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Volume 13, December-1

Cancers, Volume 13, Issue 24 (December-2 2021) – 242 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Melanoma is the least common but deadliest type of skin cancer. It is driven by mutations and epigenetic alterations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Epigenetic alterations lead to immune evasion and resistance to therapies. Melanoma treatments include surgery, targeted therapies and immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), which improve the survival of a small subset of patients. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify alternative combination therapies. Due to the susceptibility to extrinsic factors and reversible nature of melanoma, epigenetic drugs are investigated as a therapeutic avenue and as adjuvants for targeted therapies and ICB. Preclinical and clinical research studies on epigenetic drugs, such as HDAC and DNMT inhibitors, have shown the mechanisms by which these drugs can prevent resistance or enhance the therapeutic efficacy of current treatments for melanoma patients. View this paper
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Article
Differential Expression of Polyamine Pathways in Human Pancreatic Tumor Progression and Effects of Polyamine Blockade on Tumor Microenvironment
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6391; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246391 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Existing therapies only moderately improve pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patient prognosis. The present study investigates the importance of the polyamine metabolism in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment. Relative mRNA expression analysis identified differential expression [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Existing therapies only moderately improve pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patient prognosis. The present study investigates the importance of the polyamine metabolism in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment. Relative mRNA expression analysis identified differential expression of polyamine biosynthesis, homeostasis, and transport mediators in both pancreatic epithelial and stromal cells from low-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN-1) or primary PDAC patient samples. We found dysregulated mRNA levels that encode for proteins associated with the polyamine pathway of PDAC tumors compared to early lesions. Next, bioinformatic databases were used to assess expression of select genes involved in polyamine metabolism and their impact on patient survival. Higher expression of pro-polyamine genes was associated with poor patient prognosis, supporting the use of a polyamine blockade therapy (PBT) strategy for inhibiting pancreatic tumor progression. Moreover, PBT treatment of syngeneic mice injected intra-pancreatic with PAN 02 tumor cells resulted in increased survival and decreased tumor weights of PDAC-bearing mice. Histological assessment of PBT-treated tumors revealed macrophage presence and significantly increased expression of CD86, a T cell co-stimulatory marker. Collectively, therapies which target polyamine metabolism can be used to disrupt tumor progression, modulate tumor microenvironment, and extend overall survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment of Pancreatic Cancer)
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Article
Combination of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Liver-Specific Therapies in Liver-Metastatic Uveal Melanoma: Can We Thus Overcome Its High Resistance?
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6390; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246390 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 502
Abstract
Uveal Melanoma (UM) is a rare disease; however, it is the most common primary intraocular malignant tumor in adults. Hematogenous metastasis, occurring in up to 50% of cases, mainly to the liver (90%), is associated with poor clinical course and treatment failure. In [...] Read more.
Uveal Melanoma (UM) is a rare disease; however, it is the most common primary intraocular malignant tumor in adults. Hematogenous metastasis, occurring in up to 50% of cases, mainly to the liver (90%), is associated with poor clinical course and treatment failure. In contrast to dramatic benefits of immunotherapy in many tumor entities, as seen in cutaneous melanoma, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) do not achieve comparable results in Metastatic UM (MUM). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the combination of ICI with liver-directed therapies provides a potential survival benefit for those affected. This retrospective, single-center study, including n = 45 patients with MUM, compared the effect of combining ICI with liver-directed therapy (“Cohort 1”) with respect to standard therapies (“Cohort 2”) on overall survival (OS). Our results revealed a significant survival difference between Cohort 1 (median OS 22.5 months) and Cohort 2 (median OS 11.4 months), indicating that this combination may enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy and thus provide a survival benefit. There is an urgent need for randomized, prospective trials addressing the combination of liver-directed therapies and various strategies of immunotherapy (such as ICI; IMCgp100; personalized vaccines) in order to establish regimens which finally improve the prognosis of patients with MUM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Treatment of Metastatic Uveal Melanoma)
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Article
Bile Acid Dysregulation Is Intrinsically Related to Cachexia in Tumor-Bearing Mice
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6389; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246389 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Bile acids exert diverse actions on host metabolism and immunity through bile acid-activated receptors, including Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5). We have recently evidenced an alteration in bile acids in cancer cachexia, an inflammatory and metabolic syndrome contributing to cancer death. This [...] Read more.
Bile acids exert diverse actions on host metabolism and immunity through bile acid-activated receptors, including Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5). We have recently evidenced an alteration in bile acids in cancer cachexia, an inflammatory and metabolic syndrome contributing to cancer death. This current study aims to further explore the links emerging between bile acids and cancer cachexia. First, we showed that bile flow is reduced in cachectic mice. Next, comparing mice inoculated with cachexia-inducing and with non-cachexia-inducing C26 colon carcinoma cells, we demonstrated that alterations in the bile acid pathways and profile are directly associated with cachexia. Finally, we performed an interventional study using ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a compound commonly used in hepatobiliary disorders, to induce bile acid secretion and decrease inflammation. We found that UDCA does not improve hepatic inflammation and worsens muscle atrophy in cachectic mice. This exacerbation of the cachectic phenotype upon UDCA was accompanied by a decreased TGR5 activity, suggesting that TGR5 agonists, known to reduce inflammation in several pathological conditions, could potentially counteract cachectic features. This work brings to light major evidence sustaining the emerging links between bile acids and cancer cachexia and reinforces the interest in studying bile acid-activated receptors in this context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer-Associated Cachexia)
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Review
Insights of RKIP-Derived Suppression of Prostate Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6388; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246388 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PC) is a major cause of cancer death in men. The disease has a great disparity in prognosis. Although low grade PCs with Gleason scores ≤ 6 are indolent, high-risk PCs are likely to relapse and metastasize. The standard of care [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PC) is a major cause of cancer death in men. The disease has a great disparity in prognosis. Although low grade PCs with Gleason scores ≤ 6 are indolent, high-risk PCs are likely to relapse and metastasize. The standard of care for metastatic PC (mPC) remains androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Resistance commonly occurs in the form of castration resistant PC (CRPC). Despite decades of research efforts, CRPC remains lethal. Understanding of mechanisms underpinning metastatic progression represents the overarching challenge in PC research. This progression is regulated by complex mechanisms, including those regulating PC cell proliferation, epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), and androgen receptor (AR) signaling. Among this PC metastatic network lies an intriguing suppressor of PC metastasis: the Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP). Clinically, the RKIP protein is downregulated in PC, and showed further reduction in mPC. In xenograft mouse models for PC, RKIP inhibits metastasis. In vitro, RKIP reduces PC cell invasion and sensitizes PC cells to therapeutic treatments. Mechanistically, RKIP suppresses Raf-MEK-ERK activation and EMT, and modulates extracellular matrix. In return, Snail, NFκB, and the polycomb protein EZH2 contribute to inhibition of RKIP expression. In this review, we will thoroughly analyze RKIP’s tumor suppression actions in PC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RKIP: A Pivotal Gene Product in the Pathogenesis of Cancer)
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Editorial
Preface of the Special Issue: “Peritoneal Surface Malignancies (PSM): The SICO (Italian Society of Surgical Oncology) PSM—Oncoteam Experience, Result Analysis, and Studies’ Purpose”
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6387; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246387 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 315
Abstract
Over the past 40 years, strategies to treat neoplastic spread into the peritoneal space have benefitted from a gradually evolving approach, thanks mainly to studies conducted by the charismatic leader in this medical field Professor Paul Sugarbaker, Washington DC [...] Full article
Article
Deep Phenotypic Characterisation of CTCs by Combination of Microfluidic Isolation (IsoFlux) and Imaging Flow Cytometry (ImageStream)
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6386; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246386 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The isolation of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in colorectal cancer (CRC) mostly relies on the expression of epithelial markers such as EpCAM, and phenotypic characterisation is usually performed under fluorescence microscopy with only one or two additional markers. This limits the ability to [...] Read more.
