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Open access

David C Llewellyn, Rajaventhan Srirajaskanthan, Royce P Vincent, Catherine Guy, Eftychia E Drakou, Simon J B Aylwin, Ashley B Grossman, John K Ramage, and Georgios K Dimitriadis

Calcitonin-secreting neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung are rare, with few cases reported in the literature. Differentiating between medullary thyroid carcinoma and an ectopic source of calcitonin secretion can represent a complex diagnostic conundrum for managing physicians, with cases of unnecessary thyroidectomy reported in the literature. This manuscript reports a case of ectopic hypercalcitonaemia from a metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasm of the lung with concurrent thyroid pathology and summarises the results of a systematic review of the literature. Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov and SCOPUS databases were systematically and critically appraised for all peer reviewed manuscripts that suitably fulfilled the inclusion criteria established a priori. The protocol for this systematic review was developed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis Protocols, and followed methods outlined in The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. This systematic review is registered with PROSPERO. It is vital to consider diagnoses other than medullary thyroid carcinoma when presented with a patient with raised calcitonin, as it is not pathognomonic of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Lung neuroendocrine neoplasms can appear similar to medullary thyroid carcinoma histologically, they can secrete calcitonin and metastasize to the thyroid. Patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma may show stimulated calcitonin values over two or more times above the basal values, whereas calcitonin-secreting neuroendocrine neoplasms may or may not show response to stimulation tests. The present review summarises existing evidence from cases of ectopic hypercalcitonaemia to lung neuroendocrine neoplasms.

Open access

Irfan Vardarli, Manuel Weber, Frank Weidemann, Dagmar Führer, Ken Herrmann, and Rainer Görges

Objective

The usefulness of routine calcitonin measurement for early detection of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in patients with nodular thyroid disease (NTD) has been investigated in various studies. Recently, a Cochrane review has been published on this issue, but a meta-analysis is lacking yet. Therefore, we performed this meta-analysis.

Methods

We performed an electronic search using PubMed/Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library. Studies assessing the diagnostic accuracy of routine calcitonin measurement for detecting MTC in patients with NDT were selected. Statistics were performed by using Stata software, risk of bias was assessed using Review Manager version 5.3.

Results

Seventeen studies, involving 74,407 patients were included in the study. Meta-analysis, using the bivariate random effects model and the hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curve revealed the following pooled estimates: sensitivity 0.99 (95% CI, 0.81–1.00), specificity 0.99 (95% CI, 0.97–0.99), positive likelihood ratio (L+) 72.4 (95% CI, 32.3–162.1), and negative likelihood ratio (L−) 0.01 (95% CI, 0.00–0.23). Meta-regression analysis showed that the threshold of basal calcitonin is an independent factor, but in particular performing stimulation test is not an independent factor.

Conclusions

We showed that routine basal serum calcitonin measurement in the management of patients with thyroid nodules is valuable for the detection of MTC. However, the published cut-off values should be considered and, if applicable, the patients monitored in a wait-and-see strategy by experienced physicians to avoid overtreatment.

Open access

C Sui, Q He, R Du, D Zhang, F Li, G Dionigi, N Liang, and H Sun

Purpose

This study examined the clinicopathological characteristics of 6279 N1 differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) patients who underwent operations in our center.

Methods

This was a retrospective longitudinal analysis. We categorized the DTC patients on the basis of various lymph node (LN) characteristics. Logistic regression models and multiple linear regression models were used for the correlation analysis.

Results

A total of 3693 (58.8%) N1a patients and 2586 (41.2%) N1b patients were included. Patients with N1b disease had larger metastatic foci (0.5 vs 0.15 cm), a greater number of metastatic LNs (5 vs 2), a greater number of dissected LNs (25 vs 7), and a smaller lymph node ratio (NR, number of positive LNs/number of sampled LNs) (23.1% vs 28.6%) than patients in stage N1a. Comparing the clinicopathological features, we found that male, increased tumor size, multifocality, and thyroiditis increased the risk of stage N1b disease (P < 0.05). Sex, multifocality, capsular infiltration, and tumor size were associated with the size of the metastatic LNs (P < 0.05). Sex, capsular infiltration, and nodular goiter were associated with the NR (P < 0.05). Female sex, tumor located in inferior lobe, maximal tumor diameter (MTD) < 1 cm, and nodular goiter were independent predictors for skip metastases (P < 0.05). MTD > 1 cm, central neck metastasis and age were independent predictors for bilateral lateral neck metastasis (BLNM) (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

The LN characteristics of stage N1a and N1b disease were associated with significantly different features, such as sex, tumor size, multifocality, capsular infiltration, and nodular goiter.

