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"A derivative of the insecticide DICHLORODIPHENYLDICHLOROETHANE that specifically inhibits cells of the adrenal cortex and their production of hormones. It is used to treat adrenocortical tumors and causes CNS damage, but no bone marrow depression." (MeSH 2013)

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Web Resources: Mitotane
Latest Research Publications

Web Resources: Mitotane (5 links)

Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Calabrese A, Basile V, Puglisi S, et al.
Adjuvant mitotane therapy is beneficial in non-metastatic adrenocortical carcinoma at high risk of recurrence.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2019; 180(6):387-396 [PubMed] Related Publications
Objective Many patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) suffer from tumor recurrence despite radical surgery. Evidence on the post-operative use of mitotane is controversial and no predictors of response are available. We aimed to assess whether adjuvant mitotane treatment may prolong survival in patients with non-metastatic ACC following complete resection and whether ACC patients at high risk of recurrence may benefit from treatment. Design and methods We retrospectively reviewed data from 152 non-metastatic ACC patients followed at the San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital: 100 patients were treated with adjuvant mitotane and 52 patients were left untreated following surgery. We assessed a number of potential predictive factors of recurrence and death. Mitotane effect was explored stratifying patients by staging (stage I-II vs stage III), hormone secretion (yes vs no) and Ki67 index. Results The non-treated group had a higher risk of recurrence (HR: 2.79, 95%CI: 1.58-4.91; P < 0.001) than mitotane-treated group, while overall survival was not significantly different between groups. Hormone secretion, elevated Weiss score and elevated Ki67 index confer a higher risk of both recurrence and death and stage III ACC of death. Adjuvant mitotane treatment reduced significantly the risk of death in patients with elevated Ki67 index (P = 0.005) and in patients with stage III ACC (P = 0.02). Conclusions Adjuvant mitotane may prolong recurrence-free survival in radically resected ACC patients with acceptable toxicity and may also prolong overall survival in a subgroup of ACC patients at high risk of recurrence.

Boulate G, Amazit L, Naman A, et al.
Potentiation of mitotane action by rosuvastatin: New insights for adrenocortical carcinoma management.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(6):2149-2156 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitotane (also termed o,p'‑DDD) is the most effective therapy for advanced adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Mitotane‑induced dyslipidemia is treated with statins. Mitotane and statins are known to exert anti‑proliferative effects in vitro; however, the effects of statins have never been directly evaluated in patients with ACC and ACC cells, at least to the best of our knowledge. Thus, in this study, we aimed to examine the effects of the rosuvastatin on ACC cells. It has been shown that the combined use of mitotane and statins significantly increases the tumor control rate in patients with ACC; however, it would be of interest to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in this potentiation. In this study, we examined the effects of mitotane, rosuvastatin and their combination in NCI‑H295R human ACC cells using proliferation assays, gene expression analyses and free intracellular cholesterol measurements. The results revealed that mitotane dose‑dependently reduced cell viability, induced apoptosis and increased intracellular free cholesterol levels, considered as one of the key features of mitotane action, while rosuvastatin alone reduced cell viability and increased apoptosis at high concentrations. We also demonstrated that rosuvastatin potentiated the effects of mitotane by reducing cell viability, inducing apoptosis, increasing intracellular free cholesterol levels, and by decreasing the expression of 3‑hydroxy‑3‑methylglutaryl‑CoA reductase (HMGCR) and ATP binding cassette subfamily a member 1 (ABCA1), genes involved in cholesterol metabolism, and inhibiting steroidogenesis. Collectively, potentiating the effects of mitotane with the use of rosuvastatin may provide novel therapeutic strategies for ACC, given that the combination of these drugs, pending clinical validation, may lead to the better management of ACC.

Di Paolo A, Ciofi L, Bacca A, Bernini G
A case report of a TDM-guided optimization of mitotane for a safe and effective long-term treatment.
J Chemother. 2019; 31(2):105-108 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 43-years old woman was diagnosed an adrenocortical carcinoma (AC) that was excised, whereas two lung metastases were un-operable. Mitotane 6 g/day was started as standard therapy but it was responsible for severe central nervous system (CNS) and gastrointestinal toxicities associated with a 10 kg body weight loss. A therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) protocol demonstrated that mitotane plasma concentrations (>30 mg/L) exceeded the therapeutic range (14-20 mg/L) and increased even when drug daily dose was reduced by 50%. The increase in drug plasma concentrations was probably due to body slimming. Under continuous TDM control, a reduced mitotane dose (1.5 g/day) was definitively administered and it proved to be tolerable and effective. Indeed, lung metastases were excised and two years later there was no evidence of other neoplastic lesions. In conclusion, the adoption of therapeutic mitotane monitoring allowed the treatment of an AC patient with a reduced, tolerable and effective dose.

Sbiera S, Kendl S, Weigand I, et al.
Hsp90 inhibition in adrenocortical carcinoma: Limited drug synergism with mitotane.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2019; 480:36-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
90 kDa heat shock proteins (Hsp90) act as protein chaperones and play a role in modulating endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Hsp90 inhibitors are under clinical investigation as cancer treatment. Mitotane therapy of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) has been shown to act through lipid-induced ER-stress. To explore the potential of Hsp90 inhibitors in ACC as a single agent and in combination with mitotane, we analyzed two independent gene expression data sets of adrenal tumors in silico and treated the ACC cell line model NCI-H295 with Hsp90 inhibitors BIIB021 (B) and CCT18159 (C) alone and in combination with mitotane. ER-stress markers were monitored by immunoblotting. Drug synergism was quantified using the median effect model with cell viability as read-out. Cytosolic Hsp90 isoforms AA1 and AB1 were significantly overexpressed in ACC. Viability of H295 cells was impaired by B and C as single agents with an EC

