The last decade witnessed the emergence of genomics, a set of high-throughput molecular measurements in biological samples. These pan-genomic and agnostic approaches have revolutionized the molecular biology and genetics of malignant and benign tumors. These techniques have been applied successfully to adrenocortical tumors. Exome sequencing identified new major drivers in all tumor types, including KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D mutations in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA), PRKACA mutations in cortisol-producing adenomas (CPA), ARMC5 mutations in primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (PBMAH) and ZNRF3 mutations in adrenocortical carcinomas (ACC). Moreover, the various genomic approaches – including exome sequencing, transcriptome, miRNome, genome and methylome – converge into a single molecular classification of adrenocortical tumors. Especially for ACC, two main molecular groups have emerged, showing major differences in outcomes. These ACC groups differ by their gene expression profiles, but also by recurrent mutations and specific DNA hypermethylation patterns in the subgroup of poor outcome. The clinical impact of these findings is just starting. The main altered signaling pathways now become therapeutic targets. The molecular groups of diseases individualize robust subtypes within diseases such as APA, CPA, PBMAH and ACC. A revised nosology of adrenocortical tumors should impact the clinical research. Obvious consequences also include genetic counseling for the new genetic diseases such as ARMC5 mutations in PBMAH, and a better prognostication of ACC based on targeted measurements of a few discriminant molecular alterations. Identifying the main molecular groups of adrenocortical tumors by extensively gathering the molecular variations is a significant step forward towards precision medicine.
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Simon Faillot and Guillaume Assie
Martin Fassnacht, Olaf M Dekkers, Tobias Else, Eric Baudin, Alfredo Berruti, Ronald R de Krijger, Harm R Haak, Radu Mihai, Guillaume Assie, and Massimo Terzolo
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and in most cases steroid hormone-producing tumor with variable prognosis. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide clinicians with best possible evidence-based recommendations for clinical management of patients with ACC based on the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. We predefined four main clinical questions, which we judged as particularly important for the management of ACC patients and performed systematic literature searches: (A) What is needed to diagnose an ACC by histopathology? (B) Which are the best prognostic markers in ACC? (C) Is adjuvant therapy able to prevent recurrent disease or reduce mortality after radical resection? (D) What is the best treatment option for macroscopically incompletely resected, recurrent or metastatic disease? Other relevant questions were discussed within the group. Selected Recommendations: (i) We recommend that all patients with suspected and proven ACC are discussed in a multidisciplinary expert team meeting. (ii) We recommend that every patient with (suspected) ACC should undergo careful clinical assessment, detailed endocrine work-up to identify autonomous hormone excess and adrenal-focused imaging. (iii) We recommend that adrenal surgery for (suspected) ACC should be performed only by surgeons experienced in adrenal and oncological surgery aiming at a complete en bloc resection (including resection of oligo-metastatic disease). (iv) We suggest that all suspected ACC should be reviewed by an expert adrenal pathologist using the Weiss score and providing Ki67 index. (v) We suggest adjuvant mitotane treatment in patients after radical surgery that have a perceived high risk of recurrence (ENSAT stage III, or R1 resection, or Ki67 >10%). (vi) For advanced ACC not amenable to complete surgical resection, local therapeutic measures (e.g. radiation therapy, radiofrequency ablation, chemoembolization) are of particular value. However, we suggest against the routine use of adrenal surgery in case of widespread metastatic disease. In these patients, we recommend either mitotane monotherapy or mitotane, etoposide, doxorubicin and cisplatin depending on prognostic parameters. In selected patients with a good response, surgery may be subsequently considered. (vii) In patients with recurrent disease and a disease-free interval of at least 12 months, in whom a complete resection/ablation seems feasible, we recommend surgery or alternatively other local therapies. Furthermore, we offer detailed recommendations about the management of mitotane treatment and other supportive therapies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research.
