Publications by authors named "Marco Volante"

234 Publications

From SGAP-Model to SGAP-Score: A Simplified Predictive Tool for Post-Surgical Recurrence of Pheochromocytoma.

Biomedicines 2022 Jun 3;10(6). Epub 2022 Jun 3.

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.

A reliable prediction of the recurrence risk of pheochromocytoma after radical surgery would be a key element for the tailoring/personalization of post-surgical follow-up. Recently, our group developed a multivariable continuous model that quantifies this risk based on genetic, histopathological, and clinical data. The aim of the present study was to simplify this tool to a discrete score for easier clinical use. Data from our previous study were retrieved, which encompassed 177 radically operated pheochromocytoma patients; supervised regression and machine-learning techniques were used for score development. After Cox regression, the variables independently associated with recurrence were tumor size, positive genetic testing, age, and PASS. In order to derive a simpler scoring system, continuous variables were dichotomized, using > 50 mm for tumor size, ≤ 35 years for age, and ≥ 3 for PASS as cut-points. A novel prognostic score was created on an 8-point scale by assigning 1 point for tumor size > 50 mm, 3 points for positive genetic testing, 1 point for age ≤ 35 years, and 3 points for PASS ≥ 3; its predictive performance, as assessed using Somers' D, was equal to 0.577 and was significantly higher than the performance of any of the four dichotomized predictors alone. In conclusion, this simple scoring system may be of value as an easy-to-use tool to stratify recurrence risk and tailor post-surgical follow-up in radically operated pheochromocytoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10061310DOI Listing
June 2022

27-Hydroxycholesterol inhibits rhinovirus replication in vitro and on human nasal and bronchial histocultures without selecting viral resistant variants.

Antiviral Res 2022 Jun 19;204:105368. Epub 2022 Jun 19.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043, Orbassano, Turin, Italy. Electronic address:

The genetic plasiticity of viruses is one of the main obstacles to the development of antivirals. The aim of this study has been to assess the ability of two physiologic oxysterols and host-targeting antivirals - namely 25- and 27-hydroxycholesterol (25OHC and 27OHC) - to select resistant strains, using human rhinovirus (HRV) as a challenging model of a viral quasispecies. Moreover, we selected 27OHC for further studies aimed at exploring its potential for the development of antiviral drugs. The results obtained with clonal or serial passage approaches show that 25OHC and 27OHC do not select HRV oxysterol-resistant variants. Moreover, we demonstrate the ability of 27OHC to inhibit the yield of HRV in 3D in vitro fully reconstituted human nasal and bronchial epithelia from cystic fibrosis patients and prevent virus-induced cilia damage. The promising antiviral activity of 27OHC and its competitive advantages over direct-acting antivirals, make this molecule a suitable candidate for further studies to explore its clinical potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2022.105368DOI Listing
June 2022

Molecular Subtypes of Extra-pulmonary Neuroendocrine Carcinomas Identified by the Expression of Neuroendocrine Lineage-Specific Transcription Factors.

Endocr Pathol 2022 May 24. Epub 2022 May 24.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin; Pathology Unit at San Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Extra-pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas (EPNEC) represent a group of rare and heterogenous neoplasms with adverse clinical outcome. Their molecular profile is largely unexplored. Our aim was to investigate if the major transcriptional drivers recently described in high-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas characterize distinct molecular and clinical subgroups of EPNEC. Gene expression of ASCL1, NEUROD1, DLL3, NOTCH1, INSM1, MYCL1, POU2F3, and YAP1 was investigated in a series of 54 EPNEC (including 10 cases with mixed components analyzed separately) and in a group of 48 pulmonary large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (P-LCNEC). Unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis classified the whole series into four major clusters. P-LCNEC were classified into two major clusters, the first ASCL1/DLL3/INSM1-high and the second (including four EPNEC) ASCL1/DLL3-low but INSM1-high. The remaining EPNEC cases were sub-classified into two other clusters. The first showed INSM1-high and alternative ASCL1/DLL3 or NEUROD1 high expression. The second was characterized mainly by MYCL1 and YAP1 overexpression. In the ten cases with mixed histology, ASCL1, DLL3, INSM1, and NEUROD1 genes were significantly upregulated in the neuroendocrine component. Higher gene-expression levels of NOTCH1 and INSM1 were associated with lower pT stage and negative nodal status. Low INSM1 gene expression was associated with shorter overall survival in the entire case series (p = 0.0017) and with a trend towards significance in EPNEC, only (p = 0.06). In conclusion, our results show that EPNEC possess distinct neuroendocrine-lineage-specific transcriptional profiles; moreover, low INSM1 gene expression represents a novel potential unfavorable prognostic marker in high-grade NECs including those in extra-pulmonary location.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-022-09722-4DOI Listing
May 2022

External Validation of Three Available Grading Systems for Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma in a Single Institution Cohort.

Endocr Pathol 2022 May 18. Epub 2022 May 18.

Pathology Unit, "Città Della Salute E Della Scienza" Hospital, Turin, Italy.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare thyroid carcinoma with a variable clinical behavior. Potential clinical and pathological prognostic markers have been investigated, but studies are limited and controversial. In neuroendocrine neoplasms of various other sites, necrosis and proliferation (mitotic activity and/or Ki67 index) are integrated to provide a histological grade. Recently, an International Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Grading System (IMTCGS) has been designed to define high- or low-grade MTC by combining proliferative activity and necrosis. This proposal integrates two previously published grading schemes by American (2-tiered grading, low- and high-grade MTC) and Australian authors (3-tiered grading, low-, intermediate-, and high-grade MTC). To validate the clinical role of these systems, their prognostic impact was evaluated in an independent cohort of 111 MTCs. Necrosis, which was the only parameter integrated into the 3 grading systems, proved to be individually correlate with tumor relapse, while no association was found with the proliferation (mitotic count and Ki67 index); however, by combining the different parameters according to all three grading systems, "high-grade" MTCs turned out to be significantly associated with the disease recurrence (p < 0.005) in all systems. In disease-free survival analysis, the IMTCGS stratification was the only one that demonstrated a significant impact at Cox regression analysis (p = 0.004), further confirmed by the Kaplan-Meier curves (p = 0.002). Similar findings were also reproduced when analysis was restricted to sporadic MTCs (68 cases). In conclusion, our results confirm the prognostic role of IMTCGS, supporting the importance of incorporating this information into the pathology report. However, none of the systems proved to predict the overall survival in this validation cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-022-09719-zDOI Listing
May 2022

Clinical-Pathological Evaluation and Prognostic Analysis of 228 Merkel Cell Carcinomas Focusing on Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes, MCPYV Infection and ALK Expression.

