Subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with basal ganglia enlarged perivascular spaces and overall cerebral small vessel disease load

Background: The association between subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) in the stroke-free population is currently unclear.
Methods: A total of 354 individuals without a history of stroke were enrolled in this study. Demographic data, medical history, vascular risk factors, carotid arteriosclerosis, and the results of laboratory tests were collated. SCH is defined as an elevation in thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, but with normal free thyroxine levels. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to assess 4 markers of CSVD, including white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), lacunes, deep microbleeds, and enlarged perivascular spaces (EPVSs). The overall CSVD load was then ranked using an ordinal scale ranging from 0 to 4.
Brain atrophy was measured semi-quantitatively on MRI. A binary logistic regression model was used to explore the association of SCH with each CSVD marker after adjusting for confounding factors. The ordinal regression model was used to explore the association of SCH with CSVD burden and brain atrophy after adjusting for confounding factors.
Results: The mean age of the participants (66.9% males) was 69.4±12.8 years. SCH was observed in 44 (12.4%) participants. MRI findings revealed 13% of cases with lacunes, 6.2% with microbleeds, 50.3% with confluent WMH, and 49.2% with extensive basal ganglia EPVS. Assessment of total CSVD burden showed that 29.1% scored 1, 30.5% scored 2, 6.5% scored 3, and 2.3% scored ≥3. SCH was associated with extensive basal ganglia EPVS [odds ratio (OR) =2.175; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.075 to 4.401] and total CSVD load (OR =1.879; 95% CI: 1.028 to 3.438). SCH was not associated with advanced brain atrophy.
Conclusions: SCH is associated with the advanced total burden of CSVD and basal ganglia EPVS in the stroke-free population.
Keywords: Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH); cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD); stroke-free.

Nanotheranostics: A powerful next-generation solution to tackle hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an epidemic burden and remains highly prevalent worldwide. The significant mortality rates of HCC are largely due to the tendency of late diagnosis and the multifaceted, complex nature of treatment. Meanwhile, current therapeutic modalities such as liver resection and transplantation are only effective for resolving early-stage HCC. Hence, alternative approaches are required to improve detection and enhance the efficacy of current treatment options.
Nanotheranostic platforms, which utilize biocompatible nanoparticles to perform both diagnostics and targeted delivery, has been considered a potential approach for cancer management in the past few decades. Advancement of nanomaterials and biomedical engineering techniques has led to rapid expansion of the nanotheranostics field, allowing for more sensitive and specific diagnosis, real-time monitoring of drug delivery, and enhanced treatment efficacies across various malignancies. The focus of this review is on the applications of nanotheranostics for HCC. The review first explores the current epidemiology and the commonly encountered obstacles in HCC diagnosis and treatment. It then presents the current technological and functional advancements in nanotheranostic technology for cancer in general, and then specifically explores the use of nanotheranostic modalities as a promising option to address the key challenges present in HCC management.
Keywords: Future therapy; Hepatic cancer; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Nanoplatform; Nanotheranostic; Personalized medicine.

Immune Checkpoint LAG3 and Its Ligand FGL1 in Cancer

LAG3 is the most promising immune checkpoint next to PD-1 and CTLA-4. High LAG3 and FGL1 expression boosts tumor growth by inhibiting the immune microenvironment. This review comprises four sections presenting the structure/expression, interaction, biological effects, and clinical application of LAG3/FGL1. D1 and D2 of LAG3 and FD of FGL1 are the LAG3-FGL1 interaction domains.
LAG3 accumulates on the surface of lymphocytes in various tumors, but is also found in the cytoplasm in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. FGL1 is found in the cytoplasm in NSCLC cells and on the surface of breast cancer cells. The LAG3-FGL1 interaction mechanism remains unclear, and the intracellular signals require elucidation. LAG3/FGL1 activity is associated with immune cell infiltration, proliferation, and secretion.
Cytokine production is enhanced when LAG3/FGL1 are co-expressed with PD-1. IMP321 and relatlimab are promising monoclonal antibodies targeting LAG3 in melanoma. The clinical use of anti-FGL1 antibodies has not been reported. Finally, high FGL1 and LAG3 expression induces EGFR-TKI and gefitinib resistance, and anti-PD-1 therapy resistance, respectively. We present a comprehensive overview of the role of LAG3/FGL1 in cancer, suggesting novel anti-tumor therapy strategies.
Keywords: FGL1; LAG3; immune checkpoint; immune response; immune therapy; tumor.

Futility in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation: A Search for Clarity

Although transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has revolutionised the landscape of treatment for aortic stenosis, there exists a cohort of patients where TAVI is deemed futile. Among the pivotal high-risk trials, one-third to half of patients either died or received no symptomatic benefit from the procedure at 1 year. Futility of TAVI results in the unnecessary exposure of risk for patients and inefficient resource utilisation for healthcare services. Several cardiac and extra-cardiac conditions and frailty increase the risk of mortality despite TAVI. Among the survivors, these comorbidities can inhibit improvements in symptoms and quality of life.
However, certain conditions are reversible with TAVI (e.g. functional mitral regurgitation), attenuating the risk and improving outcomes. Quantification of disease severity, identification of reversible factors and a systematic evaluation of frailty can substantially improve risk stratification and outcomes. This review examines the contribution of pre-existing comorbidities towards futility in TAVI and suggests a systematic approach to guide patient evaluation.

Medical Imaging Biomarker Discovery and Integration Towards AI-Based Personalized Radiotherapy

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has been used for high-accurate physical dose distribution sculpture and employed to modulate different dose levels into Gross Tumor Volume (GTV), Clinical Target Volume (CTV) and Planning Target Volume (PTV). GTV, CTV and PTV can be prescribed at different dose levels, however, there is an emphasis that their dose distributions need to be uniform, despite the fact that most types of tumour are heterogeneous.

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With traditional radiomics and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, we can identify biological target volume from functional images against conventional GTV derived from anatomical imaging. Functional imaging, such as multi parameter MRI and PET can be used to implement dose painting, which allows us to achieve dose escalation by increasing doses in certain areas that are therapy-resistant in the GTV and reducing doses in less aggressive areas.
In this review, we firstly discuss several quantitative functional imaging techniques including PET-CT and multi-parameter MRI. Furthermore, theoretical and experimental comparisons for dose painting by contours (DPBC) and dose painting by numbers (DPBN), along with outcome analysis after dose painting are provided. The state-of-the-art AI-based biomarker diagnosis techniques is reviewed. Finally, we conclude major challenges and future directions in AI-based biomarkers to improve cancer diagnosis and radiotherapy treatment.

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