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Matteo Rottoli, Paolo Bernante, Angela Belvedere, Francesca Balsamo, Silvia Garelli, Maddalena Giannella, Alessandra Cascavilla, Sara Tedeschi, Stefano Ianniruberto, Elena Rosselli Del Turco, Tommaso Tonetti, Vito Marco Ranieri, Gilberto Poggioli, Lamberto Manzoli, Uberto Pagotto, Pierluigi Viale, and Michele Bartoletti

Objective:

Specific comorbidities and old age create a greater vulnerability to severe Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19). While obesity seems to aggravate the course of disease, the actual impact of the BMI and the cutoff which increases illness severity are still under investigation. The aim of the study was to analyze whether the BMI represented a risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and death.

Research design and methods:

A retrospective cohort study of 482 consecutive COVID-19 patients hospitalised between March 1 and April 20, 2020. Logistic regression analysis and Cox proportion Hazard models including demographic characteristics and comorbidities were carried out to predict the endpoints within 30 days from the onset of symptoms.

Results:

Of 482 patients, 104 (21.6%) had a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. At logistic regression analysis, a BMI between 30 and 34.9 kg/m2 significantly increased the risk of respiratory failure (OR: 2.32; 95% CI: 1.31–4.09, P = 0.004) and admission to the ICU (OR: 4.96; 95% CI: 2.53–9.74, P < 0.001). A significantly higher risk of death was observed in patients with a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 (OR: 12.1; 95% CI: 3.25–45.1, P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Obesity is a strong, independent risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the ICU and death among COVID-19 patients. A BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 identifies a population of patients at high risk for severe illness, whereas a BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 dramatically increases the risk of death.

Open access

Bastiaan Sol, Jeroen M.k. de Filette, Gil Awada, Steven Raeymaeckers, Sandrine Aspeslagh, C.e. Andreescu, Bart Neyns, and Brigitte Velkeniers

BACKGROUND.

Pituitary carcinomas are rare but aggressive and require maximally coordinated multimodal therapies. For refractory tumors, unresponsive to temozolomide (TMZ), therapeutic options are limited. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) may be considered for treatment as illustrated in the present case report.

CASE.

We report a patient with ACTH-secreting pituitary carcinoma, progressive after multiple lines of therapy including chemotherapy with TMZ, who demonstrated disease stabilization by a combination of ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) and nivolumab (anti-PD-1) ICI therapy.

DISCUSSION.

Management of pituitary carcinoma beyond TMZ remains ill-defined and relies on case reports. TMZ creates, due to hypermutation, more immunogenic tumors and subsequently potential candidates for ICI therapy. This case report adds support to the possible role of ICI in the treatment of pituitary carcinoma.

CONCLUSION.

ICI therapy could be a promising treatment option for pituitary carcinoma, considering the mechanisms of TMZ-induced hypermutation with increased immunogenicity, pituitary expression of CTLA-4 and PD-L1, and the frequent occurrence of hypophysitis as a side effect of ICI therapy.

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Cécile Thomas-Teinturier, Isabelle Oliver-Petit, Helene Pacquement, Brice Fresneau, Rodrigue Sétchéou Allodji, Cristina Veres, Stephanie Bolle, Delphine Berchery, Charlotte Demoor-Goldschmidt, Nadia Haddy, Ibrahima Diallo, and Florent de Vathaire

Context:

Growth hormone (GH) deficiency is a common late effect of cranial irradiation. However, concerns have been raised that GH treatment might lead to an increased risk of a second neoplasm (SN).

Objective:

To study the impact of GH treatment on the risk of SN in a French cohort of survivors of childhood cancer (CCS) treated before 1986.

Design and setting:

Cohort study and nested case–control study.

Participants:

Of the 2852 survivors, with a median follow-up of 26 years, 196 had received GH therapy (median delay from cancer diagnosis: 5.5 years).

Main outcome measures:

Occurrence of SN

Results:

In total, 374 survivors developed a SN, including 40 who had received GH therapy. In a multivariate analysis, GH treatment did not increase the risk of secondary non-meningioma brain tumors (RR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.2–1.5, P = 0.3), secondary non-brain cancer (RR: 0.7, 95% CI: 0.4–1.2, P = 0.2), or meningioma (RR: 1.9, 95% CI: 0.9–4, P = 0.09). Nevertheless, we observed a slight non-significant increase in the risk of meningioma with GH duration: 1.6-fold (95% CI: 1.2–3.0) after an exposure of less than 4 years vs 2.3-fold (95% CI: 0.9–5.6) after a longer exposure (P for trend = 0.07) confirmed by the results of a case–control study.

Conclusion:

This study confirms the overall safety of GH use in survivors of childhood cancer, which does not increase the risk of a SN. The slight excess in the risk of meningioma in patients with long-term GH treatment is non-significant and could be due to difficulties in adjustment on cranial radiation volume/dose and/or undiagnosed meningioma predisposing conditions.