Bruno Ragazzon, Rossella Libé, Guillaume Assié, Frédérique Tissier, Olivia Barreau, Claude Houdayer, Karine Perlemoine, Anne Audebourg, Eric Clauser, Fernande René-Corail, Xavier Bertagna, Bertrand Dousset, Jérôme Bertherat, and Lionel Groussin
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare disease with a poor overall outcome. Transcriptome analysis identified two groups of ACCs with different prognosis. In aggressive ACCs, somatic mutations of the tumor suppressor gene TP53 and the proto-oncogene β-catenin are detected in 50% of cases. For the remaining aggressive ACCs and for the group with a better prognosis, molecular alterations are unknown.
To identify new molecular actors driving adrenal tumorigenesis.
Analysis by mass array of 374 mutations among 32 common oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes was performed on the tumoral DNA of 26 ACCs, using Sequenom OncoCarta Panels.
Four mutations were identified, two previously known β-catenin mutations and one alteration in two other genes: JAK3 and retinoblastoma gene (RB1). The JAK3 alteration was found in leukocyte DNA and therefore considered as a polymorphism and not a somatic event. The full RB1 tumor suppressor gene was subsequently sequenced in a cohort of 49 ACCs (26 ACCs from the ‘OncoCarta cohort’ and 23 other ACCs): three somatic mutations were identified, all in the poor-outcome ACC group. By immunohistochemistry, a loss of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) was found exclusively in aggressive ACCs in 27% of cases (seven out of 26), three of them with an inactivating RB1 mutation. Among the seven pRb-negative ACCs, five had an allele loss at the RB1 locus.
Parallel analysis of somatic mutations among known cancer genes allowed us to identify RB1 as a new actor in aggressive ACCs. These results suggest a prognostic significance of pRb expression loss in ACCs.
Ann McCormack, Olaf M Dekkers, Stephan Petersenn, Vera Popovic, Jacqueline Trouillas, Gerald Raverot, Pia Burman, and ESE survey collaborators
To collect outcome data in a large cohort of patients with aggressive pituitary tumours (APT)/carcinomas (PC) and specifically report effects of temozolomide (TMZ) treatment.
Electronic survey to ESE members Dec 2015–Nov 2016.
Reports on 166 patients (40 PC, 125 APT, 1 unclassified) were obtained. Median age at diagnosis was 43 (range 4–79) years. 69% of the tumours were clinically functioning, and the most frequent immunohistochemical subtype were corticotroph tumours (45%). Ki-67 index did not distinguish APT from PC, median 7% and 10% respectively. TMZ was first-line chemotherapy in 157 patients. At the end of the treatment (median 9 cycles), radiological evaluation showed complete response (CR) in 6%, partial response (PR) in 31%, stable disease (SD) in 33% and progressive disease in 30%. Response was more frequent in patients receiving concomitant radiotherapy and TMZ. CR was seen only in patients with low MGMT expression. Clinically functioning tumours were more likely to respond than non-functioning tumours, independent of MGMT status. Of patients with CR, PR and SD, 25, 40 and 48% respectively progressed after a median of 12-month follow-up. Other oncological drugs given as primary treatment and to TMZ failures resulted in PR in 20%.
This survey confirms that TMZ is established as first-line chemotherapeutic treatment of APT/PC. Clinically functioning tumours, low MGMT and concurrent radiotherapy were associated with a better response. The limited long-term effect of TMZ and the poor efficacy of other drugs highlight the need to identify additional effective therapies.
Bertrand Baussart, Chiara Villa, Anne Jouinot, Marie-Laure Raffin-Sanson, Luc Foubert, Laure Cazabat, Michèle Bernier, Fideline Bonnet, Anthony Dohan, Jerome Bertherat, Guillaume Assié, and Stephan Gaillard
Microprolactinomas are currently treated with dopamine agonists. Outcome information on microprolactinoma patients treated by surgery is limited. This study reports the first large series of consecutive non-invasive microprolactinoma patients treated by pituitary surgery and evaluates the efficiency and safety of this treatment.
Follow-up of a cohort of consecutive patients treated by surgery.
Between January 2008 and October 2020, 114 adult patients with pure microprolactinomas were operated on in a single tertiary expert neurosurgical department, using an endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach. Eligible patients presented with a microprolactinoma with no obvious cavernous invasion on MRI. Prolactin was assayed before and after surgery. Disease-free survival was modeled using Kaplan–Meier representation. A cox regression model was used to predict remission.