Fassnacht M, Dekkers OM, Else T, et al.
European Society of Endocrinology Clinical Practice Guidelines on the management of adrenocortical carcinoma in adults, in collaboration with the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumors
Eur J Endocrinol. 2018; 179(4):G1-G46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and in most cases steroid hormone-producing tumor with variable prognosis. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide clinicians with best possible evidence-based recommendations for clinical management of patients with ACC based on the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. We predefined four main clinical questions, which we judged as particularly important for the management of ACC patients and performed systematic literature searches: (A) What is needed to diagnose an ACC by histopathology? (B) Which are the best prognostic markers in ACC? (C) Is adjuvant therapy able to prevent recurrent disease or reduce mortality after radical resection? (D) What is the best treatment option for macroscopically incompletely resected, recurrent or metastatic disease? Other relevant questions were discussed within the group. Selected Recommendations: (i) We recommend that all patients with suspected and proven ACC are discussed in a multidisciplinary expert team meeting. (ii) We recommend that every patient with (suspected) ACC should undergo careful clinical assessment, detailed endocrine work-up to identify autonomous hormone excess and adrenal-focused imaging. (iii) We recommend that adrenal surgery for (suspected) ACC should be performed only by surgeons experienced in adrenal and oncological surgery aiming at a complete en bloc resection (including resection of oligo-metastatic disease). (iv) We suggest that all suspected ACC should be reviewed by an expert adrenal pathologist using the Weiss score and providing Ki67 index. (v) We suggest adjuvant mitotane treatment in patients after radical surgery that have a perceived high risk of recurrence (ENSAT stage III, or R1 resection, or Ki67 >10%). (vi) For advanced ACC not amenable to complete surgical resection, local therapeutic measures (e.g. radiation therapy, radiofrequency ablation, chemoembolization) are of particular value. However, we suggest against the routine use of adrenal surgery in case of widespread metastatic disease. In these patients, we recommend either mitotane monotherapy or mitotane, etoposide, doxorubicin and cisplatin depending on prognostic parameters. In selected patients with a good response, surgery may be subsequently considered. (vii) In patients with recurrent disease and a disease-free interval of at least 12 months, in whom a complete resection/ablation seems feasible, we recommend surgery or alternatively other local therapies. Furthermore, we offer detailed recommendations about the management of mitotane treatment and other supportive therapies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research.

Farooq AU, Amjad W, Kochar T, Adhikari S
Mitotane-induced dyspnoea: an unusual side effect.
BMJ Case Rep. 2018; 2018 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitotane is a cytostatic antineoplastic agent that is used in the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma and Cushing's syndrome. The commonly reported side effects associated with mitotane are anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased memory, rash, gynaecomastia, arthralgias and leucopenia. We present a case of a 68-year-old female who developed gradual dyspnoea concurrent with the use of mitotane for the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma. To the best of our knowledge and literate review, this is the first reported case of dyspnoea associated with the use of this medication. The purpose of this case report is to raise awareness about this uncommon adverse effect of mitotane that may have gone unrecognised on postmarketing surveillance because of under-reporting, lack of case follow-up or other comorbidities masking shortness of breath.

Arshad U, Taubert M, Kurlbaum M, et al.
Enzyme autoinduction by mitotane supported by population pharmacokinetic modelling in a large cohort of adrenocortical carcinoma patients.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2018; 179(5):287-297 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Mitotane is used for the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma. High oral daily doses of typically 1- 6 g are required to attain therapeutic concentrations. The drug has a narrow therapeutic index and patient management is difficult because of a high volume of distribution, very long elimination half-life, and drug interaction through induction of metabolizing enzymes. The present evaluation aimed at the development of a population pharmacokinetic model of mitotane to facilitate therapeutic drug monitoring.
METHODS: Appropriate dosing information, plasma concentrations (1137 data points) and covariates were available from therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of 76 adrenocortical carcinoma patients treated with mitotane. Using nonlinear mixed effects modeling, a simple structural model was first developed, with subsequent introduction of metabolic autoinduction. Covariate data were analyzed to improve overall model predictability. Simulations were performed to assess the attainment of therapeutic concentrations with clinical dosing schedules.
RESULTS: A one-compartment pharmacokinetic model with first order absorption was found suitable to describe the data, with an estimated central volume of distribution of 6086 L related to a high interindividual variability of 81.5%. Increase in clearance of mitotane during treatment could be modeled by a linear enzyme autoinduction process. Body mass index was found to have an influence upon disposition kinetics of mitotane. Model simulations favor a high dose regimen to rapidly attain therapeutic concentrations, with the first TDM suggested on day 16 of treatment to avoid systemic toxicity.
CONCLUSION: The proposed model describes mitotane pharmacokinetics and can be used to facilitate therapy by predicting plasma concentrations.

Tang Y, Liu Z, Zou Z, et al.
Benefits of Adjuvant Mitotane after Resection of Adrenocortical Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Biomed Res Int. 2018; 2018:9362108 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: The adjuvant use of mitotane on adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) has always been in controversy. We aimed to assess the prognostic benefits of adjuvant mitotane after resection of ACC in patients without distant metastasis.
Methods: The PubMed, WoS, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched. Recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were adopted as measurements. A meta-analysis was conducted based on hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). A study was included only if the enrolled patients underwent resection of ACC without adjuvant chemotherapy except mitotane.
Results: A total of 5 retrospective studies reporting on 1249 patients were included for this meta-analysis. The meta-analysis showed that adjuvant mitotane was significantly associated with prolonged RFS (HR = 0.62; 95%CI, 0.42-0.94; P < 0.05) and prolonged OS (HR = 0.69; 95%CI, 0.55-0.88, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: After comprehensive review, current evidence suggests that adjuvant mitotane significantly decreases the recurrence rate and mortality after resection of ACC in patients without distant metastasis, but these findings need further demonstration from prospective controlled trials.