The isolation of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in colorectal cancer (CRC) mostly relies on the expression of epithelial markers such as EpCAM, and phenotypic characterisation is usually performed under fluorescence microscopy with only one or two additional markers. This limits the ability to detect different CTC subpopulations based on multiple markers. The aim of this work was to develop a novel protocol combining two platforms (IsoFluxTM and ImageStream®X) to improve CTC evaluation. Cancer cell lines and peripheral blood from healthy donors were used to evaluate the efficiency of each platform independently and in combination. Peripheral blood was extracted from 16 early CRC patients (before loco-regional surgery) to demonstrate the suitability of the protocol for CTC assessment. Additionally, peripheral blood was extracted from nine patients one month after surgery to validate the utility of our protocol for identifying CTC subpopulation changes over time. Results: Our protocol had a mean recovery efficiency of 69.5% and a limit of detection of at least four cells per millilitre. We developed an analysis method to reduce noise from magnetic beads used for CTC isolation. CTCs were isolated from CRC patients with a median of 37 CTCs (IQ 13.0–85.5) at baseline. CTCs from CRC patients were significantly (p < 0.0001) larger than cytokeratin (CK)-negative cells, and patients were stratified into two groups based on BRAFV600E and PD-L1 expression on CK-positive cells. The changes observed over time included not only the number of CTCs but also their distribution into four different subpopulations defined according to BRAFV600E and PD-L1 positivity. We developed a novel protocol for semi-automatic CTC isolation and phenotypic characterisation by combining two platforms. Assessment of CTCs from early CRC patients using our protocol allowed the identification of two clusters of patients with changing phenotypes over time. Full article
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Review
PARP Inhibitors and Myeloid Neoplasms: A Double-Edged Sword
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6385; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246385 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Despite recent discoveries and therapeutic advances in aggressive myeloid neoplasms, there remains a pressing need for improved therapies. For instance, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), while most patients achieve a complete remission with conventional chemotherapy or the combination of a hypomethylating agent and [...] Read more.
Despite recent discoveries and therapeutic advances in aggressive myeloid neoplasms, there remains a pressing need for improved therapies. For instance, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), while most patients achieve a complete remission with conventional chemotherapy or the combination of a hypomethylating agent and venetoclax, de novo or acquired drug resistance often presents an insurmountable challenge, especially in older patients. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) enzymes, PARP1 and PARP2, are involved in detecting DNA damage and repairing it through multiple pathways, including base excision repair, single-strand break repair, and double-strand break repair. In the context of AML, PARP inhibitors (PARPi) could potentially exploit the frequently dysfunctional DNA repair pathways that, similar to deficiencies in homologous recombination in BRCA-mutant disease, set the stage for cell killing. PARPi appear to be especially effective in AML with certain gene rearrangements and molecular characteristics (RUNX1-RUNX1T1 and PML-RARA fusions, FLT3- and IDH1-mutated). In addition, PARPi can enhance the efficacy of other agents, particularly alkylating agents, TOP1 poisons, and hypomethylating agents, that induce lesions ordinarily repaired via PARP1-dependent mechanisms. Conversely, emerging reports suggest that long-term treatment with PARPi for solid tumors is associated with an increased incidence of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and AML. Here, we (i) review the pre-clinical and clinical data on the role of PARPi, specifically olaparib, talazoparib, and veliparib, in aggressive myeloid neoplasms and (ii) discuss the reported risk of MDS/AML with PARPi, especially as the indications for PARPi use expand to include patients with potentially curable cancer. Full article
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Article
Artificial Neural Networks Predicted the Overall Survival and Molecular Subtypes of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Using a Pancancer Immune-Oncology Panel
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6384; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246384 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 649
Abstract
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is one of the most frequent subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. We used artificial neural networks (multilayer perceptron and radial basis function), machine learning, and conventional bioinformatics to predict the overall survival and molecular subtypes of DLBCL. The series [...] Read more.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is one of the most frequent subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. We used artificial neural networks (multilayer perceptron and radial basis function), machine learning, and conventional bioinformatics to predict the overall survival and molecular subtypes of DLBCL. The series included 106 cases and 730 genes of a pancancer immune-oncology panel (nCounter) as predictors. The multilayer perceptron predicted the outcome with high accuracy, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.98, and ranked all the genes according to their importance. In a multivariate analysis, ARG1, TNFSF12, REL, and NRP1 correlated with favorable survival (hazard risks: 0.3–0.5), and IFNA8, CASP1, and CTSG, with poor survival (hazard risks = 1.0–2.1). Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) showed enrichment toward poor prognosis. These high-risk genes were also associated with the gene expression of M2-like tumor-associated macrophages (CD163), and MYD88 expression. The prognostic relevance of this set of 7 genes was also confirmed within the IPI and MYC translocation strata, the EBER-negative cases, the DLBCL not-otherwise specified (NOS) (High-grade B-cell lymphoma with MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements excluded), and an independent series of 414 cases of DLBCL in Europe and North America (GSE10846). The perceptron analysis also predicted molecular subtypes (based on the Lymph2Cx assay) with high accuracy (AUC = 1). STAT6, TREM2, and REL were associated with the germinal center B-cell (GCB) subtype, and CD37, GNLY, CD46, and IL17B were associated with the activated B-cell (ABC)/unspecified subtype. The GSEA had a sinusoidal-like plot with association to both molecular subtypes, and immunohistochemistry analysis confirmed the correlation of MAPK3 with the GCB subtype in another series of 96 cases (notably, MAPK3 also correlated with LMO2, but not with M2-like tumor-associated macrophage markers CD163, CSF1R, TNFAIP8, CASP8, PD-L1, PTX3, and IL-10). Finally, survival and molecular subtypes were successfully modeled using other machine learning techniques including logistic regression, discriminant analysis, SVM, CHAID, C5, C&R trees, KNN algorithm, and Bayesian network. In conclusion, prognoses and molecular subtypes were predicted with high accuracy using neural networks, and relevant genes were highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Imaging and Machine Learning​)
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Hypothesis
hsa_circ_0001275 Is One of a Number of circRNAs Dysregulated in Enzalutamide Resistant Prostate Cancer and Confers Enzalutamide Resistance In Vitro
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6383; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246383 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Background: Enzalutamide is part of the treatment regimen for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (MCRPC). However, both intrinsic and acquired resistance to the drug remain substantial clinical quandaries. circRNAs, a novel type of non-coding RNA, have been identified in a number of cancers including [...] Read more.
