Inherited and acquired clinical phenotypes associated with neuroendocrine tumors

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Overview of neuroendocrine neoplasms in the context of their associations with primary and secondary immunodeficiency states.

Recent findings

Malignancies of neuroendocrine origin are well known to be associated with hereditary syndromes, including multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, von Hippel–Lindau syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1, and tuberous sclerosis. This review includes the X-linked form of hyper-IgM syndrome (XHIGM), due to mutations in the CD40Ligand gene (CD40LG), as an additional inherited disorder with susceptibility to such malignancies, and discusses neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) arising in other immunocompromised states. Of all primary immune deficiency diseases, NETs appear to be unique to XHIGM patients. Outcomes for XHIGM patients with NETs is poor, and the mechanism behind this association remains unclear. In secondary immune deficiency states, NET occurrences were primarily in patients with HIV or AIDS, the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus and solid organ transplant recipients. Gastroenteropancreatic NETs were most frequent in XHIGM patients, whereas nongastroenteropancreatic–NETs, like Merkel cell carcinoma and small-cell lung carcinoma, affected HIV/AIDS patients. Possible mechanisms as to the nature of these associations are discussed, including chronic infections and inflammation, and CD40–CD40L interactions. Many questions remain, and further studies are needed to clarify the predisposition of patients with XHIGM to the development of NETs. Given that many of these patients present late in their disease state and have poor outcomes, it is imperative to keep a high index of suspicion at the advent of early signs and symptoms. Regular monitoring with laboratory or imaging studies, including tumor markers, may be warranted, for which further studies are needed.

Summary

Of all primary immunodeficiency diseases, NETs appear to be unique to XHIGM, and the mechanism behind this association remains unclear. Outcome for XHIGM patients with NETs is poor, and it is imperative to keep a high index of suspicion at the advent of early signs and symptoms.

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