Germano A, Saba L, De Francia S, et al.
CYP11B1 has no role in mitotane action and metabolism in adrenocortical carcinoma cells.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0196931 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mitotane is the reference drug for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and the metabolic activation of the drug is considered as essential for its activity. The aim of this study was to assess the role of CYP11B1 on mitotane action and metabolism in H295R ACC cells to understand whether this enzyme may influence mitotane action. The simultaneous incubation with mitotane and metyrapone, an adrenolytic molecule targeting 11-beta-hydroxylase, did not influence mitotane-mediated cytotoxic effect and metabolism in H295R ACC cells. CYP11B1 silencing confirmed the lack of a significant metyrapone effect on mitotane action. The present findings do not support the view that CYP11B1 catalyzes a crucial step in the metabolic activation of mitotane and that CYP11B1 confers the adrenal specificity to mitotane.

Ruggiero C, Doghman-Bouguerra M, Ronco C, et al.
The GRP78/BiP inhibitor HA15 synergizes with mitotane action against adrenocortical carcinoma cells through convergent activation of ER stress pathways.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2018; 474:57-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many types of cancer cells present constitutively activated ER stress pathways because of their significant burden of misfolded proteins coded by mutated and rearranged genes. Further increase of ER stress by pharmacological intervention may shift the balance towards cell death and can be exploited therapeutically. Recent studies have shown that an important component in the mechanism of action of mitotane, the only approved drug for the medical treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), is represented by activation of ER stress through inhibition of the SOAT1 enzyme and accumulation of toxic lipids. Here we show that HA15, a novel inhibitor of the essential ER chaperone GRP78/BiP, inhibits ACC H295R cell proliferation and steroidogenesis and is able to synergize with mitotane action. These results suggest that convergent activation of ER stress pathways by drugs acting via different mechanisms represents a valuable therapeutic option for ACC.

Megerle F, Herrmann W, Schloetelburg W, et al.
Mitotane Monotherapy in Patients With Advanced Adrenocortical Carcinoma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018; 103(4):1686-1695 [PubMed] Related Publications
Context: Although mitotane is the only approved drug for the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), data on monotherapy in advanced disease are still scarce.
Objective: To assess the efficacy of mitotane in advanced ACC in a contemporary setting and to identify predictive factors.
Design and Setting: Multicenter cohort study of three German referral centers.
Patients: One hundred twenty-seven patients with advanced ACC treated with mitotane monotherapy.
Outcome Measures: Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors evaluation, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) by Kaplan-Meier method, and predictive factors by Cox regression.
Results: Twenty-six patients (20.5%) experienced objective response, including three with complete remission. Overall, median PFS was 4.1 months (range 1.0 to 73) and median OS 18.5 months (range 1.3 to 220). Multivariate analysis indicated two main predictive factors: low tumor burden (<10 tumoral lesions), hazard ratio (HR) for progression of 0.51 (P = 0.002) and for death of 0.59 (P = 0.017); and initiation of mitotane at delayed advanced recurrence, HR 0.35(P < 0.001) and 0.34 (P < 0.001), respectively. Accordingly, 67% of patients with low tumor burden and mitotane initiation ≥360 days after primary diagnosis experienced a clinical benefit (stable disease >180 days). Patients who achieved mitotane levels >14 mg/L had significantly longer OS (HR 0.42; P = 0.003).
Conclusions: At 20.5% the objective response rate was slightly lower than previously reported. However, >20% of patients experienced long-term disease control at >1 year. In general, patients with late diagnosis of advanced disease and low tumor burden might especially benefit from mitotane monotherapy, whereas patients with early advanced disease and high tumor burden are probably better candidates for combined therapy of mitotane and cytotoxic drugs.

Chortis V, Johal NJ, Bancos I, et al.
Mitotane treatment in patients with metastatic testicular Leydig cell tumor associated with severe androgen excess.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2018; 178(3):K21-K27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mitotane (o,p'DDD) is established in the adjuvant and advanced-stage treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma and counteracts both tumor growth and tumor-related steroid production. Both the adrenal glands and the gonads are steroidogenically active organs and share a common embryogenic origin. Here, we describe the effects of mitotane in two patients with metastatic Leydig cell tumor (LCT) of the testes and associated severe androgen excess (serum testosterone 93 and 88 nmol/L, respectively; male reference range 7-27 nmol/L). Both men suffered from severe restlessness, insomnia and irritability, which they described as intolerable and disrupting normal life activities. Urinary steroid profiling by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) confirmed excess androgen production and revealed concurrent overproduction of glucocorticoids and glucocorticoid precursors, which under physiological conditions are produced only by the adrenal glands but not by the gonads. In a palliative approach, they were commenced on mitotane, which achieved swift control of the hormone excess and the debilitating clinical symptoms, restoring normal quality of life. GC-MS demonstrated normalization of steroid production and decreased 5α-reductase activity, resulting in decreased androgen activation, and imaging demonstrated disease stabilization for 4-10 months. In conclusion, mitotane can be highly effective in controlling steroid excess in metastatic LCTs, with anti-tumor activity in some cases.

