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Cancers, Volume 14, Issue 7 (April-1 2022) – 257 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Li–Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a rare cancer predisposition syndrome associated with a germline mutation in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene. People with LFS have a 90% chance of suffering one or more cancers in their lifetime. No treatments exist to reduce this cancer risk. The concept of the precancerous niche applies the ‘seed and soil’ theory of metastasis to the initial process of carcinogenesis. TP53 is at the nexus of this process and is a key determinant of the conditions in which cancers are formed and progress in LFS. Important factors in the creation of the precancerous niche include disrupted tissue homeostasis, cellular metabolism, and chronic inflammation. This paper reviews the evidence for how cancers start in people with LFS and proposes that a series of commonly used noncancer drugs, including metformin and aspirin, can help reduce that lifetime risk of cancer. View this paper
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Article
Anticancer Potential of Post-Fermentation Media and Cell Extracts of Probiotic Strains: An In Vitro Study
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071853 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Background: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB), many of which are probiotics, can produce health-promoting metabolites (postbiotics). Purpose: To assess the mechanism of antiproliferative action of postbiotics, post-fermentation media (PFM) and cell extracts (CEs) of several strains of LAB were studied against colon (Caco-2), and [...] Read more.
Background: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB), many of which are probiotics, can produce health-promoting metabolites (postbiotics). Purpose: To assess the mechanism of antiproliferative action of postbiotics, post-fermentation media (PFM) and cell extracts (CEs) of several strains of LAB were studied against colon (Caco-2), and cervix (HeLa) cancer cell lines, as well as normal intestine (IEC-6) cells, were used as a comparison. Methods: Postbiotics of various LAB (n = 39) were screened for their antiproliferative activity. The effect of PFM and CEs on reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), ATP production, phosphatidylserine (PS) externalisation, and apoptosis-related caspases 3/7 and 9 activation was assayed. Results: PFM and CEs showed strong dose-dependent antiproliferative activity against Caco-2 cells, up to 77.8 ± 0.8% and 58.4 ± 1.6% for PFM and CEs, respectively. Stronger inhibitory activity against cancerous (Caco-2 and HeLa) cells than against normal (IEC-6) cells was observed. PFM were more inhibitory than CEs, and both generated oxidative stress in Caco-2 cells. PFM of L. plantarum 0991 and L. brevis 0983 induced apoptosis in Caco-2 cells by the mitochondrial signalling pathway. Conclusions: Anticancer activity of PFM and CEs of LAB, as well as the ability of apoptosis induction, is strain-specific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteria-Based Therapy to Fight Cancer)
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Article
Enhancer RNA Transcription Is Essential for a Novel CSF1 Enhancer in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1852; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071852 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1298
Abstract
Enhancers are critical regulatory elements in the genome that help orchestrate spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression during development and normal physiology. In cancer, enhancers are often rewired by various genetic and epigenetic mechanisms for the activation of oncogenes that lead to initiation and [...] Read more.
Enhancers are critical regulatory elements in the genome that help orchestrate spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression during development and normal physiology. In cancer, enhancers are often rewired by various genetic and epigenetic mechanisms for the activation of oncogenes that lead to initiation and progression. A key feature of active enhancers is the production of non-coding RNA molecules called enhancer RNAs, whose functions remain unknown but can be used to specify active enhancers de novo. Using a combination of eRNA transcription and chromatin modifications, we have identified a novel enhancer located 30 kb upstream of Colony Stimulating Factor 1 (CSF1). Notably, CSF1 is implicated in the progression of breast cancer, is overexpressed in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines, and its enhancer is primarily active in TNBC patient tumors. Genomic deletion of the enhancer (via CRISPR/Cas9) enabled us to validate this regulatory element as a bona fide enhancer of CSF1 and subsequent cell-based assays revealed profound effects on cancer cell proliferation, colony formation, and migration. Epigenetic silencing of the enhancer via CRISPR-interference assays (dCas9-KRAB) coupled to RNA-sequencing, enabled unbiased identification of additional target genes, such as RSAD2, that are predictive of clinical outcome. Additionally, we repurposed the RNA-guided RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas13 machinery to specifically degrade the eRNAs transcripts produced at this enhancer to determine the consequences on CSF1 mRNA expression, suggesting a post-transcriptional role for these non-coding transcripts. Finally, we test our eRNA-dependent model of CSF1 enhancer function and demonstrate that our results are extensible to other forms of cancer. Collectively, this work describes a novel enhancer that is active in the TNBC subtype, which is associated with cellular growth, and requires eRNA transcripts for proper enhancer function. These results demonstrate the significant impact of enhancers in cancer biology and highlight their potential as tractable targets for therapeutic intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alterations in Cis-Regulatory Elements in Human Cancer)
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Article
The EGFR Signaling Modulates in Mesenchymal Stem Cells the Expression of miRNAs Involved in the Interaction with Breast Cancer Cells
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1851; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071851 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 597
Abstract
We previously demonstrated that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) modulates in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) the expression of a number of genes coding for secreted proteins that promote breast cancer progression. However, the role of the EGFR in modulating in MSCs the [...] Read more.
