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Cancers, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a T-cell neoplasm with unique morphology and phenotype, [...] Read more.
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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Study of the Influence of NanOx Parameters
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
NanOx is a new biophysical model that aims at predicting the biological effect of ions in the context of hadron therapy. It integrates the fully-stochastic nature of ionizing radiation both at micrometric and nanometric scales and also takes into account the production and
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NanOx is a new biophysical model that aims at predicting the biological effect of ions in the context of hadron therapy. It integrates the fully-stochastic nature of ionizing radiation both at micrometric and nanometric scales and also takes into account the production and diffusion of reactive chemical species. In order to further characterize the new framework, we discuss the meaning and relevance of most of the NanOx parameters by evaluating their influence on the linear-quadratic coefficient α and on the dose deposited to achieve 10% or 1% of cell survival, D 10 % or D 1 % , as a function of LET. We perform a theoretical study in which variations in the input parameters are propagated into the model predictions for HSG, V79 and CHO-K1 cells irradiated by monoenergetic protons and carbon ions. We conclude that, in the current version of NanOx, the modeling of a specific cell line relies on five parameters, which have to be adjusted to several experimental measurements: the average cellular nuclear radius, the linear-quadratic coefficients describing photon irradiations and the α values associated with two carbon ions of intermediate and high-LET values. This may have interesting implications toward a clinical application of the new biophysical model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton and Carbon Ion Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle Use of the Ion PGM and the GeneReader NGS Systems in Daily Routine Practice for Advanced Lung Adenocarcinoma Patients: A Practical Point of View Reporting a Comparative Study and Assessment of 90 Patients
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Background: With the integration of various targeted therapies into the clinical management of patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has become the technology of choice and has led to an increase in simultaneously interrogated genes. However, the broader adoption of
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Background: With the integration of various targeted therapies into the clinical management of patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has become the technology of choice and has led to an increase in simultaneously interrogated genes. However, the broader adoption of NGS for routine clinical practice is still hampered by sophisticated workflows, complex bioinformatics analysis and medical interpretation. Therefore, the performance of the novel QIAGEN GeneReader NGS system was compared to an in-house ISO-15189 certified Ion PGM NGS platform. Methods: Clinical samples from 90 patients (60 Retrospectively and 30 Prospectively) with lung adenocarcinoma were sequenced with both systems. Mutations were analyzed and EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, NRAS, ALK, PIK3CA and ERBB2 genes were compared and sampling time and suitability for clinical testing were assessed. Results: Both sequencing systems showed perfect concordance for the overlapping genes. Correlation of allele frequency was r2 = 0.93 for the retrospective patients and r2 = 0.81 for the prospective patients. Hands-on time and total run time were shorter using the PGM system, while the GeneReader platform provided good traceability and up-to-date interpretation of the results. Conclusion: We demonstrated the suitability of the GeneReader NGS system in routine practice in a clinical pathology laboratory setting. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Curcuminoids as EBV Lytic Activators for Adjuvant Treatment in EBV-Positive Carcinomas
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) persists in nasopharyngeal (NPC) and gastric carcinomas (EBVaGC) in a tightly latent form. Cytolytic virus activation (CLVA) therapy employs gemcitabine and valproic acid (GCb+VPA) to reactivate latent EBV into the lytic phase and antiviral valganciclovir to enhance cell death and
[...] Read more.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) persists in nasopharyngeal (NPC) and gastric carcinomas (EBVaGC) in a tightly latent form. Cytolytic virus activation (CLVA) therapy employs gemcitabine and valproic acid (GCb+VPA) to reactivate latent EBV into the lytic phase and antiviral valganciclovir to enhance cell death and prevent virus production. CLVA treatment has proven safe in phase-I/II trials with promising clinical responses in patients with recurrent NPC. However, a major challenge is to maximize EBV lytic reactivation by CLVA. Curcumin, a dietary spice used in Asian countries, is known for its antitumor property and therapeutic potential. Novel curcuminoids that were developed to increase efficacy and bioavailability may serve as oral CLVA adjuvants. We investigated the potential of curcumin and its analogs (curcuminoids) to trigger the EBV lytic cycle in EBVaGC and NPC cells. EBV-reactivating effects were measured by immunoblot and immunofluorescence using monoclonal antibodies specific for EBV lytic proteins. Two of the hit compounds (41, EF24) with high lytic inducing activity were further studied for their synergistic or antagonistic effects when combined with GCb+VPA and analyzed by cytotoxicity and mRNA profiling assays to measure the EBV reactivation. Curcuminoid as a single agent significantly induced EBV reactivation in recombinant GC and NPC lines. The drug effects were dose- and time-dependent. Micromolar concentration of curcuminoid EF24 enhanced the CLVA effect in all cell systems except SNU719, a naturally infected EBVaGC cell that carries a more tightly latent viral genome. These findings indicated that EF24 has potential as EBV lytic activator and may serve as an adjuvant in CLVA treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle Loss of One or Two PATZ1 Alleles Has a Critical Role in the Progression of Thyroid Carcinomas Induced by the RET/PTC1 Oncogene
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
POZ/BTB and AT-hook-containing zinc finger protein 1 (PATZ1) is an emerging cancer-related gene that is downregulated in different human malignancies, including thyroid cancer, where its levels gradually decrease going from papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) to poorly differentiated and undifferentiated highly aggressive anaplastic carcinomas
[...] Read more.
