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Cancers, Volume 11, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Radiation and Stemness Phenotype May Influence Individual Breast Cancer Outcomes: The Crucial Role of MMPs and Microenvironment
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1781; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111781 (registering DOI) - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Radiotherapy (RT) is one of the mainstay treatments for cancer but in some cases is not effective. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) within the tumor can be responsible for recurrence and metastasis after RT. Matrix [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Radiotherapy (RT) is one of the mainstay treatments for cancer but in some cases is not effective. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) within the tumor can be responsible for recurrence and metastasis after RT. Matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), regulated mainly by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs), may also contribute to tumor development by modifying its activity after RT. The aim of this work was to study the effects of RT on the expression of MMPs, TIMPs and HDACs on different cell subpopulations in MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3 cell lines. We assessed the in vitro expression of these genes in different 3D culture models and induced tumors in female NSG mice by orthotopic xenotransplants. Our results showed that gene expression is related to the cell subpopulation studied, the culture model used and the single radiation dose administered. Moreover, the crucial role played by the microenvironment in terms of cell interactions and CSC plasticity in tumor growth and RT outcome is also shown, supporting the use of higher doses (6 Gy) to achieve better control of tumor development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prognostic Factors in a Large Nationwide Cohort of Histologically Confirmed Primary and Secondary Angiosarcomas
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1780; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111780 (registering DOI) - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Angiosarcoma (AS) is a rare sarcoma of endothelial origin, arising spontaneously (primary AS) or after external damage such as radiation therapy or UV exposure (secondary AS). To date, reliable assessment of prognostic factors has proven difficult, due to disease rarity and heterogeneity of [...] Read more.
Angiosarcoma (AS) is a rare sarcoma of endothelial origin, arising spontaneously (primary AS) or after external damage such as radiation therapy or UV exposure (secondary AS). To date, reliable assessment of prognostic factors has proven difficult, due to disease rarity and heterogeneity of study cohorts. Although large registries provide relatively large AS patient series, these cases often lack histological confirmation. This study aimed to analyze AS prognostic factors in a large nationwide cohort of histologically confirmed cases, established through linkage of clinical data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry and pathology data from the Dutch pathology registry (PALGA). All cases were reviewed by an expert pathologist, showing a 16% discordance rate. Multivariable Cox regression survival analysis among 479 confirmed AS patients revealed remarkably poorer overall survival (OS) for primary AS compared to secondary AS (7 vs 21 months, Hazard ratio (HR) = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–1.9). Age above 65 years, male gender, and no surgical treatment also significantly correlated to worse OS. Overall, OS was relatively poor, with a median of 13 months (95% CI = 10–16 months) and 22% five-year survival rate. With this study, we illustrate AS heterogeneity in clinical behavior and show for the first time better survival for secondary AS compared to primary AS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rationale for a Combination Therapy Consisting of MCL1- and MEK-Inhibitors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1779; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111779 (registering DOI) - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
Amplification and overexpression of the myeloid cell leukemia differentiation protein MCL1 and the murine double minute protein MDM2 have been reported in various human tumors as well as hematological malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While MCL1 is an anti-apoptotic member of the [...] Read more.
Amplification and overexpression of the myeloid cell leukemia differentiation protein MCL1 and the murine double minute protein MDM2 have been reported in various human tumors as well as hematological malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While MCL1 is an anti-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family proteins, MDM2 is an important cellular inhibitor of the p53 tumor suppressor. The key oncogene in AML is the FLT3 growth factor receptor gene. FLT3 signaling pathways including the MAPK cascade (RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK) are highly active in AML cells, leading to induced protein translation and cell proliferation as well as reduced apoptosis. Consequently, combined administration of MCL1-, MDM2-, and MEK-inhibitors may present a promising anti-leukemic treatment strategy. Here, we assessed the MCL1-antagonist S63845, the MDM2-inhibitor HDM201, and the MEK1/2-inhibitor trametinib as single agents and in combination in a variety of AML cell lines and mononuclear cells isolated from patients with hematological malignancies centered on myeloid leukemia, some lymphatic leukemia, as well as some lymphomas, for their ability to induce apoptosis and cell death. We observed a considerably varying anti-leukemic efficacy of the MCL1-inhibitor S63845 and the MEK1/2-inhibitor trametinib. Hematological cells with susceptibility to the single compounds as well as to the combined treatment were defined by elevated MCL1- and MEK-protein levels, independent of the mutational status of FLT3 and TP53. Our data indicate that hematological cells with elevated MCL1- and MEK-protein levels are most sensitive to the combined treatment with S63845 and trametinib. MCL1- and MEK1/2-protein expression may be valid biomarkers for treatment response to S63845 and trametinib, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
A Role for the Biological Clock in Liver Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1778; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111778 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
The biological clock controls at the molecular level several aspects of mammalian physiology, by regulating daily oscillations of crucial biological processes such as nutrient metabolism in the liver. Disruption of the circadian clock circuitry has recently been identified as an independent risk factor [...] Read more.
