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Open access

Stefan Schulz, Anika Mann, Benjamin Novakhov, Hugh D Piggins and Amelie Lupp

The vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor 2 (VPAC2) is widely distributed throughout the body and is also overexpressed in a variety of human neoplastic tissues. However, little is known about its precise tissue distribution, regulation and function, which is in part be due to the lack of specific monoclonal anti-VPAC2 antibodies. In this study, we extensively characterised the novel rabbit monoclonal anti-VPAC2 antibody (clone SP235) using transfected cells and mouse, rat and human tissues. SP235 was then subjected to a comparative immunohistochemical study on a series of 167 histological specimens from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human tumours and adjacent normal tissues. SP235 detected a broad band migrating at a molecular weight of 50–70 kDa in western blotting analyses of various mouse tissues as well as VPAC2- but not VPAC1-transfected human embryonic kidney 293 cells. SP235 yielded an efficient immunostaining of distinct cell populations in human tissue samples with a predominance of plasma membrane staining, which was completely abolished by preadsorption with its immunising peptide. SP235 immunohistochemistry detected VPAC2 receptors in lymphocytes present in spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes and Peyer's patches, chief cells of gastric mucosa, exocrine and endocrine pancreas, kidney tubules and blood vessels. In addition, VPAC2 was observed in thyroid, gastric and lung carcinomas, pancreatic adenocarcinomas, sarcomas and neuroendocrine tumours. SP235 may prove of great value in the identification of VPAC2 receptors during routine histopathological examination. VPAC2 visualisation with this simple and rapid immunohistochemical method will facilitate identification of candidate tumours for vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-based diagnostics or therapeutic interventions.

Open access

Anello Marcello Poma, Riccardo Giannini, Paolo Piaggi, Clara Ugolini, Gabriele Materazzi, Paolo Miccoli, Paolo Vitti and Fulvio Basolo

The distinction between follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTCs) and follicular-patterned benign lesions is almost impossible on fine-needle aspiration cytology. Furthermore, minimally invasive FTCs (MI-FTCs) with less than 4 vascular invasion foci generally have an excellent prognosis, but there are exceptions and, so far, no molecular marker appears able to identify them reliably. We aimed to distinguish benign lesions from low- and high-risk FTCs by a small-scale combination of genes. The expression analysis of 75 selected genes was performed on 18 follicular adenomas (FAs), 14 MI-FTCs and 6 widely invasive FTC (WI-FTCs). The mutational status of the RAS genes, TERT promoter and PAX8-PPARG rearrangements was also investigated. Seven samples were mutated, namely 3 MI-FTCs and 4 WI-FTCs. Twenty-five genes were differentially expressed (FDR <0.05) between FAs and WI-FTCs. Six of these (ECM1, RXRG, SDPR, SLC26A4, TIFF3, TIMP1) were also differently expressed among MI-FTCs and FAs or WI-FTCs and were considered to build a classification model, which was tested to classify samples according to their histological class. Hence, 31 out of 38 were correctly classified, and accuracy remained high after cross-validation (27/38). The 2 MI-FTCs incorrectly classified as WI-FTCs harbored both RAS and TERT promoter mutations. The capability of these six genes to stratify benign, low- and high-risk lesions appears to be promising in supporting the diagnosis of indeterminate thyroid nodules.

Open access

Elin Kahlert, Martina Blaschke, Knut Brockmann, Clemens Freiberg, Onno E Janssen, Nikolaus Stahnke, Domenika Strik, Martin Merkel, Alexander Mann, Klaus-Peter Liesenkötter and Heide Siggelkow

Objective

Turner syndrome (TS) is characterized by the complete or partial loss of the second sex chromosome and associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. We aimed to assess the medical care of adult patients with TS in Germany.

Design

Retrospective multicenter observational study.

Methods

Data were collected from medical records of 258 women with TS treated between 2001 and 2017 in five non-university endocrinologic centers in Germany.

