Next Issue
Previous Issue

Table of Contents

Cancers, Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2018)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) In cancer, not only mutated proteins may appear, but also normal proteins may change in quantity [...] Read more.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-27
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial JNK, p38, ERK, and SGK1 Inhibitors in Cancer
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 1; doi:10.3390/cancers10010001
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
PDF Full-text (1068 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP kinases) are a family of kinases that regulates a range of biological processes implicated in the response to growth factors like latelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and stress, such as ultraviolet
[...] Read more.
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP kinases) are a family of kinases that regulates a range of biological processes implicated in the response to growth factors like latelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and stress, such as ultraviolet irradiation, heat shock, and osmotic shock. The MAP kinase family consists of four major subfamilies of related proteins (extracellular regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38, and extracellular regulated kinase 5 (ERK5)) and regulates numerous cellular activities, such as apoptosis, gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, and immune responses. The deregulation of these kinases is shown to be involved in human diseases, such as cancer, immune diseases, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disorders. The awareness of the therapeutic potential of the inhibition of MAP kinases led to a thorough search for small-molecule inhibitors. Here, we discuss some of the most well-known MAP kinase inhibitors and their use in cancer research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinases and Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Cancers in 2017
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 15; doi:10.3390/cancers10010015
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Cancers maintains high quality standards for its published papers[...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial AR Signaling in Human Malignancies: Prostate Cancer and Beyond
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 22; doi:10.3390/cancers10010022
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
PDF Full-text (140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The notion that androgens and androgen receptor (AR) signaling are the hallmarks of prostate cancer oncogenesis and disease progression is generally well accepted. What is more poorly understood is the role of AR signaling in other human malignancies. This special issue of Cancers
[...] Read more.
The notion that androgens and androgen receptor (AR) signaling are the hallmarks of prostate cancer oncogenesis and disease progression is generally well accepted. What is more poorly understood is the role of AR signaling in other human malignancies. This special issue of Cancers initially reviews the role of AR in advanced prostate cancer, and then explores the potential importance of AR signaling in other epithelial malignancies. The first few articles focus on the use of novel AR-targeting therapies in castration-resistant prostate cancer and the mechanisms of resistance to novel antiandrogens, and they also outline the interaction between AR and other cellular pathways, including PI3 kinase signaling, transcriptional regulation, angiogenesis, stromal factors, Wnt signaling, and epigenetic regulation in prostate cancer. The next several articles review the possible role of androgens and AR signaling in breast cancer, bladder cancer, salivary gland cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as the potential treatment implications of using antiandrogen therapies in these non-prostatic malignancies. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Protein Kinase A Distribution Differentiates Human Glioblastoma from Brain Tissue
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 2; doi:10.3390/cancers10010002
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
PDF Full-text (12633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Brain tumor glioblastoma has no clear molecular signature and there is no effective therapy. In rodents, the intracellular distribution of the cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase (Protein kinase A, PKA) R2Alpha subunit was previously shown to differentiate tumor cells from healthy brain cells.
[...] Read more.
Brain tumor glioblastoma has no clear molecular signature and there is no effective therapy. In rodents, the intracellular distribution of the cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase (Protein kinase A, PKA) R2Alpha subunit was previously shown to differentiate tumor cells from healthy brain cells. Now, we aim to validate this observation in human tumors. The distribution of regulatory (R1 and R2) and catalytic subunits of PKA was examined via immunohistochemistry and Western blot in primary cell cultures and biopsies from 11 glioblastoma patients. Data were compared with information obtained from 17 other different tumor samples. The R1 subunit was clearly detectable only in some samples. The catalytic subunit was variably distributed in the different tumors. Similar to rodent tumors, all human glioblastoma specimens showed perinuclear R2 distribution in the Golgi area, while it was undetectable outside the tumor. To test the effect of targeting PKA as a therapeutic strategy, the intracellular cyclic AMP concentration was modulated with different agents in four human glioblastoma cell lines. A significant increase in cell death was detected after increasing cAMP levels or modulating PKA activity. These data raise the possibility of targeting the PKA intracellular pathway for the development of diagnostic and/or therapeutic tools for human glioblastoma. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Mutations in EMT-Related Genes in ALK Positive Crizotinib Resistant Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 10; doi:10.3390/cancers10010010
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 29 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
PDF Full-text (890 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Crizotinib is an effective drug for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but upon treatment, the tumors inevitably become crizotinib resistant in time. The resistance mechanisms are only partly understood. In this study, we aim to identify gene mutations
[...] Read more.
