Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, is difficult to treat and highly lethal. Since HCC is predominantly diagnosed in patients with cirrhosis, treatment planning must consider both the severity of liver disease and tumor burden. To minimize the impact to the patient while treating the tumor, techniques have been developed to target HCC. Anatomical targeting by surgical resection or locoregional therapies is generally reserved for patients with preserved liver function and minimal to moderate tumor burden. Patients with decompensated cirrhosis and small tumors are optimal candidates for liver transplantation, which offers the best chance of long-term survival. Yet, only 20%–30% of patients have disease amenable to anatomical targeting. For the majority of patients with advanced HCC, chemotherapy is used to target the tumor biology. Despite these treatment options, the five-year survival of patients in the United States with HCC is only 16%. In this review we provide a comprehensive overview of current approaches to target HCC. We also discuss emerging diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, novel therapeutic targets identified by recent genomic profiling studies, and potential applications of immunotherapy in the treatment of HCC.
Abstract: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, a cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), remains a serious global health concern. HCC development and human hepatocarcinogenesis are associated with hepatic inflammation caused by host interferons and cytokines. This article focused on the association between the HBV core protein, which is one of the HBV-encoding proteins, and cytokine production. The HBV core protein induced the production of interferons and cytokines in human hepatoma cells and in a mouse model. These factors may be responsible for persistent HBV infection and hepatocarcinogenesis. Inhibitors of programmed death (PD)-1 and HBV core and therapeutic vaccines including HBV core might be useful for the treatment of patients with chronic HBV infection. Inhibitors of HBV core, which is important for hepatic inflammation, could be helpful in preventing the progression of liver diseases in HBV-infected patients.
Abstract: A mosaic pattern of lung attenuation on chest computed tomography (CT) may be due to various etiologies. There is limited published data on CT results when used to evaluate pulmonary hypertension (PH). We retrospectively studied the frequency of mosaic pattern in patients with PH and the cause of the PH by diagnostic group, as well as the correlation between the mosaic pattern and the following: demographics, severity of the PH, main pulmonary artery (PA) size, PA/aorta (PA/Ao) ratio, pulmonary function tests (PFT), and ventilation perfusion scan results.Overall, 18% of the cohort had CT mosaic pattern (34/189). Mosaic pattern was present in 17/113 (15%) in Group 1 pulmonary arterial hypertension, 5/13 (28%) in Group 2 pulmonary venous hypertension and 8/50 (16%) in Group 3 PH. Conversely, Group 4 chronic thromboembolic PH was more prevalent in 4/8 (50%). Main PA size, PA/Ao ratio, and segmental perfusion defect were positively associated with mosaic pattern. In contrast, factors such as age, gender, body mass index, functional class, hemodynamic data, and PFT values were not associated with mosaic pattern. Mosaic pattern is not specific as an isolated finding for distinguishing the subtype of PH.
Abstract: Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States. Angiogenesis inhibitors have been introduced for the treatment of cancer. Based on the fact that many anticancer agents have been developed from botanical sources, there is a significant untapped resource to be found in natural products. American ginseng is a commonly used herbal medicine in the U.S., which possesses antioxidant properties. After oral ingestion, natural ginseng saponins are biotransformed to their metabolites by the enteric microbiome before being absorbed. The major metabolites, ginsenoside Rg3 and compound K, showed significant potent anticancer activity compared to that of their parent ginsenosides Rb1, Rc, and Rd. In this review, the molecular mechanisms of ginseng metabolites on cancer chemoprevention, especially apoptosis and angiogenic inhibition, are discussed. Ginseng gut microbiome metabolites showed significant anti-angiogenic effects on pulmonary, gastric and ovarian cancers. This review suggests that in addition to the chemopreventive effects of ginseng compounds, as angiogenic inhibitors, ginsenoside metabolites could be used in combination with other cancer chemotherapeutic agents in cancer management.
Abstract: Metabolic syndrome is an ever-increasing health problem among the world’s population. It is a group of intertwined maladies that includes obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and diabetes mellitus type II (T2D). There is a direct correlation between high triacylglycerol (triglyceride; TAG) level and severity of metabolic syndrome. Thus, controlling the synthesis of TAG will have a great impact on overall systemic lipid metabolism and thus metabolic syndrome progression. The Acyl-CoA: monoacylglycerolacyltransferase (MGAT) family has three members (MGAT1, -2, and -3) that catalyze the first step in TAG production, conversion of monoacylglycerol (MAG) to diacylglycerol (DAG). TAG is then directly synthesized from DAG by a Acyl-CoA: diacylglycerolacyltransferase (DGAT). The conversion of MAG → DAG → TAG is the major pathway for the production of TAG in the small intestine, and produces TAG to a lesser extent in the liver. Transgenic and pharmacological studies in mice have demonstrated the beneficial effects of MGAT inhibition as a therapy for treating several metabolic diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, T2D, and NAFLD. In this review, the significance of several properties of MGAT physiology, including tissue expression pattern and its relationship to overall TAG metabolism, enzymatic biochemical properties and their effects on drug discovery, and finally what is the current knowledge about MGAT small molecule inhibitors and their efficacy will be discussed. Overall, this review highlights the therapeutic potential of inhibiting MGAT for lowering TAG synthesis and whether this avenue of drug discovery warrants further clinical investigation.
Abstract: Metabolomics is the study of low molecular weight molecules or metabolites produced within cells and biological systems. It involves technologies such as mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) that can measure hundreds of thousands of unique chemical entities (UCEs). The metabolome provides one of the most accurate reflections of cellular activity at the functional level and can be leveraged to discern mechanistic information during normal and disease states. The advantages of metabolomics over other “omics” include its high sensitivity and ability to enable the analysis of relatively few metabolites compared with the number of genes and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). In clinical samples, metabolites are more stable than proteins or RNA. In fact, metabolomic profiling in basic, epidemiologic, clinical, and translational studies has revealed potential new biomarkers of disease and therapeutic outcome and has led to a novel mechanistic understanding of pathogenesis. These potential biomarkers include novel metabolites associated with cancer initiation, regression, and recurrence. Unlike genomics or even proteomics, however, the degree of metabolite complexity and heterogeneity within biological systems presents unique challenges that require specialized skills and resources to overcome. This article discusses epidemiologic studies of altered metabolite profiles in several cancers as well as challenges in the field and potential approaches to overcoming them.