Vezzosi D, Do Cao C, Hescot S, et al.
Time Until Partial Response in Metastatic Adrenocortical Carcinoma Long-Term Survivors.
Horm Cancer. 2018; 9(1):62-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
A partial response (PR) has been proposed as a surrogate for overall survival in advanced adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). The primary endpoint of the study was to characterize the time until a PR in patients with metastatic ACC treated with a standard therapy is achieved. Long-term survivors were selected to allow evaluation of delayed tumor response to mitotane. Records from patients with metastatic ACC that survived for > 24 months were retrieved. Tumor response was analyzed according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.1 criteria. Time until a tumor response, after treatment initiation or therapeutic plasma mitotane level, was analyzed. Sixty-eight patients were analyzed. The first-line systemic therapy was mitotane as a monotherapy (M) (n = 57) or cytotoxic polychemotherapy plus/minus mitotane (PC ± M) (n = 11). The second-line therapy was M (n = 2) or PC ± M (n = 41). Thirty-two PRs occurred in 30/68 patients (44.1%): this was obtained for 13 (40.6%) during M and during PC ± M for 19/32 responders (59.4%). PRs were observed within 6 months of starting M or PC ± M in 76.9 and 94.7% of responses, respectively, within 6 months of therapeutic plasma mitotane being first observed in 88.9% of responses with M and in 53.3% of responses with PC ± M. All PRs (but one) occurred within 1 year after initiating treatment. To conclude, Most patients with metastatic ACC and long survival times had PRs within the first 6 months of standard systemic therapy, and almost all within the first year. The absence of response after that period could be considered as a treatment failure. Maintenance of mitotane therapy in non-responders after 1 year should be questioned in future randomized trials.

Cusato J, De Francia S, Allegra S, et al.
Circannual variation of mitotane and its metabolites plasma levels in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma.
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2017; 69(11):1524-1530 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Mitotane is the reference drug for the adrenocortical carcinoma treatment; its pharmacological activity seems to depend on drug transformation in two active metabolites: o,p'-DDE (dichlorodiphenylethene) and o,p'-DDA (dichlorodiphenylacetate). Mitotane and metabolites are lipophilic agents; thus, they tend to accumulate into adipose tissues (white and brown), which change their prevalence seasonally. Aim of the work was to evaluate mitotane and metabolites plasma levels variation over the year, in adrenocortical cancer patients treated with Lysodren
METHODS: We enrolled a group of 86 adrenocortical carcinoma diagnosed patients, who underwent radical surgery and started mitotane as adjuvant treatment. For drug and metabolites plasma level (from samples collected ~12 h after the dose administration of mitotane, just before the subsequent administration) determination, a validated chromatographic method was used.
KEY FINDINGS: Results showed an evidence of a seasonal trend for the three substance (o,p'-DDD, o,p'-DDE and o,p'-DDA) plasma levels, in terms of acrophases and lower values. Furthermore, it came out that male patients need a higher significant mitotane drug dose than female patients to reach mitotane therapeutic window.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, this is the first study assessing a mitotane plasma level variation over the year, but further studies in larger cohorts are required.

Reimondo G, Puglisi S, Zaggia B, et al.
Effects of mitotane on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2017; 177(4):361-367 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Mitotane, a drug used to treat adrenocortical cancer (ACC), inhibits multiple enzymatic steps of adrenocortical steroid biosynthesis, potentially causing adrenal insufficiency. Recent studies
DESIGN AND METHODS: We prospectively enrolled 16 patients on adjuvant treatment with mitotane after radical surgical resection of ACC, who underwent standard hormone evaluation and h-CRH stimulation. A group of 10 patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) served as controls for the CRH test.
RESULTS: We demonstrated a close correlation between cortisol-binding globulin (CBG) and plasma mitotane levels, and a non-significant trend between mitotane dose and either serum or salivary cortisol in ACC patients. We did not find any correlation between the dose of cortisone acetate and either ACTH or cortisol levels. ACTH levels were significantly higher in patients with PAI than that in patients with ACC, both in baseline conditions (88.99 (11.04-275.00) vs 24.53 (6.16-121.88) pmol/L,
CONCLUSIONS: The observation of lower ACTH levels in patients with ACC than that in patients with PAI, both in basal conditions and after CRH stimulation, suggests that mitotane may play an inhibitory effect on ACTH secretion at the pituitary levels. In conclusion, the present study shows that mitotane affects the HPA axis at multiple levels and no single biomarker may be used for the assessment of adrenal insufficiency.

Reidy-Lagunes DL, Lung B, Untch BR, et al.
Complete Responses to Mitotane in Metastatic Adrenocortical Carcinoma-A New Look at an Old Drug.
Oncologist. 2017; 22(9):1102-1106 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Based largely on reports that predate modern reporting standards, mitotane has been considered a systemic treatment option for both hormone control and antitumor control of metastatic adrenocortical cancer (ACC), although the therapeutic window is narrow.
METHODS: We searched electronic medical records to identify patients with metastatic ACC treated and prescribed single-agent mitotane at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from March 15, 1989-September 18, 2015. Reference radiologists reviewed all imaging and determined efficacy according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors 1.1. Patient demographics, toxicities, and treatment outcomes were reviewed. Next-generation sequencing was performed in selected cases.
RESULTS: Thirty-six patients were identified. The mean age was 54 and 50% had functional tumors. Grade 3 or greater toxicities were documented in 16 out of 36 patients (44%) and 17% had documented long term adrenal insufficiency. Progression of the disease as the best response occurred in 30 out of 36 patients (83%) and one patient (3%) experienced clinical progression. Three patients achieved a complete response (CR) (8%), one patient achieved a partial response (3%), and one patient (3%) had stable disease after slow disease progression prior to initiation of therapy (durable for 6 months). All responders had nonfunctional tumors. Next-generation sequencing in two of the three CR patients was performed and failed to identify any novel alterations.
CONCLUSION: In this retrospective series, mitotane had a low response rate and low tumor control rate; however, a disproportionately high complete response rate suggested it should be used in selected individuals. Adrenal insufficiency is common with mitotane use and aggressive treatment with steroid supplementation should be considered when appropriate to avoid excess toxicities. Biomarkers are desperately needed to further define this disease.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This is the first objective report of single-agent mitotane using modern objective criteria. Although the vast majority of patients did not respond (and toxicity was high), we identified a remarkable 8% complete response rate (i.e. cure) in biopsy proven stage IV adrenocortical cancer patients. Biomarkers are desperately needed for this rare disease.

