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.
Michael Ulm, Arvind V Ramesh, Keely M McNamara, Suriyan Ponnusamy, Hironobu Sasano, and Ramesh Narayanan
Metin Guclu, Sinem Kiyici, Zulfiye Gul, and Sinan Cavun
In the present study, we investigated the long-term effects of exenatide treatment on serum fasting ghrelin levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Type 2 diabetic patients, who were using metformin with and without the other antihyperglycemic drugs on a stable dose for at least 3 months, were enrolled in the study. BMI>35 kg/m2 and HbA1c>7.0% were the additional inclusion criteria. Oral antihyperglycemic drugs, other than metformin, were stopped, and metformin treatment was continued at 2000 mg per day. Exenatide treatment was initiated at 5 µg per dose subcutaneously (sc) twice daily, and after one month, the dose of exenatide was increased to 10 µg twice daily. Changes in anthropometric variables, glycemic control, lipid parameters and total ghrelin levels were evaluated at baseline and following 12 weeks of treatment.
Thirty-eight patients (male/female = 7/31) entered the study. The mean age of patients was 50.5 ± 8.8 years with a mean diabetes duration of 8.5 ± 4.9 years. The mean BMI was 41.6 ± 6.3 kg/m2 and the mean HbA1c of patients was 8.9 ± 1.4%. The mean change in the weight of patients was −5.6 kg and the percentage change in weight was −5.2 ± 3.7% following 12 weeks of treatment. BMI, fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c levels of patients were decreased significantly (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001; respectively), while there was no change in lipid parameters. Serum fasting ghrelin levels were significantly suppressed following 12 weeks of exenatide treatment compared with baseline values (328.4 ± 166.8 vs 245.3 ± 164.8 pg/mL) (P = 0.024).
These results suggest that the effects of exenatide on weight loss may be related with the suppression of serum fasting ghrelin levels, which is an orexigenic peptide.
Enrique Soto-Pedre, Paul J Newey, John S Bevan, and Graham P Leese
High serum prolactin concentrations have been associated with adverse health outcomes in some but not all studies. This study aimed to examine the morbidity and all-cause mortality associated with hyperprolactinaemia.
A population-based matched cohort study in Tayside (Scotland, UK) from 1988 to 2014 was performed. Record-linkage technology was used to identify patients with hyperprolactinaemia that were compared to an age–sex-matched cohort of patients free of hyperprolactinaemia. The number of deaths and incident admissions with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer, breast cancer, bone fractures and infectious conditions were compared by the survival analysis.
Patients with hyperprolactinaemia related to pituitary tumours had no increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone fractures, all-cause cancer or breast cancer. Whilst no increased mortality was observed in patients with pituitary microadenomas (HR = 1.65, 95% CI: 0.79–3.44), other subgroups including those with pituitary macroadenomas and drug-induced and idiopathic hyperprolactinaemia demonstrated an increased risk of death. Individuals with drug-induced hyperprolactinaemia also demonstrated increased risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and bone fracture. However, these increased risks were not associated with the degree of serum prolactin elevation (P trend > 0.3). No increased risk of cancer was observed in any subgroup.
No excess morbidity was observed in patients with raised prolactin due to pituitary tumours. Although the increased morbidity and mortality associated with defined patient subgroups are unlikely to be directly related to the elevation in serum prolactin, hyperprolactinaemia might act as a biomarker for the presence of some increased disease risk in these patients.
Shruti Khare, Anurag R Lila, Hiren Patt, Chaitanya Yerawar, Manjunath Goroshi, Tushar Bandgar, and Nalini S Shah
Macroprolactinomas are the most common functional pituitary tumours. Hypotheses proposed to explain predominance of large tumours in males are: i) diagnostic delay, as hyperprolactinaemia remains under recognised in males and ii) gender-specific difference in tumour proliferation indices. Our study objectives are to compare gender differences in clinical, biochemical, radiological features, management outcomes and cabergoline responsiveness in macroprolactinomas. Drug resistance was defined as failure to achieve prolactin normalisation and >50% reduction in tumour volume with cabergoline (3.5 mg/week dose for minimum 6 months duration). The baseline characteristics of 100 patients (56 females and 44 males) with macroprolactinoma were analysed. Drug responsiveness was analysed in 88 treatment naive patients, excluding 12 post-primary trans-sphenoidal surgery cases. We found that females (30.29±10.39 years) presented at younger mean age than males (35.23±9.91 years) (P<0.01). The most common presenting symptom was hypogonadism (oligo-amenorrhoea/infertility) in females (96.15%) and symptoms of mass effect (headache and visual field defects) in males (93.18%). Baseline mean prolactin levels were significantly lower in females (3094.36±6863.01 ng/ml) than males (7927.07±16 748.1 ng/ml) (P<0.001). Maximal tumour dimension in females (2.49±1.48 cm) was smaller than males (3.93±1.53 cm) (P<0.001). In 88 treatment naïve patients, 27.77% females and 35.29% males had resistant tumours (P=0.48). On subgrouping as per maximum tumour dimension (1.1–2 cm, 2.1–4 cm and >4 cm), gender difference in response rate was insignificant. In conclusion, macroprolactinomas are equally prevalent in both sexes. Macroprolactinomas in males predominantly present with symptoms of mass effects, as against females who present with symptoms of hypogonadism. Males harbor larger tumours but are equally cabergoline responsive as those in females.