We previously demonstrated that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) modulates in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) the expression of a number of genes coding for secreted proteins that promote breast cancer progression. However, the role of the EGFR in modulating in MSCs the expression of miRNAs potentially involved in the progression of breast cancer remains largely unexplored. Following small RNA-sequencing, we identified 36 miRNAs differentially expressed between MSCs untreated or treated with the EGFR ligand transforming growth factor α (TGFα), with a fold change (FC) < 0.56 or FC ≥ 1.90 (CI, 95%). KEGG analysis revealed a significant enrichment in signaling pathways involved in cancer development and progression. EGFR activation in MSCs downregulated the expression of different miRNAs, including miR-23c. EGFR signaling also reduced the secretion of miR-23c in conditioned medium from MSCs. Functional assays demonstrated that miR-23c acts as tumor suppressor in basal/claudin-low MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells, through the repression of IL-6R. MiR-23c downregulation promoted cell proliferation, migration and invasion of these breast cancer cell lines. Collectively, our data suggested that the EGFR signaling regulates in MSCs the expression of miRNAs that might be involved in breast cancer progression, providing novel information on the mechanisms that regulate the MSC-tumor cell cross-talk. Full article
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Review
Impact of Lipid Metabolism on Antitumor Immune Response
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071850 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 792
Abstract
Over the past decade, metabolic reprogramming has been defined as a hallmark of cancer. More recently, a large number of studies have demonstrated that metabolic reprogramming can modulate the differentiation and functions of immune cells, and thus modify the antitumor response. Increasing evidence [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, metabolic reprogramming has been defined as a hallmark of cancer. More recently, a large number of studies have demonstrated that metabolic reprogramming can modulate the differentiation and functions of immune cells, and thus modify the antitumor response. Increasing evidence suggests that modified energy metabolism could be responsible for the failure of antitumor immunity. Indeed, tumor-infiltrating immune cells play a key role in cancer, and metabolic switching in these cells has been shown to help determine their phenotype: tumor suppressive or immune suppressive. Recent studies in the field of immunometabolism focus on metabolic reprogramming in the tumor microenvironment (TME) by targeting innate and adaptive immune cells and their associated anti- or protumor phenotypes. In this review, we discuss the lipid metabolism of immune cells in the TME as well as the effects of lipids; finally, we expose the link between therapies and lipid metabolism. Full article
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Article
Biological Role of Tumor/Stromal CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 in MITO16A/MaNGO-OV2 Advanced Ovarian Cancer Patients
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071849 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 645
Abstract
This study investigated the prognostic role of the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients receiving first-line treatment within the MITO16A/MaNGO-OV2 phase-IV trial. CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 expression was evaluated in the epithelial and stromal component of 308 EOC IHC-stained tumor samples. The statistical [...] Read more.
This study investigated the prognostic role of the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients receiving first-line treatment within the MITO16A/MaNGO-OV2 phase-IV trial. CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 expression was evaluated in the epithelial and stromal component of 308 EOC IHC-stained tumor samples. The statistical analysis focused on biomarkers’ expression, their association with other variables and prognostic value. Zero-inflated tests, shrinkage, bootstrap procedures, and multivariable models were applied. The majority of EOC (75.0%) expressed CXCR4 and CXCR7, 56.5% expressed the entire CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis, while only 4.6% were negative for CXCL12 and its cognate receptors, in regard to the epithelial component. Stromal CXCL12 and CXCR7, expressed in 11.2% and 65.5%, respectively, were associated with the FIGO stage. High CXCL12 in epithelial cancer cells was associated with shorter progression-free and overall survival. However, after adjusting for overfitting due to best cut-off multiplicity testing, the significance was lost. This is a wide-ranging, prospective study in which CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 were systematically evaluated in epithelial and stromal components, in selected stage III-IV EOC. Although CXCL12 was not prognostic, epithelial expression identified high-risk FIGO stage III patients for PFS. These data suggest that it might be worth studying the CXCL12 axis as a therapeutic target to improve treatment efficacy in EOC patients. Full article
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Article
HuR Plays a Role in Double-Strand Break Repair in Pancreatic Cancer Cells and Regulates Functional BRCA1-Associated-Ring-Domain-1(BARD1) Isoforms
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1848; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071848 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
Human Antigen R (HuR/ELAVL1) is known to regulate stability of mRNAs involved in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell survival. Although several HuR targets are established, it is likely that many remain currently unknown. Here, we identified BARD1 mRNA as a novel target of [...] Read more.
Human Antigen R (HuR/ELAVL1) is known to regulate stability of mRNAs involved in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell survival. Although several HuR targets are established, it is likely that many remain currently unknown. Here, we identified BARD1 mRNA as a novel target of HuR. Silencing HuR caused a >70% decrease in homologous recombination repair (HRR) efficiency as measured by the double-strand break repair (pDR-GFP reporter) assay. HuR-bound mRNAs extracted from RNP-immunoprecipitation and probed on a microarray, revealed a subset of HRR genes as putative HuR targets, including the BRCA1-Associated-Ring-Domain-1 (BARD1) (p < 0.005). BARD1 genetic alterations are infrequent in PDAC, and its context-dependent upregulation is poorly understood. Genetic silencing (siRNA and CRISPR knock-out) and pharmacological targeting of HuR inhibited both full length (FL) BARD1 and its functional isoforms (α, δ, Φ). Silencing BARD1 sensitized cells to olaparib and oxaliplatin; caused G2-M cell cycle arrest; and increased DNA-damage while decreasing HRR efficiency in cells. Exogenous overexpression of BARD1 in HuR-deficient cells partially rescued the HRR dysfunction, independent of an HuR pro-oncogenic function. Collectively, our findings demonstrate for the first time that BARD1 is a bona fide HuR target, which serves as an important regulatory point of the transient DNA-repair response in PDAC cells. Full article
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Review
MMP9: A Tough Target for Targeted Therapy for Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1847; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071847 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 904
Abstract
Having the capability to proteolyze diverse structural and signaling proteins, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), one of the best-studied secretory endopeptidases, has been identified as a crucial mediator of processes closely associated with tumorigenesis, such as the extracellular matrix reorganization, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, [...] Read more.
Having the capability to proteolyze diverse structural and signaling proteins, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), one of the best-studied secretory endopeptidases, has been identified as a crucial mediator of processes closely associated with tumorigenesis, such as the extracellular matrix reorganization, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, cell migration, new blood vessel formation, and immune response. In this review, we present the current state of knowledge on MMP9 and its role in cancer growth in the context of cell adhesion/migration, cancer-related inflammation, and tumor microenvironment formation. We also summarize recent achievements in the development of selective MMP9 inhibitors and the limitations of using them as anticancer drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Therapy)
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Article
Associations of Computed Tomography Image-Assessed Adiposity and Skeletal Muscles with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1846; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071846 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Obesity measured by anthropometrics is associated with increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). It is unclear to what extent specific adipose tissue components, aside from muscle, are associated with TNBC. This retrospective study included 350 breast cancer patients who received treatment between [...] Read more.
