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Cancers, Volume 12, Issue 8 (August 2020) – 335 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Accumulating evidence underlines that both somatic mutations and epigenetic alterations are involved in the pathogenesis of malignant melanoma, especially upregulated expression of oncogenic microRNA-21. Recent research focuses on exosomes enriched in microRNA-21 that promote melanomagenesis and melanoma progression. This review presents various sources of microRNA-21-enriched exosomes including UV-irradiated keratinocytes, adipocyte-derived exosomes in obesity, airway epithelium-derived exosomes generated by smoking and pollution, diet-related exosomes such as cow milk exosomes and inflammation-induced exosomes, which may synergistically increase the exosomal microRNA-21 burden of melanocyte, the transformed melanoma cell and its tumor environment. Exposure to modern lifestyle factors thus increases exosomal microRNA-21 signaling promoting melanoma and most likely other common cancers [...] Read more.
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Article
18F-FDG, 11C-Methionine, and 68Ga-Pentixafor PET/CT in Patients with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma: Imaging Pattern and Clinical Features
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2333; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082333 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
This study aimed to explore the correlation between imaging patterns and clinical features in patients with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) who simultaneously underwent 18F-FDG, 11C-Methionine, and 68Ga-Pentixafor positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT). We retrieved and analyzed clinical characteristics and PET imaging data of [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the correlation between imaging patterns and clinical features in patients with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) who simultaneously underwent 18F-FDG, 11C-Methionine, and 68Ga-Pentixafor positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT). We retrieved and analyzed clinical characteristics and PET imaging data of 10 patients with SMM. We found a significant correlation between bone marrow (BM) plasma cell (PC) infiltration and mean standardized uptake values (SUVmean) of lumbar vertebrae L2-L4 on 11C-Methionine PET/CT scans (r = 0.676, p = 0.031) and 68Ga-Pentixafor PET/CT scans (r = 0.839, p = 0.002). However, there was no significant correlation between BM involvement and SUVmean of lumbar vertebrae L2-L4 on 18F-FDG PET/CT scans (r = 0.558, p = 0.093). Similarly, mean target-to-background ratios (TBRmean) of lumbar vertebrae L2-L4 also correlated with bone marrow plasma cell (BMPC) infiltration in 11C-Methionine PET/CT (r = 0.789, p = 0.007) and 68Ga-Pentixafor PET/CT (r = 0.724, p = 0.018) PET/CT. In contrast, we did not observe a significant correlation between BMPC infiltration rate and TBRmean in 18F-FDG PET/CT (r = 0.355, p = 0.313). Additionally, on 11C-Methionine PET/CT scans, we found a significant correlation between BMPC infiltration and TBRmax of lumbar vertebrae L2-L4 (r = 0.642, p = 0.045). In conclusion, 11C-Methionine and 68Ga-Pentixafor PET/CT demonstrate higher sensitivity than 18F-FDG PET/CT in detecting BM involvement in SMM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PET/CT in Multiple Myeloma Patients)
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Article
Hypermethylation of SCAND3 and Myo1g Gene Are Potential Diagnostic Biomarkers for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2332; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082332 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 822
Abstract
Presently, there is a lack of effective blood-based biomarkers facilitating the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Thus, we aimed to investigate novel methylation markers for HCC diagnosis, and explore relationships between biomarker methylation and clinicopathology of HCC. The methylation status of the SCAN [...] Read more.
Presently, there is a lack of effective blood-based biomarkers facilitating the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Thus, we aimed to investigate novel methylation markers for HCC diagnosis, and explore relationships between biomarker methylation and clinicopathology of HCC. The methylation status of the SCAN domain containing three (SCAND3) and myosin 1g (Myo1g) genes in HCC cell lines and tissues were detected by digital droplet PCR. The serum SCAND3 and Myo1g methylation levels were analyzed in HCC-afflicted patients and unafflicted controls. The results indicated SCAND3 and Myo1g methylation were abnormally high in the HCC cell lines and tissues. The values of serum SCAND3, Myo1g, and SCAND3 + Myo1g methylation with respect to facilitating the detection, and early detection of HCC were better than for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) alone. Furthermore, when we combined SCAND3 + Myo1g with AFP, a high sensitivity and specificity resulted. Notably, in the AFP-negative HCC group, the methylation of SCAND3 and Myo1g also showed an excellent diagnostic performance. Besides this, a high serum SCAND3 methylation level was an independent risk factor for predicting portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) in HCC patients (OR = 4.746, p = 0.013). Finally, SCAND3 and Myo1g enhanced the HCC diagnostics as noninvasive serum methylation biomarkers, and the SCAND3 methylation status effectively indicated HCC accompanied by PVTT. Full article
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Article
Intracellular Porphyromonas gingivalis Promotes the Tumorigenic Behavior of Pancreatic Carcinoma Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2331; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082331 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1558
Abstract
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a member of the dysbiotic oral microbiome associated with oral inflammation and periodontal disease. Intriguingly, epidemiological studies link P. gingivalis to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Given that oral bacteria are detected in human pancreatic cancer, and both mouse [...] Read more.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a member of the dysbiotic oral microbiome associated with oral inflammation and periodontal disease. Intriguingly, epidemiological studies link P. gingivalis to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Given that oral bacteria are detected in human pancreatic cancer, and both mouse and human pancreata harbor microbiota, we explored the involvement of P. gingivalis in pancreatic tumorigenesis using cell lines and a xenograft model. Live P. gingivalis induced proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells; however, surprisingly, this effect was independent of Toll-like receptor 2, the innate immune receptor that is engaged in response to P. gingivalis on other cancer and immune cells, and is required for P. gingivalis to induce alveolar bone resorption. Instead, we found that P. gingivalis survives inside pancreatic cancer cells, a trait that can be enhanced in vitro and is increased by hypoxia, a central characteristic of pancreatic cancer. Increased tumor cell proliferation was related to the degree of intracellular persistence, and infection of tumor cells with P. gingivalis led to enhanced growth in vivo. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate the direct effect of exposure to P. gingivalis on the tumorigenic behavior of pancreatic cancer cell lines. Our findings shed light on potential mechanisms underlying the pancreatic cancer–periodontitis link. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Organotypic Co-Cultures as a Novel 3D Model for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2330; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082330 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are phenotypically and molecularly heterogeneous and frequently develop therapy resistance. Reliable patient-derived 3D tumor models are urgently needed to further study the complex pathogenesis of these tumors and to overcome treatment failure. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are phenotypically and molecularly heterogeneous and frequently develop therapy resistance. Reliable patient-derived 3D tumor models are urgently needed to further study the complex pathogenesis of these tumors and to overcome treatment failure. Methods: We developed a three-dimensional organotypic co-culture (3D-OTC) model for HNSCC that maintains the architecture and cell composition of the individual tumor. A dermal equivalent (DE), composed of healthy human-derived fibroblasts and viscose fibers, served as a scaffold for the patient sample. DEs were co-cultivated with 13 vital HNSCC explants (non-human papillomavirus (HPV) driven, n = 7; HPV-driven, n = 6). Fractionated irradiation was applied to 5 samples (non-HPV-driven, n = 2; HPV-driven n = 3). To evaluate expression of ki-67, cleaved caspase-3, pan-cytokeratin, p16INK4a, CD45, ∝smooth muscle actin and vimentin over time, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining were performed Patient checkup data were collected for up to 32 months after first diagnosis. Results: All non-HPV-driven 3D-OTCs encompassed proliferative cancer cells during cultivation for up to 21 days. Proliferation indices of primaries and 3D-OTCs were comparable and consistent over time. Overall, tumor explants displayed heterogeneous growth patterns (i.e., invasive, expansive, silent). Cancer-associated fibroblasts and leukocytes could be detected for up to 21 days. HPV DNA was detectable in both primary and 3D-OTCs (day 14) of HPV-driven tumors. However, p16INK4a expression levels were varying. Morphological alterations and radioresistant tumor cells were detected in 3D-OTC after fractionated irradiation in HPV-driven and non-driven samples. Conclusions: Our 3D-OTC model for HNSCC supports cancer cell survival and proliferation in their original microenvironment. The model enables investigation of invasive cancer growth and might, in the future, serve as a platform to perform sensitivity testing upon treatment to predict therapy response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Cell Culture Cancer Models: Development and Applications)
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Article
Real World Outcomes of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2329; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082329 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
Background: Immunotherapy has drastically changed the outlook for melanoma patients over the past decade. Specifically, the dual blockade of immune checkpoints using ipilimumab and nivolumab has shown unprecedented response rates and survival outcomes. This immense achievement, though, is at the cost of toxicity, [...] Read more.
Background: Immunotherapy has drastically changed the outlook for melanoma patients over the past decade. Specifically, the dual blockade of immune checkpoints using ipilimumab and nivolumab has shown unprecedented response rates and survival outcomes. This immense achievement, though, is at the cost of toxicity, with 60% of the patients experiencing high-grade adverse events (AEs). Our study aims to report the efficacy and toxicity outcomes of an out-of-trial, real-life population. Methods: Data on metastatic melanoma patients treated with ipilimumab and nivolumab were retrieved from our melanoma database—a single-center prospectively updated, medical-records based oncologic registry. Data included demographics, clinical and pathological information, as well as tumor responses and survival. Associations between patient or treatment characteristics and outcomes were also evaluated. Results: We identified 172 metastatic melanoma patients, of whom 64% were treatment-naïve. The median follow-up was 12 months. The response rates for treatment-naïve and previously-treated patients were 61% and 25%, respectively; median progression-free survival (PFS) were 12.2 and 2.6 months, and median overall survival (OS) were not-reached (NR) and 6.1 months, respectively. The estimated three-year OS for treatment-naïve patients was 58% (95% CI 42–65). At data cutoff, 22% were still on-treatment. Grade 3–4 adverse events (AEs) were reported in 60% of the patients, almost all of whom were exposed to steroid treatments (59%); AEs were fatal in 4 patients, and led to permanent treatment discontinuation in 31%. Factors significantly associated with outcome were cutaneous histology, low lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), low number of metastatic sites, performance status, first line of treatment and number of combinations administered during the induction phase. Conclusions: Despite the profoundly different baseline patient characteristics, the combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab is as effective in the real-world population as it was in clinical trials, including long-term outcomes. In addition to confirming the significance of baseline prognostic factors, our study reveals that the number of combinations effectively administered may also be correlated with good outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy)
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Article
Tumour Progression Stage-Dependent Secretion of YB-1 Stimulates Melanoma Cell Migration and Invasion
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2328; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082328 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 823
Abstract
Secreted factors play an important role in intercellular communication. Therefore, they are not only indispensable for the regulation of various physiological processes but can also decisively advance the development and progression of tumours. In the context of inflammatory disease, Y-box binding protein 1 [...] Read more.
Secreted factors play an important role in intercellular communication. Therefore, they are not only indispensable for the regulation of various physiological processes but can also decisively advance the development and progression of tumours. In the context of inflammatory disease, Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) is actively secreted and the extracellular protein promotes cell proliferation and migration. In malignant melanoma, intracellular YB-1 expression increases during melanoma progression and represents an unfavourable prognostic marker. Here, we show active secretion of YB-1 from melanoma cells as opposed to benign cells of the skin. Intriguingly, YB-1 secretion correlates with the stage of melanoma progression and depends on a calcium- and ATP-dependent non-classical secretory pathway leading to the occurrence of YB-1 in the extracellular space as a free protein. Along with an elevated YB-1 secretion of melanoma cells in the metastatic growth phase, extracellular YB-1 exerts a stimulating effect on melanoma cell migration, invasion, and tumourigenicity. Collectively, these data suggest that secreted YB-1 plays a functional role in melanoma cell biology, stimulating metastasis, and may serve as a novel biomarker in malignant melanoma that reflects tumour aggressiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Close links between Cold Shock Proteins and Cancer)
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Review
Three-Dimensional Interactions Analysis of the Anticancer Target c-Src Kinase with Its Inhibitors
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082327 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
Src family kinases (SFKs) constitute the biggest family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases considered as therapeutic targets for cancer therapy. An aberrant expression and/or activation of the proto-oncogene c-Src kinase, which is the oldest and most studied member of the family, has long been [...] Read more.
