Identification of functional pathways and molecular signatures in neuroendocrine neoplasms by multi-omics analysis

J Transl Med. 2022 Jul 6;20(1):306. doi: 10.1186/s12967-022-03511-7.


Background: Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) represent a heterogeneous class of rare tumors with increasing incidence. They are characterized by the ability to secrete peptide hormones and biogenic amines but other reliable biomarkers are lacking, making diagnosis and identification of the primary site very challenging. While in some NENs, such as the pancreatic ones, next generation sequencing technologies allowed the identification of new molecular hallmarks, our knowledge of the molecular profile of NENs from other anatomical sites is still poor.

Methods: Starting from the concept that NENs from different organs may be clinically and genetically correlated, we applied a multi-omics approach by combining multigene panel testing, CGH-array, transcriptome and miRNome profiling and computational analyses, with the aim to highlight common molecular and functional signatures of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP)-NENs and medullary thyroid carcinomas (MTCs) that could aid diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.

Results: By comparing genomic and transcriptional profiles, ATM-dependent signaling emerged among the most significant pathways at multiple levels, involving gene variations and miRNA-mediated regulation, thus representing a novel putative druggable pathway in these cancer types. Moreover, a set of circulating miRNAs was also selected as possible diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers useful for clinical management of NENs.

Conclusions: These findings depict a complex molecular and functional landscape of NENs, shedding light on novel therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers to be exploited.

Keywords: ATM signaling; Circulating biomarkers; Molecular signatures; Neuroendocrine neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine* / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / diagnosis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / genetics
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Prognosis