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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.

Open access

Jia Liu, Min Liu, Zhe Chen, Yumei Jia, and Guang Wang

Objective

Autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) is the most common autoimmune thyroid disease. Longitudinal relaxation time mapping (T1-mapping) measured by MRI is a new technique for assessing interstitial fibrosis of some organs, such as heart and liver. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between T1-mapping value and thyroid function and determine the usefulness of T1-mapping in identifying thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Methods

This case–control study recruited 57 drug-naïve AIT patients and 17 healthy controls. All participants were given thyroid MRI, and T1-mapping values were measured using a modified look-locker inversion-recovery sequence.

Results

AIT patients had significantly higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls (1.077 ± 177 vs 778 ± 82.9 ms; P < 0.01). A significant increase in thyroid T1-mapping values was presented along with the increased severity of thyroid dysfunction (P < 0.01). Correlation analyses showed that increased thyroid T1-mapping values were associated with higher TSH and lower FT3 and FT4 levels (TSH: r = 0.75; FT3: r = −0.47; FT4: r = −0.72; all P < 0.01). Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis revealed a high diagnostic value of T1-mapping values for the degree of thyroid destruction (area under the curve was 0.95, 95% CI: 0.90–0.99, P < 0.01).

Conclusions

AIT patients have higher thyroid T1-mapping values than the healthy controls, and the T1-mapping values increased with the progression of thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid T1-mapping value might be a new index to quantitatively evaluate the degree of thyroid destruction in AIT patients.

Open access

Lili Liu, Zhuo Shao, Ying Xia, Jiabi Qin, Yang Xiao, Zhiguang Zhou, and Zubing Mei

Objective

Combined treatment with an incretin-based drug, such as a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) or a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, and basal insulin is a new strategy for improving glucose control in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). We performed a meta-analysis to assess the effect of this combined treatment on glycaemic control, insulin dose, severe hypoglycaemia, weight gain and gastrointestinal side effects in T1DM patients.

Methods

We searched PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library for relevant studies published before July 16, 2018. The primary outcome was glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Secondary outcomes included total daily insulin dose, body weight, severe hypoglycaemia and gastrointestinal side effects.

Results

Nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 2389 patients were ultimately included in the meta-analysis. The pooled data suggested that incretin-based therapy was associated with a reduction in HbA1c levels (weighted mean difference (WMD) −0.17%, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.24 to −0.11, P < 0.001), total daily insulin dose (WMD −5.53 IU/day, 95% CI −8.89 to −2.17, P = 0.001) and body weight (WMD −3.24 kg, 95% CI −4.43 to −2.04, P < 0.001). Incretins did not increase the risk of severe hypoglycaemia (odds ratio (OR) 0.83, 95% CI 0.60–1.16, P = 0.287) but increased the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects (OR 3.46, 95% CI 2.20–5.45, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

In T1DM patients, GLP-1 RAs, but not DPP-4 inhibitors, combined with insulin appear to be an effective therapy but may increase the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects.

Open access

Melinda Kertész, Szilárd Kun, Eszter Sélley, Zsuzsanna Nagy, Tamás Kőszegi, and István Wittmann

Background

Type 2 diabetes is characterized, beyond the insulin resistance, by polyhormonal resistance. Thyroid hormonal resistance has not yet been described in this population of patients. Metformin is used to decrease insulin resistance, and at present, it is assumed to influence the effect of triiodothyronine, as well.

Methods

In this open-label, pilot, hypothesis-generating, follow-up study, 21 patients were included; all of them were euthyroid with drug naïve, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Before and after 4 weeks of metformin therapy, fructosamine, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), thyroid hormones, T3/T4 ratio, and TSH, as well as blood pressure and heart rate using ambulatory blood pressure monitor were measured. We also conducted an in vitro study to investigate the possible mechanisms of T3 resistance, assessing T3-induced Akt phosphorylation among normal (5 mM) and high (25 mM) glucose levels with or without metformin treatment in a human embryonal kidney cell line.

Results

Metformin decreased the level of T3 (P < 0.001), the ratio of T3/T4 (P = 0.038), fructosamine (P = 0.008) and HOMA-IR (P = 0.022). All these changes were accompanied by an unchanged TSH, T4, triglyceride, plasma glucose, bodyweight, blood pressure, and heart rate. In our in vitro study, T3-induced Akt phosphorylation decreased in cells grown in 25 mM glucose medium compared to those in 5 mM. Metformin could not reverse this effect.

Conclusion

Metformin seems to improve T3 sensitivity in the cardiovascular system in euthyroid, type 2 diabetic patients, the mechanism of which may be supracellular.

