Abstract: Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy and its global incidence rates are rapidly increasing. Although the mortality of thyroid cancer is relatively low, its rate of recurrence or persistence is relatively high, contributing to incurability and morbidity of the disease. Thyroid cancer is mainly treated by surgery and radioiodine remnant ablation, which is effective only for non-metastasized primary tumors. Therefore, better understanding of the molecular targets available in this tumor is necessary. Similarly to many other tumor types, oncogenic molecular alterations in thyroid epithelium include aberrant signal transduction of the mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT (also known as protein kinase B), NF-кB, and WNT/β-catenin pathways. However, the role of the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3) pathway, a well-known mediator of tumorigenesis in different tumor types, is relatively less understood in thyroid cancer. Intriguingly, recent studies have demonstrated that, in thyroid cancer, the JAK/STAT3 pathway may function in the context of tumor suppression rather than promoting tumorigenesis. In this review, we provide an update of STAT3 function in thyroid cancer and discuss some of the evidences that support this hypothesis.
Abstract: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) plays critical roles in tumorigenesis and malignant evolution and has been intensively studied as a therapeutic target for cancer. A number of STAT3 inhibitors have been evaluated for their antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo in experimental tumor models and several approved therapeutic agents have been reported to function as STAT3 inhibitors. Nevertheless, most STAT3 inhibitors have yet to be translated to clinical evaluation for cancer treatment, presumably because of pharmacokinetic, efficacy, and safety issues. In fact, a major cause of failure of anticancer drug development is lack of efficacy. Genetic interactions among various cancer-related pathways often provide redundant input from parallel and/or cooperative pathways that drives and maintains survival environments for cancer cells, leading to low efficacy of single-target agents. Exploiting genetic interactions of STAT3 with other cancer-related pathways may provide molecular insight into mechanisms of cancer resistance to pathway-targeted therapies and strategies for development of more effective anticancer agents and treatment regimens. This review focuses on functional regulation of STAT3 activity; possible interactions of the STAT3, RAS, epidermal growth factor receptor, and reduction-oxidation pathways; and molecular mechanisms that modulate therapeutic efficacies of STAT3 inhibitors.
Abstract: Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) represent prominent components in cancer progression. We previously showed that inhibition of the VEGFR-3 pathway by SAR131675 leads to reduction of TAM infiltration and tumor growth. Here, we found that treatment with SAR131675 prevents the accumulation of immunosuppressive blood and splenic MDSCs which express VEGFR-3, in 4T1 tumor bearing mice. Moreover we showed that soluble factors secreted by tumor cells promote MDSCs proliferation and differentiation into M2 polarized F4/80+ macrophages. In addition, cell sorting and transcriptomic analysis of tumor infiltrating myeloid cells revealed the presence of a heterogeneous population that could be divided into 3 subpopulations: (i) immature cells with a MDSC phenotype (GR1+/CD11b+/F4/80−); (ii) “immuno-incompetent” macrophages (F4/80high/CD86neg/MHCIILow) strongly expressing M2 markers such as Legumain, CD206 and Mgl1/2 and (iii) “immuno-competent”-M1 like macrophages (F4/80Low/CD86+/MHCIIHigh). SAR131675 treatment reduced MDSCs in lymphoid organs as well as F4/80High populations in tumors. Interestingly, in the tumor SAR131675 was able to increase the immunocompetent M1 like population (F4/80low). Altogether these results demonstrate that the specific VEGFR-3 inhibitor SAR131675 exerts its anti tumoral activity by acting on different players that orchestrate immunosuppression and cancer progression in a tumoral context: MDSCs in peripheral lymphoid organs and TAMs infiltrating the tumor.
Abstract: The unusually dense stroma of pancreatic cancers is thought to play an important role in their biological aggression. The presence of hypoxia is also considered an adverse prognostic factor. Although it is usually assumed that this is the result of effects of hypoxia on the epithelial component, it is possible that hypoxia exerts indirect effects via the tumor stroma. We therefore measured hypoxia in the stroma of a series of primary pancreatic cancer xenografts. Nine patient-derived pancreatic xenografts representing a range of oxygenation levels were labeled by immunohistochemistry for EF5 and analyzed using semi-automated pattern recognition software. Hypoxia in the tumor and stroma was correlated with tumor growth and metastatic potential. The extent of hypoxia varied from 1%–39% between the different models. EF5 labeling in the stroma ranged from 0–20% between models, and was correlated with the level of hypoxia in the tumor cell area, but not microvessel density. Tumor hypoxia correlated with spontaneous metastasis formation with the exception of one hypoxic model that showed disproportionately low levels of hypoxia in the stroma and was non-metastatic. Our results demonstrate that hypoxia exists in the stroma of primary pancreatic cancer xenografts and suggest that stromal hypoxia impacts the metastatic potential.
Abstract: For more than four decades, the cyclic nucleotides cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP) have been recognized as important signaling molecules within cells. Under normal physiological conditions, cyclic nucleotides regulate a myriad of biological processes such as cell growth and adhesion, energy homeostasis, neuronal signaling, and muscle relaxation. In addition, altered cyclic nucleotide signaling has been observed in a number of pathophysiological conditions, including cancer. While the distinct molecular alterations responsible for these effects vary depending on the specific cancer type, several studies have demonstrated that activation of cyclic nucleotide signaling through one of three mechanisms—induction of cyclic nucleotide synthesis, inhibition of cyclic nucleotide degradation, or activation of cyclic nucleotide receptors—is sufficient to inhibit proliferation and activate apoptosis in many types of cancer cells. These findings suggest that targeting cyclic nucleotide signaling can provide a strategy for the discovery of novel agents for the prevention and/or treatment of selected cancers.