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P14/ARF-positive malignant pleural mesothelioma : ǂa ǂphenotype with distinct immune microenvironment
Federica Pezzuto, Francesca Lunardi, Luca Vedovelli, Francesco Fortarezza, Loredana Urso, Federica Grosso, Giovanni Luca Ceresoli, Izidor Kern, Gregor Vlačić, Fiorella Calabrese, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Introduction: The CDKN2A gene plays a central role in the pathogenesis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). The gene encodes for two tumor suppressor proteins, p16/INK4A and p14/ARF, frequently lost in MPM tumors. The exact role of p14/ARF in MPM and overall its correlation with the immune microenvironment is unknown. We aimed to determine whether there is a relationship between p14/ARF expression, tumor morphological features, and the inflammatory tumor microenvironment. Methods: Diagnostic biopsies from 76 chemo-naive MPMs were evaluated. Pathological assessments of histotype, necrosis, inflammation, grading, and mitosis were performed. We evaluated p14/ARF, PD-L1 (tumor proportion score, TPS), and Ki-67 (percentage) by immunohistochemistry. Inflammatory cell components (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ T lymphocytes; CD20+ B-lymphocytes; CD68+ and CD163+ macrophages) were quantified as percentages of positive cells, distinguishing between intratumoral and peritumoral areas. The expression of p14/ARF was associated with several clinical and pathological characteristics. A random forest-based machine-learning algorithm (Boruta) was implemented to identify which variables were associated with p14/ARF expression. Results: p14/ARF was evaluated in 68 patients who had a sufficient number of tumor cells. Strong positivity was detected in 14 patients (21%) (11 epithelioid and 3 biphasic MPMs). At univariate analysis, p14/ARF-positive epithelioid mesotheliomas showed higher nuclear grade (G3) (p = 0.023) and higher PD-L1 expression (≥50%) (p = 0.042). The percentages of CD4 and CD163 in peritumoral areas were respectively higher and lower in p14/ARF positive tumors but did not reach statistical significance with our sample size (both p = 0.066). The Boruta algorithm confirmed the predictive value of PD-L1 percentage for p14/ARF expression in all histotypes. Conclusions: p14/ARF-positive epithelioid mesotheliomas may mark a more aggressive pathological phenotype (higher nuclear grade and PD-L1 expression). Considering the results regarding the tumor immune microenvironment, p14/ARF-negative tumors seem to have an immune microenvironment less sensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitors, being associated with low PD-L1 and CD4 expression, and high CD163 percentage. The association between p14/ARF-positive MPMs and PD-L1 expression suggests a possible interaction of the two pathways. Confirmation of our preliminary results could be important for patient selection and recruitment in future clinical trials with anticancer immunotherapy.
Keywords: lung -- cytology -- pathology, neoplasms, malignant mesothelioma, malignant pleural mesothelioma, tumor microenvironment
Published in DiRROS: 30.05.2022; Views: 185; Downloads: 139
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Expression patterns and prognostic relevance of subtype-specific transcription factors in surgically resected small cell lung cancer : an international multicenter study
Zsolt Megyesfalvi, Nandor Barany, Andras Lantos, Zsuzsanna Valko, Orsolya Pipek, Christian Lang, Anna Schwendenwein, Felicitas Oberndorfer, Sandor Paku, Bence Ferencz, Izidor Kern, Mile Kovačević, Viktoria Laszlo, Balazs Dome, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: The tissue distribution and prognostic relevance of subtype-specific proteins (ASCL1, NEUROD1, POU2F3, YAP1) present an evolving area of research in small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The expression of subtype-specific transcription factors and P53 and RB1 proteins were measured by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 386 surgically resected SCLC samples. Correlations between subtype-specific proteins and in vitro efficacy of various therapeutic agents were investigated by proteomics and cell viability assays in 26 human SCLC cell lines. Besides SCLC-A (ASCL1-dominant), SCLC-AN (combined ASCL1/NEUROD1), SCLC-N (NEUROD1-dominant) and SCLC-P (POU2F3-dominant), IHC and cluster analyses identified a quadruple-negative SCLC subtype (SCLC-QN). No unique YAP1-subtype was found. The highest overall survival rates were associated with non-neuroendocrine subtypes (SCLC-P and SCLC-QN) and the lowest with neuroendocrine subtypes (SCLC-A, SCLC-N, SCLC-AN). In univariate analyses, high ASCL1 expression was associated with poor prognosis and high POU2F3 expression with good prognosis. Notably, high ASCL1 expression influenced survival outcomes independently of other variables in a multivariate model. High POU2F3 and YAP1 protein abundances correlated with sensitivity and resistance to standard-of-care chemotherapeutics, respectively. Specific correlation patterns were also found between the efficacy of targeted agents and subtype-specific protein abundances. In conclusion, we have investigated the clinicopathological relevance of SCLC molecular subtypes in a large cohort of surgically resected specimens. Differential IHC expression of ASCL1, NEUROD1 and POU2F3 defines SCLC subtypes. No YAP1-subtype can be distinguished by IHC. High POU2F3 expression is associated with improved survival in a univariate analysis, whereas elevated ASCL1 expression is an independent negative prognosticator. Proteomic and cell viability assays of human SCLC cell lines reveal distinct vulnerability profiles defined by transcription regulators.
