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Donatella Malanga, Silvia De Gisi, Miriam Riccardi, Marianna Scrima, Carmela De Marco, Mercedes Robledo and Giuseppe Viglietto

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of germline mutations in the CDKN1B gene that encodes the cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor p27 in multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 (MEN1)-like Spanish index patients. The CDKN1B gene has recently been identified as a tumor susceptibility gene for MEN4, with six germline mutations reported so far in patients with a MEN-like phenotype but negative for MEN1 mutations.

Design and methods

Fifteen Spanish index cases with MEN-like symptoms were screened for mutations in the CDKN1B gene and the mutant variant was studied functionally by transcription/translation assays in vitro and in transiently transfected HeLa cells.

Results

We report the identification of a heterozygous GAGA deletion in the 5′-UTR of CDKN1B, NM_004064.3:c.-32_-29del, in a patient affected by gastric carcinoid tumor and hyperparathyroidism. This deletion falls inside the region that is responsible for CDKN1B transcription and is predicted to destroy a secondary stem and loop structure that includes the GAGAGA element responsible for ribosome recruitment. Accordingly, in vitro studies of coupled transcription/translation assays and transient transfection in HeLa cells showed that the GAGA deletion in the CDKN1B 5′-UTR significantly impairs the transcription of downstream reporter luciferase (of ∼40–60%) and, possibly, the translation of the corresponding mRNA. This mutation was associated with a significant reduction in the amount of CDKN1B mRNA in peripheral blood leukocytes from the patient, as demonstrated by quantitative real-time PCR.

Conclusions

Our results confirm that germline CDKN1B mutations may predispose to a human MEN4 condition and add novel evidence that alteration in the transcription/translation rate of CDKN1B mRNA might be the mechanism implicated in tumor susceptibility.

Free access

Mariko Sue, Victoria Martucci, Florina Frey, Jacques W M Lenders, Henri J Timmers, Mariola Pęczkowska, Aleksander Prejbisz, Brede Swantje, Stefan R Bornstein, Wiebke Arlt, Martin Fassnacht, Felix Beuschlein, Mercedes Robledo, Karel Pacak and Graeme Eisenhofer

Objective

Testing for succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) mutations is recommended in all patients with metastatic phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs), but may not be required when metastatic disease is accompanied by adrenaline production. This retrospective cohort study aimed to establish the prevalence of SDHB mutations among patients with metastatic PPGLs, characterised by production of adrenaline compared with those without production of adrenaline, and to establish genotype–phenotype features of metastatic PPGLs according to underlying gene mutations.

Design and methods

Presence of SDHB mutations or deletions was tested in 205 patients (114 males) aged 42±16 years (range 9–86 years) at diagnosis of metastatic PPGLs with and without adrenaline production.

Results

Twenty-three of the 205 patients (11%) with metastatic PPGLs had disease characterised by production of adrenaline, as defined by increased plasma concentrations of metanephrine larger than 5% of the combined increase in both normetanephrine and metanephrine. None of these 23 patients had SDHB mutations. Of the other 182 patients with no tumoural adrenaline production, 51% had SDHB mutations. Metastases in bone were 36–41% more prevalent among patients with SDHB mutations or extra-adrenal primary tumours than those without mutations or with adrenal primary tumours. Liver metastases were 81% more prevalent among patients with adrenal than extra-adrenal primary tumours.

Conclusion

SDHB mutation testing has no utility among patients with adrenaline-producing metastatic PPGLs, but is indicated in other patients with metastatic disease. Our study also reveals novel associations of metastatic spread with primary tumour location and presence of SDHB mutations.

Free access

Laura Gieldon, Jimmy Rusdian Masjkur, Susan Richter, Roland Därr, Marcos Lahera, Daniela Aust, Silke Zeugner, Andreas Rump, Karl Hackmann, Andreas Tzschach, Andrzej Januszewicz, Aleksander Prejbisz, Graeme Eisenhofer, Evelin Schrock, Mercedes Robledo and Barbara Klink

Objective

Our objective was to improve molecular diagnostics in patients with hereditary pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) by using next-generation sequencing (NGS) multi-gene panel analysis. Derived from this study, we here present three cases that were diagnosed with NF1 germline mutations but did not have a prior clinical diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

Design

We performed genetic analysis of known tumor predisposition genes, including NF1, using a multi-gene NGS enrichment-based panel applied to a total of 1029 PPGL patients. We did not exclude genes known to cause clinically defined syndromes such as NF1 based on missing phenotypic expression as is commonly practiced.

Methods

Genetic analysis was performed using NGS (TruSight Cancer Panel/customized panel by Illumina) for analyzing patients’ blood and tumor samples. Validation was carried out by Sanger sequencing.

Results

Within our cohort, three patients, who were identified to carry pathogenic NF1 germline mutations, attracted attention, since none of the patients had a clinical suspicion of NF1 and one of them was initially suspected to have MEN2A syndrome due to co-occurrence of a medullary thyroid carcinoma. In these cases, one splice site, one stop and one frameshift mutation in NF1 were identified.

Conclusions

Since phenotypical presentation of NF1 is highly variable, we suggest analysis of the NF1 gene also in PPGL patients who do not meet diagnostic NF1 criteria. Co-occurrence of medullary thyroid carcinoma and PPGL was found to be a clinical decoy in NF1 diagnostics. These observations underline the value of multi-gene panel NGS for PPGL patients.

Restricted access

Zoran Erlic, Max Kurlbaum, Timo Deutschbein, Svenja Nölting, Aleksander Prejbisz, Henri Timmers, Susan Richter, Cornelia Prehn, Dirk Weismann, Jerzy Adamski, Andrzej Januszewicz, Martin Reincke, Martin Fassnacht, Mercedes Robledo, Graeme Eisenhofer, Felix Beuschlein and Matthias Kroiss

Objective

Excess catecholamine release by pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) leads to characteristic clinical features and increased morbidity and mortality. The influence of PPGLs on metabolism is ill described but may impact diagnosis and management. The objective of this study was to systematically and quantitatively study PPGL-induced metabolic changes at a systems level.

Design

Targeted metabolomics by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of plasma specimens in a clinically well-characterized prospective cohort study.

Methods

Analyses of metabolic profiles of plasma specimens from 56 prospectively enrolled and clinically well-characterized patients (23 males, 33 females) with catecholamine-producing PPGL before and after surgery, as well as measurement of 24-h urinary catecholamine using LC-MS/MS.

Results

From 127 analyzed metabolites, 15 were identified with significant changes before and after surgery: five amino acids/biogenic amines (creatinine, histidine, ornithine, sarcosine, tyrosine) and one glycerophospholipid (PCaeC34:2) with increased concentrations and six glycerophospholipids (PCaaC38:1, PCaaC42:0, PCaeC40:2, PCaeC42:5, PCaeC44:5, PCaeC44:6), two sphingomyelins (SMC24:1, SMC26:1) and hexose with decreased levels after surgery. Patients with a noradrenergic tumor phenotype had more pronounced alterations compared to those with an adrenergic tumor phenotype. Weak, but significant correlations for 8 of these 15 metabolites with total urine catecholamine levels were identified.

Conclusions

This first large prospective metabolomics analysis of PPGL patients demonstrates broad metabolic consequences of catecholamine excess. Robust impact on lipid and amino acid metabolism may contribute to increased morbidity of PPGL patients.