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Open access

Nikolaj Rittig, Mads Svart, Niels Jessen, Niels Møller, Holger J Møller, and Henning Grønbæk

Background

Macrophage activation determined by levels of soluble sCD163 is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This suggests that macrophage activation is involved in the pathogenesis of conditions is characterised by adaptions in the lipid metabolism. Since sCD163 is shed to serum by inflammatory signals including lipopolysaccharides (LPS, endotoxin), we investigated sCD163 and correlations with lipid metabolism following LPS exposure.

Methods

Eight healthy male subjects were investigated on two separate occasions: (i) following an LPS exposure and (ii) following saline exposure. Each study day consisted of a four-hour non-insulin-stimulated period followed by a two-hour hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp period. A 3H-palmitate tracer was used to calculate the rate of appearance (Rapalmitate). Blood samples were consecutively obtained throughout each study day. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue was obtained for western blotting.

Results

We observed a significant two-fold increase in plasma sCD163 levels following LPS exposure (P < 0.001), and sCD163 concentrations correlated positively with the plasma concentration of free fatty acids, Rapalmitate, lipid oxidation rates and phosphorylation of the hormone-sensitive lipase at serine 660 in adipose tissue (P < 0.05, all). Furthermore, sCD163 concentrations correlated positively with plasma concentrations of cortisol, glucagon, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10 (P < 0.05, all).

Conclusion

We observed a strong correlation between sCD163 and stimulation of lipolysis and fat oxidation following LPS exposure. These findings support preexisting theory that inflammation and macrophage activation play a significant role in lipid metabolic adaptions under conditions such as obesity, DM2 and NAFLD.

Open access

Qing Zhu, Jianbin Su, Xueqin Wang, Mengjie Tang, Yingying Gao, and Dongmei Zhang

Graves’ disease (GD), an organ-specific autoimmune disease, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) exhibits immunological and metabolic activities involved in the induction and maintenance of immune responses. We attempted to evaluate the relationship between GD and serum TNF-α and its soluble receptors (sTNFRs), soluble TNF receptor 1 and 2 (sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2). A total of 72 GD patients and 72 matched healthy individuals were recruited for this study. Serum TNF-α and sTNFRs were measured by sandwich ELISA. In our study, no significant difference was observed in TNF-α, but sTNFRs were found to be significantly elevated in GD patients compared to healthy individuals. Serum sTNFR levels were positively correlated with free triiodothyronine (FT3) and free thyroxine (FT4), and TNF-α was negatively correlated with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the GD group. It was also shown that thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) was positively correlated with TNF-α and sTNFRs. Spearman’s correlation analysis showed that only sTNF-R1 was positively correlated with complement C3. Multiple linear regression analysis suggests that serum levels of sTNF-R1 and FT4 may play an important role in the serum level of FT3. According to the median value of FT3 level, GD patients were further divided into a high FT3 group and a low FT3 group. The serum levels of sTNF-R1 in the high FT3 GD group were significantly higher than those in the low FT3 GD group. In conclusion, sTNFRs may play an important role in anti-inflammatory and immune response in GD.

Open access

Bruno Donadille, Muriel Houang, Irène Netchine, Jean-Pierre Siffroi, and Sophie Christin-Maitre

Human 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency (3b-HSD) is a very rare form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia resulting from HSD3B2 gene mutations. The estimated prevalence is less than 1/1,000,000 at birth. It leads to steroidogenesis impairment in both adrenals and gonads. Few data are available concerning adult testicular function in such patients. We had the opportunity to study gonadal axis and testicular function in a 46,XY adult patient, carrying a HSD3B2 mutation. He presented at birth a neonatal salt-wasting syndrome. He had a micropenis, a perineal hypospadias and two intrascrotal testes. HSD3B2 gene sequencing revealed a 687del27 homozygous mutation. The patient achieved normal puberty at the age of 15 years. Transition from the paediatric department occurred at the age of 19 years. His hormonal profile under hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone treatments revealed normal serum levels of 17OH-pregnenolone, as well as SDHEA, ACTH, total testosterone, inhibin B and AMH. Pelvic ultrasound identified two scrotal testes of 21 mL each, without any testicular adrenal rest tumours. His adult spermatic characteristics were normal, according to WHO 2010 criteria, with a sperm concentration of 57.6 million/mL (N > 15), 21% of typical forms (N > 4%). Sperm vitality was subnormal (41%; N > 58%). This patient, in contrast to previous reports, presents subnormal sperm parameters and therefore potential male fertility in a 24-years-old patient with severe 3b-HSD deficiency. This case should improve counselling about fertility of male patients carrying HSD3B2 mutation.