POZ/BTB and AT-hook-containing zinc finger protein 1 (PATZ1) is an emerging cancer-related gene that is downregulated in different human malignancies, including thyroid cancer, where its levels gradually decrease going from papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) to poorly differentiated and undifferentiated highly aggressive anaplastic carcinomas (ATC). The restoration of PATZ1 expression in thyroid cancer cells reverted their malignant phenotype by inducing mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition, thus validating a tumor suppressor role for PATZ1 and suggesting its involvement in thyroid cancer progression. Here, we investigated the consequences of the homozygous and heterozygous loss of PATZ1 in the context of a mouse modeling of PTC, represented by mice carrying the RET/PTC1 oncogene under the thyroid specific control of the thyroglobulin promoter RET/PTC1 (RET/PTC1TG). The phenotypic analysis of RET/PTC1TG mice intercrossed with Patz1-knockout mice revealed that deficiency of both Patz1 alleles enhanced thyroid cancer incidence in RET/PTC1TG mice, but not the heterozygous knockout of the Patz1 gene. However, both RET/PTC1TG;Patz1+/− and RET/PTC1TG;Patz1−/− mice developed a more aggressive thyroid cancer phenotype—characterized by higher Ki-67 expression, presence of ATCs, and increased incidence of solid variants of PTC—than that shown by RET/PTC1TG; Patz1+/+ compound mice. These results confirm that PATZ1 downregulation has a critical role in thyroid carcinogenesis, showing that it cooperates with RET/PTC1 in thyroid cancer progression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Differentiation Therapy Targeting the β-Catenin/CBP Interaction in Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Background: Although canonical Wnt signaling is known to promote tumorigenesis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a cancer driven principally by mutant K-Ras, the detailed molecular mechanisms by which the Wnt effector β-catenin regulates such tumorigenesis are largely unknown. We have previously demonstrated
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Background: Although canonical Wnt signaling is known to promote tumorigenesis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a cancer driven principally by mutant K-Ras, the detailed molecular mechanisms by which the Wnt effector β-catenin regulates such tumorigenesis are largely unknown. We have previously demonstrated that β-catenin’s differential usage of the Kat3 transcriptional coactivator cyclic AMP-response element binding protein-binding protein (CBP) over its highly homologous coactivator p300 increases self-renewal and suppresses differentiation in other types of cancer. Aim/methods: To investigate Wnt-mediated carcinogenesis in PDAC, we have used the specific small molecule CBP/β-catenin antagonist, ICG-001, which our lab identified and has extensively characterized, to examine its effects in human pancreatic cancer cells and in both an orthotopic mouse model and a human patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of PDAC. Results/conclusion: We report for the first time that K-Ras activation increases the CBP/β-catenin interaction in pancreatic cancer; and that ICG-001 specific antagonism of the CBP/β-catenin interaction sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells and tumors to gemcitabine treatment. These effects were associated with increases in the expression of let-7a microRNA; suppression of K-Ras and survivin; and the elimination of drug-resistant cancer stem/tumor-initiating cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dissecting the Mutational Landscape of Cutaneous Melanoma: An Omic Analysis Based on Patients from Greece
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
Melanoma is a lethal type of skin cancer, unless it is diagnosed early. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue is a valuable source for molecular assays after diagnostic examination, but isolated nucleic acids often suffer from degradation. Here, for the first time, we examine primary
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Melanoma is a lethal type of skin cancer, unless it is diagnosed early. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue is a valuable source for molecular assays after diagnostic examination, but isolated nucleic acids often suffer from degradation. Here, for the first time, we examine primary melanomas from Greek patients, using whole exome sequencing, so as to derive their mutational profile. Application of a bioinformatic framework revealed a total of 10,030 somatic mutations. Regarding the genes containing putative protein-altering mutations, 73 were common in at least three patients. Sixty-five of these 73 top common genes have been previously identified in melanoma cases. Biological processes related to melanoma were affected by varied genes in each patient, suggesting differences in the components of a pathway possibly contributing to pathogenesis. We performed a multi-level analysis highlighting a short list of candidate genes with a probable causative role in melanoma. Full article
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Open AccessArticle EBV+ and MSI Gastric Cancers Harbor High PD-L1/PD-1 Expression and High CD8+ Intratumoral Lymphocytes
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040102
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 1 April 2018
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Abstract
Both EBV+ and MSI gastric cancers (GCs) have high lymphoid infiltration which is rare in MSS/EBV cancers. PD-L1/PD-1 interaction leads to a down-regulated immune response and it is one of the most promising targets for gastric cancer immunotherapy. PD-L1/PD-1 and CD8
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Both EBV+ and MSI gastric cancers (GCs) have high lymphoid infiltration which is rare in MSS/EBV cancers. PD-L1/PD-1 interaction leads to a down-regulated immune response and it is one of the most promising targets for gastric cancer immunotherapy. PD-L1/PD-1 and CD8 expression were immunohistochemically investigated in a series of 169 FFPE GCs, including 33 EBV+, 59 MSI and 77 MSS/EBV cases. PD-L1 membrane immunoreactivity in more than 5% of tumor cells was present in 31/169 GCs and was associated with high levels of CD8 intraepithelial lymphocytes (TILs; p < 0.001). PD-L1+ cases were mainly poorly differentiated (71%), intestinal type (85%) and high lymphoid response (HLR; 90%) tumors. PD-L1 expression was only present in EBV⁺ (46%), MSI (24%) and rare MSS/EBV (3%) GCs with high CD8+ TILs (p < 0.001). Despite being associated with a better prognosis both in the whole series (p < 0.05) and in the MSI subset, PD-L1 is not an independent prognostic factor. PD-L1 gene amplification was detected in 3/17 cases, including 2/7 EBV+ and 1/8 MSI GC. PD-1⁺ TILs were significantly higher in EBV⁺ than MSI and MSS/EBV cases. PD-L1/PD-1 pathway is selectively activated in HLR GCs and could be considered an emerging therapeutic target, particularly for EBV and MSI GCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle Proton Partial Breast Irradiation: Detailed Description of Acute Clinico-Radiologic Effects
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040111
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
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Abstract
Introduction: Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with protons results in a very different acute effect profile than standard whole breast irradiation. We reviewed our initial experience with proton APBI and felt that a detailed description of these effects were needed to permit a
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Introduction: Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with protons results in a very different acute effect profile than standard whole breast irradiation. We reviewed our initial experience with proton APBI and felt that a detailed description of these effects were needed to permit a common tool to compare experience with this developing technology. Methods: Sixty sequential patients treated with proton APBI on a prospective protocol were evaluated and 43 patients with a minimum six-month follow-up underwent detailed photographic and radiologic analysis. The tumorectomy cavity plus an additional 1.5 cm clinical target volume (CTV) was treated with two or three passively-scattered proton beams to a dose of 34 Gy in 10 fractions in one week. Photographs were taken at the end of radiation, at two weeks, six weeks, and every six months thereafter. Mammography was obtained at six months after radiation and annually thereafter. All visual changes were categorized using the smallest meaningful gradations in findings and are demonstrated herein. All treatment-related mammographic findings are reported. Findings: Visual and mammographic findings showed a clear time-dependent relationship and significant variation between individuals. Peak skin reaction occurred at two to six weeks after completion of therapy. At two weeks most patients had either no visible effects and patchy erythema involving <50% of the treated skin (60%). At six weeks most patients had either patchy erythema involving <50% of the overlying skin (33%) or patchy erythema involving >50% of the treated skin (28%). Only one patient developed any moist desquamation. At six months most patients had no visible skin changes (57%) or a small, circular area of mild hyperpigmentation (33%). Mammographic changes seen at six months were regional skin thickening (40%), residual seroma (14%), localized retraction (26%), and fat necrosis (2%). A subcategorized variant on the CTCAE 4.0 was developed to foster granular recording of these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton and Carbon Ion Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle Construction and Characterization of a Humanized Anti-Epstein-Barr Virus gp350 Antibody with Neutralizing Activity in Cell Culture
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040112
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
Acute Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in immunosuppressed transplant patients can give rise to a malignant B-cell proliferation known as post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). The EBV major virion surface glycoprotein (gp)350 is a principal target of naturally occurring neutralizing antibodies and is viewed as
[...] Read more.
