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Open access

Konstantin Yakimchuk, Chandrashekar Bangalore Revanna, Dan Huang, Jose Inzunza, and Sam Okret

Well-defined physiological functions of estrogens are mediated via nuclear estrogen receptors α (ESR1) and β (ESR2). With regard to hematological malignancies, expression of ESR2 has been found in both B and T cell lymphomas. In addition to endogenous estrogens or selective ESR2 agonists, ESR2 signaling may be affected by both environmental synthetic estrogen-mimicking compounds and dietary phytoestrogens. In the present study, we demonstrate that oral exposure with either the synthetic compound bisphenol A (BPA) or the dietary phytoestrogen genistein reduced the growth of grafted murine T cell (EG7) and human B cell (Granta-519 mantle cell) lymphomas which both express ESR2. Suppression of lymphoma growth was due to reduced proliferation (BPA and genistein) and induction of apoptosis (genistein). Inhibition of lymphoma growth was seen at a BPA dose of 50 µg/kg body weight (BW)/day considered to be safe human exposure dose or a genistein dose of 1 mg/kg BW/day orally, which is reached in soy-rich diets. Thus, our study indicates that the environmental xenoestrogens BPA and genistein have anti-proliferative effects on ESR2-expressing lymphomas. Our data suggest that phytoestrogens may be considered as a dietary supplement for lymphoma patients and possibly for prevention of lymphoid malignancies.

Open access

Emma Jernberg, Anders Bergh, and Pernilla Wikström

Prostate cancer (PC) remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men worldwide, despite continuously improved treatment strategies. Patients with metastatic disease are treated by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) that with time results in the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) usually established as metastases within bone tissue. The androgen receptor (AR) transcription factor is the main driver of CRPC development and of acquired resistance to drugs given for treatment of CRPC, while a minority of patients have CRPC that is non-AR driven. Molecular mechanisms behind epithelial AR reactivation in CRPC include AR gene amplification and overexpression, AR mutations, expression of constitutively active AR variants, intra-tumoural and adrenal androgen synthesis and promiscuous AR activation by other factors. This review will summarize AR alterations of clinical relevance for patients with CRPC, with focus on constitutively active AR variants, their possible association with AR amplification and structural rearrangements as well as their ability to predict patient resistance to AR targeting drugs. The review will also discuss AR signalling in the tumour microenvironment and its possible relevance for metastatic growth and therapy.

Open access

Shan Wu, Jianjun Zhou, Jing Guo, Zhan Hua, Jianchen Li, and Zai Wang

Angiogenesis has a pivotal role in the growth and metastasis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Apatinib inhibits angiogenesis as a highly selective KDR inhibitor and has been used to treat advanced gastric cancer and malignancies in clinical settings. However, the efficacy of apatinib in PNETs remains unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the antitumor efficacy of apatinib with that of the standard PNET drug sunitinib in our subcutaneous and liver metastasis models of insulinoma and non-functional PNET. Our results revealed that apatinib had a generally comparable or even superior antitumor effect to that of sunitinib on primary PNET, and it inhibited angiogenesis without directly causing tumor cell cytotoxicity. Apatinib inhibited the tumor in a dose-dependent manner, and the high dose was well tolerated in mice. We also found that the apatinib efficacy in liver metastasis models was cell-type (disease) selective. Although apatinib efficiently inhibited INR1G9-represented non-functional PNET liver metastasis, it led to the emergence of a hypoxic area in the INS-1-represented insulinoma and promoted liver metastasis. Our study demonstrated that apatinib has promise for clinical applications in certain malignant PNETs, and the application of anti-angiogenesis drugs to benign insulinomas may require careful consideration.

Open access

Agnieszka Kosowska, Enrique Gallego-Colon, Wojciech Garczorz, Agnieszka Kłych-Ratuszny, Mohammad Reza F Aghdam, Michał Woz´niak, Andrzej Witek, Agnieszka Wróblewska-Czech, Anna Cygal, Jerzy Wojnar, and Tomasz Francuz

Diabetes and cancer are prevalent diseases whose incidence is increasing globally. Diabetic women have a moderate risk increase in ovarian cancer, suggested to be due to an interaction between these two disorders. Furthermore, patients manifesting both diseases have associated worse prognosis, reduced survival and shorter relapse-free survival. According to current recommendations, incretin drugs such as Exenatide, a synthetic analog of Exendin-4, and Liraglutide are used as therapy for the type 2 diabetes (T2D). We studied the effects of GLP-1 and Exendin-4 on migration, apoptosis and metalloproteinase production in two human ovarian cancer cells (SKOV-3 and CAOV-3). Exendin-4 inhibited migration and promoted apoptosis through caspase 3/7 activation. Exendin-4 also modulated the expression of key metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and their inhibitors (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2). Vascular endothelial cells, which contribute to the formation and progression of metastasis, were also analyzed. TNF-α-stimulated endothelial cells from iliac artery after Exendin-4 treatment showed reduced production of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1). Additionally, incretin treatment inhibited activation of apoptosis in TNF-α-stimulated endothelial cells. In the same experiment, MMPs (MMP-1 and MMP-9), which are relevant for tumor development, were also reduced. Our study demonstrated that incretin drugs may reduce cancer cell proliferation and dissemination potential, hence limiting the risk of metastasis in epithelial ovarian cancer.

