RNA-Sequencing and Somatic Mutation Status of Adrenocortical Tumors: Novel Pathogenetic Insights

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Authors

  • Guido Di Dalmazi
  • Barbara Altieri
  • Claus Scholz
  • Silviu Sbiera
  • Michaela Luconi
  • Jens Waldmann
  • Darko Kastelan
  • Filippo Ceccato
  • Iacopo Chiodini
  • Giorgio Arnaldi
  • Anna Riester
  • Andrea Osswald
  • Felix Beuschlein
  • Sascha Sauer
  • Martin Fassnacht
  • Silke Appenzeller

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Context
Pathogenesis of autonomous steroid secretion and adrenocortical tumorigenesis remains partially obscure.

Objective
To investigate the relationship between transcriptome profile and genetic background in a large series of adrenocortical tumors and identify new potential pathogenetic mechanisms.

Design
Cross-sectional study.

Setting
University Hospitals of the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumors (ENSAT).

Patients
We collected snap-frozen tissue from patients with adrenocortical tumors (n=59) with known genetic background: 26 adenomas with Cushing syndrome (CS-CPAs), 17 adenomas with mild autonomous cortisol secretion (MACS-CPAs), 9 endocrine-inactive adenomas (EIAs), and 7 adrenocortical carcinomas (ACCs).

Intervention
RNA-sequencing.

Main Outcome Measures
Gene expression, long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) expression, and gene fusions. Correlation with genetic background defined by targeted Sanger-Sequencing, targeted panel- or whole-exome sequencing.

Results
Transcriptome analysis identified two major clusters for adenomas: Cluster 1 (n=32) mainly consisting of MACS-CPAs with CTNNB1 or without identified driver mutations (46.9% of cases) and 8/9 EIAs; Cluster 2 (n=18) that comprised CP-CPAs with or without identified driver mutation in 83.3% of cases (including all CS-CPAs with PRKACA mutation). Two CS-CPAs, one with CTNNB1 and one with GNAS mutation, clustered separately and relatively close to ACC. lncRNA analysis well differentiate adenomas from ACCs. Novel gene fusions were found, including AKAP13-PDE8A in one CS-CPA sample with no driver mutation.

Conclusions
MACS-CPAs and EIAs showed a similar transcriptome profile, independently of the genetic background, whereas most CS-CPAs clustered together. Still unrevealed molecular alterations in the cAMP/PKA or Wnt/beta catenin pathways might be involved in the pathogenesis of adrenocortical tumors.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdgaa616
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • adrenocortical adenoma, Cushing syndrome, mild autonomous cortisol excess, transcriptome, gene fusions, long non-coding RNA