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  • Mechanistic insights into immune checkpoint inhibitor-related hypophysitis: a form of paraneoplastic syndrome.

Mechanistic insights into immune checkpoint inhibitor-related hypophysitis: a form of paraneoplastic syndrome.

Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII (2021-05-13)
Keitaro Kanie, Genzo Iguchi, Hironori Bando, Shin Urai, Hiroki Shichi, Yasunori Fujita, Ryusaku Matsumoto, Kentaro Suda, Masaaki Yamamoto, Hidenori Fukuoka, Wataru Ogawa, Yutaka Takahashi
ABSTRACT

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) as a cancer immunotherapy have emerged as a treatment for multiple advanced cancer types. Because of enhanced immune responses, immune-related adverse events (irAEs), including endocrinopathies such as hypophysitis, have been associated with the use of ICIs. Most underlying mechanisms of ICI-related hypophysitis remain unclear, especially for programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitors. We hypothesized that ICI-related hypophysitis is associated with paraneoplastic syndrome caused by ectopic expression of pituitary-specific antigens. Twenty consecutive patients with ICI-related hypophysitis between 2017 and 2019 at Kobe University Hospital were retrospectively analyzed. Circulating anti-pituitary antibodies were detected using immunofluorescence staining and immunoblotting. Ectopic expression of pituitary autoantigens in tumor specimens was also examined. Eighteen patients were treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, and two were treated with a combination of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and PD-1 inhibitors. All patients showed adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency and additionally, three showed thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) deficiency, and one showed gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency. Among these patients, three exhibited anti-pituitary antibodies, two with anti-corticotroph antibody and one with anti-somatotroph antibody. Interestingly, the anti-corticotroph antibody recognized proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and those two patients exhibited ectopic ACTH expression in the tumor, while the patients without anti-corticotroph antibody did not. We demonstrated 10% of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors-related hypophysitis were associated with the autoimmunity against corticotrophs and maybe caused as a form of paraneoplastic syndrome, in which ectopic expression of ACTH in the tumor was observed. It is also suggested that the pathophysiology is heterogenous in ICI-related hypophysitis.

MATERIALS
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Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-POMC antibody produced in rabbit, purified immunoglobulin, buffered aqueous solution