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The role of 11-oxygenated androgens in prostate cancer

Gido Snaterse, Johannes Hofland, and Bruno Lapauw

11-oxygenated androgens are a class of steroids capable of activating the androgen receptor (AR) at physiologically relevant concentrations. In view of the AR as a key driver of prostate cancer (PC), these steroids are potential drivers of disease and progression. The 11-oxygenated androgens are adrenal-derived, and persist after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), the mainstay treatment for advanced PC. Consequently, these steroids are of particular interest in the castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) setting. The principal androgen of the pathway, 11-ketotestosterone (11KT), is a potent AR agonist and the predominant circulating active androgen in CRPC patients. Additionally, several precursor steroids are present in the circulation which can be converted into active androgens by steroidogenic enzymes present in PC cells. In vitro evidence suggests that adaptations frequently observed in CRPC favour the intratumoral accumulation of 11-oxygenated androgens in particular. Still, apparent gaps in our understanding of the physiology and role of the 11-oxygenated androgens remain. In particular, in vivo and clinical evidence supporting these in vitro findings is limited. Despite recent advances, a comprehensive assessment of intratumoral concentrations has not yet been performed. The exact contribution of the 11-oxygenated androgens to CRPC progression therefore remains unclear. This review will focus on the current evidence linking the 11-oxygenated androgens to PC, will highlight current gaps in our knowledge, and will provide insight into the potential clinical importance of the 11-oxygenated androgens in the CRPC setting based on the current evidence.

Open access

Clinical presentation of sporadic and hereditary pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma

Sofia Maria Lider Burciulescu, Caren Randon, Frederic Duprez, Wouter Huvenne, David Creytens, Kathleen B M Claes, Robin de Putter, Guy T’Sjoen, Corin Badiu, and Bruno Lapauw

Pheochromocytomas (PHEO) and paragangliomas (PGL) can occur sporadic or within genetic predisposition syndromes. Despite shared embryology, there are important differences between PHEO and PGL. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical presentation and disease characteristics of PHEO/PGL. A retrospective analysis of consecutively registered patients diagnosed with or treated for PHEO/PGL in a tertiary care centre was performed. Patients were compared according to anatomic location (PHEO vs PGL) and genetic status (sporadic vs hereditary). In total, we identified 38 women and 29 men, aged 50 ± 19 years. Of these, 42 (63%) had PHEO, and 25 (37%) had PGL. Patients with PHEO presented more frequently with sporadic than hereditary disease (45 years vs 27 (77%) vs 8 (23%)) than patients with PGL (9 (36%) vs 16 (64%), respectively) and were older at diagnosis (55 ± 17 vs 40 ± 18 years, P = 0.001), respectively). About half of the cases in both PHEO and PGL were diagnosed due to disease-related symptoms. In patients with PHEO, tumour diameter was larger (P = 0.001), metanephrine levels higher (P = 0.02), and there was more frequently a history of cardiovascular events than in patients with PGL. In conclusion, we found that patients with PGL more frequently have a hereditary predisposition than those with PHEO, contributing to the fact that diagnosis is generally made earlier in PGL. Although diagnosis in both PHEO and PGL was mostly due to related symptoms, patients with PHEO more often presented with cardiovascular comorbidities than those with PGL which might relate to a higher number of functionally active tumours in the former.