Waszut U, Szyszka P, Dworakowska D
Understanding mitotane mode of action.
J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017; 68(1):13-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare disease with poor prognosis. Mitotane is the most effective agent in post-operative treatment (or when inoperable). It selectively limits growth and bioactivity of adrenal tissue. Despite 60 years of use, the basis for its action has yet to be convincingly established. This review summarizes current knowledge of mitotane effects, based on studies on adrenal tissue and primary cell cultures, with emphasis on more recent studies of cell lines. We consider features of the adrenal cortex that might explain mitotane selectivity, and review effects on non-adrenal cells. Since the most clear-cut mitotane effects have been observed for mitochondria, this topic is the core of the review. Mitochondria present unique characteristics in steroidogenic tissue and are known to be important in malignancy development and apoptosis. We look at the evidence for mitotane activation within mitochondria, its impact on mitochondrial energy metabolism and other cellular processes as well as on downstream effects in the cell, such as apoptosis initiation. Further genomic and proteomic investigative studies are likely to yield useful results.

Berruti A, Grisanti S, Pulzer A, et al.
Long-Term Outcomes of Adjuvant Mitotane Therapy in Patients With Radically Resected Adrenocortical Carcinoma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017; 102(4):1358-1365 [PubMed] Related Publications
Context: In 2007, a retrospective case-control study provided evidence that adjuvant mitotane prolongs recurrence-free survival (RFS) in patients with radically resected adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC).
Objective and Design: We aimed to confirm the prognostic role of adjuvant mitotane in the same series after 9 additional years of follow-up.
Setting, Patients, and Interventions: One hundred sixty-two ACC patients who did not recur or die after a landmark period of 3 months were considered. Forty-seven patients were enrolled in four Italian centers where adjuvant mitotane was routinely recommended (mitotane group), 45 patients in four Italian centers where no adjuvant strategy was undertaken (control group 1), and 70 German patients left untreated after surgery (control group 2).
Main Outcome Measures: The primary aim was RFS, the secondary was overall survival.
Results: An increased risk of recurrence was found in both control cohorts [group 1: hazard ratio (HR) = 2.98; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.75 to 5.09; P < 0.0001; group 2: HR = 2.61; 95% CI, 1.56 to 4.36; P < 0.0001] compared with the mitotane group. The risk of death was higher in control group 1 (HR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.17 to 3.51; P = 0.011) but not in control group 2 (HR = 1.60; 95% CI, 0.94 to 2.74; P = 0.083), which had better prognostic factors and more aggressive treatment of recurrences than control group 1. The benefit of adjuvant mitotane on RFS was observed regardless of the hormone secretory status.
Conclusions: Adjuvant mitotane is associated with prolonged RFS, without any apparent influence by the tumor secretory status. The retrospective nature of the study is a major limitation.

Schmouchkovitch A, Herry H, Thuillier P, et al.
Oral and vulvo-vaginal lichenoid reactions due to mitotane (Lysodren): A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2017; 96(2):e5075 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The purpose of pharmacovigilance (drug safety) is collection, detection, assessment, monitoring, and prevention of adverse effects with pharmaceutical products. It is meant to identify, characterize, prevent, or minimize actual or potential risks relating to medicinal products. To prevent these adverse effects and improve our practice, health professionals have a duty to report side effects to assess this risk and evaluate the benefit/risk requirements. Mitotane (Lysodren) is used for treating adrenocortical carcinoma. Currently, no side effects concerning oral and genital mucosa have been reported.
CASE SUMMARY: This case report is about a 50 years old woman. Six months after the initiation on mitotane treatment, she developed erosive lesions located on the oral and vaginal mucosa. These drug reactions were diagnosed as erosive lichen planus by the biopsy. This lichenoid lesions were resistant to the usual treatments, mitotane being at the time not replaceable.
CONCLUSION: This case describes an unreported adverse effect of mitotane, it is - to our knowledge - the 1st description of erosive lichenoid drug reaction due to Mitotane.

Weigel M, Hahner S, Sherlock M, et al.
Immediate versus modified release hydrocortisone in mitotane-treated patients with adrenocortical cancer.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2017; 86(4):499-505 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Mitotane induces hepatic CYP3A4 activity, resulting in accelerated cortisol inactivation, and also increases cortisol binding globulin (CBG). Therefore, higher hydrocortisone doses are required in patients with adrenocortical cancer (ACC) on mitotane treatment. Modified release hydrocortisone has not been used in mitotane-treated ACC patients yet.
AIM: Case series to compare serum cortisol, calculated free serum cortisol and ACTH levels in ACC patients on mitotane treatment with immediate and modified release hydrocortisone.
DESIGN: Pharmacokinetics of immediate and modified release hydrocortisone, each administered at a dose of 40-20-0 mg, in nine patients with ACC and adjuvant mitotane treatment. For comparison, ten patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency (SAI) on three different hydrocortisone regimens and ten healthy males were included.
METHODS: Serum cortisol and plasma ACTH were measured by chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay, and CBG by RIA, followed by calculation of free cortisol.
RESULTS: Calculated free serum cortisol levels after 40 mg immediate release hydrocortisone in ACC patients (46 ± 14 nmol/l) were similar to those after 10 mg immediate release hydrocortisone intake in men with SAI (64 ± 16 nmol/l) or to the physiological morning free cortisol levels in healthy subjects (31 ± 5 nmol/l). Compared to immediate release hydrocortisone, free cortisol levels after 40 mg modified release hydrocortisone in ACC patients were significantly lower (12 ± 3 nmol/l; P = 0·03) resulting in a generally lower AUC (98 ± 21 vs 149 ± 37 nmol h/l; P = 0·02).
CONCLUSIONS: 40-20-0 mg immediate release, but not modified release hydrocortisone, resulted in sufficient glucocorticoid coverage in patients with ACC receiving mitotane treatment. The use of equivalent doses of modified release hydrocortisone preparation should be avoided in patients on mitotane treatment.