The biological clock controls at the molecular level several aspects of mammalian physiology, by regulating daily oscillations of crucial biological processes such as nutrient metabolism in the liver. Disruption of the circadian clock circuitry has recently been identified as an independent risk factor for cancer and classified as a potential group 2A carcinogen to humans. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the prevailing histological type of primary liver cancer, one of the most important causes of cancer-related death worldwide. HCC onset and progression is related to B and C viral hepatitis, alcoholic and especially non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-related milieu of fibrosis, cirrhosis, and chronic inflammation. In this review, we recapitulate the state-of-the-art knowledge on the interplay between the biological clock and the oncogenic pathways and mechanisms involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. Finally, we propose how a deeper understanding of circadian clock circuitry–cancer pathways’ crosstalk is promising for developing new strategies for HCC prevention and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liver Cancer and Potential Therapeutic Targets)
Open AccessArticle
Health Status in Long-Term Survivors of Hepatoblastoma
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111777 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the health status of children cured from hepatoblastoma. Forty-five patients with hepatoblastoma treated between 1996–2014 were assessed. The recorded data included sex, age at diagnosis, disease stage, treatment methods, time since diagnosis, and the evaluation [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the health status of children cured from hepatoblastoma. Forty-five patients with hepatoblastoma treated between 1996–2014 were assessed. The recorded data included sex, age at diagnosis, disease stage, treatment methods, time since diagnosis, and the evaluation of health status domains which included performance status, growth development, hearing, cardiovascular, skeletal, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, neurological, and hematological function. There were 30 boys and 15 girls. The age at diagnosis ranged from one month to 14 years (median one year). At the time of the health status evaluation, the youngest patient was 5.5 years old and the oldest was 21 years of age (median—10 years). All patients were treated according to the Childhood Liver Tumors Strategy Group—SIOPEL recommendations, though they were not active participants of the studies. The median cumulative dose of cisplatin was 520 mg/m2 and 360 mg/m2 for doxorubicin. Thirty-six patients underwent partial hepatectomy, and nine total hepatectomy and liver transplantation. At a median of nine years from diagnosis, 68% of hepatoblastoma survivors had experienced at least one chronic health condition of any grade. The most frequent late complication was ototoxicity (28.8%), and the most serious were second malignancies (6.6%) and cardiomyopathy (4.4%). Conclusion: Survivors of hepatoblastoma are at risk for long-term complications. They require long-term monitoring for late effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatoblastoma and Pediatric Liver Tumors)
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Open AccessArticle
Deficiency of 15-LOX-1 Induces Radioresistance through Downregulation of MacroH2A2 in Colorectal Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1776; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111776 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Despite the importance of radiation therapy, there are few radiation-related markers available for use in clinical practice. A larger catalog of such biomarkers is required to help clinicians decide when radiotherapy should be replaced with a patient-specific treatment. Arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX-1) enzyme is [...] Read more.
Despite the importance of radiation therapy, there are few radiation-related markers available for use in clinical practice. A larger catalog of such biomarkers is required to help clinicians decide when radiotherapy should be replaced with a patient-specific treatment. Arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX-1) enzyme is involved in polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism. When colorectal cancer (CRC) cells were exposed to radiation, 15-LOX-1 was upregulated. To verify whether 15-LOX-1 protects against or induces DNA damage, we irradiated sh15-LOX-1 stable cells. We found that low 15-LOX-1 is correlated with radioresistance in CRC cells. These data suggest that the presence of 15-LOX-1 can be used as a marker for radiation-induced DNA damage. Consistent with this observation, gene-set-enrichment analysis based on microarray experiments showed that UV_RESPONSE was decreased in sh15-LOX-1 cells compared to shCon cells. Moreover, we discovered that the expression of the histone H2A variant macroH2A2 was sevenfold lower in sh15-LOX-1 cells. Overall, our findings present mechanistic evidence that macroH2A2 is transcriptionally regulated by 15-LOX-1 and suppresses the DNA damage response in irradiated cells by delaying H2AX activation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Autophagy-Mediated Treatment Resistance in Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1775; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111775 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Despite advances in diagnostic tools and therapeutic options, treatment resistance remains a challenge for many cancer patients. Recent studies have found evidence that autophagy, a cellular pathway that delivers cytoplasmic components to lysosomes for degradation and recycling, contributes to treatment resistance in different [...] Read more.
Despite advances in diagnostic tools and therapeutic options, treatment resistance remains a challenge for many cancer patients. Recent studies have found evidence that autophagy, a cellular pathway that delivers cytoplasmic components to lysosomes for degradation and recycling, contributes to treatment resistance in different cancer types. A role for autophagy in resistance to chemotherapies and targeted therapies has been described based largely on associations with various signaling pathways, including MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling. However, our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of autophagy in facilitating treatment resistance remains limited. Here we provide a comprehensive summary of the evidence linking autophagy to major signaling pathways in the context of treatment resistance and tumor progression, and then highlight recently emerged molecular mechanisms underlying autophagy and the p62/KEAP1/NRF2 and FOXO3A/PUMA axes in chemoresistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Autophagy in Cancer Progression and Drug Resistance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Arpp19 Promotes Myc and Cip2a Expression and Associates with Patient Relapse in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1774; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111774 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Disease relapse from standard chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poorly understood. The importance of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as an AML tumor suppressor is emerging. Therefore, here, we examined the potential role of endogenous PP2A inhibitor proteins as biomarkers predicting AML [...] Read more.
Disease relapse from standard chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poorly understood. The importance of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as an AML tumor suppressor is emerging. Therefore, here, we examined the potential role of endogenous PP2A inhibitor proteins as biomarkers predicting AML relapse in a standard patient population by using three independent patient materials: cohort1 (n = 80), cohort2 (n = 48) and The Cancer Genome Atlas Acute Myeloid Leukemia (TCGA LAML) dataset (n = 160). Out of the examined PP2A inhibitors (CIP2A, SET, PME1, ARPP19 and TIPRL), expression of ARPP19 mRNA was found to be independent of the current AML risk classification. Functionally, ARPP19 promoted AML cell viability and expression of oncoproteins MYC, CDK1, and CIP2A. Clinically, ARPP19 mRNA expression was significantly lower at diagnosis (p = 0.035) in patients whose disease did not relapse after standard chemotherapy. ARPP19 was an independent predictor for relapse both in univariable (p = 0.007) and in multivariable analyses (p = 0.0001) and gave additive information to EVI1 expression and risk group status (additive effect, p = 0.005). Low ARPP19 expression was also associated with better patient outcome in the TCGA LAML cohort (p = 0.019). In addition, in matched patient samples from diagnosis, remission and relapse phases, ARPP19 expression was associated with disease activity (p = 0.034), indicating its potential usefulness as a minimal residual disease (MRD) marker. Together, these data demonstrate the oncogenic function of ARPP19 in AML and its risk group independent role in predicting AML patient relapse tendency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessArticle
Serum miRNA Are Promising Biomarkers for the Detection of Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Treatment with Direct-Acting Antivirals
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1773; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111773 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Direct antiviral agents (DAAs) have excellent efficacy against chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Despite this strength, recent studies raised concerns about an unexpected hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence rate after DAA therapy. In this exploratory case-control study, we evaluated the potential use of [...] Read more.