Eva Olga Melin, Jonatan Dereke, Maria Thunander, and Magnus Hillman
Neuroinflammatory responses are implicated in depression. The aim was to explore whether depression in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) was associated with high circulating galectin-3, controlling for metabolic variables, s-creatinine, life style factors, medication and cardiovascular complications.
Participants were T1D patients (n = 283, 56% men, age 18–59 years, diabetes duration ≥1 year). Depression was assessed by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-depression subscale. Blood samples, anthropometrics and blood pressure were collected, and supplemented with data from medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Registry. Galectin-3 ≥2.562 µg/l, corresponding to the 85th percentile, was defined as high galectin-3.
Median (quartile1, quartile3) galectin-3 (µg/l) was 1.3 (0.8, 2.9) for the 30 depressed patients, and 0.9 (0.5, 1.6) for the 253 non-depressed, P = 0.009. Depression was associated with high galectin-3 in all the 283 patients (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.5), in the 161 men (AOR 3.4), and in the 122 women (AOR 3.9). HbA1c, s-lipids, s-creatinine, blood pressure, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, cardiovascular complications and drugs (antihypertensive, lipid lowering, oral antidiabetic drugs and antidepressants) were not associated with high galectin-3.
This is the first study to show an association between depression and galectin-3. Depression was the only explored parameter associated with high circulating galectin-3 levels in 283 T1D patients. High galectin-3 levels might contribute to the increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality observed in persons with depression. Potentially, in the future, treatment targeting galactin-3 might improve the prognosis for patients with high galectin-3 levels.
Adriano N Cury, Verônica T Meira, Osmar Monte, Marília Marone, Nilza M Scalissi, Cristiane Kochi, Luís E P Calliari, and Carlos A Longui
Treatments for Graves' disease (GD) in children and adolescents include oral antithyroid drugs (ATDs), near total thyroidectomy, and radioactive iodine (RAI). ATDs remain the preferred choice in this age group, but because persistent remission occurs in 30% of cases, RAI is becoming a common option for definitive therapy.
We performed a review of 65 medical records of GD patients under age 19 years who were followed between 1985 and 2005.
The prevalence of GD was higher in females (3:1) and during puberty (for both genders). If no remission was detected during ATD treatment, RAI was indicated when the following criteria were present: non-compliance, relapse, or side effects that were related to ATDs, large goiter, and long-term use of ATDs. The majority of patients developed hypothyroidism within 6 months after RAI. A progressive higher dose regimen was implemented in the last 10 years of the study period. A second RAI dose was necessary in eight cases. During the follow-up period, three pregnancies occurred. One patient with a thyroid nodule and benign cytology was detected.
RAI therapy is effective and safe in the treatment of GD in children and adolescents.
Kennett Sprogøe, Eva Mortensen, David B Karpf, and Jonathan A Leff
The fundamental challenge of developing a long-acting growth hormone (LAGH) is to create a more convenient growth hormone (GH) dosing profile while retaining the excellent safety, efficacy and tolerability of daily GH. With GH receptors on virtually all cells, replacement therapy should achieve the same tissue distribution and effects of daily (and endogenous) GH while maintaining levels of GH and resulting IGF-1 within the physiologic range. To date, only two LAGHs have gained the approval of either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA); both released unmodified GH, thus presumably replicating distribution and pharmacological actions of daily GH. Other technologies have been applied to create LAGHs, including modifying GH (for example, protein enlargement or albumin binding) such that the resulting analogues possess a longer half-life. Based on these approaches, nearly 20 LAGHs have reached various stages of clinical development. Although most have failed, lessons learned have guided the development of a novel LAGH. TransCon GH is a LAGH prodrug in which GH is transiently bound to an inert methoxy polyethylene glycol (mPEG) carrier. It was designed to achieve the same safety, efficacy and tolerability as daily GH but with more convenient weekly dosing. In phase 2 trials of children and adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), similar safety, efficacy and tolerability to daily GH was shown as well as GH and IGF-1 levels within the physiologic range. These promising results support further development of TransCon GH.