Endocr Pathol 2022 Jun 12;33(2):289-303. Epub 2022 May 12.

Pathology Unit, Department of Oncology, Città Della Salute e Della Scienza of Turin, University of Turin, Via Santena 7, 10126, Turin, Italy.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive primary neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, whose pathogenesis can be traced back to UV radiation damage or Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) infection. Despite some improvements on the characterization of the disease partly due to its increased incidence, crucial pathogenetic and prognostic factors still need to be refined. A consecutive series of 228 MCC from three hospitals in Turin was collected with the aim of both analyzing the apparent increase in MCC incidence in our area and investigating the distribution and prognostic role of clinical-pathological parameters, with a focus on MCPyV status, ALK tumor expression and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Review of morphology and conventional immunohistochemical staining was possible in 191 cases. In 50 cases, the expression of the novel neuroendocrine marker INSM1 was additionally assessed. Fourteen cases of MCC of unknown primary skin lesion were identified and separately analyzed. While confirming an exponential trend in MCC incidence in the last decades and providing a description of histological and cytological features of a large series of MCC, the present study concludes that 1) INSM1 is a highly sensitive marker in both skin and lymph node primary MCC; 2) positive MCPyV status, brisk TILs and lower tumor size and thickness are independent positive prognostic parameters, and the combination of the former two may provide a novel tool for prognostic stratification; 3) ALK is expressed 87% of MCC and associated with positive viral status, and could represent a prognostic biomarker, if validated in larger series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-022-09716-2DOI Listing
June 2022

MicroRNA profiling predicts positive nodal status in papillary thyroid carcinoma in the preoperative setting.

Cancer Cytopathol 2022 May 2. Epub 2022 May 2.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Background: The molecular characterization of thyroid nodules in cytological samples has so far been focused on discriminating between benign and malignant forms in a purely diagnostic setting. The evidence on the impact of molecular biomarkers to determine the risk of aggressiveness in cytologically "neoplastic" lesions is limited to genomic alterations (such as BRAF and TERT mutations). The aim of our study was to assess the preoperative role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in predicting the nodal status of patients with papillary thyroid cancer.

Methods: A pilot series of histological samples of papillary thyroid carcinoma with (6 cases) or without (6 cases) lymph node metastases, matched for other major clinical and pathological features, was analyzed for global miRNA expression in a screening phase. A set of miRNAs was then validated in a series of 63 consecutive cytological samples of papillary carcinomas: 48 pN-negative and 15 pN-positive at histology.

Results: Unsupervised cluster analysis segregated surgical pN-negative and pN-positive samples, except for 1 case. The 45 differentially expressed miRNAs in pN-positive versus pN-negative cases were predicted to regulate a wide range of cellular pathways, enriched for Wnt, gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor, and cerulein/cholecystokinin receptor signaling. In agreement with their profiles in surgical samples, 4 miRNAs of the 10 selected for validation (miR-154-3p, miR-299-5p, miR-376a-3p, and miR-302E) had a significant differential expression in cytological samples of papillary carcinoma with lymph node metastases and predicted the positive nodal status with a relatively good performance.

Conclusions: MiRNA profiling is a potential promising strategy to define papillary carcinoma aggressiveness in the preoperative setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncy.22585DOI Listing
May 2022

Micro-RNA-215 and -375 regulate thymidylate synthase protein expression in pleural mesothelioma and mediate epithelial to mesenchymal transition.

Virchows Arch 2022 Apr 24. Epub 2022 Apr 24.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

The standard front-line treatment for pleural mesothelioma (PM) is pemetrexed-based chemotherapy, whose major target is thymidylate synthase (TS). In several cancer models, miR-215 and miR-375 have been shown to target TS, while information on these miRNAs in PM are still limited although suggest their role in epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Seventy-one consecutive PM tissues (4 biphasic, 7 sarcomatoid, and 60 epithelioid types) and 16 commercial and patient-derived PM cell lines were screened for TS, miR-215, and miR-375 expression. REN and 570B cells were selected for miR-215 and miR-375 transient transfections to test TS modulation. ZEB1 protein expression in tumor samples was also tested. Moreover, genetic profile was investigated by means of BAP1 and p53 immunohistochemistry. Expression of both miR-215 and miR-375 was significantly higher in epithelioid histotype. Furthermore, inverse correlation between TS protein and both miR-215 and miR-375 expression was found. Efficiently transfected REN and 570B cell lines overexpressing miR-215 and miR-375 showed decreased TS protein levels. Epithelioid PM with a mesenchymal component highlighted by reticulin stain showed significantly higher TS and ZEB1 protein and lower miRNA expression. A better survival was recorded for BAP1 lost/TS low cases. Our data indicate that miR-215 and miR-375 are involved in TS regulation as well as in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in PM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-022-03321-8DOI Listing
April 2022

Development and internal validation of a predictive model for the estimation of pheochromocytoma recurrence risk after radical surgery.

Eur J Endocrinol 2022 Feb 15;186(3):399-406. Epub 2022 Feb 15.

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medical Sciences.

Objective: Various features have been identified as predictors of relapse after complete resection of pheochromocytoma, but a comprehensive multivariable model for recurrence risk prediction is lacking. The aim of this study was to develop and internally validate an integrated predictive model for post-surgical recurrence of pheochromocytoma.

Methods: The present research retrospectively enrolled 177 patients affected by pheochromocytoma and submitted to radical surgery from 1990 to 2016, in nine referral centers for adrenal diseases. Cox regression analysis was adopted for model development, and a bootstrapping procedure was used for internal validation.

