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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

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

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.

Open access

A Al-Sharefi, P Perros, and R A James

Introduction

Phaeochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PHAEO/PG) are linked to hereditary syndromes including Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1). Current guidelines do not recommend biochemical screening for PHAEO/PG in asymptomatic or normotensive patients with NF-1. This strategy may miss preventable morbidities in those patients who ultimately present with symptomatic PHAEO/PG. Our aim was to review the literature and extract data on mode of presentation and the incidence of reported adverse outcomes.

Methods

PubMed and EMBASE literature search using the keywords ‘Phaeochromocytoma’, ‘Paraganglioma’ and ‘Neurofibromatosis’ was performed looking for reported cases from 2000 to 2018.

Results

Seventy-three reports of NF-1 patients with PHAEO/PG were found. Patients were predominately women (n = 40) with a median age of 46 years (range 16–82). PHAEO/PG was found incidentally in most patients, 36/73 did not present with typical symptoms while 27 patients were normotensive at diagnosis. Thirty-one patients had adverse outcomes including metastases and death.

Conclusion

Given the protean presentation of PHAEO/PG, relying on symptomology and blood pressure status as triggers for screening, is associated with adverse outcomes. Further studies are required to ascertain whether biochemical screening in asymptomatic and normotensive patients with NF-1 can reduce the rate of adverse outcomes.

Open access

Anna Malczewska, Kjell Oberg, and Beata Kos-Kudla

Introduction

The absence of a reliable, universal biomarker is a significant limitation in neuroendocrine neoplasia (NEN) management. We prospectively evaluated two CgA assays, (NEOLISA, EuroDiagnostica) and (CgA ELISA, Demeditec Diagnostics (DD)) and compared the results to the NETest.

Methods

NEN cohort (n = 258): pancreatic, n = 67; small intestine, n = 40; appendiceal, n = 10; rectal, n = 45; duodenal, n = 9; gastric, n = 44; lung, n = 43. Image-positive disease (IPD) (n = 123), image & histology- negative (IND) (n = 106), and image-negative and histology positive (n = 29). CgA metrics: NEOLISA, ULN: 108 ng/mL, DD: ULN: 99 ng/mL. Data mean ± s.e.m. NETest: qRT-PCR – multianalyte analyses, ULN: 20. All samples de-identified and assessed blinded. Statistics: Mann–Whitney U-test, Pearson correlation and McNemar-test.

Results

CgA positive in 53/258 (NEOLISA), 32 (DD) and NETest-positive in 157/258. In image- positive disease (IPD, n = 123), NEOLISA-positive: 33% and DD: 19%. NETest-positive: 122/123 (99%; McNemar’s Chi2= 79–97, P < 0.0001). NEOLISA was more accurate than DD (P = 0.0003). In image- negative disease (IND), CgA was NEOLISA-positive (11%), DD (8%), P = NS, and NETest (33%). CgA assays could not distinguish progressive (PD) from stable disease (SD) or localized from metastatic disease (MD). NETest was significantly higher in PD (47 ± 5) than SD (29 ± 1, P = 0.0009). NETest levels in MD (35 ± 2) were elevated vs localized disease (24 ± 1.3, P = 0.008).

Conclusions

NETest, a multigenomic mRNA biomarker, was ~99% accurate in the identification of NEN disease. The CgA assays detected NEN disease in 19–33%. Multigenomic blood analysis using NETest is more accurate than CgA and should be considered the biomarker standard of care.

Open access

Alberto Bongiovanni, Federica Recine, Flavia Foca, Valentina Fausti, Nada Riva, Greta Fabbri, Stefano Severi, Chiara Liverani, Alessandro De Vita, Chiara Spadazzi, Giacomo Miserocchi, Laura Mercatali, Dino Amadori, and Toni Ibrahim

The incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasia (NEN) is higher in individuals ≥70 years of age (elderly) who are underrepresented in clinical trials because of comorbidities and low performance status. We retrospectively analyzed the outcome of elderly patients with metastatic NEN (mNEN). Comorbidities were summarized by Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), Kaplan–Meier method was applied to estimate overall survival (OS) and Cox’s proportional hazard model was used to assess the impact of known prognostic factors. We retrieved data on 145 mNEN patients aged ≥70 years seen at our center from June 2007 to March 2016. Fifty-six (38.6%) were aged ≥75 years. ECOG PS was 0 in 45.7% of cases and CCI was 0 in 41.0% and 1 in 37.4%. A total of 75.4% of patients had grade (G)1/G2 NEN and 24.6%, G3. Octreoscan/Gallium PET/CT and FDG-PET/CT were positive in 94.2% and 70.3% of cases, respectively. Median follow-up was 72.3 (53.2–85.1) months. Seventy-nine patients received first-line somatostatin analogs (SSA), 23 peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) and 36 chemotherapy (CHT). Seven did not undergo first-line therapy and 102 received more than one line. Median overall survival (mOS) was 5.1 years (95% CI: 3.4–6.6). No differences in mOS were seen according to CCI. First-line PRRT patients had a mOS of 6.5 years (95% CI: 3.3–not reached (NR)), SSA 5.7 years (95% CI: 4.2–7) and CHT 5.9 years (95% CI: 0.4–NR). mOS in CHT-treated G3 patients was 1.5 years (1.0–2.5). ECOG PS and FDG PET/CT were identified as independent prognostic factors. Results suggest that the above treatments positively impacted OS in elderly mNEN patients, including those aged ≥75 years.