Results

Mean age was 29.8 ± 11.6 years, mean height 152 ± 7.7 cm, and mean BMI 26.6 ± 6.3 kg/m2. The karyotype was known in 50% of patients. Information on cholesterol state, liver enzymes, and thyroid status was available in 81–98% of women with TS; autoimmune thyroiditis was diagnosed in 37%. Echocardiography was performed in 42% and cardiac MRI in 8.5%, resulting in a diagnosis of cardiovascular disorder in 28%. Data on growth hormone therapy were available for 40 patients (15%) and data concerning menarche in 157 patients (61%).

Conclusion

In 258 women with TS, retrospective analysis of healthcare data indicated that medical management was focused on endocrine manifestations. Further significant clinical features including cardiovascular disease, renal malformation, liver involvement, autoimmune diseases, hearing loss, and osteoporosis were only marginally if at all considered. Based on this evaluation and in accordance with recent guidelines, we compiled a documentation form facilitating the transition from pediatric to adult care and further medical management of TS patients. The foundation of Turner Centers in March 2019 will improve the treatment of TS women in Germany.

Open access

Joana Simões-Pereira, Daniel Macedo and Maria João Bugalho

Introduction

Metastases to central nervous system (M1-CNS) are rarely reported in thyroid cancer (TC) patients. We aimed to characterize patients with M1-CNS from TC followed in our department.

Methods

Review of the medical records of 27 patients with TC-related M1-CNS.

Results

Mean age at TC diagnosis was 56.9 ± 19.1 years. Papillary TC (55.6%) was the commonest histological type, followed by poorly differentiated (18.5%), medullary (11.1%), follicular (7.4%) and Hürthle cell (7.4%) carcinomas. Angioinvasion and extrathyroidal extension were observed in a high number of patients. At M1-CNS diagnosis, other distant metastases were already present in 77.8% of the patients. Treatment directed to M1-CNS was offered to 20 (74%) patients: 1 was submitted to surgery, 18 to radiotherapy (either whole-brain radiotherapy or stereotaxic radiosurgery or both) and 4 to surgery and radiotherapy. Four patients received cytotoxic chemotherapy and one was submitted to 131I. Median survival since M1-CNS detection was 5.0 months. The only factor associated with better survival was surgery to brain metastases (P = 0.012).

Conclusions

The management of these patients is very challenging given the inexistence of effective treatments, except for brain surgery in selected cases.

Open access

Dario de Biase, Federica Torricelli, Moira Ragazzi, Benedetta Donati, Elisabetta Kuhn, Michela Visani, Giorgia Acquaviva, Annalisa Pession, Giovanni Tallini, Simonetta Piana and Alessia Ciarrocchi

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare but highly aggressive form of thyroid cancer. By contrast, differentiated papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) only rarely behave aggressively and develop distant metastasis. Whether distantly metastatic PTC (DM-PTC) and ATC share a common genetic background is still to be defined. We used next-generation sequencing (NGS) to explore the genetic background of a cohort of ATC and DM-PTC and a group of well-differentiated PTCs that did not developed distant metastasis as control (ctrl-PTC). A panel of 128 amplicons within 21 thyroid cancer-related genes was analyzed in a set of 151 thyroid cancer samples including 66 ATCs and DM-PTCs. We showed that the ATC/DM-PTC group had an overall mutational load higher than ctrl-PTCs and that ATCs and DM-PTCs are characterized by a different genetic background, with the exception of mutations in the TERT promoter that were overrepresented in both ATCs (61.1%) and DM-PTCs (48.2%) vs non-aggressive ctrl-PTCs (7.6%). In ATCs, TERT promoter mutations were frequently associated with TP53 mutations, while in the DM-PTCs no significant co-occurrence was observed. No significant association of MED12 mutations with aggressiveness of thyroid cancer was observed in our analysis. Finally, correlation analysis showed that increasing number of mutations negatively impact on patient overall survival also within the ATC and DM-PTC group. In conclusions, overall our analysis further highlights the relevance of TERT promoter mutations in driving aggressiveness and provides new pieces of information in the definition of aggressiveness evolution of thyroid cancer lesions.

