Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) belong to a new group of anticancer drugs targeting T-cell proteins involved in the activation of immune response toward malignancies. Their introduction into clinical practice was a milestone in modern cancer treatment. However, the significant advantage of ICIs over conventional chemotherapy in terms of therapeutic efficacy is accompanied by new challenges related to specific side effects. ICI-induced immune system activation could lead to the loss of self-tolerance, presenting as autoimmune inflammation and dysfunction of various tissues and organs. Thus, the typical side effects of ICIs include immune-related adverse events (irAEs), among which endocrine irAEs, affecting numerous endocrine glands, have been commonly recognized. This review aimed to outline the current knowledge regarding ICI-induced endocrine disorders from a clinical perspective. We present updated information on the incidence and clinical development of ICI-induced endocrinopathies, including the most frequent thyroiditis and hypophysitis, the rarely observed insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and primary adrenal insufficiency, and the recently described cases of hypoparathyroidism and lipodystrophy. Practical guidelines for monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of ICI-related endocrine toxicities are also offered. Rising awareness of endocrine irAEs among oncologists, endocrinologists, and other health professionals caring for patients receiving ICIs could contribute to better safety and efficacy. As immunotherapy becomes widespread and approved for new types of malignancies, increased incidences of endocrine irAEs are expected in the future.
Maria Stelmachowska-Banaś and Izabella Czajka-Oraniec
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.
Melinda Kertész, Szilárd Kun, Eszter Sélley, Zsuzsanna Nagy, Tamás Kőszegi, and István Wittmann
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.
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.
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.
Metformin seems to improve T3 sensitivity in the cardiovascular system in euthyroid, type 2 diabetic patients, the mechanism of which may be supracellular.
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.
Satoshi Higuchi, Hideki Ota, Yuta Tezuka, Kazumasa Seiji, Hidenobu Takagi, Jongmin Lee, Yi-Wei Lee, Kei Omata, Yoshikiyo Ono, Ryo Morimoto, Masataka Kudo, Fumitoshi Satoh, and Kei Takase
This study compared cardiac function, morphology, and tissue characteristics between two common subtypes of primary aldosteronism (PA) using a 3T MR scanner.
A retrospective, single-center, observational study.
We retrospectively reviewed 143 consecutive patients with PA, who underwent both adrenal venous sampling and cardiac magnetic resonance. We acquired cine, late gadolinium enhancement, and pre- and postcontrast myocardial T1-mapping images.
PA was diagnosed as unilateral aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) in 70 patients and bilateral hyperaldosteronism (BHA) in 73. The APA group showed significantly higher plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC) and aldosterone to renin rate (ARR) than the BHA group. After controlling for age, sex, antihypertensive drugs, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and disease duration, the parameters independently associated with APA were: left ventricular end-diastolic volume index (EDVI: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.06 (95% CI: 1.030–1.096), P < 0.01), end-systolic volume index (ESVI: 1.06 (1.017–1.113), P < 0.01), stroke index (SI: 1.07 (1.020–1.121), P < 0.01), cardiac index (CI: 1.001 (1.000–1.001), P < 0.01), and native T1 (1.01 (1.000–1.019), P = 0.038). Weak positive correlations were found between PAC and EDVI (R = 0.28, P < 0.01), ESVI (0.26, P < 0.01), and SI (0.18, P = 0.03); and between ARR and EDVI (0.25, P < 0.01), ESVI (0.24, P < 0.01), and native T1 (0.17, P = 0.047).
APA is associated with greater LV volumetric parameters and higher native T1 values, suggesting a higher risk of volume overload and myocardial damage.
The term 'hyperthyroidism' refers to a form of thyrotoxicosis due to inappropriate high synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormone(s) by the thyroid. The leading cause of hyperthyroidism in adolescents is Graves’ disease (GD); however, one should also consider other potential causes, such as toxic nodular goitre (single or multinodular), and other rare disorders leading to excessive production and release of thyroid hormones. The term 'thyrotoxicosis' refers to a clinical state resulting from inappropriate high thyroid hormone action in tissues, generally due to inappropriate high tissue thyroid hormone levels. Thyrotoxicosis is a condition with multiple aetiologies, manifestations, and potential modes of therapy. By definition, the extrathyroidal sources of excessive amounts of thyroid hormones, such as iatrogenic thyrotoxicosis, factitious ingestion of thyroid hormone, or struma ovarii, do not include hyperthyroidism. The aetiology of hyperthyroidism/and thyrotoxicosis should be determined. Although the diagnosis is apparent based on the clinical presentation and initial biochemical evaluation, additional diagnostic testing is indicated. This testing should include: (1) measurement of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) antibodies (TRAb); (2) analysis of thyroidal echogenicity and blood flow on ultrasonography; or (3) determination of radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU). A 123I or 99mTc pertechnetate scan is recommended when the clinical presentation suggests toxic nodular goitre. A question arises regarding whether diagnostic workup and treatment (antithyroid drugs, radioiodine, surgery, and others) should be the same in children and adolescents as in adults, as well as whether there are the same goals of treatment in adolescents as in adults, in female patients vs in male patients, and in reproductive or in postreproductive age. In this aspect, different treatment modalities might be preferred to achieve euthyroidism and to avoid potential risks from the treatment. The vast majority of patients with thyroid disorders require life-long treatment; therefore, the collaboration of different specialists is warranted to achieve these goals and improve patients’ quality of life.