Keywords: Non-small-cell lung carcinoma, immunohistochemistry, molecular subtypes, prognostic relevance, expression pattern, neuroendocrine subtypes
Published in DiRROS: 27.05.2022; Views: 175; Downloads: 325
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Utility of telomerase gene mutation testing in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in routine practice
Julij Šelb, Katarina Osolnik, Izidor Kern, Peter Korošec, Matija Rijavec, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Recent studies have suggested that causative variants in telomerase complex genes (TCGs) are present in around 10% of individuals with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) regardless of family history of the disease. However, the studies used a case-control rare variant enrichment study design which is not directly translatable to routine practice. To validate the prevalence results and to establish the individual level, routine clinical practice, and utility of those results we performed next generation sequencing of TCGs on a cohort of well-characterized consecutive individuals with IPF (diagnosis established according to ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT guidelines). Of 27 IPF patients, three had a family history of idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (familial IPF) and 24 did not (sporadic IPF). Pathogenic/likely-pathogenic variants (according to American College of Medical Genetics criteria) in TCG were found in three individuals (11.1%) of the whole cohort; specifically, they were present in 2 out of 24 (8.3%) of the sporadic and in 1 out of 3 (33.3%) of the patients with familial IPF. Our results, which were established on an individual-patient level study design and in routine clinical practice (as opposed to the case-control study design), are roughly in line with the around 10% prevalence of causative TCG variants in patients with IPF.
Keywords: telomerase, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, genetic variation, telomerase complex
Published in DiRROS: 07.02.2022; Views: 317; Downloads: 124
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COVID-19 pandemic impact on cytopathology practice in the post-lockdown period : an international, multicenter study
Elena Vigliar, Pasquale Pisapia, Filippo Dello Iacovo, Izidor Kern, William C. Faquin, Martha Bishop Pitman, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background. In a previous worldwide survey, the authors showed a drastic reduction in the number of cytological specimens processed during the coronavirus disease 2019 “lockdown” period along with an increase in malignancy rates. To assess the continued impact of the pandemic on cytological practices around the world, they undertook a second follow-up worldwide survey collecting data from the post-lockdown period (2020). Methods. Participants were asked to provide data regarding their cytopathology activity during the first 12 weeks of their respective national post-lockdown period (2020), which ranged from April 4 to October 31. Differences between the post-lockdown period and the corresponding 2019 period were evaluated, and the authors specifically focused on rates of malignant diagnoses. Results. A total of 29 respondents from 17 countries worldwide joined the survey. Overall, a lower number of cytological specimens (n = 236,352) were processed in comparison with the same period in 2019 (n = 321,466) for a relative reduction of 26.5%. The overall malignancy rate showed a statistically significant increase (12,442 [5.26%] vs 12,882 [4.01%]; P < .001) during the same time period. Similar results were obtained if both malignancy and suspicious for malignancy rates were considered together (15,759 [6.58%] vs 16,011 [4.98%]; P < .001). Conclusions. The data showed a persistent reduction in the cytological specimen volume during the post-lockdown period (2020). However, the relative increase in the cytological workload in the late part of the post-lockdown is a promising finding of a slow return to normality.
