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Open access

Anna Malczewska, Magdalena Witkowska, Karolina Makulik, Agnes Bocian, Agata Walter, Joanna Pilch-Kowalczyk, Wojciech Zajęcki, Lisa Bodei, Kjell E Oberg and Beata Kos-Kudła

Introduction: Current monoanalyte biomarkers are ineffective in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). NETest, a novel multianalyte signature, provides molecular information relevant to disease biology.

Aim(s): Independently validate NETest to diagnose GEP-NETs and identify progression in a tertiary referral center.

Materials and methods: Cohorts: 67 pancreatic NET (PNETs), 44 small intestine NETs (SINETs), 63 controls. Well-differentiated (WD): PNETs, n=62, SINETs, all (n=44). Disease extent assessment at blood draw: anatomical (n=110)- CT(n=106), MRI(n=7) and/or functional- 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT(n=69) or 18F-FDG-PET/CT (n=8). Image positive disease (IPD) was defined as either CT/MRI or 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT/18F-FDG-PET/CT-positive. Both CT/MRI and 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT-negative in WD-NETs was considered image negative disease (IND). NETest (normal: 20): PCR (spotted plates). Data: mean±SD.

Results: Diagnosis: NETest was significantly increased in NETs (n=111; 26±21) vs. controls (8±4, p<0.0001). 75 (42 PNET, 33 SINET) were image-positive. Eleven (8 PNET, 3 SINET; all WD) were IND. In IPD, NETest was significantly higher (36±22) vs. IND (8±7, p<0.0001). NETest accuracy, sensitivity, specificity: 97%, 99%, 95%.

Concordance with imaging: NETest was 92% (101/110) concordant with anatomical imaging, 94% (65/69) with 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT, 96% (65/68) dual modality (CT/MRI and 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT). In 70 CT/MRI-positive, NETest was elevated in all (37±22). In 40 CT/MRI-negative, NETest was normal (11±10) in 31. In 56 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT-positive, NETest was elevated (36±22) in 55. In 13 68Ga-SSA-PET/CT-negative, NETest was normal (9±8) in 10.

Disease status: NETest was significantly higher in progressive (61±26; n=11) vs. stable disease (29±14; n=64; p<0.0001) (RECIST 1.1).

Conclusion: NETest is an effective diagnostic for PNETs and SINETs. Elevated NETest is as effective as imaging in diagnosis and accurately identifies progression.

Open access

Kjell Oberg, Eric Krenning, Anders Sundin, Lisa Bodei, Mark Kidd, Margot Tesselaar, Valentina Ambrosini, Richard P Baum, Matthew Kulke, Marianne Pavel, Jaroslaw Cwikla, Ignat Drozdov, Massimo Falconi, Nicola Fazio, Andrea Frilling, Robert Jensen, Klaus Koopmans, Tiny Korse, Dik Kwekkeboom, Helmut Maecke, Giovanni Paganelli, Ramon Salazar, Stefano Severi, Jonathan Strosberg, Vikas Prasad, Aldo Scarpa, Ashley Grossman, Annemeik Walenkamp, Mauro Cives, Irene Virgolini, Andreas Kjaer and Irvin M Modlin

The complexity of the clinical management of neuroendocrine neoplasia (NEN) is exacerbated by limitations in imaging modalities and a paucity of clinically useful biomarkers. Limitations in currently available imaging modalities reflect difficulties in measuring an intrinsically indolent disease, resolution inadequacies and inter-/intra-facility device variability and that RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) criteria are not optimal for NEN. Limitations of currently used biomarkers are that they are secretory biomarkers (chromogranin A, serotonin, neuron-specific enolase and pancreastatin); monoanalyte measurements; and lack sensitivity, specificity and predictive capacity. None of them meet the NIH metrics for clinical usage. A multinational, multidisciplinary Delphi consensus meeting of NEN experts (n = 33) assessed current imaging strategies and biomarkers in NEN management. Consensus (>75%) was achieved for 78% of the 142 questions. The panel concluded that morphological imaging has a diagnostic value. However, both imaging and current single-analyte biomarkers exhibit substantial limitations in measuring the disease status and predicting the therapeutic efficacy. RECIST remains suboptimal as a metric. A critical unmet need is the development of a clinico-biological tool to provide enhanced information regarding precise disease status and treatment response. The group considered that circulating RNA was better than current general NEN biomarkers and preliminary clinical data were considered promising. It was resolved that circulating multianalyte mRNA (NETest) had clinical utility in both diagnosis and monitoring disease status and therapeutic efficacy. Overall, it was concluded that a combination of tumor spatial and functional imaging with circulating transcripts (mRNA) would represent the future strategy for real-time monitoring of disease progress and therapeutic efficacy.