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Expression and methylation status of MMR and MGMT in well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and potential clinical applications

Endocrine. 2022 Jun 16. doi: 10.1007/s12020-022-03102-y. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Recent studies claim that immune checkpoint inhibitors are effective in defective mismatch repair (dMMR) cancers. This raises the question of whether similar therapies are effective in PanNETs (pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors); however, in general, assessment of MMR status in PanNETs has been inconsistent in previous studies. MGMT (O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) is potentially important for guiding temozolomide (TMZ) therapy in glioblastoma. The number of reports on MGMT expression and promoter methylation in PanNETs are limited.

METHODS: In this study we assessed the expression of MGMT and MMR proteins MSH2, MSH6, MLH1 and PMS2 in a series of PanNETs by IHC. The methylation status of MGMT and MMR genes in a subset of PanNETs was further assessed by MS-MLPA analysis. Survival curves were constructed using the Kaplan-Meier method, and differences were assessed using the log-rank test. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to determine the prognostic value of the variables.

RESULTS: According to evaluation criteria for mismatch repair defects, none of PanNETs shown nuclear staining loss for MSH2, MSH6, MLH1, and PMS2. MGMT low-intensity PanNETs were more commonly found in higher grade, higher Ki67 index and non-functional tumors (P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, stage III-IV and low-intensity MGMT were shown to be independent risk factors for progression of PanNETs in the entire cohort, non-functioning subgroup and G2 subgroup (P < 0.05 for all). MGMT promoter methylation tended to be higher in the group with low expression of MGMT, However, methylation of MGMT did not statistically correlate with low expression of MGMT (P = 0.153).

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our study suggests that decreased expression of MGMT but not MMR is associated with a higher risk of progression of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

PMID:35708896 | DOI:10.1007/s12020-022-03102-y

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