Open access

Martin Zweifel, Beat Thürlimann, Salome Riniker, Patrik Weder, Roger von Moos, Olivia Pagani, Martin Bigler, Karin M Rothgiesser, Christiane Pilop, Hanne Hawle, Peter Brauchli, Coya Tapia, Wolfgang Schoenfeld, Cristiana Sessa, and for the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK)

CR1447 (4-hydroxytestosterone, 4-OHT) binds to the androgen receptor and has antiproliferative activity in both ER-positive and ER-negative/AR-positive breast cancer cells in preclinical studies. The objective of this first-in man trial was to evaluate the safety and to determine the dose of CR1447, administered as an ointment, for Phase II. Escalating doses (100, 200, 400 mg) of CR1447 were administered topically on a daily basis to patients with ER-positive/AR-positive/HER2-negative advanced breast cancer pretreated with several lines of therapy. 14 patients have been treated for a total of 42 cycles. Two patients, one at dose level 100 mg and one at dose level 200 mg, showed early tumour progression and were replaced. Related adverse events were all ≤ grade 2 and included fatigue, bone and joint pain, stiffness, dry skin and mouth, nausea, sweating, urinary tract infection, rash, headache and distress. No drug-related dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were seen. Two patients (17%) achieved stable disease at 3 months. Pharmacokinetic analysis confirmed dose-dependent transdermal uptake of CR1447. 4-OH-androstenedione (4-OHA), a key metabolite of 4-OHT, was undetectable in most of the plasma samples. Urine metabolites of 4-OHT and 4-OHA indicate high exposure of 4-OHT after topical administration. Oestradiol serum concentrations did not increase, confirming preclinical data that CR1447 is not converted to estrogens in vivo. In conclusion, CR1447 administered transdermally as an ointment is well tolerated and appears to have single-agent activity in heavily pretreated ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer patients. The recommended phase II dose is 400 mg/day.

Open access

Jasmin Asberger, Thalia Erbes, Markus Jaeger, Gerta Rücker, Claudia Nöthling, Andrea Ritter, Kai Berner, Ingolf Juhasz-Böss, and Marc Hirschfeld

Breast cancer (BC) represents the most common type of cancer in females worldwide. Endocrine therapy evolved as one of the main concepts in treatment of hormone-receptor positive BC. Current research focuses on the elucidation of tumour resistance mechanisms against endocrine therapy. In a translational in vitro approach, potential regulatory effects of clinically implemented BC anti-oestrogens on ERα, its coactivators DDX5, DDX17 and other DEADbox proteins as well as on the proliferation markers cyclin D1 and Ki67 were investigated on both the RNA and protein level. BC in vitro models for hormone-receptor positive (MCF-7, T-47D) and hormone-receptor negative cells (BT-20) were subjected to endocrine therapy. Anti-oestrogen-dependent expression regulation of target genes on the transcriptional and translational level was quantified and statistically assessed. Endocrine therapy decreases the expression levels of Ki67, cyclin D1 and ERα in hormone-receptor positive cells. In the hormone-receptor negative cells, the three parameters remained stable after endocrine therapy. Endoxifen triggers a downregulation of DDX5 and DDX23 in MCF-7 cells. Fulvestrant treatment downregulates the expression levels of all investigated DEADbox proteins in MCF-7 cells. In T-47D cells, endoxifen and fulvestrant lead to a decrease of all target gene expression levels. Interestingly, endocrine therapy affects DEADbox RNA expression levels in BT-20 cells, too. However, this result could only be confirmed for DDX1, immunocytologically. The investigated DEADbox proteins appear to correlate with the oestrogen-dependent tumourigenesis in hormone-receptor positive BC and show expression alterations after endocrine treatment.

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.

Open access

Enora Le Roux, Florence Menesguen, Isabelle Tejedor, Marc Popelier, Marine Halbron, Pauline Faucher, Sabine Malivoir, Graziella Pinto, Juliane Léger, Stephane Hatem, Michel Polak, Christine Poitou, and Philippe Touraine

Objective

The transition from paediatric to adult medicine involves risks of poor patient outcomes and of significant losses of patients to follow up. The research aimed to analyse the implementation in an initial cohort of patients of a new programme of transition to adult care based on a case management approach.

Design

A longitudinal study of the case management approach to transition, initiated in a university hospital in France in September 2016.

Methods

Patients with the endocrine or metabolic disease diagnosed during childhood and transferred to adult care were included. The transition programme includes three steps based on case management: liaising with paediatric services, personalising care pathways, and liaising with structures outside the hospital (general practitioners, agencies in the educational and social sector).