Src family kinases (SFKs) constitute the biggest family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases considered as therapeutic targets for cancer therapy. An aberrant expression and/or activation of the proto-oncogene c-Src kinase, which is the oldest and most studied member of the family, has long been demonstrated to play a major role in the development, growth, progression and metastasis of numerous human cancers, including colon, breast, gastric, pancreatic, lung and brain carcinomas. For these reasons, the pharmacological inhibition of c-Src activity represents an effective anticancer strategy and a few compounds targeting c-Src, together with other kinases, have been approved as drugs for cancer therapy, while others are currently undergoing preclinical studies. Nevertheless, the development of potent and selective inhibitors of c-Src aimed at properly exploiting this biological target for the treatment of cancer still represents a growing field of study. In this review, the co-crystal structures of c-Src kinase in complex with inhibitors discovered in the past two decades have been described, highlighting the key ligand–protein interactions necessary to obtain high potency and the features to be exploited for addressing selectivity and drug resistance issues, thus providing useful information for the design of new and potent c-Src kinase inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Src Kinase Family in Cancer)
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Review
Engineering Solutions for Mitigation of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Dysfunction
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082326 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
The clinical successes of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy targeting cell surface antigens in B cell leukaemias and lymphomas has demonstrated the proof of concept that appropriately engineered T-cells have the capacity to destroy advanced cancer with long term remissions ensuing. Nevertheless, it [...] Read more.
The clinical successes of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy targeting cell surface antigens in B cell leukaemias and lymphomas has demonstrated the proof of concept that appropriately engineered T-cells have the capacity to destroy advanced cancer with long term remissions ensuing. Nevertheless, it has been significantly more problematic to effect long term clinical benefit in a solid tumour context. A major contributing factor to the clinical failure of CAR-T-cells in solid tumours has been named, almost interchangeably, as T-cell “dysfunction” or “exhaustion”. While unhelpful ambiguity surrounds the term “dysfunction”, “exhaustion” is canonically regarded as a pejorative term for T-cells. Recent understanding of T-cell developmental biology now identifies exhausted cells as vital for effective immune responses in the context of ongoing antigenic challenge. The purpose of this review is to explore the critical stages in the CAR-T-cell life-cycle and their various contributions to T-cell exhaustion. Through an appreciation of the predominant mechanisms of CAR-T-cell exhaustion and resultant dysfunction, we describe a range of engineering approaches to improve CAR-T-cell function. Full article
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Perspective
Sex Hormones and Hormone Therapy during COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Patients with Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2325; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082325 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2708
Abstract
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, severity, and fatality rates. The reason older patients and males show increased risk of severe disease and death remains uncertain. Sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, might be [...] Read more.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, severity, and fatality rates. The reason older patients and males show increased risk of severe disease and death remains uncertain. Sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, might be implicated in the age-dependent and sex-specific severity of COVID-19. High testosterone levels could upregulate transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), facilitating the entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into host cells via angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Data from patients with prostate cancer treated with androgen-deprivation therapy seem to confirm this hypothesis. Clinical studies on TMPRSS2 inhibitors, such as camostat, nafamostat, and bromhexine, are ongoing. Antiandrogens, such as bicalutamide and enzalutamide, are also under investigation. Conversely, other studies suggest that the immune modulating properties of androgens could protect from the unfavorable cytokine storm, and that low testosterone levels might be associated with a worse prognosis in patients with COVID-19. Some evidence also supports the notion that estrogens and progesterone might exert a protective effect on females, through direct antiviral activity or immune-mediated mechanisms, thus explaining the higher COVID-19 severity in post-menopausal women. In this perspective, we discuss the available evidence on sex hormones and hormone therapy in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, and we highlight the possible implications for cancer patients, who can receive hormonal therapies during their treatment plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection The Impact of COVID-19 Infection in Cancer)
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Review
Extracellular Vesicle-Based Communication May Contribute to the Co-Evolution of Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in Anti-Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2324; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082324 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Analogously to the natural selective forces in ecosystems, therapies impose selective pressure on cancer cells within tumors. Some tumor cells can adapt to this stress and are able to form resistant subpopulations, parallel with enrichment of cancer stem cell properties in the residual [...] Read more.
Analogously to the natural selective forces in ecosystems, therapies impose selective pressure on cancer cells within tumors. Some tumor cells can adapt to this stress and are able to form resistant subpopulations, parallel with enrichment of cancer stem cell properties in the residual tumor masses. However, these therapy-resistant cells are unlikely to be sufficient for the fast tumor repopulation and regrowth by themselves. The dynamic and coordinated plasticity of residual tumor cells is essential both for the conversion of their regulatory network and for the stromal microenvironment to produce cancer supporting signals. In this nursing tissue “niche”, cancer-associated fibroblasts are known to play crucial roles in developing therapy resistance and survival of residual stem-like cells. As paracrine messengers, extracellular vesicles carrying a wide range of signaling molecules with oncogenic potential, can support the escape of some tumor cells from their deadly fate. Here, we briefly overview how extracellular vesicle signaling between fibroblasts and cancer cells including cancer progenitor/stem cells may contribute to the progression, therapy resistance and recurrence of malignant tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Evolution: Progression, Metastasis and Therapeutic Response)
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Article
Clinical Course from Diagnosis to Death in Patients with Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082323 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 751
Abstract
Because of the low mortality rate of well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC), investigation of the clinical course leading to death is limited. We analyzed the cause of death and clinical course from diagnosis to death in patients who died of WDTC. A total of [...] Read more.
Because of the low mortality rate of well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC), investigation of the clinical course leading to death is limited. We analyzed the cause of death and clinical course from diagnosis to death in patients who died of WDTC. A total of 592 WDTC patients died between 1996 and 2018. After exclusion, 79 patients were enrolled and divided into four groups based on their clinical course; that is, inoperable at the time of diagnosis (inoperable), distant metastasis (DM) detected at the time of diagnosis (initial-DM), DM detected during follow-up (late-DM), and loco-regional disease (L-R). Lung (55.6%) in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and bone (46.7%) in follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) were the most common metastasis locations. The most common causes of death were respiratory failure (32.3%) and airway obstruction (30.6%) in PTC, and complications due to immobilization arising from bone metastasis (35.3%) in FTC. Brain metastasis was found in 13.3% of patients and had the worst prognosis. The overall survival (OS) differed significantly (p = 0.001) according to clinical course; the inoperable had the shortest survival, followed by the initial-DM, L-R, and late-DM. However, OS did not differ significantly between PTC and FTC patients with initial-DM (p = 0.83). Other causes of death were far more common than death resulting from WDTC. In patients dying of WDTC, the major cause of death varied by metastatic site. OS differed according to clinical course, but not histologic type. Timing and DM sites differed between PTC and FTC. Full article
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Article
Comparison of NGS and MFC Methods: Key Metrics in Multiple Myeloma MRD Assessment
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2322; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082322 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1004
Abstract
In order to meet the challenges in data evaluation and comparability between studies in multiple myeloma (MM) minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment, the goal of the current study was to provide a step-by-step evaluation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and multicolor flow cytometry (MFC) [...] Read more.
