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Open access

M L Gild, M Bullock, C K Pon, B G Robinson, and R J Clifton-Bligh

Metastatic differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC) are resistant to traditional chemotherapy. Kinase inhibitors have shown promise in patients with progressive DTC, but dose-limiting toxicity is commonplace. HSP90 regulates protein degradation of several growth-mediating kinases such as RET, and we hypothesized that HSP90 inhibitor (AUY922) could inhibit RET-mediated medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) as well as papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) cell growth and also radioactive iodine uptake by PTC cells. Studies utilized MTC cell lines TT (C634W) and MZ-CRC-1 (M918T) and the PTC cell line TPC-1 (RET/PTC1). Cell viability was assessed with MTS assays and apoptosis by flow cytometry. Signaling target expression was determined by western blot and radioiodine uptake measured with a gamma counter. Prolonged treatment of both MTC cell lines with AUY922 simultaneously inhibited both MAPK and mTOR pathways and significantly induced apoptosis (58.7 and 78.7% reduction in MZ-CRC-1 and TT live cells respectively, following 1 μM AUY922; P<0.02). Similarly in the PTC cell line, growth and signaling targets were inhibited, and also a 2.84-fold increase in radioiodine uptake was observed following AUY922 administration (P=0.015). AUY922 demonstrates in vitro activity against MTC and PTC cell lines. We observed a potent dose-dependent increase in apoptosis in MTC cell lines following drug administration confirming its anti-tumorigenic effects. Western blots confirm inhibition of pro-survival proteins including AKT suggesting this as the mechanism of cell death. In a functional study, we observed an increase in radioiodine uptake in the PTC cell line following AUY922 treatment. We believe HSP90 inhibition could be a viable alternative for treatment of RET-driven chemo-resistant thyroid cancers.

Open access

Eric M Ndombi, Valentine Budambula, Mark K Webale, Francis O Musumba, Jesca O Wesongah, Erick Mibei, Aabid A Ahmed, Raphael Lihana, and Tom Were

Adiponectin is an important marker of anthropometric profiles of adipose tissue. However, association of adiponectin and adiposity in HIV mono- and co-infected and hepatitis (HCV) injection drug users (IDUs) has not been elucidated. Therefore, the relationship of total adiponectin levels with anthropometric indices of adiposity was examined in HIV mono-infected (anti-retroviral treatment, ART-naive, n=16 and -experienced, n=34); HCV mono-infected, n=36; HIV and HCV co-infected (ART-naive, n=5 and -experienced, n=13); uninfected, n=19 IDUs; and healthy controls, n=16 from coastal Kenya. Anthropometric indices of adiposity were recorded and total circulating adiponectin levels were measured in serum samples using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Adiponectin levels differed significantly amongst the study groups (P<0.0001). Post-hoc analyses revealed decreased levels in HIV mono-infected ART-naive IDUs in comparison to uninfected IDUs (P<0.05) and healthy controls (P<0.05). However, adiponectin levels were elevated in HCV mono-infected IDUs relative to HIV mono-infected ART-naive (P<0.001) and -experienced (P<0.001) as well as HIV and HCV co-infected ART-naive (P<0.05) IDUs. Furthermore, adiponectin correlated with weight (ρ=0.687; P=0.003) and BMI (ρ=0.598; P=0.014) in HIV mono-infected ART-naive IDUs; waist circumference (ρ=−0.626; P<0.0001), hip (ρ=−0.561; P=0.001) circumference, and bust-to-waist ratio (ρ=0.561; P=0.001) in HIV mono-infected ART-experienced IDUs; waist girth (ρ=0.375; P=0.024) in HCV mono-infected IDUs; and waist-to-hip ratio (ρ=−0.872; P=0.048) in HIV and HCV co-infected ART-naive IDUs. Altogether, these results suggest suppression of adiponectin production in treatment-naive HIV mono-infected IDUs and that circulating adiponectin is a useful surrogate marker of altered adiposity in treatment-naive and -experienced HIV and HCV mono- and co-infected IDUs.