Obesity measured by anthropometrics is associated with increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). It is unclear to what extent specific adipose tissue components, aside from muscle, are associated with TNBC. This retrospective study included 350 breast cancer patients who received treatment between October 2011 and April 2020 with archived abdominal or pelvic computed tomography (CT) images. We measured the areas of adipose tissue and five-density levels of skeletal muscle on patients’ third lumbar vertebra (L3) image. Logistic regression was performed to examine the associations of specific adiposity and skeletal muscles components and a four-category body composition phenotype with the TNBC subtype. Results showed that higher vs. lower areas (3rd vs. 1st tertiles) of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were associated with increased odds of TNBC vs. non-TNBC after adjusting for age, race, stage, tumor grade, tumor size, and skeletal muscle areas (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 11.25 [95% CI = 3.46–36.52]) and (AOR, 10.34 [95% CI = 2.90–36.90]) respectively. Higher areas of low density muscle was also associated with increased odds of TNBC (AOR, 3.15 [95% CI = 1.05–10.98]). Compared to normal body composition (low adipose tissue/high muscle), high adiposity/high muscle was associated with higher odds of TNBC (AOR, 5.54 [95% CI = 2.12–14.7]). These associations were mainly in premenopausal women and among patients with the CT performed after breast cancer surgery. Specific adipose tissue and low-density muscle can be associated with the TNBC subtype in breast cancer patients. The direction of association warrants confirmation by prospective studies. Full article
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Article
Conversion of Hyperpolarized [1-13C]Pyruvate in Breast Cancer Cells Depends on Their Malignancy, Metabolic Program and Nutrient Microenvironment
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1845; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071845 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 835
Abstract
Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a technology for characterizing tumors in vivo based on their metabolic activities. The conversion rates (kpl) of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate to [1-13C]lactate depend on monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH); [...] Read more.
Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a technology for characterizing tumors in vivo based on their metabolic activities. The conversion rates (kpl) of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate to [1-13C]lactate depend on monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH); these are also indicators of tumor malignancy. An unresolved issue is how glucose and glutamine availability in the tumor microenvironment affects metabolic characteristics of the cancer and how this relates to kpl-values. Two breast cancer cells of different malignancy (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) were cultured in media containing defined combinations of low glucose (1 mM; 2.5 mM) and glutamine (0.1 mM; 1 mM) and analyzed for pyruvate uptake, intracellular metabolite levels, LDH and pyruvate kinase activities, and 13C6-glucose-derived metabolomics. The results show variability of kpl with the different glucose/glutamine conditions, congruent with glycolytic activity, but not with LDH activity or the Warburg effect; this suggests metabolic compartmentation. Remarkably, kpl-values were almost two-fold higher in MCF-7 than in the more malignant MDA-MB-231 cells, the latter showing a higher flux of 13C-glucose-derived pyruvate to the TCA-cycle metabolites 13C2-citrate and 13C3-malate, i.e., pyruvate decarboxylation and carboxylation, respectively. Thus, MRS with hyperpolarized [1-13C-pyruvate] is sensitive to both the metabolic program and the nutritional state of cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Networks in Cancer)
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Article
Germline Variants in Angiogenesis-Related Genes Contribute to Clinical Outcome in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1844; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071844 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)/FGF receptor (FGFR), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)/PDGF receptor (PDGFR) systems, as well as some matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs), are involved in various steps of angiogenesis. Data indicate that common germline variations in angiogenesis-regulating genes may [...] Read more.
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)/FGF receptor (FGFR), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)/PDGF receptor (PDGFR) systems, as well as some matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs), are involved in various steps of angiogenesis. Data indicate that common germline variations in angiogenesis-regulating genes may modulate therapy results and cancer progression. However, whether these variants affect clinical outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is unclear. Hence, we assessed the relationship between FGF/FGFR, PDGF/PDGFR, MMP, and TIMP genetic variants and treatment outcomes in HNSCC patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) alone or combined with cisplatin-based chemotherapy. In multivariate analysis, FGF2 rs1048201 CC homozygotes showed a higher risk of death (p = 0.039), while PDGFRA rs2228230 T was strongly associated with an increased risk of locoregional relapse (HR 2.49, p = 0.001) in the combination treatment subgroup. In the RT alone subset, MMP2 rs243865 TT carriers had a higher risk of locoregional recurrence (HR 2.92, p = 0.019), whereas PDGFRB rs246395 CC homozygotes were at increased risk of metastasis (HR 3.06, p = 0.041). The MMP2 rs7201 C and TIMP2 rs7501477 T were associated with a risk of locoregional failure in the entire cohort (p = 0.032 and 0.045, respectively). Furthermore, rs1048201, rs2228230, rs246395, rs243865, rs7201, and rs7201/rs7501477 were independent indicators of an unfavorable outcome. This study demonstrates that the FGF2, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, MMP2, and TIMP2 variants may contribute to treatment failure and poor prognosis in HNSCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemoradiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer)
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Review
RBM24 in the Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Cancer Progression: Anti-Tumor or Pro-Tumor Activity?
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1843; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071843 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1294
Abstract
RNA-binding proteins are critical post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. They are implicated in a wide range of physiological and pathological processes by modulating nearly every aspect of RNA metabolisms. Alterations in their expression and function disrupt tissue homeostasis and lead to the occurrence [...] Read more.