Median follow-up was 18.2 months (range: 2.8–155). In this cohort, 14/114 (12%) patients were not cured by surgery, including ten early surgical failures and four late relapses occurring 37.4 months (33–41.8) after surgery. From Kaplan–Meier estimates, 1-year and 5-year disease free survival was 90.9% (95% CI: 85.6–96.4%) and 81% (95% CI: 71.2–92.1%) respectively. The preoperative prolactinemia was the only significant preoperative predictive factor for remission (P < 0.05). No severe complication was reported, with no anterior pituitary deficiency after surgery, one diabetes insipidus, and one postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage properly treated by muscle plasty.
In well-selected microprolactinoma patients, pituitary surgery performed by an expert neurosurgical team is a valid first-line alternative treatment to dopamine agonists.
Laura Bessiène, Sandrine Moutel, Marine Lataud, Anne Jouinot, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Jean Guibourdenche, Chiara Villa, Bertrand Baussart, Stephan Gaillard, Maxime Barat, Anthony Dohan, Xavier Bertagna, Bertrand Dousset, Jérôme Bertherat, and Guillaume Assié
After bilateral adrenalectomy in Cushing’s disease, corticotroph tumor progression occurs in one-third to half of patients. However, progression speed is variable, ranging from slow to rapid. The aim was to explore corticotroph progression speed, its consequences and its risk factors.
A retrospective single-center observational study.
In total,103 patients with Cushing’s disease who underwent bilateral adrenalectomy between 1990 and 2020 were included. Clinical, biological, histological and MRI features were collected. Median duration of follow-up after bilateral adrenalectomy was 9.31 years.
In total,44 patients progressed (43%). Corticotroph tumor progression speed ranged from 1 to 40.7 mm per year. Progression speed was not different before and after bilateral adrenalectomy (P = 0.29). In univariate analyses, predictive factors for rapid corticotroph tumor progression included the severity of Cushing’s disease before adrenalectomy as the cause of adrenalectomy, high ACTH in the year following adrenalectomy and high Ki67 immunopositivity in the tumor. During follow-up, early morning ACTH absolute variation was associated with corticotroph tumor progression speed (P-value = 0.001). ACTH measurement after dynamic testing did not improve this association.
After adrenalectomy, corticotroph progression speed is highly variable and manageable with MRI and ACTH surveillance. Progression speed does not seem related to bilateral adrenalectomy but rather to intrinsic properties of highly proliferative and secreting tumors.
Lucas Bouys, Anna Vaczlavik, Anne Jouinot, Patricia Vaduva, Stéphanie Espiard, Guillaume Assié, Rossella Libé, Karine Perlemoine, Bruno Ragazzon, Laurence Guignat, Lionel Groussin, Léopoldine Bricaire, Isadora Pontes Cavalcante, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Hervé Lefebvre, Marie-Laure Raffin-Sanson, Nicolas Chevalier, Philippe Touraine, Christel Jublanc, Camille Vatier, Gérald Raverot, Magalie Haissaguerre, Luigi Maione, Matthias Kroiss, Martin Fassnacht, Sophie Christin-Maitre, Eric Pasmant, Françoise Borson-Chazot, Antoine Tabarin, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, Martin Reincke, Peter Kamenicky, Marie-Odile North, Jérôme Bertherat, and the COMETE and ENSAT networks groups and collaborators
Primary bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (PBMAH) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by adrenal macronodules and variable levels of cortisol excess, with not clearly established clinical diagnostic criteria. It can be caused by ARMC5 germline pathogenic variants. In this study, we aimed to identify predictive criteria for ARMC5 variants.
We included 352 consecutive index patients from 12 European centers, sequenced for germline ARMC5 alteration. Clinical, biological and imaging data were collected retrospectively.
