Open AccessReview
Stromal Androgen Receptor in Prostate Cancer Development and Progression
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 10; doi:10.3390/cancers9010010 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Prostate cancer development and progression is the result of complex interactions between epithelia cells and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts, in a series of dynamic process amenable to regulation by hormones. Whilst androgen action through the androgen receptor (AR) is a well-established component of prostate cancer biology,
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Prostate cancer development and progression is the result of complex interactions between epithelia cells and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts, in a series of dynamic process amenable to regulation by hormones. Whilst androgen action through the androgen receptor (AR) is a well-established component of prostate cancer biology, it has been becoming increasingly apparent that changes in AR signalling in the surrounding stroma can dramatically influence tumour cell behavior. This is reflected in the consistent finding of a strong association between stromal AR expression and patient outcomes. In this review, we explore the relationship between AR signalling in fibroblasts/myofibroblasts and prostate cancer cells in the primary site, and detail the known functions, actions, and mechanisms of fibroblast AR signaling. We conclude with an evidence-based summary of how androgen action in stroma dramatically influences disease progression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Epigenomic Regulation of Androgen Receptor Signaling: Potential Role in Prostate Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 9; doi:10.3390/cancers9010009 -
Abstract
Androgen receptor (AR) signaling remains the major oncogenic pathway in prostate cancer (PCa). Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) is the principle treatment for locally advanced and metastatic disease. However, a significant number of patients acquire treatment resistance leading to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Epigenetics,
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Androgen receptor (AR) signaling remains the major oncogenic pathway in prostate cancer (PCa). Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) is the principle treatment for locally advanced and metastatic disease. However, a significant number of patients acquire treatment resistance leading to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Epigenetics, the study of heritable and reversible changes in gene expression without alterations in DNA sequences, is a crucial regulatory step in AR signaling. We and others, recently described the technological advance Chem-seq, a method to identify the interaction between a drug and the genome. This has permitted better understanding of the underlying regulatory mechanisms of AR during carcinogenesis and revealed the importance of epigenetic modifiers. In screening for new epigenomic modifiying drugs, we identified SD-70, and found that this demethylase inhibitor is effective in CRPC cells in combination with current therapies. The aim of this review is to explore the role of epigenetic modifications as biomarkers for detection, prognosis, and risk evaluation of PCa. Furthermore, we also provide an update of the recent findings on the epigenetic key processes (DNA methylation, chromatin modifications and alterations in noncoding RNA profiles) involved in AR expression and their possible role as therapeutic targets. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Exosomes in Cancer Diagnostics
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 8; doi:10.3390/cancers9010008 -
Abstract
Exosomes are endosome derived extracellular vesicles of 30–120 nm size ranges. Exosomes have been identified as mediators of cell-to-cell communication by transferring bioactive molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins and lipids into recipient cells. While exosomes are secreted by multiple cell types, cancer
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Exosomes are endosome derived extracellular vesicles of 30–120 nm size ranges. Exosomes have been identified as mediators of cell-to-cell communication by transferring bioactive molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins and lipids into recipient cells. While exosomes are secreted by multiple cell types, cancer derived exosomes not only influence the invasive potentials of proximally located cells, but also affect distantly located tissues. Based on their ability to alter tumor microenvironment by regulating immunity, angiogenesis and metastasis, there has been growing interest in defining the clinical relevance of exosomes in cancers. In particular, exosomes are valuable sources for biomarkers due to selective cargo loading and resemblance to their parental cells. In this review, we summarize the recent findings to utilize exosomes as cancer biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis and therapy selection. Full article
Open AccessReview
AR-Signaling in Human Malignancies: Prostate Cancer and Beyond
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 7; doi:10.3390/cancers9010007 -
Abstract
In the 1940s Charles Huggins reported remarkable palliative benefits following surgical castration in men with advanced prostate cancer, and since then the androgen receptor (AR) has remained the main therapeutic target in this disease. Over the past couple of decades, our understanding of