Open access

Qinglei Yin, Zhou Jin, Yulin Zhou, Dalong Song, Chenyang Fu, FengJiao Huang, and Shu Wang

Graves’ disease (GD) is a common autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. As a new class of modulators of gene expression, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to play a vital role in immune functions and in the development of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease. The aim of this study is to identify lncRNAs in CD4+ T cells as potential biomarkers of GD. lncRNA and mRNA microarrays were performed to identify differentially expressed lncRNAs and mRNAs in GD CD4+ T cells compared with healthy control CD4+ T cells. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to validate the results, and correlation analysis was used to analyze the relationship between these aberrantly expressed lncRNAs and clinical parameters. The microarray identified 164 lncRNAs and 93 mRNAs in GD CD4+ T cells differentially expressed compared to healthy control CD4+ T cells (fold change >2.0 and a P < 0.05). Further analysis consistently showed that the expression of HMlincRNA1474 (P < 0.01) and TCONS_00012608 (P < 0.01) was suppressed, while the expression of AK021954 (P < 0.01) and AB075506 (P < 0.01) was upregulated from initial GD patients. In addition, their expression levels were recovered in euthyroid GD patients and GD patients in remission. Moreover, these four aberrantly expressed lncRNAs were correlated with GD clinical parameters. Moreover, the areas under the ROC curve were 0.8046, 0.7579, 0.8115 for AK021954, AB075506, HMlincRNA1474, respectively. The present work revealed that differentially expressed lncRNAs were associated with GD, which might serve as novel biomarkers of GD and potential targets for GD treatment.

Open access

Xuechao Jiang, Yonghui Wang, Xiaoying Li, Leqi He, Qian Yang, Wei Wang, Jun Liu, and Bingbing Zha

B lymphocytes are the source of autoantibodies against the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) in Graves’ disease (GD). Characterization of autoimmune B-cell expression profiles might enable a better understanding of GD pathogenesis. To reveal this, the expression levels of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and mRNAs (genes) in purified B cells from patients with newly diagnosed GD and healthy individuals were compared using microarrays, which elucidated 604 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DE-lncRNAs) and 410 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). GO and pathway analyses revealed that the DEGs are mainly involved in immune response. A protein–protein interaction network presented experimentally validated interactions among the DEGs. Two independent algorithms were used to identify the DE-lncRNAs that regulate the DEGs. Functional annotation of the deregulated lncRNA–mRNA pairs identified 14 pairs with mRNAs involved in cell proliferation. The lncRNAs TCONS_00022357-XLOC_010919 and n335641 were predicted to regulate TCL1 family AKT coactivator A (TCL1A), and the lncRNA n337845 was predicted to regulate SH2 domain containing 1A (SH2D1A). TCL1A and SH2D1A are highly involved in B-cell proliferation. The differential expression of both genes was validated by qRT-PCR. In conclusion, lncRNA and mRNA expression profiles of B cells from patients with GD indicated that the lncRNA–mRNA pairs n335641–TCL1A, TCONS_00022357-XLOC_010919–TCL1A, and n337845–SH2D1A may participate in GD pathogenesis by modulating B-cell proliferation and survival. Therefore, the identified lncRNA and mRNA may represent novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for GD.

Open access

Xiao-Ping Qi, Jian-Zhong Peng, Xiao-Wei Yang, Zhi-Lie Cao, Xiu-Hua Yu, Xu-Dong Fang, Da-Hong Zhang, and Jian-Qiang Zhao

Background

Cutaneous lichen amyloidosis (CLA) has been reported in some multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN 2A) families affected by specific germline RET mutations C634F/G/R/W/Y or V804M, as a characteristic of the clinical manifestation in ‘MEN 2A with CLA’, one of four variants of MEN 2A, which was strictly located in the scapular region of the upper back.

Patient Findings

This study reports a large south-eastern Chinese pedigree with 17 individuals carrying the MEN 2A-harboring germline C611Y (c.1832G>A) RET mutation by Sanger sequencing. One individual presented MEN 2A-related clinical features, including typical CLA in the interscapular region; another individual exhibited neurological pruritus and scratching in the upper back but lacked CLA skin lesions. Both subjects presented with CLA or pruritic symptoms several years before the onset of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and/or pheochromocytoma. The remaining 15 RET mutation carriers did not exhibit CLA; of these, one presented with MTC and pheochromocytoma, nine with MTC only, two with elevated serum calcitonin and three younger subjects with normal serum calcitonin levels. This family’s clinical data revealed a later diagnosis of MTC (mean age, 45.9 (range: 23–73) years), a lower penetrance of pheochromocytoma (2/17, 11.8%) and CLA (1/17, 5.9%). However, no hyperparathyroidism and Hirschsprung disease were reported in this family.

Summary and Conclusions

This is the first description of a family with MEN 2A-related CLA due to a germline RET C611Y mutation, which might exhibit a novel and diversified genotype–phenotype spectrum in MEN 2A.