In order to meet the challenges in data evaluation and comparability between studies in multiple myeloma (MM) minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment, the goal of the current study was to provide a step-by-step evaluation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and multicolor flow cytometry (MFC) data. Bone marrow (BM) sample pairs from 125 MM patients were analyzed by NGS and MFC MM MRD methods. Tumor load (TL) and limit of detection (LOD) and quantification (LOQ) were calculated. The best-fit MRD cut-off was chosen as 1 × 10−5, resulting in an overall 9.6% (n overall = 12 (NGS n = 2, MFC n = 10)) nonassessable cases. The overall concordance rate between NGS and MFC was 68.0% (n = 85); discordant results were found in 22.4% (11.2% (n = 14) of cases in each direction. Overall, 55.1% (n = 60/109) and 49.5% (n = 54/109) of patients with a serological response ≥ very good partial response (VGPR) showed BM MRD negativity by NGS and MFC, respectively. A good correlation in the TL assessed by both techniques was found (correlation coefficient = 0.8, n = 40, p < 0.001). Overall, our study shows good concordance between MM BM MRD status and TL when comparing NGS and MFC at a threshold of 10–5. However, a sufficient number of analyzed events and calculation of MRD key metrics are essential for the comparison of methods and evaluability of data at a specific MRD cut-off. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biomarkers)
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Brief Report
Prevalence of Recurrent Mutations Predisposing to Breast Cancer in Early-Onset Breast Cancer Patients from Poland
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082321 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 886
Abstract
There are twenty recurrent mutations in six breast-cancer-predisposing genes in Poland (BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, NBN, and RECQL). The frequencies of the twenty alleles have not been measured in a large series of early-onset breast cancer patients from Poland unselected for family history. [...] Read more.
There are twenty recurrent mutations in six breast-cancer-predisposing genes in Poland (BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, NBN, and RECQL). The frequencies of the twenty alleles have not been measured in a large series of early-onset breast cancer patients from Poland unselected for family history. We genotyped 2464 women with breast cancer diagnosed below age 41 years for twenty recurrent germline mutations in six genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2 CHEK2, PALB2, NBN, and RECQL. A mutation in one of the six genes was identified in 419 of the 2464 early-onset breast cancer cases (17%), including 22.4% of those cases diagnosed below age 31. The mutation frequency was 18.8% for familial breast cancer cases and 6% for non-familial cases. Among women with breast cancer below age 31, the mutation frequency was 23.6% for familial cases and 17.4% in non-familial cases. The majority of mutations (76.2%) were seen in BRCA1 and BRCA2. In Poland, a panel of twenty recurrent mutations in six genes can identify a genetic basis for a high percentage of early-onset cases and testing is recommended for all women with breast cancer at age 40 or below. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Causes, Screening and Diagnosis)
Article
Comparison of Hydrogels for the Development of Well-Defined 3D Cancer Models of Breast Cancer and Melanoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2320; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082320 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
Bioprinting offers the opportunity to fabricate precise 3D tumor models to study tumor pathophysiology and progression. However, the choice of the bioink used is important. In this study, cell behavior was studied in three mechanically and biologically different hydrogels (alginate, alginate dialdehyde crosslinked [...] Read more.
Bioprinting offers the opportunity to fabricate precise 3D tumor models to study tumor pathophysiology and progression. However, the choice of the bioink used is important. In this study, cell behavior was studied in three mechanically and biologically different hydrogels (alginate, alginate dialdehyde crosslinked with gelatin (ADA–GEL), and thiol-modified hyaluronan (HA-SH crosslinked with PEGDA)) with cells from breast cancer (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7) and melanoma (Mel Im and MV3), by analyzing survival, growth, and the amount of metabolically active, living cells via WST-8 labeling. Material characteristics were analyzed by dynamic mechanical analysis. Cell lines revealed significantly increased cell numbers in low-percentage alginate and HA-SH from day 1 to 14, while only Mel Im also revealed an increase in ADA–GEL. MCF-7 showed a preference for 1% alginate. Melanoma cells tended to proliferate better in ADA–GEL and HA-SH than mammary carcinoma cells. In 1% alginate, breast cancer cells showed equally good proliferation compared to melanoma cell lines. A smaller area was colonized in high-percentage alginate-based hydrogels. Moreover, 3% alginate was the stiffest material, and 2.5% ADA–GEL was the softest material. The other hydrogels were in the same range in between. Therefore, cellular responses were not only stiffness-dependent. With 1% alginate and HA-SH, we identified matrices that enable proliferation of all tested tumor cell lines while maintaining expected tumor heterogeneity. By adapting hydrogels, differences could be accentuated. This opens up the possibility of understanding and analyzing tumor heterogeneity by biofabrication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Cell Culture Cancer Models: Development and Applications)
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Article
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Levels in Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Response and Progression in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Bi-Center Study
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2319; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082319 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1138
Abstract
Background: Biomarkers for predicting response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are scarce and often lack external validation. This study provides a comprehensive investigation of pretreatment C-reactive protein (CRP) levels as well as its longitudinal trajectories as a marker of treatment response and disease [...] Read more.
Background: Biomarkers for predicting response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are scarce and often lack external validation. This study provides a comprehensive investigation of pretreatment C-reactive protein (CRP) levels as well as its longitudinal trajectories as a marker of treatment response and disease outcome in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) undergoing immunotherapy with anti PD-1 or anti PD-L1 agents. Methods: We performed a retrospective bi-center study to assess the association between baseline CRP levels and anti PD-(L)1 treatment outcomes in the discovery cohort (n = 90), confirm these findings in an external validation cohort (n = 101) and explore the longitudinal evolution of CRP during anti PD-(L)1 treatment and the potential impact of dynamic CRP changes on treatment response and disease outcome in the discovery cohort. Joint models were implemented to evaluate the association of longitudinal CRP trajectories and progression risk. Primary treatment outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), while the objective response rate (ORR) was a secondary outcome, respectively. Results: In the discovery cohort, elevated pretreatment CRP levels emerged as independent predictors of worse PFS (HR per doubling of baseline CRP = 1.37, 95% CI: 1.16–1.63, p < 0.0001), worse OS (HR per doubling of baseline CRP = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.18–1.71, p < 0.0001) and a lower ORR ((odds ratio (OR) of ORR per doubling of baseline CRP = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.51–0.92, p = 0.013)). In the validation cohort, pretreatment CRP could be fully confirmed as a predictor of PFS and OS, but not ORR. Elevated trajectories of CRP during anti PD-(L)1 treatment (adjusted HR per 10 mg/L increase in CRP = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.15–1.30, p < 0.0001), as well as a faster increases of CRP over time (HR per 10 mg/L/month faster increase in CRP levels = 13.26, 95% CI: 1.14–154.54, p = 0.039) were strong predictors of an elevated progression risk, whereas an early decline of CRP was significantly associated with a reduction in PFS risk (HR = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.83–0.99, p = 0.036), respectively. Conclusion: These findings support the concept that CRP should be further explored by future prospective studies as a simple non-invasive biomarker for assessing treatment benefit during anti PD-(L)1 treatment in advanced NSCLC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biomarkers)
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Article
The Clinicopathological Characteristics And Genetic Alterations of Signet-ring Cell Carcinoma in Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2318; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082318 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
Signet-ring cell carcinoma (SRC) in advanced gastric cancer (GC) is often associated with more invasiveness and a worse prognosis than other cell types. The genetic alterations associated with gastric carcinogenesis in SRC are still unclear. In this study, 441 GC patients receiving curative [...] Read more.