Results: Variables independently associated with recurrence were tumor size (hazard ratio (HR): 1.01, 95% CI: 1.00-1.02), positive genetic testing (HR: 5.14, 95% CI: 2.10-12.55), age (HR: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.94-0.99), and Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal Gland Scaled Score (PASS) (HR: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.04-1.29). The predictive performance of the overall model, evaluated by Somers' D, was equal to 0.594, and was significantly higher than the ones of any single predictor alone (P = 0.002 compared to tumor size; P = 0.004 compared to genetic testing; P = 0.048 compared to age; P = 0.006 compared to PASS). Internal validation by bootstrapping techniques estimated an optimistic bias of 6.3%, which reassured about a small tendency towards overfit.

Conclusions: We proposed a multivariable model for the prediction of post-surgical recurrence of pheochromocytoma, derived by the integration of genetic, histopathological, and clinical data. This predictive tool may be of value for a comprehensive tailoring of post-surgical follow-up in radically operated pheochromocytoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-21-0370DOI Listing
February 2022

Prognostic significance of laterality in lung neuroendocrine tumors.

Endocrine 2022 Jun 18;76(3):733-746. Epub 2022 Mar 18.

Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.

Purpose: Well-differentiated lung neuroendocrine tumors (Lu-NET) are classified as typical (TC) and atypical (AC) carcinoids, based on mitotic counts and necrosis. However, prognostic factors, other than tumor node metastasis (TNM) stage and the histopathological diagnosis, are still lacking. The current study is aimed to identify potential prognostic factors to better stratify lung NET, thus, improving patients' treatment strategy and follow-up.

Methods: A multicentric retrospective study, including 300 Lung NET, all surgically removed, from Italian and Spanish Institutions.

Results: Median age 61 years (13-86), 37.7% were males, 25.0% were AC, 42.0% were located in the lung left parenchyma, 80.3% presented a TNM stage I-II. Mitotic count was ≥2 per 10 high-power field (HPF) in 24.7%, necrosis in 13.0%. Median overall survival (OS) was 46.1 months (0.6-323), median progression-free survival (PFS) was 36.0 months (0.3-323). Female sex correlated with a more indolent disease (T1; N0; lower Ki67; lower mitotic count and the absence of necrosis). Left-sided primary tumors were associated with higher mitotic count and necrosis. At Cox-multivariate regression model, age, left-sided tumors, nodal (N) positive status and the diagnosis of AC resulted independent negative prognostic factors for PFS and OS.

Conclusions: This study highlights that laterality is an independent prognostic factors in Lu-NETs, with left tumors being less frequent but showing a worse prognosis than right ones. A wider spectrum of clinical and pathological prognostic factors, including TNM stage, age and laterality is suggested. These parameters could help clinicians to personalize the management of Lu-NET.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-022-03015-wDOI Listing
June 2022

Overview of the 2022 WHO Classification of Adrenal Cortical Tumors.

Endocr Pathol 2022 Mar 14;33(1):155-196. Epub 2022 Mar 14.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

The new WHO classification of adrenal cortical proliferations reflects translational advances in the fields of endocrine pathology, oncology and molecular biology. By adopting a question-answer framework, this review highlights advances in knowledge of histological features, ancillary studies, and associated genetic findings that increase the understanding of the adrenal cortex pathologies that are now reflected in the 2022 WHO classification. The pathological correlates of adrenal cortical proliferations include diffuse adrenal cortical hyperplasia, adrenal cortical nodular disease, adrenal cortical adenomas and adrenal cortical carcinomas. Understanding germline susceptibility and the clonal-neoplastic nature of individual adrenal cortical nodules in primary bilateral macronodular adrenal cortical disease, and recognition of the clonal-neoplastic nature of incidentally discovered non-functional subcentimeter benign adrenal cortical nodules has led to redefining the spectrum of adrenal cortical nodular disease. As a consequence, the most significant nomenclature change in the field of adrenal cortical pathology involves the refined classification of adrenal cortical nodular disease which now includes (a) sporadic nodular adrenocortical disease, (b) bilateral micronodular adrenal cortical disease, and (c) bilateral macronodular adrenal cortical disease (formerly known primary bilateral macronodular adrenal cortical hyperplasia). This group of clinicopathological entities are reflected in functional adrenal cortical pathologies. Aldosterone producing cortical lesions can be unifocal or multifocal, and may be bilateral with no imaging-detected nodule(s). Furthermore, not all grossly or radiologically identified adrenal cortical lesions may be the source of aldosterone excess. For this reason, the new WHO classification endorses the nomenclature of the HISTALDO classification which uses CYP11B2 immunohistochemistry to identify functional sites of aldosterone production to help predict the risk of bilateral disease in primary aldosteronism. Adrenal cortical carcinomas are subtyped based on their morphological features to include conventional, oncocytic, myxoid, and sarcomatoid subtypes. Although the classic histopathologic criteria for diagnosing adrenal cortical carcinomas have not changed, the 2022 WHO classification underscores the diagnostic and prognostic impact of angioinvasion (vascular invasion) in these tumors. Microscopic angioinvasion is defined as tumor cells invading through a vessel wall and forming a thrombus/fibrin-tumor complex or intravascular tumor cells admixed with platelet thrombus/fibrin. In addition to well-established Weiss and modified Weiss scoring systems, the new WHO classification also expands on the use of other multiparameter diagnostic algorithms (reticulin algorithm, Lin-Weiss-Bisceglia system, and Helsinki scoring system) to assist the workup of adrenal cortical neoplasms in adults. Accordingly, conventional carcinomas can be assessed using all multiparameter diagnostic schemes, whereas oncocytic neoplasms can be assessed using the Lin-Weiss-Bisceglia system, reticulin algorithm and Helsinki scoring system. Pediatric adrenal cortical neoplasms are assessed using the Wieneke system. Most adult adrenal cortical carcinomas show > 5 mitoses per 10 mm and > 5% Ki67. The 2022 WHO classification places an emphasis on an accurate assessment of tumor proliferation rate using both the mitotic count (mitoses per 10 mm) and Ki67 labeling index which play an essential role in the dynamic risk stratification of affected patients. Low grade carcinomas have mitotic rate of ≤ 20 mitoses per 10 mm, whereas high-grade carcinomas show > 20 mitoses per 10 mm. Ki67-based tumor grading has not been endorsed in the new WHO classification, since the proliferation indices are continuous variables rather than being static thresholds in tumor biology. This new WHO classification emphasizes the role of diagnostic and predictive biomarkers in the workup of adrenal cortical neoplasms. Confirmation of the adrenal cortical origin of a tumor remains a critical requirement when dealing with non-functional lesions in the adrenal gland which may be mistaken for a primary adrenal cortical neoplasm. While SF1 is the most reliable biomarker in the confirmation of adrenal cortical origin, paranuclear IGF2 expression is a useful biomarker in the distinction of malignancy in adrenal cortical neoplasms. In addition to adrenal myelolipoma, the new classification of adrenal cortical tumors has introduced new sections including adrenal ectopia, based on the potential role of such ectopic tissue as a possible source of neoplastic proliferations as well as a potential mimicker of metastatic disease. Adrenal cysts are also discussed in the new classification as they may simulate primary cystic adrenal neoplasms or even adrenal cortical carcinomas in the setting of an adrenal pseudocyst.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-022-09710-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8920443PMC
March 2022