Acute Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in immunosuppressed transplant patients can give rise to a malignant B-cell proliferation known as post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). The EBV major virion surface glycoprotein (gp)350 is a principal target of naturally occurring neutralizing antibodies and is viewed as the best target to prevent acute infection and PTLD in at-risk transplant recipients. We have constructed a humanized (hu) version of the murine anti-gp350 neutralizing monoclonal antibody 72a1. The hu72a1 IgG1 antibody displayed no significant anti-mouse activity, recognized both gp350 and its splice variant gp220 as well as a gp350 peptide that was shown to constitute the principal EBV gp350 neutralizing epitope when tested in immunoassays. Hu72a1 antibody blocked in vitro EBV infection of B cells at a level which equaled that of a mouse-human chimeric 72a1 antibody construct. This work provides a further structural and immunological understanding of the 72a1 antibody interaction with EBV gp350, and constitutes a launch point for future anti-EBV therapeutic antibodies designed to block EBV infection and prevent PTLD while eliminating the deleterious antigenic murine features of the original 72a1 antibody. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle Proton Beam Therapy Alone for Intermediate- or High-Risk Prostate Cancer: An Institutional Prospective Cohort Study
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040116
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
The role of proton beam therapy (PBT) as monotherapy for localized prostate cancer (PCa) remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and adverse events of PBT alone for these patients. Between January 2011 and July 2014, 218 patients
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The role of proton beam therapy (PBT) as monotherapy for localized prostate cancer (PCa) remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and adverse events of PBT alone for these patients. Between January 2011 and July 2014, 218 patients with intermediate- and high-risk PCa who declined androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) were enrolled to the study and were treated with PBT following one of the following protocols: 74 Gray (GyE) with 37 fractions (fr) (74 GyE/37 fr), 78 GyE/39 fr, and 70 GyE/28 fr. The 5-year progression-free survival rate in the intermediate- and high-risk groups was 97% and 83%, respectively (p = 0.002). The rate of grade 2 or higher late gastrointestinal toxicity was 3.9%, and a significant increased incidence was noted in those who received the 78 GyE/39 fr protocol (p < 0.05). Grade 2 or higher acute and late genitourinary toxicities were observed in 23.5% and 3.4% of patients, respectively. Our results indicated that PBT monotherapy can be a beneficial treatment for localized PCa. Furthermore, it can preserve the quality of life of these patients. We believe that this study provides crucial hypotheses for further study and for establishing new treatment strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton and Carbon Ion Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle Public Health Care Financing and the Costs of Cancer Care: A Cross-National Analysis
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040117
Received: 27 January 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
Expenditure and financing aspects in the healthcare system in general, and in cancer care in particular, are subjects of increasing concern to the medical community. Nowadays, it is imperative for the healthcare system to respond to the challenge of universal access to quality
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Expenditure and financing aspects in the healthcare system in general, and in cancer care in particular, are subjects of increasing concern to the medical community. Nowadays, it is imperative for the healthcare system to respond to the challenge of universal access to quality healthcare, by measuring the financial resources within the healthcare sector. The purpose of this review is to highlight the major gaps in the healthcare expenditures for all types of care, as well as on cancer and anti-cancer drugs across 28 European Union member states. The indicators taken into account are divided into two major groups: (1) healthcare expenditures for all types of care, and (2) healthcare expenditures on cancer and anti-cancer drugs. The programs used for our analysis are SPSS Statistics V20.0 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA) and Stat World Explorer. The overall picture confirms that there are considerable disparities between the 28 countries in relation to their expenditures on health. The trend in public expenditures for all types of care, compared to the share of healthcare expenditures as a percentage of the GDP, shows the increase of health expenses between 2010 and 2014, but a lower rise compared to the total GDP increase. Healthcare expenditure on cancer (%THE) is rather low, despite the high cost associated with anti-cancer drugs. New treatments and drugs development will be increasingly difficult to achieve if the share devoted to cancer does not increase, and the lack of funds may act as a barrier in receiving high-quality care. Full article
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Open AccessArticle NF-κB Signaling Regulates Epstein–Barr Virus BamHI-Q-Driven EBNA1 Expression
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040119
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 7 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) is one of the few viral proteins expressed by EBV in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), most likely because of its essential role in maintaining the viral genome in EBV-infected cells. In NPC, EBNA1 expression is driven by
[...] Read more.
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) is one of the few viral proteins expressed by EBV in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), most likely because of its essential role in maintaining the viral genome in EBV-infected cells. In NPC, EBNA1 expression is driven by the BamHI-Q promoter (Qp), which is regulated by both cellular and viral factors. We previously determined that the expression of another group of EBV transcripts, BamHI-A rightward transcripts (BARTs), is associated with constitutively activated nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling in NPC cells. Here, we show that, like the EBV BART promoter, the EBV Qp also responds to NF-κB signaling. NF-κB p65, but not p50, can activate Qp in vitro, and NF-κB signaling regulates Qp-EBNA1 expression in NPC cells, as well as in other EBV-infected epithelial cells. The introduction of mutations in the putative NF-κB site reduced Qp activation by the NF-κB p65 subunit. Binding of p65 to Qp was shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis, while electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) demonstrated that p50 can also bind to Qp. Inhibition of NF-κB signaling by the IκB kinase inhibitor PS-1145 resulted in the downregulation of Qp-EBNA1 expression in C666-1 NPC cells. Since EBNA1 has been reported to block p65 activation by inhibiting IKKα/β through an unknown mechanism, we suggest that, in NPC, NF-κB signaling and EBNA1 may form a regulatory loop which supports EBV latent gene expression, while also limiting NF-κB activity. These findings emphasize the role of NF-κB signaling in the regulation of EBV latency in EBV-associated tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle Hypoxia-Induced Cisplatin Resistance in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells Is Mediated by HIF-1α and Mutant p53 and Can Be Overcome by Induction of Oxidative Stress
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040126
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
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Abstract
The compound APR-246 (PRIMA-1MET) is a known reactivator of (mutant) p53 and inducer of oxidative stress which can sensitize cancer cells to platinum-based chemotherapeutics. However, the effect of a hypoxic tumor environment has been largely overlooked in this interaction. This study
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The compound APR-246 (PRIMA-1MET) is a known reactivator of (mutant) p53 and inducer of oxidative stress which can sensitize cancer cells to platinum-based chemotherapeutics. However, the effect of a hypoxic tumor environment has been largely overlooked in this interaction. This study focusses on the role of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and the p53 tumor suppressor protein in hypoxia-induced cisplatin resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells and the potential of APR-246 to overcome this resistance. We observed that hypoxia-induced cisplatin resistance only occurred in the p53 mutant NCI-H2228Q331* cell line, and not in the wild type A549 and mutant NCI-H1975R273H cell lines. Cisplatin reduced HIF-1α protein levels in NCI-H2228Q331* cells, leading to a shift in expression from HIF-1α-dependent to p53-dependent transcription targets under hypoxia. APR-246 was able to overcome hypoxia-induced cisplatin resistance in NCI-H2228Q331* cells in a synergistic manner without affecting mutant p53Q331* transcriptional activity, but significantly depleting total glutathione levels more efficiently under hypoxic conditions. Synergism was dependent on the presence of mutant p53Q331* and the induction of reactive oxygen species, with depletion of one or the other leading to loss of synergism. Our data further support the rationale of combining APR-246 with cisplatin in NSCLC, since their synergistic interaction is retained or enforced under hypoxic conditions in the presence of mutant p53. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue p53 Signaling in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle Responses to the Selective Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) Inhibitor Tirabrutinib (ONO/GS-4059) in Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma Cell Lines
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040127
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a key regulator of the B-cell receptor signaling pathway, and aberrant B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling has been implicated in the survival of malignant B-cells. However, responses of the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) to inhibitors of BTK (BTKi)
[...] Read more.
Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a key regulator of the B-cell receptor signaling pathway, and aberrant B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling has been implicated in the survival of malignant B-cells. However, responses of the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) to inhibitors of BTK (BTKi) are infrequent, highlighting the need to identify mechanisms of resistance to BTKi as well as predictive biomarkers. We investigated the response to the selective BTKi, tirabrutinib, in a panel of 64 hematopoietic cell lines. Notably, only six cell lines were found to be sensitive. Although activated B-cell type DLBCL cells were most sensitive amongst all cell types studied, sensitivity to BTKi did not correlate with the presence of activating mutations in the BCR pathway. To improve efficacy of tirabrutinib, we investigated combination strategies with 43 drugs inhibiting 34 targets in six DLBCL cell lines. Based on the results, an activated B-cell-like (ABC)-DLBCL cell line, TMD8, was the most sensitive cell line to those combinations, as well as tirabrutinib monotherapy. Furthermore, tirabrutinib in combination with idelalisib, palbociclib, or trametinib was more effective in TMD8 with acquired resistance to tirabrutinib than in the parental cells. These targeted agents might be usefully combined with tirabrutinib in the treatment of ABC-DLBCL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tyrosine Kinase Signaling Pathways in Cancer)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessFeature PaperReview New Insights from Elucidating the Role of LMP1 in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Received: 3 March 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) oncogenic protein that has no intrinsic enzymatic activity or sequence homology to cellular or viral proteins. The oncogenic potential of LMP1 has been ascribed to pleiotropic signaling properties initiated through protein-protein interactions in
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Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) oncogenic protein that has no intrinsic enzymatic activity or sequence homology to cellular or viral proteins. The oncogenic potential of LMP1 has been ascribed to pleiotropic signaling properties initiated through protein-protein interactions in cytosolic membrane compartments, but the effects of LMP1 extend to nuclear and extracellular processes. Although LMP1 is one of the latent genes required for EBV-immortalization of B cells, the biology of LMP1 in the pathogenesis of the epithelial cancer nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is more complex. NPC is prevalent in specific regions of the world with high incidence in southeast China. The epidemiology and time interval from seroconversion to NPC onset in adults would suggest the involvement of multiple risk factors that complement the establishment of a latent and persistent EBV infection. The contribution of LMP1 to EBV pathogenesis in polarized epithelia has only recently begun to be elucidated. Furthermore, the LMP1 gene has emerged as one of the most divergent sequences in the EBV genome. This review will discuss the significance of recent advances in NPC research from elucidating LMP1 function in epithelial cells and lessons that could be learned from mining LMP1 sequence diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Targeting the Hippo Pathway Is a New Potential Therapeutic Modality for Malignant Mesothelioma
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) constitutes a very aggressive tumor that arises from the pleural or peritoneal cavities and is highly refractory to conventional therapies. Several key genetic alterations are associated with the development and progression of MM including mutations of the CDKN2A/ARF, NF2
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Malignant mesothelioma (MM) constitutes a very aggressive tumor that arises from the pleural or peritoneal cavities and is highly refractory to conventional therapies. Several key genetic alterations are associated with the development and progression of MM including mutations of the CDKN2A/ARF, NF2, and BAP1 tumor-suppressor genes. Notably, activating oncogene mutations are very rare; thus, it is difficult to develop effective inhibitors to treat MM. The NF2 gene encodes merlin, a protein that regulates multiple cell-signaling cascades including the Hippo pathway. MMs also exhibit inactivation of Hippo pathway components including LATS1/2, strongly suggesting that merlin-Hippo pathway dysregulation plays a key role in the development and progression of MM. Furthermore, Hippo pathway inactivation has been shown to result in constitutive activation of the YAP1/TAZ transcriptional coactivators, thereby conferring malignant phenotypes to mesothelial cells. Critical YAP1/TAZ target genes, including prooncogenic CCDN1 and CTGF, have also been shown to enhance the malignant phenotypes of MM cells. Together, these data indicate the Hippo pathway as a therapeutic target for the treatment of MM, and support the development of new strategies to effectively target the activation status of YAP1/TAZ as a promising therapeutic modality for this formidable disease. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Chromosomal Instability in Hodgkin Lymphoma: An In-Depth Review and Perspectives
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The study of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), with its unique microenvironment and long-term follow-up, has provided exceptional insights into several areas of tumor biology. Findings in HL have not only improved our understanding of human carcinogenesis, but have also pioneered its translation into the
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The study of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), with its unique microenvironment and long-term follow-up, has provided exceptional insights into several areas of tumor biology. Findings in HL have not only improved our understanding of human carcinogenesis, but have also pioneered its translation into the clinics. HL is a successful paradigm of modern treatment strategies. Nonetheless, approximately 15–20% of patients with advanced stage HL still die following relapse or progressive disease and a similar proportion of patients are over-treated, leading to treatment-related late sequelae, including solid tumors and organ dysfunction. The malignant cells in HL are characterized by a highly altered genomic landscape with a wide spectrum of genomic alterations, including somatic mutations, copy number alterations, complex chromosomal rearrangements, and aneuploidy. Here, we review the chromosomal instability mechanisms in HL, starting with the cellular origin of neoplastic cells and the mechanisms supporting HL pathogenesis, focusing particularly on the role of the microenvironment, including the influence of viruses and macrophages on the induction of chromosomal instability in HL. We discuss the emerging possibilities to exploit these aberrations as prognostic biomarkers and guides for personalized patient management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hodgkin's Lymphoma)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Role of Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) Family Members in CD30-Positive Lymphomas
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
The Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor (TF) family, composed of a variety of members including c-JUN, c-FOS and ATF, is involved in mediating many biological processes such as proliferation, differentiation and cell death. Since their discovery, the role of AP-1 TFs in cancer
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The Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor (TF) family, composed of a variety of members including c-JUN, c-FOS and ATF, is involved in mediating many biological processes such as proliferation, differentiation and cell death. Since their discovery, the role of AP-1 TFs in cancer development has been extensively analysed. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have highlighted the complexity of these TFs, mainly due to their cell-type specific homo- or hetero-dimerization resulting in diverse transcriptional response profiles. However, as a result of the increasing knowledge of the role of AP-1 TFs in disease, these TFs are being recognized as promising therapeutic targets for various malignancies. In this review, we focus on the impact of deregulated expression of AP-1 TFs in CD30-positive lymphomas including Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Hippo Pathway: Immunity and Cancer
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Since its discovery, the Hippo pathway has emerged as a central signaling network in mammalian cells. Canonical signaling through the Hippo pathway core components (MST1/2, LATS1/2, YAP and TAZ) is important for development and tissue homeostasis while aberrant signaling through the Hippo pathway
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Since its discovery, the Hippo pathway has emerged as a central signaling network in mammalian cells. Canonical signaling through the Hippo pathway core components (MST1/2, LATS1/2, YAP and TAZ) is important for development and tissue homeostasis while aberrant signaling through the Hippo pathway has been implicated in multiple pathologies, including cancer. Recent studies have uncovered new roles for the Hippo pathway in immunology. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms by which Hippo signaling in pathogen-infected or neoplastic cells affects the activities of immune cells that respond to these threats. We further discuss how Hippo signaling functions as part of an immune response. Finally, we review how immune cell-intrinsic Hippo signaling modulates the development/function of leukocytes and propose directions for future work. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Nanopulse Stimulation (NPS) Induces Tumor Ablation and Immunity in Orthotopic 4T1 Mouse Breast Cancer: A Review
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
Nanopulse Stimulation (NPS) eliminates mouse and rat tumor types in several different animal models. NPS induces protective, vaccine-like effects after ablation of orthotopic rat N1-S1 hepatocellular carcinoma. Here we review some general concepts of NPS in the context of studies with mouse metastatic