Open access

Charlotte Höybye, Andreas F H Pfeiffer, Diego Ferone, Jens Sandahl Christiansen, David Gilfoyle, Eva Dam Christoffersen, Eva Mortensen, Jonathan A Leff, and Michael Beckert

TransCon growth hormone is a sustained-release human growth hormone prodrug under development in which unmodified growth hormone is transiently linked to a carrier molecule. It is intended as an alternative to daily growth hormone in the treatment of growth hormone deficiency. This was a multi-center, randomized, open-label, active-controlled trial designed to compare the safety (including tolerability and immunogenicity), pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of three doses of weekly TransCon GH to daily growth hormone (Omnitrope). Thirty-seven adult males and females diagnosed with adult growth hormone deficiency and stable on growth hormone replacement therapy for at least 3 months were, following a wash-out period, randomized (regardless of their pre-study dose) to one of three TransCon GH doses (0.02, 0.04 and 0.08 mg GH/kg/week) or Omnitrope 0.04 mg GH/kg/week (divided into 7 equal daily doses) for 4 weeks. Main outcomes evaluated were adverse events, immunogenicity and growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels. TransCon GH was well tolerated; fatigue and headache were the most frequent drug-related adverse events and reported in all groups. No lipoatrophy or nodule formation was reported. No anti-growth hormone-binding antibodies were detected. TransCon GH demonstrated a linear, dose-dependent increase in growth hormone exposure without accumulation. Growth hormone maximum serum concentration and insulin-like growth factor 1 exposure were similar after TransCon GH or Omnitrope administered at comparable doses. The results suggest that long-acting TransCon GH has a profile similar to daily growth hormone but with a more convenient dosing regimen. These findings support further TransCon GH development.

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

Jan Calissendorff and Henrik Falhammar


Graves’ disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism. Three therapies have been used for decades: pharmacologic therapy, surgery and radioiodine. In case of adverse events, especially agranulocytosis or hepatotoxicity, pre-treatment with Lugol’s solution containing iodine/potassium iodide to induce euthyroidism before surgery could be advocated, but this has rarely been reported.


All patients hospitalised due to uncontrolled hyperthyroidism at the Karolinska University Hospital 2005–2015 and treated with Lugol’s solution were included. All electronic files were carefully reviewed manually, with focus on the cause of treatment and admission, demographic data, and effects of iodine on thyroid hormone levels and pulse frequency.


Twenty-seven patients were included. Lugol’s solution had been chosen due to agranulocytosis in 9 (33%), hepatotoxicity in 2 (7%), other side effects in 11 (41%) and poor adherence to medication in 5 (19%). Levels of free T4, free T3 and heart rate decreased significantly after 5–9 days of iodine therapy (free T4 53–20 pmol/L, P = 0.0002; free T3 20–6.5 pmol/L, P = 0.04; heart rate 87–76 beats/min P = 0.0007), whereas TSH remained unchanged. Side effects were noted in 4 (15%) (rash n = 2, rash and vomiting n = 1, swelling of fingers n = 1). Thyroidectomy was performed in 26 patients (96%) and one was treated with radioiodine; all treatments were without serious complications.


Treatment of uncontrolled hyperthyroidism with Lugol’s solution before definitive treatment is safe and it decreases thyroid hormone levels and heart rate. Side effects were limited. Lugol’s solution could be recommended pre-operatively in Graves’ disease with failed medical treatment, especially if side effects to anti-thyroid drugs have occurred.

Open access

Riying Liang, Meijun Wang, Chang Fu, Hua Liang, Hongrong Deng, Ying Tan, Fen Xu, and Mengyin Cai


Obesity is associated with the development and progression of chronic kidney disease. Emerging evidence suggests that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist could reduce renal damage and albuminuria. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) was considered as a crucial regulator in metabolism-related kidney disease. Herein, the role of SIRT1 in liraglutide-ameliorated high-fat diet (HFD)-induced kidney injury was illustrated.


Male C57BL/6 mice were fed HFD for 20 weeks to induce kidney injury that was then treated with liraglutide for 8 weeks to estimate its protective effect on the kidney. Also, the mechanism of the drug in SV40 MES 13 (SV40) mouse mesangial cells was elucidated.


Liraglutide treatment ameliorated HFD-induced metabolic disorders, including hyperglycemia, increasing body weight, and insulin resistance. In addition, kidney weight, urine albumin-to-creatinine, and kidney morphological changes such as vacuolated tubules, glomerulomegaly, thickened glomerular basement membrane, and tubulointerstitial fibrosis were also significantly ameliorated. Furthermore, apoptotic cells and apoptosis markers were downregulated in the kidney of liraglutide-treated mice. In addition, the expression of SIRT1 protein was upregulated, whereas thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), which serves as a mediator of oxidative stress and apoptosis in metabolism disease, was downregulated by liraglutide. In SV40 cells, the effect of liraglutide on reversing the upregulation of cleaved caspase-3 induced by high glucose (30 mM) was hampered when SIRT1 was knocked down; also, the downregulation of TXNIP by liraglutide was blocked.


Liraglutide might have a beneficial effect on metabolism-related kidney damage by inhibiting apoptosis via activation of SIRT1 and suppression of TXNIP pathway.

Open access

Monia Cito, Silvia Pellegrini, Lorenzo Piemonti, and Valeria Sordi

The experience in the field of islet transplantation shows that it is possible to replace β cells in a patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but this cell therapy is limited by the scarcity of organ donors and by the danger associated to the immunosuppressive drugs. Stem cell therapy is becoming a concrete opportunity to treat various diseases. In particular, for a disease like T1D, caused by the loss of a single specific cell type that does not need to be transplanted back in its originating site to perform its function, a stem cell-based cell replacement therapy seems to be the ideal cure. New and infinite sources of β cells are strongly required. In this review, we make an overview of the most promising and advanced β cell production strategies. Particular hope is placed in pluripotent stem cells (PSC), both embryonic (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). The first phase 1/2 clinical trials with ESC-derived pancreatic progenitor cells are ongoing in the United States and Canada, but a successful strategy for the use of PSC in patients with diabetes has still to overcome several important hurdles. Another promising strategy of generation of new β cells is the transdifferentiation of adult cells, both intra-pancreatic, such as alpha, exocrine and ductal cells or extra-pancreatic, in particular liver cells. Finally, new advances in gene editing technologies have given impetus to research on the production of human organs in chimeric animals and on in situ reprogramming of adult cells through in vivo target gene activation.

Open access

Jean-Philippe Bertocchio, Natalie Grosset, Lionel Groussin, Peter Kamenicky, Fabrice Larceneux, Anne Lienhardt-Roussie, Agnès Linglart, Gérard Maruani, Eric Mirallie, François Pattou, Riyad N.H. Seervai, Coralie Sido, Caroline Silve, Aurélie Vilfaillot, Antoine Tabarin, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, and Pascal Houillier

Context: Recent guidelines have provided recommendations for the care of patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism. Very little is known about actual physicians’ practices or their adherence to such guidelines.

Objective: To describe the practice patterns and their compliance with international guidelines.

Design: Cohort studies: Épi-Hypo (118 Physicians and 107 patients, from 09/2016 to 12/2019) and ePatients (110 patients, November 2019).

Methods: Internet-based cohorts involving all settings at a nationwide level (France). Participants were i) physicians treating patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism and patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism either participating in the ii) Épi-Hypo study (Épi-Hypo 2019 patients) or iii) Hypoparathyroidism France, the national representative association (ePatients).