Yuerong Yan, Lili You, Xiaoyi Wang, Zhuo Zhang, Feng Li, Hongshi Wu, Muchao Wu, Jin Zhang, Jiayun Wu, Caixia Chen, Xiaohui Li, Biwen Xia, Mingtong Xu, and Li Yan
A variety of factors differed between rural and urban areas may further influence iodine status and thyroid structure. Hence, this study compared iodine nutrition, the prevalence of thyroid goiter, and nodules between rural and urban residents in Guangzhou, a southern coastal city of China.
A total of 1211 rural residents and 1305 urban residents were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. A questionnaire regarding personal characteristics was administered. Urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was examined. Ultrasonography of the thyroid was performed to evaluate thyroid goiter and nodules. Multiple logistic analysis was used to identify the potential associated factors.
The median UIC was significantly lower in rural residents than in urban residents (120.80 μg/L vs 136.00 μg/L, P < 0.001). Although the coverage rate of iodized salt was much higher in rural residents than in urban residents (99.59% vs 97.29%, P < 0.001), the percentages of seafood intake (8.60% vs 29.29%, P < 0.001), iodine-containing drug consumption (0.33% vs 1.24%, P = 0.011), and iodine contrast medium injection (0.58% vs 1.87%, P = 0.004) were lower in rural residents than in urban residents. Both the prevalence of thyroid goiters and nodules was significantly higher in rural residents than in urban residents (goiter: 8.06% vs 1.20%, P < 0.001; nodules: 61.89% vs 55.04%, P = 0.023). Living in rural areas was associated with thyroid goiter (OR 5.114, 95% CI 2.893–9.040, P < 0.001).
There were differences in iodine nutrition and the prevalence of thyroid goiter and nodules in rural and urban residents in Guangzhou. Differentiated and specialized monitoring is recommended in our area.
Zhengrong Jiang, Linghong Huang, Lijun Chen, Jingxiong Zhou, Bo Liang, Xuefeng Bai, Lizhen Wu, and Huibin Huang
Graves’ disease is a common autoimmune disease. Cytokines and their signalling pathways play a major part in the pathogenesis of Graves’ disease; however, the underlying mechanism needs to be clarified.
The aim of this study was to explore whether circular RNAs participate in the immunological pathology of Graves’ disease via cytokine-related signalling pathways.
Bioinformatics analysis was performed to identify differentially expressed circular RNAs and their targets and associated pathways. A total of three patients with Graves’ disease and three sex- and age-matched healthy controls were enrolled for validation with microarray analysis and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). An additional 24 patients with Graves’ disease and 24 gender- and age-matched controls were included for validation by real-time fluorescent qPCR. Flow cytometry and CCK8 assays were used to detect the apoptotic and proliferative levels of Jurkat cells (T lymphocytes) with the silenced expression of circRNA. ELISA was performed to detect the growth and apoptosis-related proteins. The competition mechanism of endogenous RNA was explored by real-time fluorescence qPCR.
A total of 366 significantly differentially expressed circular RNAs were identified in the Graves’ disease group compared to healthy controls. The level of hsa_circ_0090364 was elevated in Graves’ disease patients and positively correlated with thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies. Further analyses suggested that hsa_circ_0090364 may regulate the JAK-STAT pathway via the hsa-miR-378a-3p/IL-6ST/IL21R axis to promote cell growth.
These results provide novel clues into the pathophysiological mechanisms of Graves’ disease and potential targets for drug treatment.
Rachel Forfar, Mashal Hussain, Puneet Khurana, Jennifer Cook, Steve Lewis, Dillon Popat, David Jackson, Ed McIver, Jeff Jerman, Debra Taylor, Adrian JL Clark, and Li F Chan
The overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), in conditions such as Cushing’s disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), leads to significant morbidity. Current treatment with glucocorticoids does not adequately suppress plasma ACTH, resulting in excess adrenal androgen production. At present, there is no effective medical treatment in clinical use that would directly block the action of ACTH. Such a therapy would be of great clinical value. ACTH acts via a highly selective receptor, the melanocortin-2 receptor (MC2R) associated with its accessory protein MRAP. ACTH is the only known naturally occurring agonist for this receptor. This lack of redundancy and the high degree of ligand specificity suggest that antagonism of this receptor could provide a useful therapeutic strategy in the treatment of conditions of ACTH excess. To this end, we screened an extensive library of low-molecular-weight drug-like compounds for MC2R antagonist activity using a high-throughput homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence cAMP assay in Chinese hamster ovary cells stably co-expressing human MC2R and MRAP. Hits that demonstrated MC2R antagonist properties were counter-screened against the β2 adrenergic receptor and dose–response analysis undertaken. This led to the identification of a highly specific MC2R antagonist capable of antagonising ACTH-induced progesterone release in murine Y-1 adrenal cells and having selectivity for MC2R amongst the human melanocortin receptors. This work provides a foundation for the clinical investigation of small-molecule ACTH antagonists as therapeutic agents and proof of concept for the screening and discovery of such compounds.
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.