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Nanopulse Stimulation (NPS) eliminates mouse and rat tumor types in several different animal models. NPS induces protective, vaccine-like effects after ablation of orthotopic rat N1-S1 hepatocellular carcinoma. Here we review some general concepts of NPS in the context of studies with mouse metastatic 4T1 mammary cancer showing that the postablation, vaccine-like effect is initiated by dynamic, multilayered immune mechanisms. NPS eliminates primary 4T1 tumors by inducing immunogenic, caspase-independent programmed cell death (PCD). With lower electric fields, like those peripheral to the primary treatment zone, NPS can activate dendritic cells (DCs). The activation of DCs by dead/dying cells leads to increases in memory effector and central memory T-lymphocytes in the blood and spleen. NPS also eliminates immunosuppressive cells in the tumor microenvironment and blood. Finally, NPS treatment of 4T1 breast cancer exhibits an abscopal effect and largely prevents spontaneous metastases to distant organs. NPS with fast rise–fall times and pulse durations near the plasma membrane charging time constant, which exhibits transient, high-frequency components (1/time = Hz), induce responses from mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and nucleus. Such effects may be responsible for release of danger-associated molecular patterns, including ATP, calreticulin, and high mobility group box 1 (HMBG1) from 4T1-Luc cells to induce immunogenic cell death (ICD). This likely leads to immunity and the vaccine-like response. In this way, NPS acts as a unique onco-immunotherapy providing distinct therapeutic advantages showing possible clinical utility for breast cancers as well as for other malignancies. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Immunomodulatory Capacity of an Epstein-Barr Virus Abortive Lytic Cycle: Potential Contribution to Viral Tumorigenesis
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is characterized by a bipartite life cycle in which latent and lytic stages are alternated. Latency is compatible with long-lasting persistency within the infected host, while lytic expression, preferentially found in oropharyngeal epithelial tissue, is thought to favor host-to-host viral
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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is characterized by a bipartite life cycle in which latent and lytic stages are alternated. Latency is compatible with long-lasting persistency within the infected host, while lytic expression, preferentially found in oropharyngeal epithelial tissue, is thought to favor host-to-host viral dissemination. The clinical importance of EBV relates to its association with cancer, which we think is mainly a consequence of the latency/persistency mechanisms. However, studies in murine models of tumorigenesis/lymphomagenesis indicate that the lytic cycle also contributes to cancer formation. Indeed, EBV lytic expression is often observed in established cell lines and tumor biopsies. Within the lytic cycle EBV expresses a handful of immunomodulatory (BCRF1, BARF1, BNLF2A, BGLF5 & BILF1) and anti-apoptotic (BHRF1 & BALF1) proteins. In this review, we discuss the evidence supporting an abortive lytic cycle in which these lytic genes are expressed, and how the immunomodulatory mechanisms of EBV and related herpesviruses Kaposi Sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) result in paracrine signals that feed tumor cells. An abortive lytic cycle would reconcile the need of lytic expression for viral tumorigenesis without relaying in a complete cycle that would induce cell lysis to release the newly formed infective viral particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Treatment Options for Paediatric Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL): Current Standard and beyond
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK)-positive Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), remains one of the most curable cancers in the paediatric setting; multi-agent chemotherapy cures approximately 65–90% of patients. Over the last two decades, major efforts have focused on improving the survival rate by intensification
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Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK)-positive Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), remains one of the most curable cancers in the paediatric setting; multi-agent chemotherapy cures approximately 65–90% of patients. Over the last two decades, major efforts have focused on improving the survival rate by intensification of combination chemotherapy regimens and employing stem cell transplantation for chemotherapy-resistant patients. More recently, several new and ‘renewed’ agents have offered the opportunity for a change in the paradigm for the management of both chemo-sensitive and chemo-resistant forms of ALCL. The development of ALK inhibitors following the identification of the EML4-ALK fusion gene in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) has opened new possibilities for ALK-positive ALCL. The uniform expression of CD30 on the cell surface of ALCL has given the opportunity for anti-CD30 antibody therapy. The re-evaluation of vinblastine, which has shown remarkable activity as a single agent even in the face of relapsed disease, has led to the consideration of a revised approach to frontline therapy. The advent of immune therapies such as checkpoint inhibition has provided another option for the treatment of ALCL. In fact, the number of potential new agents now presents a real challenge to the clinical community that must prioritise those thought to offer the most promise for the future. In this review, we will focus on the current status of paediatric ALCL therapy, explore how new and ‘renewed’ agents are re-shaping the therapeutic landscape for ALCL, and identify the strategies being employed in the next generation of clinical trials. Full article
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Open AccessReview Bladder Cancer: New Insights into Its Molecular Pathology
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040100
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 1 April 2018
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Abstract
Bladder cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. Unfortunately, there have been few advances in its clinical management due to a poor understanding of the correlations between its molecular and clinical features. Mounting evidence suggests that bladder cancer comprises a group
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Bladder cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. Unfortunately, there have been few advances in its clinical management due to a poor understanding of the correlations between its molecular and clinical features. Mounting evidence suggests that bladder cancer comprises a group of molecularly heterogeneous diseases that undergo a variety of clinical courses and possess diverse therapeutic responses. Owing to the close association between its molecular subtypes and clinicopathological features, specific therapeutic strategies have recently been suggested. This review summarizes the current understanding of the molecular pathology of bladder cancer, including its molecular biomarkers/pathways and molecular subtypes that have been newly identified using high-throughput technologies. It also discusses advances in our understanding of personalized treatments for specific molecular subtypes. Full article
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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Modifications as Biomarkers of Tumor Development, Therapy Response, and Recurrence across the Cancer Care Continuum
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040101
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 1 April 2018
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Abstract
Aberrant epigenetic modifications are an early event in carcinogenesis, with the epigenetic landscape continuing to change during tumor progression and metastasis—these observations suggest that specific epigenetic modifications could be used as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for many cancer types. DNA methylation, post-translational histone
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Aberrant epigenetic modifications are an early event in carcinogenesis, with the epigenetic landscape continuing to change during tumor progression and metastasis—these observations suggest that specific epigenetic modifications could be used as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for many cancer types. DNA methylation, post-translational histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs are all dysregulated in cancer and are detectable to various degrees in liquid biopsies such as sputum, urine, stool, and blood. Here, we will focus on the application of liquid biopsies, as opposed to tissue biopsies, because of their potential as non-invasive diagnostic tools and possible use in monitoring therapy response and progression to metastatic disease. This includes a discussion of septin-9 (SEPT9) DNA hypermethylation for detecting colorectal cancer, which is by far the most developed epigenetic biomarker assay. Despite their potential as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers, technical issues such as inconsistent methodology between studies, overall low yield of epigenetic material in samples, and the need for improved histone and non-coding RNA purification methods are limiting the use of epigenetic biomarkers. Once these technical limitations are overcome, epigenetic biomarkers could be used to monitor cancer development, disease progression, therapeutic response, and recurrence across the entire cancer care continuum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Influence on Cancer Metastasis and/or Treatment Resistance)
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Open AccessReview Role of Gene Therapy in Pancreatic Cancer—A Review
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040103
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
Mortality from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has remained essentially unchanged for decades and its relative contribution to overall cancer death is projected to only increase in the coming years. Current treatment for PDAC includes aggressive chemotherapy and surgical resection in a limited number
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Mortality from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has remained essentially unchanged for decades and its relative contribution to overall cancer death is projected to only increase in the coming years. Current treatment for PDAC includes aggressive chemotherapy and surgical resection in a limited number of patients, with median survival of optimal treatment rather dismal. Recent advances in gene therapies offer novel opportunities for treatment, even in those with locally advanced disease. In this review, we summarize emerging techniques to the design and administration of virotherapy, synthetic vectors, and gene-editing technology. Despite these promising advances, shortcomings continue to exist and here will also be highlighted those approaches to overcoming obstacles in current laboratory and clinical research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview The Critical Role of Inflammation in the Pathogenesis and Progression of Myeloid Malignancies