Open access

Malgorzata Oczko-Wojciechowska, Agnieszka Czarniecka, Tomasz Gawlik, Barbara Jarzab, and Jolanta Krajewska

Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare thyroid malignancy, which arises from parafollicular C-cells. It occurs in the hereditary or sporadic form. Hereditary type is a consequence of activation of the RET proto-oncogene by germline mutations, whereas about 80% of sporadic MTC tumors harbor somatic, mainly RET or rarely RAS mutations. According to the current ATA guidelines, a postoperative MTC risk stratification and long-term follow-up are mainly based on histopathological data, including tumor stage, the presence of lymph node and/or distant metastases (TNM classification), and serum concentration of two biomarkers: calcitonin (Ctn) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The type of RET germline mutation also correlates with MTC clinical characteristics. The most common and the best known RET mutation in sporadic MTC, localized at codon 918, is related to a more aggressive MTC course and poorer survival. However, even if histopathological or clinical features allow to predict a long-term prognosis, they are not sufficient to select the patients showing aggressive MTC courses requiring immediate treatment or those, who are refractory to different therapeutic methods. Besides the RET gene mutations, there are currently no other reliable molecular prognostic markers. This review summarizes the present data of genomic investigation on molecular prognostic factors in medullary thyroid cancer.

Open access

Ayako Sato, Katsuya Matsuda, Takahiro Motoyama, Zhanna Mussazhanova, Ryota Otsubo, Hisayoshi Kondo, Yuko Akazawa, Miyoko Higuchi, Ayana Suzuki, Mitsuyoshi Hirokawa, Akira Miyauchi, Takeshi Nagayasu, and Masahiro Nakashima

We have previously reported that the expression of p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) in nuclear foci (NF), a marker reflecting DNA damage response (DDR), detected using immunofluorescence (IF) is useful to estimate the malignant potency of diverse cancers. In this prospective study, we clarified the impact of 53BP1 expression via IF as a biomarker to differentiate thyroid follicular tumors (FTs) with liquid-based cytology (LBC). A total of 183 consecutively obtained-LBC samples, which were preoperatively suspected as FTs, were analyzed. Before histological diagnosis, the type of 53BP1 immunoreactivity in LBC was classified as follows: low DDR type, one or two NF; high DDR type, three or more NF; large foci type, larger than 1.0 μm; abnormal type, intense nuclear staining. Among the 183 cases, 136 cases were postoperatively diagnosed as FTs, including adenomatous goiter (AG, n = 30), follicular adenoma (FA, n = 60), FT-uncertain malignant potency (FT-UMP, n = 18), and follicular carcinoma (FC, n = 28), and 47 cases were diagnosed as tumors other than FTs or technically inadequate materials. Total 136 FT cases were collated with the type of 53BP1 immunoreactivity in LBC. The mean incidence expressing abnormal 53BP1 expression was significantly higher in FC than FA (9.5% vs 2.6%, P-value < 0.001). When adopting 4.3% as a cut-off value to distinguish FC from FA, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 89.3, 83.3, 71.4, and 94.3%, respectively. Therefore, IF analysis of 53BP1 expression can be employed as a novel technique to diagnose FTs and to distinguish between different types of FTs using LBC.

Open access

Willem de Ronde and Diederik L Smit

This review summarizes 10 years experience with male abusers of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). The typical user of AAS is male, aged between 20 and 40 and lifting weights. Illegal AAS are cheap and easily obtained via internet or local suppliers. AAS are mostly used in cycles with a duration between 6 and 18 weeks. Most AAS cycles contain multiple agents, used simultaneously in a dose vastly exceeding a substitution dose. A variety of other performance and image-enhancing drugs are commonly used, including human growth hormone, thyroid hormone, tamoxifen, clomiphene citrate and human chorionic gonadotrophin. Short-term clinical and biochemical side effects are well established. Long-term side effects are uncertain, but may include heart failure, mood-and anxiety disorders, hypogonadism and subfertility. We share our views on the management of common health problems associated with AAS abuse.

Open access

Marra Jai Aghajani, Tao Yang, Ulf Schmitz, Alexander James, Charles Eugenio McCafferty, Paul de Souza, Navin Niles, and Tara L Roberts

Programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has recently been shown to play a role in the regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); however, the relationship between PD-L1 expression, EMT and the inflammatory tumour microenvironment has yet to be investigated in thyroid cancer. To address this issue, we examined the expression of CD8, PD-L1 and the EMT markers E-cadherin and vimentin in a cohort of 74 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients and investigated the association of these with clinicopathologic characteristics and disease-free survival (DFS). The relationship between PD-L1 and EMT was further examined in three thyroid cancer cell lines via Western blot and live cell imaging. In order to expand our in vitro findings, the normalised gene expression profiles of 516 thyroid cancer patients were retrieved and analysed from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). PD-L1 positivity was significantly higher in PTC patients exhibiting a mesenchymal phenotype (P = 0.012). Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed that PD-L1 (P = 0.045), CD8 (P = 0.038) and EMT status (P = 0.038) were all significant predictors for DFS. Sub-analysis confirmed that the poorest DFS was evident in PD-L1 positive patients with EMT features and negative CD8 expression (P < 0.0001). IFN-γ treatment induced upregulation of PD-L1 and significantly promoted an EMT phenotype in two thyroid cancer cell lines. Our findings suggest that PD-L1 signalling may play a role in stimulating EMT in thyroid cancer. EMT, CD8 and PD-L1 expression may serve as valuable predictive biomarkers in patients with PTC.