Background: Enzalutamide is part of the treatment regimen for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (MCRPC). However, both intrinsic and acquired resistance to the drug remain substantial clinical quandaries. circRNAs, a novel type of non-coding RNA, have been identified in a number of cancers including prostate cancer and have been associated with cancer development and progression. circRNAs have shown great potential as clinically useful blood-based ‘liquid biopsies’ and as therapeutic targets in prostate cancer. The aim of this study was to examine the role of circRNA transcripts in enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells and assess their utility as biomarkers. Methods: An isogenic cell line model of enzalutamide resistance was subjected to circRNA microarray profiling. Several differentially expressed circRNAs, along with their putative parental genes were validated using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). circRNAs of interest were stably overexpressed in the control cell line and drug sensitivity was assessed using an ELISA-based proliferation assay. The candidate circRNA, hsa_circ_0001275, was measured in patient plasma samples using RT-droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR). Results: hsa_circ_0001275 and its parental gene, PLCL2, were significantly up-regulated in strongly resistant clones vs. control (p < 0.05). Overexpression of hsa_circ_0001275 in the control cell line resulted in increased resistance to enzalutamide (p < 0.05). While RT-ddPCR analysis of hsa_circ_0001275 expression in plasma samples of 44 clinical trial participants showed a trend that mirrored the stages of disease activity (as defined by PSA level), the association did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Our data suggest that increased levels of hsa_circ_0001275 contribute to enzalutamide resistance. hsa_circ_0001275 plasma expression showed a trend that mirrors the PSA level at specific disease time points, indicating that circRNAs mirror disease recurrence and burden and may be associated with enzalutamide resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular RNAs: New Insights into the Molecular Biology of Cancer)
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Article
Population Pharmacokinetic Model-Based Evaluation of Intact Oxaliplatin in Rats with Acute Kidney Injury
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6382; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246382 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Acute kidney injury (AKI) complicates the dosing strategies of oxaliplatin (L-OHP) and the requirement for L-OHP dose reduction in patients with renal failure remains controversial. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of AKI on the pharmacokinetics (PK) of intact [...] Read more.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) complicates the dosing strategies of oxaliplatin (L-OHP) and the requirement for L-OHP dose reduction in patients with renal failure remains controversial. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of AKI on the pharmacokinetics (PK) of intact L-OHP and simulate the relationship between the degree of renal function and intact L-OHP exposures using a population PK model. Intact L-OHP concentrations in plasma and urine after L-OHP administration were measured in mild and severe AKI models established in rats through renal ischemia-reperfusion. Population PK modeling and simulation were performed. There were no differences among rats in the area under the plasma concentration–time curve of intact L-OHP after intravenous L-OHP administrations. Nevertheless, the amount of L-OHP excretion after administration of 8 mg/kg L-OHP in mild and severe renal dysfunction rats was 63.5% and 37.7%, respectively, and strong correlations were observed between biochemical renal function markers and clearance of intact L-OHP. The population PK model simulated well the observed levels of intact L-OHP in AKI model rats. The population PK model-based simulation suggests that dose reduction is unnecessary for patients with mild to moderate AKI. Full article
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Article
Intraoperative HIFU Ablation of the Pancreas Using a Toroidal Transducer in a Porcine Model. The First Step towards a Clinical Treatment of Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6381; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246381 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Apart from palliative chemotherapy, no other therapy has been proven effective for the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic tumors. In this study, an intraoperative high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) device was tested in vivo to demonstrate the feasibility of treating the pancreatic parenchyma and [...] Read more.
Apart from palliative chemotherapy, no other therapy has been proven effective for the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic tumors. In this study, an intraoperative high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) device was tested in vivo to demonstrate the feasibility of treating the pancreatic parenchyma and tissues surrounding the superior mesenteric vessels prior to clinical translation of this technique. Twenty pigs were included and treated using a HIFU device equipped with a toroidal transducer and an integrated ultrasound imaging probe. Treatments were performed with energy escalation (from 30 kJ to 52 kJ). All treatments resulted in visible (macroscopically and in ultrasound images) homogeneous thermal damage, which was confirmed by histology. The dimensions of thermal lesions measured in ultrasound images and those measured macroscopically were correlated (r = 0.82, p < 0.05). No arterial spasms or occlusion were observed at the lowest energy setting. Temporary spasm of the peripancreatic artery was observed when using an energy setting greater than 30 kJ. The possibility of treating the pancreas and tissues around mesenteric vessels without vascular thrombosis holds great promise for the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancers. If clinically successful, chemotherapy followed by HIFU treatment could rapidly become a novel treatment option for locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound-Based Treatments of Cancer)
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Article
A Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Approach Reveals a Higher Prevalence of Indolent Systemic Mastocytosis: 15-Years’ Experience of the GISM Network
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6380; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246380 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Systemic mastocytosis (SM) and other adult clonal mast cell disorders (CMD) are often underestimated, and their epidemiology data are scarce. We aimed at evaluating the impact of the activity of the Interdisciplinary Group for Study of Mastocytosis (GISM) of Verona on the prevalence [...] Read more.