Keywords: covid-19, neoplasms, early detection of cancer, lung -- pathology -- cytology, diagnostic screening programs, fine-needle biopsy, cytopathology, fine-needle aspiration, malignancy rate
Published in DiRROS: 07.02.2022; Views: 245; Downloads: 68
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Heterogeneous response of airway eosinophilia to anti-IL-5 biologics in severe asthma patients
Maruša Kopač, Matija Rijavec, Peter Korošec, Urška Bidovec, Izidor Kern, Romana Vantur, Sabina Škrgat, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Many questions concerning responders (R) and nonresponders (NR) in severe eosinophilic asthma (SEA) after blocking the IL-5 (interleukin 5) pathway are still not clear, especially regarding the early parameters of response to biologics in personalized treatment strategies. We evaluated 17 SEA patients treated with anti-IL-5 biologics (16 patients mepolizumab, one patient benralizumab) before the introduction of biologics, and at a week 16 follow-up. Clinical, cellular and immunological parameters in peripheral blood were measured in R and NR. Sputum induction with the measurement of cellular and immunological parameters was performed at 16 weeks only. There were 12 R and 5 NR to biologics. After 16 weeks, there was a significant improvement in percentages of FEV1 (p = 0.001), and asthma control test (ACT) (p = 0.001) in the R group, but not in NR. After 16 weeks, the eosinophils in induced sputum were 27.0% in NR and 4.5% in R (p = 0.05), with no difference in IL-5 concentrations (p = 0.743). Peripheral eosinophilia decreased significantly in NR (p = 0.032) and R (p = 0.002). In patients with SEA on anti-IL-5 therapy, there was a marked difference in airway eosinophilic inflammation between R and NR already at 16 weeks, after anti-IL-5 introduction.
Published in DiRROS: 13.01.2022; Views: 388; Downloads: 229
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Covid-19 pulmonary pathology : the experience of European pulmonary pathologists throughout the first two waves of the pandemic
Francesco Fortarezza, Federica Pezzuto, Paul Hofman, Izidor Kern, Angel Panizo, Jan von der Thüsen, Sergei Timofeev, Gregor Gorkiewicz, Sabina Berezowska, Laurence de Level, Cristian Ortiz-Villalón, Francesca Lunardi, Fiorella Calabrese, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Autoptic studies of patients who died from COVID-19 constitute an important step forward in improving our knowledge in the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Systematic analyses of lung tissue, the organ primarily targeted by the disease, were mostly performed during the first wave of the pandemic. Analyses of pathological lesions at different times offer a good opportunity to better understand the disease and how its evolution has been influenced mostly by new SARS-CoV-2 variants or the different therapeutic approaches. In this short report we summarize responses collected from a questionnaire survey that investigated important pathological data during the first two pandemic waves (spring-summer 2020; autumn-winter 2020–2021). The survey was submitted to expert lung pathologists from nine European countries involved in autoptic procedures in both pandemic waves. The frequency of each lung lesion was quite heterogeneous among the participants. However, a higher frequency of pulmonary superinfections, both bacterial and especially fungal, was observed in the second wave compared to the first. Obtaining a deeper knowledge of the pathological lesions at the basis of this complex and severe disease, which change over time, is crucial for correct patient management and treatment. Autoptic examination is a useful tool to achieve this goal.
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, autopsy, lung - pathology, pulmonary aspergillosis
Published in DiRROS: 13.01.2022; Views: 415; Downloads: 239
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Case report : congenital extrahepatic portocaval shunt presenting as pulmonary arterial hypertension in a pregnant patient
Matevž Harlander, Maja Badovinac, Frosina Markoska, Barbara Salobir, Tomaž Štupnik, Marija Dolenšek, Izidor Kern, Vojka Gorjup, Nazzareno Galiè, 2022, short scientific article

Abstract: Congenital extrahepatic portocaval shunt (CEPS) is a rare condition in which a rare congenital vascular anomaly of the portal system is present. CEPS may manifest as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). When diagnosed and treated early, PAH can be reversible. We report a case of a previously asymptomatic woman, who manifested with severe pulmonary hypertension during pregnancy and was consequently diagnosed with CEPS. After unsuccessful medical treatment, urgent lung transplantation was done.