Signet-ring cell carcinoma (SRC) in advanced gastric cancer (GC) is often associated with more invasiveness and a worse prognosis than other cell types. The genetic alterations associated with gastric carcinogenesis in SRC are still unclear. In this study, 441 GC patients receiving curative surgery for GC between 2005 and 2013 were enrolled. The clinicopathological characteristics and genetic alterations of GC patients with and without SRC were compared. Among the 441 GC patients, 181 had SRC. For early GC, patients with SRC had more tumors located in the middle and lower stomach, more infiltrating tumors and better overall survival (OS) rates than those without SRC. For advanced GC, patients with SRC had more scirrhous type tumors, more PIK3CA amplifications, fewer microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) tumors, more peritoneal recurrences and worse 5-year OS rates than those without SRC. For advanced GC with SRC, patients with peritoneal recurrence tended to have PD-L1 expression. For advanced GC without SRC, patients with liver metastasis tended to have PD-L1 expression, PI3K/AKT pathway mutations, TP53 mutations and MSI-H tumors. For advanced GC, PD-L1 expression was associated with peritoneal recurrence in SRC tumors, while non-SRC tumors with liver metastasis were likely to have PI3K/AKT pathway mutations, TP53 mutations and PD-L1 expression; immunotherapy and targeted therapy may be beneficial for these patients. Full article
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Review
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in pMMR Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: A Tough Challenge
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2317; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082317 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1267
Abstract
The introduction of checkpoint inhibitors provided remarkable achievements in several solid tumors but only 5% of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients, i.e., those with bearing microsatellite instable (MSI-high)/deficient DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) tumors, benefit from this approach. The favorable effect of immunotherapy in [...] Read more.
The introduction of checkpoint inhibitors provided remarkable achievements in several solid tumors but only 5% of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients, i.e., those with bearing microsatellite instable (MSI-high)/deficient DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) tumors, benefit from this approach. The favorable effect of immunotherapy in these patients has been postulated to be due to an increase in neoantigens due to their higher somatic mutational load, also associated with an abundant infiltration of immune cells in tumor microenvironment (TME). While in patients with dMMR tumors checkpoint inhibitors allow achieving durable response with dramatic survival improvement, current results in patients with microsatellite stable (MSS or MSI-low)/proficient DNA mismatch repair (pMMR) tumors are disappointing. These tumors show low mutational load and absence of “immune-competent” TME, and are intrinsically resistant to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Modifying the interplay among cancer cells, TME and host immune system is the aim of multiple lines of research in order to enhance the immunogenicity of pMMR mCRC, and exploit immunotherapy also in this field. Here, we focus on the rationale behind ongoing clinical trials aiming at extending the efficacy of immunotherapy beyond the MSI-high/dMMR subgroup with particular regard to academic no-profit studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metastatic Colorectal Cancer)
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Article
Parent of Origin Effects on Family Communication of Risk in BRCA+ Women: A Qualitative Investigation of Human Factors in Cascade Screening
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2316; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082316 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
Pathogenic germline variants in Breast Cancer 1/2 (BRCA) genes confer increased cancer risk. Understanding BRCA status/risk can enable family cascade screening and improve cancer outcomes. However, more than half of the families do not communicate family cancer history/BRCA status, and [...] Read more.
Pathogenic germline variants in Breast Cancer 1/2 (BRCA) genes confer increased cancer risk. Understanding BRCA status/risk can enable family cascade screening and improve cancer outcomes. However, more than half of the families do not communicate family cancer history/BRCA status, and cancer outcomes differ according to parent of origin (i.e., maternally vs. paternally inherited pathogenic variant). We aimed to explore communication patterns around family cancer history/BRCA risk according to parent of origin. We analyzed qualitative interviews (n = 97) using template analysis and employed the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to identify interventions to improve communication. Interviews revealed sub-codes of ‘male stoicism and ‘paternal guilt’ that impede family communication (template code: gender scripting). Conversely, ‘fatherly protection’ and ‘female camaraderie’ promote communication of risk. The template code ‘dysfunctional family communication’ was contextualized by several sub-codes (‘harmful negligence’, ‘intra-family ignorance’ and ‘active withdrawal of support’) emerging from interview data. Sub-codes ‘medical misconceptions’ and ‘medical minimizing’ deepened our understanding of the template code ‘medical biases’. Importantly, sub-codes of ‘informed physicians’ and ‘trust in healthcare’ mitigated bias. Mapping findings to the TPB identified variables to tailor interventions aimed at enhancing family communication of risk and promoting cascade screening. In conclusion, these data provide empirical evidence of the human factors impeding communication of family BRCA risk. Tailored, theory-informed interventions merit consideration for overcoming blocked communication and improving cascade screening uptake. Full article
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Review
Trends in Bone Metastasis Modeling
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082315 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Bone is one of the most common sites for cancer metastasis. Bone tissue is composed by different kinds of cells that coexist in a coordinated balance. Due to the complexity of bone, it is impossible to capture the intricate interactions between cells under [...] Read more.