Systemic mastocytosis (SM) and other adult clonal mast cell disorders (CMD) are often underestimated, and their epidemiology data are scarce. We aimed at evaluating the impact of the activity of the Interdisciplinary Group for Study of Mastocytosis (GISM) of Verona on the prevalence and incidence of CMD. We examined the data of 502 adult patients diagnosed with CMD and residing in the Veneto Region, consecutively referred to GISM between 2006 and 2020. SM was diagnosed in 431 cases, while 71 patients had cutaneous mastocytosis or other CMD. Indolent SM represented the most frequent SM variant (91.0%), mainly with the characteristics of bone marrow mastocytosis (54.8%). The prevalence of SM in the adult population of the Veneto region and of the Verona province was 10.2 and 17.2/100,000 inhabitants, respectively. The mean incidence of new SM cases in Verona was 1.09/100,000 inhabitants/year. Hymenoptera venom allergy was the main reason (50%) leading to the CMD diagnosis. Osteoporosis, often complicated by fragility fractures, was present in 35% of cases, even in young patients, especially males. Our data show a higher prevalence and incidence of SM than previously reported, confirming that reference centers with multidisciplinary approach are essential for the recognition and early diagnosis of CMD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis and Natural History of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms)
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Article
Identification of Genetic Variants Associated with Sex-Specific Lung-Cancer Risk
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6379; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246379 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 275
Abstract
Background: The incidence of lung cancer differs between men and women, suggesting the potential role of sex-specific influences in susceptibility to this cancer. While behavioural differences may account for some of the risk, another possibility is that X chromosome susceptibility genes may have [...] Read more.
Background: The incidence of lung cancer differs between men and women, suggesting the potential role of sex-specific influences in susceptibility to this cancer. While behavioural differences may account for some of the risk, another possibility is that X chromosome susceptibility genes may have an effect. Little is known about genetic variants on the X chromosome that contribute to sex-specific lung-cancer risk, so we investigated this in a previously characterized cohort. Methods: We conducted a genetic association reanalysis of 518 lung cancer patients and 844 controls to test for lung cancer susceptibility variants on the X chromosome. Annotated gene expression, co-expression analysis, pathway, and immune infiltration analyses were also performed. Results: 24 SNPs were identified as significantly associated with male, but not female, lung cancer cases. These resided in blocks near the annotated genes DMD, PTCHD1-AS, and AL008633.1. Of these, DMD was differentially expressed in lung cancer cases curated in The Cancer Genome Atlas. A functional enrichment and a KEGG pathway analysis of co-expressed genes revealed that differences in immune function could play a role in sex-specific susceptibility. Conclusions: Our analyses identified potential genetic variants associated with sex-specific lung cancer risk. Integrating GWAS and RNA-sequencing data revealed potential targets for lung cancer prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinformatics, Big Data and Cancer)
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Article
Identification of Lynch Syndrome Carriers among Patients with Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6378; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246378 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Background: Small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA) is a rare disease which can be associated with Lynch syndrome (LS). LS tumors are characterized by the presence of microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or the loss of mismatch repair (MMR) protein expression. In SBA, the frequency of MMR [...] Read more.
Background: Small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA) is a rare disease which can be associated with Lynch syndrome (LS). LS tumors are characterized by the presence of microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or the loss of mismatch repair (MMR) protein expression. In SBA, the frequency of MMR deficient (MMRd) tumors varies from 5% to 35%. This study aims to describe the prevalence of LS carriers among patients with MMRd small bowel adenocarcinomas. Methods: A multicenter retrospective study with identification and MMR testing of all consecutive SBA between 2004 and 2020 in a multicenter Spanish study. Demographical data, tumor characteristics, follow-up and survival information were collected. Germline testing was driven by identification of MMRd tumors. Results: A total of 94 individuals diagnosed with SBA were recruited. We observed 20 (21.3%) MMRd tumors. In 9/15 (60%) patients with MMRd tumors, a pathogenic variant was identified (three MLH1, four MSH2, one MSH6 and one PMS2). Accordingly, the prevalence of LS among all SBA cases was 10.1%. Conclusions: More than one-fifth of SBA display MMRd and in more than a half is due to LS. Our data supports the implementation of universal MMR tumor testing among SBA for the identification of LS families. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lynch Syndrome)
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Article
Anticancer Activity of Ω-6 Fatty Acids through Increased 4-HNE in Breast Cancer Cells
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6377; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246377 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 453
Abstract
Her2-amplified breast cancers resistant to available Her2-targeted therapeutics continue to be a challenge in breast cancer therapy. Dox is the mainstay of chemotherapy of all types of breast cancer, but its usefulness is limited by cumulative cardiotoxicity. Because oxidative stress caused by dox [...] Read more.
Her2-amplified breast cancers resistant to available Her2-targeted therapeutics continue to be a challenge in breast cancer therapy. Dox is the mainstay of chemotherapy of all types of breast cancer, but its usefulness is limited by cumulative cardiotoxicity. Because oxidative stress caused by dox generates the pro-apoptotic Ω-6 PUFA metabolite 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), we surmised that Ω-6 PUFAs would increase the effectiveness of dox chemotherapy. Since the mercapturic acid pathway enzyme RALBP1 (also known as RLIP76 or Rlip) that limits cellular accumulation of 4-HNE also mediates dox resistance, the combination of Ω-6 PUFAs and Rlip depletion could synergistically improve the efficacy of dox. Thus, we studied the effects of the Ω-6 PUFA arachidonic acid (AA) and Rlip knockdown on the antineoplastic activity of dox towards Her2-amplified breast cancer cell lines SK-BR-3, which is sensitive to Her2 inhibitors, and AU565, which is resistant. AA increased lipid peroxidation, 4-HNE generation, apoptosis, cellular dox concentration and dox cytotoxicity in both cell lines while sparing cultured immortalized cardiomyocyte cells. The known functions of Rlip including clathrin-dependent endocytosis and dox efflux were inhibited by AA. Our results support a model in which 4-HNE generated by AA overwhelms the capacity of Rlip to defend against apoptosis caused by dox or 4-HNE. We propose that Ω-6 PUFA supplementation could improve the efficacy of dox or Rlip inhibitors for treating Her2-amplified breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue p53 and Ralbp1 in Carcinogenesis)
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Article
Beneficial Prognostic Effects of Aspirin in Patients Receiving Sorafenib for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Tale of Multiple Confounders
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6376; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246376 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Case–control observational studies suggested that aspirin might prevent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in high-risk patients, even if randomized clinical trials are lacking. Information regarding aspirin in subjects who already developed HCC, especially in its advanced stage, are scarce. While aspirin might be a low-cost [...] Read more.
