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Open access

Lachlan Angus, Shalem Leemaqz, Olivia Ooi, Pauline Cundill, Nicholas Silberstein, Peter Locke, Jeffrey D Zajac and Ada S Cheung

Background

Oestradiol with or without an anti-androgen (cyproterone acetate or spironolactone) is commonly prescribed in transfeminine individuals who have not had orchidectomy; however, there is no evidence to guide optimal treatment choice.

Objective

We aimed to compare add-on cyproterone acetate versus spironolactone in lowering endogenous testosterone concentrations in transfeminine individuals.

Design

Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Methods

We analysed 114 transfeminine individuals who had been on oestradiol therapy for >6 months in two gender clinics in Melbourne, Australia. Total testosterone concentrations were compared between three groups; oestradiol alone (n = 21), oestradiol plus cyproterone acetate (n = 21) and oestradiol plus spironolactone (n = 38). Secondary outcomes included serum oestradiol concentration, oestradiol valerate dose, blood pressure, serum potassium, urea and creatinine.

Results

Median age was 27.0 years (22.5–45.1) and median duration of hormone therapy was 1.5 years (0.9–2.6), which was not different between groups. On univariate analysis, the cyproterone group had significantly lower total testosterone concentrations (0.8 nmol/L (0.6–1.20)) compared with the spironolactone group (2.0 nmol/L (0.9–9.4), P = 0.037) and oestradiol alone group (10.5 nmol/L (4.9–17.2), P < 0.001), which remained significant (P = 0.005) after adjustments for oestradiol concentration, dose and age. Serum urea was higher in the spironolactone group compared with the cyproterone group. No differences were observed in total daily oestradiol dose, blood pressure, serum oestradiol, potassium or creatinine.

Conclusions

The cyproterone group achieved serum total testosterone concentrations in the female reference range. As spironolactone may cause feminisation without inhibition of steroidogenesis, it is unclear which anti-androgen is more effective at feminisation. Further prospective studies are required.

Open access

Gamze Akkuş, Isa Burak Güney, Fesih Ok, Mehtap Evran, Volkan Izol, Şeyda Erdoğan, Yıldırım Bayazıt, Murat Sert and Tamer Tetiker

Background

The management of adrenal incidentaloma is still a challenge with respect to determining its functionality (hormone secretion) and malignancy. In this light, we performed 18F-FDG PET/CT scan to assess the SUVmax values in different adrenal masses including Cushing syndrome, pheochromocytoma, primary hyperaldosteronism and non-functional adrenal adenomas.

Methods

Total 109 (73 F, 36 M) patients with adrenal mass (incidentaloma), mean age of 53.3 ± 10.2 years (range, 24–70) were screened by 18F-FDG PET/CT. Data of 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging of the patients were assessed by the same specialist. Adrenal masses were identified according to the calculated standardized uptake values (SUVs). Clinical examination, 24-h urine cortisol, catecholamine metabolites, 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test, aldosterone/renin ratio and serum electrolytes were analyzed.

Results

Based on the clinical and hormonal evaluations, there were 100 patients with non-functional adrenal mass, four with cortisol-secreting, four with pheochromocytomas and one with aldosterone-secreting adenoma. Mean adrenal mass diameter of 109 patients was 2.1 ± 4.3 (range, 1–6.5 cm). The 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging of the patients revealed that lower SUVmax values were found in non-functional adrenal masses (SUVmax 3.2) when compared to the functional adrenal masses including four with cortisol-secreting adenoma (SUVmax 10.1); four with pheochromcytoma (SUVmax 8.7) and one with aldosterone-secreting adenomas (SUVmax 3.30). Cortisol-secreting (Cushing syndrome) adrenal masses showed the highest SUVmax value (10.1), and a cut-off SUVmax of 4.135 was found with an 84.6% sensitivity and 75.6% specificity cortisol-secreting adrenal adenoma.

Conclusions

Consistent with the similar studies, non-functional adrenal adenomas typically do not show increased FDG uptake and a certain form of functional adenoma could present various FDG uptake in FDG PET/CT. Especially functional adrenal adenomas (cortisol secreting was the highest) showed increased FDG uptake in comparison to the non-functional adrenal masses. Therefore, setting a specific SUVmax value in the differentiation of malignant adrenal lesion from the benign one is risky and further studies, including a high number of functional adrenal mass are needed.

