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Open access

Simon Schimmack, Yongchao Yang, Klaus Felix, Markus Herbst, Yixiong Li, Miriam Schenk, Frank Bergmann, Thilo Hackert and Oliver Strobel

Objective

Elevated pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum values have been reported to be associated with poor overall survival for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (pNEN). The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms linking CRP to poor prognosis in pNEN.

Methods

The malignant properties of pNENs were investigated using the human pNEN cell-lines BON1 and QGP1 exposed to CRP or IL-6. Analyses were performed by ELISA, Western blot, flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry as well as invasion and proliferation assays. To compare cytokine profiles and CRP levels, 76 serum samples of pNEN patients were analyzed using Luminex technology. In parallel, the expression of CRP and growth signaling pathway proteins was assessed on cell lines and paraffin-embedded primary pNEN.

Results

In BON1 and QGP1 cells, inflammation (exposure to IL-6) significantly upregulated CRP expression and secretion as well as migratory properties. CRP stimulation of BON1 cells increased IL-6 secretion and invasion. This was accompanied by activation/phosphorylation of the ERK, AKT and/or STAT3 pathways. Although known CRP receptors – CD16, CD32 and CD64 – were not detected on BON1 cells, CRP uptake of pNEN cells was shown after CRP exposure. In patients, increased pre-operative CRP levels (≥5 mg/L) were associated with significantly higher serum levels of IL-6 and G-CSF, as well as with an increased CRP expression and ERK/AKT/STAT3 phosphorylation in pNEN tissue.

Conclusion

The malignant properties of pNEN cells can be stimulated by CRP and IL-6 promoting ERK/AKT/STAT pathways activation as well as invasion, thus linking systemic inflammation and poor prognosis.

Open access

Stefan Riedl, Friedrich-Wilhelm Röhl, Walter Bonfig, Jürgen Brämswig, Annette Richter-Unruh, Susanne Fricke-Otto, Markus Bettendorf, Felix Riepe, Gernot Kriegshäuser, Eckhard Schönau, Gertrud Even, Berthold Hauffa, Helmuth-Günther Dörr, Reinhard W Holl, Klaus Mohnike and the AQUAPE CAH Study Group

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to CYP21A2 gene mutations is associated with a variety of clinical phenotypes (salt wasting, SW; simple virilizing, SV; nonclassical, NC) depending on residual 21-hydroxylase activity. Phenotypes and genotypes correlate well in 80–90% of cases. We set out to test the predictive value of CAH phenotype assignment based on genotype classification in a large multicenter cohort. A retrospective evaluation of genetic data from 538 CAH patients (195 screened) collected from 28 tertiary centers as part of a German quality control program was performed. Genotypes were classified according to residual 21-hydroxylase activity (null, A, B, C) and assigned clinical phenotypes correlated with predicted phenotypes, including analysis of Prader stages. Ultimately, concordance of genotypes with clinical phenotypes was compared in patients diagnosed before or after the introduction of nationwide CAH-newborn screening. Severe genotypes (null and A) correlated well with the expected phenotype (SW in 97 and 91%, respectively), whereas less severe genotypes (B and C) correlated poorly (SV in 45% and NC in 57%, respectively). This was underlined by a high degree of virilization in girls with C genotypes (Prader stage >1 in 28%). SW was diagnosed in 90% of screening-positive babies with classical CAH compared with 74% of prescreening patients. In our CAH series, assigned phenotypes were more severe than expected in milder genotypes and in screened vs prescreening patients. Diagnostic discrimination between phenotypes based on genotypes may prove overcome due to the overlap in their clinical presentations.