3156-5p and MORF4L2 expression represents a potential serum biomarker that could facilitate the detection of NET occurrence in MEN1 patients.