Open access

Yiyan Wang, Yaoyao Dong, Yinghui Fang, Yao Lv, Qiqi Zhu, Xiaoheng Li, Qingquan Lian and Ren-Shan Ge

Glucocorticoid hormone might cause intrauterine growth restriction. The glucocorticoid-metabolizing enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (HSD11B2) in the placenta eliminates excess levels of glucocorticoids during pregnancy. The aim of the current study was to define the effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES) on HSD11B2 activity in the mammalian placentas and identify its mode of action. Rat and human placental microsomal HSD11B2 were incubated with different concentrations of DES, and IC50 values were determined. The mode of action was analyzed by incubation of DES together with substrates, glucocorticoid and NAD+. DES suppressed rat and human HSD11B2 with IC50 values of 5.33 and 12.62 μM, respectively. DES was a competitive inhibitor of rat and human HSD11B2 when steroid substrates were added, while it was an uncompetitive inhibitor when cofactor NAD+ was exposed. Oral administration of DES (0.5 mg/kg) to the rat delayed the cortisol metabolism in adult female Sprague–Dawley rats, as indicated by the increases in cortisol’s elimination half-life, maximum concentration and area under the curve. In conclusion, DES is a potent HSD11B2 inhibitor, possibly contributing to the intrauterine growth restriction.

Open access

V Guarnotta, C Di Stefano, A Santoro, A Ciresi, A Coppola and C Giordano

Background

Dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) improves metabolism in patients with adrenal insufficiency. The aims of this study were to compare the cardiovascular and metabolic effects of conventional glucocorticoids (GCs) vs. DR-HC and of high vs. low doses of GCs, after 48 months of observation.

Methods

We selected 27 patients on hydrocortisone (mean dose 17.5 ± 4.2 mg/day) and 20 patients on cortisone acetate (mean dose 37.5 ± 12.1 mg/day) who maintained this treatment (group A) and 53 patients switched to DR-HC (mean dose 22 ± 4.8 mg/day) (group B). At baseline and after 48 months, clinical and metabolic parameters and Framingham Risk Score (FRS) were obtained.

Results

After 48 months, patients in group A had a significant increase from baseline in BMI (P < 0.001), waist circumference (P = 0.001), systolic blood pressure (P = 0.001), LDL cholesterol (P = 0.018), HbA1c (P = 0.020) and FRS (P = 0.002). By contrast, patients in group B had a significant decrease in BMI (P = 0.002), waist circumference (P = 0.015), diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.031), total (P = 0.006) and LDL cholesterol (P = 0.005), HbA1c (P < 0.001) and FRS (P = 0.015) compared to baseline. No significant differences between high and low doses of both conventional GCs and DR-HC were observed.

Conclusions

DR-HC is associated with an improvement of metabolic parameters and cardiovascular risk compared to conventional GCs, which are associated with a worsening of these parameters, regardless of the dose used.

Open access

Marra Jai Aghajani, Tara Laurine Roberts, Tao Yang, Charles Eugenio McCafferty, Nicole J Caixeiro, Paul DeSouza and Navin Niles

To date, no research evaluating the predictive capabilities of soluble programmed cell death-ligand 1 (sPD-L1) in thyroid cancer patients has been performed. We aimed to investigate the prognostic significance of sPD-L1 expression in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and to evaluate the association between sPD-L1 levels with tumoural PD-L1 expression and patient outcomes. Pre-treatment levels of serum and plasma sPD-L1 were measured by ELISA in 101 PTC patients. Tissue microarrays were stained with an anti-PD-L1 antibody, clone SP263 (Ventana). The median serum sPD-L1 concentration in PTC patients was significantly higher compared to healthy controls (P = 0.028). An increased incidence of extrathyroidal extension was significantly associated with an elevated serum sPD-L1 level (P = 0.015). Patients with high serum sPD-L1 levels had significantly shorter median disease-free survival (DFS) as compared to those with low sPD-L1 levels (P = 0.011). Following multivariate analysis, serum sPD-L1 was the only statistically significant predictor for DFS. Patients with both positive serum and tumoural PD-L1 expression had a significantly shorter DFS than those in any other subgroup (P = 0.007). Our study is the first to confirm that sPD-L1 concentration is significantly associated with patient outcome in PTC. Soluble PD-L1 may provide clinicians with a non-invasive biomarker that can lessen dependence on tissue biopsies and diagnose aggressive thyroid cancers at a more treatable stage.