Direct antiviral agents (DAAs) have excellent efficacy against chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Despite this strength, recent studies raised concerns about an unexpected hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence rate after DAA therapy. In this exploratory case-control study, we evaluated the potential use of miRNAs as serum biomarkers for the detection of early HCC in DAA-treated patients. In the discovery phase, the circulating miRNome was assessed in 10 matched patients with (HCC+) or without HCC (HCC−) occurrence. Microarray analysis was performed before (T0) and after one month of the DAA therapy (T1). MiRNAs discriminating HCC+ and HCC− patients were validated in 60 samples by means of RT-qPCR. We estimated the time-averaged difference of a given miRNA between HCC+ and HCC− patients using a bootstrapped random-effect generalized least square regression model (RE-GLS). At T0, miR-1207-5p, miR-1275, miR-3197, miR-4443, miR-3178, miR-483-5p, miR-4706, miR-4793-3p and miR-1246 discriminated HCC+ from HCC− patients (p < 0.05). At T1, only miR-1180-3p, miR-1228-3p, miR-4329 and miR-4484 (p < 0.05) discriminated HCC+ from HCC− patients. The subsequent validation phase identified miR-3197 as changing with both disease and time. Our results suggest that patients might be already committed to HCC occurrence before DAA therapy. MiR-3197 shows some potential for the identification of patients at risk of HCC during DAA treatments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Brain Tumors in NF1 Children: Influence on Neurocognitive and Behavioral Outcome
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1772; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111772 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1) is a monogenic tumor-predisposition syndrome creating a wide variety of cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, such as decrease in cognitive functioning, deficits in visuospatial processing, attention, and social functioning. NF1 patients are at risk to develop neurofibromas and other tumors, such [...] Read more.
Neurofibromatosis type-1 (NF1) is a monogenic tumor-predisposition syndrome creating a wide variety of cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, such as decrease in cognitive functioning, deficits in visuospatial processing, attention, and social functioning. NF1 patients are at risk to develop neurofibromas and other tumors, such as optic pathway gliomas and other tumors of the central nervous system. Few studies have investigated the impact of an additional diagnosis of brain tumor on the cognitive outcome of children with NF1, showing unclear results and without controlling by the effect of surgery, radio- or chemotherapy. In the present mono-institutional study, we compared the behavioral and cognitive outcomes of 26 children with neurofibromatosis alone (NF1) with two age-matched groups of 26 children diagnosed with NF1 and untreated optic pathway glioma (NF1 + OPG) and 19 children with NF1 and untreated other central nervous system tumors (NF1 + CT). NF1 + CT and NF1 + OPG showed significantly impaired cognitive abilities compared to NF1 group, with weaknesses in visuo-spatial abilities, visual scanning and verbal working memory, while general verbal abilities are preserved. Moreover, NF1 + OPG patients present more frequent internalizing problems and increased oppositional-deviant behaviors. These results suggest that the co-diagnosis of a brain tumor in NF1 children may partially worsen the cognitive and emotional outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Neurofibromatosis)
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Open AccessArticle
Paravertebral Muscle Training in Patients with Unstable Spinal Metastases Receiving Palliative Radiotherapy: An Exploratory Randomized Feasibility Trial
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1771; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111771 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: Isometric paravertebral muscle training (IPMT) may improve mobility, pain, and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients with spinal metastases. However, this regimen remains unproven in patients with unstable spinal metastases (USM), a population at high risk for clinical exacerbation with [...] Read more.
Background: Isometric paravertebral muscle training (IPMT) may improve mobility, pain, and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients with spinal metastases. However, this regimen remains unproven in patients with unstable spinal metastases (USM), a population at high risk for clinical exacerbation with such interventions. Thus, we conducted this exploratory, non-blinded, randomized controlled trial (NCT02847754) to evaluate the safety/feasibility of IPMT and secondarily assess pain, bone density, pathologic fracture rate, and QOL. Methods: All patients had histologically/radiologically confirmed USM (per Taneichi score) and underwent non-operative management with 5–10 fractions of palliative radiotherapy (RT). Randomization (1:1) groups were IPMT (intervention, INT) or muscle relaxation (control, CON); both lasted 15 min/day and started concurrently with radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was feasibility (completion of training programs three months post-RT). Secondary endpoints were pain response (Visual Analog Scale) and opioid consumption, bone density and pathologic fracture rate, and QOL (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, EORTC questionnaires). Results: Sixty patients were randomized and 56 received protocol therapy. Mean survival in both groups was 4.4 months. There were no adverse events with either training regimen. Altogether, ≥80% of the planned sessions were completed by 55% (n = 16/29) in CON and 67% (n = 18/27) in INT. Regarding the post-radiotherapy home-based training, ≥80% of planned sessions were completed by 64% (n = 9/14) of the INT cohort. There were no differences in pain scores, opioid consumption, or bone density between arms (p > 0.05 for all). No difference was observed between groups regarding new pathological fractures (INT: n = 1 vs. CON: n = 3) after three months (p = 0.419). There were no QOL differences between arms (all parameters p > 0.05). Conclusions: IPMT is potentially feasible for high-risk USM patients. Future trials adequately powered for relevant endpoints are thus recommended. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Metastatic Benefits Produced by Hyperthermia and a CCL3 Derivative
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1770; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111770 (registering DOI) - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
Significant numbers of malignant tumor cells that have spread to surrounding tissues and other distant organs are often too small to be picked up in a diagnostic test, and prevention of even such small metastases should improve patient outcomes. Using a mouse model, [...] Read more.