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In the 1940s Charles Huggins reported remarkable palliative benefits following surgical castration in men with advanced prostate cancer, and since then the androgen receptor (AR) has remained the main therapeutic target in this disease. Over the past couple of decades, our understanding of AR-signaling biology has dramatically improved, and it has become apparent that the AR can modulate a number of other well-described oncogenic signaling pathways. Not surprisingly, mounting preclinical and epidemiologic data now supports a role for AR-signaling in promoting the growth and progression of several cancers other than prostate, and early phase clinical trials have documented preliminary signs of efficacy when AR-signaling inhibitors are used in several of these malignancies. In this article, we provide an overview of the evidence supporting the use of AR-directed therapies in prostate as well as other cancers, with an emphasis on the rationale for targeting AR-signaling across tumor types. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Cancers in 2016
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 6; doi:10.3390/cancers9010006 -
Abstract The editors of Cancers would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Circulating Nucleosomes and Nucleosome Modifications as Biomarkers in Cancer
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 5; doi:10.3390/cancers9010005 -
Abstract
Traditionally the stratification of many cancers involves combining tumour and clinicopathological features (e.g., patient age; tumour size, grade, receptor status and location) to inform treatment options and predict recurrence risk and survival. However, current biomarkers often require invasive excision of the tumour for
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Traditionally the stratification of many cancers involves combining tumour and clinicopathological features (e.g., patient age; tumour size, grade, receptor status and location) to inform treatment options and predict recurrence risk and survival. However, current biomarkers often require invasive excision of the tumour for profiling, do not allow monitoring of the response to treatment and stratify patients into broad heterogeneous groups leading to inconsistent treatment responses. Here we explore and describe the benefits of using circulating biomarkers (nucleosomes and/or modifications to nucleosomes) as a non-invasive method for detecting cancer and monitoring response to treatment. Nucleosomes (DNA wound around eight core histone proteins) are responsible for compacting our genome and their composition and post-translational modifications are responsible for regulating gene expression. Here, we focus on breast and colorectal cancer as examples where utilizing circulating nucleosomes as biomarkers hold real potential as liquid biopsies. Utilizing circulating nucleosomes as biomarkers is an exciting new area of research that promises to allow both the early detection of cancer and monitoring of treatment response. Nucleosome-based biomarkers combine with current biomarkers, increasing both specificity and sensitivity of current tests and have the potential to provide individualised precision-medicine based treatments for patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expression and Clinical Significance of Androgen Receptor in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 4; doi:10.3390/cancers9010004 -
Abstract
Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has a poor prognosis because of frequent recurrence. Androgen receptor (AR) is involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, but its role is not clearly defined. The aim of this study was to explore the expression of AR
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Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has a poor prognosis because of frequent recurrence. Androgen receptor (AR) is involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, but its role is not clearly defined. The aim of this study was to explore the expression of AR and its relationship with clinicopathologic features in TNBC. Methods: This study investigated 1036 cases of sporadic invasive breast carcinoma. Immunohistochemical assays were performed to determine the expression of AR in 190 TNBC samples. The relationships between AR expression and clinicopathologic data and prognosis were analyzed. Results: In 190 TNBC cases, the prognosis of AR-positive patients was significantly better (p = 0.019, log-rank) than AR-negative patients, and in multivariate analysis, AR expression was an independent indicator of good prognosis (p = 0.039, hazard ratio = 0.36). In patients with disease relapse, AR positivity was significantly correlated with better prognosis (p = 0.034, log-rank). Conclusions: AR expression may be useful as a subclassification marker for prognosis in TNBC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stabilization of Nucleosomes by Histone Tails and by FACT Revealed by spFRET Microscopy
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 3; doi:10.3390/cancers9010003 -
Abstract
A correct chromatin structure is important for cell viability and is tightly regulated by numerous factors. Human protein complex FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) is an essential factor involved in chromatin transcription and cancer development. Here FACT-dependent changes in the structure of single nucleosomes
