Cancers2014, 6(2), 998-1019; doi:10.3390/cancers6020998 (doi registration under processing) - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hereditary Tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1) is a metabolic liver disease caused by genetic defects of fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH), an enzyme necessary to complete the breakdown of tyrosine. The severe hepatic dysfunction caused by the lack of this enzyme is prevented by the therapeutic use of NTBC (2-[2-nitro-4-(trifluoromethyl)benzoyl] cyclohexane-1,3-dione). However despite the treatment, chronic hepatopathy and development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are still observed in some HT1 patients. Growing evidence show the important role of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in many cellular processes and their involvement in pathological diseases including cancer. Their survival-promoting effect by modulation of the apoptotic machinery is often correlated with poor prognosis and resistance to therapy in a number of cancers. Here, we sought to gain insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with liver dysfunction and tumor development in a murine model of HT1. Differential gene expression patterns in livers of mice under HT1 stress, induced by drug retrieval, have shown deregulation of stress and cell death resistance genes. Among them, genes coding for HSPB and HSPA members, and for anti-apoptotic BCL-2 related mitochondrial proteins were associated with the hepatocarcinogenetic process. Our data highlight the variation of stress pathways related to HT1 hepatocarcinogenesis suggesting the role of HSPs in rendering tyrosinemia-affected liver susceptible to the development of HCC.
Cancers2014, 6(2), 969-997; doi:10.3390/cancers6020969 (doi registration under processing) - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Following the successes of monoclonal antibody immunotherapies (trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and rituximab (Rituxan®)) and the first approved cancer vaccine, Provenge® (sipuleucel-T), investigations into the immune system and how it can be modified by a tumor has become an exciting and promising new field of cancer research. Dozens of clinical trials for new antibodies, cancer and adjuvant vaccines, and autologous T and dendritic cell transfers are ongoing in hopes of identifying ways to re-awaken the immune system and force an anti-tumor response. To date, however, few consistent, reproducible, or clinically-relevant effects have been shown using vaccine or autologous cell transfers due in part to the fact that the immunosuppressive mechanisms of the tumor have not been overcome. Much of the research focus has been on re-activating or priming cytotoxic T cells to recognize tumor, in some cases completely disregarding the potential roles that B cells play in immune surveillance or how a solid tumor should be treated to maximize immunogenicity. Here, we will summarize what is currently known about the induction or evasion of humoral immunity via tumor-induced cytokine/chemokine expression and how formation of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) within the tumor microenvironment may be used to enhance immunotherapy response.
Cancers2014, 6(2), 958-968; doi:10.3390/cancers6020958 (doi registration under processing) - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The transcription factor STAT3 regulates genes that control critical cellular processes such as proliferation, survival, pluripotency, and motility. Thus, under physiological conditions, the transcriptional function of STAT3 is tightly regulated as one part of a complex signaling matrix. When these processes are subverted through mutation or epigenetic events, STAT3 becomes highly active and drives elevated expression of genes underlying these phenotypes, leading to malignant cellular behavior. However, even in the presence of activated STAT3, other cellular modulators can have a major impact on the biological properties of a cancer cell, which is reflected in the clinical behavior of a tumor. Recent evidence has suggested that two such key modulators are the activation status of other STAT family members, particularly STAT5, and the expression of STAT3-regulated genes that are part of negative feedback circuits, including microRNAs such as miR-146b. With attention to these newly emerging areas, we will gain greater insight into the consequence of STAT3 activation in the biology of human cancers. In addition, understanding these subtleties of STAT3 signaling in cancer pathogenesis will allow the development of more rational molecular approaches to cancer therapy.
Abstract: Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STATs) are a family of transcription factors that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, immune and inflammatory responses, and angiogenesis. Cumulative evidence has established that STAT3 has a critical role in the development of multiple cancer types. Because it is constitutively activated during disease progression and metastasis in a variety of cancers, STAT3 has promise as a drug target for cancer therapeutics. Recently, STAT3 was found to have an important role in maintaining cancer stem cells in vitro and in mouse tumor models, suggesting STAT3 is integrally involved in tumor initiation, progression and maintenance. STAT3 has been traditionally considered as nontargetable or undruggable, and the lag in developing effective STAT3 inhibitors contributes to the current lack of FDA-approved STAT3 inhibitors. Recent advances in cancer biology and drug discovery efforts have shed light on targeting STAT3 globally and/or specifically for cancer therapy. In this review, we summarize current literature and discuss the potential importance of STAT3 as a novel target for cancer prevention and of STAT3 inhibitors as effective chemopreventive agents.
Abstract: Since its discovery, the STAT3 transcription factor has been extensively studied for its function as a transcriptional regulator and its role as a mediator of development, normal physiology, and pathology of many diseases, including cancers. These efforts have uncovered an array of genes that can be positively and negatively regulated by STAT3, alone and in cooperation with other transcription factors. Through regulating gene expression, STAT3 has been demonstrated to play a pivotal role in many cellular processes including oncogenesis, tumor growth and progression, and stemness. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that STAT3 may behave as a tumor suppressor by activating expression of genes known to inhibit tumorigenesis. Additional evidence suggested that STAT3 may elicit opposing effects depending on cellular context and tumor types. These mixed results signify the need for a deeper understanding of STAT3, including its upstream regulators, parallel transcription co-regulators, and downstream target genes. To help facilitate fulfilling this unmet need, this review will be primarily focused on STAT3 downstream target genes that have been validated to associate with tumorigenesis and/or malignant biology of human cancers.
Abstract: In both Drosophila and mammalian systems, the Hippo (Hpo) signalling pathway controls tissue growth by inhibiting cell proliferation and promoting apoptosis. The core pathway consists of a protein kinase Hpo (MST1/2 in mammals) that is regulated by a number of upstream inputs including Drosophila Ras Association Factor, dRASSF. We have previously shown in the developing Drosophila eye epithelium that loss of the apico-basal cell polarity regulator lethal-(2)-giant-larvae (lgl), and the concomitant increase in aPKC activity, results in ectopic proliferation and suppression of developmental cell death by blocking Hpo pathway signalling. Here, we further explore how Lgl/aPKC interacts with the Hpo pathway. Deregulation of the Hpo pathway by Lgl depletion is associated with the mislocalization of Hpo and dRASSF. We demonstrate that Lgl/aPKC regulate the Hpo pathway independently of upstream inputs from Fat/Dachs and the Kibra/Expanded/Merlin complex. We show depletion of Lgl also results in accumulation and mislocalization of components of the dSTRIPAK complex, a major phosphatase complex that directly binds to dRASSF and represses Hpo activity. However, depleting dSTRIPAK components, or removal of dRASSF did not rescue the lgl−/− or aPKC overexpression phenotypes. Thus, Lgl/aPKC regulate Hpo activity by a novel mechanism, independently of dRASSF and dSTRIPAK. Surprisingly, removal of dRASSF in tissue with increased aPKC activity results in mild tissue overgrowth, indicating that in this context dRASSF acts as a tumor suppressor. This effect was independent of the Hpo and Ras Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways, suggesting that dRASSF regulates a novel pathway to control tissue growth.