Significant numbers of malignant tumor cells that have spread to surrounding tissues and other distant organs are often too small to be picked up in a diagnostic test, and prevention of even such small metastases should improve patient outcomes. Using a mouse model, we show in this article that intravenous administration of a human CCL3 variant carrying a single amino acid substitution after mild local hyperthermia not only induces tumor growth inhibition at the treated site but also inhibits metastasis. Colon26 adenocarcinoma cells (1 × 105 cells/mouse) were grafted subcutaneously into the right hind leg of syngeneic BALB/c mice and after nine days, when tumor size reached ~11 mm in diameter, the local tumor mass was exposed to high-frequency waves, by which intratumoral temperature was maintained at 42 °C for 30 min. Mice received the CCL3 variant named eMIP (2 μg/mouse/day) intravenously for five consecutive days starting one day after heat treatment. We found that tumor growth in eMIP recipients after hyperthermia was inhibited markedly but no effect was seen in animals treated with either hyperthermia or eMIP alone. Furthermore, the number of lung metastases evaluated after 18 days was dramatically reduced in animals receiving the combination therapy compared with all other controls. These results encourage future clinical application of this combination therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hyperthermia-based Anticancer Treatments)
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Open AccessArticle
Response to Lenvatinib Is Associated with Optimal RelativeDose Intensity in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Experience in Clinical Settings
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1769; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111769 (registering DOI) - 10 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: Lenvatinib is currently available as the first-line treatment for advanced unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. We evaluated the relationship between its relative dose intensity (RDI) and response in clinical settings. Methods: From March 2018 to May 2019, 93 patients were administered lenvatinib at the [...] Read more.
Background: Lenvatinib is currently available as the first-line treatment for advanced unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. We evaluated the relationship between its relative dose intensity (RDI) and response in clinical settings. Methods: From March 2018 to May 2019, 93 patients were administered lenvatinib at the Nagasaki University Hospital and its related facilities. Among these, 81 patients (66 men, 15 women, median age 72.0) who received lenvatinib were analyzed retrospectively. Results: Fourteen patients were Child–Pugh grade B, and 15 had received other systemic therapy. According to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), the objective response (OR) rate was 17.3%. The overall survival (OS) was significantly better in the OR group (p = 0.011). There was a significant difference in RDI between the OR and non-OR groups (p < 0.05). The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for OR prediction by the 4, 8, 12, and 16-week RDI were 0.666, 0.747, 0.731, and 0.704, respectively. In the 8-week RDI ≥67.0% group, OS was significantly better than in the 8-week RDI <67.0% group (p = 0.003). Conclusions: Because a sufficient RDI is required to achieve an OR, it is strongly recommended that lenvatinib should be administered to patients with good hepatic function and status. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antineoplastic Effect of a Combined Mitotane Treatment/Ionizing Radiation in Adrenocortical Carcinoma: A Preclinical Study
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111768 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mitotane (MTT) is an adrenolytic drug used in adjuvant and advanced treatments of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Ionizing radiation (IR) is also used in adrenal cancer treatment, even though its biological action remains unknown. To provide a reliable in vivo preclinical model of ACC, [...] Read more.
Mitotane (MTT) is an adrenolytic drug used in adjuvant and advanced treatments of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). Ionizing radiation (IR) is also used in adrenal cancer treatment, even though its biological action remains unknown. To provide a reliable in vivo preclinical model of ACC, we used mouse xenografts bearing human ACC to test the effects of MTT and IR alone and in combination. We evaluated tumor growth inhibition by the RECIST criteria and analyzed the cell cycle by flow cytometry (FCM). In the xenograft ACC model treated with MTT/IR in combination, we observed a marked inhibition of tumor growth, with strong tumor regression (p < 0.0001) compared to MTT and IR given alone (p < 0.05). The MTT results confirm its antisteroidogenic activity (p < 0.05) in the xenograft ACC model, revealing its ability to render cancer cells more prone to radiotherapy treatment. In addition, to explain the biological effect of these treatments on the Mismatch Repair System (MMR), we interfered with the MSH2 gene expression in untreated and MTT/IR-treated H295R and SW13 cell lines. Moreover, we observed that upon treatment with MTT/IR to induce DNA damage, MSH2 gene inhibition in both the H295R and SW13 cell lines did not allow DNA damage repair, thus inducing cell death. In conclusion, MTT seems to have a radiosensitizing property and, when given in combination with IR, is able to promote neoplastic growth inhibition, leading to a significant reduction in tumor size due to cell death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adrenocortical Carcinoma)
Open AccessArticle
DUSP10 Is a Regulator of YAP1 Activity Promoting Cell Proliferation and Colorectal Cancer Progression
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1767; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111767 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Cell contact inhibition (CCI) is deregulated in cancer. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. We found that dual-specificity phosphatase 10 (DUSP10) is involved in CRC. DUSP10 overexpression increased the growth of CRC cell lines and mouse xenografts, while [...] Read more.
Cell contact inhibition (CCI) is deregulated in cancer. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. We found that dual-specificity phosphatase 10 (DUSP10) is involved in CRC. DUSP10 overexpression increased the growth of CRC cell lines and mouse xenografts, while the opposite phenotype was observed by DUSP10 silencing. High cell density (HD) induced DUSP10 expression in CRC cell lines, particularly within the nucleus. Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) is activated by dephosphorylation, controlling organ growth and CCI, both processes being deregulated in CRC. Expression levels and localization of DUSP10 matched with YAP1 levels in CRC cell lines. DUSP10 and YAP1 co-immunoprecipitated and their interaction was dependent on YAP1 Ser397. The existence of DUSP10 and YAP1 pathway in vivo was confirmed by using a transgenic Drosophila model. Finally, in CRC patients’ samples, high levels of nuclear DUSP10 correlated with nuclear YAP1 in epithelial tumor tissue. Strong nuclear DUSP10 staining also correlated with high tumor stage and poor survival. Overall, these findings describe a DUSP10–YAP1 molecular link in CRC cell lines promoting cell growth in HD. We present evidence suggesting a pro-tumorigenic role of nuclear DUSP10 expression in CRC patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collagen Induces a More Proliferative, Migratory and Chemoresistant Phenotype in Head and Neck Cancer via DDR1
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1766; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111766 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and includes squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx and oral cavity. Patient prognosis has remained poor for decades and molecular targeted therapies are not in routine use. Here we [...] Read more.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and includes squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx and oral cavity. Patient prognosis has remained poor for decades and molecular targeted therapies are not in routine use. Here we showed that the overall expression of collagen subunit genes was higher in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) than normal fibroblasts. Focusing on collagen8A1 and collagen11A1, we showed that collagen is produced by both CAFs and tumour cells, indicating that HNSCCs are collagen-rich environments. We then focused on discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1), a collagen-activated receptor tyrosine kinase, and showed that it is over-expressed in HNSCC tissues. Further, we demonstrated that collagen promoted the proliferation and migration of HNSCC cells and attenuated the apoptotic response to cisplatin. Knockdown of DDR1 in HNSCC cells demonstrated that these tumour-promoting effects of collagen are mediated by DDR1. Our data suggest that specific inhibitors of DDR1 might provide novel therapeutic opportunities to treat HNSCC. Full article
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Open AccessReview
PTEN in Colorectal Cancer: Shedding Light on Its Role as Predictor and Target
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1765; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111765 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Molecular assessment of colorectal cancer (CRC) is receiving growing attention, beyond RAS and BRAF, because of its influence on prognosis and prediction in cancer treatment. PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue), a tumor suppressor, regulating cell division and apoptosis, has been explored, and significant [...] Read more.
