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T Muhlberg, M Kirchberger, C Spitzweg, F Herrmann, HJ Heberling and AE Heufelder

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the A2-type IL-1RA polymorphism is associated with Graves' disease and Graves' ophthalmopathy. Several reports have described a genetic association between the A2 allele of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) gene and certain inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, suggesting that certain loci within the IL-1-related genes may modulate the autoimmune inflammatory response. Recently, we demonstrated marked differences in the expression and regulation of IL-1RA gene and protein between orbital fibroblasts derived from patients with active Graves' ophthalmopathy and healthy individuals. DESIGN: A total of 144 white European patients with Graves' disease were genotyped to compare their IL-1RA A2 allele frequency with that of 174 healthy controls. METHODS: The polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify the pentallelic variable-number tandem-repeat locus in intron 2 of the IL-1RA gene. RESULTS: We found no significant differences in IL-1RA A2 allele frequencies (0.20 and 0.26 respectively) and IL-1RA A2 carriage rates (31% and 40% respectively) between patients with Graves' disease and the control group. Moreover, presence or absence of Graves' ophthalmopathy in patients with Graves' disease was not related to significant differences in IL-1RA A2 allele frequencies and IL-1RA A2 carriage rates. CONCLUSIONS: Our data do not support an association between the IL-1RA A2 allele and Graves' disease or Graves' ophthalmopathy in our study population. Thus the A2-type IL-1RA gene polymorphism does not appear to indicate an increased susceptibility to develop Graves' disease and Graves' ophthalmopathy. Mechanisms unrelated to the IL-1RA A2 allele may be responsible for altered IL-1RA production within the orbital tissues in Graves' ophthalmopathy.

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Julia Wendler, Matthias Kroiss, Katja Gast, Michael C Kreissl, Stephanie Allelein, Urs Lichtenauer, Rainer Blaser, Christine Spitzweg, Martin Fassnacht, Matthias Schott, Dagmar Führer and Vera Tiedje

Context

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is an orphan disease and confers a dismal prognosis. Standard treatment is not established.

Objective

The aim of this study is to describe clinical characteristics, current treatment regimens and outcome of ATC and to identify clinical prognostic markers and treatment factors associated with improved prognosis.

Design

Retrospective cohort study at five German tertiary care centers.

Patients and methods

Totally 100 ATC patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2015 were included in the analysis. Disease-specific overall survival (OS) was compared with the Kaplan–Meier method and log-rank test; Cox proportional hazard model was used to identify risk factors.

Results

The 6-month, 1-year and 5-year disease-specific OS rates were 37, 28 and 5%, respectively. Stage-dependent OS at 6 months was 78, 54 and 18% for stage IVA, B and C, respectively. 29% patients survived >1 year. Multivariate analysis of OS identified age ≥70 years, incomplete local resection status and the presence of distant metastasis as significant risk factors associated with shorter survival. Radical surgery (hazard ratio [HR] 2.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–4.09, P = 0.012), external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) ≥40 Gy (HR = 0.34, 0.15–0.76, P = 0.008) and any kind of chemotherapy (CTX) (HR = 11.64, 2.42–60.39, P = 0.003) were associated with longer survival in multivariate analyses adjusted for age and tumor stage. A multimodal treatment regimen was significantly associated with a survival benefit (HR = 1.04, 1.01–1.08, P < 0.0001) only in IVC patients.

Conclusion

Disease-specific OS is still poor in ATC. Treatment factors associated with improved OS provide a rationale to devise treatment pathways for routine care. Collaborative research structures should be aimed to advance treatment of ATC.