Bone is one of the most common sites for cancer metastasis. Bone tissue is composed by different kinds of cells that coexist in a coordinated balance. Due to the complexity of bone, it is impossible to capture the intricate interactions between cells under either physiological or pathological conditions. Hence, a variety of in vivo and in vitro approaches have been developed. Various models of tumor–bone diseases are routinely used to provide valuable information on the relationship between metastatic cancer cells and the bone tissue. Ideally, when modeling the metastasis of human cancers to bone, models would replicate the intra-tumor heterogeneity, as well as the genetic and phenotypic changes that occur with human cancers; such models would be scalable and reproducible to allow high-throughput investigation. Despite the continuous progress, there is still a lack of solid, amenable, and affordable models that are able to fully recapitulate the biological processes happening in vivo, permitting a correct interpretation of results. In the last decades, researchers have demonstrated that three-dimensional (3D) methods could be an innovative approach that lies between bi-dimensional (2D) models and animal models. Scientific evidence supports that the tumor microenvironment can be better reproduced in a 3D system than a 2D cell culture, and the 3D systems can be scaled up for drug screening in the same way as the 2D systems thanks to the current technologies developed. However, 3D models cannot completely recapitulate the inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity found in patients. In contrast, ex vivo cultures of fragments of bone preserve key cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions and allow the study of bone cells in their natural 3D environment. Moreover, ex vivo bone organ cultures could be a better model to resemble the human pathogenic metastasis condition and useful tools to predict in vivo response to therapies. The aim of our review is to provide an overview of the current trends in bone metastasis modeling. By showing the existing in vitro and ex vivo systems, we aspire to contribute to broaden the knowledge on bone metastasis models and make these tools more appealing for further translational studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Cell Culture Cancer Models: Development and Applications)
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Review
Endocrine Adverse Events of Nivolumab in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients—Literature Review
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2314; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082314 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 983
Abstract
In recent years, we have observed significant progress in cancer treatment associated with the development of immunotherapy. A programmed cell death 1 molecule (PD-1) on the surface of T lymphocytes may be stimulated via a specific PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which inhibits lymphocyte activation [...] Read more.
In recent years, we have observed significant progress in cancer treatment associated with the development of immunotherapy. A programmed cell death 1 molecule (PD-1) on the surface of T lymphocytes may be stimulated via a specific PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which inhibits lymphocyte activation and leads to apoptosis. Some malignant cells are characterized by high PD-L1 expression. Nivolumab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands and inhibits the signaling pathway by preventing the tumor-derived PD-L1 from blocking T lymphocytes. In patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it is used either in monotherapy or in combination with other drugs. Immunotherapy is associated with the possibility of immune-related adverse effects (irAE) including endocrinopathies (3–23%). Thyroid disorders are the most common, with severity rarely exceeding grade 2. Hypophysitis, adrenal insufficiency and diabetes are possible complications which require immediate treatment. Individuals with autoimmune diseases diagnosed prior to immunotherapy are at risk of its exacerbation. In the management of patients receiving immunotherapy, evaluation of history of autoimmune diseases, awareness and early diagnosis of irAE are crucial and may affect treatment outcomes. Full article
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Article
Unequal Access to Newly Registered Cancer Drugs Leads to Potential Loss of Life-Years in Europe
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2313; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082313 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1505
Abstract
Background. Many new cancer medicines have been developed that can improve patients’ outcomes. However, access to these agents comes later in Europe than in the United States (US). The aim of this study is to assess the access in Europe to newly registered [...] Read more.
Background. Many new cancer medicines have been developed that can improve patients’ outcomes. However, access to these agents comes later in Europe than in the United States (US). The aim of this study is to assess the access in Europe to newly registered cancer drugs and to get more insight in the implications of these variations for patients. Methods. A retrospective database study was conducted. Analyses involved 12 cancer drugs and 28 European countries in the period 2011–2018. Time to patient access, speed of drug uptake, and the potential loss of life years due to a delay in access have been studied. Results. Marketing approval for the cancer drugs came on average 242 days later in Europe than in the US, and actual patient access varied extensively across Europe. The average time to market in Europe was 403 days (range 17–1187 days). The delay in patient access of ipilimumab and abiraterone may have led to a potential loss of more than 30,000 life years. Conclusion. It takes a long time for patients to get access to newly registered cancer drugs and there is great variation in access. The health outcomes can be substantially improved by faster processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Informatics and Big Data)
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Article
Trabectedin and Lurbinectedin Extend Survival of Mice Bearing C26 Colon Adenocarcinoma, without Affecting Tumor Growth or Cachexia
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2312; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082312 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1404
Abstract
Trabectedin (ET743) and lurbinectedin (PM01183) limit the production of inflammatory cytokines that are elevated during cancer cachexia. Mice carrying C26 colon adenocarcinoma display cachexia (i.e., premature death and body wasting with muscle, fat and cardiac tissue depletion), high levels of inflammatory cytokines and [...] Read more.
Trabectedin (ET743) and lurbinectedin (PM01183) limit the production of inflammatory cytokines that are elevated during cancer cachexia. Mice carrying C26 colon adenocarcinoma display cachexia (i.e., premature death and body wasting with muscle, fat and cardiac tissue depletion), high levels of inflammatory cytokines and subsequent splenomegaly. We tested whether such drugs protected these mice from cachexia. Ten-week-old mice were inoculated with C26 cells and three days later randomized to receive intravenously vehicle or 0.05 mg/kg ET743 or 0.07 mg/kg PM01183, three times a week for three weeks. ET743 or PM01183 extended the lifespan of C26-mice by 30% or 85%, respectively, without affecting tumor growth or food intake. Within 13 days from C26 implant, both drugs did not protect fat, muscle and heart from cachexia. Since PM01183 extended the animal survival more than ET743, we analyzed PM01183 further. In tibialis anterior of C26-mice, but not in atrophying myotubes, PM01183 restrained the NF-κB/PAX7/myogenin axis, possibly reducing the pro-inflammatory milieu, and failed to limit the C/EBPβ/atrogin-1 axis. Inflammation-mediated splenomegaly of C26-mice was inhibited by PM01183 for as long as the treatment lasted, without reducing IL-6, M-CSF or IL-1β in plasma. ET743 and PM01183 extend the survival of C26-bearing mice unchanging tumor growth or cachexia but possibly restrain muscle-related inflammation and C26-induced splenomegaly. Full article
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Perspective
Time to Next Treatment as a Meaningful Endpoint for Trials of Primary Cutaneous Lymphoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2311; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082311 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Time to next treatment (TTNT) is an emerging endpoint in clinical studies of primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL), with utility as a surrogate marker for the “duration of clinical benefit”. TTNT provides a highly clinically meaningful endpoint that uniquely reflects not only the [...] Read more.