Crizotinib is an effective drug for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but upon treatment, the tumors inevitably become crizotinib resistant in time. The resistance mechanisms are only partly understood. In this study, we aim to identify gene mutations associated with resistance in ALKpositive advanced non-squamous NSCLC treated with crizotinib. Four ALK positive patients with progressive disease following crizotinib treatment were identified with paired pre- and post-crizotinib tumor tissue from our previously published cohort. Somatic variants in these samples were detected by whole exome sequencing. In one of the four patients, an ALK-resistance associated mutation was identified. In the other three patients, no ALK-resistance associated mutations were present. In these patients we identified 89 relevant somatic mutations in 74 genes that were specific to the resistant tumors. These genes were enriched in 15 pathways. Four pathways, were related to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT): proteoglycans in cancer, HIF-1 signaling, FoxO signaling pathway, and ECM-receptor interaction. Analysis of other EMT-related pathways revealed three additional genes with mutations specific to the crizotinib-resistant tumor samples. The enrichment of mutations in genes associated with EMT-related pathways indicates that loss of epithelial differentiation may represent a relevant resistance mechanism for crizotinib. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tyrosine Kinase Signaling Pathways in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle New Interactors of the Truncated EBNA-LP Protein Identified by Mass Spectrometry in P3HR1 Burkitt’s Lymphoma Cells
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 12; doi:10.3390/cancers10010012
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 5 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen leader protein (EBNA-LP) acts as a co-activator of EBNA-2, a transcriptional activator essential for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced B-cell transformation. Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) cells harboring a mutant EBV strain that lacks both the EBNA-2 gene and 3′ exons of
[...] Read more.
The Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen leader protein (EBNA-LP) acts as a co-activator of EBNA-2, a transcriptional activator essential for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced B-cell transformation. Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) cells harboring a mutant EBV strain that lacks both the EBNA-2 gene and 3′ exons of EBNA-LP express Y1Y2-truncated isoforms of EBNA-LP (tEBNA-LP) and better resist apoptosis than if infected with the wild-type virus. In such BL cells, tEBNA-LP interacts with the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) catalytic subunit (PP2A C), and this interaction likely plays a role in resistance to apoptosis. Here, 28 cellular and four viral proteins have been identified by mass spectrometry as further possible interactors of tEBNA-LP. Three interactions were confirmed by immunoprecipitation and Western blotting, namely with the A structural subunit of PP2A (PP2A A), the structure-specific recognition protein 1 (SSRP1, a component of the facilitate chromatin transcription (FACT) complex), and a new form of the transcription factor EC (TFEC). Thus, tEBNA-LP appears to be involved not only in cell resistance to apoptosis through its interaction with two PP2A subunits, but also in other processes where its ability to co-activate transcriptional regulators could be important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Translocation Breakpoints Preferentially Occur in Euchromatin and Acrocentric Chromosomes
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 13; doi:10.3390/cancers10010013
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Chromosomal translocations drive the development of many hematological and some solid cancers. Several factors have been identified to explain the non-random occurrence of translocation breakpoints in the genome. These include chromatin density, gene density and CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF)/cohesin binding site density. However, such
[...] Read more.
Chromosomal translocations drive the development of many hematological and some solid cancers. Several factors have been identified to explain the non-random occurrence of translocation breakpoints in the genome. These include chromatin density, gene density and CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF)/cohesin binding site density. However, such factors are at least partially interdependent. Using 13,844 and 1563 karyotypes from human blood and solid cancers, respectively, our multiple regression analysis only identified chromatin density as the primary statistically significant predictor. Specifically, translocation breakpoints preferentially occur in open chromatin. Also, blood and solid tumors show markedly distinct translocation signatures. Strikingly, translocation breakpoints occur significantly more frequently in acrocentric chromosomes than in non-acrocentric chromosomes. Thus, translocations are probably often generated around nucleoli in the inner nucleoplasm, away from the nuclear envelope. Importantly, our findings remain true both in multivariate analyses and after removal of highly recurrent translocations. Finally, we applied pairwise probabilistic co-occurrence modeling. In addition to well-known highly prevalent translocations, such as those resulting in BCR-ABL1 (BCR-ABL) and RUNX1-RUNX1T1 (AML1-ETO) fusion genes, we identified significantly underrepresented translocations with putative fusion genes, which are probably subject to strong negative selection during tumor evolution. Taken together, our findings provide novel insights into the generation and selection of translocations during cancer development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Instability and Cancers)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle IRF4 Mediates the Oncogenic Effects of STAT3 in Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphomas
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 21; doi:10.3390/cancers10010021
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
PDF Full-text (3375 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Systemic anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL) are a category of T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas which can be divided into anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive and ALK negative subgroups, based on ALK gene rearrangements. Among several pathways aberrantly activated in ALCL, the constitutive activation of
[...] Read more.