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Juliette Harris, Arthur Gouhier, and Jacques Drouin

Pioneer transcription factors have key roles in development as master regulators of cell fate specification. Only a small fraction of all transcription factors have the pioneer ability that confers access to target genomic DNA sites embedded in so-called “closed” heterochromatin. This ability to seek and bind target sites within the silenced portion of the epigenome is the basis for their role in changing cell fate. Upon binding heterochromatin sites, pioneer factors trigger remodelling of chromatin from a repressed into an active organization. This action is typically exerted at enhancer regulatory sequences, thus allowing activation of new gene subsets. During pituitary development, the only pioneer with a well-documented role is Pax7 that specifies the intermediate lobe melanotrope cell fate. In this review, a particular focus is placed on this Pax7 function but its properties are also considered within the general context of pioneer factor action. Given their potent activity to reprogram gene expression, it is not surprising that many pioneers are associated with tumor development. Over-expression or chromosomal translocations leading to production of chimeric pioneers have been implicated in different cancers. We review here the current knowledge on the mechanism of pioneer factor action.

Free access

Rolf H H Groenwold and Olaf M Dekkers

The validity of clinical research is potentially threatened by missing data. Any variable measured in a study can have missing values, including the exposure, the outcome, and confounders. When missing values are ignored in the analysis, only those subjects with complete records will be included in the analysis. This may lead to biased results and loss of power. We explain why missing data may lead to bias and discuss a commonly used classification of missing data.

Free access

C A Lebbink, B L Dekker, G Bocca, A J A T Braat, J P M Derikx, M P Dierselhuis, B de Keizer, S Kruijff, A B G Kwast, F H van Nederveen, E J M Nieveen van Dijkum, R A J Nievelstein, R P Peeters, C E J Terwisscha van Scheltinga, W J E Tissing, K van der Tuin, M R Vriens, J Zsiros, A S P van Trotsenburg, T P Links, and H M van Santen

Background:

Currently, there are no European recommendations for the management of pediatric thyroid cancer. Other current international guidelines are not completely concordant. In addition, medical regulations differ between, for instance, the US and Europe. We aimed to develop new, easily accessible national recommendations for differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) patients <18 years of age in the Netherlands as a first step toward a harmonized European Recommendation.

Methods:

A multidisciplinary working group was formed including pediatric and adult endocrinologists, a pediatric radiologist, a pathologist, endocrine surgeons, pediatric surgeons, pediatric oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, a clinical geneticist and a patient representative. A systematic literature search was conducted for all existing guidelines and review articles for pediatric DTC from 2000 until February 2019. The Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation (AGREE) instrument was used for assessing quality of the articles. All were compared to determine dis- and concordances. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) pediatric guideline 2015 was used as framework to develop specific Dutch recommendations. Discussion points based upon expert opinion and current treatment management of DTC in children in the Netherlands were identified and elaborated.

Results:

Based on the most recent evidence combined with expert opinion, a 2020 Dutch recommendation for pediatric DTC was written and published as an online interactive decision tree (www.oncoguide.nl).

Conclusion:

Pediatric DTC requires a multidisciplinary approach. The 2020 Dutch Pediatric DTC Recommendation can be used as a starting point for the development of a collaborative European recommendation for treatment of pediatric DTC.

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Maria Cristina Campopiano, Debora Podestà, Francesca Bianchi, Carlotta Giani, Laura Agate, Valeria Bottici, Virginia Cappagli, Loredana Lorusso, Antonio Matrone, Luciana Puleo, Laura Valerio, David Viola, Paolo Piaggi, Rossella Elisei, and Eleonora Molinaro

Objective:

At present, recombinant TSH cannot be used for the treatment of metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate if the type of TSH stimulation, recombinant or endogenous, had an impact on the outcome of these patients.

Design and methods:

We compared the outcome of two propensity score-matched groups of metastatic patients, stimulated by either only recombinant TSH (n = 43) or only endogenous TSH (n = 34).

Results:

As expected from the matching procedure, the clinical–pathological features and the cumulative 131-I activities administered to the two groups were very similar. After 4 years of follow-up, 4% of patients were cured, 3% had biochemical disease and 93% had structural disease. However, 91% of patients obtained a clinical benefit from this therapy in terms of stabilization of the disease or complete remission or partial response. When considering the two groups separately, we did not find any difference in their outcome. When considering the response to 131-I therapy of the single type of metastases, 8% of lymph node metastases and 8% of lung metastases disappeared but none of the bone metastases. The response to 131-I therapy of the single type of metastases was similar when we looked at the two groups separately.