Tumoral Neuroligin 1 Promotes Cancer-Nerve Interactions and Synergizes with the Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.

Cells 2022 01 14;11(2). Epub 2022 Jan 14.

Department of Oncology, University of Torino, 10060 Candiolo, Italy.

Many nervous proteins are expressed in cancer cells. In this report, we asked whether the synaptic protein neuroligin 1 (NLGN1) was expressed by prostatic and pancreatic carcinomas; in addition, given the tendency of these tumors to interact with nerves, we asked whether NLGN1 played a role in this process. Through immunohistochemistry on human tissue microarrays, we showed that NLGN1 is expressed by prostatic and pancreatic cancer tissues in discrete stages and tumor districts. Next, we performed in vitro and in vivo assays, demonstrating that NLGN1 promotes cancer cell invasion and migration along nerves. Because of the established role of the neurotrophic factor glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in tumor-nerve interactions, we assessed a potential NLGN1-GDNF cooperation. We found that blocking GDNF activity with a specific antibody completely inhibited NLGN1-induced in vitro cancer cell invasion of nerves. Finally, we demonstrated that, in the presence of NLGN1, GDNF markedly activates cofilin, a cytoskeletal regulatory protein, altering filopodia dynamics. In conclusion, our data further prove the existence of a molecular and functional cross-talk between the nervous system and cancer cells. NLGN1 was shown here to function along one of the most represented neurotrophic factors in the nerve microenvironment, possibly opening new therapeutic avenues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells11020280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8774081PMC
January 2022

Small-Cell Carcinoma of the Lung: What We Learned about It?

Acta Cytol 2021 Nov 16:1-12. Epub 2021 Nov 16.

Pathology Unit, Department of Oncology, University of Torino at City of Health and Science, Torino, Italy,

Small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is a high-grade aggressive disease that belongs to the neuroendocrine (NE) group of lung tumors that also includes typical carcinoid, atypical carcinoid, and large-cell NE carcinoma. SCLC has specific histological diagnostic criteria that are sometimes troublesome to be assessed in cytological samples that indeed represent the most frequent source of diagnostic material due to the typical advanced presentation at the onset of SCLC. However, cytological preparations could be in some instances more reliable than histology due to the better preservation of nuclear details. Cytological criteria for diagnosis of SCLC include high cellularity, small cell size, scant cytoplasm, coarsely granulated chromatin with "salt-and-pepper" appearance, inconspicuous or absent nucleoli, Azzopardi crush effect, and necrotic debris in the background. Despite being distinctive, these features could be incomplete to differentiate SCLC with other small-cell neoplasia. Therefore, immunocytochemical determination of diagnostic biomarkers is crucial to achieve a confident diagnosis. Furthermore, recent findings on molecular and transcriptomic studies of SCLC revealed the potential rise of new predictive and prognostic biomarkers that, whenever validated by immunocytochemistry, may potentially assist to tailor the best therapy, including immune checkpoint inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000519688DOI Listing
November 2021

NSCLC Biomarkers to Predict Response to Immunotherapy with Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI): From the Cells to In Vivo Images.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Sep 10;13(18). Epub 2021 Sep 10.

Department of Medical Science, Division of Nuclear Medicine, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death, and it is usually diagnosed in advanced stages (stage III or IV). Recently, the availability of targeted strategies and of immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) has favorably changed patient prognosis. Treatment outcome is closely related to tumor biology and interaction with the tumor immune microenvironment (TME). While the response in molecular targeted therapies relies on the presence of specific genetic alterations in tumor cells, accurate ICI biomarkers of response are lacking, and clinical outcome likely depends on multiple factors that are both host and tumor-related. This paper is an overview of the ongoing research on predictive factors both from in vitro/ex vivo analysis (ranging from conventional pathology to molecular biology) and in vivo analysis, where molecular imaging is showing an exponential growth and use due to technological advancements and to the new bioinformatics approaches applied to image analyses that allow the recovery of specific features in specific tumor subclones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184543DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464855PMC
September 2021

Reply to: Spread Through Air Spaces (STAS): Can an Artifact Really be Excluded?

Am J Surg Pathol 2021 10;45(10):1439-1440

Pathology Unit, Department of Oncology, Città della Salute e della Scienza Hospital.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAS.0000000000001791DOI Listing
October 2021

Metabolic impairment of non-small cell lung cancers by mitochondrial HSPD1 targeting.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Aug 7;40(1):248. Epub 2021 Aug 7.

Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF), Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Background: The identification of novel targets is of paramount importance to develop more effective drugs and improve the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Since cells alter their metabolic rewiring during tumorigenesis and along cancer progression, targeting key metabolic players and metabolism-associated proteins represents a valuable approach with a high therapeutic potential. Metabolic fitness relies on the functionality of heat shock proteins (HSPs), molecular chaperones that facilitate the correct folding of metabolism enzymes and their assembly in macromolecular structures.

Methods: Gene fitness was determined by bioinformatics analysis from available datasets from genetic screenings. HSPD1 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from NSCLC patients. Real-time proliferation assays with and without cytotoxicity reagents, colony formation assays and cell cycle analyses were used to monitor growth and drug sensitivity of different NSCLC cells in vitro. In vivo growth was monitored with subcutaneous injections in immune-deficient mice. Cell metabolic activity was analyzed through extracellular metabolic flux analysis. Specific knockouts were introduced by CRISPR/Cas9.

Results: We show heat shock protein family D member 1 (HSPD1 or HSP60) as a survival gene ubiquitously expressed in NSCLC and associated with poor patients' prognosis. HSPD1 knockdown or its chemical disruption by the small molecule KHS101 induces a drastic breakdown of oxidative phosphorylation, and suppresses cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. By combining drug profiling with transcriptomics and through a whole-genome CRISPR/Cas9 screen, we demonstrate that HSPD1-targeted anti-cancer effects are dependent on oxidative phosphorylation and validated molecular determinants of KHS101 sensitivity, in particular, the creatine-transporter SLC6A8 and the subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex COX5B.

Conclusions: These results highlight mitochondrial metabolism as an attractive target and HSPD1 as a potential theranostic marker for developing therapies to combat NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-021-02049-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8348813PMC
August 2021

Outcome of patients with intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma: a pooled analysis.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2021 07 5;28(8):593-604. Epub 2021 Jul 5.

Medical Oncology, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health University of Brescia, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma (ITC) is a rare thyroid tumor that resembles thymic carcinoma, for which there are no recommendations on diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We performed a pooled analysis of published ITC cases to describe the natural history of this disease and identify prognostic factors. We performed a systematic review of histopathological-confirmed ITC cases published in the literature in English. The following keywords were used: 'intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma', 'carcinoma showing thymus-like differentiation', 'CASTLE tumor', 'thyroid carcinoma showing thymus like differentiation'. Fifty eligible publications were identified, providing data from 132 patients, plus a case diagnosed at our institution. Median disease-free survival (DFS) of this patient series was 144 months (range 91-197), while median overall survival (OS) was not reached. Upfront surgery was performed in 97% of patients and 24% of them experienced disease recurrence after a median of 19 months (range 13-25). Complaining of major symptoms, as a sign of more advanced local stage, was the only prognostic factor significantly associated with a higher risk of death at multivariate analysis (HR 4.903, 95% CI: 1.092-22.008, P = 0.038). Postoperative radiation therapy was not associated with prognosis, while not enough data were available to assess the efficacy of chemotherapy. ITC is a rather indolent disease and ITC patients have a relatively good prognosis. Surgery is the mainstay of therapy. Survival outcome of patients depends on tumor burden and complete surgical resection. Postoperative radiation effect seems to be negligible. Data on the efficacy of chemotherapy in advanced patients are lacking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-21-0123DOI Listing
July 2021

Adrenal Rests in the Uro-genital Tract of an Adult Population.

Endocr Pathol 2021 Sep 7;32(3):375-384. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Pathology Unit, Department of Oncology, Città Della Salute E Della Scienza Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Ectopic adrenal rests are a rare condition which can be found in various sites, generally in the retroperitoneum or pelvis along the path of gonadal descent. Their real prevalence is unknown. Males are more commonly affected, at least in the pediatric age. Adrenal rests are usually clinically silent and incidentally found in surgical samples, mostly in the pediatric population, and rarely in adults. With the aim of increasing knowledge and estimating the prevalence of ectopic adrenocortical tissue in the adult population, 44 adrenal rests in the urogenital tract of 40 adults are described. These represent approximately 0.07% of the total number of urogenital and gynecological surgeries performed in the 22 considered years. Adrenal rests were identified in the spermatic cord (10 males) and in paraovarian, parasalpingeal, or infundibulopelvic ligament locations (30 females). All but one was incidental findings. One case regarded an adrenocortical carcinoma arisen in adrenal rests. A literature review of adrenal ectopia in the urogenital tract of adults identified 57 reported cases from 53 patients, with similar clinicopathological features as those of our series, with the exception of a lower incidence of parasalpingeal locations. Despite their limited clinical implications, awareness of ectopic adrenal rests is essential also in adults for at least two reasons: (a) to correctly identify sources of adrenocortical hormone production in case of adrenal insufficiency or hormonal imbalance and (b) to avoid misinterpretations in the diagnostic workup of renal cell carcinoma, adrenocortical tumors, and rare gonadal neoplasms, including Sertoli/Leydig cell tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-021-09685-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8370964PMC
September 2021

Pathological Characterization of Tumor Immune Microenvironment (TIME) in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 24;13(11). Epub 2021 May 24.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and highly aggressive disease that arises from pleural mesothelial cells, characterized by a median survival of approximately 13-15 months after diagnosis. The primary cause of this disease is asbestos exposure and the main issues associated with it are late diagnosis and lack of effective therapies. Asbestos-induced cellular damage is associated with the generation of an inflammatory microenvironment that influences and supports tumor growth, possibly in association with patients' genetic predisposition and tumor genomic profile. The chronic inflammatory response to asbestos fibers leads to a unique tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) composed of a heterogeneous mixture of stromal, endothelial, and immune cells, and relative composition and interaction among them is suggested to bear prognostic and therapeutic implications. TIME in MPM is known to be constituted by immunosuppressive cells, such as type 2 tumor-associated macrophages and T regulatory lymphocytes, plus the expression of several immunosuppressive factors, such as tumor-associated PD-L1. Several studies in recent years have contributed to achieve a greater understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms in tumor development and pathobiology of TIME, that opens the way to new therapeutic strategies. The study of TIME is fundamental in identifying appropriate prognostic and predictive tissue biomarkers. In the present review, we summarize the current knowledge about the pathological characterization of TIME in MPM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197227PMC
May 2021

Differential Expression Profiles of Cell-to-Matrix-Related Molecules in Adrenal Cortical Tumors: Diagnostic and Prognostic Implications.

