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Open access

Fabienne A U Fox, Lennart Koch, Monique M B Breteler, and N Ahmad Aziz

Objective

Maintaining muscle function throughout life is critical for healthy ageing. Although in vitro studies consistently indicate beneficial effects of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) on muscle function, findings from population-based studies remain inconclusive. We therefore aimed to examine the association between 25-OHD concentration and handgrip strength across a wide age range and assess potential modifying effects of age, sex and season.

Methods

We analysed cross-sectional baseline data of 2576 eligible participants out of the first 3000 participants (recruited from March 2016 to March 2019) of the Rhineland Study, a community-based cohort study in Bonn, Germany. Multivariate linear regression models were used to assess the relation between 25-OHD levels and grip strength while adjusting for age, sex, education, smoking, season, body mass index, physical activity levels, osteoporosis and vitamin D supplementation.

Results

Compared to participants with deficient 25-OHD levels (<30 nmol/L), grip strength was higher in those with inadequate (30 to <50 nmol/L) and adequate (≥50 to ≤125 nmol/L) levels (ßinadequate = 1.222, 95% CI: 0.377; 2.067, P = 0.005; ßadequate = 1.228, 95% CI: 0.437; 2.019, P = 0.002). Modelling on a continuous scale revealed grip strength to increase with higher 25-OHD levels up to ~100 nmol/L, after which the direction reversed (ßlinear = 0.505, 95% CI: 0.179; 0.830, P = 0.002; ßquadratic = –0.153, 95% CI: –0.269; -0.038, P = 0.009). Older adults showed weaker effects of 25-OHD levels on grip strength than younger adults (ß25OHDxAge = –0.309, 95% CI: –0.594; –0.024, P = 0.033).

Conclusions

Our findings highlight the importance of sufficient 25-OHD levels for optimal muscle function across the adult life span. However, vitamin D supplementation should be closely monitored to avoid detrimental effects.

Open access

Maria Luisa Garo, Désirée Deandreis, Alfredo Campennì, Alexis Vrachimis, Petra Petranovic Ovcaricek, and Luca Giovanella

Objective

Current staging and risk-stratification systems for predicting survival or recurrence of patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma may be ineffective at predicting outcomes in individual patients. In recent years, nomograms have been proposed as an alternative to conventional systems for predicting personalized clinical outcomes. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the predictive performance of available nomograms for thyroid cancer patients.

Design and methods

PROSPERO registration (CRD42022327028). A systematic search was conducted without time and language restrictions. PICOT questions: population, patients with papillary thyroid cancer; comparator prognostic factor, single-arm studies; outcomes, overall survival, disease-free survival, cancer-specific survival, recurrence, central lymph node metastases, or lateral lymph node metastases; timing, all periods; setting, hospital setting. Risk of bias was assessed through PROBAST tool.

Results

Eighteen studies with a total of 20 prognostic models were included in the systematic review (90,969 papillary thyroid carcinoma patients). Fourteen models were at high risk of bias and four were at unclear risk of bias. The greatest concerns arose in the analysis domain. The accuracy of nomograms for overall survival was assessed in only one study and appeared limited (0.77, 95% CI: 0.75–0.79). The accuracy of nomograms for disease-free survival ranged from 0.65 (95% CI: 0.55–0.75) to 0.92 (95% CI: 0.91–0.95). The C-index for predicting lateral lymph node metastasis ranged from 0.72 to 0.92 (95% CI: 0.86–0.97). For central lymph node metastasis, the C-index of externally validated studies ranged from 0.706 (95% CI: 0.685–0.727) to 0.923 (95% CI: 0.893–0.946).

Conclusions

Our work highlights the extremely high heterogeneity among nomograms and the critical lack of external validation studies that limit the applicability of nomograms in clinical practice. Further studies ideally using commonly adopted risk factors as the backbone to develop nomograms are required.