Molecular assessment of colorectal cancer (CRC) is receiving growing attention, beyond RAS and BRAF, because of its influence on prognosis and prediction in cancer treatment. PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue), a tumor suppressor, regulating cell division and apoptosis, has been explored, and significant evidence suggests a role in cetuximab and panitumumab resistance linked to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signal transduction pathway. Factors influencing PTEN activity should be analyzed to develop strategies to maximize the tumor suppressor role and to improve tumor response to cancer treatment. Therefore, an in-depth knowledge of the PI3K-Akt pathway—one of the major cancer survival pathways—and the role of PTEN—a major brake of this pathway—is essential in the era of precision medicine. The purpose of this literature review is to summarize the role of PTEN as a predictive factor and possible therapeutic target in CRC, focusing on ongoing studies and the possible implications in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PTEN: A Multifaceted Tumor Suppressor)
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Open AccessArticle
Antitumor Reactive T-Cell Responses Are Enhanced In Vivo by DAMP Prothymosin Alpha and Its C-Terminal Decapeptide
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1764; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111764 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Prothymosin α (proTα) and its C-terminal decapeptide proTα(100–109) were shown to pleiotropically enhance innate and adaptive immune responses. Their activities have been broadly studied in vitro, focusing primarily on the restoration of the deficient immunoreactivity of cancer patients’ leukocytes. Previously, we showed that [...] Read more.
Prothymosin α (proTα) and its C-terminal decapeptide proTα(100–109) were shown to pleiotropically enhance innate and adaptive immune responses. Their activities have been broadly studied in vitro, focusing primarily on the restoration of the deficient immunoreactivity of cancer patients’ leukocytes. Previously, we showed that proTα and proTα(100–109) act as danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), ligate Toll-like receptor-4, signal through TRIF- and MyD88-dependent pathways, promote the maturation of dendritic cells and elicit T-helper type 1 (Th1) immune responses in vitro, leading to the optimal priming of tumor antigen-reactive T-cell functions. Herein, we assessed their activity in a preclinical melanoma model. Immunocompetent mice bearing B16.F1 tumors were treated with two cycles of proTα or proTα(100–109) together with a B16.F1-derived peptide vaccine. Coadministration of proTα or proTα(100–109) and the peptide vaccine suppressed melanoma-cell proliferation, as evidenced by reduced tumor-growth rates. Higher melanoma infiltration by CD3+ T cells was observed, whereas ex vivo analysis of mouse total spleen cells verified the in vivo induction of melanoma-reactive cytotoxic responses. Additionally, increased levels of proinflammatory and Th1-type cytokines were detected in mouse serum. We propose that, in the presence of tumor antigens, DAMPs proTα and proTα(100–109) induce Th1-biased immune responses in vivo. Their adjuvant ability to orchestrate antitumor immunoreactivities can eventually be exploited therapeutically in humans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antitumor Response and Immunomodulatory Effects of Sub-Microsecond Irreversible Electroporation and Its Combination with Calcium Electroporation
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1763; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111763 (registering DOI) - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
In this work, we have investigated the feasibility of sub-microsecond range irreversible electroporation (IRE) with and without calcium electroporation in vivo. As a model, BALB/C mice were used and bioluminescent SP2/0 myeloma tumor models were developed. Tumors were treated with two separate pulsed [...] Read more.
In this work, we have investigated the feasibility of sub-microsecond range irreversible electroporation (IRE) with and without calcium electroporation in vivo. As a model, BALB/C mice were used and bioluminescent SP2/0 myeloma tumor models were developed. Tumors were treated with two separate pulsed electric field (PEF) pulsing protocols PEF1: 12 kV/cm × 200 ns × 500 (0.006 J/pulse) and PEF2: 12 kV/cm × 500 ns × 500 (0.015 J/pulse), which were delivered with and without Ca2+ (168 mM) using parallel plate electrodes at a repetition frequency of 100 Hz. Both PEF1 and PEF2 treatments reduced tumor growth and prolonged the life span of the mice, however, the PEF2 protocol was more efficient. The delay in tumor renewal was the biggest when a combination of IRE with calcium electroporation was used, however, we did not obtain significant differences in the final mouse survival compared to PEF2 alone. Anti-tumor immune responses were also investigated after treatment with PEF2 and PEF2+Ca. In both cases the treated mice had enlarged spleens and increased spleen T cell numbers, lower percentages of suppressor cell subsets (conventional CD4+CD25+ Treg, CD4+CD25DX5+ Tr1, CD8+DX5+, CD4+CD28, CD8+CD28), changed proportions of Tcm and Tef/Tem T cells in the spleen and increased amount of tumor cell specific antibodies in the sera. The treatment based on IRE was effective against primary tumors, destroyed the tumor microenvironment and induced an anti-tumor immune response, however, it was not sufficient for complete control of tumor metastasis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
DOCK1 Regulates Growth and Motility through the RRP1B-Claudin-1 Pathway in Claudin-Low Breast Cancer Cells
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1762; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111762 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Dedicator of cytokinesis 1 (DOCK1) is a critical regulator of cancer metastasis. Claudins are transmembrane proteins that play a role in epithelial barrier integrity. Due to a loss or low expression of claudins (CLDN), the claudin-low type of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is [...] Read more.