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040104
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) maintain an organism’s immune system for a lifetime, and derangements in HSC proliferation and differentiation result in hematologic malignancies. Chronic inflammation plays a contributory if not causal role in HSC dysfunction. Inflammation induces HSC exhaustion, which promotes the emergence
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Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) maintain an organism’s immune system for a lifetime, and derangements in HSC proliferation and differentiation result in hematologic malignancies. Chronic inflammation plays a contributory if not causal role in HSC dysfunction. Inflammation induces HSC exhaustion, which promotes the emergence of mutant clones that may be resistant to an inflammatory microenvironment; this likely promotes the onset of a myeloid hematologic malignancy. Inflammatory cytokines are characteristically high in patients with myeloid malignancies and are linked to disease initiation, symptom burden, disease progression, and worsened prognostic survival. This review will cover our current understanding of the role of inflammation in the initiation, progression, and complications of myeloid hematologic malignancies, drawing from clinical studies as well as murine models. We will also highlight inflammation as a therapeutic target in hematologic malignancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inflammation and Cancer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Inhibiting TRK Proteins in Clinical Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040105
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Gene rearrangements resulting in the aberrant activity of tyrosine kinases have been identified as drivers of oncogenesis in a variety of cancers. The tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) family of tyrosine receptor kinases is emerging as an important target for cancer therapeutics. The TRK
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Gene rearrangements resulting in the aberrant activity of tyrosine kinases have been identified as drivers of oncogenesis in a variety of cancers. The tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) family of tyrosine receptor kinases is emerging as an important target for cancer therapeutics. The TRK family contains three members, TRKA, TRKB, and TRKC, and these proteins are encoded by the genes NTRK1, NTRK2, and NTRK3, respectively. To activate TRK receptors, neurotrophins bind to the extracellular region stimulating dimerization, phosphorylation, and activation of downstream signaling pathways. Major known downstream pathways include RAS/MAPK/ERK, PLCγ, and PI3K/Akt. While being rare in most cancers, TRK fusions with other proteins have been well-established as oncogenic events in specific malignancies, including glioblastoma, papillary thyroid carcinoma, and secretory breast carcinomas. TRK protein amplification as well as alternative splicing events have also been described as contributors to cancer pathogenesis. For patients harboring alterations in TRK expression or activity, TRK inhibition emerges as an important therapeutic target. To date, multiple trials testing TRK-inhibiting compounds in various cancers are underway. In this review, we will summarize the current therapeutic trials for neoplasms involving NTKR gene alterations, as well as the promises and setbacks that are associated with targeting gene fusions. Full article
Open AccessReview Interplay of Viral Infection, Host Cell Factors and Tumor Microenvironment in the Pathogenesis of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040106
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. In addition, heavy infiltration of leukocytes is a common characteristic of EBV-associated NPC. It has long been suggested that substantial and interactive impacts between cancer and stromal cells create a tumor
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Undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. In addition, heavy infiltration of leukocytes is a common characteristic of EBV-associated NPC. It has long been suggested that substantial and interactive impacts between cancer and stromal cells create a tumor microenvironment (TME) to promote tumorigenesis. The coexistence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes with EBV-infected NPC cells represents a distinct TME which supports immune evasion and cancer development from the early phase of EBV infection. Intracellularly, EBV-encoded viral products alter host cell signaling to facilitate tumor development and progression. Intercellularly, EBV-infected cancer cells communicate with stromal cells through secretion of cytokines and chemokines, or via release of tumor exosomes, to repress immune surveillance and enhance metastasis. Although high expression of miR-BARTs has been detected in NPC patients, contributions of these more recently discovered viral products to the establishment of TME are still vaguely defined. Further investigations are needed to delineate the mechanistic linkage of the interplay between viral and host factors, especially in relation to TME, which can be harnessed in future therapeutic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Pathological Spectrum of Systemic Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040107
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) represents a group of malignant T-cell lymphoproliferations that share morphological and immunophenotypical features, namely strong CD30 expression and variable loss of T-cell markers, but differ in clinical presentation and prognosis. The recognition of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion
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Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) represents a group of malignant T-cell lymphoproliferations that share morphological and immunophenotypical features, namely strong CD30 expression and variable loss of T-cell markers, but differ in clinical presentation and prognosis. The recognition of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion proteins as a result of chromosomal translocations or inversions was the starting point for the distinction of different subgroups of ALCL. According to their distinct clinical settings and molecular findings, the 2016 revised World Health Organization (WHO) classification recognizes four different entities: systemic ALK-positive ALCL (ALK+ ALCL), systemic ALK-negative ALCL (ALK− ALCL), primary cutaneous ALCL (pC-ALCL), and breast implant-associated ALCL (BI-ALCL), the latter included as a provisional entity. ALK is rearranged in approximately 80% of systemic ALCL cases with one of its partner genes, most commonly NPM1, and is associated with favorable prognosis, whereas systemic ALK− ALCL shows heterogeneous clinical, phenotypical, and genetic features, underlining the different oncogenesis between these two entities. Recognition of the pathological spectrum of ALCL is crucial to understand its pathogenesis and its boundaries with other entities. In this review, we will focus on the morphological, immunophenotypical, and molecular features of systemic ALK+ and ALK− ALCL. In addition, BI-ALCL will be discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview Immunohistochemistry for Diagnosis of Metastatic Carcinomas of Unknown Primary Site
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040108
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract
Immunohistochemistry has become an essential ancillary examination for the identification and classification of carcinomas of unknown primary site (CUPs). Over the last decade, the diagnostic accuracy of organ- or tumour-specific immunomarkers and the clinical validation of effective immunohistochemical panels has improved significantly. When
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Immunohistochemistry has become an essential ancillary examination for the identification and classification of carcinomas of unknown primary site (CUPs). Over the last decade, the diagnostic accuracy of organ- or tumour-specific immunomarkers and the clinical validation of effective immunohistochemical panels has improved significantly. When dealing with small sample sizes, diagnostic accuracy is crucial, particularly in the current era of targeted molecular and immune-based therapies. Effective systematic use of appropriate immunohistochemical panels enables accurate classification of most of the undifferentiated carcinomas as well as careful preservation of tissues for potential molecular or other ancillary tests. This review discusses the algorithmic approach to the diagnosis of CUPs using CK7 and CK20 staining patterns. It outlines the most frequently used tissue-specific antibodies, provides some pitfalls essential in avoiding potential diagnostic errors and discusses the complementary tools, such as molecular tumour profiling and mutation-specific antibodies, for the improvement of diagnosis and prediction of the treatment response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunohistochemistry and Cancer Diagnosis)
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Open AccessReview EBNA1: Oncogenic Activity, Immune Evasion and Biochemical Functions Provide Targets for Novel Therapeutic Strategies against Epstein-Barr Virus- Associated Cancers
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040109
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 6 April 2018
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Abstract
The presence of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) protein in all EBV-carrying tumours constitutes a marker that distinguishes the virus-associated cancer cells from normal cells and thereby offers opportunities for targeted therapeutic intervention. EBNA1 is essential for viral genome maintenance and