Kroiss M, Sbiera S, Kendl S, et al.
Drug Synergism of Proteasome Inhibitors and Mitotane by Complementary Activation of ER Stress in Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cells.
Horm Cancer. 2016; 7(5-6):345-355 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitotane is the only drug approved for treatment of the orphan disease adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and was recently shown to be the first clinically used drug acting through endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress induced by toxic lipids. Since mitotane has limited clinical activity as monotherapy, we here study the potential of activating ER-stress through alternative pathways. The single reliable NCI-H295 cell culture model for ACC was used to study the impact MG132, bortezomib (BTZ) and carfilzomib (CFZ) on mRNA and protein expression of ER-stress markers, cell viability and steroid hormone secretion. We found all proteasome inhibitors alone to trigger expression of mRNA (spliced X-box protein 1, XBP1) and protein markers indicative of the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) dependent pathway of ER-stress but not phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α), a marker of the PRKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK)-dependent pathway. Whereas mitotane alone activated both pathways, combination of BTZ and CFZ with low-dose mitotane blocked mitotane-induced eIF2α phosphorylation but increased XBP1-mRNA splicing indicating that proteasome inhibitors can commit signalling towards a single ER-stress pathway in ACC cells. By applying the median effect model of drug combinations using cell viability as a read out, we determined significant drug synergism between mitotane and both BTZ and CFZ. In conclusion, combination of mitotane with activators of ER-stress through the unfolded protein response is synergistic in an ACC cell culture model. Since proteasome inhibitors are readily available clinically, they are attractive candidates to study for ACC treatment in clinical trials in combination with mitotane.

Payabyab EC, Balasubramaniam S, Edgerly M, et al.
Adrenocortical Cancer: A Molecularly Complex Disease Where Surgery Matters.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(20):4989-5000 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of new therapies has lagged behind for rare cancers without defined therapeutic targets. Adrenocortical cancer is no exception. Mitotane, an older agent considered "adrenolytic," is used both to control symptoms in advanced disease and as adjuvant therapy after surgical resection. Molecular characterization of adrenocortical cancer has deepened our understanding of this genetically complex disease while identifying subgroups whose importance remains to be determined. Unfortunately, such studies have yet to demonstrate a therapeutic target for drug development, and to date, no targeted therapy has achieved meaningful outcomes. Consequently, first-line therapy for metastatic disease remains a combination regimen of etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatinum established in a randomized clinical trial. In addition to evaluating recent studies in adrenocortical cancer, we raise one critical clinical issue-the risk of peritoneal dissemination following laparoscopic resection of adrenocortical cancer. In a retrospective case series of 267 patients referred to the NCI for the treatment of recurrent or advanced adrenocortical cancer, we found extensive peritoneal dissemination in 25 of the 45 patients (55.6%) who had undergone laparoscopic resection, compared with only 7 of the 222 patients (3%) who had undergone an open resection (P < 0.0001). Although this has been debated in the literature, our data argue for an end to laparoscopic resection of adrenocortical cancers to avoid peritoneal dissemination, a complication of laparoscopy that is uniformly fatal. Clin Cancer Res; 22(20); 4989-5000. ©2016 AACR SEE ALL ARTICLES IN THIS CCR FOCUS SECTION, "ENDOCRINE CANCERS REVISING PARADIGMS".

Maiter D, Bex M, Vroonen L, et al.
Efficacy and safety of mitotane in the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma: A retrospective study in 34 Belgian patients.
Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2016; 77(5):578-585 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Evaluation of patient characteristics and mitotane use in the treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) over a 4-year period in Belgium.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a multicentre retrospective review of the outcome of 34 patients treated with mitotane for ACC during the period [01/2008-12/2011] (12 diagnosed before and 22 diagnosed during the study period) and evaluated up to 06/2013.
RESULTS: Patient and tumour characteristics were consistent with those generally described for ACC. Mean age at diagnosis was 46.5 years, most patients were female (62%), had functioning ACC (65%) and advanced tumours (ENSAT stages III or IV: 82%). Therapeutic mitotane plasma levels (14-20 mg/L) were achieved at least once in 70% of the cohort, after a median of 4 months, and were maintained for more than 2 months in 61% of evaluable patients. Mitotane-related adverse effects were observed in 66% of patients, were never serious, and included gastrointestinal, neurological, neuropsychological, hormonal, dermatologic and metabolic effects. Most patients (88%) discontinued mitotane, mainly due to tumour progression. Multivariate analysis showed that ENSAT stage was a prognostic factor for overall (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS); OS was also influenced independently by achievement of therapeutic mitotane plasma levels for at least two consecutive months.
CONCLUSION: Patient and tumour characteristics were consistent with previously published data. OS and DFS were mostly influenced by ENSAT stage at diagnosis. Achieving therapeutic levels of mitotane for at least two consecutive months seemed to positively influence OS, but such levels were not reached or sustained in some patients.