Conclusions:

This study shows (i) an overall clinical benefit of the 131-I therapy, since the majority of patients remained affected but with a stable disease, and (ii) that the preparation with either recombinant or endogenous TSH has no impact on the 131-I therapy efficacy and the outcome of our two groups of patients.

Free access

Ronit Marom, Brien M Rabenhorst, and Roy Morello

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is an inherited skeletal dysplasia characterized by bone fragility and skeletal deformities. While the majority of cases are associated with pathogenic variants in COL1A1 and COL1A2, the genes encoding type I collagen, up to 25% of cases are associated with other genes that function within the collagen biosynthesis pathway or are involved in osteoblast differentiation and bone mineralization. Clinically, OI is heterogeneous in features and variable in severity. In addition to the skeletal findings, it can affect multiple systems including dental and craniofacial abnormalities, muscle weakness, hearing loss, respiratory and cardiovascular complications. A multi-disciplinary approach to care is recommended to address not only the fractures, reduced mobility, growth and bone pain but also other extra-skeletal manifestations. While bisphosphonates remain the mainstay of treatment in OI, new strategies are being explored, such as sclerostin inhibitory antibodies and TGF beta inhibition, to address not only the low bone mineral density but also the inherent bone fragility. Studies in animal models have expanded the understanding of pathomechanisms of OI and, along with ongoing clinical trials, will allow to develop better therapeutic approaches for these patients.

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Nuria Valdés, Amit Tirosh, Meg Keil, Constantine A Stratakis, and Maya Lodish

Objective: Due to the rarity of Cushing´s syndrome (CS) in children and adolescents, data are scarce about body mass index (BMI) during active disease and following remission. Therefore, our aim was to analyze BMI after long term-remission and determine predictive factors for promptly identifying patients at risk of being overweight or obese after remission for CS.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Patients: 73 patients: 58 (79.4%) had Cushing disease, 40 males (58%), median age of 12 years (IQR: 9-15). The mean follow-up time was 22.4±18.2 months (range: 4-98).

Methods: Main Outcome Measures: BMI, lipid profile, blood pressure, HOMA-IR.

Results: At diagnosis, only 8 (11%) patients had a normal weight. Although the BMI z-score at the last follow-up improved (2.0±0.7 to 1.0±1.2,P<0.001), 44% remained overweight or obese after 2 years of remission according to the Kaplan-Meier curves. The BMI z-scores at the last follow-up correlated only with HOMA-IR levels (r:0.49,P=0.027). We found 2 independent factors related to reaching a normal weight: BMI z-score at diagnosis (HR:0.156, 95%CI:0.038-0.644;P=0.01) and BMI z-score change at 6±2 months (HR:2.980, 95%CI:1.473-6.028;P=0.002), which had high accuracy when a cutoff of 0.5 was used for ROC analysis (AUC=0.828 (0.67-0.97;P<0.001).

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with CS have a high risk of being overweight or obese after successful treatment for their disease. At risk patients can be identified quickly based on their baseline BMI and initial weight loss after surgery. Efforts should focus on adopting healthy diet and lifestyle in the immediate postoperative period.

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Robin Michelet, Johanna Melin, Zinnia P. Parra-Guillen, Uta Neumann, J Martin Whitaker, Viktoria Stachanow, Wilhelm Huisinga, John Porter, Oliver Blankenstein, Richard J. Ross, and Charlotte Kloft

Context:

Accurate hydrocortisone dosing in children with adrenal insufficiency is important to avoid the risks of over and under treatment including iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal crisis.

Objective:

To establish a population pharmacokinetic model of hydrocortisone in children and use this to refine hydrocortisone replacement regimens.

Design and methods:

Pharmacokinetic study of hydrocortisone granules, available in 0.5, 1, 2 and 5 mg dose strengths, in 24 children with adrenal insufficiency aged 2 weeks to 6 years. Cortisol concentrations quantified by LC-MS/MS were used to refine an adult pharmacokinetic model to a paediatric population model which was then used to simulate seven different hydrocortisone treatment regimens.

Results:

Pre-dose cortisol levels were undetectable in 54% of the 24 children. The developed pharmacokinetic model had good predictive performance. Simulations for the seven treatment regimens using either three- or four-times daily dosing showed treatment regimens delivered an AUC0- 24h within the 90% reference range for healthy children except in neonates where two regimens had an AUC below the 5th percentile. Cortisol concentrations at individual time points in the 24 h were outside the 90% reference range for healthy individuals in 50%, 55–65% and 70–75% for children, infants and neonates, respectively, with low cortisol levels being most prevalent.

Conclusions:

Current paediatric hydrocortisone treatment regimens based on either three- or four-times daily administration replicate cortisol exposure based on AUC0- 24h, but the majority of cortisol levels are above or below physiological cortisol levels with low levels very common before the next dose.