Case–control observational studies suggested that aspirin might prevent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in high-risk patients, even if randomized clinical trials are lacking. Information regarding aspirin in subjects who already developed HCC, especially in its advanced stage, are scarce. While aspirin might be a low-cost option to improve the prognosis, multiple confounders and safety concerns are to be considered. In our retrospective analyses of a prospective dataset (n = 699), after assessing the factors associated with aspirin prescription, we applied an inverse probability treatment weight analysis to address the prescription bias. Analyses of post-sorafenib survival were also performed to reduce the influence of subsequent medications. Among the study population, 133 (19%) patients were receiving aspirin at the time of sorafenib prescription. Aspirin users had a higher platelet count and a lower prevalence of esophageal varices, macrovascular invasion, and Child–Pugh B status. The benefit of aspirin was confirmed in terms of overall survival (HR 0.702, 95% CI 0.543–0.908), progression-free survival, disease control rate (58.6 vs. 49.5%, p < 0.001), and post-sorafenib survival even after weighting. Minor bleeding events were more frequent in the aspirin group. Aspirin use was associated with better outcomes, even after the correction for confounders. While safety concerns arguably remain a problem, prospective trials for patients at low risk of bleeding are warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Cholangiocarcinoma)
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Article
Influence of Estrogen Treatment on ESR1+ and ESR1 Cells in ER+ Breast Cancer: Insights from Single-Cell Analysis of Patient-Derived Xenograft Models
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6375; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246375 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 889
Abstract
A 100% ER positivity is not required for an endocrine therapy response. Furthermore, while estrogen typically promotes the progression of hormone-dependent breast cancer via the activation of estrogen receptor (ER)-α, estrogen-induced tumor suppression in ER+ breast cancer has been clinically observed. With [...] Read more.
A 100% ER positivity is not required for an endocrine therapy response. Furthermore, while estrogen typically promotes the progression of hormone-dependent breast cancer via the activation of estrogen receptor (ER)-α, estrogen-induced tumor suppression in ER+ breast cancer has been clinically observed. With the success in establishing estrogen-stimulated (SC31) and estrogen-suppressed (GS3) patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, single-cell RNA sequencing analysis was performed to determine the impact of estrogen on ESR1+ and ESR1 tumor cells. We found that 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced suppression of GS3 transpired through wild-type and unamplified ERα. E2 upregulated the expression of estrogen-dependent genes in both SC31 and GS3; however, E2 induced cell cycle advance in SC31, while it resulted in cell cycle arrest in GS3. Importantly, these gene expression changes occurred in both ESR1+ and ESR1 cells within the same breast tumors, demonstrating for the first time a differential effect of estrogen on ESR1 cells. E2 also upregulated a tumor-suppressor gene, IL-24, in GS3. The apoptosis gene set was upregulated and the G2M checkpoint gene set was downregulated in most IL-24+ cells after E2 treatment. In summary, estrogen affected pathologically defined ER+ tumors differently, influencing both ESR1+ and ESR1 cells. Our results also suggest IL-24 to be a potential marker of estrogen-suppressed tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Environment in Breast Cancer Treatment)
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Review
Patient Selection for Local Aggressive Treatment in Oligometastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6374; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246374 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
One-fourth of all patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer presents with a limited number of metastases and relatively low systemic tumor burden. This oligometastatic state with limited systemic tumor burden may be associated with remarkably improved overall and progression-free survival if both [...] Read more.
One-fourth of all patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer presents with a limited number of metastases and relatively low systemic tumor burden. This oligometastatic state with limited systemic tumor burden may be associated with remarkably improved overall and progression-free survival if both primary tumor and metastases are treated radically combined with systemic therapy. This local aggressive therapy (LAT) requires a multidisciplinary approach including medical oncologists, radiation therapists, and thoracic surgeons. A surgical resection of the often advanced primary tumor should be part of the radical treatment whenever feasible. However, patient selection, timing, and a correct treatment allocation for LAT appear to be essential. In this review, we aimed to summarize and discuss the current evidence on patient selection criteria such as characteristics of the primary tumor and metastases, response to neoadjuvant or first-line treatment, molecular characteristics, mediastinal lymph node involvement, and other factors for LAT in oligometastatic NSCLC. Full article
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Article
The Vulvar Immunohistochemical Panel (VIP) Project: Molecular Profiles of Vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6373; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246373 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Introduction: The study’s aim was to investigate the immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of biological markers as potential prognostic/therapeutic factors in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC). Methodology: A series of 101 patients surgically treated at our center from 2016 to 2020 were retrospectively enrolled: 53 [...] Read more.
Introduction: The study’s aim was to investigate the immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of biological markers as potential prognostic/therapeutic factors in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC). Methodology: A series of 101 patients surgically treated at our center from 2016 to 2020 were retrospectively enrolled: 53 node-negative (Group A) and 48 node-positive (Group B). A total of 146 samples, 101 from primary tumor (T) and 45 from nodal metastases (N), were investigated. The IHC panel included: p16, p53, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, PD-L1, CD3, HER2/neu, ER, PR, EGFR, VEGF, and CD31. The reactions were evaluated on qualitative and semi-quantitative scales. Generalized Linear Model (GLM) and cluster analysis were performed in R statistical environment. A distance plot compared the IHC panel of T with the correspondent N. Results: In Group A: p16-positive expression (surrogate of HPV-dependent pathway) was significantly higher (20.8% vs. 6.2%, p = 0.04). In Group B: PD-L1 positivity and high EGFR expression were found, respectively, in 77.1% and 97.9% patients (T and/or N). Overall, p16-negative tumors showed a higher PD-L1 expression (60.9% vs. 50.0%). In both groups: tumoral immune infiltration (CD3 expression) was mainly moderate/intense (80% vs. 95%); VEGF showed strong/moderate-diffuse expression in 13.9% of T samples; CD31, related to tumoral microvessel density (MVD), showed no difference between groups; a mutated p53 and over-expressed PD-L1 showed significant association with nodal metastasis, with Odds Ratios (OR) of 4.26 (CI 95% = 1.14–15.87, p = 0.03) and 2.68 (CI 95% = 1.0–7.19, p < 0.05), respectively; since all mismatch repair proteins (MMR) showed a retained expression and ER, PR, and HER2/neu were negative, they were excluded from further analysis. The cluster analysis identified three and four sub-groups of molecular profiles, respectively, in Group A and B, with no difference in prognosis. The molecular signature of each N and corresponding T diverged significantly in 18/41 (43.9%) cases. Conclusions: Our results support a potential role of immune checkpoint inhibitors and anti-VEGF and anti-EGFR drugs especially in patients with worse prognosis (metastatic, HPV-independent). A panel including EGFR, VEGF, PDL1, p16, and p53 might be performed routinely in primary tumor and repeated in case of lymph node metastases to identify changes in marker expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Vulvar Cancer)
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis in Vulvar Squamous Cell Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6372; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246372 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
To date, therapeutic strategies in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) are lacking molecular pathological information and targeted therapy hasn’t been approved in the treatment of VSCC, yet. Two etiological pathways are widely accepted: HPV induced vs. HPV independent, associated with chronic skin disease, [...] Read more.
