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Special Issue "Brain Metastasis"

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A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Dario Marchetti

Director, Center of the Biomarker Research Program at Houston Methodist Research Institute, and Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at Methodist Hospital, MS: R7-102, 6670 Bertner Avenue, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: the biology and therapeutic utility of circulating tumor cells (CTCs); mechanisms of brain metastasis; breast cancer dormancy; roles of heparanase in development and disease

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Surgical Resection of Brain Metastases—Impact on Neurological Outcome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(5), 8708-8718; doi:10.3390/ijms14058708
Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 13 April 2013 / Accepted: 16 April 2013 / Published: 24 April 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (856 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Brain metastases (BM) develop in about 30% of all cancer patients. Surgery plays an important role in confirming neuropathological diagnosis, relieving mass effects and improving the neurological status. To select patients with the highest benefit from surgical resection, prognostic indices (RPA, GPA) have
[...] Read more.
Brain metastases (BM) develop in about 30% of all cancer patients. Surgery plays an important role in confirming neuropathological diagnosis, relieving mass effects and improving the neurological status. To select patients with the highest benefit from surgical resection, prognostic indices (RPA, GPA) have been formulated which are solely focused on survival without considering neurological improvement. In this study we analyzed the impact of surgical resection on the neurological status in addition to overall survival in 206 BM patients. Surgical mortality and morbidity was 0.0% and 10.3% respectively. New neurologic deficits occurred in 6.3% of all patients. The median overall survival was 6.3 months. Poor RPA class and short time interval between diagnosis of cancer and the occurrence of BM were independent factors predictive for poor survival. Improvement of neurological performance was achieved in 56.8% of all patients, with the highest improvement rate seen in patients presenting with increased intracranial pressure and hemiparesis. Notably, the neurological benefits were independent from RPA class. In conclusion, surgical resection leads to significant neurological improvement despite poor RPA class and short overall survival. Considering the low mortality and morbidity rates, resection should be considered as a valid option to increase neurological function and quality of life for patients with BM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Preclinical Therapeutic Model of Human Brain Metastasis with Chemoradiotherapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(4), 8306-8327; doi:10.3390/ijms14048306
Received: 30 November 2012 / Revised: 16 March 2013 / Accepted: 26 March 2013 / Published: 16 April 2013
PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, survival of breast cancer patients with brain metastasis ranges from 2 to 16 months. In experimental brain metastasis studies, only 10% of lesions with the highest permeability exhibited cytotoxic responses to paclitaxel or doxorubicin. Therefore, radiation is the most frequently used treatment,
[...] Read more.
Currently, survival of breast cancer patients with brain metastasis ranges from 2 to 16 months. In experimental brain metastasis studies, only 10% of lesions with the highest permeability exhibited cytotoxic responses to paclitaxel or doxorubicin. Therefore, radiation is the most frequently used treatment, and sensitizing agents, which synergize with radiation, can improve the efficacy of the therapy. In this study we used 435-Br1 cells containing the fluorescent protein (eGFP) gene and the photinus luciferase (PLuc) gene to develop a new brain metastatic cell model in mice through five in vivo/in vitro rounds. BR-eGFP-CMV/Luc-V5 brain metastatic cells induce parenchymal brain metastasis within 60.8 ± 13.8 days of intracarotid injection in all mice. We used this model to standardize a preclinical chemoradiotherapy protocol comprising three 5.5 Gy fractions delivered on consecutive days (overall dose of 16.5 Gy) which improved survival with regard to controls (60.29 ± 8.65 vs. 47.20 ± 11.14). Moreover, the combination of radiotherapy with temozolomide, 60 mg/Kg/day orally for five consecutive days doubled survival time of the mice 121.56 ± 52.53 days (Kaplan-Meier Curve, p < 0.001). This new preclinical chemoradiotherapy protocol proved useful for the study of radiation response/resistance in brain metastasis, either alone or in combination with new sensitizing agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle HER-2 Expression in Brain Metastases from Colorectal Cancer and Corresponding Primary Tumors: A Case Cohort Series