Dedicator of cytokinesis 1 (DOCK1) is a critical regulator of cancer metastasis. Claudins are transmembrane proteins that play a role in epithelial barrier integrity. Due to a loss or low expression of claudins (CLDN), the claudin-low type of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by a mesenchymal-like phenotype with strong metastatic potential. In order to elucidate the mechanism of DOCK1 in cancer metastasis, we first analyzed the transcriptomic changes using a clinical database of human TNBC and found that the increase in DOCK1 expression was highly correlated with the poor survival rate of TNBC patients. Interference with DOCK1 expression by shRNA resulted in re-expression of claudin-1 in conjunction with significant inhibition of cell viability and motility of claudin-low breast cancer cells. Accordingly, overexpression of claudin-1 suppressed cell viability and migration. Genetic knockdown and pharmacological blockade of Rac1/Rac2 up-regulated claudin-1. DOCK1 knockdown also caused a decrease in DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) expression and an increase in claudin-1 transcript and promoter activity. Furthermore, RRP1B mediated DOCK1 depletion, which up-regulated claudin-1 expression, cell viability, and motility in claudin-low breast cancer cells. This study demonstrated that DOCK1 mediates growth and motility through down-regulated claudin-1 expression via the RRP1BDNMTclaudin-1 pathway and that claudin-1 serves as an important effector in DOCK1-mediated cancer progression and metastasis in claudin-low breast cancer cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The New Genetic Landscape of Cushing’s Disease: Deubiquitinases in the Spotlight
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1761; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111761 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Cushing’s disease (CD) is a rare condition caused by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-producing adenomas of the pituitary, which lead to hypercortisolism that is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Treatment options in case of persistent or recurrent disease are limited, but new insights into [...] Read more.
Cushing’s disease (CD) is a rare condition caused by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-producing adenomas of the pituitary, which lead to hypercortisolism that is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Treatment options in case of persistent or recurrent disease are limited, but new insights into the pathogenesis of CD are raising hope for new therapeutic avenues. Here, we have performed a meta-analysis of the available sequencing data in CD to create a comprehensive picture of CD’s genetics. Our analyses clearly indicate that somatic mutations in the deubiquitinases are the key drivers in CD, namely USP8 (36.5%) and USP48 (13.3%). While in USP48 only Met415 is affected by mutations, in USP8 there are 26 different mutations described. However, these different mutations are clustering in the same hotspot region (affecting in 94.5% of cases Ser718 and Pro720). In contrast, pathogenic variants classically associated with tumorigenesis in genes like TP53 and BRAF are also present in CD but with low incidence (12.5% and 7%). Importantly, several of these mutations might have therapeutic potential as there are drugs already investigated in preclinical and clinical setting for other diseases. Furthermore, network and pathway analyses of all somatic mutations in CD suggest a rather unified picture hinting towards converging oncogenic pathways. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Verteporfin-Loaded Lipid Nanoparticles Improve Ovarian Cancer Photodynamic Therapy In Vitro and In Vivo
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111760 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Advanced ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer, with a high rate of chemoresistance and relapse. Photodynamic therapy offers new prospects for ovarian cancer treatment, but current photosensitizers lack tumor specificity, resulting in low efficacy and significant side-effects. In the present work, [...] Read more.
Advanced ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer, with a high rate of chemoresistance and relapse. Photodynamic therapy offers new prospects for ovarian cancer treatment, but current photosensitizers lack tumor specificity, resulting in low efficacy and significant side-effects. In the present work, the clinically approved photosensitizer verteporfin was encapsulated within nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) for targeted photodynamic therapy of ovarian cancer. Cellular uptake and phototoxicity of free verteporfin and NLC-verteporfin were studied in vitro in human ovarian cancer cell lines cultured in 2D and 3D-spheroids, and biodistribution and photodynamic therapy were evaluated in vivo in mice. Both molecules were internalized in ovarian cancer cells and strongly inhibited tumor cells viability when exposed to laser light only. In vivo biodistribution and pharmacokinetic studies evidenced a long circulation time of NLC associated with efficient tumor uptake. Administration of 2 mg.kg−1 free verteporfin induced severe phototoxic adverse effects leading to the death of 5 out of 8 mice. In contrast, laser light exposure of tumors after intravenous administration of NLC-verteporfin (8 mg.kg−1) significantly inhibited tumor growth without visible toxicity. NLC-verteporfin thus led to efficient verteporfin vectorization to the tumor site and protection from side-effects, providing promising therapeutic prospects for photodynamic therapy of cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Nanomedicine)
Open AccessArticle
The Diagnostic Efficiency of Ultrasound Computer–Aided Diagnosis in Differentiating Thyroid Nodules: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111759 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) techniques have emerged to complement qualitative assessment in the diagnosis of benign and malignant thyroid nodules. The aim of this review was to summarize the current evidence on the diagnostic performance of various ultrasound CAD in characterizing thyroid nodules. PUBMED, [...] Read more.
Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) techniques have emerged to complement qualitative assessment in the diagnosis of benign and malignant thyroid nodules. The aim of this review was to summarize the current evidence on the diagnostic performance of various ultrasound CAD in characterizing thyroid nodules. PUBMED, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched for studies published until August 2019. The Quality Assessment of Studies of Diagnostic Accuracy included in Systematic Review 2 (QUADAS-2) tool was used to assess the methodological quality of the studies. Reported diagnostic performance data were analyzed and discussed. Fourteen studies with 2232 patients and 2675 thyroid nodules met the inclusion criteria. The study quality based on QUADAS-2 assessment was moderate. At best performance, grey scale CAD had a sensitivity of 96.7% while Doppler CAD was 90%. Combined techniques of qualitative grey scale features and Doppler CAD assessment resulted in overall increased sensitivity (92%) and optimal specificity (85.1%). The experience of the CAD user, nodule size and the thyroid malignancy risk stratification system used for interpretation were the main potential factors affecting diagnostic performance outcomes. The diagnostic performance of CAD of thyroid ultrasound is comparable to that of qualitative visual assessment; however, combined techniques have the potential for better optimized diagnostic accuracy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Lack of Durable Remission with Conventional-Dose Total Skin Electron Therapy for the Management of Sezary Syndrome and Multiply Relapsed Mycosis Fungoides
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111758 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sezary syndrome (SS) are multi-relapsing, morbid, cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. Optimal treatment sequencing remains undefined. Total skin electron therapy (TSE) is a highly technical, skin-directed treatment, uniquely producing symptom-free and treatment-free intervals. Recent publications favour low-dose TSE for reduced toxicity, [...] Read more.
Mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sezary syndrome (SS) are multi-relapsing, morbid, cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. Optimal treatment sequencing remains undefined. Total skin electron therapy (TSE) is a highly technical, skin-directed treatment, uniquely producing symptom-free and treatment-free intervals. Recent publications favour low-dose TSE for reduced toxicity, but early data support conventional-dose TSE (cdTSE) for longer disease control. Patient selection requires weighing-up tolerability against response durability. We investigated duration of benefit from cdTSE in patients with poorer prognosis diseases: SS and heavily pre-treated MF. Endpoints were overall survival, and “time to next treatment” (TTNT) as surrogate for clinical benefit duration. Seventy patients (53 MF, 17 SS) were eligible: median prior treatments, 4; median cdTSE dose, 30 Gy; median follow-up, 5.8 years. SS patients had worse prognosis (HR = 5.0, p < 0.001) and shorter TTNT (HR = 4.5, p < 0.001) than MF patients; median TTNT was only 3.7 months. Heavily pre-treated MF patients had inferior prognosis (HR = 1.19 per additional line, p = 0.005), and shorter TTNT (HR = 1.13 per additional line, p = 0.031). Median TTNT for MF patients with ≥3 prior treatments was 7.1 months, versus 23.2 months for 0–2 prior treatments. In conclusion, cdTSE has a limited role in SS. TTNT is reduced in heavily pre-treated MF patients, suggesting greater benefit when utilized earlier in treatment sequencing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Structural Implications of STAT3 and STAT5 SH2 Domain Mutations
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111757 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Src Homology 2 (SH2) domains arose within metazoan signaling pathways and are involved in protein regulation of multiple pleiotropic cascades. In signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins, SH2 domain interactions are critical for molecular activation and nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated STAT [...] Read more.
Src Homology 2 (SH2) domains arose within metazoan signaling pathways and are involved in protein regulation of multiple pleiotropic cascades. In signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins, SH2 domain interactions are critical for molecular activation and nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated STAT dimers to drive transcription. Sequencing analysis of patient samples has revealed the SH2 domain as a hotspot in the mutational landscape of STAT proteins although the functional impact for the vast majority of these mutations remains poorly characterized. Despite several well resolved structures for SH2 domain-containing proteins, structural data regarding the distinctive STAT-type SH2 domain is limited. Here, we review the unique features of STAT-type SH2 domains in the context of all currently reported STAT3 and STAT5 SH2 domain clinical mutations. The genetic volatility of specific regions in the SH2 domain can result in either activating or deactivating mutations at the same site in the domain, underscoring the delicate evolutionary balance of wild type STAT structural motifs in maintaining precise levels of cellular activity. Understanding the molecular and biophysical impact of these disease-associated mutations can uncover convergent mechanisms of action for mutations localized within the STAT SH2 domain to facilitate the development of targeted therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting STAT3 and STAT5 in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Targeting Negative and Positive Immune Checkpoints with Monoclonal Antibodies in Therapy of Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1756; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111756 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
The immune checkpoints are regulatory molecules that maintain immune homeostasis in physiological conditions. By sending T cells a series of co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory signals via receptors, immune checkpoints can both protect healthy tissues from adaptive immune response and activate lymphocytes to remove pathogens [...] Read more.
The immune checkpoints are regulatory molecules that maintain immune homeostasis in physiological conditions. By sending T cells a series of co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory signals via receptors, immune checkpoints can both protect healthy tissues from adaptive immune response and activate lymphocytes to remove pathogens effectively. However, due to their mode of action, suppressive immune checkpoints may serve as unwanted protection for cancer cells. To restore the functioning of the immune system and make the patient’s immune cells able to recognize and destroy tumors, monoclonal antibodies are broadly used in cancer immunotherapy to block the suppressive or to stimulate the positive immune checkpoints. In this review, we aim to present the current state of application of monoclonal antibodies in clinics, used either as single agents or in a combined treatment. We discuss the limitations of these therapies and possible problem-solving with combined treatment approaches involving both non-biological and biological agents. We also highlight the most promising strategies based on the use of monoclonal or bispecific antibodies targeted on immune checkpoints other than currently implemented in clinics. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Nrf2 Activity in Cancer Development and Progression
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1755; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111755 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Nrf2 is a transcription factor that stimulates the expression of genes which have antioxidant response element-like sequences in their promoter. Nrf2 is a cellular protector, and this principle applies to both normal cells and malignant cells. While healthy cells are protected from DNA [...] Read more.