To date, therapeutic strategies in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) are lacking molecular pathological information and targeted therapy hasn’t been approved in the treatment of VSCC, yet. Two etiological pathways are widely accepted: HPV induced vs. HPV independent, associated with chronic skin disease, often harboring TP53 mutations (mut). The aim of this analysis was to analyze the RNA expression patterns for subtype stratification on VSCC samples that can be integrated into the previously performed whole exome sequencing data for the detection of prognostic markers and potential therapeutic targets. We performed multiplex gene expression analysis (NanoString) with 770 genes in 24 prior next generation sequenced samples. An integrative data analysis was performed. Here, 98 genes were differentially expressed in TP53mut vs. HPV+ VSCC, in the TP53mut cohort, where 56 genes were upregulated and 42 were downregulated in comparison to the HPV+ tumors. Aberrant expression was primarily observed in cell cycle regulation, especially in HPV+ disease. Within the TP53mut group, a distinct cluster was identified that was correlated to a significantly worse overall survival (p = 0.017). The RNA expression profiles showed distinct patterns with regard to the known VSCC subtypes and could potentially enable further subclassification in the TP53mut groups Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Vulvar Cancer)
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Article
Health-Related Quality of Life and Return to Work after Surgery for Spinal Meningioma: A Population-Based Cohort Study
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6371; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246371 - 19 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 427
Abstract
Spinal meningiomas are the most common primary spinal intradural tumor. This study aimed to assess Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the frequency of return to work in patients surgically treated for spinal meningiomas, in comparison to the general population. Variables were collected [...] Read more.
Spinal meningiomas are the most common primary spinal intradural tumor. This study aimed to assess Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the frequency of return to work in patients surgically treated for spinal meningiomas, in comparison to the general population. Variables were collected from patient charts, EQ-5D-3L, and study specific questionnaires. Patients who had been operated between 2005–2017 were identified in a previous study and those alive in 2020 (104 of 129) were asked to participate. Eighty-four patients (80.8%) with a mean follow-up of 8.7 years, responded and were included. Data was compared to the Stockholm Public Health Survey 2006, a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of the general population. Analysis for potential non-response bias showed no significant differences. Women in the meningioma sample scored more problems than men with regards to mobility (p = 0.048). There were no significant differences concerning EQ-5Dindex (p = 0.325) or EQVAS (p = 0.116). The correlation between follow-up time and EQ-5Dindex was low (r = 0.167). When comparing HRQoL to the general population sample, no significant differences were found within the EQ-5D-3L dimensions, EQ-5Dindex or EQVAS. Those who postoperatively scored 3–5 on mMCs scored significantly more problems in the EQ-5D-3L dimension mobility (p = 0.023). Before surgery, 41 (48.8%) of the spinal meningioma patients were working and after surgery all returned to work, the majority within three months. Seventy-eight (96%) of the patients would accept surgery for the same diagnosis if asked today. We conclude that surgery for spinal meningiomas is associated with good long-term HRQoL and a high frequency of return to work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meningioma Surgery and Functional Outcome)
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Article
Efficacy of Superselective Conventional Transarterial Chemoembolization Using Guidance Software for Hepatocellular Carcinoma within Three Lesions Smaller Than 3 cm
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6370; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246370 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
The indication of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) has advanced to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage A when surgical resection (SR), thermal ablation, and bridging to transplantation are contraindicated; however, TACE for small HCC is frequently difficult and ineffective because [...] Read more.
The indication of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) has advanced to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage A when surgical resection (SR), thermal ablation, and bridging to transplantation are contraindicated; however, TACE for small HCC is frequently difficult and ineffective because of less hypervascularity and the presence of tumor portions receiving a dual blood supply. Here, we report outcomes of superselective conventional TACE (cTACE) for 259 patients with HCCs within three lesions smaller than 3 cm using guidance software. Automated tumor feeder detection (AFD) functionality was applied to identify tumor feeders on cone-beam computed tomography during hepatic arteriography (CBCTHA) data. When it failed, the feeder was identified by manual feeder detection functionality and/or selective angiography and CBCTHA. Regarding the technical success in 382 tumors (mean diameter, 17.2 ± 5.9 mm), 310 (81.2%) were completely embolized with a safety margin (5 mm wide for HCC ≤25 mm and 10 mm wide for HCC >25 mm). In 61 (16.0%), the entire tumor was embolized but the safety margin was not uniformly obtained. The entire tumor was not embolized in 11 (2.9%). Regarding the tumor response at 2–3 months after cTACE in 303 tumors excluding those treated with combined radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or SR and lost to follow-up, 287 (94.7%) were classified into complete response, seven (2.3%) into partial response, and nine (3.0%) into stable disease. The mean follow-up period was 44.9 ± 27.6 months (range, 1–109) and the cumulative local tumor progression rates at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years were 17.8, 27.8, 32.0, and 36.0%, respectively. The 1-, 3-, 5-, and 7-year overall and recurrence-free survival rates in 175 patients, excluding those with Child–Pugh C class, who died of other malignancies, or who underwent combined RFA or hepatic resection, were 97.1 and 68.7, 82.8 and 34.9, 64.8 and 20.2, and 45.3 and 17.3%, respectively. Our results indicate the efficacy of superselective cTACE using guidance software for HCC within three lesions smaller than 3 cm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Novel Therapies for Hepatocellular Carcinoma)
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Article
CNA Profiling of Single CTCs in Locally Advanced Esophageal Cancer Patients during Therapy Highlights Unexplored Molecular Pathways
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6369; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246369 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Background: Here, we monitored the evolution of CTCs spread in 11 patients affected by locally advanced EC who were undergoing therapy. Methods: In this perspective study, we designed multiple blood biopsies from individual patients: before and after neoadjuvant chemo-radio therapy and after surgery. [...] Read more.