Open access

Catherine Cardot Bauters, Emmanuelle Leteurtre, Bruno Carnaille, Christine Do Cao, Stéphanie Espiard, Malo Penven, Evelyne Destailleur, Isabelle Szuster, Tonio Lovecchio, Julie Leclerc, Fredéric Frénois, Emmanuel Esquivel, Patricia L M Dahia, Emilie Ait-Yahya, Michel Crépin, and Pascal Pigny

Objective

We previously described a family in which predisposition to pheochromocytoma (PCC) segregates with a germline heterozygous KIF1B nucleotide variant (c.4442G>A, p.Ser1481Asn) in three generations. During the clinical follow-up, one proband’s brother, negative for the KIF1B nucleotide variant, developed a bilateral PCC at 31 years. This prompted us to reconsider the genetic analysis.

Design and methods

Germline DNA was analyzed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) using a multi-gene panel plus MLPA or by whole exome sequencing (WES). Tumor-derived DNA was analyzed by SnapShot, Sanger sequencing or NGS to identify loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH) or additional somatic mutations.

Results

A germline heterozygous variant of unknown significance in MAX (c.145T>C, p.Ser49Pro) was identified in the proband’s brother. Loss of the wild-type MAX allele occurred in his PCCs thus demonstrating that this variant was responsible for the bilateral PCC in this patient. The proband and her affected grandfather also carried the MAX variant but no second hit could be found at the somatic level. No other pathogenic mutations were detected in 36 genes predisposing to familial PCC/PGL or familial cancers by WES of the proband germline. Germline variants detected in other genes, TFAP2E and TMEM214, may contribute to the multiple tumors of the proband.

Conclusion

In this family, the heritability of PCC is linked to the MAX germline variant and not to the KIF1B germline variant which, however, may have contributed to the occurrence of neuroblastoma (NB) in the proband.

Open access

Satoshi Higuchi, Hideki Ota, Takuya Ueda, Yuta Tezuka, Kei Omata, Yoshikiyo Ono, Ryo Morimoto, Masataka Kudo, Fumitoshi Satoh, and Kei Takase

Objective

Regional differences in cardiac magnetic resonance, which can reveal catecholamine-induced myocardial injury in patients with pheochromocytoma, have not yet been assessed using 3T magnetic resonance imaging. We evaluated these differences using myocardial T1-mapping and strain analysis.

Design and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed 16 patients newly diagnosed with catecholamine-producing tumors (CPT group) and 16 patients with essential hypertension (EH group), who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging between May 2016 and March 2018. We acquired 3T magnetic resonance cine and native T1-mapping images and performed feature-tracking-based strain analysis in the former.

Results

Global cardiac function, morphology, global strain and peak strain rate were similar, but end-diastolic wall thickness differed between groups (CPT vs EH: 10.5 ± 1.7 vs 12.6 ± 2.8 mm; P < 0.05). Basal, but not apical, circumferential strain was significantly higher in the CPT than the EH group (19.4 ± 3.2 vs 16.8 ± 3.6 %; P < 0.05). Native T1 values were significantly higher in CPT than in EH patients, in both the basal septum (1307 ± 48 vs 1241 ± 45 ms; P < 0.01) and the apical septum (1377 ± 59 vs 1265 ± 58 ms; P < 0.01) mid-walls. In the CPT, but not in the EH group, native T1 values in the apical wall were significantly higher than those in the basal wall (P < 0.01).

Conclusion

3T magnetic resonance-based T1-mapping can sensitively detect subclinical catecholamine-induced myocardial injury; the influence of catecholamines may be greater in the apical than in the basal wall.

Open access

Qi Zhang, Hongshan Wang, Yanhong Xie, Suming Huang, Ke Chen, Botian Ye, Yupeng Yang, Jie Sun, Hongyong He, Fenglin Liu, Zhenbin Shen, Weidong Chen, Kuntang Shen, Yuan Ji, and Yihong Sun

A new subcategory, grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, is incorporated into the grading system of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms in the 2017 WHO classification in order to differentiate grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors from neuroendocrine carcinomas. The 2019 WHO classification extends the concept of grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors to gastrointestinal high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms. However, there is still limited study focusing on the gastric grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors and gastric neuroendocrine carcinomas. We retrospectively enrolled 151 gastric high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms patients, who underwent radical resection from January 2007 to December 2015. Clinicopathologic and prognostic features were studied. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database was used to verify the prognostic determinants found in the Zhongshan cohort. Neuroendocrine carcinomas showed a higher Ki67 index and higher mitotic count than grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors. We identified 109 (72.2%) patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas, 12 (7.9%) patients with grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, and 30 (19.9%) patients with mixed neuroendocrine-non-neuroendocrine neoplasms. Although neuroendocrine carcinomas demonstrated higher Ki67 index (P = 0.004) and mitoses (P = 0.001) than grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, their prognosis after radical resection did not demonstrate significant differences (P = 0.709). Tumor size, perineural invasion, and TNM stage were independent prognostic factors of gastric high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms.