Abstract: The activation of lymphocytes by gefitinib treatment has been described. In this phase II pilot trial, we explored the possible synergism between IL-2 and gefitinib for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. From September, 2003, to November, 2006, 70 consecutive patients with advanced, progressive NSCLC, previously treated with chemotherapy, received oral gefitinib 250 mg daily. The first 39 patients received gefitinib alone (G group). The other 31 also received subcutaneous IL-2 (GIL-2 group): 1 MIU/m2 (Million International Unit/m2)twice a day on Days 1 and 2, once a day on Days 3, 4, 5 every week for four consecutive weeks with a four-week rest period. Median follow-up was 25.2 months. Grade 3–4 toxicity of gefitinib was represented by skin rash (7%), asthenia/anorexia (6%) and diarrhea (7%); patients treated with IL-2 showed grade 2–3 fever (46%), fatigue (21%) and arthralgia (13%). In the GIL-2 group and G-group, we respectively observed: an overall response rate of 16.1% (6.4% complete response) and 5.1% (only partial response); a disease control rate of 41.9% and 41%; a median time to progression of 3.5 (CI 95% = 3.2–3.8) and 4.1 (CI 95% = 2.6–5.7) months; a median overall survival of 20.1 (CI 95% = 5.1–35.1) and 6.9 (CI 95% = 4.9–8.9) months (p = 0.002); and an actuarial one-year survival rate of 54% and 30%. Skin toxicity (p < 0.001; HR = 0.29; CI 95% = 0.16–0.54) and use of IL-2 (p < 0.001; HR = 0.33; CI 95% = 0.18–0.60) were independently associated with improvement of survival. In this consecutive, non-randomized, series of advanced NSCLC patients, the use of IL-2 increased the efficacy of gefitinib.
Abstract: Since its discovery in mice and humans 19 years ago, the contribution of alternatively spliced Stat3, Stat3β, to the overall functions of Stat3 has been controversial. Tyrosine-phosphorylated (p) Stat3β homodimers are more stable, bind DNA more avidly, are less susceptible to dephosphorylation, and exhibit distinct intracellular dynamics, most notably markedly prolonged nuclear retention, compared to pStat3α homodimers. Overexpression of one or the other isoform in cell lines demonstrated that Stat3β acted as a dominant-negative of Stat3α in transformation assays; however, studies with mouse strains deficient in one or the other isoform indicated distinct contributions of Stat3 isoforms to inflammation. Current immunological reagents cannot differentiate Stat3β proteins derived from alternative splicing vs. proteolytic cleavage of Stat3α. We developed monoclonal antibodies that recognize the 7 C-terminal amino acids unique to Stat3β (CT7) and do not cross-react with Stat3α. Immunoblotting studies revealed that levels of Stat3β protein, but not Stat3α, in breast cancer cell lines positively correlated with overall pStat3 levels, suggesting that Stat3β may contribute to constitutive Stat3 activation in this tumor system. The ability to unambiguously discriminate splice alternative Stat3β from proteolytic Stat3β and Stat3α will provide new insights into the contribution of Stat3β vs. Stat3α to oncogenesis, as well as other biological and pathological processes.
Abstract: Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) represents a standard treatment for many human cancers, frequently combined with radical surgical resection. However, a considerable percentage of primary cancers are at least partially resistant to CRT, which represents a substantial clinical problem, because it exposes cancer patients to the potential side effects of both irradiation and chemotherapy. It is therefore exceedingly important to determine the molecular characteristics underlying CRT-resistance and to identify novel molecular targets that can be manipulated to re-sensitize resistant tumors to CRT. In this review, we highlight much of the recent evidence suggesting that the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) plays a prominent role in mediating CRT-resistance, and we outline why inhibition of STAT3 holds great promise for future multimodal treatment concepts in oncology.
Abstract: The current standard of care for glioblastoma (GBM) is maximal surgical resection with adjuvant radiotherapy and temozolomide (TMZ). As the 5-year survival with GBM remains at a dismal <10%, novel therapies are needed. Immunotherapies such as the dendritic cell (DC) vaccine, heat shock protein vaccines, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFRvIII) vaccines have shown encouraging results in clinical trials, and have demonstrated synergistic effects with conventional therapeutics resulting in ongoing phase III trials. Chemoradiation has been shown to have synergistic effects when used in combination with immunotherapy. Cytotoxic ionizing radiation is known to trigger pro-inflammatory signaling cascades and immune activation secondary to cell death, which can then be exploited by immunotherapies. The future of GBM therapeutics will involve finding the place for immunotherapy in the current treatment regimen with a focus on developing strategies. Here, we review current GBM therapy and the evidence for combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors, DC and peptide vaccines with the current standard of care.
Abstract: The phenomenon of multidrug resistance (MDR) has attenuated the efficacy of anticancer drugs and the possibility of successful cancer chemotherapy. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play an essential role in mediating MDR in cancer cells by increasing efflux of drugs from cancer cells, hence reducing the intracellular accumulation of chemotherapeutic drugs. Interestingly, small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as AST1306, lapatinib, linsitinib, masitinib, motesanib, nilotinib, telatinib and WHI-P154, have been found to have the capability to overcome anticancer drug resistance by inhibiting ABC transporters in recent years. This review will focus on some of the latest and clinical developments with ABC transporters, TKIs and anticancer drug resistance.
Abstract: Small Ubiquitin-related MOdifier (SUMO) modification was initially identified as a reversible post-translational modification that affects the regulation of diverse cellular processes, including signal transduction, protein trafficking, chromosome segregation, and DNA repair. Increasing evidence suggests that the SUMO system also plays an important role in regulating chromatin organization and transcription. It is thus not surprising that double-stranded DNA viruses, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), have exploited SUMO modification as a means of modulating viral chromatin remodeling during the latent-lytic switch. In addition, SUMO regulation allows the disassembly and assembly of promyelocytic leukemia protein-nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), an intrinsic antiviral host defense, during the viral replication cycle. Overcoming PML-NB-mediated cellular intrinsic immunity is essential to allow the initial transcription and replication of the herpesvirus genome after de novo infection. As a consequence, KSHV has evolved a way as to produce multiple SUMO regulatory viral proteins to modulate the cellular SUMO environment in a dynamic way during its life cycle. Remarkably, KSHV encodes one gene product (K-bZIP) with SUMO-ligase activities and one gene product (K-Rta) that exhibits SUMO-targeting ubiquitin ligase (STUbL) activity. In addition, at least two viral products are sumoylated that have functional importance. Furthermore, sumoylation can be modulated by other viral gene products, such as the viral protein kinase Orf36. Interference with the sumoylation of specific viral targets represents a potential therapeutic strategy when treating KSHV, as well as other oncogenic herpesviruses. Here, we summarize the different ways KSHV exploits and manipulates the cellular SUMO system and explore the multi-faceted functions of SUMO during KSHV’s life cycle and pathogenesis.