Results: The physicians’ specialties were mainly endocrinology (61%), nephrology (28%), family medicine (2.5%), pediatrics (2.5%), rheumatology (2%) or miscellaneous (4%). Forty-five percent were practicing in public universities. The median number of pharmaceutical drug classes prescribed was 3 per patient. The combination of active vitamin D and calcium salt was given to 59% and 58% of ePatients and Épi-Hypo 2019 patients, respectively. Eighty-five percent of ePatients and 87% of physicians reported monitoring plasma calcium concentrations at a steady state at least twice a year. In 32% and 26% of cases, respectively, ePatients and physicians reported being fully in accordance with international guidelines that recommend targeting symptoms, plasma calcium and phosphate values, and urine calcium excretion.

Conclusions: The care of patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism involves physicians with very different practices, so guidelines should include and target not only endocrinologists. Full adherence to the guidelines is low in France.

Open access

Jia Liu, Lin Zhang, Jing Fu, Qiu Wang, and Guang Wang


Prolactin (PRL) has been demonstrated as a metabolic hormone to regulate energy metabolism recently. The present study aims to investigate the association between PRL and metabolic alterations in different obesity phenotypes.


A total of 451 drug-naive participants were recruited, comprising 351 obese patients and 100 age- and sex-matched healthy participants with normal weight. PRL, anthropometric, and clinical parameters were measured.


In the obesity group, 15.1% (53/351) were categorized as 'metabolically healthy obesity (MHO)'. Besides favorable blood pressure, glucose, and lipids profiles, the MHO group exhibited increased PRL, and lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and adipose tissue insulin resistance (adipo-IR) than the metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUHO) group (PRL, HOMA-IR, and adipo-IR: P < 0.01; hsCRP: P < 0.05). The severe MUHO group showed significantly decreased PRL levels than the mild MUHO group (P < 0.05). Multivariate linear regression analysis indicated that fasting plasma glucose (FBG) and adipo-IR were significantly associated with PRL (FBG: β = −0.263, P < 0.05; adipo-IR: β = −0.464, P < 0.01). Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that hsCRP (OR = 0.824) and PRL (OR = 1.211) were independent predictors of MHO (all P < 0.01).


The MHO group had significantly increased circulating PRL levels when compared with the control and MUHO groups, and multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that PRL was independent predictors of MHO. Our findings suggested that increased circulating PRL might be a compensatory response for favoring energy metabolism during obesity.

Open access

Sarah J Delforce, Eugenie R Lumbers, Celine Corbisier de Meaultsart, Yu Wang, Anthony Proietto, Geoffrey Otton, Jim Scurry, Nicole M Verrills, Rodney J Scott, and Kirsty G Pringle

A dysfunctional endometrial renin–angiotensin system (RAS) could aid the growth and spread of endometrial cancer. To determine if the RAS is altered in endometrial cancer, we measured RAS gene expression and protein levels in 30 human formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) endometrioid carcinomas and their adjacent endometrium. All components of the RAS were expressed in most tumours and in adjacent endometrium; mRNA levels of (pro)renin receptor (ATP6AP2), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AGTR1), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE1) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mRNA levels were greater in tumour tissue than adjacent non-cancerous endometrium (P = 0.023, 0.008, 0.004 and 0.046, respectively). Prorenin, ATP6AP2, AGTR1, AGTR2 and ACE2 proteins were abundantly expressed in both cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous endometrium. Staining was most intense in cancerous glandular epithelium. One potential target of the endometrial RAS, transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFB1), which is essential for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, was also upregulated in endometrial cancer tissue (P = 0.001). Interestingly, TGFB1 was strongly correlated with RAS expression and was upregulated in tumour tissue. This study is the first to characterise the mRNA and protein expression of all RAS components in cancerous and adjacent non-cancerous endometrium. The greater expression of ATP6AP2, AGTR1 and ACE1, key elements of the pro-angiogenic/proliferative arm of the RAS, suggests that the RAS plays a role in the growth and spread of endometrial cancer. Therefore, existing drugs that inhibit the RAS and which are used to treat hypertension may have potential as treatments for endometrial cancer.