Open access

Anastasia P Athanasoulia-Kaspar, Matthias K Auer, Günter K Stalla, and Mira Jakovcevski

Objective

Patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas exhibit high morbidity and mortality rates. Growth hormone deficiency and high doses of glucocorticoid substitution therapy have been identified as corresponding risk factors. Interestingly, high levels of endogenous cortisol in, e.g., patients with post-traumatic stress disorder or patients with Cushing’s disease have been linked to shorter telomere length. Telomeres are noncoding DNA regions located at the end of chromosomes consisting of repetitive DNA sequences which shorten with aging and hereby determine cell survival. Therefore, telomere length can serve as a predictor for the onset of disease and mortality in some endocrine disorders (e.g., Cushing’s disease).

Design/methods

Here, we examine telomere length from blood in patients (n = 115) with non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) in a cross-sectional case–control (n = 106, age-, gender-matched) study using qPCR. Linear regression models were used to identify independent predictors of telomere length.

Results

We show that patients with NFPA exhibited shorter telomeres than controls. No significant association of indices of growth hormone deficiency (IGF-1-level-SDS, years of unsubstituted growth hormone deficiency etc.) with telomere length was detected. Interestingly, linear regression analysis showed that hydrocortisone replacement dosage in patients with adrenal insufficiency (n = 52) was a significant predictor for shorter telomere length (β = 0.377; P = 0.018) independent of potential confounders (gender, age, BMI, arterial hypertension, systolic blood pressure, number of antihypertensive drugs, total leukocyte count, waist-to-hip ratio, waist circumference, diabetes mellitus type 2, HbA1c, current statin use). Median split analysis revealed that higher hydrocortisone intake (>20 mg) was associated with significantly shorter telomeres.

Conclusion

These observations strengthen the importance of adjusted glucocorticoid treatment in NFPA patients with respect to morbidity and mortality rates.

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

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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

L Bahler, H J Verberne, E Brakema, R Tepaske, J Booij, J B Hoekstra, and F Holleman

Bromocriptine is a glucose-lowering drug, which was shown to be effective in obese subjects with insulin resistance. It is usually administered in the morning. The exact working mechanism of bromocriptine still has to be elucidated. Therefore, in this open-label randomized prospective cross-over mechanistic study, we assessed whether the timing of bromocriptine administration (morning vs evening) results in different effects and whether these effects differ between lean and obese subjects. We studied the effect of bromocriptine on insulin sensitivity in 8 lean and 8 overweight subjects using an oral glucose tolerance test. The subjects used bromocriptine in randomized cross-over order for 2 weeks in the morning and 2 weeks in the evening. We found that in lean subjects, bromocriptine administration in the evening resulted in a significantly higher post-prandial insulin sensitivity as compared with the pre-exposure visit (glucose area under the curve (AUC) 742 mmol/L * 120 min (695–818) vs 641 (504–750), P = 0.036, AUC for insulin did not change, P = 0.575). In obese subjects, both morning and evening administration of bromocriptine resulted in a significantly higher insulin sensitivity: morning administration in obese: insulin AUC (55,900 mmol/L * 120 min (43,236–96,831) vs 36,448 (25,213–57,711), P = 0.012) and glucose AUC P = 0.069; evening administration in obese: glucose AUC (735 mmol/L * 120 min (614–988) vs 644 (568–829), P = 0.017) and insulin AUC, P = 0.208. In conclusion, bromocriptine increases insulin sensitivity in both lean and obese subjects. In lean subjects, this effect only occurred when bromocriptine was administrated in the evening, whereas in the obese, insulin sensitivity increased independent of the timing of bromocriptine administration.

Open access

Carina Ankarberg-Lindgren, Aneta Gawlik, Berit Kriström, Laura Mazzanti, Elisabeth J Ruijgrok, and Theo C J Sas

Objective

Transdermal estradiol patches are primarily designed for adult women. No low-dose patches are licensed for pubertal induction in hypogonadal girls. Low doses can be achieved by cutting a matrix patch into smaller pieces. However, the manufacturers do not guarantee stability or utility of cut estradiol patches. The aim of the study was to assess 1-month stability of cut estradiol patches from four different manufacturers in the laboratory at room temperature (+21°C) and at an elevated temperature (+35°C).

Design and methods

Estraderm MX 50 µg, Systen 50 µg and Oesclim 25 µg matrix patches were cut into eight pieces while Estradot 50 µg small patches were cut in half. The cut patches were stored in their respective pouches at +21°C or at +35°C for up to 1 month. The estradiol drug was extracted from the patch by ethyl acetate n-hexane and determined by radioimmunoassay.

Results

Storage at +21°C or +35°C up to 1 month did not reduce the estradiol concentration in Estraderm MX, Systen and Oesclim patches. However, although the estradiol in Estradot patches was not affected by storage at +21°C, at +35°C, estradiol decreased by 57% (±1%) in cut pieces.

Conclusions

Unused Estraderm MX, Systen and Oesclim patch pieces may be stored for at least 1 month at ≤+35°C. Where estradiol patches for children are not available, cut pieces of these or similar patches can be used for pubertal induction. The Estradot patch was too small to properly cut into low doses and not stable in elevated temperatures.

Open access

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

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusion

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.