RNA-binding proteins are critical post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. They are implicated in a wide range of physiological and pathological processes by modulating nearly every aspect of RNA metabolisms. Alterations in their expression and function disrupt tissue homeostasis and lead to the occurrence of various cancers. RBM24 is a highly conserved protein that binds to a large spectrum of target mRNAs and regulates many post-transcriptional events ranging from pre-mRNA splicing to mRNA stability, polyadenylation and translation. Studies using different animal models indicate that it plays an essential role in promoting cellular differentiation during organogenesis and tissue regeneration. Evidence is also accumulating that its dysregulation frequently occurs across human cancers. In several tissues, RBM24 clearly functions as a tumor suppressor, which is consistent with its inhibitory potential on cell proliferation. However, upregulation of RBM24 in other cancers appears to promote tumor growth. There is a possibility that RBM24 displays both anti-tumor and pro-tumor activities, which may be regulated in part through differential interactions with its protein partners and by its post-translational modifications. This makes it a potential biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis, as well as a therapeutic target for cancer treatment. The challenge remains to determine the post-transcriptional mechanisms by which RBM24 modulates gene expression and tumor progression in a context- or background-dependent manner. This review discusses recent findings on the potential function of RBM24 in tumorigenesis and provides future directions for better understanding its regulatory role in cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role and Therapeutic Target Potential of RBPs in Cancer)
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Article
Isolation of Neoantigen-Specific Human T Cell Receptors from Different Human and Murine Repertoires
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1842; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071842 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 644
Abstract
(1) Background: Mutation-specific T cell receptor (TCR)-based adoptive T cell therapy represents a truly tumor-specific immunotherapeutic strategy. However, isolating neoepitope-specific TCRs remains a challenge. (2) Methods: We investigated, side by side, different TCR repertoires—patients’ peripheral lymphocytes (PBLs) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), PBLs of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Mutation-specific T cell receptor (TCR)-based adoptive T cell therapy represents a truly tumor-specific immunotherapeutic strategy. However, isolating neoepitope-specific TCRs remains a challenge. (2) Methods: We investigated, side by side, different TCR repertoires—patients’ peripheral lymphocytes (PBLs) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), PBLs of healthy donors, and a humanized mouse model—to isolate neoepitope-specific TCRs against eight neoepitope candidates from a colon cancer and an ovarian cancer patient. Neoepitope candidates were used to stimulate T cells from different repertoires in vitro to generate neoepitope-specific T cells and isolate the specific TCRs. (3) Results: We isolated six TCRs from healthy donors, directed against four neoepitope candidates and one TCR from the murine T cell repertoire. Endogenous processing of one neoepitope, for which we isolated one TCR from both human and mouse-derived repertoires, could be shown. No neoepitope-specific TCR could be generated from the patients’ own repertoire. (4) Conclusion: Our data indicate that successful isolation of neoepitope-specific TCRs depends on various factors such as the heathy donor’s TCR repertoire or the presence of a tumor microenvironment allowing neoepitope-specific immune responses of the host. We show the advantage and feasibility of using healthy donor repertoires and humanized mouse TCR repertoires to generate mutation-specific TCRs with different specificities, especially in a setting when the availability of patient material is limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer: Advances in T Cell-Based Clinical Immunotherapies)
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Article
Work-Up and Outcome of Hepatic Resection for Peri-Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma (PH-CCA) without Staging Laparoscopy
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071841 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Background: This study reports the outcome of a work-up programme for resection of peri-hilar cholangiocarcinoma (PH-CCA) without the use of staging laparoscopy. Methods: This is a clinical case cohort series of patients undergoing surgical resection of PH-CCA without the use of staging laparoscopy [...] Read more.
Background: This study reports the outcome of a work-up programme for resection of peri-hilar cholangiocarcinoma (PH-CCA) without the use of staging laparoscopy. Methods: This is a clinical case cohort series of patients undergoing surgical resection of PH-CCA without the use of staging laparoscopy in the work-up algorithm. During the 13 years from 1 January 2009 to 1 January 2022, 32 patients underwent laparotomy for planned surgical resection of PH-CCA. Data were collected on demographic profile, admission biochemistry, radiology, pre-operative intervention, operation and outcome, together with post-operative complications and disease-free and overall survival. Results: All patients underwent pre-operative contrast-enhanced CT. Twenty-four (75%) underwent pre-operative MR. Twenty-three (72%) underwent pre-operative biliary drainage. Twenty-nine patients (91%) had either type III or IV peri-hilar cholangiocarcinoma. One patient (3%) in this series underwent a non-resectional laparotomy. Twenty-nine (91%) had a final histopathological diagnosis of PH-CCA. One further patient had a final diagnosis of an intraductal papillary neoplasm of the biliary tree (IPNB) with high-grade dysplasia but no invasive cancer. Eleven patients (36%) received chemotherapy after surgery. The median (95% CI) time to recurrence was 14 (7–31) months. The median survival was 25 (18-upper limit not reached) months. Conclusion: This cohort of 32 patients undergoing attempted resection for PH-CCA without the use of staging laparoscopy in the work-up algorithm indicates that with careful attention to patient fitness and cross-sectional and interventional radiologic/endoscopic imaging, a very low non-therapeutic laparotomy rate of 3% can be achieved and sustained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surgical Treatment of Cholangiocarcinoma)
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Article
How AI Can Help in the Diagnostic Dilemma of Pulmonary Nodules
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1840; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071840 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 785
Abstract
Pulmonary nodules are the precursors of bronchogenic carcinoma, its early detection facilitates early treatment which save a lot of lives. Unfortunately, pulmonary nodule detection and classification are liable to subjective variations with high rate of missing small cancerous lesions which opens the way [...] Read more.
Pulmonary nodules are the precursors of bronchogenic carcinoma, its early detection facilitates early treatment which save a lot of lives. Unfortunately, pulmonary nodule detection and classification are liable to subjective variations with high rate of missing small cancerous lesions which opens the way for implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer aided diagnosis (CAD) systems. The field of deep learning and neural networks is expanding every day with new models designed to overcome diagnostic problems and provide more applicable and simply used models. We aim in this review to briefly discuss the current applications of AI in lung segmentation, pulmonary nodule detection and classification. Full article
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Article
Cost-Effectiveness of Genetic Testing for All Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in China
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071839 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Unselected multigene testing for all women with breast cancer (BC) identifies more cancer susceptibility gene (CSG) carriers who can benefit from precision prevention compared with family history (FH)/clinical-criteria-based guidelines. Very little CSG testing is undertaken in middle-income countries such as China, and its [...] Read more.