Nrf2 is a transcription factor that stimulates the expression of genes which have antioxidant response element-like sequences in their promoter. Nrf2 is a cellular protector, and this principle applies to both normal cells and malignant cells. While healthy cells are protected from DNA damage induced by reactive oxygen species, malignant cells are defended against chemo- or radiotherapy. Through our literature search, we found that Nrf2 activates several oncogenes unrelated to the antioxidant activity, such as Matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9), B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2), B-cell lymphoma-extra large (BCL-xL), Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α), and Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). We also did a brief analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data of lung adenocarcinoma concerning the effects of radiation therapy and found that the therapy-induced Nrf2 activation is not universal. For instance, in the case of recurrent disease and radiotherapy, we observed that, for the majority of Nrf2-targeted genes, there is no change in expression level. This proves that the universal, axiomatic rationale that Nrf2 is activated as a response to chemo- and radiation therapy is wrong, and that each scenario should be carefully evaluated with the help of Nrf2-targeted genes. Moreover, there were nine genes involved in lipid peroxidation, which showed underexpression in the case of new radiation therapy: ADH1A, ALDH3A1, ALDH3A2, ADH1B, GPX2, ADH1C, ALDH6A1, AKR1C3, and NQO1. This may relate to the fact that, while some studies reported the co-activation of Nrf2 and other oncogenic signaling pathways such as Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and Notch1, other reported the inverse correlation between Nrf2 and the tumor-promoter Transcription Factor (TF), Nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB). Lastly, Nrf2 establishes its activity through interactions at multiple levels with various microRNAs. MiR-155, miR-144, miR-28, miR-365-1, miR-93, miR-153, miR-27a, miR-142, miR-29-b1, miR-340, and miR-34a, either through direct repression of Nrf2 messenger RNA (mRNA) in a Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)-independent manner or by enhancing the Keap1 cellular level, inhibit the Nrf2 activity. Keap1–Nrf2 interaction leads to the repression of miR-181c, which is involved in the Nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling pathway. Nrf2’s role in cancer prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy is still in its infancy, and the future strategic planning of Nrf2-based oncological approaches should also consider the complex interaction between Nrf2 and its various activators and inhibitors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The mRNA-binding Protein TTP/ZFP36 in Hepatocarcinogenesis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1754; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111754 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Hepatic lipid deposition and inflammation represent risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The mRNA-binding protein tristetraprolin (TTP, gene name ZFP36) has been suggested as a tumor suppressor in several malignancies, but it increases insulin resistance. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Hepatic lipid deposition and inflammation represent risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The mRNA-binding protein tristetraprolin (TTP, gene name ZFP36) has been suggested as a tumor suppressor in several malignancies, but it increases insulin resistance. The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of TTP in hepatocarcinogenesis and HCC progression. Employing liver-specific TTP-knockout (lsTtp-KO) mice in the diethylnitrosamine (DEN) hepatocarcinogenesis model, we observed a significantly reduced tumor burden compared to wild-type animals. Upon short-term DEN treatment, modelling early inflammatory processes in hepatocarcinogenesis, lsTtp-KO mice exhibited a reduced monocyte/macrophage ratio as compared to wild-type mice. While short-term DEN strongly induced an abundance of saturated and poly-unsaturated hepatic fatty acids, lsTtp-KO mice did not show these changes. These findings suggested anti-carcinogenic actions of TTP deletion due to effects on inflammation and metabolism. Interestingly, though, investigating effects of TTP on different hallmarks of cancer suggested tumor-suppressing actions: TTP inhibited proliferation, attenuated migration, and slightly increased chemosensitivity. In line with a tumor-suppressing activity, we observed a reduced expression of several oncogenes in TTP-overexpressing cells. Accordingly, ZFP36 expression was downregulated in tumor tissues in three large human data sets. Taken together, this study suggests that hepatocytic TTP promotes hepatocarcinogenesis, while it shows tumor-suppressive actions during hepatic tumor progression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Targeted-Gene Sequencing to Catch Triple Negative Breast Cancer Heterogeneity before and after Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111753 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients not attaining pathological Complete Response (pCR) after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) have poor prognosis. We characterized 19 patients for somatic mutations in primary tumor biopsy and residual disease (RD) at surgery by 409 cancer-related gene sequencing (IonAmpliSeqTM Comprehensive [...] Read more.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients not attaining pathological Complete Response (pCR) after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) have poor prognosis. We characterized 19 patients for somatic mutations in primary tumor biopsy and residual disease (RD) at surgery by 409 cancer-related gene sequencing (IonAmpliSeqTM Comprehensive Cancer Panel). A median of four (range 1–66) genes was mutated in each primary tumor biopsy, and the most common mutated gene was TP53 followed by a long tail of low frequency mutations. There were no recurrent mutations significantly associated with pCR. However, half of patients with RD had primary tumor biopsy with mutations in genes related to the immune system compared with none of those achieving pCR. Overall, the number of mutations showed a downward trend in post- as compared to pre-NAC samples. PIK3CA was the most common altered gene after NAC. The mutational profile of TNBC during treatment as inferred from patterns of mutant allele frequencies in matched pre-and post-NAC samples showed that RD harbored alterations of cell cycle progression, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, and EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistance pathways. Our findings support the use of targeted-gene sequencing for TNBC therapeutic development, as patients without pCR may present mutations of immune-related pathways in their primary tumor biopsy, or actionable targets in the RD. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Application of Bioinformatics in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Mononuclear but Not Polymorphonuclear Phagocyte Depletion Increases Circulation Times and Improves Mammary Tumor-Homing Efficiency of Donor Bone Marrow-Derived Monocytes
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1752; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111752 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Tumor associated macrophages are an essential part of the tumor microenvironment. Consequently, bone marrow-derived monocytes (BMDMs) are continuously recruited to tumors and are therefore seen as ideal delivery vehicles with tumor-targeting properties. By using immune cell depleting agents and macroscopic in vivo fluorescence [...] Read more.
Tumor associated macrophages are an essential part of the tumor microenvironment. Consequently, bone marrow-derived monocytes (BMDMs) are continuously recruited to tumors and are therefore seen as ideal delivery vehicles with tumor-targeting properties. By using immune cell depleting agents and macroscopic in vivo fluorescence imaging, we demonstrated that removal of endogenous monocytes and macrophages (but not neutrophils) leads to an increased tumor accumulation of exogenously administered BMDMs. By means of intravital microscopy (IVM), we confirmed our macroscopic findings on a cellular level and visualized in real time the migration of the donor BMDMs in the tumors of living animals. Moreover, IVM also revealed that clodronate-mediated depletion drastically increases the circulation time of the exogenously administered BMDMs. In summary, these new insights illustrate that impairment of the mononuclear phagocyte system increases the circulation time and tumor accumulation of donor BMDMs. Full article
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