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A correct chromatin structure is important for cell viability and is tightly regulated by numerous factors. Human protein complex FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) is an essential factor involved in chromatin transcription and cancer development. Here FACT-dependent changes in the structure of single nucleosomes were studied with single-particle Förster resonance energy transfer (spFRET) microscopy using nucleosomes labeled with a donor-acceptor pair of fluorophores, which were attached to the adjacent gyres of DNA near the contact between H2A-H2B dimers. Human FACT and its version without the C-terminal domain (CTD) and the high mobility group (HMG) domain of the structure-specific recognition protein 1 (SSRP1) subunit did not change the structure of the nucleosomes, while FACT without the acidic C-terminal domains of the suppressor of Ty 16 (Spt16) and the SSRP1 subunits caused nucleosome aggregation. Proteolytic removal of histone tails significantly disturbed the nucleosome structure, inducing partial unwrapping of nucleosomal DNA. Human FACT reduced DNA unwrapping and stabilized the structure of tailless nucleosomes. CTD and/or HMG domains of SSRP1 are required for this FACT activity. In contrast, previously it has been shown that yeast FACT unfolds (reorganizes) nucleosomes using the CTD domain of SSRP1-like Pol I-binding protein 3 subunit (Pob3). Thus, yeast and human FACT complexes likely utilize the same domains for nucleosome reorganization and stabilization, respectively, and these processes are mechanistically similar. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Histone Protein Modifications and Mutations in Histone Modifiers in Pediatric B-Cell Progenitor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/cancers9010002 -
Abstract
While cancer has been long recognized as a disease of the genome, the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in neoplasia was acknowledged more recently. The most active epigenetic marks are DNA methylation and histone protein modifications and they are involved in basic biological phenomena
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While cancer has been long recognized as a disease of the genome, the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in neoplasia was acknowledged more recently. The most active epigenetic marks are DNA methylation and histone protein modifications and they are involved in basic biological phenomena in every cell. Their role in tumorigenesis is stressed by recent unbiased large-scale studies providing evidence that several epigenetic modifiers are recurrently mutated or frequently dysregulated in multiple cancers. The interest in epigenetic marks is especially due to the fact that they are potentially reversible and thus druggable. In B-cell progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) there is a relative paucity of reports on the role of histone protein modifications (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation) as compared to acute myeloid leukemia, T-cell ALL, or other hematologic cancers, and in this setting chromatin modifications are relatively less well studied and reviewed than DNA methylation. In this paper, we discuss the biomarker associations and evidence for a driver role of dysregulated global and loci-specific histone marks, as well as mutations in epigenetic modifiers in BCP-ALL. Examples of chromatin modifiers recurrently mutated/disrupted in BCP-ALL and associated with disease outcomes include MLL1, CREBBP, NSD2, and SETD2. Altered histone marks and histone modifiers and readers may play a particular role in disease chemoresistance and relapse. We also suggest that epigenetic regulation of B-cell differentiation may have parallel roles in leukemogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Retroareolar Carcinomas in Breast Ultrasound: Pearls and Pitfalls
Cancers 2017, 9(1), 1; doi:10.3390/cancers9010001 -
Abstract
Breast Ultrasound (US) is an important tool for both screening and diagnostic examinations. Although breast US has benefitted from significant recent technical improvements, its use for the retroareolar region is known to be more challenging than for other locations. The retroareolar location was
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Breast Ultrasound (US) is an important tool for both screening and diagnostic examinations. Although breast US has benefitted from significant recent technical improvements, its use for the retroareolar region is known to be more challenging than for other locations. The retroareolar location was defined by Giess et al. in 1998 as the region where any lesion is situated at less than two cm from the nipple and/or involves the nipple-areolar complex on mammogram. Understanding of the complex anatomy and physiology of the nipple-areolar region is important to avoid misinterpretation and misdiagnosis. The ability for the breast imager to manage difficulties related to the retroareolar area is paramount by adjusting settings (compounding, frequency, Doppler) and utilizing specific manoeuvers. Cases illustrating difficulties encountered in diagnosis of retroareolar carcinomas are presented. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Roche, J. et al. Global Decrease of Histone H3K27 Acetylation in ZEB1-Induced Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Lung Cancer Cells. Cancers, 2013, 5, 334–356
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 114; doi:10.3390/cancers8120114 -
Abstract The authors wish to make the following correction to their paper [...] Full article
Open AccessProject Report
Ensuring Quality in Online Palliative Care Resources
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 113; doi:10.3390/cancers8120113 -
Abstract
Evidence and information is an integral part of the processes enabling clinical and service delivery within health. It is used by health professionals in clinical practice and in developing their professional knowledge, by policy makers in decision making, and is sought by health
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Evidence and information is an integral part of the processes enabling clinical and service delivery within health. It is used by health professionals in clinical practice and in developing their professional knowledge, by policy makers in decision making, and is sought by health consumers to help them manage their health needs and assess their options. Increasingly, this evidence and information is being disseminated and sought through online channels. The internet is fundamentally changing how health information is being distributed and accessed. Clinicians, patients, community members, and decision makers have an unprecedented capacity to find online information about palliative care and end-of-life care. However, it is clear that not all individuals have the skills to be able to find and assess the quality of the resources they need. There are also many issues in creating online resources that are current, relevant and authoritative for use by health professionals and by health consumers. This paper explores the processes and structures used in creating a major national palliative care knowledge resource, the CareSearch website, to meet the needs of health professionals and of patients and their families and carers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative miRNA Analysis of Urine Extracellular Vesicles Isolated through Five Different Methods
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 112; doi:10.3390/cancers8120112 -
Abstract
Urine extracellular vesicles are a valuable low-invasive source of information, especially for the cells of the genitourinary tract. In the search for biomarkers, different techniques have been developed to isolate and characterize the cargo of these vesicles. In the present work, we compare
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Urine extracellular vesicles are a valuable low-invasive source of information, especially for the cells of the genitourinary tract. In the search for biomarkers, different techniques have been developed to isolate and characterize the cargo of these vesicles. In the present work, we compare five of these different isolation methods (three commercial isolation kits, ultracentrifugation, and lectin-based purification) and perform miRNA profiling using a multiplex miRNA assay. The results showed high correlation through all isolation techniques, and 48 out of 68 miRNAs were detected above the detection limit at least 10 times. The results obtained by multiplex assay were validated through Taqman qPCR. In addition, using this technique combined with a clinically friendly extracellular vesicle (uEV)-enrichment method, we performed the analysis of selected miRNAs in urine from patients affected with bladder cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia, or prostate cancer. Importantly, we found that those miRNAs could be detected in almost 100% of the samples, and no significant differences were observed between groups. Our results support the feasibility of analyzing exosomes-associated miRNAs using a methodology that requires a small volume of urine and is compatible with a clinical environment and high-throughput analysis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biology, Therapy and Implications of Tumor Exosomes in the Progression of Melanoma
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 110; doi:10.3390/cancers8120110 -
Abstract
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and about 6% of the estimated cancer diagnoses this year will be melanoma cases. Melanomas are derived from transformation of the pigment producing cells of the skin, melanocytes. Early stage melanoma
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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and about 6% of the estimated cancer diagnoses this year will be melanoma cases. Melanomas are derived from transformation of the pigment producing cells of the skin, melanocytes. Early stage melanoma is usually curable by surgical resection, but late stage or subsequent secondary metastatic tumors are treated with some success with chemotherapies, radiation and/or immunotherapies. Most cancer patients die from metastatic disease, which is especially the case in melanoma. A better understanding of tumor metastasis will provide insights and guide rational therapeutic designs. Recently, the importance of melanoma-derived exosomes in the progression of that cancer has become more apparent, namely, their role in various stages of metastasis, including the induction of migration, invasion, primary niche manipulation, immune modulation and pre-metastatic niche formation. This review focuses on the critical roles that melanoma exosomes play in the progression of this deadly disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Enrichment of Survivin in Exosomes from Breast Cancer Cells Treated with Paclitaxel Promotes Cell Survival and Chemoresistance
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 111; doi:10.3390/cancers8120111 -
Abstract
The generation and release of membrane-enclosed packets from cancer cells, called extracellular vesicles (EVs), play important roles in propagating transformed phenotypes, including promoting cell survival. EVs mediate their effects by transferring their contents, which include specific proteins and nucleic acids, to target cells.