J Pers Med 2021 May 6;11(5). Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Oncology, Città della Salute e della Scienza, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.

The molecular mechanisms of adrenocortical carcinoma development are incompletely defined. De-regulation of cellular-to-extracellular matrix interactions and angiogenesis appear among mechanisms associated to the malignant phenotype. Our aim was to investigate, employing PCR-based array profiling, 157 molecules involved in cell-to-matrix interactions and angiogenesis in a frozen series of 6 benign and 6 malignant adrenocortical neoplasms, to identify novel pathogenetic markers. In 14 genes, a significant dysregulation was detected in adrenocortical carcinomas as compared to adenomas, most of them being downregulated. Three exceptions-hyaluronan synthase 1 (HAS-1), laminin α3 and osteopontin genes-demonstrated an increased expression in adrenocortical carcinomas of 4.46, 4.23 and 20.32-fold, respectively, and were validated by immunohistochemistry on a series of paraffin-embedded tissues, including 20 adenomas and 73 carcinomas. Osteopontin protein, absent in all adenomas, was expressed in a carcinoma subset (25/73) ( = 0.0022). Laminin α3 and HAS-1 were mostly expressed in smooth muscle and endothelial cells of the vascular network of both benign and malignant adrenocortical tumors. HAS-1 was also detected in tumor cells, with a more intense pattern in carcinomas. In this group, strong expression was significantly associated with more favorable clinicopathological features. These data demonstrate that cell-to-matrix interactions are specifically altered in adrenocortical carcinoma and identify osteopontin and HAS-1 as novel potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, respectively, in adrenal cortical tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11050378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8148197PMC
May 2021

IκBα targeting promotes oxidative stress-dependent cell death.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Apr 16;40(1):136. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano, Italy.

Background: Oxidative stress is a hallmark of many cancers. The increment in reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting from an increased mitochondrial respiration, is the major cause of oxidative stress. Cell fate is known to be intricately linked to the amount of ROS produced. The direct generation of ROS is also one of the mechanisms exploited by common anticancer therapies, such as chemotherapy.

Methods: We assessed the role of NFKBIA with various approaches, including in silico analyses, RNA-silencing and xenotransplantation. Western blot analyses, immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR were used to detect the expression of specific proteins and genes. Immunoprecipitation and pull-down experiments were used to evaluate protein-protein interactions.

Results: Here, by using an in silico approach, following the identification of NFKBIA (the gene encoding IκBα) amplification in various cancers, we described an inverse correlation between IκBα, oxidative metabolism, and ROS production in lung cancer. Furthermore, we showed that novel IκBα targeting compounds combined with cisplatin treatment promote an increase in ROS beyond the tolerated threshold, thus causing death by oxytosis.

Conclusions: NFKBIA amplification and IκBα overexpression identify a unique cancer subtype associated with specific expression profile and metabolic signatures. Through p65-NFKB regulation, IκBα overexpression favors metabolic rewiring of cancer cells and distinct susceptibility to cisplatin. Lastly, we have developed a novel approach to disrupt IκBα/p65 interaction, restoring p65-mediated apoptotic responses to cisplatin due to mitochondria deregulation and ROS-production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-021-01921-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8050912PMC
April 2021

Diagnostic Value of Conventional PET Parameters and Radiomic Features Extracted from 18F-FDG-PET/CT for Histologic Subtype Classification and Characterization of Lung Neuroendocrine Neoplasms.

Biomedicines 2021 Mar 10;9(3). Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.

Aim: To evaluate if conventional Positron emission tomography (PET) parameters and radiomic features (RFs) extracted by 18F-FDG-PET/CT can differentiate among different histological subtypes of lung neuroendocrine neoplasms (Lu-NENs).

Methods: Forty-four naïve-treatment patients on whom 18F-FDG-PET/CT was performed for histologically confirmed Lu-NEN (n = 46) were retrospectively included. Manual segmentation was performed by two operators allowing for extraction of four conventional PET parameters (SUVmax, SUVmean, metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and total lesion glycolysis (TLG)) and 41 RFs. Lu-NENs were classified into two groups: lung neuroendocrine tumors (Lu-NETs) vs. lung neuroendocrine carcinomas (Lu-NECs). Lu-NETs were classified according to histological subtypes (typical (TC)/atypical carcinoid (AC)), Ki67-level, and TNM staging. The least absolute shrink age and selection operator (LASSO) method was used to select the most predictive RFs for classification and Pearson correlation analysis was performed between conventional PET parameters and selected RFs.

Results: PET parameters, in particular, SUVmax (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.91; cut-off = 5.16) were higher in Lu-NECs vs. Lu-NETs ( < 0.001). Among RFs, HISTO_Entropy_log10 was the most predictive (AUC = 0.90), but correlated with SUVmax/SUVmean (r = 0.95/r = 0.94, respectively). No statistical differences were found between conventional PET parameters and RFs ( > 0.05) and TC vs. AC classification. Conventional PET parameters were correlated with N+ status in Lu-NETs.

Conclusion: In our study, conventional PET parameters were able to distinguish Lu-NECs from Lu-NETs, but not TC from AC. RFs did not provide additional information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9030281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001140PMC
March 2021

Neuroendocrine neoplasms of the appendix, colon and rectum.