Significance statement

Nomograms may be appropriate tools to plan treatments and predict personalized clinical outcomes in patients with papillary thyroid cancer. However, the nomograms developed to date are very heterogeneous, and their results seem to be closely related to the specific samples studied to generate the same nomograms. The lack of rigorous external validation procedures and the use of risk factors that sometimes appear to be far from those commonly used in clinical practice, as well as the great heterogeneity of the risk factors considered, limit the ability of nomograms to predict patient outcomes and thus their current introduction in clinical practice.

Open access

Jan W Eriksson, Reem A Emad, Martin H Lundqvist, Niclas Abrahamsson, and Maria C Kjellsson

This study aimed to characterize how the dysregulation of counter-regulatory hormones can contribute to insulin resistance and potentially to diabetes. Therefore, we investigated the association between insulin sensitivity and the glucose- and insulin-dependent secretion of glucagon, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and cortisol in non-diabetic individuals using a population model analysis. Data, from hyperinsulinemic–hypoglycemic clamps, were pooled for analysis, including 52 individuals with a wide range of insulin resistance (reflected by glucose infusion rate 20–60 min; GIR20–60min). Glucagon secretion was suppressed by glucose and, to a lesser extent, insulin. The GIR20–60min and BMI were identified as predictors of the insulin effect on glucagon. At normoglycemia (5 mmol/L), a 90% suppression of glucagon was achieved at insulin concentrations of 16.3 and 43.4 µU/mL in individuals belonging to the highest and lowest quantiles of insulin sensitivity, respectively. Insulin resistance of glucagon secretion explained the elevated fasting glucagon for individuals with a low GIR20–60min. ACTH secretion was suppressed by glucose and not affected by insulin. The GIR20–60min was superior to other measures as a predictor of glucose-dependent ACTH secretion, with 90% suppression of ACTH secretion by glucose at 3.1 and 3.5 mmol/L for insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant individuals, respectively. This difference may appear small but shifts the suppression range into normoglycemia for individuals with insulin resistance, thus, leading to earlier and greater ACTH/cortisol response when the glucose falls. Based on modeling of pooled glucose-clamp data, insulin resistance was associated with generally elevated glucagon and a potentiated cortisol-axis response to hypoglycemia, and over time both hormonal pathways may therefore contribute to dysglycemia and possibly type 2 diabetes.

Open access

Marie Auzanneau, Alexander J Eckert, Andreas Fritsche, Martin Heni, Andrea Icks, Annabel S Mueller-Stierlin, Ana Dugic, Alexander Risse, Stefanie Lanzinger, and Reinhard W Holl

Objective

To analyze the proportion of diabetes among all hospitalized cases in Germany between 2015 and 2020.

Methods

Using the nationwide Diagnosis-Related-Groups statistics, we identified among all inpatient cases aged ≥ 20 years all types of diabetes in the main or secondary diagnoses based on ICD-10 codes, as well all COVID-19 diagnoses for 2020.

Results

From 2015 to 2019, the proportion of cases with diabetes among all hospitalizations increased from 18.3% (3.01 of 16.45 million) to 18.5% (3.07 of 16.64 million). Although the total number of hospitalizations decreased in 2020, the proportion of cases with diabetes increased to 18.8% (2.73 of 14.50 million). The proportion of COVID-19 diagnosis was higher in cases with diabetes than in those without in all sex and age subgroups. The relative risk (RR) for a COVID-19 diagnosis in cases with vs without diabetes was highest in age group 40–49 years (RR in females: 1.51; in males: 1.41).

Conclusions

The prevalence of diabetes in the hospital is twice as high as the prevalence in the general population and has increased further with the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the increased morbidity in this high-risk patient group. This study provides essential information that should help to better estimate the need for diabetological expertise in inpatient care settings.

Open access

Tian Zhou, Dai-wei Zhao, Ning Ma, Xue-ying Zhu, Xing-hong Chen, Xue Luo, Song Chen, and Qing-jun Gao

Objective

Thyroid cancer (THCA) is the most common endocrine cancer in the world. Although most patients with THCA have a good prognosis, the prognosis of those with THCA who have an extra-glandular invasion, vascular invasion, and distant metastasis is poor. Therefore, it is very important to find potential biomarkers that can effectively predict the prognosis and progression of highly aggressive THCAs. It has been identified that forkhead box P4 (FOXP4) may be a new biomarker for the proliferation and prognosis for tumor diagnosis. However, the expression and function of FOXP4 in THCA remain to be determined.