Unselected multigene testing for all women with breast cancer (BC) identifies more cancer susceptibility gene (CSG) carriers who can benefit from precision prevention compared with family history (FH)/clinical-criteria-based guidelines. Very little CSG testing is undertaken in middle-income countries such as China, and its cost-effectiveness remains unaddressed. We aimed to estimate cost-effectiveness and population impact of multigene testing for all Chinese BC patients. Data from 8085 unselected BC patients recruited to a Peking University Cancer Hospital study were used for microsimulation modeling, comparing three strategies in the Chinese setting: all BC women undergo BRCA1/BRCA2/PALB2 genetic testing, only BC women fulfilling FH/clinical criteria undergo BRCA testing, and no genetic testing. Prophylactic mastectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy would be adopted where appropriate. Societal and payer perspectives with a lifetime horizon along with sensitivity analyses were presented. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER): incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained is compared to the USD 10,260/QALY (one-times GDP per capita) willingness-to-pay threshold. BC incidence, ovarian cancer (OC) incidence, and related deaths were also estimated. FH/clinical-criteria-based BRCA testing was ruled out on the principle of extensive dominance. Compared with no genetic testing, multigene testing for all BC patients had an ICER = USD 4506/QALY (societal perspective) and USD 7266/QALY (payer perspective), well below our threshold. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed unselected multigene testing remained cost-effective for 94.2%/86.6% of simulations from the societal and payer perspectives. One year’s unselected multigene testing could prevent 7868 BC/OC cases and 5164 BC/OC deaths in China. Therefore, unselected multigene testing is extremely cost-effective and should be offered to all Chinese women with BC. Full article
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Review
Melanin and Melanin-Functionalized Nanoparticles as Promising Tools in Cancer Research—A Review
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1838; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071838 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Cancer poses an ongoing global challenge, despite the substantial progress made in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. The existing therapeutic methods remain limited by undesirable outcomes such as systemic toxicity and lack of specificity or long-term efficacy, although innovative alternatives [...] Read more.
Cancer poses an ongoing global challenge, despite the substantial progress made in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. The existing therapeutic methods remain limited by undesirable outcomes such as systemic toxicity and lack of specificity or long-term efficacy, although innovative alternatives are being continuously investigated. By offering a means for the targeted delivery of therapeutics, nanotechnology (NT) has emerged as a state-of-the-art solution for augmenting the efficiency of currently available cancer therapies while combating their drawbacks. Melanin, a polymeric pigment of natural origin that is widely spread among many living organisms, became a promising candidate for NT-based cancer treatment owing to its unique physicochemical properties (e.g., high biocompatibility, redox behavior, light absorption, chelating ability) and innate antioxidant, photoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor effects. The latest research on melanin and melanin-like nanoparticles has extended considerably on many fronts, allowing not only efficient cancer treatments via both traditional and modern methods, but also early disease detection and diagnosis. The current paper provides an updated insight into the applicability of melanin in cancer therapy as antitumor agent, molecular target, and delivery nanoplatform. Full article
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Article
Quantifying Tumor Heterogeneity via MRI Habitats to Characterize Microenvironmental Alterations in HER2+ Breast Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071837 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 765
Abstract
This study identifies physiological habitats using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to elucidate intertumoral differences and characterize microenvironmental response to targeted and cytotoxic therapy. BT-474 human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2+) breast tumors were imaged before and during treatment (trastuzumab, paclitaxel) with [...] Read more.
This study identifies physiological habitats using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to elucidate intertumoral differences and characterize microenvironmental response to targeted and cytotoxic therapy. BT-474 human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2+) breast tumors were imaged before and during treatment (trastuzumab, paclitaxel) with diffusion-weighted MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to measure tumor cellularity and vascularity, respectively. Tumors were stained for anti-CD31, anti-ɑSMA, anti-CD45, anti-F4/80, anti-pimonidazole, and H&E. MRI data was clustered to identify and label each habitat in terms of vascularity and cellularity. Pre-treatment habitat composition was used stratify tumors into two “tumor imaging phenotypes” (Type 1, Type 2). Type 1 tumors showed significantly higher percent tumor volume of the high-vascularity high-cellularity (HV-HC) habitat compared to Type 2 tumors, and significantly lower volume of low-vascularity high-cellularity (LV-HC) and low-vascularity low-cellularity (LV-LC) habitats. Tumor phenotypes showed significant differences in treatment response, in both changes in tumor volume and physiological composition. Significant positive correlations were found between histological stains and tumor habitats. These findings suggest that the differential baseline imaging phenotypes can predict response to therapy. Specifically, the Type 1 phenotype indicates increased sensitivity to targeted or cytotoxic therapy compared to Type 2 tumors. Full article
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Article
Development and Validation of a Raman Spectroscopic Classification Model for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN)
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071836 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 717
Abstract
The mortality associated with cervical cancer can be reduced if detected at the precancer stage, but current methods are limited in terms of subjectivity, cost and time. Optical spectroscopic methods such as Raman spectroscopy can provide a rapid, label-free and nondestructive measurement of [...] Read more.
The mortality associated with cervical cancer can be reduced if detected at the precancer stage, but current methods are limited in terms of subjectivity, cost and time. Optical spectroscopic methods such as Raman spectroscopy can provide a rapid, label-free and nondestructive measurement of the biochemical fingerprint of a cell, tissue or biofluid. Previous studies have shown the potential of Raman spectroscopy for cervical cancer diagnosis, but most were pilot studies with small sample sizes. The aim of this study is to show the clinical utility of Raman spectroscopy for identifying cervical precancer in a large sample set with validation in an independent test set. Liquid-based cervical cytology samples (n = 662) (326 negative, 200 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)1 and 136 CIN2+) were obtained as a training set. Raman spectra were recorded from single-cell nuclei and subjected to a partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLSDA). In addition, the PLSDA classification model was validated using a blinded independent test set (n = 69). A classification accuracy of 91.3% was achieved with only six of the blinded samples misclassified. This study showed the potential clinical utility of Raman spectroscopy with a good classification of negative, CIN1 and CIN2+ achieved in an independent test set. Full article
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Review
Neuroendocrine Neoplasms of the Gynecologic Tract
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071835 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Gynecological tract neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) are rare, aggressive tumors from endocrine cells derived from the neuroectoderm, neural crest, and endoderm. The primary gynecologic NENs constitute 2% of gynecologic malignancies, and the cervix is the most common site of NEN in the gynecologic tract. [...] Read more.