Pathologica 2021 Feb;113(1):19-27

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

Neuroendocrine neoplasms of the appendix, colon and rectum are classified according to the most recent WHO classification as neuroendocrine tumors (NET), neuroendocrine carcinomas (NEC) and mixed neuroendocrine-non neuroendocrine neoplasms (MiNENs). NECs and MiNENs are aggressive neoplasms requiring multimodal treatment strategies. By contrast, NETs are, in most cases, indolent lesions occurring as incidental findings in the appendix or as polyps in the rectum. While most appendiceal and rectal NETs are considered relatively non-aggressive neoplasms, a few cases, may show a more aggressive clinical course. Unfortunately, clinical/pathological characteristics to select patients at high risk of recurrence/metastases are poorly consolidated. Diagnosis is generally easy and supported by the combination of morphology and immunohistochemistry. Differential diagnostic problems are for NECs/MiNENs with poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas, when immunohistochemical neuroendocrine markers are not obviously positive, whereas for NETs they are represented by the rare appendiceal tubular and clear cell variants (which may be confused with non-neuroendocrine cancers) and rectal L-cell tumors which may be chromogranin negative and prostatic marker positive.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.32074/1591-951X-230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8138694PMC
February 2021

Molecular Pathology of Well-Differentiated Pulmonary and Thymic Neuroendocrine Tumors: What Do Pathologists Need to Know?

Endocr Pathol 2021 Mar 27;32(1):154-168. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Dept. of Medicine and Surgery, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.

Thoracic (pulmonary and thymic) neuroendocrine tumors are well-differentiated epithelial neuroendocrine neoplasms that are classified into typical and atypical carcinoid tumors based on mitotic index cut offs and presence or absence of necrosis. This classification scheme is of great prognostic value but designed for surgical specimens, only. Deep molecular characterization of thoracic neuroendocrine tumors highlighted their difference with neuroendocrine carcinomas. Neuroendocrine tumors of the lung are characterized by a low mutational burden, and a high prevalence of mutations in chromatin remodeling and histone modification-related genes, whereas mutations in genes frequently altered in neuroendocrine carcinomas are rare. Molecular profiling divided thymic neuroendocrine tumors into three clusters with distinct clinical outcomes and characterized by a different average of copy number instability. Moreover, integrated histopathological, molecular and clinical evidence supports the existence of a grey zone category between neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoid tumors) and neuroendocrine carcinomas. Indeed, cases with well differentiated morphology but mitotic/Ki-67 indexes close to neuroendocrine carcinomas have been increasingly recognized. These are characterized by specific molecular profiles and have an aggressive clinical behavior. Finally, thoracic neuroendocrine tumors may arise in the background of genetic susceptibility, being MEN1 syndrome the well-defined familial form. However, pathologists should be aware of rarer germline variants that are associated with the concurrence of neuroendocrine tumors of the lung or their precursors (such as DIPNECH) with other neoplasms, including but not limited to breast carcinomas. Therefore, genetic counseling for all young patients with thoracic neuroendocrine neoplasia and/or any patient with pathological evidence of neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia-to-neoplasia progression sequence or multifocal disease should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-021-09668-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960615PMC
March 2021

Synaptophysin expression in mutated advanced colorectal cancers identifies a new subgroup of tumours with worse prognosis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 03 16;146:145-154. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin at Umberto I "Ordine Mauriziano" Hospital, Turin, Italy.

Background: Neuroendocrine differentiation has been extensively associated with worse prognosis and to mechanisms of therapy resistance in several epithelial cancers. A high prevalence of neuroendocrine differentiation was recently described in mutated (BRAFmt) metastatic colorectal cancers (mCRCs) but no data are available about its prognostic impact in this setting.

Methods: We assessed synaptophysin immunohistochemical expression in a multi-institutional series of 159 BRAFmt mCRCs with matched clinical and pathological information. Tumours were dichotomized as synaptophysin high and low. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests.

Results: Thirty-five tumours (22.0%) showed any level of positivity for synaptophysin, and 18 (11.3%) were characterized by positivity in at least 20% of tumour cells. Four cases resulted 100% synaptophysin positive. The histotype of synaptophysin-positive tumours (i.e. ≥20%) was not otherwise specified in 11 cases (61.1%) and mucinous adenocarcinoma in 4 cases (22.2%). Four cases were DNA mismatch repair deficient (22.2%) and 7 (38.9%) were characterized by a high number of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. At multivariate analysis, high synaptophysin expression was a negative independent prognostic factor for both PFS (HR = 2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-3.33, p = 0.006) and OS (HR = 2.27, 95% CI 1.35-3.85, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Among BRAFmt mCRCs, synaptophysin-positive tumours are characterized by worse PFS and OS. Further studies should investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the acquisition of the neuroendocrine phenotype to identify novel-targeted treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.016DOI Listing
March 2021

Molecular Pathology of Poorly Differentiated and Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: What Do Pathologists Need to Know?

Endocr Pathol 2021 Mar 4;32(1):63-76. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna School of Medicine, Bologna, Italy.

The molecular characterization of poorly and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas has been greatly improved in the last years following the advent of high throughput technologies. However, with special reference to genomic data, the prevalence of reported alterations is partly affected by classification criteria. The impact of molecular pathology in these tumors is multifaceted and bears diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive implications although its use in the clinical practice is not completely assessed. Genomic profiling data claim that genetic alterations in poorly differentiated and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas include "Early" and "Late" molecular events, which are consistent with a multi-step model of progression. "Early" driver events are mostly RAS and BRAF mutations, whereas "Late" changes include above all TP53 and TERT promoter mutations, as well as dysregulation of gene involved in the cell cycle, chromatin remodeling, histone modifications, and DNA mismatch repair. Gene fusions are rare but represent relevant therapeutic targets. Epigenetic modifications are also playing a relevant role in poorly differentiated and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas, with altered regulation of either genes by methylation/deacetylation or non-coding RNAs. The biological effects of epigenetic modifications are not fully elucidated but interfere with a wide spectrum of cellular functions. From a clinical standpoint, the combination of genomic and epigenetic data shows that several molecular alterations affect druggable cellular pathways in poorly differentiated and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas, although the clinical impact of molecular typing of these tumors in terms of predictive biomarker testing is still under exploration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-021-09665-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960587PMC
March 2021

Genomics of High-Grade Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: Well-Differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumor with High-Grade Features (G3 NET) and Neuroendocrine Carcinomas (NEC) of Various Anatomic Sites.

Endocr Pathol 2021 Mar 12;32(1):192-210. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Torino, Italy.