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(2), 2370-2387; doi:10.3390/ijms14022370
Received: 5 November 2012 / Revised: 9 January 2013 / Accepted: 12 January 2013 / Published: 24 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1769 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Brain metastases (BM) from colorectal cancer (CRC) are a rare but increasing event. Surgical resection of oligometastatic disease, including BM, may produce a survival benefit in selected patients. Previous studies described the HER-2 expression patterns in CRC patients, but its prognostic role still
[...] Read more.
Brain metastases (BM) from colorectal cancer (CRC) are a rare but increasing event. Surgical resection of oligometastatic disease, including BM, may produce a survival benefit in selected patients. Previous studies described the HER-2 expression patterns in CRC patients, but its prognostic role still remains controversial. Information on the HER-2 expression in BM from CRC is currently lacking. Among the over 500 patients treated at our Department of Neurosurgery in the last 13 years (1999–2012), we identified a cohort of 50 consecutive CRC patients resected for BM. Clinical data were retrospectively reviewed using electronic hospital charts and surgical notes. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples were retrieved and histologically reviewed. HER-2 status was assessed on 4-μm sections by HerceptTest™, and scored by two pathologists according to gastric cancer HER-2 status guidelines. In score 2+ cases HER-2 gene copy number was analyzed by FISH, performed using the PathVysion HER-2 DNA Probe Kit. Median age at time of BM resection was 65 years (35–82); most patients were males (60%) with a good performance status. The majority of the BM were single (74%) and sited in the supratentorial area (64%); 2–4 lesions were diagnosed in 9 patients (18%), and >4 in 3 patients (6%). The rate of HER-2 positivity (defined as IHC score 3+ or IHC score 2+ and FISH gene amplification) was 8.1% for the primary CRC tumors and 12% for their corresponding BM. The concordance rate between primary tumors and matched BM was 89%. Median overall survival after neurosurgery was 6.5 months for HER-2 IHC score 0 vs. 4.6 months for HER-2 IHC score 1+/2+/3+; the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.01, Log-rank test). HER-2 positivity of our case cohort was low but comparable to literature. Concordance rate of HER-2 expression between BM and corresponding primary tumors is high and similar to those reported for breast and gastric cancers. Our data suggest a potential negative prognostic value of HER-2 expression in brain lesions from CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle Metabolic Profiles of Brain Metastases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 2104-2118; doi:10.3390/ijms14012104
Received: 26 October 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2255 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Metastasis to the brain is a feared complication of systemic cancer, associated with significant morbidity and poor prognosis. A better understanding of the tumor metabolism might help us meet the challenges in controlling brain metastases. The study aims to characterize the metabolic profile
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Metastasis to the brain is a feared complication of systemic cancer, associated with significant morbidity and poor prognosis. A better understanding of the tumor metabolism might help us meet the challenges in controlling brain metastases. The study aims to characterize the metabolic profile of brain metastases of different origin using high resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to correlate the metabolic profiles to clinical and pathological information. Biopsy samples of human brain metastases (n = 49) were investigated. A significant correlation between lipid signals and necrosis in brain metastases was observed (p < 0.01), irrespective of their primary origin. The principal component analysis (PCA) showed that brain metastases