Gynecological tract neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) are rare, aggressive tumors from endocrine cells derived from the neuroectoderm, neural crest, and endoderm. The primary gynecologic NENs constitute 2% of gynecologic malignancies, and the cervix is the most common site of NEN in the gynecologic tract. The updated WHO classification of gynecologic NEN is based on the Ki-67 index, mitotic index, and tumor characteristics such as necrosis, and brings more uniformity in the terminology of NENs like other disease sites. Imaging plays a crucial role in the staging, triaging, restaging, and surveillance of NENs. The expression of the somatostatin receptors on the surface of neuroendocrine cells forms the basis of increasing evaluation with functional imaging modalities using traditional and new tracers, including 68Ga-DOTA-Somatostatin Analog-PET/CT. Management of NENs involves a multidisciplinary approach. New targeted therapies could improve the paradigm of care for these rare malignancies. This article focuses on the updated staging classifications, clinicopathological characteristics, imaging, and management of gynecologic NENs of the cervix, ovary, endometrium, vagina, and vulva, emphasizing the relatively common cervical neuroendocrine carcinomas among these entities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gynecologic Cancers: Imaging Updates and Advances)
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Article
N, LNR or LODDS: Which Is the Most Appropriate Lymph Node Classification Scheme for Patients with Radically Resected Pancreatic Cancer?
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1834; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071834 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 637
Abstract
Background: Even though numerous novel lymph node (LN) classification schemes exist, an extensive comparison of their performance in patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not yet been performed. Method: We investigated the prognostic performance and discriminative ability of 25 different LN [...] Read more.
Background: Even though numerous novel lymph node (LN) classification schemes exist, an extensive comparison of their performance in patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not yet been performed. Method: We investigated the prognostic performance and discriminative ability of 25 different LN ratio (LNR) and 27 log odds of metastatic LN (LODDS) classifications by means of Cox regression and C-statistic in 319 patients with resected PDAC. Regression models were adjusted for age, sex, T category, grading, localization, presence of metastatic disease, positivity of resection margins, and neoadjuvant therapy. Results: Both LNR or LODDS as continuous variables were associated with advanced tumor stage, distant metastasis, positive resection margins, and PDAC of the head or corpus. Two distinct LN classifications, one LODDS and one LNR, were found to be superior to the N category in the complete patient collective. However, only the LODDS classification exhibited statistically significant, gradually increasing HRs of their subcategories and at the same time significantly higher discriminative potential in the subgroups of patients with PDAC of the head or corpus and in patients with tumor free resection margins or M0 status, respectively. On this basis, we built a clinically helpful nomogram to estimate the prognosis of patients after radically resected PDAC. Conclusion: One LNR and one LODDS classification scheme were found to out-perform the N category in terms of both prognostic performance and discriminative ability, in distinct patient subgroups, with reference to OS in patients with resected PDAC. Full article
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Article
Radiation-Induced Esophagitis in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Patients: Voxel-Based Analysis and NTCP Modeling
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1833; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071833 - 05 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 728
Abstract
The aim of our study is to characterize the risk of radiation-induced esophagitis (RE) in a cohort of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with concurrent chemotherapy and photon/proton therapy. For each patient, the RE was graded according to the CTCAE v.3. The [...] Read more.
The aim of our study is to characterize the risk of radiation-induced esophagitis (RE) in a cohort of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with concurrent chemotherapy and photon/proton therapy. For each patient, the RE was graded according to the CTCAE v.3. The esophageal dose-volume histograms (DVHs) were extracted. Voxel-based analyses (VBAs) were performed to assess the spatial patterns of the dose differences between patients with and without RE of grade ≥ 2. Two hierarchical NTCP models were developed by multivariable stepwise logistic regression based on non-dosimetric factors and on the DVH metrics for the whole esophagus and its anatomical subsites identified by the VBA. In the 173 analyzed patients, 76 (44%) developed RE of grade ≥ 2 at a median follow-up time of 31 days. The VBA identified regions of significant association between dose and RE in a region encompassing the thoracic esophagus. We developed two NTCP models, including the RT modality and a dosimetric factor: V55Gy for the model related to the whole esophagus, and the mean dose for the model designed on the thoracic esophagus. The cross-validated performance showed good predictions for both models (ROC-AUC of 0.70 and 0.73, respectively). The only slight improvement provided by the analysis of the thoracic esophageal subsites might be due to the relevant sparing of cervical and lower thoracic esophagus in the analyzed cohort. Further studies on larger cohorts and a more heterogeneous set of dose distributions are needed to validate these preliminary findings and shed further light on the spatial patterns of RE development. Full article
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Systematic Review
Health-Related Quality of Life and Side Effects in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) Patients Treated with Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071832 - 05 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 733
Abstract
Background: The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has revolutionized the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), resulting in a substantial gain in median overall survival. Subsequently, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has become more relevant. Here, we systematically review the available literature [...] Read more.
Background: The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has revolutionized the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), resulting in a substantial gain in median overall survival. Subsequently, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has become more relevant. Here, we systematically review the available literature on HRQoL issues and side effects of different TKIs registered for the treatment of GIST. Methods: A search through five databases was performed. Full reports in English describing HRQoL outcomes and/or side effects in GIST patients on TKI therapy were included. Results: A total of 104 papers were included; 13 studies addressed HRQoL, and 96 studies investigated adverse events. HRQoL in patients treated with imatinib, regorafenib, and ripretinib remained stable, whereas most sunitinib-treated patients reported a decrease in HRQoL. Severe fatigue and fear of recurrence or progression were specifically assessed as HRQoL issues and had a negative impact on overall HRQoL as well as psychological and physical well-being. The majority of studies focused on physician-reported side effects. Nearly all GIST patients treated with a TKI experienced at least one adverse event, mostly mild to moderate. Conclusions: Despite the fact that almost all patients treated with a TKI experienced side effects, this did not seem to affect overall HRQoL during TKI therapy. In daily practice, it are the side effects that hamper a patient’s HRQoL resulting in treatment adjustments, suggesting that the reported side effects were underestimated by physicians, or the measures used to assess HRQoL do not capture all relevant issues that determine a GIST patient’s HRQoL. Full article
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Review
Neoadjuvant Therapy for Primary Resectable Retroperitoneal Sarcomas—Looking Forward
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071831 - 05 Apr 2022
Viewed by 688
Abstract
The cornerstone of therapy for primary retroperitoneal sarcomas (RPS) is complete surgical resection, best achieved by resecting the tumor en bloc with adherent structures even if not overtly infiltrated. Until recently, trials designed to elucidate the role of neoadjuvant radiation or chemotherapy for [...] Read more.
