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Open access

Roberta Armignacco, Anne Jouinot, Lucas Bouys, Amandine Septier, Thomas Lartigue, Mario Neou, Cassandra Gaspar, Karine Perlemoine, Leah Braun, Anna Riester, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Anne Blanchard, Laurence Amar, Carla Scaroni, Filippo Ceccato, Gian Paolo Rossi, Tracy Ann Williams, Casper K Larsen, Stéphanie Allassonnière, Maria-Christina Zennaro, Felix Beuschlein, Martin Reincke, Jérôme Bertherat, and Guillaume Assié

Objective

Cushing’s syndrome represents a state of excessive glucocorticoids related to glucocorticoid treatments or to endogenous hypercortisolism. Cushing’s syndrome is associated with high morbidity, with significant inter-individual variability. Likewise, adrenal insufficiency is a life-threatening condition of cortisol deprivation. Currently, hormone assays contribute to identify Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency. However, no biomarker directly quantifies the biological glucocorticoid action. The aim of this study was to identify such markers.

Design

We evaluated whole blood DNA methylome in 94 samples obtained from patients with different glucocorticoid states (Cushing’s syndrome, eucortisolism, adrenal insufficiency). We used an independent cohort of 91 samples for validation.

Methods

Leukocyte DNA was obtained from whole blood samples. Methylome was determined using the Illumina methylation chip array (~850 000 CpG sites). Both unsupervised (principal component analysis) and supervised (Limma) methods were used to explore methylome profiles. A Lasso-penalized regression was used to select optimal discriminating features.

Results

Whole blood methylation profile was able to discriminate samples by their glucocorticoid status: glucocorticoid excess was associated with DNA hypomethylation, recovering within months after Cushing’s syndrome correction. In Cushing’s syndrome, an enrichment in hypomethylated CpG sites was observed in the region of FKBP5 gene locus. A methylation predictor of glucocorticoid excess was built on a training cohort and validated on two independent cohorts. Potential CpG sites associated with the risk for specific complications, such as glucocorticoid-related hypertension or osteoporosis, were identified, needing now to be confirmed on independent cohorts.

Conclusions

Whole blood DNA methylome is dynamically impacted by glucocorticoids. This biomarker could contribute to better assessment of glucocorticoid action beyond hormone assays.

Open access

Anne Jouinot, Juliane Lippert, Mathilde Sibony, Florian Violon, Lindsay Jeanpierre, Daniel De Murat, Roberta Armignacco, Amandine Septier, Karine Perlemoine, Franck Letourneur, Brigitte Izac, Bruno Ragazzon, Karen Leroy, Eric Pasmant, Marie-Odile North, Sébastien Gaujoux, Bertrand Dousset, Lionel Groussin, Rossella Libe, Benoit Terris, Martin Fassnacht, Cristina L Ronchi, Jérôme Bertherat, and Guillaume Assie

Design

Molecular classification is important for the diagnosis and prognosis of adrenocortical tumors (ACT). Transcriptome profiles separate adrenocortical adenomas ‘C2’ from carcinomas, and identify two groups of carcinomas ‘C1A’ and ‘C1B’, of poor and better prognosis respectively. However, many ACT cannot be profiled because of improper or absent freezing procedures, a mandatory requirement so far. The main aim was to determine transcriptome profiles on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, using the new 3’-end RNA-sequencing technology. A secondary aim was to demonstrate the ability of this technique to explore large FFPE archives, by focusing on the rare oncocytic ACT variants.

Methods

We included 131 ACT: a training cohort from Cochin hospital and an independent validation cohort from Wuerzburg hospital. The 3’ transcriptome was generated from FFPE samples using QuantSeq (Lexogen, Vienna, Austria) and NextSeq500 (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA).

Results

In the training cohort, unsupervised clustering identified three groups: ‘C1A’ aggressive carcinomas (n = 28, 29%), ‘C1B’ more indolent carcinomas (n = 28, 29%), and ‘C2’ adenomas (n = 39, 41%). The prognostic value of FFPE transcriptome was confirmed in the validation cohort (5-year OS: 26% in ‘C1A’ (n = 26) and 100% in ‘C1B’ (n = 10), P  = 0.003). FFPE transcriptome was an independent prognostic factor in a multivariable model including tumor stage and Ki-67 (OS HR: 7.5, P  = 0.01). Oncocytic ACT (n = 19) did not form any specific cluster. Oncocytic carcinomas (n = 6) and oncocytic ACT of uncertain malignant potential (n = 4) were all in ‘C1B’.

Conclusions

The 3’ RNA-sequencing represents a convenient solution for determining ACT molecular class from FFPE samples. This technique should facilitate routine use and large retrospective studies.

Open access

Hanna Nowotny, Uta Neumann, Véronique Tardy-Guidollet, S Faisal Ahmed, Federico Baronio, Tadej Battelino, Jérôme Bertherat, Oliver Blankenstein, Marco Bonomi, Claire Bouvattier, Aude Brac de la Perrière, Sara Brucker, Marco Cappa, Philippe Chanson, Hedi L Claahsen-van der Grinten, Annamaria Colao, Martine Cools, Justin H Davies, Helmut-Günther Dörr, Wiebke K Fenske, Ezio Ghigo, Roberta Giordano, Claus H Gravholt, Angela Huebner, Eystein Sverre Husebye, Rebecca Igbokwe, Anders Juul, Florian W Kiefer, Juliane Léger, Rita Menassa, Gesine Meyer, Vassos Neocleous, Leonidas A Phylactou, Julia Rohayem, Gianni Russo, Carla Scaroni, Philippe Touraine, Nicole Unger, Jarmila Vojtková, Diego Yeste, Svetlana Lajic, and Nicole Reisch

Objective

To assess the current medical practice in Europe regarding prenatal dexamethasone (Pdex) treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

Design and methods

A questionnaire was designed and distributed, including 17 questions collecting quantitative and qualitative data. Thirty-six medical centres from 14 European countries responded and 30 out of 36 centres were reference centres of the European Reference Network on Rare Endocrine Conditions, EndoERN.

Results

Pdex treatment is currently provided by 36% of the surveyed centres. The treatment is initiated by different specialties, that is paediatricians, endocrinologists, gynaecologists or geneticists. Regarding the starting point of Pdex, 23% stated to initiate therapy at 4–5 weeks postconception (wpc), 31% at 6 wpc and 46 % as early as pregnancy is confirmed and before 7 wpc at the latest. A dose of 20 µg/kg/day is used. Dose distribution among the centres varies from once to thrice daily. Prenatal diagnostics for treated cases are conducted in 72% of the responding centres. Cases treated per country and year vary between 0.5 and 8.25. Registries for long-term follow-up are only available at 46% of the centres that are using Pdex treatment. National registries are only available in Sweden and France.

Conclusions

This study reveals a high international variability and discrepancy in the use of Pdex treatment across Europe. It highlights the importance of a European cooperation initiative for a joint international prospective trial to establish evidence-based guidelines on prenatal diagnostics, treatment and follow-up of pregnancies at risk for CAH.