High-grade neuroendocrine neoplasms (HG-NENs) are clinically aggressive diseases, the classification of which has recently been redefined. They now include both poorly differentiated NENs (neuroendocrine carcinoma, NECs) and high proliferating well-differentiated NENs (called grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors, G3 NETs, in the digestive system). In the last decade, the "molecular revolution" that has affected all fields of medical oncology has also shed light in the understanding of HG NENs heterogeneity and has provided new diagnostic and therapeutic tools, useful in the management of these malignancies. Considering the kaleidoscopic aspects of HG NENs in various anatomical sites, this review systematically addresses the genomic landscape of such neoplasm throughout the more common thoracic and digestive locations, as well as it will consider other rare but not exceptional primary sites, including the skin, the head and neck, and the urogenital system. The revision of the available literature will then be oriented to understand the translational relevance of molecular data, by analyzing conceptual issues, clinicopathological correlations, and unmet needs in this field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12022-020-09660-zDOI Listing
March 2021

Primary lung adenocarcinoma in three adolescent patients affected by bone sarcomas.

Virchows Arch 2021 Jun 9;478(6):1125-1134. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Pediatric primary lung carcinomas are extremely rare. Apart from known associations with congenital adenomatoid malformations, cases of primary lung adenocarcinomas after prolonged treatments of pediatric malignancy have been reported. We describe the morphological and molecular features of three cases of lung adenocarcinoma developed in adolescents aged 8 to 17 years during progression of their bone osteosarcoma or Ewing sarcomas. The morphological features overlapped those of adult lung adenocarcinoma including in situ, minimally invasive, and invasive forms. EGFR gene mutations were found in all three cases by targeted next-generation sequencing. The two patients with Ewing sarcoma had no progression of their lung cancer and no further progression of the metastatic bone tumor after additional chemo- and radio-therapy. Conversely, the osteosarcoma patient refused further treatments after thoracic surgery for metastatic osteosarcoma and locally advanced adenocarcinoma and died 2 years later of widespread distant metastases. Our results indicate that primary lung cancer might originate in pediatric patients during prolonged adjuvant therapies for primary bone neoplasm, and this possibility should be considered in the presence of suspected lung disease progression to correctly monitor the primary tumor evolution and define the appropriate therapeutic strategy at each time point. If appropriately treated, second primary lung cancer may not affect the patients' prognosis. The pathogenetic mechanisms of these rare lung adenocarcinomas are not clear, but the presence of EGFR mutations in all three cases indicates an oncogene addiction of the lung tumor, rather than a direct cancerogenic effect of the sarcoma-related treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-020-02990-7DOI Listing
June 2021

Gross Specimen Handling Procedures Do Not Impact the Occurrence of Spread Through Air Spaces (STAS) in Lung Cancer.

Am J Surg Pathol 2021 02;45(2):215-222

Departments of Oncology.

Spread Through Air Spaces (STAS) is a form of invasion characterized by neoplastic cell dissemination in the lung parenchyma surrounding the outer edge of the tumor. Its possible artifactual origin is widely debated in the literature. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential impact of gross sampling procedures in causing STAS. A prospective series of 51 surgical lung specimens was collected (35 adenocarcinomas, 68.6%; 13 squamous cell carcinomas, 25.5%; 2 large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas, 3.9%; 1 atypical carcinoid, 2%). The fresh tissue was sectioned with a new and clean blade for each cut, to obtain a tissue slice comprising the upper lung parenchyma, the tumor, and the lower parenchyma. This slice was cut in half and separately processed. The same procedure was repeated in the residual (specular) specimen after formalin fixation. STAS was identified in 33/51 (64.7%) cases, the predominant pattern being cluster formation (29 cases, 87.9%), the remaining 4 cases having single-cell invasion. Comparing STAS detection in upper and lower lung parenchyma areas (ie, before and after the blade crossed the tumor), no significant preferential STAS distribution was observed, indeed being almost overlapping (60.6% and 63.6% for fresh and 61.3% and 65.6% for fixed tissues, respectively). There was no difference between STAS occurrence in freshly cut and fixed corresponding samples. These findings indicate that STAS is not a pathologist-related artifactual event because of knife transportation of tumor cells during gross specimen handling and support the notion that it is a phenomenon preexisting to surgical tissue processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAS.0000000000001642DOI Listing
February 2021

Data set for reporting of carcinoma of the adrenal cortex: explanations and recommendations of the guidelines from the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting.

Hum Pathol 2021 04 12;110:50-61. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, 2006, Australia; Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2065, Australia; NSW Health Pathology, Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2065, Australia. Electronic address:

Complete resection of adrenal cortical carcinoma (ACC) with or without adjuvant therapy offers the best outcome. Recurrence is common, and in individual cases, the long-term outcome is difficult to predict, making it challenging to personalize treatment options. Current risk stratification approaches are based on clinical and conventional surgical pathology assessment. Rigorous and uniform pathological assessment may improve care for individual patients and facilitate multi-institutional collaborative studies. The International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting (ICCR) convened an expert panel to review ACC pathology reporting. Consensus recommendations were made based on the most recent literature and expert opinion. The data set comprises 23 core (required) items. The core pathological features include the following: diagnosis as per the current World Health Organization classification, specimen integrity, greatest dimension, weight, extent of invasion, architecture, percentage of lipid-rich cells, capsular invasion, lymphatic invasion, vascular invasion, atypical mitotic figures, coagulative necrosis, nuclear grade, mitotic count, Ki-67 proliferative index, margin status, lymph node status, and pathological stage. Tumors were dichotomized into low-grade (<20 mitoses per 10 mm) and high-grade (>20 mitoses per 10 mm) ones. Additional noncore elements that may be useful in individual cases included several multifactorial risk assessment systems (Weiss, modified Weiss, Lin-Weiss-Bisceglia, reticulin, Helsinki, and Armed Forces Institute of Pathology scores/algorithms). This data set is now available through the ICCR website with the hope of better standardizing pathological assessment of these relatively rare but important malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humpath.2020.10.001DOI Listing
April 2021
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