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The presence of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) protein in all EBV-carrying tumours constitutes a marker that distinguishes the virus-associated cancer cells from normal cells and thereby offers opportunities for targeted therapeutic intervention. EBNA1 is essential for viral genome maintenance and also for controlling viral gene expression and without EBNA1, the virus cannot persist. EBNA1 itself has been linked to cell transformation but the underlying mechanism of its oncogenic activity has been unclear. However, recent data are starting to shed light on its growth-promoting pathways, suggesting that targeting EBNA1 can have a direct growth suppressing effect. In order to carry out its tasks, EBNA1 interacts with cellular factors and these interactions are potential therapeutic targets, where the aim would be to cripple the virus and thereby rid the tumour cells of any oncogenic activity related to the virus. Another strategy to target EBNA1 is to interfere with its expression. Controlling the rate of EBNA1 synthesis is critical for the virus to maintain a sufficient level to support viral functions, while at the same time, restricting expression is equally important to prevent the immune system from detecting and destroying EBNA1-positive cells. To achieve this balance EBNA1 has evolved a unique repeat sequence of glycines and alanines that controls its own rate of mRNA translation. As the underlying molecular mechanisms for how this repeat suppresses its own rate of synthesis in cis are starting to be better understood, new therapeutic strategies are emerging that aim to modulate the translation of the EBNA1 mRNA. If translation is induced, it could increase the amount of EBNA1-derived antigenic peptides that are presented to the major histocompatibility (MHC) class I pathway and thus, make EBV-carrying cancers better targets for the immune system. If translation is further suppressed, this would provide another means to cripple the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessReview New Challenges in Targeting Signaling Pathways in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia by NGS Approaches: An Update
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040110
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
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Abstract
The identification and study of genetic alterations involved in various signaling pathways associated with the pathogenesis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the application of recent next-generation sequencing (NGS) in the identification of these lesions not only broaden our understanding of the involvement
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The identification and study of genetic alterations involved in various signaling pathways associated with the pathogenesis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the application of recent next-generation sequencing (NGS) in the identification of these lesions not only broaden our understanding of the involvement of various genetic alterations in the pathogenesis of the disease but also identify new therapeutic targets for future clinical trials. The present review describes the main deletions, amplifications, sequence mutations, epigenetic lesions, and new structural DNA rearrangements detected by NGS in B-ALL and T-ALL and their clinical importance for therapeutic procedures. We reviewed the molecular basis of pathways including transcriptional regulation, lymphoid differentiation and development, TP53 and the cell cycle, RAS signaling, JAK/STAT, NOTCH, PI3K/AKT/mTOR, Wnt/β-catenin signaling, chromatin structure modifiers, and epigenetic regulators. The implementation of NGS strategies has enabled important mutated genes in each pathway, their associations with the genetic subtypes of ALL, and their outcomes, which will be described further. We also discuss classic and new cryptic DNA rearrangements in ALL identified by mRNA-seq strategies. Novel cooperative abnormalities in ALL could be key prognostic and/or predictive biomarkers for selecting the best frontline treatment and for developing therapies after the first relapse or refractory disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Biomarkers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview ALK in Neuroblastoma: Biological and Therapeutic Implications
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040113
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common and deadly solid tumour in children. Despite the development of new treatment options for high-risk NB, over half of patients relapse and five-year survival remains at 40–50%. Therefore, novel treatment strategies aimed at providing long-term disease remission
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Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common and deadly solid tumour in children. Despite the development of new treatment options for high-risk NB, over half of patients relapse and five-year survival remains at 40–50%. Therefore, novel treatment strategies aimed at providing long-term disease remission are urgently sought. ALK, encoding the anaplastic lymphoma kinase receptor, is altered by gain-of-function point mutations in around 14% of high-risk NB and represents an ideal therapeutic target given its low or absent expression in healthy tissue postnatally. Small-molecule inhibitors of Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) approved in ALK fusion-positive lung cancer are currently undergoing clinical assessment in patients with ALK-mutant NB. Parallel pre-clinical studies are demonstrating the efficacy of ALK inhibitors against common ALK variants in NB; however, a complex picture of therapeutic resistance is emerging. It is anticipated that long-term use of these compounds will require combinatorial targeting of pathways downstream of ALK, functionally-related ‘bypass’ mechanisms and concomitant oncogenic pathways. Full article
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Open AccessReview Immune Response against ALK in Children with ALK-Positive Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040114
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 7 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) mount a humoral and cellular immune response against ALK. More than 90% of children and adolescents with ALK-positive ALCL have detectable anti-ALK antibodies in serum or plasma, and the antibody titer inversely
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Patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) mount a humoral and cellular immune response against ALK. More than 90% of children and adolescents with ALK-positive ALCL have detectable anti-ALK antibodies in serum or plasma, and the antibody titer inversely correlates with the risk of relapse. ALK-specific CD8 and CD4 T cell responses have been described in patients with ALK-positive ALCL. Vaccination with ALK DNA led to protection against lymphoma growth in a murine model. Collectively, these data suggest that the ALK-specific immune response is involved in the control of the disease. The characteristics of the humoral and cellular immune response against ALK as well as tumor immune escape mechanisms have been increasingly investigated. However, tumor and host factors contributing to the individual immune response against ALK are still largely unknown. Depending on the individual strength of the immune response and its determinants, individualized immunological approaches might be appropriate for the consolidation of ALCL patients. Strategies such as ALK vaccination could be effective for those with a pre-existing anti-tumor immunity, while an allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation or check-point inhibition could be effective for others. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview YAP/TAZ Activation as a Target for Treating Metastatic Cancer
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040115
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 1 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Yes-Associated Protein (YAP) and Transcriptional Co-activator with PDZ-binding Motif (TAZ) have both emerged as important drivers of cancer progression and metastasis. YAP and TAZ are often upregulated or nuclear localized in aggressive human cancers. There is abundant experimental evidence demonstrating that YAP or
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Yes-Associated Protein (YAP) and Transcriptional Co-activator with PDZ-binding Motif (TAZ) have both emerged as important drivers of cancer progression and metastasis. YAP and TAZ are often upregulated or nuclear localized in aggressive human cancers. There is abundant experimental evidence demonstrating that YAP or TAZ activation promotes cancer formation, tumor progression, and metastasis. In this review we summarize the evidence linking YAP/TAZ activation to metastasis, and discuss the roles of YAP and TAZ during each step of the metastatic cascade. Collectively, this evidence strongly suggests that inappropriate YAP or TAZ activity plays a causal role in cancer, and that targeting aberrant YAP/TAZ activation is a promising strategy for the treatment of metastatic disease. To this end, we also discuss several potential strategies for inhibiting YAP/TAZ activation in cancer and the challenges each strategy poses. Full article
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Open AccessReview Ubiquitin-Dependent Regulation of the Mammalian Hippo Pathway: Therapeutic Implications for Cancer
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040121
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The Hippo pathway serves as a key barrier for oncogenic transformation. It acts by limiting the activity of the proto-oncogenes YAP and TAZ. Reduced Hippo signaling and elevated YAP/TAZ activities are frequently observed in various types of tumors. Emerging evidence suggests that the
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The Hippo pathway serves as a key barrier for oncogenic transformation. It acts by limiting the activity of the proto-oncogenes YAP and TAZ. Reduced Hippo signaling and elevated YAP/TAZ activities are frequently observed in various types of tumors. Emerging evidence suggests that the ubiquitin system plays an important role in regulating Hippo pathway activity. Deregulation of ubiquitin ligases and of deubiquitinating enzymes has been implicated in increased YAP/TAZ activity in cancer. In this article, we review recent insights into the ubiquitin-mediated regulation of the mammalian Hippo pathway, its deregulation in cancer, and possibilities for targeting the Hippo pathway through the ubiquitin system. Full article
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Open AccessReview Innovative Diagnostic Methods for Early Prostate Cancer Detection through Urine Analysis: A Review
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040123
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among men. It is an asymptomatic and slow growing tumour, which starts occurring in young men, but can be detected only around the age of 40–50. Although its long latency period and