52 patients (14.8%) carried ARMC5 germline pathogenic variants and showed a more distinct phenotype than non-mutated patients for cortisol excess (24-h urinary free cortisol 2.32 vs 1.11-fold ULN, respectively, P < 0.001) and adrenal morphology (maximal adrenal diameter 104 vs 83 mm, respectively, P < 0.001) and were more often surgically or medically treated (67.9 vs 36.8%, respectively, P < 0.001). ARMC5-mutated patients showed a constant, bilateral adrenal involvement and at least a possible autonomous cortisol secretion (defined by a plasma cortisol after 1 mg dexamethasone suppression above 50 nmol/L), while these criteria were not systematic in WT patients (78.3%). The association of these two criteria holds a 100% sensitivity and a 100% negative predictive value for ARMC5 pathogenic variant.
We report the largest series of index patients investigated for ARMC5 and confirm that ARMC5 pathogenic variants are associated with a more severe phenotype in most cases. To minimize negative ARMC5 screening, genotyping should be limited to clear bilateral adrenal involvement and autonomous cortisol secretion, with an optimum sensitivity for routine clinical practice. These findings will also help to better define PBMAH diagnostic criteria.
Mirela Diana Ilie, Chiara Villa, Thomas Cuny, Christine Cortet, Guillaume Assie, Bertrand Baussart, Mathilde Cancel, Philippe Chanson, Bénédicte Decoudier, Elise Deluche, Anna Luisa Di Stefano, Delphine Drui, Stephan Gaillard, Bernard Goichot, Olivier Huillard, Anthony Joncour, Delphine Larrieu-Ciron, Rossella Libe, Guillaume Nars, Alexandre Vasiljevic, and Gérald Raverot
After temozolomide failure, no evidence-based treatment is available for pituitary carcinomas (PCs) and aggressive pituitary tumors (APTs). To date, only 12 cases treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have been published, showing encouraging efficacy. Predictive factors of response are lacking. Here, we aimed to assess the real-life efficacy and predictors of response to ICIs in PCs and APTs.
Design and methods
This study is a multicentric, retrospective, observational cohort study, including all PCs and APTs treated with ICIs in France up to March 2022. PD-L1 immunohistochemistry and CD8+ T cell infiltration were evaluated centrally.
Six PCs (four corticotroph and two lactotroph) and nine APTs (five corticotroph and four lactotroph) were included. The real-life efficacy of ICIs was lower than previously published data. Three corticotroph tumors (33.3%) showed partial response, one (11.1%) stable disease, while five (55.6%) progressed. One lactotroph tumor (16.7%) showed partial response, one (16.7%) stable disease, while four (66.7%) progressed. PCs responded far better than APTs, with 4/6 PCs showing partial response compared to 0/9 APTs. Corticotroph tumors responded slightly better than lactotroph tumors. In the four responsive corticotroph tumors, PD-L1 staining was negative and CD8+ T cell infiltration attained a maximum of 1% in the tumor center.
Confirmation of the presence or absence of metastases is necessary before starting ICIs. After temozolomide failure, ICIs appear as a good therapeutic option for PCs, especially for corticotroph carcinomas. Negative PD-L1 staining and very low CD8+ T cell infiltration in the tumor center should not preclude ICI administration in corticotroph carcinomas.
This is the first study to assess the real-life efficacy of ICIs in pituitary carcinomas (PCs) and aggressive pituitary tumors. We also assessed potential predictors of response and are the first to assess the predictive value of CD8+ cell infiltration. We identified the tumor type as a major predictor, ICIs proving far more effective in treating PCs. Our study provides evidence that ICIs are a good option after temozolomide failure for PCs (four of six responded), especially for corticotroph carcinomas (three of four responded). We also provide evidence that negative PD-L1 staining and very low CD8+ cell infiltration in the tumor center should not preclude ICI administration in corticotroph carcinomas. Moreover, our findings point toward the need to systematically perform extension workup before starting ICIs.
Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Jonathan Poirier, Anna Vaczlavik, Christelle Laguillier-Morizot, Benoît Blanchet, Stéphanie Baron, Laurence Guignat, Laura Bessiene, Léopoldine Bricaire, Lionel Groussin, Guillaume Assié, Jean Guibourdenche, and Jérôme Bertherat
Osilodrostat is a new 11β-hydroxylase inhibitor with a mode of action analogous to Metyrapone. The objective of this study was to compare steroidogenic profiles in patients treated with either Osilodrostat or Metyrapone for adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-dependent Cushing’s syndrome (CS).