Open access

Lauren E Henke, John D Pfeifer, Thomas J Baranski, Todd DeWees and Perry W Grigsby

The majority of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) cases comprise classic papillary (C-PTC) and follicular variant (FV-PTC) histologic sub-types. Historically, clinical equivalency was assumed, but recent data suggest C-PTC may have poorer outcomes. However, large single-institution series with long-term outcomes of C-PTC and FV-PTC, using modern pathologic criteria for FV-PTC, are needed. Our objective was to compare prevalence and impact of clinicopathologic factors, including BRAF mutation status, on long-term outcomes of C-PTC and FV-PTC. We hypothesized that patients with C-PTC would have higher risk disease features and worse survival outcomes. This retrospective study included 1293 patients treated at a single, US academic institution between 1943 and 2009 with mean follow-up of 8.6 years. All patients underwent either partial or total thyroidectomy and had invasive C-PTC or FV-PTC per modern pathology criteria. Primary study measurements included differences in recurrence-free survival (RFS), disease-specific survival (DSS) and associations with clinicopathologic factors including the BRAF mutation. Compared to FV-PTC, C-PTC was associated with multiple features of high-risk disease (P < 0.05) and significantly reduced RFS and DSS. Survival differences were consistent across univariate, multivariate and Kaplan–Meier analyses. BRAF mutations were more common in C-PTC (P = 0.002). However, on Kaplan–Meier analysis, mutational status did not significantly impact RFS or DSS for patients with either histologic sub-type. C-PTC therefore indicates higher-risk disease and predicts for significantly poorer long-term outcomes when compared to FV-PTC. The nature of this difference in outcome is not explained by traditional histopathologic findings or by the BRAF mutation.

Open access

Zeming Liu, Di Hu, Yihui Huang, Sichao Chen, Wen Zeng, Ling Zhou, Wei Zhou, Min Wang, Haifeng Feng, Wei Wei, Chao Zhang, Danyang Chen and Liang Guo

Objectives

Controversies regarding factors associated with distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer remain among the scientific community. The aim of this study was to investigate factors influencing distant metastasis in pediatric thyroid cancer.

Methods

We reviewed 1376 patients (aged 2 to 18 years) with thyroid cancer treated between 2003 and 2014. Data collected and analyzed included sex, race, age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, T-stage, N-stage, surgical procedure and radiation. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to evaluate factors influencing distant metastasis of pediatric thyroid cancer.

Results

In the univariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P < 0.001), N-stage (P < 0.001), number of tumor foci (P = 0.003), tumor extension (P < 0.001) and T-stage (T1 vs T2 (P = 0.803), T3 (P < 0.001) and T4 (P < 0.001)). In multivariate analysis, factors influencing distant metastasis of thyroid cancer were age at diagnosis (P = 0.001), N-stage (P < 0.001) and T-stage (T1 vs T3 (P = 0.036) and T4 (P < 0.001)). Sex, race, year of diagnosis, pathological type, number of tumor foci, tumor extension, surgical procedure and radiation had no significant influence on distant metastasis (all P > 0.05). Furthermore, according to chi-squared test, younger pediatric thyroid cancer patients with higher T- and N-stages are more likely to have distant metastasis.

Conclusion

Age at diagnosis, T-stage and N-stage influence distant metastasis of thyroid cancer patients aged 2 to 18 years; accordingly, more radical treatments may need to be used for patients with those risk elements.