Time to next treatment (TTNT) is an emerging endpoint in clinical studies of primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL), with utility as a surrogate marker for the “duration of clinical benefit”. TTNT provides a highly clinically meaningful endpoint that uniquely reflects not only the duration of treatment efficacy on disease and symptom control, but also incorporates the patient experience by accounting for patient compliance and tolerance to the studied therapy(s). Given the distinct challenges of pin-pointing the exact date of progression in patients with multi-compartmental CTCL, TTNT overcomes many of the shortcomings of conventional, disease-focused, clinical endpoints in primary CTCL research. Although widely accepted in clinical research for numerous other incurable malignancies, TTNT currently lacks a standardised definition. In this paper, we describe the value of TTNT as a clinical endpoint, review the applications of TTNT in primary CTCL research, and propose a standardised definition of TTNT to be applied in future clinical research of primary CTCL therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Trials of Cancer)
Article
Systematic Analysis of Aberrant Biochemical Networks and Potential Drug Vulnerabilities Induced by Tumor Suppressor Loss in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2310; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082310 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is driven by the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). An unmet need in the field is the translation of the genomic landscape into effective TSG-specific therapies. Methods: We correlated genomes against transcriptomes of patients’ MPM [...] Read more.
Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is driven by the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). An unmet need in the field is the translation of the genomic landscape into effective TSG-specific therapies. Methods: We correlated genomes against transcriptomes of patients’ MPM tumors, by weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). The identified aberrant biochemical networks and potential drug targets induced by tumor suppressor loss were validated by integrative data analysis and functional interrogation. Results: CDKN2A/2B loss activates G2/M checkpoint and PI3K/AKT, prioritizing a co-targeting strategy for CDKN2A/2B-null MPM. CDKN2A deficiency significantly co-occurs with deletions of anti-viral type I interferon (IFN-I) genes and BAP1 mutations, that enriches the IFN-I signature, stratifying a unique subset, with deficient IFN-I, but proficient BAP1 for oncolytic viral immunotherapies. Aberrant p53 attenuates differentiation and SETD2 loss acquires the dependency on EGFRs, highlighting the potential of differentiation therapy and pan-EGFR inhibitors for these subpopulations, respectively. LATS2 deficiency is linked with dysregulated immunoregulation, suggesting a rationale for immune checkpoint blockade. Finally, multiple lines of evidence support Dasatinib as a promising therapeutic for LATS2-mutant MPM. Conclusions: Systematic identification of abnormal cellular processes and potential drug vulnerabilities specified by TSG alterations provide a framework for precision oncology in MPM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malignant Mesothelioma)
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Article
No Difference in Overall Survival and Non-Breast Cancer Deaths after Partial Breast Radiotherapy Compared to Whole Breast Radiotherapy—A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2309; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082309 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 843
Abstract
Purpose/objective: Adjuvant radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery is the standard approach in early stage breast cancer. However, the extent of breast tissue that has to be targeted with radiation has not been determined yet. Traditionally, the whole breast was covered by two opposing [...] Read more.
Purpose/objective: Adjuvant radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery is the standard approach in early stage breast cancer. However, the extent of breast tissue that has to be targeted with radiation has not been determined yet. Traditionally, the whole breast was covered by two opposing tangential beams. Several randomized trials have tested partial breast irradiation (PBI) compared to whole breast irradiation (WBI) using different radiation techniques. There is evidence from randomized trials that PBI might result in lower mortality rates compared to WBI. We aimed to reassess this question using current data from randomized trials. Material/methods: We performed a systematic literature review searching for randomized trials comparing WBI and PBI in early stage breast cancer with publication dates after 2009. The meta-analysis was performed using the published event rates and the effect sizes for overall survival (OS), breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS), and non-breast cancer death (NBCD) as investigated endpoints. Analysis of subgroups using different radiation techniques was intended. We used hazard ratios (HR) and risk differences (RD) to estimate pooled effect sizes. Statistical analysis was performed using the inverse variance heterogeneity model. Results: We identified eleven studies randomizing between PBI and WBI. We did not find significant differences in OS (n = 14,070; HR = 1.02; CI-95%: 0.89–1.16; p = 0.810, and n = 15,203; RD = −0.001; CI-95%: −0.008–0.006; p = 0.785) and BCSS (n = 15,203; RD = 0.001; CI-95%: −0.002–0.005; p = 0.463). PBI also did not result in a significant decrease of NBCD (n = 15,203; RD = −0.003; CI-95%: −0.010–0.003; p = 0.349). A subgroup analysis by radiation technique also did not point to any detectable differences. Conclusion: In contrast to a previous assessment of mortality, we could not find a detrimental effect of WBI on OS or NBCD. A longer follow-up might be necessary to fully assess the long-term mortality effects of PBI compared to WBI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy in Early Breast Cancer)
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Review
Evolution of the Experimental Models of Cholangiocarcinoma
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082308 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a rare, aggressive disease with poor overall survival. In advanced cases, surgery is often not possible or fails; in addition, there is a lack of effective and specific therapies. Multidisciplinary approaches and advanced technologies have improved the knowledge of CCA [...] Read more.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a rare, aggressive disease with poor overall survival. In advanced cases, surgery is often not possible or fails; in addition, there is a lack of effective and specific therapies. Multidisciplinary approaches and advanced technologies have improved the knowledge of CCA molecular pathogenesis, highlighting its extreme heterogeneity and high frequency of genetic and molecular aberrations. Effective preclinical models, therefore, should be based on a comparable level of complexity. In the past years, there has been a consistent increase in the number of available CCA models. The exploitation of even more complex CCA models is rising. Examples are the use of CRISPR/Cas9 or stabilized organoids for in vitro studies, as well as patient-derived xenografts or transgenic mouse models for in vivo applications. Here, we examine the available preclinical CCA models exploited to investigate: (i) carcinogenesis processes from initiation to progression; and (ii) tools for personalized therapy and innovative therapeutic approaches, including chemotherapy and immune/targeted therapies. For each model, we describe the potential applications, highlighting both its advantages and limits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotherapy and Targeted Agents for Biliary Tract Cancer)
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Article
Phase II Clinical Trial of Pembrolizumab in Patients with Progressive Metastatic Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082307 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
Metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (MPPGs) are rare endocrine malignancies that are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality because of their large tumor burden and location, progression, and release of catecholamines. Systemic therapies for MPPGs are limited. MPPGs are characterized by pseudohypoxia [...] Read more.
Metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (MPPGs) are rare endocrine malignancies that are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality because of their large tumor burden and location, progression, and release of catecholamines. Systemic therapies for MPPGs are limited. MPPGs are characterized by pseudohypoxia that may prevent immune system recognition. We conducted a phase II clinical trial of pembrolizumab in patients with progressive MPPGs. The primary endpoint was the non-progression rate at 27 weeks. The secondary endpoints included the objective response and clinical benefit rates, progression free and overall survival duration, and safety. We also determined whether PDL-1 expression and the presence of infiltrating mononuclear inflammatory cells in the primary tumor were associated with clinical response and hereditary background. Eleven patients were included in this trial, four (36%) with germline mutations and seven (64%) with hormonally active tumors. Four patients (40%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 12–74%) achieved the primary endpoint. The objective response rate was 9% (95% CI: 0–41%). The clinical benefit rate was 73% (95% CI: 39–94%). Four patients had grade 3 adverse events related to pembrolizumab. No patients experienced grade 4 or 5 adverse events or a catecholamine crisis. Progression free survival time was 5.7 months (95% CI: 4.37—not reached). The median survival duration was 19 months (95% CI: 9.9—not reached). PDL-1 expression and the presence of infiltrating mononuclear inflammatory cells in the primary tumor did not seem to be associated with disease response. Single-agent pembrolizumab has modest treatment efficacy in patients with progressive MPPGs. Positive responses seemed to be independent of patients’ hereditary backgrounds, tumor hormonal status, and the presence of infiltrating mononuclear inflammatory cells or PDL-1 expression in the primary tumor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Trials of Cancer)
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Article
The Role of Primary Tumor Resection in Colorectal Cancer Patients with Asymptomatic, Synchronous, Unresectable Metastasis: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2306; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082306 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
We aimed to assess the survival benefits of primary tumor resection (PTR) followed by chemotherapy in patients with asymptomatic stage IV colorectal cancer with asymptomatic, synchronous, unresectable metastases compared to those of upfront chemotherapy alone. This was an open-label, prospective, randomized controlled trial [...] Read more.
We aimed to assess the survival benefits of primary tumor resection (PTR) followed by chemotherapy in patients with asymptomatic stage IV colorectal cancer with asymptomatic, synchronous, unresectable metastases compared to those of upfront chemotherapy alone. This was an open-label, prospective, randomized controlled trial (ClnicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01978249). From May 2013 to April 2016, 48 patients (PTR, n = 26; upfront chemotherapy, n = 22) diagnosed with asymptomatic colorectal cancer with unresectable metastases in 12 tertiary hospitals were randomized (1:1). The primary endpoint was two-year overall survival. The secondary endpoints were primary tumor-related complications, PTR-related complications, and rate of conversion to resectable status. The two-year cancer-specific survival was significantly higher in the PTR group than in the upfront chemotherapy group (72.3% vs. 47.1%; p = 0.049). However, the two-year overall survival rate was not significantly different between the PTR and upfront chemotherapy groups (69.5% vs. 44.8%, p = 0.058). The primary tumor-related complication rate was 22.7%. The PTR-related complication rate was 19.2%, with a major complication rate of 3.8%. The rates of conversion to resectable status were 15.3% and 18.2% in the PTR and upfront chemotherapy groups. While PTR followed by chemotherapy resulted in better two-year cancer-specific survival than upfront chemotherapy, the improvement in the two-year overall survival was not significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Trials of Cancer)
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Article
Distinct Mechanisms Are Responsible for Nrf2-Keap1 Pathway Activation at Different Stages of Rat Hepatocarcinogenesis
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2305; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082305 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
Activation of the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway, the main intracellular defense against environmental stress, has been observed in several human cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we assessed whether distinct mechanisms of activation may be involved at different stages of hepatocarcinogenesis. We adopted an experimental [...] Read more.
Activation of the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway, the main intracellular defense against environmental stress, has been observed in several human cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we assessed whether distinct mechanisms of activation may be involved at different stages of hepatocarcinogenesis. We adopted an experimental model consisting of treatment with diethylnitrosamine (DENA) followed by a choline-devoid methionine-deficient (CMD) diet for 4 months. The CMD diet was then replaced with a basal diet, and the animals were killed at 6, 10 or 13 months after DENA injection. Nrf2 activation occurred at early steps of hepatocarcinogenesis and persisted throughout the tumorigenic process. While Nrf2 mutations were extremely frequent at early steps (90%), their incidence diminished with the progression to malignancy (25%). Conversely, while p62 was almost undetectable in early nodules, its accumulation occurred in HCCs, suggesting that Nrf2 pathway activation at late stages is mainly due to Keap1 sequestration by p62. We demonstrate that, in a model of hepatocarcinogenesis resembling human non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Nrf2 mutations are the earliest molecular changes responsible for the activation of the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway. The progressive loss of mutations associated with a concomitant p62 accumulation implies that distinct mechanisms are responsible for Nrf2-Keap1 pathway activation at different stages of hepatocarcinogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Pathophysiology)
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Review
Retinoblastoma: Etiology, Modeling, and Treatment
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2304; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082304 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Retinoblastoma is a retinal cancer that is initiated in response to biallelic loss of RB1 in almost all cases, together with other genetic/epigenetic changes culminating in the development of cancer. RB1 deficiency makes the retinoblastoma cell-of-origin extremely susceptible to cancerous transformation, and the [...] Read more.
Retinoblastoma is a retinal cancer that is initiated in response to biallelic loss of RB1 in almost all cases, together with other genetic/epigenetic changes culminating in the development of cancer. RB1 deficiency makes the retinoblastoma cell-of-origin extremely susceptible to cancerous transformation, and the tumor cell-of-origin appears to depend on the developmental stage and species. These are important to establish reliable preclinical models to study the disease and develop therapies. Although retinoblastoma is the most curable pediatric cancer with a high survival rate, advanced tumors limit globe salvage and are often associated with high-risk histopathological features predictive of dissemination. The advent of chemotherapy has improved treatment outcomes, which is effective for globe preservation with new routes of targeted drug delivery. However, molecularly targeted therapeutics with more effectiveness and less toxicity are needed. Here, we review the current knowledge concerning retinoblastoma genesis with particular attention to the genomic and transcriptomic landscapes with correlations to clinicopathological characteristics, as well as the retinoblastoma cell-of-origin and current disease models. We further discuss current treatments, clinicopathological correlations, which assist in guiding treatment and may facilitate globe preservation, and finally we discuss targeted therapeutics for future treatments. Full article
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