El Ghorayeb N, Rondeau G, Latour M, et al.
Rapid and Complete Remission of Metastatic Adrenocortical Carcinoma Persisting 10 Years After Treatment With Mitotane Monotherapy: Case Report and Review of the Literature.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(13):e3180 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mitotane has been used for more than 5 decades as therapy for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). However its mechanism of action and the extent of tumor response remain incompletely understood. To date no cases of rapid and complete remission of metastatic ACC with mitotane monotherapy has been reported. A 52-year-old French Canadian man presented with metastatic disease 2 years following a right adrenalectomy for stage III nonsecreting ACC. He was started on mitotane which was well tolerated despite rapid escalation of the dose. The patient course was exceptional as he responded to mitotane monotherapy after only few months of treatment. Initiation of chemotherapy was not needed and he remained disease-free with good quality of life on low maintenance dose of mitotane during the following 10 years. A germline heterozygous TP53 exon 4 polymorphism c.215C>G (p. Pro72Arg) was found. Immunohistochemical stainings for IGF-2 and cytoplasmic β-catenin were positive. Advanced ACC is an aggressive disease with poor prognosis and the current therapeutic options remain limited. These findings suggest that mitotane is a good option for the treatment of metastatic ACC and might result in rapid complete remission in selected patients.

Postlewait LM, Ethun CG, Tran TB, et al.
Outcomes of Adjuvant Mitotane after Resection of Adrenocortical Carcinoma: A 13-Institution Study by the US Adrenocortical Carcinoma Group.
J Am Coll Surg. 2016; 222(4):480-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Current treatment guidelines recommend adjuvant mitotane after resection of adrenocortical carcinoma with high-risk features (eg, tumor rupture, positive margins, positive lymph nodes, high grade, elevated mitotic index, and advanced stage). Limited data exist on the outcomes associated with these practice guidelines.
STUDY DESIGN: Patients who underwent resection of adrenocortical carcinoma from 1993 to 2014 at the 13 academic institutions of the US Adrenocortical Carcinoma Group were included. Factors associated with mitotane administration were determined. Primary end points were recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS).
RESULTS: Of 207 patients, 88 (43%) received adjuvant mitotane. Receipt of mitotane was associated with hormonal secretion (58% vs 32%; p = 0.001), advanced TNM stage (stage IV: 42% vs 23%; p = 0.021), adjuvant chemotherapy (37% vs 5%; p < 0.001), and adjuvant radiation (17% vs 5%; p = 0.01), but was not associated with tumor rupture, margin status, or N-stage. Median follow-up was 44 months. Adjuvant mitotane was associated with decreased RFS (10.0 vs 27.9 months; p = 0.007) and OS (31.7 vs 58.9 months; p = 0.006). On multivariable analysis, mitotane was not independently associated with RFS or OS, and margin status, advanced TNM stage, and receipt of chemotherapy were associated with survival. After excluding all patients who received chemotherapy, adjuvant mitotane remained associated with decreased RFS and similar OS; multivariable analyses again showed no association with recurrence or survival. Stage-specific analyses in both cohorts revealed no association between adjuvant mitotane and improved RFS or OS.
CONCLUSIONS: When accounting for stage and adverse tumor and treatment-related factors, adjuvant mitotane after resection of adrenocortical carcinoma is not associated with improved RFS or OS. Current guidelines should be revisited and prospective trials are needed.

Xu Y, Dong B, Huang J, et al.
Sphingosine kinase 1 is overexpressed and promotes adrenocortical carcinoma progression.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(3):3233-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare endocrine tumor with a very poor prognosis. Sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1), an oncogenic kinase, has previously been found to be upregulated in various cancers. However, the role of the SphK1 in ACC has not been investigated. In this study, SphK1 mRNA and protein expression levels as well as clinicopathological significance were evaluated in ACC samples. In vitro siRNA knockdown of SphK1 in two ACC cell lines (H295R and SW13) was used to determine its effect on cellular proliferation and invasion. In addition, we further evaluated the effect of SphK1 antagonist fingolimod (FTY720) in ACC in vitro and in vivo, as a single agent or in combination with mitotane, and attempted to explore its anticarcinogenic mechanisms. Our results show a significant over-expression of SphK1 mRNA and protein expression in the carcinomas compared with adenomas (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Functionally, knockdown of SphK1 gene expression in ACC cell lines significantly decreased cell proliferation and invasion. FTY720 could result in a decreased cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis, and the combination of mitotane and FTY720 resulted in a greater anti-proliferative effect over single agent treatment in SW13 cells. Furthermore, FTY720 could markedly inhibit tumor growth in ACC xenografts. SphK1 expression is functionally associated to cellular proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and mitotane sensitivity of ACC. Our data suggest that SphK1 might be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of ACC.