Eric Seidel, Gudrun Walenda, Clemens Messerschmidt, Benedikt Obermayer, Mirko Peitzsch, Paal Wallace, Rohini Bahethi, Taekyeong Yoo, Murim Choi, Petra Schrade, Sebastian Bachmann, Gerhard Liebisch, Graeme Eisenhofer, Dieter Beule, and Ute I Scholl
Mitotane is the only drug approved for the therapy of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Its clinical use is limited by the occurrence of relapse during therapy. To investigate the underlying mechanisms in vitro, we here generated mitotane-resistant cell lines. After long-term pulsed treatment of HAC-15 human adrenocortical carcinoma cells with 70 µM mitotane, we isolated monoclonal cell populations of treated cells and controls and assessed their respective mitotane sensitivities by MTT assay. We performed exome sequencing and electron microscopy, conducted gene expression microarray analysis and determined intracellular lipid concentrations in the presence and absence of mitotane. Clonal cell lines established after pulsed treatment were resistant to mitotane (IC50 of 102.2 ± 7.3 µM (n = 12) vs 39.4 ± 6.2 µM (n = 6) in controls (biological replicates, mean ± s.d., P = 0.0001)). Unlike nonresistant clones, resistant clones maintained normal mitochondrial and nucleolar morphology during mitotane treatment. Resistant clones largely shared structural and single nucleotide variants, suggesting a common cell of origin. Resistance depended, in part, on extracellular lipoproteins and was associated with alterations in intracellular lipid homeostasis, including levels of free cholesterol, as well as decreased steroid production. By gene expression analysis, resistant cells showed profound alterations in pathways including steroid metabolism and transport, apoptosis, cell growth and Wnt signaling. These studies establish an in vitro model of mitotane resistance in ACC and point to underlying molecular mechanisms. They may enable future studies to overcome resistance in vitro and improve ACC treatment in vivo.
Xichang Wang, Xiaochun Teng, Chenyan Li, Yushu Li, Jing Li, Weiping Teng, Zhongyan Shan, and Yaxin Lai
To conduct a questionnaire survey of the current clinical practice for overt hyperthyroidism in China.
An online questionnaire survey was conducted in July 2020. The two questionnaires covered 35 and 8 questions about non-pregnancy and pregnancy clinical practice for overt hyperthyroidism, respectively.
One thousand, two hundred fifty-six physicians participated. Chief physicians and associate chief physicians accounted for 58.6% of the participants. Approximately 95.2% of the respondents chose the thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) test to clarify the etiology of thyrotoxicosis, while only 27.0% of them chose radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU). In terms of treatment for non-pregnant patients, anti-thyroid drugs (ATDs) were the first choice, and most of the clinicians chose methimazole. Compared with clinicians in recent studies, Chinese physicians used serum TRAb to diagnose Graves’ disease more commonly, and there were obviously more physicians preferring ATDs. For maternal hyperthyroidism, most physicians preferred propylthiouracil administration before or during the first trimester, which is consistent with the 2016 American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines. In terms of the initial ATD dose, monitoring the treatment process, indications for ATD withdrawal and treatment of special cases, the preferences of Chinese physicians were generally consistent with the guidelines.
Chinese physicians can generally follow the ATA guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism. Moreover, there are small differences from foreign studies or the guidelines with respect to particular problems. These findings provide evidence for future clinical research in China.
Stine Linding Andersen and Stig Andersen
The management of hyperthyroidism in pregnant patients has been a topic of raised clinical awareness for decades. It is a strong recommendation that overt hyperthyroidism of Graves’ disease in pregnant women should be treated to prevent complications. The consequences of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy are less studied than hypothyroidism, and a literature review illustrates that the main burden of evidence to support current clinical guidance emerges from early observations of severe complications in Graves’ disease patients suffering from untreated hyperthyroidism in the pregnancy. On the other hand, the more long-term consequences in children born to mothers with hyperthyroidism are less clear. A hypothesis of fetal programming by maternal hyperthyroidism implies that excessive levels of maternal thyroid hormones impair fetal growth and development. Evidence from experimental studies provides clues on such mechanisms and report adverse developmental abnormalities in the fetal brain and other organs. Only few human studies addressed developmental outcomes in children born to mothers with hyperthyroidism and did not consistently support an association. In contrast, large observational human studies performed within the last decade substantiate a risk of teratogenic side effects to the use of antithyroid drugs in early pregnancy. Thus, scientific and clinical practice are challenged by the distinct role of the various exposures associated with Graves’ disease including the hyperthyroidism per se, the treatment, and thyroid autoimmunity. More basic and clinical studies are needed to extend knowledge on the effects of each exposure, on the potential interaction between exposures and with other determinants, and on the underlying mechanisms.