Systemic anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL) are a category of T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas which can be divided into anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive and ALK negative subgroups, based on ALK gene rearrangements. Among several pathways aberrantly activated in ALCL, the constitutive activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is shared by all ALK positive ALCL and has been detected in a subgroup of ALK negative ALCL. To discover essential mediators of STAT3 oncogenic activity that may represent feasible targets for ALCL therapies, we combined gene expression profiling analysis and RNA interference functional approaches. A shRNA screening of STAT3-modulated genes identified interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) as a key driver of ALCL cell survival. Accordingly, ectopic IRF4 expression partially rescued STAT3 knock-down effects. Treatment with immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) induced IRF4 down regulation and resulted in cell death, a phenotype rescued by IRF4 overexpression. However, the majority of ALCL cell lines were poorly responsive to IMiDs treatment. Combination with JQ1, a bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family antagonist known to inhibit MYC and IRF4, increased sensitivity to IMiDs. Overall, these results show that IRF4 is involved in STAT3-oncogenic signaling and its inhibition provides alternative avenues for the design of novel/combination therapies of ALCL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting ALK in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Localization Microscopy Analyses of MRE11 Clusters in 3D-Conserved Cell Nuclei of Different Cell Lines
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 25; doi:10.3390/cancers10010025
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3764 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In radiation biophysics, it is a subject of nowadays research to investigate DNA strand break repair in detail after damage induction by ionizing radiation. It is a subject of debate as to what makes up the cell’s decision to use a certain repair
[...] Read more.
In radiation biophysics, it is a subject of nowadays research to investigate DNA strand break repair in detail after damage induction by ionizing radiation. It is a subject of debate as to what makes up the cell’s decision to use a certain repair pathway and how the repair machinery recruited in repair foci is spatially and temporarily organized. Single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) allows super-resolution analysis by precise localization of single fluorescent molecule tags, resulting in nuclear structure analysis with a spatial resolution in the 10 nm regime. Here, we used SMLM to study MRE11 foci. MRE11 is one of three proteins involved in the MRN-complex (MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 complex), a prominent DNA strand resection and broken end bridging component involved in homologous recombination repair (HRR) and alternative non-homologous end joining (a-NHEJ). We analyzed the spatial arrangements of antibody-labelled MRE11 proteins in the nuclei of a breast cancer and a skin fibroblast cell line along a time-course of repair (up to 48 h) after irradiation with a dose of 2 Gy. Different kinetics for cluster formation and relaxation were determined. Changes in the internal nano-scaled structure of the clusters were quantified and compared between the two cell types. The results indicate a cell type-dependent DNA damage response concerning MRE11 recruitment and cluster formation. The MRE11 data were compared to H2AX phosphorylation detected by γH2AX molecule distribution. These data suggested modulations of MRE11 signal frequencies that were not directly correlated to DNA damage induction. The application of SMLM in radiation biophysics offers new possibilities to investigate spatial foci organization after DNA damaging and during subsequent repair. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Analysis of Site-Specific Methylation of Tumor-Related Genes in Head and Neck Cancer: Potential Utility as Biomarkers for Prognosis
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 27; doi:10.3390/cancers10010027
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1902 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Clarifying the epigenetic regulation of tumor-related genes (TRGs) can provide insights into the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and the risk for disease recurrence in HPV-negative head and neck cancers, originating in the hypopharynx, larynx, and oral cavity. We analyzed the methylation status of the
[...] Read more.