Kroiss M, Plonné D, Kendl S, et al.
Association of mitotane with chylomicrons and serum lipoproteins: practical implications for treatment of adrenocortical carcinoma.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 174(3):343-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Oral mitotane (o,p'-DDD) is a cornerstone of medical treatment for adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC).
AIM: Serum mitotane concentrations >14  mg/l are targeted for improved efficacy but not achieved in about half of patients. Here we aimed at a better understanding of intestinal absorption and lipoprotein association of mitotane and metabolites o,p'-dichlorodiphenylacetic acid (o,p'-DDA) and o,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (o,p'-DDE).
DESIGN: Lipoproteins were isolated by ultracentrifugation from the chyle of a 29-year-old patient and serum from additional 14 ACC patients treated with mitotane. HPLC was applied for quantification of mitotane and metabolites. We assessed NCI-H295 cell viability, cortisol production, and expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress marker genes to study the functional consequences of mitotane binding to lipoproteins.
RESULTS: Chyle of the index patient contained 197  mg/ml mitotane, 53  mg/ml o,p'-DDA, and 51  mg/l o,p'-DDE. Of the total mitotane in serum, lipoprotein fractions contained 21.7±21.4% (VLDL), 1.9±0.8% (IDL), 8.9±5.5% (LDL1), 18.9±9.6% (LDL2), 10.1±4.0% (LDL3), and 26.3±13.0% (HDL2). Only 12.3±5.5% were in the lipoprotein-depleted fraction.
DISCUSSION: Mitotane content of lipoproteins directly correlated with their triglyceride and cholesterol content. O,p'-DDE was similarly distributed, but 87.9±4.2% of o,p'-DDA found in the HDL2 and lipoprotein-depleted fractions. Binding of mitotane to human lipoproteins blunted its anti-proliferative and anti-hormonal effects on NCI-H295 cells and reduced ER stress marker gene expression.
CONCLUSION: Mitotane absorption involves chylomicron binding. High concentrations of o,p'-DDA and o,p'-DDE in chyle suggest intestinal mitotane metabolism. In serum, the majority of mitotane is bound to lipoproteins. In vitro, lipoprotein binding inhibits activity of mitotane suggesting that lipoprotein-free mitotane is the therapeutically active fraction.

Sbiera S, Leich E, Liebisch G, et al.
Mitotane Inhibits Sterol-O-Acyl Transferase 1 Triggering Lipid-Mediated Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Apoptosis in Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cells.
Endocrinology. 2015; 156(11):3895-908 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare malignancy that harbors a dismal prognosis in advanced stages. Mitotane is approved as an orphan drug for treatment of ACC and counteracts tumor growth and steroid hormone production. Despite serious adverse effects, mitotane has been clinically used for decades. Elucidation of its unknown molecular mechanism of action seems essential to develop better ACC therapies. Here, we set out to identify the molecular target of mitotane and altered downstream mechanisms by combining expression genomics and mass spectrometry technology in the NCI-H295 ACC model cell line. Pathway analyses of expression genomics data demonstrated activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and profound alteration of lipid-related genes caused by mitotane treatment. ER stress marker CHOP was strongly induced and the two upstream ER stress signalling events XBP1-mRNA splicing and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 A (eIF2α) phosphorylation were activated by mitotane in NCI-H295 cells but to a much lesser extent in four nonsteroidogenic cell lines. Lipid mass spectrometry revealed mitotane-induced increase of free cholesterol, oxysterols, and fatty acids specifically in NCI-H295 cells as cause of ER stress. We demonstrate that mitotane is an inhibitor of sterol-O-acyl-transferase 1 (SOAT1) leading to accumulation of these toxic lipids. In ACC tissue samples we show variable SOAT1 expression correlating with the response to mitotane treatment. In conclusion, mitotane confers adrenal-specific cytotoxicity and down-regulates steroidogenesis by inhibition of SOAT1 leading to lipid-induced ER stress. Targeting of cancer-specific lipid metabolism opens new avenues for treatment of ACC and potentially other types of cancer.

Jebabli N, Gaïes E, Eljebari H, et al.
Contribution of Therapeutic Monitoring in the Assessment of Toxic Adverse Effects of Mitotane: a Case Report.
Therapie. 2015 Nov-Dec; 70(6):545-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitotane provided serious side effects and low doses seemed to be tolerated. Determination of mitotane concentration in plasma is recommended. We report the case of toxic plasma levels with low doses of mitotane in a 47-year-old man with adrenocortical cancer.

Russo M, Scollo C, Pellegriti G, et al.
Mitotane treatment in patients with adrenocortical cancer causes central hypothyroidism.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2016; 84(4):614-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Mitotane, a steroidogenesis inhibitor with adrenolytic properties used to treat adrenocortical cancer (ACC), can affect thyroid function. A reduction of FT4 levels with normal FT3 and TSH has been described in these patients. Using an in vitro murine model, the secretory capacity of thyrotrophic cells has been shown to be inhibited by mitotane.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the pathogenesis of thyroid abnormalities in mitotane-treated patients with ACC.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: In five female patients with ACC (median age 47; range 31-65) treated with mitotane (dosage 1·5 g/day; 1·0-3·0), we analysed the pattern of TSH and thyroid function index (FT4, FT3 and FT3/FT4 ratio) compared to an age- and gender-matched control group. The in vivo secretory activity of the thyrotrophic cells was evaluated using a standard TRH test (200 μg), and the response was compared to both a group of age-matched female controls (n = 10) and central hypothyroid patients (n = 10).
RESULTS: Basal TSH (median 1·54 mU/l; range 1·20-2·17) was normal and scattered around our median reference value, FT3 levels (median 3·80 pmol/l; 3·30-4·29) were normal but below the median reference value of 4·37 pmol/l and FT4 levels were below the normal range in all patients (median 8·40 pmol/l; 7·6-9·9). FT3/FT4 ratio was in the upper range in 4 patients and higher than normal in one patient. A blunted TSH response to TRH was observed in mitotane-treated patients. ΔTSH (absolute TSH response, peak TSH minus basal TSH) was 3·65 (range 3·53-5·26), 12·37 (range 7·55-19·97) and 1·32 mU/l (range 0·52-4·66) in mitotane-treated patients, controls and central hypothyroid patients, respectively. PRL secretion was normal.
CONCLUSIONS: Mitotane-treated patients with ACC showed low FT4, normal FT3 and TSH and impaired TSH response to TRH, characteristic of central hypothyroidism. Furthermore, the elevated FT3/FT4 ratio of these subjects reflects an enhanced T4 to T3 conversion rate, a compensatory mechanism characteristic of thyroid function changes observed in hypothyroid conditions. This finding thus confirms in vitro studies and may have a therapeutic implication for treatment with thyroid hormones, as suggested by current guidelines for this specific condition.

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