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The generation and release of membrane-enclosed packets from cancer cells, called extracellular vesicles (EVs), play important roles in propagating transformed phenotypes, including promoting cell survival. EVs mediate their effects by transferring their contents, which include specific proteins and nucleic acids, to target cells. However, how the cargo and function of EVs change in response to different stimuli remains unclear. Here, we discovered that treating highly aggressive MDAMB231 breast cancer cells with paclitaxel (PTX), a chemotherapy that stabilizes microtubules, causes them to generate a specific class of EV, namely exosomes, that are highly enriched with the cell survival protein and cancer marker, Survivin. Treating MDAMB231 cells with a variety of other chemotherapeutic agents, and inhibitors that block cell growth and survival, did not have the same effect as PTX, with the exception of nocodazole, another inhibitor of microtubule dynamics. Exosomes isolated from PTX-treated MDAMB231 cells strongly promoted the survival of serum-starved and PTX-treated fibroblasts and SKBR3 breast cancer cells, an effect that was ablated when Survivin was knocked-down from these vesicles using siRNA. These findings underscore how the enrichment of a specific cargo in exosomes promotes cell survival, as well as can potentially serve as a marker of PTX resistance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Singlet Oxygen Explicit Dosimetry (SOED) and Singlet Oxygen Luminescence Dosimetry (SOLD) for Photofrin-Mediated Photodynamic Therapy
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 109; doi:10.3390/cancers8120109 -
Abstract
Accurate photodynamic therapy (PDT) dosimetry is critical for the use of PDT in the treatment of malignant and nonmalignant localized diseases. A singlet oxygen explicit dosimetry (SOED) model has been developed for in vivo purposes. It involves the measurement of the key components
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Accurate photodynamic therapy (PDT) dosimetry is critical for the use of PDT in the treatment of malignant and nonmalignant localized diseases. A singlet oxygen explicit dosimetry (SOED) model has been developed for in vivo purposes. It involves the measurement of the key components in PDT—light fluence (rate), photosensitizer concentration, and ground-state oxygen concentration ([3O2])—to calculate the amount of reacted singlet oxygen ([1O2]rx), the main cytotoxic component in type II PDT. Experiments were performed in phantoms with the photosensitizer Photofrin and in solution using phosphorescence-based singlet oxygen luminescence dosimetry (SOLD) to validate the SOED model. Oxygen concentration and photosensitizer photobleaching versus time were measured during PDT, along with direct SOLD measurements of singlet oxygen and triplet state lifetime (τΔ and τt), for various photosensitizer concentrations to determine necessary photophysical parameters. SOLD-determined cumulative [1O2]rx was compared to SOED-calculated [1O2]rx for various photosensitizer concentrations to show a clear correlation between the two methods. This illustrates that explicit dosimetry can be used when phosphorescence-based dosimetry is not feasible. Using SOED modeling, we have also shown evidence that SOLD-measured [1O2]rx using a 523 nm pulsed laser can be used to correlate to singlet oxygen generated by a 630 nm laser during a clinical malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) PDT protocol by using a conversion formula. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Androgen Receptor: A Complex Therapeutic Target for Breast Cancer
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 108; doi:10.3390/cancers8120108 -
Abstract
Molecular and histopathological profiling have classified breast cancer into multiple sub-types empowering precision treatment. Although estrogen receptor (ER) and human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) are the mainstay therapeutic targets in breast cancer, the androgen receptor (AR) is evolving as a molecular target
