Increase in Glucose Uptake by Cushing’s Disease-associated Tumors Could Improve Early Detection

An increase in glucose uptake by Cushing’s disease-associated pituitary tumors could improve their detection, new research shows.

The study, “Corticotropin releasing hormone can selectively stimulate glucose uptake in corticotropinoma via glucose transporter 1,” appeared in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

The study’s senior author was Dr. Prashant Chittiboina, MD, from the Department of Neurosurgery, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio.

Microadenomas – tumors in the pituitary gland measuring less than 10 mm in diameter – that release corticotropin, or corticotropinomas, can lead to Cushing’s disease. The presurgical detection of these microadenomas could improve surgical outcomes in patients with Cushing’s.

But current tumor visualization methodologies – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) – failed to detect a significant percentage of pituitary microadenomas.

Stimulation with corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which increases glucose uptake, has been suggested as a method of increasing the detection of adenomas with 18F-FDG PET, by augmenting the uptake of 18F-FDG – a glucose analog.

However, previous studies aiming to validate this idea have failed, leading the research team to hypothesize that it may be due to a delayed elevation in glucose uptake in corticotropinomas.

The scientists used clinical data to determine the effectiveness of CRH in improving the detection of corticotropinomas with 18F-FDG PET in Cushing’s disease.

They found that CRH increased glucose uptake in human and mouse tumor cells, but not in healthy mouse or human pituitary cells that produce the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Exposure to CRH increased glucose uptake in mouse tumor cells, with a maximal effect at four hours after stimulation.

Similarly, the glucose transporter GLUT1, which is located at the cell membrane, was increased two hours after stimulation, as was GLUT1-mediated glucose transport.

These findings indicate a potential mechanism linking CRH exposure to augmented glucose uptake through GLUT1. Expectedly, the inhibition of glucose transport with fasentin suppressed glucose uptake.

The researchers consistently observed exaggerated evidence of GLUT1 in human corticotropinomas. In addition, human corticotroph tumor cells showed an increased breakdown of glucose, which indicates that, unlike healthy cells, pituitary adenomas use glucose as their primary source of energy.

Overall, the study shows that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) leads to a specific and delayed increase in glucose uptake in tumor corticotrophs.

“Taken together, these novel findings support the potential use of delayed 18F-FDG PET imaging following CRH stimulation to improve microadenoma detection in [Cushing’s disease],” researchers wrote. The scientists are now conducting a clinical trial to further explore this promising finding.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2017/10/12/glucose-uptake-in-cushings-disease-could-improve-presurgical-tumor-detection/

Genetic variations associated with hyperplasias, adenomas of adrenal cortex

Beuschlein F. N Engl J Med. 2014;doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1310359.

Genetic variations of the catalytic subunit of cyclic protein kinase A, or PKA, were linked to the development of bilateral adrenal hyperplasias and unilateral cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas. These effects may activate corticotropin-independent Cushing’s syndrome, according to data published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The current study suggests that more than one-third of cortisol-producing adenomas associated with overt Cushing’s syndrome have unique somatic mutations in PRKACA (which encodes the main catalytic subunit of PKA), resulting in constitutive PKA activation,” Felix Beuschlein, MD, of the University of Munich, and colleagues wrote.

The researchers performed an exome sequencing of tumor-tissue specimens from 10 patients with cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas and evaluated their recurrent mutations in candidate genes in 171 additional patients with adrenocortical tumors, according to data.

Somatic mutations in PRKACA were discovered in eight of 10 adenomas. These somatic mutations also were identified in 22 of 59 unilateral adenomas (37%) from patients with overt Cushing’s syndrome; mutations were not detectable in 40 patients with subclinical hypercortisolism or in 82 patients with other adrenal tumors, according to data.

Five of the 35 patients with cortisol-producing hyperplasias appeared to be carriers of the germline duplication of the genomic region on chromosome 19 that includes PRKACA, researchers wrote.

In vitro study data indicated that PKA catalytic subunit genetic mutations impaired inhibition by the PKA regulatory subunit, and cells from patients with germline chromosomal gains appeared to increase the protein levels of the subunit.

“Because PRKACA mediates most of the effects of inactivating PRKAR1A mutations and because mutations of PRKAR1 are associated with a variety of tumors in humans and mice, we would speculate that somatic PRKACA defects might also play a role in other forms of endocrine and nonendocrine tumors,” researchers wrote.

Disclosure: Beuschlein reports financial ties with the European Community, HRA Pharma, Novartis, Viropharma, and Wilhelm-Sander Stiftung.

From http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/adrenal/news/online/%7B22954d9a-0fc9-4e80-b80a-d74bbdfea1a9%7D/genetic-variations-associated-with-hyperplasias-adenomas-of-adrenal-cortex

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