Clarifying the epigenetic regulation of tumor-related genes (TRGs) can provide insights into the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and the risk for disease recurrence in HPV-negative head and neck cancers, originating in the hypopharynx, larynx, and oral cavity. We analyzed the methylation status of the promoters of 30 TRGs in 178 HPV-negative head and neck cancer patients using a quantitative methylation-specific PCR. Promoter methylation was correlated with various clinical characteristics and patient survival. The mean number of methylated TRGs was 14.2 (range, 2–25). In the multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, the methylation of COL1A2 and VEGFR1 was associated with poor survival for hypopharyngeal cancer, with hazard ratios: 3.19; p = 0.009 and 3.07; p = 0.014, respectively. The methylation of p16 and COL1A2 were independent prognostic factors for poor survival in laryngeal cancer (hazard ratio: 4.55; p = 0.013 and 3.12; p = 0.035, respectively). In patients with oral cancer, the methylation of TAC1 and SSTR1 best correlated with poor survival (hazard ratio: 4.29; p = 0.005 and 5.38; p = 0.029, respectively). Our findings suggest that methylation status of TRGs could serve as important site-specific biomarkers for prediction of clinical outcomes in patients with HPV-negative head and neck cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Biomarkers)
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research, Other

Open AccessReview Lipid Metabolism and Lipid Droplets in Pancreatic Cancer and Stellate Cells
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 3; doi:10.3390/cancers10010003
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 23 December 2017
PDF Full-text (1367 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030, and the overall 5-year survival rate is currently less than 7%. Cancer cells frequently exhibit reprogramming of their metabolic activity. It is increasingly recognized that aberrant de novo lipid
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030, and the overall 5-year survival rate is currently less than 7%. Cancer cells frequently exhibit reprogramming of their metabolic activity. It is increasingly recognized that aberrant de novo lipid synthesis and reprogrammed lipid metabolism are both associated with the development and progression of various cancers, including pancreatic cancer. In this review, the current knowledge about lipid metabolism and lipid droplets in pancreatic cancer is discussed. In the first part, molecular mechanisms of lipid metabolism and roles of enzymes involved in lipid metabolism which are relevant for pancreatic cancer research are presented. Further, preclinical studies and clinical trials with drugs/inhibitors targeting cancer metabolic systems in cancer are summarized. An increase of our knowledge in lipid metabolism in pancreatic cancer cells and in tumor stroma is important for developing novel strategies of future individualized therapies of pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview The Role of Chromosomal Instability in Cancer and Therapeutic Responses
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 4; doi:10.3390/cancers10010004
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 25 December 2017 / Published: 28 December 2017
PDF Full-text (1668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death, and despite increased research in recent years, control of advanced-stage disease and optimal therapeutic responses remain elusive. Recent technological improvements have increased our understanding of human cancer as a heterogeneous disease. For instance, four
[...] Read more.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death, and despite increased research in recent years, control of advanced-stage disease and optimal therapeutic responses remain elusive. Recent technological improvements have increased our understanding of human cancer as a heterogeneous disease. For instance, four hallmarks of cancer have recently been included, which in addition to being involved in cancer development, could be involved in therapeutic responses and resistance. One of these hallmarks is chromosome instability (CIN), a source of genetic variation in either altered chromosome number or structure. CIN has become a hot topic in recent years, not only for its implications in cancer diagnostics and prognostics, but also for its role in therapeutic responses. Chromosomal alterations are mainly used to determine genetic heterogeneity in tumors, but CIN could also reveal treatment efficacy, as many therapies are based on increasing CIN, which causes aberrant cells to undergo apoptosis. However, it should be noted that contradictory findings on the implications of CIN for the therapeutic response have been reported, with some studies associating high CIN with a better therapeutic response and others associating it with therapeutic resistance. Considering these observations, it is necessary to increase our understanding of the role CIN plays not only in tumor development, but also in therapeutic responses. This review focuses on recent studies that suggest possible mechanisms and consequences of CIN in different disease types, with a primary focus on cancer outcomes and therapeutic responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Instability and Cancers)
Figures

Open AccessReview Oncogenic Signalling through Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR): A Driver of Metabolic Transformation and Cancer Progression
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 5; doi:10.3390/cancers10010005
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1624 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Throughout the years, research into signalling pathways involved in cancer progression has led to many discoveries of which mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key player. mTOR is a master regulator of cell growth control. mTOR is historically known to promote cell
[...] Read more.