The cornerstone of therapy for primary retroperitoneal sarcomas (RPS) is complete surgical resection, best achieved by resecting the tumor en bloc with adherent structures even if not overtly infiltrated. Until recently, trials designed to elucidate the role of neoadjuvant radiation or chemotherapy for RPS have been unable to achieve sufficient enrollment. The completion of the STRASS trial, which explored neoadjuvant radiotherapy for primary resectable RPS, is a major milestone in RPS research, but has prompted further questions about histology-driven treatment paradigms for RPS. Though it was ultimately a negative trial with respect to its primary endpoint of abdominal recurrence-free survival, STRASS produced a signal that suggested improved abdominal recurrence-free survival with neoadjuvant radiotherapy (RT) for patients with liposarcoma (LPS). No effect was seen for leiomyosarcoma (LMS) or high-grade dedifferentiated (DD) LPS, consistent with recent literature suggesting LMS and high-grade DD-LPS have a predominant pattern of distant rather than local failure. These results, along with those from other recent studies conducted at the bench and the bedside, emphasize the importance of a histology-specific approach to RPS research. Recent evidence for patterns of distant failure in LMS and high-grade DD-LPS has prompted the initiation of STRASS2, a study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for these histologies. As this study unfolds, evidence may emerge for novel systemic therapy options in specific sarcoma histotypes given the explosion in targeted and immunotherapeutic applications over the last decade. This article reviews current and recent evidence around neoadjuvant radiation and chemotherapy as well as avenues for future study to optimize these treatment approaches. Full article
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Review
Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation in Cancer Signaling, Metabolism and Anticancer Therapy
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1830; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071830 - 05 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
The cancer state is thought to be maintained by genetic and epigenetic changes that drive a cancer-promoting gene expression program. However, recent results show that cellular states can be also stably maintained by the reorganization of cell structure leading to the formation of [...] Read more.
The cancer state is thought to be maintained by genetic and epigenetic changes that drive a cancer-promoting gene expression program. However, recent results show that cellular states can be also stably maintained by the reorganization of cell structure leading to the formation of biological condensates via the process of liquid–liquid phase separation. Here, we review the data showing cancer-specific biological condensates initiated by mutant oncoproteins, RNA-binding proteins, or lincRNAs that regulate oncogenic gene expression programs and cancer metabolism. Effective anticancer drugs may specifically partition into oncogenic biological condensates (OBC). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper from Journal Reviewers)
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Article
Tissue Microarray Analyses Suggest Axl as a Predictive Biomarker in HPV-Negative Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071829 - 05 Apr 2022
Viewed by 543
Abstract
The receptor tyrosine kinase Axl is described to promote migration, metastasis and resistance against molecular targeting, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy in various tumor entities, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Since clinical data on Axl and its ligand Gas6 in HNSCC are [...] Read more.
The receptor tyrosine kinase Axl is described to promote migration, metastasis and resistance against molecular targeting, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy in various tumor entities, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Since clinical data on Axl and its ligand Gas6 in HNSCC are sparse, we assessed the association of Axl and Gas6 expression with patient survival in a single center retrospective cohort in a tissue microarray format. Expression was evaluated manually using an established algorithm and correlated with clinicopathological parameters and patient survival. A number of 362 samples yielded interpretable staining, which did not correlate with T- and N-stage. Protein expression levels were not associated with the survival of patients with p16-positive oropharyngeal SCC. In HPV-negative tumors, Axl expression did not impact patients treated with primary or adjuvant radio(chemo)therapy, but was significantly associated with inferior overall and recurrence-free survival in patients treated with surgery alone. Gas6 was a positive predictor of survival in patients whose treatment included radiotherapy. Associations remained significant in multivariable analysis. Our data question a meaningful contribution of the Axl/Gas6 pathway to radio-resistance in HNSCC and instead suggest that strong Axl expression identifies tumors requiring adjuvant radio(chemo)therapy after surgery. Full article
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Article
Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging Grades the Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071828 - 05 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 571
Abstract
We sought to find further evidence showing the increase in PCa aggressiveness as PI-RADS score increases from four surrogates of PCa aggressiveness: i. prostate biopsy GG (≤3 vs. >3), ii. type of pathology in surgical specimens (favourable vs. unfavourable), iii. clinical stage (localised [...] Read more.
We sought to find further evidence showing the increase in PCa aggressiveness as PI-RADS score increases from four surrogates of PCa aggressiveness: i. prostate biopsy GG (≤3 vs. >3), ii. type of pathology in surgical specimens (favourable vs. unfavourable), iii. clinical stage (localised vs. advanced), and risk of recurrence of localised PCa after primary treatment (low-intermediate vs. high). A group of 692 PCa patients were diagnosed after 3-T multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) and guided and/or systematic biopsies, showing csPCa (GG ≥ 2) in 547 patients (79%) and insignificant PCa (iPCa) in 145 (21%). The csPCa rate increased from 32.4% in PI-RADS < 3 to 95.5% in PI-RADS 5 (p < 0.001). GG ≥ 3 was observed in 7.6% of PCa with PI-RADS < 3 and 32.6% in those with PI-RADS > 3 (p < 0.001). Unfavourable pathology was observed in 38.9% of PCa with PI-RAD < 3 and 68.3% in those with PI-RADS > 3 (p = 0.030). Advanced disease was not observed in PCa with PI-RADS ≤ 3, while it existed in 12.7% of those with PI-RADS > 3 (p < 0.001). High-risk recurrence localised PCa was observed in 9.5% of PCa with PI-RADS < 3 and 35% in those with PI-RADS > 3 (p = 0.001). The PI-RADS score was an independent predictor of all surrogates of PCa aggressiveness as PSA density. We confirmed that mpMRI grades PCa aggressiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Prostate Cancer—from Molecular Mechanisms to Clinical Care)
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Review
Somatic Mutations in Core Spliceosome Components Promote Tumorigenesis and Generate an Exploitable Vulnerability in Human Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071827 - 04 Apr 2022
Viewed by 809
Abstract
Alternative pre-mRNA processing enables the production of distinct mRNA and protein isoforms from a single gene, thus greatly expanding the coding potential of eukaryotic genomes and fine-tuning gene expression programs. Splicing is carried out by the spliceosome, a complex molecular machinery which assembles [...] Read more.