Open access

Gavin P Vinson and Caroline H Brennan

Substantial evidence shows that the hypophyseal–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and corticosteroids are involved in the process of addiction to a variety of agents, and the adrenal cortex has a key role. In general, plasma concentrations of cortisol (or corticosterone in rats or mice) increase on drug withdrawal in a manner that suggests correlation with the behavioural and symptomatic sequelae both in man and in experimental animals. Corticosteroid levels fall back to normal values in resumption of drug intake. The possible interactions between brain corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) products and the systemic HPA, and additionally with the local CRH–POMC system in the adrenal gland itself, are complex. Nevertheless, the evidence increasingly suggests that all may be interlinked and that CRH in the brain and brain POMC products interact with the blood-borne HPA directly or indirectly. Corticosteroids themselves are known to affect mood profoundly and may themselves be addictive. Additionally, there is a heightened susceptibility for addicted subjects to relapse in conditions that are associated with change in HPA activity, such as in stress, or at different times of the day. Recent studies give compelling evidence that a significant part of the array of addictive symptoms is directly attributable to the secretory activity of the adrenal cortex and the actions of corticosteroids. Additionally, sex differences in addiction may also be attributable to adrenocortical function: in humans, males may be protected through higher secretion of DHEA (and DHEAS), and in rats, females may be more susceptible because of higher corticosterone secretion.

Open access

Mette H Viuff and Claus H Gravholt

In this commentary, we discuss the state of affairs concerning the clinical care of females with Turner syndrome (TS) in Germany. TS is a rare disease and new international guidelines describe an appropriate setup for optimal clinical care. Several countries have implemented a program with centralized adult Turner syndrome clinics, which are now found in France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, parts of England and possibly other countries, but hitherto not in Germany. Such an approach should ensure the availability of high quality multi-disciplinary care for all women with TS to be treated and to detect all the conditions that have been associated with TS, which typically appear at odd times during the lifetime of a female with TS. Care should be offered at no added cost for the patient, and treatment with relevant drugs should be available at reasonable cost for the individual patient. Currently, it is quite problematic that many female sex hormone preparations are not available at low cost in a number of countries. Additional problems include supply chain issue which lead to patients not being able to buy their usual drug for a certain period of time. We think it is timely that countries improve the care for individuals with rare conditions, such as TS.

Open access

Amir Bashkin, Eliran Yaakobi, Marina Nodelman, and Ohad Ronen

TSH routine testing in hospitalized patients has low efficacy, but may be beneficial in a selected subgroup of patients. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of routine thyroid function tests among patients admitted to internal medicine departments. It is a retrospective study. A randomly selected cohort of hospitalized patients with abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood tests drawn as part of admission protocol. Patient data were collected from the electronic medical files and analyzed for its efficacy. TSH as a screening test was proven unnecessary in 75% (174) of the study population. Leading causes were non-thyroidal illness syndrome, drugs affecting the test results and subclinical disorders. TSH testing was found to be clinically helpful in only 9 patients; however, all of them had other clinical need for TSH testing. We found a clinically abnormal TSH in 20 patients, hypothyroidism in 11 patients and thyrotoxicosis in 9 patients. Low efficacy ascribed to TSH screening test by this study correlates with recent recommendations that indicate TSH screening in admitted patients only with accompanying clinical suspicion. Most probably, the majority of patients found by screening to have thyrotoxicosis have non-thyroidal illness or drug effects so the threshold for FT4 to diagnose overt thyrotoxicosis should be higher than that in ambulatory patients. In elderly patients, clinically relevant TSH disturbances are more frequent and are harder to diagnose, therefore, TSH screening in this group of patients might be beneficial.

Open access

Amalie Carlsson, Kaspar Sørensen, Anna-Maria Andersson, Hanne Frederiksen, and Anders Juul

Introduction

Bisphenol A and several of the most commonly used phthalates have been associated with adverse metabolic health effects such as obesity and diabetes. Therefore, we analyzed these man-made chemicals in first morning urine samples from 107 healthy normal-weight Danish children and adolescents.

Method

This was a cross-sectional study. Participants were recruited as part of the Copenhagen Puberty Study. The subjects were evaluated by an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, direct oxygen uptake measurement during cycle ergometry and fasting blood samples. First morning urine was collected and phthalate metabolites and BPA were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) with prior enzymatic deconjugation. Individual chemical concentrations were divided into tertiles and analyzed in relation to biological outcome.

Results

Children in the lowest tertile of urinary BPA had significantly higher peak insulin levels during OGTT (P = 0.01), lower insulin sensitivity index (P < 0.01), higher leptin (P = 0.03), triglyceride (P < 0.01) and total cholesterol levels (P = 0.04), lower aerobic fitness (P = 0.02) and a tendency toward higher fat mass index (P = 0.1) compared with children in the highest tertile for uBPA. No significant differences in anthropometrics, body composition or glucose metabolism were associated with any of the phthalate metabolites measured.

Conclusion

This pilot study on healthy normal-weight children suggests an inverse association between BPA and insulin resistance. Our findings contrast other cross-sectional studies showing a positive association for BPA, which may be due to confounding or reverse causation because diet is an important source of both BPA exposure and obesity.

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

Michael Ulm, Arvind V Ramesh, Keely M McNamara, Suriyan Ponnusamy, Hironobu Sasano, and Ramesh Narayanan

Hormonal cancers affect over 400,000 men and women and contribute collectively to over 100,000 deaths in the United States alone. Thanks to advances in the understanding of these cancers at the molecular level and to the discovery of several disease-modifying therapeutics, the last decade has seen a plateauing or even a decreasing trend in the number of deaths from these cancers. These advanced therapeutics not only effectively slow the growth of hormonal cancers, but also provide an insight on how these cancers become refractory and evolve as an altogether distinct subset. This review summarizes the current therapeutic trends in hormonal cancers, with focus on prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. The review discusses the clinical drugs being used now, promising molecules that are going through various stages of development and makes some predictions on how the therapeutic landscape will shift in the next decade.