Throughout the years, research into signalling pathways involved in cancer progression has led to many discoveries of which mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key player. mTOR is a master regulator of cell growth control. mTOR is historically known to promote cell growth by enhancing the efficiency of protein translation. Research in the last decade has revealed that mTOR’s role in promoting cell growth is much more multifaceted. While mTOR is necessary for normal human physiology, cancer cells take advantage of mTOR signalling to drive their neoplastic growth and progression. Oncogenic signal transduction through mTOR is a common occurrence in cancer, leading to metabolic transformation, enhanced proliferative drive and increased metastatic potential through neovascularisation. This review focuses on the downstream mTOR-regulated processes that are implicated in the “hallmarks” of cancer with focus on mTOR’s involvement in proliferative signalling, metabolic reprogramming, angiogenesis and metastasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue mTOR Pathway in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Immune Evasion in Pancreatic Cancer: From Mechanisms to Therapy
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 6; doi:10.3390/cancers10010006
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), the most frequent type of pancreatic cancer, remains one of the most challenging problems for the biomedical and clinical fields, with abysmal survival rates and poor therapy efficiency. Desmoplasia, which is abundant in PDA, can be blamed for much
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), the most frequent type of pancreatic cancer, remains one of the most challenging problems for the biomedical and clinical fields, with abysmal survival rates and poor therapy efficiency. Desmoplasia, which is abundant in PDA, can be blamed for much of the mechanisms behind poor drug performance, as it is the main source of the cytokines and chemokines that orchestrate rapid and silent tumor progression to allow tumor cells to be isolated into an extensive fibrotic reaction, which results in inefficient drug delivery. However, since immunotherapy was proclaimed as the breakthrough of the year in 2013, the focus on the stroma of pancreatic cancer has interestingly moved from activated fibroblasts to the immune compartment, trying to understand the immunosuppressive factors that play a part in the strong immune evasion that characterizes PDA. The PDA microenvironment is highly immunosuppressive and is basically composed of T regulatory cells (Tregs), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), and myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSCs), which block CD8+ T-cell duties in tumor recognition and clearance. Interestingly, preclinical data have highlighted the importance of this immune evasion as the source of resistance to single checkpoint immunotherapies and cancer vaccines and point at pathways that inhibit the immune attack as a key to solve the therapy puzzle. Here, we will discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in PDA immune escape as well as the state of the art of the PDA immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Modification of Epigenetic Histone Acetylation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 8; doi:10.3390/cancers10010008
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (432 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cells respond to various environmental factors such as nutrients, food intake, and drugs or toxins by undergoing dynamic epigenetic changes. An imbalance in dynamic epigenetic changes is one of the major causes of disease, oncogenic activities, and immunosuppressive effects. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor
[...] Read more.
Cells respond to various environmental factors such as nutrients, food intake, and drugs or toxins by undergoing dynamic epigenetic changes. An imbalance in dynamic epigenetic changes is one of the major causes of disease, oncogenic activities, and immunosuppressive effects. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a unique cellular chemical sensor present in most organs, and its dysregulation has been demonstrated in multiple stages of tumor progression in humans and experimental models; however, the effects of the pathogenic mechanisms of AHR on epigenetic regulation remain unclear. Apart from proto-oncogene activation, epigenetic repressions of tumor suppressor genes are involved in tumor initiation, procession, and metastasis. Reverse epigenetic repression of the tumor suppressor genes by epigenetic enzyme activity inhibition and epigenetic enzyme level manipulation is a potential path for tumor therapy. Current evidence and our recent work on deacetylation of histones on tumor-suppressive genes suggest that histone deacetylase (HDAC) is involved in tumor formation and progression, and treating hepatocellular carcinoma with HDAC inhibitors can, at least partially, repress tumor proliferation and transformation by recusing the expression of tumor-suppressive genes such as TP53 and RB1. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Histone Modification in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Current Advances in Aptamers for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 9; doi:10.3390/cancers10010009
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 26 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (4543 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nucleic acid aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that interact with target molecules with high affinity and specificity in unique three-dimensional structures. Aptamers are generally isolated by a simple selection process called systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) and then can be chemically
[...] Read more.
Nucleic acid aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that interact with target molecules with high affinity and specificity in unique three-dimensional structures. Aptamers are generally isolated by a simple selection process called systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) and then can be chemically synthesized and modified. Because of their high affinity and specificity, aptamers are promising agents for biomarker discovery, as well as cancer diagnosis and therapy. In this review, we present recent progress and challenges in aptamer and SELEX technology and highlight some representative applications of aptamers in cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers: Promising Tools for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Local Acetaldehyde—An Essential Role in Alcohol-Related Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Carcinogenesis
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 11; doi:10.3390/cancers10010011
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 5 January 2018
PDF Full-text (724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The resident microbiome plays a key role in exposure of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract mucosa to acetaldehyde (ACH), a carcinogenic metabolite of ethanol. Poor oral health is a significant risk factor for oral and esophageal carcinogenesis and is characterized by a dysbiotic
[...] Read more.