Patients followed up at Cochin hospital Endocrinology department between March 2019 and December 2021 for an ACTH-dependent CS, controlled by either Osilodrostat or Metyrapone, were included. A serum profile of five steroids (cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione and testosterone) was determined using UPLC- tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS).
Nineteen patients treated with Osilodrostat, eight patients treated with Metyrapone and six patients treated with consecutive Metyrapone then Osilodrostat were included. Hypocortisolism (basal cortisol <100 nmol/L) was found in 48% of patients treated with Osilodrostat and 7% of patients treated with Metyrapone. 11-deoxycortisol and androstenedione levels were higher in patients treated with Metyrapone (80.9 (2.2–688.4) and 14.9 (2.5–54.3) nmol/L, respectively) than in patients treated with Osilodrostat (10.3 (0.5–71.9) and 4.0 (0.3–13.3) nmol/L) (P = 0.0009 and P = 0.0005). Testosterone level in women was also higher in Metyrapone group (3.3 (0.93–4.82) nmol/L vs 1.31(0.13–5.09) nmol/L, P = 0.0146). CYP11B1 activity (11-deoxycortisol/cortisol) was not significantly different between the two groups. CYP21A2 activity (17OHprogesterone/11-deoxycortisol) and CYP17A1 activity (17OHprogesterone/androstenedione) were significantly decreased in Osilodrostat group (P < 0.0001).
In patients with ACTH-dependent CS, the use of CYP11B1 inhibitors in routine care suggests that Osilodrostat has a less specific effect on the inhibition of steroidogenic enzymes than Metyrapone. This might explain a smaller increase in 11-deoxycortisol and androgen levels in patients treated with Osilodrostat.
Martin Reincke, Adriana Albani, Guillaume Assie, Irina Bancos, Thierry Brue, Michael Buchfelder, Olivier Chabre, Filippo Ceccato, Andrea Daniele, Mario Detomas, Guido Di Dalmazi, Atanaska Elenkova, James Findling, Ashley B Grossman, Celso E Gomez-Sanchez, Anthony P Heaney, Juergen Honegger, Niki Karavitaki, Andre Lacroix, Edward R Laws, Marco Losa, Masanori Murakami, John Newell-Price, Francesca Pecori Giraldi, Luis G Pérez‐Rivas, Rosario Pivonello, William E Rainey, Silviu Sbiera, Jochen Schopohl, Constantine A Stratakis, Marily Theodoropoulou, Elisabeth F C van Rossum, Elena Valassi, Sabina Zacharieva, German Rubinstein, and Katrin Ritzel
Corticotroph tumor progression (CTP) leading to Nelson’s syndrome (NS) is a severe and difficult-to-treat complication subsequent to bilateral adrenalectomy (BADX) for Cushing’s disease. Its characteristics are not well described, and consensus recommendations for diagnosis and treatment are missing.
A systematic literature search was performed focusing on clinical studies and case series (≥5 patients). Definition, cumulative incidence, treatment and long-term outcomes of CTP/NS after BADX were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results were presented and discussed at an interdisciplinary consensus workshop attended by international pituitary experts in Munich on October 28, 2018.
Data covered definition and cumulative incidence (34 studies, 1275 patients), surgical outcome (12 studies, 187 patients), outcome of radiation therapy (21 studies, 273 patients), and medical therapy (15 studies, 72 patients).
We endorse the definition of CTP-BADX/NS as radiological progression or new detection of a pituitary tumor on thin-section MRI. We recommend surveillance by MRI after 3 months and every 12 months for the first 3 years after BADX. Subsequently, we suggest clinical evaluation every 12 months and MRI at increasing intervals every 2–4 years (depending on ACTH and clinical parameters). We recommend pituitary surgery as first-line therapy in patients with CTP-BADX/NS. Surgery should be performed before extrasellar expansion of the tumor to obtain complete and long-term remission. Conventional radiotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery should be utilized as second-line treatment for remnant tumor tissue showing extrasellar extension