Mass spectrometry imaging identifies metabolic patterns associated with malignant potential in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma

Masanori Murakami, Na Sun, Christian Greunke, Annette Feuchtinger, Stefan Kircher, Timo Deutschbein, Thomas Papathomas, Nicole Bechmann, Paal William Wallace, Mirko Peitzsch, Esther Korpershoek, Juliane Friemel, Anne Paule Gimenez-Roqueplo, Mercedes Robledo, Henri J.L.M. Timmers, Letizia Canu, Achim Weber, Ronald R. de Krijger, Martin Fassnacht, Thomas KnöselThomas Kirchner, Martin Reincke, Axel Karl Walch, Matthias Kroiss*, Felix Beuschlein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Within the past decade, important genetic drivers of pheochrom ocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGLs) development have been identified. The pathophysiological mechanism that translates these alterations into functional autonomy and potentially malignant behavior has not been elucidated in detail. Here we used MALDI-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens to comprehensively characterize the metabolic profiles of PPGLs. Design and methods: MALDI-MSI was conducted in 344 PPGLs and results correlated wit h genetic and phenotypic information. We experimentally silenced genetic drivers by siRN A in PC12 cells to confirm their metabolic impact in vitro. Results: Tissue abundance of kynurenine pathway metabolites such as xan thurenic acid was significantly lower (P = 2.35E-09) in the pseudohypoxia pathway cluster 1 compared to PPGLs of the kinase-driven PPGLs cluster 2. Lower abundance of xanthurenic acid was associated with shorter metas tasis-free survival (log-rank tests P = 7.96E-06) and identified as a risk factor for metastasis independent of the ge netic status (hazard ratio, 32.6, P = 0.002). Knockdown of Sdhb and Vhl in an in vitro model demonstrated that inositol metabolism and sialic acids w ere similarly modulated as in tumors of the respective cluster. Conclusions: The present study has identified distinct tissue metabolomic pr ofiles of PPGLs in relation to tumor genotypes. In addition, we revealed significantly altered metabo lites in the kynurenine pathway in metastatic PPGLs, which can aid in the prediction of its malignant potential. How ever, further validation studies will be required to confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) project number 314061271 (CRC/TRR 205) to F.B.? M. Reincke.? M.F.? A.K.W.? N.B.? M.P. and P.W.? and 阀NST 515/28-1 FUGG to M.P.? and the German Cancer Aid (project number 70112617) to F.B.? M.F.? M.K. and A.K.W.? and by the Clinical Research Priority Program of the University of Zurich for the CRPP HYRENE to F.B. M. Robledo was supported by the 阀nstituto de Salud Carlos 阃阃阀 ( 阀SC 阃阃阀)? Acción Estratégica en Salud? (grant P 阀17/01796)? and the Paradi 贀erence Foundation. M.M. was supported by the Japan Heart Foundation/Bayer Yakuhin Research Grant Abroad and a postdoctoral fellowship of the Uehara Memorial Foundation. This study is partially based on the FP7 funded ENSAT-Cancer program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 European Society of Endocrinology.


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