Methods

In the present study, the function of FOXP4 in cells was investigated through the comprehensive analysis of data in The Cancer Genome Atlas and combined with experiments including immunohistochemistry (IHC), colony formation, Cell Counting Kit-8 assay, wound scratch healing, and transwell invasion assay.

Results

In the present study, relevant bioinformatic data showed that FOXP4 was highly expressed in THCA, which was consistent with the results of the IHC and cell experiments. Meanwhile, 10 FOXP4-related hub genes were identified as potential diagnostic genes for THCA. It was found in further experiments that FOXP4 was located in the nucleus of THCA cells, and the expression of FOXP4 in the nucleus was higher than that in the cytoplasm. FOXP4 knockdown inhibited in vitro proliferation of the THCA cells, whereas overexpression promoted the proliferation and migration of THCA cells. Furthermore, deficiency of FOXP4 induced cell-cycle arrest.

Conclusion

FOXP4 might be a potential target for diagnosing and treating THCA.

Open access

Kaili Yang, Jiarui Li, Yuejuan Cheng, and Chunmei Bai

Background

Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs) are heterogenous malignancies that require well-designed trials to develop effective management strategies. This cross-sectional study aimed to illustrate the current landscape of clinical trials in GEP-NENs to provide insights for future research.

Materials and methods

We reviewed all clinical trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2021 with GEP-NEN in the ‘condition or disease’ field.

Results

We included 206 eligible trials. Most trials enrolled less than 50 patients (59.8%) and were sponsored by institutions other than government or industry (67.0%). Most trials were conducted in high-income countries (86.6%) and countries located in Europe (30.1%) or Northern America (29.6%). The overall result reporting rates of GEP-NEN trials was 41.4%, and the median time from primary completion to result reporting was 101 months. Characteristics that improved the reporting of results included larger sample size, tumor differentiation specification for inclusion, progression-free survival as primary endpoint, industry sponsorship, and multicenter or multinational participation (all P < 0.05). Compared with trials registered between 2000 and 2011 (n = 28), trials registered between 2012 and 2021 (n = 178) were more likely to specify the Ki-67 index for inclusion (68.0% vs 35.7%, P = 0.002) and to be conducted outside Europe or Northern America (16.4% vs 3.7%, P = 0.02), while the sample size and the sponsorship did not change significantly.

Conclusions

Novel management options have been explored for GEP-NENs with more specific inclusion criteria during the past two decades. More efforts are needed to promote international collaborations in clinical trials and enhance timely result dissemination.

Open access

Sarah Ying Tse Tan, Hong Chang Tan, Ling Zhu, Lih Ming Loh, Dawn Shao Ting Lim, Du Soon Swee, Yoke Ling Chan, Huee Boon Lim, Shiau Lee Ling, En Jun Ou, Wynn Ee Teo, Xiao Ping Zhang, Hui Fen Goh, and Peng Chin Kek

Background

Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is potentially life-threatening, and accurate diagnosis is crucial. The first-line diagnostic test, the adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test, measures serum total cortisol. However, this is affected in states of altered albumin or cortisol-binding globulin levels, limiting reliability. Salivary cortisol reflects free bioactive cortisol levels and is a promising alternative. However, few studies are available, and heterogenous methodologies limit applicability.

Methods

This study prospectively recruited 42 outpatients undergoing evaluation for AI, excluding participants with altered cortisol-binding states. Serum (immunoassay) and salivary (liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry) cortisol levels were sampled at baseline, 30 min, and 60 min following 250 µg synacthen administration. AI was defined as a peak serum cortisol level <500 nmol/L in accordance with guidelines.