Results

The cohort included 500 patients, with malignant brain tumour (n = 56 (11%)), obesity (n = 55 (11%)), type 1 diabetes (n = 54 (11%)), or other disease (n = 335 (67%)). Their median age at transfer was 19, and the sex ratio was 0.5. At median 21 months of follow-up, 439 (88%) had a regular follow-up in or outside the hospital, 47 (9%) had irregular follow-up (absence at the last appointment or no appointment scheduled within the time recommended), 4 had stopped care on doctor’s advice, 4 had died, 3 had moved, and 3 had refused care. The programme involved 9615 case management actions; 7% of patients required more than 50 actions. Patients requiring most support were usually those affected by a rare genetic form of obesity.

Conclusions

Case managers successfully addressed the complex needs of patients. Over time, the cohort will provide unprecedented long-term outcome results for patients with various conditions who experienced this form of transition.

Open access

T P McVeigh, R J Mulligan, U M McVeigh, P W Owens, N Miller, M Bell, F Sebag, C Guerin, D S Quill, J B Weidhaas, M J Kerin, and A J Lowery

Introduction

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that exert post-transcriptional effects on gene expression by binding with cis-regulatory regions in target messenger RNA (mRNA). Polymorphisms in genes encoding miRNAs or in miRNA–mRNA binding sites confer deleterious epigenetic effects on cancer risk. miR-146a has a role in inflammation and may have a role as a tumour suppressor. The polymorphism rs2910164 in the MIR146A gene encoding pre-miR-146a has been implicated in several inflammatory pathologies, including cancers of the breast and thyroid, although evidence for the associations has been conflicting in different populations. We aimed to further investigate the association of this variant with these two cancers in an Irish cohort.

Methods

The study group comprised patients with breast cancer (BC), patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and unaffected controls. Germline DNA was extracted from blood or from saliva collected using the DNA Genotek Oragene 575 collection kit, using crystallisation precipitation, and genotyped using TaqMan-based PCR. Data were analysed using SPSS, v22.

Results

The total study group included 1516 participants. This comprised 1386 Irish participants; 724 unaffected individuals (controls), 523 patients with breast cancer (BC), 136 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and three patients with dual primary breast and thyroid cancer. An additional cohort of 130 patients with DTC from the South of France was also genotyped for the variant. The variant was detected with a minor allele frequency (MAF) of 0.19 in controls, 0.22 in BC and 0.27 and 0.26 in DTC cases from Ireland and France, respectively. The variant was not significantly associated with BC (per allele odds ratio = 1.20 (0.98–1.46), P = 0.07), but was associated with DTC in Irish patients (per allele OR = 1.59 (1.18–2.14), P = 0.002).

Conclusion

The rs2910164 variant in MIR146A is significantly associated with DTC, but is not significantly associated with BC in this cohort.

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

Qiuli Liu, Gang Yuan, Dali Tong, Gaolei Liu, Yuting Yi, Jun Zhang, Yao Zhang, Lin-ang Wang, Luofu Wang, Dianzheng Zhang, Rongrong Chen, Yanfang Guan, Xin Yi, Weihua Lan, and Jun Jiang

Context

Von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease manifests as a variety of benign and malignant neoplasms. Previous studies of VHL disease have documented several genotype–phenotype correlations; however, many such correlations are still unknown. Increased identification of new mutations and patients with previously described mutations will allow us to better understand how VHL mutations influence disease phenotypes.

Patients and design

A total of 45 individuals from five unrelated families were evaluated, of which 21 patients were either diagnosed with VHL disease or showed strong evidence related to this disease. We compared the patients’ gene sequencing results with their medical records including CT or MRI scans, eye examinations and laboratory/pathological examinations. Patients were also interviewed to obtain information regarding their family history.

Results

We identified four missense mutations: c.239G>T (p.Ser80Ile), linked with VHL Type 2B, was associated with renal cell carcinoma, pheochromocytoma and hemangioma in the cerebellum; c.232A>T (p.Asn78Tyr) manifested as RCC alone and likely caused VHL Type 1; c.500G>A (p.Arg167Gln) mutation was more likely to cause VHL Type 2 than Type 1 as it preferentially induced Pheo and HB in the retina, cerebellum and spinal cord; c.293A>G (p.Try98Cys) was associated with Pheo and thus likely induced VHL Type 2.

Conclusions

Characterizing VHL disease genotype–phenotype correlations can enhance the ability to predict the risk of individual patients developing different VHL-related phenotypes. Ultimately, such insight will improve the diagnostics, surveillance and treatment of VHL patients.

Precis

Four missense mutations in VHL have been identified in 21 individuals when five unrelated Chinese families with VHL disease were analyzed; VHL mutations are highly associated with unique disease phenotypes.