Alternative pre-mRNA processing enables the production of distinct mRNA and protein isoforms from a single gene, thus greatly expanding the coding potential of eukaryotic genomes and fine-tuning gene expression programs. Splicing is carried out by the spliceosome, a complex molecular machinery which assembles step-wise on mRNA precursors in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. In the last decade, exome sequencing technologies have allowed the identification of point mutations in genes encoding splicing factors as a recurrent hallmark of human cancers, with higher incidence in hematological malignancies. These mutations lead to production of splicing factors that reduce the fidelity of the splicing process and yield splicing variants that are often advantageous for cancer cells. However, at the same time, these mutations increase the sensitivity of transformed cells to splicing inhibitors, thus offering a therapeutic opportunity for novel targeted strategies. Herein, we review the recent literature documenting cancer-associated mutations in components of the early spliceosome complex and discuss novel therapeutic strategies based on small-molecule spliceosome inhibitors that exhibit strong anti-tumor effects, particularly against cancer cells harboring mutations in spliceosomal components. Full article
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Review
Ferroptosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Mechanisms, Drug Targets and Approaches to Clinical Translation
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1826; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071826 - 04 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
Ferroptosis, an iron and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent non-apoptotic type of regulated cell death, is characterized by a massive iron overload and peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which finally results in cell death. Recent studies suggest that ferroptosis can influence carcinogenesis negatively [...] Read more.
Ferroptosis, an iron and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent non-apoptotic type of regulated cell death, is characterized by a massive iron overload and peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which finally results in cell death. Recent studies suggest that ferroptosis can influence carcinogenesis negatively and therefore may be used as a novel anti-cancer strategy. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly malignancy with poor chances of survival and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Diagnosis at an already late stage and general resistance to current therapies may be responsible for the dismal outcome. As the liver acts as a key factor in iron metabolism, ferroptosis is shown to play an important role in HCC carcinogenesis and, more importantly, may hold the potential to eradicate HCC. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge we have of the role of ferroptosis in HCC and the application of ferroptosis as a therapy option and provide an overview of the potential translation of ferroptosis in the clinical practice of HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Therapy)
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Article
Robust Validation and Comprehensive Analysis of a Novel Signature Derived from Crucial Metabolic Pathways of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1825; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071825 - 04 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a malignant tumor with a dismal prognosis. PDAC have extensively reprogrammed metabolic characteristics influenced by interactions with normal cells, the effects of the tumor microenvironment and oncogene-mediated cell-autonomous pathways. In this study, we found that among all cancer [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a malignant tumor with a dismal prognosis. PDAC have extensively reprogrammed metabolic characteristics influenced by interactions with normal cells, the effects of the tumor microenvironment and oncogene-mediated cell-autonomous pathways. In this study, we found that among all cancer hallmarks, metabolism played an important role in PDAC. Subsequently, a 16-gene prognostic signature was established with genes derived from crucial metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, bile acid metabolism, cholesterol homeostasis and xenobiotic metabolism (gbcx). The signature was used to distinguish overall survival in multiple cohorts from public datasets as well as a validation cohort followed up by us at Shanghai Cancer Center. Notably, the gbcx-related risk score (gbcxMRS) also accurately predicted poor PDAC subtypes, such as pure-basal-like and squamous types. At the same time, it also predicted PDAC recurrence. The gbcxMRS was also associated with immune cells, especially CD8 T cells, Treg cells. Furthermore, a high gbcxMRS may indicate high drug sensitivity to irinotecan and docetaxel and CTLA4 inhibitor immunotherapy. Taken together, these results indicate a robust and reproducible metabolic-related signature based on analysis of the overall pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer, which may have excellent prognostic and therapeutic implications for PDAC. Full article
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Article
Anticancer Effects and Molecular Mechanisms of Apigenin in Cervical Cancer Cells
Cancers 2022, 14(7), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14071824 - 04 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 987
Abstract
Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent malignancy in women. Apigenin is a natural plant-derived flavonoid present in common fruit, vegetables, and herbs, and has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as a health-promoting agent. It also exhibits important anticancer effects [...] Read more.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent malignancy in women. Apigenin is a natural plant-derived flavonoid present in common fruit, vegetables, and herbs, and has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as a health-promoting agent. It also exhibits important anticancer effects in various cancers, but its effects are not widely accepted by clinical practitioners. The present study investigated the anticancer effects and molecular mechanisms of apigenin in cervical cancer in vitro and in vivo. HeLa and C33A cells were treated with different concentrations of apigenin. The effects of apigenin on cell viability, cell cycle distribution, migration potential, phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT, the integrin β1-FAK signaling pathway, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related protein levels were investigated. Mechanisms identified from the in vitro study were further validated in a cervical tumor xenograft mouse model. Apigenin effectively inhibited the growth of cervical cancer cells and cervical tumors in xenograft mice. Furthermore, the apigenin down-regulated FAK signaling (FAK, paxillin, and integrin β1) and PI3K/AKT signaling (PI3K, AKT, and mTOR), inactivated or activated various signaling targets, such as Bcl-2, Bax, p21cip1, CDK1, CDC25c, cyclin B1, fibronectin, N-cadherin, vimentin, laminin, and E-cadherin, promoted mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis, induced G2/M-phase cell cycle arrest, and reduced EMT to inhibit HeLa and C33A cancer cell migration, producing anticancer effects in cervical cancer. Thus, apigenin may act as a chemotherapeutic agent for cervical cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Basis of Anti-tumor Therapies)
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