Results

The study recruited 21 (50%) participants with AI and 21 without AI. There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics, blood pressure, or sodium levels between groups. Following synacthen stimulation, serum and salivary cortisol levels showed good correlation at all timepoints (R 2 = 0.74, P < 0.001), at peak levels (R 2 = 0.72, P < 0.001), and at 60 min (R 2 = 0.72, P < 0.001). A salivary cortisol cut-off of 16.0 nmol/L had a sensitivity of 90.5% and a specificity of 76.2% for the diagnosis of AI.

Conclusion

This study demonstrates a good correlation between serum and salivary cortisol levels during the 250 µg synacthen test. A peak salivary cortisol cut-off of 16.0 nmol/L can be used for the diagnosis of AI. It is a less invasive alternative to evaluate patients with suspected AI. Its potential utility in the diagnosis of AI in patients with altered cortisol-binding states should be further studied.

Open access

Tristan Avril, Quentin Hennocq, Anne-Sophie Lambert, Juliane Leger, Dominique Simon, Laetitia Martinerie, and Claire Bouvattier

Objective

Newborns with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) have an impaired postnatal activation of the gonadotropic axis. Substitutive therapy with recombinant gonadotropins can be proposed to mimic physiological male mini-puberty during the first months of life. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and biological efficacy of two treatment modalities of gonadotropins administration during mini-puberty in CHH neonates.

Design

Multicenter retrospective analytical epidemiological study comparing two treatments, pump vs injection, between 2004 and 2019.

Methods

Clinical (penile size, testis size, testicular descent) and biological parameters (serum concentrations of testosterone, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and Inhibin B) were compared between the two groups by multivariate analyses.

Results

Thirty-five patients were included. A significantly higher increase in penile length and testosterone level was observed in the injection group compared to the pump group (+0.16 ± 0.02 mm vs +0.10 ± 0.02 mm per day, P = 0.002; and +0.04 ± 0.007 ng/mL vs +0.01 ± 0.008 ng/mL per day, P = 0.001). In both groups, significant increases in penile length and width, testosterone, AMH, and Inhibin B levels were observed, as well as improved testicular descent (odds ratio of not being in a scrotal position at the end of treatment = 0.97 (0.96; 0.99)).

Conclusions

Early postnatal administration of recombinant gonadotropins in CHH boys is effective in stimulating penile growth, Sertoli cell proliferation, and testicular descent, with both treatment modalities.

Open access

Heleen I Jansen, Marijn M Bult, Peter H Bisschop, Anita Boelen, Annemieke C Heijboer, and Jacquelien J Hillebrand

Introduction

In our hospital, physicians noticed high free thyroxine (fT4) concentrations without complete suppression of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in blood samples of patients at the outpatient clinic, which appeared to occur more often following the introduction of a new fT4 immunoassay. This discordance may be explained by incorrect reference intervals, analytical issues, or patient-related factors. We aimed to establish the contribution of the possible factors involved.

Methods

Reference intervals of both fT4 immunoassays were re-evaluated using blood samples of healthy volunteers and the new immunoassay’s performance was assessed using internal quality controls and external quality rounds. The frequency of discordant fT4 and TSH pairings obtained from laboratory requests were retrospectively analysed using a Delfia (n = 3174) and Cobas cohort (n = 3408). Last, a literature search assessed whether the time of blood draw and the time of levothyroxine (L-T4) ingestion may contribute to higher fT4 concentrations in L-T4 users.

Results

The original reference intervals of both fT4 immunoassays were confirmed and no evidence for analytical problems was found. The Delfia (n = 176, 5.5%) and Cobas cohorts (n = 295, 8.7%) showed comparable frequencies of discordance. Interestingly, 72–81% of the discordant results belonged to L-T4 users. Literature indicated the time of blood withdrawal of L-T4 users and, therefore, the time of L-T4 intake as possible explanations.

Conclusions

High fT4 without suppressed TSH concentrations can mainly be explained by L-T4 intake. Physicians and laboratory specialists should be aware of this phenomenon to avoid questioning the assay’s performance or unnecessarily adapting the L-T4 dose in patients.