Open access

Simonetta Piana, Eleonora Zanetti, Alessandra Bisagni, Moira Ragazzi, Davide Giordano, Federica Torricelli, Teresa Rossi and Alessia Ciarrocchi

The NOTCH signaling is an evolutionarily conserved signaling pathway that regulates cell-cell interactions. NOTCH family members play a fundamental role in a variety of processes during development in particular in cell fate decisions. As other crucial factors during embryogenesis, NOTCH signaling is aberrantly reactivated in cancer where it has been linked to context dependent effects. In thyroid cancer NOTCH1 expression has been associated to aggressive features even if its in vivo expression within the entire spectrum of thyroid tumors has not definitively established. A series of 106 thyroid specimens including non-neoplastic lesions, benign and malignant tumors of common and rare histotypes, was investigated by immunohistochemistry to assess NOTCH1 expression. Extent of positivity and protein localization were investigated and correlated with clinical and morphological parameters. NOTCH1 positivity was predominantly associated with papillary carcinomas and only occasionally found in follicular carcinomas. Poorly differentiated and undifferentiated thyroid carcinomas showed only a partial positivity. NOTCH1 expression pattern seemed also differently distributed according to histotype. Our data confirm a role of NOTCH1 in thyroid cancer and highlight for the first time the specific involvement of this pathway in papillary carcinomas. Our data also indicate that other thyroid malignancies do not rely on NOTCH1 signaling for development and progression.

Open access

María Lorena Bacigalupo, Verónica Gabriela Piazza, Nadia Sofía Cicconi, Pablo Carabias, Andrzej Bartke, Yimin Fang, Ana Isabel Sotelo, Gabriel Adrián Rabinovich, María Fernanda Troncoso and Johanna Gabriela Miquet

Transgenic mice overexpressing growth hormone (GH) spontaneously develop liver tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), within a year. The preneoplastic liver pathology in these mice recapitulates that observed in humans at high risk of developing hepatic cancer. Although increased expression of galectin 1 (GAL1) in liver tissue is associated with HCC aggressiveness, a link between this glycan-binding protein and hormone-related tumor development has not yet been explored. In this study we investigated GAL1 expression during liver tumor progression in mice continuously exposed to high levels of GH. GAL1 expression was determined by Western blotting, RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry in the liver of transgenic mice overexpressing GH. Animals of representative ages at different stages of liver pathology were studied. GAL1 expression was up-regulated in the liver of GH-transgenic mice. This effect was observed at early ages, when animals displayed no signs of liver disease or minimal histopathological alterations and was also detected in young adults with preneoplastic liver pathology. Remarkably, GAL1 up-regulation was sustained during aging and its expression was particularly enhanced in liver tumors.GH also induced hepatic GAL1 expression in mice that were treated with this hormone for a short period. Moreover, GH triggered a rapid increment in GAL1 protein expression in human HCC cells, denoting a direct effect of the hormone on hepatocytes. Therefore, our results indicate that GH up-regulates GAL1 expression in mouse liver, which may have critical implications in tumorigenesis. These findings suggest that this lectin could be implicated in hormone-driven liver carcinogenesis.

Open access

J Chycki, A Zajac, M Michalczyk, A Maszczyk and J Langfort

Objectives

The present study verified the effect of moderate-to-high-intensity aerobic exercise on the endocrine response profile and adipose tissue in young healthy men with different phenotype characteristics.

Design

Eighteen men were divided into three experimental groups with defined body components and specific physical fitness: Endurance phenotype – EP (n = 6; low body mass; low fat content; aerobic endurance trained), Athletic phenotype – AP (n = 6; high body mass; low fat content, resistance trained), Obesity phenotype – OP (n = 6; high body mass; high fat content, untrained).