Keywords: pulmonary hypertension, pregnancy, congenital extrahepatic portocaval shunt, Abernethy malformation, pulmonary arterial hypertension
Published in DiRROS: 10.01.2022; Views: 313; Downloads: 190
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Mnenje za spremljanje bolnikov po preboleli covidni pljučnici
Matjaž Turel, Natalija Edelbaher, Matjaž Fležar, Matevž Harlander, Peter Kecelj, Izidor Kern, Majda Kočar, Peter Kopač, Mitja Košnik, Robert Marčun, Igor Požek, Mirjana Rajer, Irena Šarc, Jurij Šorli, Dušanka Vidovič, Katarina Osolnik, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Pljučnica je najpogostejši vzrok za težji potek okužbe z virusom SARS-CoV-2 in s hospitalizacijo. Potek covidne pljučnice je lahko različen; infiltrati, vidni na rentgenski sliki, se lahko resorbirajo spontano, včasih pa je potrebno zdravljenje s sistem-skimi glukokortikoidi. Ob odpustu iz bolnišnice zdravljenje običajno še ni končano, zato je Združenje pulmologov Slovenije v želji po enotnem obravnavanju bolnikov s covidno pljučnico izdelalo mnenje za obravnavo in sledenje bolnikov po od-pustu iz bolnišnice. Zavedamo se, da ob novi bolezni ne gre za dokončno priporočilo, saj bodo nova spoznanja o covidni pljučnici zanesljivo zahtevala obnavljanje priporočil.
Keywords: covid-19, mnenja, pljučnica, pulmologija, sistemski glukokortikoidi, covidna pljučnica
Published in DiRROS: 15.12.2021; Views: 549; Downloads: 62
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Gene expression levels of the prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins PHD1 and PHD2 but not PHD3 are decreased in primary tumours and correlate with poor prognosis of patients with surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer
Ana Koren, Matija Rijavec, Tomaž Krumpestar, Izidor Kern, Aleksander Sadikov, Tanja Čufer, Peter Korošec, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Hypoxia correlates with poor prognosis in several cancer types, including lung cancer. Prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins (PHDs) play a role in cell oxygen sensing, negatively regulating the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway. Our study aim was to evaluate PHD1, PHD2 and PHD3 mRNA expression levels in primary tumours and normal lungs of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and to correlate it with selected regulators of HIF signalling, with clinicopathological characteristics and overall survival (OS). Methods: Tumour tissue samples were obtained from 60 patients with surgically resected NSCLC who were treated with radical surgery. In 22 out of 60 cases, matching morphologically normal lung tissue was obtained. PHD1, PHD2 and PHD3 mRNA expressions were measured using RT-qPCR. Results: The PHD1 and PHD2 mRNA levels in primary tumours were significantly decreased compared to those in normal lungs (both p < 0.0001). PHD1 and PHD2 expression in tumours was positively correlated (rs = 0.82; p < 0.0001) and correlated well with HIF pathway downstream genes HIF1A, PKM2 and PDK1. Decreased PHD1 and PHD2 were associated with larger tumour size, higher tumour stage (PHD1 only) and squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with low PHD1 and patients with low PHD2 expression had shorter OS than patients with high PHD1 (p = 0.02) and PHD2 expression (p = 0.01). PHD1 showed borderline independent prognostic values in multivariate analysis (p = 0.06). In contrast, we found no associations between PHD3 expression and any of the observed parameters. Conclusions: Our results show that reduced expression of PHD1 and PHD2 is associated with the development and progression of NSCLC. PHD1 could be further assessed as a prognostic marker in NSCLC.
Keywords: non-small-cell lung carcinoma, prognosis, non-small cell lung cancer, mRNA expression, prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins
Published in DiRROS: 21.05.2021; Views: 745; Downloads: 525
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