Background: Here, we monitored the evolution of CTCs spread in 11 patients affected by locally advanced EC who were undergoing therapy. Methods: In this perspective study, we designed multiple blood biopsies from individual patients: before and after neoadjuvant chemo-radio therapy and after surgery. We developed a multi-target array, named Grab-all assay, to estimate CTCs for their epithelial (EpCAM/E-Cadherin/Cytokeratins) and mesenchymal/stem (N-Cadherin/CD44v6/ABCG2) phenotypes. Identified CTCs were isolated as single cells by DEPArray, subjected to whole genome amplification, and copy number aberration (CNA) profiles were determined. Through bioinformatic analysis, we assessed the genomic imbalance of single CTCs, investigated specific focal copy number changes previously reported in EC and aberrant pathways using enrichment analysis. Results: Longitudinal monitoring allowed the identification of CTCs in at least one time-point per patient. Through single cell CNA analysis, we revealed that CTCs showed significantly dynamic genomic imbalance during treatment. Individual CTCs from relapsed patients displayed a higher degree of genomic imbalance relative to disease-free patients’ groups. Genomic aberrations previously reported in EC occurred mostly in post-neoadjuvant therapy CTCs. In-depth analysis showed that networks enrichment in all time-point CTCs were inherent to innate immune system. Transcription/gene regulation, post-transcriptional and epigenetic modifications were uniquely affected in CTCs of relapsed patients. Conclusions: Our data add clues to the comprehension of the role of CTCs in EC aggressiveness: chromosomal aberrations on genes related to innate immune system behave as relevant to the onset of CTC-status, whilst pathways of transcription/gene regulation, post-transcriptional and epigenetic modifications seem linked to patients’ outcome. Full article
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Review
Liver-Directed Therapy for Neuroendocrine Metastases: From Interventional Radiology to Nuclear Medicine Procedures
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6368; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246368 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 467
Abstract
Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are rare and heterogeneous epithelial tumors most commonly arising from the gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) system. GEP-NENs account for approximately 60% of all NENs, and the small intestine and pancreas represent two most common sites of primary tumor development. Approximately 80% of [...] Read more.
Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are rare and heterogeneous epithelial tumors most commonly arising from the gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) system. GEP-NENs account for approximately 60% of all NENs, and the small intestine and pancreas represent two most common sites of primary tumor development. Approximately 80% of metastatic patients have secondary liver lesions, and in approximately 50% of patients, the liver is the only metastatic site. The therapeutic strategy depends on the degree of hepatic metastatic invasion, ranging from liver surgery or percutaneous ablation to palliative treatments to reduce both tumor volume and secretion. In patients with grade 1 and 2 NENs, locoregional nonsurgical treatments of liver metastases mainly include percutaneous ablation and endovascular treatments, targeting few or multiple hepatic metastases, respectively. In the present work, we provide a narrative review of the current knowledge on liver-directed therapy for metastasis treatment, including both interventional radiology procedures and nuclear medicine options in NEN patients, taking into account the patient clinical context and both the strengths and limitations of each modality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroendocrine Tumors: Treatment and Management)
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Article
Cobaltabis(dicarbollide) ([o-COSAN]) as Multifunctional Chemotherapeutics: A Prospective Application in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) for Glioblastoma
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6367; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246367 - 19 Dec 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Purpose: The aim of our study was to assess if the sodium salt of cobaltabis(dicarbollide) and its di-iodinated derivative (Na[o-COSAN] and Na[8,8′-I2-o-COSAN]) could be promising agents for dual anti-cancer treatment (chemotherapy + BNCT) for GBM. Methods: The [...] Read more.
Purpose: The aim of our study was to assess if the sodium salt of cobaltabis(dicarbollide) and its di-iodinated derivative (Na[o-COSAN] and Na[8,8′-I2-o-COSAN]) could be promising agents for dual anti-cancer treatment (chemotherapy + BNCT) for GBM. Methods: The biological activities of the small molecules were evaluated in vitro with glioblastoma cells lines U87 and T98G in 2D and 3D cell models and in vivo in the small model animal Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) at the L4-stage and using the eggs. Results: Our studies indicated that only spheroids from the U87 cell line have impaired growth after treatment with both compounds, suggesting an increased resistance from T98G spheroids, contrary to what was observed in the monolayer culture, which highlights the need to employ 3D models for future GBM studies. In vitro tests in U87 and T98G cells conclude that the amount of 10B inside the cells is enough for BNCT irradiation. BNCT becomes more effective on T98G after their incubation with Na[8,8′-I2-o-COSAN], whereas no apparent cell-killing effect was observed for untreated cells. Conclusions: These small molecules, particularly [8,8′-I2-o-COSAN], are serious candidates for BNCT now that the facilities of accelerator-based neutron sources are more accessible, providing an alternative treatment for resistant glioblastoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper from Journal Reviewers)
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Systematic Review
Predictive Biomarkers for Outcomes of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs) in Melanoma: A Systematic Review
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6366; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246366 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 798
Abstract
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have strongly improved the survival of melanoma patients. However, as durable response to ICIs are only seen in a minority, there is an unmet need to identify biomarkers that predict response. Therefore, we provide a systematic review that evaluates [...] Read more.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have strongly improved the survival of melanoma patients. However, as durable response to ICIs are only seen in a minority, there is an unmet need to identify biomarkers that predict response. Therefore, we provide a systematic review that evaluates all biomarkers studied in association with outcomes of melanoma patients receiving ICIs. We searched Pubmed, COCHRANE Library, Embase, Emcare, and Web of Science for relevant articles that were published before June 2020 and studied blood, tumor, or fecal biomarkers that predicted response or survival in melanoma patients treated with ICIs. Of the 2536 identified reports, 177 were included in our review. Risk of bias was high in 40%, moderate in 50% and low in 10% of all studies. Biomarkers that correlated with response were myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), circulating tumor cells (CTCs), CD8+ memory T-cells, T-cell receptor (TCR) diversity, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), gene expression profiling (GEP), and a favorable gut microbiome. This review shows that biomarkers for ICIs in melanoma patients are widely studied, but heterogeneity between studies is high, average sample sizes are low, and validation is often lacking. Future studies are needed to further investigate the predictive utility of some promising candidate biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis in Cancer Research)
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Review
Modulation of the Gal-9/TIM-3 Immune Checkpoint with α-Lactose. Does Anomery of Lactose Matter?