Methods

The participants performed an progressive exercise protocol on a treadmill (30% VO2max, 50% VO2max, 70% VO2max), separated by 45 s of passive rest for blood collection.

Results

Plasma glucose oxidation increased in relation to exercise intensity, but to a greater extent in the AP group. The free fatty acids’ plasma level decreased with a rise in exercise intensity, but with different kinetics in particular phenotypes. Plasma growth hormone increased after the cessation of exercise and was significantly higher in all groups 45 min into recovery compared to resting values. Plasma insulin decreased during exercise in all groups, but in the OP, the decrease was blunted.

Conclusions

The results indicate that the rate of lipolysis, hormonal and metabolic response to aerobic exercise depends on the individuals’ phenotype. Thus, exercise type, duration and intensity have to be strictly individualized in relation to phenotype in order to reach optimal metabolic benefits.

Open access

Jordyn Silverstein, Wesley Kidder, Susan J Fisher, Thomas A. Hope, Samantha Maisel, Dianna Ng, Jessica Van Zifle, Chloe Atreya and Katherine Van Loon

BACKGROUND: Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) during the peri-partum period is challenging to diagnose due to the overlapping symptoms of CRC and pregnancy. This is the first case series to investigate clinicopathologic, hormononal, and molecular features of CRC diagnosed during the peri-partum period. We hypothesized that advanced presentations of CRC could possibly be mitigated by pregnancy-related hormonal factors.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of five women diagnosed with CRC during the peri-partum period and studied the clinical and molecular features of their cancer.

RESULTS: All patients presented with stage IV CRC at diagnosis; three had primary tumors in the rectum, and two had primary tumors in the sigmoid colon. The liver was the most common metastatic site (3 of 5 women). Immunohistochemistry stains were negative for estrogen receptors alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ), and one tumor demonstrated low-level positivity for PR (1%). Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies from each case were tested with next-generation sequencing and found that all tumors were mismatch repair (MMR) proficient, and three harbored a KRAS mutation. Germline testing showed no predisposition to CRC; however, several somatic variants of undetermined significance (VUS) were identified.

DISCUSSION: CRC in the peri-partum period poses significant risk factors for presentations with advanced disease due to diagnostic challenges. While our study provides no evidence that pathogenesis of CRC during pregnancy is driven by elevated estrogen and/or progesterone levels during pregnancy, additional putative etiologic factors, including placental growth factors, the immunosuppressive state of pregnancy, and other physiologic processes during pregnancy, warrant future study.

Open access

Amarjit Saini, Linda Björkhem-Bergman, Johan Boström, Mats Lilja, Michael Melin, Karl Olsson, Lena Ekström, Peter Bergman, Mikael Altun, Eric Rullman and Thomas Gustafsson

The CC genotype of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphism TaqI rs731236 has previously been associated with a higher risk of developing myopathy compared to TT carriers. However, the mechanistic role of this polymorphism in skeletal muscle is not well defined. The effects of vitamin D on patients genotyped for the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236, comparing CC and TT carriers were evaluated. Primary human myoblasts isolated from 4 CC carriers were compared with myoblasts isolated from four TT carriers and treated with vitamin D in vitro. A dose-dependent inhibitory effect on myoblast proliferation and differentiation was observed concurrent with modifications of key myogenic regulatory factors. RNA sequencing revealed a vitamin D dose–response gene signature enriched with a higher number of VDR-responsive elements (VDREs) per gene. Interestingly, the greater the expression of muscle differentiation markers in myoblasts, the more pronounced was the vitamin D-mediated response to suppress genes associated with myogenic fusion and myotube formation. This novel finding provides a mechanistic explanation to the inconsistency regarding previous reports of the role of vitamin D in myoblast differentiation. No effects in myoblast proliferation, differentiation or gene expression were related to CC vs TT carriers. Our findings suggest that the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236 comparing CC vs TT carriers did not influence the effects of vitamin D on primary human myoblasts and that vitamin D inhibits myoblast proliferation and differentiation through key regulators of cell cycle progression. Future studies need to employ strategies to identify the primary responses of vitamin D that drive the cellular response towards quiescence.