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Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among men. It is an asymptomatic and slow growing tumour, which starts occurring in young men, but can be detected only around the age of 40–50. Although its long latency period and potential curability make prostate cancer a perfect candidate for screening programs, the current procedure lacks in specificity. Researchers are rising to the challenge of developing innovative tools able of detecting the disease during its early stage that is the most curable. In recent years, the interest in characterisation of biological fluids aimed at the identification of tumour-specific compounds has increased significantly, since cell neoplastic transformation causes metabolic alterations leading to volatile organic compounds release. In the scientific literature, different approaches have been proposed. Many studies focus on the identification of a cancer-characteristic “odour fingerprint” emanated from biological samples through the application of sensorial or senso-instrumental analyses, others suggest a chemical characterisation of biological fluids with the aim of identifying prostate cancer (PCa)-specific biomarkers. This paper focuses on the review of literary studies in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis, in order to provide an overview of innovative methods based on the analysis of urine, thereby comparing them with the traditional diagnostic procedures. Full article
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Open AccessReview Oncolytic Virotherapy versus Cancer Stem Cells: A Review of Approaches and Mechanisms
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040124
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
A growing body of evidence suggests that a subset of cells within tumors are resistant to conventional treatment modalities and may be responsible for disease recurrence. These cells are called cancer stem cells (CSC), which share properties with normal stem cells including self-renewal,
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A growing body of evidence suggests that a subset of cells within tumors are resistant to conventional treatment modalities and may be responsible for disease recurrence. These cells are called cancer stem cells (CSC), which share properties with normal stem cells including self-renewal, pluripotency, drug resistance, and the ability to maintain quiescence. While most conventional therapies can efficiently destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells comprising the bulk of a tumor, they often fail to kill the less abundant and quiescent CSCs. Furthermore, killing of only differentiated cells in the tumor may actually allow for enrichment of CSCs and thereby portend a bad prognosis. Therefore, targeting of CSCs is important to achieve long-term success in cancer therapy. Oncolytic viruses represent a completely different class of therapeutics that can kill cancer cells in a variety of ways, which differ from those of conventional therapies. Hence, CSCs that are inherently resistant to conventional therapies may be susceptible to oncolytic virus-mediated killing. Recent studies have shown that oncolytic viruses can efficiently kill CSCs in many types of cancer. Here, we discuss the mechanism through which CSCs can escape conventional therapies and how they may still be susceptible to different classes of oncolytic viruses. Furthermore, we provide a summary of recent studies that have tested oncolytic viruses on CSCs of different origins and discuss possible future directions for this fascinating subset of oncolytic virus research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncolytic Virotherapy)
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Open AccessCommentary Roles of Polyploid/Multinucleated Giant Cancer Cells in Metastasis and Disease Relapse Following Anticancer Treatment
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040118
Received: 18 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 15 April 2018
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Abstract
Tumors and tumor-derived cell lines contain polyploid giant cells with significantly elevated genomic content, often with multiple nuclei. The frequency of giant cells can increase markedly following anticancer treatment. Although giant cells enter a dormant phase and therefore do not form macroscopic colonies
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Tumors and tumor-derived cell lines contain polyploid giant cells with significantly elevated genomic content, often with multiple nuclei. The frequency of giant cells can increase markedly following anticancer treatment. Although giant cells enter a dormant phase and therefore do not form macroscopic colonies (aggregates of ≥50 cells) in the conventional in vitro colony formation assay, they remain viable and metabolically active. The purpose of this commentary is to underscore the potential importance of polyploid/multinucleated giant cells in metastasis and cancer recurrence following exposure to anticancer agents. We also discuss the possibility that most preclinical (cell-based and animal model) drug discovery approaches might not account for delayed responses that are associated with dormant giant cells. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Perspective: Contribution of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) Reactivation to the Carcinogenicity of Nasopharyngeal Cancer Cells
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040120
Received: 4 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a squamous cell carcinoma derived from the epithelium of the post-nasal cavity, with a unique geographic and ethnic distribution. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is an etiological agent of NPC, but how it contributes to carcinogenesis is not completely clear. Although
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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a squamous cell carcinoma derived from the epithelium of the post-nasal cavity, with a unique geographic and ethnic distribution. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is an etiological agent of NPC, but how it contributes to carcinogenesis is not completely clear. Although it is thought that EBV latency participates in the development of NPC, increasing evidence reveals that the lytic cycle also plays an important role in the carcinogenic process. In this review, we summarize our recent studies on how EBV reactivation causes genomic instability and accelerates tumorigenesis in epithelial cells. The roles of three lytic genes, namely, BRLF1, BGLF5 and BALF3, in this process are also introduced. Moreover, blocking EBV reactivation using natural compounds may help delay the progression of NPC tumorigenesis. These studies provide a new insight into NPC carcinogenesis and raise the possibility that inhibition of EBV reactivation may be a novel approach to prevent the relapse of NPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein–Barr Virus Associated Cancers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary The Hippo-YAP Pathway Regulates 3D Organ Formation and Homeostasis
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040122
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The vertebrate body shape is formed by the specific sizes and shapes of its resident tissues and organs, whose alignments are essential for proper functioning. To maintain tissue and organ shape, and thereby function, it is necessary to remove senescent, transformed, and/or damaged
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The vertebrate body shape is formed by the specific sizes and shapes of its resident tissues and organs, whose alignments are essential for proper functioning. To maintain tissue and organ shape, and thereby function, it is necessary to remove senescent, transformed, and/or damaged cells, which impair function and can lead to tumorigenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying three-dimensional (3D) organ formation and homeostasis are not fully clear. Yes-associated protein (YAP) is a transcriptional co-activator that is involved in organ size control and tumorigenesis. Recently, we reported that YAP is essential for proper 3D body shape through regulation of cell tension by using a unique medaka fish mutant, hirame (hir). In Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells, active YAP-transformed cells are eliminated apically when surrounded by normal cells. Furthermore, in a mosaic mouse model, active YAP-expressing damaged hepatocytes undergo apoptosis and are eliminated from the liver. Thus, YAP functions in quantitative and quality control in organogenesis. In this review, we describe the various roles of YAP in vertebrates, including in the initiation of liver cancer. Full article
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Open AccessBrief Report Selective Inhibition of Histone Deacetylation in Melanoma Increases Targeted Gene Delivery by a Bacteriophage Viral Vector
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040125
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
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Abstract
The previously developed adeno-associated virus/phage (AAVP) vector, a hybrid between M13 bacteriophage (phage) viruses that infect bacteria only and human Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV), is a promising tool in targeted gene therapy against cancer. AAVP can be administered systemically and made tissue specific through
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The previously developed adeno-associated virus/phage (AAVP) vector, a hybrid between M13 bacteriophage (phage) viruses that infect bacteria only and human Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV), is a promising tool in targeted gene therapy against cancer. AAVP can be administered systemically and made tissue specific through the use of ligand-directed targeting. Cancer cells and tumor-associated blood vessels overexpress the αν integrin receptors, which are involved in tumor angiogenesis and tumor invasion. AAVP is targeted to these integrins via a double cyclic RGD4C ligand displayed on the phage capsid. Nevertheless, there remain significant host-defense hurdles to the use of AAVP in targeted gene delivery and subsequently in gene therapy. We previously reported that histone deacetylation in cancer constitutes a barrier to AAVP. Herein, to improve AAVP-mediated gene delivery to cancer cells, we combined the vector with selective adjuvant chemicals that inhibit specific histone deacetylases (HDAC). We examined the effects of the HDAC inhibitor C1A that mainly targets HDAC6 and compared this to sodium butyrate, a pan-HDAC inhibitor with broad spectrum HDAC inhibition. We tested the effects on melanoma, known for HDAC6 up-regulation, and compared this side by side with a normal human kidney HEK293 cell line. Varying concentrations were tested to determine cytotoxic levels as well as effects on AAVP gene delivery. We report that the HDAC inhibitor C1A increased AAVP-mediated transgene expression by up to ~9-fold. These findings indicate that selective HDAC inhibition is a promising adjuvant treatment for increasing the therapeutic value of AAVP. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Histone Modification in Cancer)
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