Abstract: Evaluation of efficacy of anti-cancer therapy is currently performed by anatomical imaging (e.g., MRI, CT). Structural changes, if present, become apparent 1–2 months after start of therapy. Cancer patients thus bear the risk to receive an ineffective treatment, whilst clinical trials take a long time to prove therapy response. Both patient and pharmaceutical industry could therefore profit from an early assessment of efficacy of therapy. Diagnostic methods providing information on a functional level, rather than a structural, could present the solution. Recent technological advances in molecular imaging enable in vivo imaging of biological processes. Since most anti-cancer therapies combat tumors by inducing apoptosis, imaging of apoptosis could offer an early assessment of efficacy of therapy. This review focuses on principles of and clinical experience with molecular imaging of apoptosis using Annexin A5, a widely accepted marker for apoptosis detection in vitro and in vivo in animal models. 99mTc-HYNIC-Annexin A5 in combination with SPECT has been probed in clinical studies to assess efficacy of chemo- and radiotherapy within 1–4 days after start of therapy. Annexin A5-based functional imaging of apoptosis shows promise to offer a personalized medicine approach, now primarily used in genome-based medicine, applicable to all cancer patients.
Abstract: Liposarcoma is one of the most common adult soft tissue sarcomas and consists of three histologic subtypes (well and dedifferentiated, myxoid/round cell, and pleomorphic). Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for localized disease; however for unresectable or metastatic disease, effective treatment options are currently limited. In the past decade, a better understanding of the distinct genetic and molecular aberrations for each of the three histologic subtypes has led to the development of several novel systemic therapies. Data from phase I and early phase II clinical trials have been reported. Despite challenges with conducting clinical trials in liposarcoma, preliminary results for several of these novel, biology-driven therapies are encouraging.
Abstract: There is much ambiguity surrounding the diagnosis of nerve sheath tumors, including atypical neurofibroma and low-grade MPNST, and yet, the distinction between these entities designates either benign or malignant behavior and thus carries presumed profound prognostic importance that often guides treatment. This study reviews the diagnostic criteria used to designate atypical neurofibroma from low-grade MPNSTs and reviews existing literature the natural history of each of these tumors to see if the distinction is, in fact, of importance.
Abstract: Sipuleucel-T is an immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. It offers a new mechanism to treat prostate cancer without the side effects of hormone therapies and chemotherapies. In previous studies sipuleucel-T did not delay disease progression, but demonstrated an overall survival benefit compared to placebo. While clinical trials have evaluated the effects of sipuleucel-T on overall survival and progression, more studies are needed to evaluate its effectiveness and role in the management of prostate cancer. The objective of this study is to identify the incidence and possible predictors for disease progression in patients receiving sipuleucel-T. A retrospective review of patients who received sipuleucel-T between 1 September 2010 and 11 October 2011 was conducted (n = 36). Patients who changed therapy or died within 120 days were classified as experiencing rapid progression. Potential predictors of rapid progression were examined using logistic regression. Seven patients met criteria for rapid progression. Progression occurred in 72.2% of all patients. The median days to progression was 158. No significant predictors of rapid progression were identified. Currently no predictors have been found to be associated with rapid progression in prostate cancer patients on sipuleucel-T.
Abstract: Hypoxia affects the tumor microenvironment and is considered important to metastasis progression and therapy resistance. Thus far, the majority of global analyses of tumor hypoxia responses have been limited to just a single omics level. Combining multiple omics data can broaden our understanding of tumor hypoxia. Here, we investigate the temporal change of the metabolite composition with gene expression data from literature to provide a more comprehensive insight into the system level in response to hypoxia. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to perform metabolomic profiling on the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line under hypoxic conditions. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed that the metabolic difference between hypoxia and normoxia was similar over 24 h, but became distinct over 48 h. Time dependent microarray data from the same cell line in the literature displayed different gene expressions under hypoxic and normoxic conditions mostly at 12 h or earlier. The direct metabolomic profiles show a large overlap with theoretical metabolic profiles deduced from previous transcriptomic studies. Consistent pathways are glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, pyruvate, purine and arginine and proline metabolism. Ten metabolic pathways revealed by metabolomics were not covered by the downstream of the known transcriptomic profiles, suggesting new metabolic phenotypes. These results confirm previous transcriptomics understanding and expand the knowledge from existing models on correlation and co-regulation between transcriptomic and metabolomics profiles, which demonstrates the power of integrated omics analysis.
Abstract: Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technology have identified the transcription of a much larger portion of the genome than previously anticipated. Especially in the context of cancer it has become clear that aberrant transcription of both protein-coding and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are frequent events. The current dogma of RNA function describes mRNA to be responsible for the synthesis of proteins, whereas non-coding RNA can have regulatory or epigenetic functions. However, this distinction between protein coding and regulatory ability of transcripts may not be that strict. Here, we review the increasing body of evidence for the existence of multifunctional RNAs that have both protein-coding and trans-regulatory roles. Moreover, we demonstrate that coding transcripts bind to components of the Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) with similar affinities as non-coding transcripts, revealing potential epigenetic regulation by mRNAs. We hypothesize that studies on the regulatory ability of disease-associated mRNAs will form an important new field of research.