The resident microbiome plays a key role in exposure of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract mucosa to acetaldehyde (ACH), a carcinogenic metabolite of ethanol. Poor oral health is a significant risk factor for oral and esophageal carcinogenesis and is characterized by a dysbiotic microbiome. Dysbiosis leads to increased growth of opportunistic pathogens (such as Candida yeasts) and may cause an up to 100% increase in the local ACH production, which is further modified by organ-specific expression and gene polymorphisms of ethanol-metabolizing and ACH-metabolizing enzymes. A point mutation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 gene has randomized millions of alcohol consumers to markedly increased local ACH exposure via saliva and gastric juice, which is associated with a manifold risk for upper GI tract cancers. This human cancer model proves conclusively the causal relationship between ACH and upper GI tract carcinogenesis and provides novel possibilities for the quantitative assessment of ACH carcinogenicity in the human oropharynx. ACH formed from ethanol present in “non-alcoholic” beverages, fermented food, or added during food preparation forms a significant epidemiologic bias in cancer epidemiology. The same also concerns “free” ACH present in mutagenic concentrations in multiple beverages and foodstuffs. Local exposure to ACH is cumulative and can be reduced markedly both at the population and individual level. At best, a person would never consume tobacco, alcohol, or both. However, even smoking cessation and moderation of alcohol consumption are associated with a marked decrease in local ACH exposure and cancer risk, especially among established risk groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Targeting Pancreatic Cancer Cell Plasticity: The Latest in Therapeutics
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 14; doi:10.3390/cancers10010014
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1791 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mortality remains alarmingly high for patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), with 93% succumbing to the disease within five years. The vast majority of PDAC cases are driven by activating mutations in the proto-oncogene KRAS, which results in constitutive proliferation and survival
[...] Read more.
Mortality remains alarmingly high for patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), with 93% succumbing to the disease within five years. The vast majority of PDAC cases are driven by activating mutations in the proto-oncogene KRAS, which results in constitutive proliferation and survival signaling. As efforts to target RAS and its downstream effectors continue, parallel research aimed at identifying novel targets is also needed in order to improve therapeutic options and efficacy. Recent studies demonstrate that self-renewing cancer stem cells (CSCs) contribute to metastatic dissemination and therapy failure, the causes of mortality from PDAC. Here, we discuss current challenges in PDAC therapeutics, highlight the contribution of mesenchymal/CSC plasticity to PDAC pathogenesis, and propose that targeting the drivers of plasticity will prove beneficial. Increasingly, intrinsic oncogenic and extrinsic pro-growth/survival signaling emanating from the tumor microenvironment (TME) are being implicated in the de novo generation of CSC and regulation of tumor cell plasticity. An improved understanding of key regulators of PDAC plasticity is providing new potential avenues for targeting the properties associated with CSC (including enhanced invasion and migration, metastatic outgrowth, and resistance to therapy). Finally, we describe the growing field of therapeutics directed at cancer stem cells and cancer cell plasticity in order to improve the lives of patients with PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A Review of Local Ablative Therapies
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 16; doi:10.3390/cancers10010016
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
PDF Full-text (405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is typically characterized by its aggressive tumor growth and dismal prognosis. Approximately 30% of patients with pancreatic cancer present with locally advanced disease, broadly defined as having a tumor-to-artery interface >180°, having an unreconstructable portal vein or superior mesenteric vein and
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is typically characterized by its aggressive tumor growth and dismal prognosis. Approximately 30% of patients with pancreatic cancer present with locally advanced disease, broadly defined as having a tumor-to-artery interface >180°, having an unreconstructable portal vein or superior mesenteric vein and no signs of metastatic disease. These patients are currently designated to palliative systemic chemotherapy, though median overall survival remains poor (approximately 11 months). Therefore, several innovative local therapies have been investigated as new treatment options for locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC). This article provides an overview of available data with regard to morbidity and oncological outcome of novel local therapies for LAPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Advances in Molecular Profiling and Categorisation of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma and the Implications for Therapy
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 17; doi:10.3390/cancers10010017
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
PDF Full-text (447 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) continues to be a disease with poor outcomes and short-lived treatment responses. New information is emerging from genome sequencing identifying potential subgroups based on somatic and germline mutations. A variety of different mutations and mutational signatures have been identified;
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) continues to be a disease with poor outcomes and short-lived treatment responses. New information is emerging from genome sequencing identifying potential subgroups based on somatic and germline mutations. A variety of different mutations and mutational signatures have been identified; the driver mutation in around 93% of PDAC is KRAS, with other recorded alterations being SMAD4 and CDKN2A. Mutations in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage repair pathway have also been investigated in PDAC and multiple clinical trials are ongoing with DNA-damaging agents. Rare mutations in BRAF and microsatellite instability (MSI) have been reported in about 1–3% of patients with PDAC, and agents used in other cancers to target these have also shown some promise. Immunotherapy is a developing field, but has failed to demonstrate benefits in PDAC to date. While many trials have failed to improve outcomes in this deadly disease, there is optimism that by developing a better understanding of the translational aspects of this cancer, future informed therapeutic strategies may prove more successful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview mTOR Pathways in Cancer and Autophagy
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 18; doi:10.3390/cancers10010018
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
PDF Full-text (645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
TOR (target of rapamycin), an evolutionarily-conserved serine/threonine kinase, acts as a central regulator of cell growth, proliferation and survival in response to nutritional status, growth factor, and stress signals. It plays a crucial role in coordinating the balance between cell growth and cell
[...] Read more.