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Molecular and histopathological profiling have classified breast cancer into multiple sub-types empowering precision treatment. Although estrogen receptor (ER) and human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) are the mainstay therapeutic targets in breast cancer, the androgen receptor (AR) is evolving as a molecular target for cancers that have developed resistance to conventional treatments. The high expression of AR in breast cancer and recent discovery and development of new nonsteroidal drugs targeting the AR provide a strong rationale for exploring it again as a therapeutic target in this disease. Ironically, both nonsteroidal agonists and antagonists for the AR are undergoing clinical trials, making AR a complicated target to understand in breast cancer. This review provides a detailed account of AR’s therapeutic role in breast cancer. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Ligand Activation of TAM Family Receptors-Implications for Tumor Biology and Therapeutic Response
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 107; doi:10.3390/cancers8120107 -
Abstract
The TAM family of receptors (i.e., Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk), and their ligands Growth arrest specific factor 6 (Gas6) and Protein S (Pros1) contribute to several oncogenic processes, such as cell survival, invasion, migration, chemo-resistance, and metastasis, whereby expression often correlates with poor
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The TAM family of receptors (i.e., Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk), and their ligands Growth arrest specific factor 6 (Gas6) and Protein S (Pros1) contribute to several oncogenic processes, such as cell survival, invasion, migration, chemo-resistance, and metastasis, whereby expression often correlates with poor clinical outcomes. In recent years, there has been great interest in the study of TAM receptors in cancer, stemming both from their roles as oncogenic signaling receptors, as well as their roles in tumor immunology. As a result, several classes of TAM inhibitors that include small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, decoy receptors, as well as novel strategies to target TAM ligands are being developed. This paper will review the biology of TAM receptors and their ligands with a focus on cancer, as well as evidence-based data for the continued pursuit of TAM/Gas6 inhibitors in clinical practice. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy in Solid Tumors
Cancers 2016, 8(12), 106; doi:10.3390/cancers8120106 -
Abstract
Immunotherapy is heralded as one of the most important advances in oncology. Until recently, only limited immunotherapeutic options were available in selected immunogenic cancers like melanoma and renal cell carcinomas. Nowadays, there is an improved understanding that anti-tumor immunity is controlled by a
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Immunotherapy is heralded as one of the most important advances in oncology. Until recently, only limited immunotherapeutic options were available in selected immunogenic cancers like melanoma and renal cell carcinomas. Nowadays, there is an improved understanding that anti-tumor immunity is controlled by a delicate balance in the tumor microenvironment between immune stimulatory and immune inhibitory pathways. Either by blocking the inhibitory pathways or stimulating the activating pathways that regulate cytotoxic lymphocytes, anti-tumor immunity can be enhanced leading to durable anti-tumor responses. Drugs which block the immune regulatory checkpoints namely the PD-1/PDL1 and CTLA 4 pathway have shown tremendous promise in a wide spectrum of solid and hematological malignancies, significantly improving overall survival in newly diagnosed and heavily pretreated patients alike. Hence there is renewed enthusiasm in the field of immune oncology with current research focused on augmenting responses to checkpoint inhibitors by combination therapy as well as studies looking at other immune modulators and adoptive T cell therapy. In this article, we highlight the key clinical advances and concepts in immunotherapy with particular emphasis on checkpoint inhibition as well as the future direction in this field. Full article
Open AccessCommentary
A Music Therapist Shares Stories of Patients with Cancer
Cancers 2016, 8(11), 104; doi:10.3390/cancers8110104 -