from malignant melanomas cluster together, while lung carcinomas were metabolically heterogeneous and overlap with other subtypes. Metastatic melanomas have higher amounts of glycerophosphocholine than other brain metastases. A significant correlation between microscopically visible lipid droplets estimated by Nile Red staining and MR visible lipid signals was observed in metastatic lung carcinomas (p = 0.01), indicating that the proton MR visible lipid signals arise from cytoplasmic lipid droplets. MRS-based metabolomic profiling is a useful tool for exploring the metabolic profiles of metastatic brain tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle IL-6 Receptor Is a Possible Target against Growth of Metastasized Lung Tumor Cells in the Brain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 515-526; doi:10.3390/ijms14010515
Received: 30 November 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the animal model of brain metastasis using human lung squamous cell carcinoma-derived cells (HARA-B) inoculated into the left ventricle of the heart of nude mice, metastasized tumor cells and brain resident cells interact with each other. Among them, tumor cells and astrocytes
[...] Read more.
In the animal model of brain metastasis using human lung squamous cell carcinoma-derived cells (HARA-B) inoculated into the left ventricle of the heart of nude mice, metastasized tumor cells and brain resident cells interact with each other. Among them, tumor cells and astrocytes have been reported to stimulate each other, releasing soluble factors from both sides, subsequently promoting tumor growth significantly. Among the receptors for soluble factors released from astrocytes, only IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) on tumor cells was up-regulated during the activation with astrocytes. Application of monoclonal antibody against human IL-6R (tocilizumab) to the activated HARA-B cells, the growth of HARA-B cells stimulated by the conditioned medium of HARA-B/astrocytes was significantly inhibited. Injecting tocilizumab to animal models of brain metastasis starting at three weeks of inoculation of HARA-B cells, two times a week for three weeks, significantly inhibited the size of the metastasized tumor foci. The up-regulated expression of IL-6R on metastasized lung tumor cells was also observed in the tissue from postmortem patients. These results suggest that IL-6R on metastasized lung tumor cells would be a therapeutic target to inhibit the growth of the metastasized lung tumor cells in the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessArticle An Institutional Retrospective Analysis of 93 Patients with Brain Metastases from Breast Cancer: Treatment Outcomes, Diagnosis-Specific Prognostic Factors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 16489-16499; doi:10.3390/ijms131216489
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 29 November 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To evaluate the prognostic factors and indexes of a series of 93 patients with breast cancer and brain metastases (BM) in a single institution. Treatment outcomes were evaluated according to the major prognostic indexes (RPA, BSBM, GPA scores) and breast cancer subtypes. Independent
[...] Read more.
To evaluate the prognostic factors and indexes of a series of 93 patients with breast cancer and brain metastases (BM) in a single institution. Treatment outcomes were evaluated according to the major prognostic indexes (RPA, BSBM, GPA scores) and breast cancer subtypes. Independent prognostic factors for overall survival (OS) were identified. The median OS values according to GPA 0–1, 1.5–2, 2.5–3 and 3.5–4, were 4.5, 9.5, 14.2 and 19.1 months, respectively (p < 0.0001) and according to genetic subtypes, they were 5, 14.2, 16.5 and 17.1 months for basal-like, luminal A and B and HER, respectively (p = 0.04). Using multivariate analysis, we established a new grading system using the six factors that were identified as indicators of longer survival: age under 60 (p = 0.001), high KPS (p = 0.007), primary tumor control (p = 0.05), low number of extracranial metastases and BM (p = 0.01 and 0.0002, respectively) and triple negative subtype (p = 0.002). Three groups with significantly different median survival times were identified: 4.1, 9.5 and 26.3 months, respectively (p < 0.0001). Our new grading system shows that prognostic indexes could be improved by using more levels of classification and confirms the strength of biological prognostic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)

Review

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Open AccessReview Brain Metastasis in Pancreatic Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(2), 4163-4173; doi:10.3390/ijms14024163
Received: 8 January 2013 / Revised: 3 February 2013 / Accepted: 4 February 2013 / Published: 19 February 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is a fatal disease with a 5-year survival rate below 5%. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced tumor stage and existence of distant metastases. However, involvement of the central nervous system is rare in pancreatic cancer. We retrospectively analyzed all
[...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is a fatal disease with a 5-year survival rate below 5%. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced tumor stage and existence of distant metastases. However, involvement of the central nervous system is rare in pancreatic cancer. We retrospectively analyzed all cases of brain metastases in pancreatic cancer reported to date focusing on patient characteristics, clinical appearance, therapy and survival. Including our own, 12 cases of brain metastases originating from pancreatic cancer were identified. In three patients brain metastases were the first manifestation of pancreatic cancer. All other patients developed brain metastases during their clinical course. In most cases, the disease progressed rapidly and the patients died within weeks or months. However, two patients showed long-term survival. Of note, both patients received resection of the pancreatic cancer as well as curative resection of the metachronous brain metastases. Brain metastases in pancreatic cancer are a rare condition and usually predict a very poor prognosis. However, there is evidence that resection of brain metastases of pancreatic cancer can be immensely beneficial to patient’s survival, even with the chance for cure. Therefore, a surgical approach in metastatic pancreatic cancer should be considered in selective cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessReview Innovative Therapeutic Strategies in the Treatment of Brain Metastases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 2135-2174; doi:10.3390/ijms14012135
Received: 9 December 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Brain metastases (BM) are the most common intracranial tumors and their incidence is increasing. Untreated brain metastases are associated with a poor prognosis and a poor performance status. Metastasis development involves the migration of a cancer cell from the bulk tumor into the
[...] Read more.
Brain metastases (BM) are the most common intracranial tumors and their incidence is increasing. Untreated brain metastases are associated with a poor prognosis and a poor performance status. Metastasis development involves the migration of a cancer cell from the bulk tumor into the surrounding tissue, extravasation from the blood into tissue elsewhere in the body, and formation of a secondary tumor. In the recent past, important results have been obtained in the management of patients affected by BM, using surgery, radiation therapy, or both. Conventional chemotherapies have generally produced disappointing results, possibly due to their limited ability to penetrate the blood–brain barrier. The advent of new technologies has led to the discovery of novel molecules and pathways that have better depicted the metastatic process. Targeted therapies such as bevacizumab, erlotinib, gefitinib, sunitinib and sorafenib, are all licensed and have demonstrated improved survival in patients with metastatic disease. In this review, we will report current data on targeted therapies. A brief review about brain metastatic process will be also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessReview CXCR4/CXCL12 in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Metastasis to the Brain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 1713-1727; doi:10.3390/ijms14011713
Received: 12 November 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lung cancer represents the leading cause of cancer-related mortality throughout the world. Patients die of local progression, disseminated disease, or both. At least one third of the people with lung cancer develop brain metastases at some point during their disease, even often before
[...] Read more.
Lung cancer represents the leading cause of cancer-related mortality throughout the world. Patients die of local progression, disseminated disease, or both. At least one third of the people with lung cancer develop brain metastases at some point during their disease, even often before the diagnosis of lung cancer is made. The high rate of brain metastasis makes lung cancer the most common type of tumor to spread to the brain. It is critical to understand the biologic basis of brain metastases to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. This review will focus on the emerging data supporting the involvement of the chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 in the brain metastatic evolution of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the pharmacological tools that may be used to interfere with this signaling axis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Figures

Open AccessReview Role of the Blood-Brain Barrier in the Formation of Brain Metastases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 1383-1411; doi:10.3390/ijms14011383
Received: 17 October 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 11 January 2013
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (597 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The majority of brain metastases originate from lung cancer, breast cancer and malignant melanoma. In order to reach the brain, parenchyma metastatic cells have to transmigrate through the endothelial cell layer of brain capillaries, which forms the morphological basis of the blood-brain barrier
[...] Read more.
The majority of brain metastases originate from lung cancer, breast cancer and malignant melanoma. In order to reach the brain, parenchyma metastatic cells have to transmigrate through the endothelial cell layer of brain capillaries, which forms the morphological basis of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB has a dual role in brain metastasis formation: it forms a tight barrier protecting the central nervous system from entering cancer cells, but it is also actively involved in protecting metastatic cells during extravasation and proliferation in the brain. The mechanisms of interaction of cancer cells and cerebral endothelial cells are largely uncharacterized. Here, we provide a comprehensive review on our current knowledge about the role of junctional and adhesion molecules, soluble factors, proteolytic enzymes and signaling pathways mediating the attachment of tumor cells to brain endothelial cells and the transendothelial migration of metastatic cells. Since brain metastases represent a great therapeutic challenge, it is indispensable to understand the mechanisms of the interaction of tumor cells with the BBB in order to find targets of prevention of brain metastasis formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)
Open AccessReview Brain Metastases from Colorectal Cancer: Microenvironment and Molecular Mechanisms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 15784-15800; doi:10.3390/ijms131215784
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 26 November 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common digestive tract malignancies in the world. Owing to the newer and more effective systemic therapies, the life of colorectal cancer patients can be remarkably prolonged, and the incidence of brain metastases is increasing. However, little
[...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common digestive tract malignancies in the world. Owing to the newer and more effective systemic therapies, the life of colorectal cancer patients can be remarkably prolonged, and the incidence of brain metastases is increasing. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of brain metastasis from colorectal cancer. Here we review the tumor microenvironment and metastasis associated molecules in brain metastases from colorectal cancer. A further understanding of these mechanisms will help us to propose better strategies for colorectal cancer patients with brain metastasis and improve their life quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Metastasis)

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