TOR (target of rapamycin), an evolutionarily-conserved serine/threonine kinase, acts as a central regulator of cell growth, proliferation and survival in response to nutritional status, growth factor, and stress signals. It plays a crucial role in coordinating the balance between cell growth and cell death, depending on cellular conditions and needs. As such, TOR has been identified as a key modulator of autophagy for more than a decade, and several deregulations of this pathway have been implicated in a variety of pathological disorders, including cancer. At the molecular level, autophagy regulates several survival or death signaling pathways that may decide the fate of cancer cells; however, the relationship between autophagy pathways and cancer are still nascent. In this review, we discuss the recent cellular signaling pathways regulated by TOR, their interconnections to autophagy, and the clinical implications of TOR inhibitors in cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue mTOR Pathway in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview EpCAM Immunotherapy versus Specific Targeted Delivery of Drugs
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 19; doi:10.3390/cancers10010019
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1832 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), or CD326, was one of the first cancer associated biomarkers to be discovered. In the last forty years, this biomarker has been investigated for use in personalized cancer therapy, with the first monoclonal antibody, edrecolomab, being trialled
[...] Read more.
The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), or CD326, was one of the first cancer associated biomarkers to be discovered. In the last forty years, this biomarker has been investigated for use in personalized cancer therapy, with the first monoclonal antibody, edrecolomab, being trialled in humans more than thirty years ago. Since then, several other monoclonal antibodies have been raised to EpCAM and tested in clinical trials. However, while monoclonal antibody therapy has been investigated against EpCAM for almost 40 years as primary or adjuvant therapy, it has not shown as much promise as initially heralded. In this review, we look at the reasons why and consider alternative targeting options, such as aptamers, to turn this almost ubiquitously expressed epithelial cancer biomarker into a viable target for future personalized therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers: Promising Tools for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Alcohol-Derived Acetaldehyde Exposure in the Oral Cavity
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 20; doi:10.3390/cancers10010020
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 14 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alcohol is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a human carcinogen and its consumption has been associated to an increased risk of liver, breast, colorectum, and upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) cancers. Its mechanisms of carcinogenicity remain unclear and
[...] Read more.
Alcohol is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a human carcinogen and its consumption has been associated to an increased risk of liver, breast, colorectum, and upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) cancers. Its mechanisms of carcinogenicity remain unclear and various hypotheses have been formulated depending on the target organ considered. In the case of UADT cancers, alcohol’s major metabolite acetaldehyde seems to play a crucial role. Acetaldehyde reacts with DNA inducing modifications, which, if not repaired, can result in mutations and lead to cancer development. Despite alcohol being mainly metabolized in the liver, several studies performed in humans found higher levels of acetaldehyde in saliva compared to those found in blood immediately after alcohol consumption. These results suggest that alcohol-derived acetaldehyde exposure may occur in the oral cavity independently from liver metabolism. This hypothesis is supported by our recent results showing the presence of acetaldehyde-related DNA modifications in oral cells of monkeys and humans exposed to alcohol, overall suggesting that the alcohol metabolism in the oral cavity is an independent cancer risk factor. This review article will focus on illustrating the factors modulating alcohol-derived acetaldehyde exposure and effects in the oral cavity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview mTOR Cross-Talk in Cancer and Potential for Combination Therapy
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 23; doi:10.3390/cancers10010023
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
PDF Full-text (3712 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway plays an essential role in sensing and integrating a variety of exogenous cues to regulate cellular growth and metabolism, in both physiological and pathological conditions. mTOR functions through two functionally and structurally distinct multi-component complexes, mTORC1
[...] Read more.
The mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway plays an essential role in sensing and integrating a variety of exogenous cues to regulate cellular growth and metabolism, in both physiological and pathological conditions. mTOR functions through two functionally and structurally distinct multi-component complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, which interact with each other and with several elements of other signaling pathways. In the past few years, many new insights into mTOR function and regulation have been gained and extensive genetic and pharmacological studies in mice have enhanced our understanding of how mTOR dysfunction contributes to several diseases, including cancer. Single-agent mTOR targeting, mostly using rapalogs, has so far met limited clinical success; however, due to the extensive cross-talk between mTOR and other pathways, combined approaches are the most promising avenues to improve clinical efficacy of available therapeutics and overcome drug resistance. This review provides a brief and up-to-date narrative on the regulation of mTOR function, the relative contributions of mTORC1 and mTORC2 complexes to cancer development and progression, and prospects for mTOR inhibition as a therapeutic strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue mTOR Pathway in Cancer)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Contemporary Management of Localized Resectable Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 24; doi:10.3390/cancers10010024
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Surgical resection with negative margins still constitutes the cornerstone of potentially curative therapy, but is possible only in 15–20% of patients at the time of initial diagnosis. Accumulating
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Surgical resection with negative margins still constitutes the cornerstone of potentially curative therapy, but is possible only in 15–20% of patients at the time of initial diagnosis. Accumulating evidence suggests that the neoadjuvant approach may improve R0 resection rate in localized resectable and borderline resectable diseases, and potentially downstage locally advanced disease to achieve surgical resection, though the impact on survival is to be determined. Despite advancements in the last decade in developing effective combinational chemo-radio therapeutic options, preoperative treatment strategies, and better peri-operative care, pancreatic cancer continues to carry a dismal prognosis in the majority. Prodigious efforts are currently being made in optimizing the neoadjuvant therapy with a better toxicity profile, developing novel agents, imaging techniques, and identification of biomarkers for the disease. Advancement in our understanding of the tumor microenvironment and molecular pathology is urgently needed to facilitate the development of novel targeted and immunotherapies for this setting. In this review, we detail the current literature on contemporary management of resectable, borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer with a focus on future directions in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessReview Colorectal Cancers: An Update on Their Molecular Pathology
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 26; doi:10.3390/cancers10010026
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
PDF Full-text (3035 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Colorectal cancers (CRCs) are the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Rather than being a single, uniform disease type, accumulating evidence suggests that CRCs comprise a group of molecularly heterogeneous diseases that are characterized by a range of genomic and epigenomic alterations.
[...] Read more.
Colorectal cancers (CRCs) are the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Rather than being a single, uniform disease type, accumulating evidence suggests that CRCs comprise a group of molecularly heterogeneous diseases that are characterized by a range of genomic and epigenomic alterations. This heterogeneity slows the development of molecular-targeted therapy as a form of precision medicine. Recent data regarding comprehensive molecular characterizations and molecular pathological examinations of CRCs have increased our understanding of the genomic and epigenomic landscapes of CRCs, which has enabled CRCs to be reclassified into biologically and clinically meaningful subtypes. The increased knowledge of the molecular pathological epidemiology of CRCs has permitted their evolution from a vaguely understood, heterogeneous group of diseases with variable clinical courses to characteristic molecular subtypes, a development that will allow the implementation of personalized therapies and better management of patients with CRC. This review provides a perspective regarding recent developments in our knowledge of the molecular and epidemiological landscapes of CRCs, including results of comprehensive molecular characterizations obtained from high-throughput analyses and the latest developments regarding their molecular pathologies, immunological biomarkers, and associated gut microbiome. Advances in our understanding of potential personalized therapies for molecularly specific subtypes are also reviewed. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research, Review

Open AccessTechnical Note Clinical Implementation of Robust Optimization for Craniospinal Irradiation
Cancers 2018, 10(1), 7; doi:10.3390/cancers10010007
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 26 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1705 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With robust optimization for spot scanning proton therapy now commercially available, the ability exists to account for setup, range, and interfield uncertainties during optimization. Robust optimization is particularly beneficial for craniospinal irradiation (CSI) where the large target volume lends itself to larger setup
[...] Read more.
With robust optimization for spot scanning proton therapy now commercially available, the ability exists to account for setup, range, and interfield uncertainties during optimization. Robust optimization is particularly beneficial for craniospinal irradiation (CSI) where the large target volume lends itself to larger setup uncertainties and the need for robust match lines can all be handled with the uncertainty parameters found inside the optimizer. Suggested robust optimization settings, parameters, and image guidance for CSI patients using proton therapy spot scanning are provided. Useful structures are defined and described. Suggestions are given for perturbations to be entered into the optimizer in order to achieve a plan that provides robust target volume coverage and critical structure sparing as well as a robust match line. Interfield offset effects, a concern when using multifield optimization, can also be addressed within the robust optimizer. A robust optimizer can successfully be employed to produce robust match lines, target volume coverage, and critical structure sparing under specified uncertainties. The robust optimizer can also be used to reduce effects arising from interfield uncertainties. Using robust optimization, a plan robust against setup, range, and interfield uncertainties for craniospinal treatments can be created. Utilizing robust optimization allows one to ensure critical structures are spared and target volumes are covered under the desired uncertainty parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton and Carbon Ion Therapy)
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top