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6365; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246365 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 586
Abstract
The disaccharide lactose is an excipient commonly used in pharmaceutical products. The two anomers, α- and β-lactose (α-L/β-L), differ by the orientation of the C-1 hydroxyl group on the glucose unit. In aqueous solution, a mutarotation process leads to an equilibrium of about [...] Read more.
The disaccharide lactose is an excipient commonly used in pharmaceutical products. The two anomers, α- and β-lactose (α-L/β-L), differ by the orientation of the C-1 hydroxyl group on the glucose unit. In aqueous solution, a mutarotation process leads to an equilibrium of about 40% α-L and 60% β-L at room temperature. Beyond a pharmaceutical excipient in solid products, α-L has immuno-modulatory effects and functions as a major regulator of TIM-3/Gal-9 immune checkpoint, through direct binding to the β-galactoside-binding lectin galectin-9. The blockade of the co-inhibitory checkpoint TIM-3 expressed on T cells with anti-TIM-3 antibodies represents a promising approach to combat different onco-hematological diseases, in particular myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. In parallel, the discovery and development of anti-TIM-3 small molecule ligands is emerging, including peptides, RNA aptamers and a few specifically designed heterocyclic molecules. An alternative option consists of targeting the different ligands of TIM-3, notably Gal-9 recognized by α-lactose. Modulation of the TIM-3/Gal-9 checkpoint can be achieved with both α- and β-lactose. Moreover, lactose is a quasi-pan-galectin ligand, capable of modulating the functions of most of the 16 galectin molecules. The present review provides a complete analysis of the pharmaceutical and galectin-related biological functions of (α/β)-lactose. A focus is made on the capacity of lactose and Gal-9 to modulate both the TIM-3/Gal-9 and PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoints in oncology. Modulation of the TIM-3/Gal-9 checkpoint is a promising approach for the treatment of cancers and the role of lactose in this context is discussed. The review highlights the immuno-regulatory functions of lactose, and the benefit of the molecule well beyond its use as a pharmaceutical excipient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Targets and Therapies of Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Review
The Effects of Physical Activity on Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: A Scoping Review
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6364; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246364 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Background: Cancer therapies are associated with multiple adverse effects, including (but not limited to) cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), occurring in up to 25% of patients. Physical activity has been shown [...] Read more.
Background: Cancer therapies are associated with multiple adverse effects, including (but not limited to) cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), occurring in up to 25% of patients. Physical activity has been shown to help reduce CRF through modulating the immune system, and may synergistically aid in the anti-tumor effects of ICIs. This review describes the nature and scope of evidence for the effects associated with concurrent physical activity while undergoing ICI therapy. Method: Scoping review methodology was utilized to identify studies, extract data, and collate and summarize results. Results: In literature published from January 2010 through to August 2021, only one human study and three pre-clinical studies met inclusion criteria. Conclusion: Existing evidence supports that physical activity is associated with decreased treatment-related toxicities such as CRF. However, further investigation is warranted. The dearth of clinical studies illustrates the need for more research to address this question, to guide patients and their providers in the application of appropriate physical activity interventions in those patients undergoing ICI. Full article
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Article
Blood Bacterial DNA Load and Profiling Differ in Colorectal Cancer Patients Compared to Tumor-Free Controls
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6363; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246363 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 441
Abstract
Inflammation and immunity are linked to intestinal adenoma (IA) and colorectal cancer (CRC) development. The gut microbiota is associated with CRC risk. Epithelial barrier dysfunction can occur, possibly leading to increased intestinal permeability in CRC patients. We conducted a case-control study including 100 [...] Read more.
Inflammation and immunity are linked to intestinal adenoma (IA) and colorectal cancer (CRC) development. The gut microbiota is associated with CRC risk. Epithelial barrier dysfunction can occur, possibly leading to increased intestinal permeability in CRC patients. We conducted a case-control study including 100 incident histologically confirmed CRC cases, and 100 IA and 100 healthy subjects, matched to cases by center, sex and age. We performed 16S rRNA gene analysis of blood and applied conditional logistic regression. Further analyses were based on negative binomial distribution normalization and Random Forest algorithm. We found an overrepresentation of blood 16S rRNA gene copies in colon cancer as compared to tumor-free controls. For high levels of gene copies, community diversity was higher in colon cancer cases than controls. Bacterial taxa and operational taxonomic unit abundances were different between groups and were able to predict CRC with an accuracy of 0.70. Our data support the hypothesis of a higher passage of bacteria from gastrointestinal tract to bloodstream in colon cancer. This result can be applied on non-invasive diagnostic tests for colon cancer control. Full article
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Article
Sequential Isolation and Characterization of Single CTCs and Large CTC Clusters in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients
Cancers 2021, 13(24), 6362; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13246362 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 436
Abstract
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detach from a primary tumor or its metastases and circulate in the bloodstream. The vast majority of CTCs are deemed to die into the bloodstream, with only few cells representing viable metastatic precursors. Particularly, single epithelial CTCs do not [...] Read more.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detach from a primary tumor or its metastases and circulate in the bloodstream. The vast majority of CTCs are deemed to die into the bloodstream, with only few cells representing viable metastatic precursors. Particularly, single epithelial CTCs do not survive long in the circulation due to the loss of adhesion-dependent survival signals. In metastatic colorectal cancer, the generation of large CTC clusters is a very frequent occurrence, able to increase the aptitude of CTCs to survive in the bloodstream. Although a deepened analysis of large-sized CTC clusters might certainly offer new insights into the complexity of the metastatic cascade, most CTC isolation techniques are unfortunately not compatible with large-sized CTC clusters isolation. The inappropriateness of standard CTC isolation devices for large clusters isolation and the scarce availability of detection methods able to specifically isolate and characterize both single CTCs and CTC clusters finally prevented in-depth studies on the prognostic and predictive value of clusters in clinical practice, unlike that which has been described for single CTCs. In the present study, we validated a new sequential filtration method for the simultaneous isolation of large CTC clusters and single CTCs in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer at failure of first-line treatments. The new method might allow differential downstream analyses for single and clustered CTCs starting from a single blood draw, opening new scenarios for an ever more precise characterization of colorectal cancer metastatic cascade. Full article
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