Open access

Andrea Mazurat, Andrea Torroni, Jane Hendrickson-Rebizant, Harbinder Benning, Richard W Nason and K Alok Pathak

Well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma (WDTC) represents a group of thyroid cancers with excellent prognosis. Age, a well-recognized risk factor for WDTC, has been consistently included in various prognostic scoring systems. An age threshold of 45 years is currently used by the American Joint Cancer Committee-TNM staging system for the risk stratification of patients. This study analyzes the relationship between the patients' age at diagnosis and thyroid cancer-specific survival in a population-based thyroid cancer cohort of 2115 consecutive patients with WDTC, diagnosed during 1970–2010, and evaluates the appropriateness of the currently used age threshold. Oncological outcomes of patients in terms of disease-specific survival (DSS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were calculated by the Kaplan–Meier method, while multivariable analysis was done by the Cox proportional hazard model and proportional hazards regression for sub-distribution of competing risks to assess the independent influence of various prognostic factors. The mean age of the patients was 47.3 years, 76.6% were female and 83.3% had papillary carcinoma. The median follow-up of the cohort was 122.4 months. The DSS and DFS were 95.4 and 92.8% at 10 years and 90.1 and 87.6% at 20 years, respectively. Multivariable analyses confirmed patient's age to be an independent risk factor adversely affecting the DSS but not the DFS. Distant metastasis, incomplete surgical resection, T3/T4 stages, Hürthle cell histology, and male gender were other independent prognostic determinants. The DSS was not independently influenced by age until the age of 55 years. An age threshold of 55 years is better than that of 45 years for risk stratification.

Open access

Nassim Ghaffari-Tabrizi-Wizsy, Christina Angelika Passegger, Laura Nebel, Fabian Krismer, Gudrun Herzer-Schneidhofer, Gert Schwach and Roswitha Pfragner

Preclinical trials of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) therapeutics require both in vitro and in vivo analyses. Human tumour xenografted rodent models, which are considered the ‘gold standard’ to study and validate the efficacy and toxicity of lead compounds before translation to clinical trials, are very expensive, subject to organismal variability and ethical controversies. The avian chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay provides an alternative versatile, cost-effective and ethically less objectionable short-term, in vivo model for reliable screening of drugs. In this work, we grafted two MTC cell lines and patient-derived MTC tumour samples onto the avian CAM and characterised the resulted tumours histologically and immunohistochemically. Our findings provide the evidence that the CAM assay is a suitable model for studying the pathophysiology of MTC and can even be used as in vivo system for drug testing.

Open access

Elena Izkhakov, Joseph Meyerovitch, Micha Barchana, Yacov Shacham, Naftali Stern and Lital Keinan-Boker

Objective

Thyroid cancer (TC) survivors may be at risk of subsequent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular (CaV&CeV) morbidity. The 2009 American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines recommended less aggressive treatment for low-risk TC patients. The aim of this study was to assess the atherosclerotic CaV&CeV outcome of Israeli TC survivors compared to individuals with no thyroid disease, and the atherosclerotic CaV&CeV outcome before (2000–2008) and after (2009–2011) implementation of the 2009 ATA guidelines.

Methods

All members of the largest Israeli healthcare organization who were diagnosed with TC from 1/2000 to 12/2014 (study group) and age- and sex-matched members with no thyroid disease (controls) were included. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

The mean follow-up was 7.6 ± 4.2 and 7.8 ± 4.1 years for the study (n = 5,677, 79% women) and control (n = 23,962) groups, respectively. The former had an increased risk of new atherosclerotic CaV&CeV events (adjusted HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.15–1.39). The 5-year incidence of CaV&CeV was lower (adjusted HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.38–0.62) from 2009 to 2011 compared to 2000 to 2008, but remained higher in the study group than in the control group (adjusted HR 1.5, 95% CI 1.14–1.69).

Conclusions

This large Israeli population-based cohort study showed greater atherosclerotic CaV&CeV morbidity in TC survivors compared to individuals with no thyroid diseases. There was a trend toward a decreased 5-year incidence of atherosclerotic CaV&CeV events among TC survivors following the implementation of the 2009 ATA guidelines, but it remained higher compared to the general population.