Special Issue "Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andrea Casadei-Gardini
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical Oncology, University of Modena, Modena, Italy
Interests: systemic therapy; clinical outcome; immune-inflammation indexes; radiomics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Giulia Rovesti

Guest Editor
Department of Medical Oncology, University of Modena, Modena, Italy
Interests: hepatocellular carcinoma; colon cancer; cholangiocarcinoma; gastric cancer; pancreatic cancer; epigenetics; translational research
Dr. Giorgia Marisi
Website
Guest Editor
Biosciences Laboratory, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola 47014, Italy
Interests: biomarkers; liquid biopsy; cfDNA; sequencing; gastrointestinal cancer; hepatocellular carcinoma
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent years have seen remarkable advances in the treatment of all gastrointestinal cancers.

There are thousands of cancer-related biomarker references in the literature, but only a handful of oncology biomarkers have been validated for clinical use.

The role of genetic alterations in cancer is well established. It is generally accepted, however, that genetic changes alone do not fully account for malignancy. Growing evidence has indeed implicated the involvement of epigenetic alterations in cancer. Unlike irreversible genetic mutations, epigenetic alterations are potentially reversible, which makes epigenetic therapy (modulation of epigenetic states) an appealing strategy for cancer treatment. Alterations of epigenetic marks could also serve as biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and responses to therapies.

Some of the molecular drivers of inflammation have been repeatedly demonstrated to influence cell death, growth, and metabolic pathways of a pre-cancer or cancer cell. The challenge is to understand how these molecular drivers differ from their function in normal cells and in homeostatic regulation. If key molecular drivers of inflammation for cancer can be identified, novel therapies can be obtained to selectively target their abnormal function in the “inflammatory phase” prior to pre-cancer or cancer cells.

In recent years, several new therapies have been approved for different gastrointestinal cancer. Due to these new therapeutic options, physicians are confronted with new challenges, such as monitoring progression and stratifying patients for appropriate treatments.

We invite researchers to submit up-to-date original research articles, short communications, and comprehensive review articles on the topic highlighted in this Special Issue of Cancers.

Dr. Andrea Casadei-Gardini
Dr. Giulia Rovesti
Dr. Giorgia Marisi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Cancers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomarker
  • epigenetics
  • colon cancer
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • cholangiocarcinoma
  • gastric cancer
  • anal cancer
  • radiomics
  • prognosis
  • diagnosis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
From CENTRAL to SENTRAL (SErum aNgiogenesis cenTRAL): Circulating Predictive Biomarkers to Anti-VEGFR Therapy
Cancers 2020, 12(5), 1330; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051330 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
Background: In the last decade, a series of analyses failed to identify predictive biomarkers of resistance/susceptibility for anti-angiogenic drugs in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We conducted an exploratory preplanned analysis of serum pro-angiogenic factors (SErum aNgiogenesis-cenTRAL) in 72 mCRC patients enrolled in the [...] Read more.
Background: In the last decade, a series of analyses failed to identify predictive biomarkers of resistance/susceptibility for anti-angiogenic drugs in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We conducted an exploratory preplanned analysis of serum pro-angiogenic factors (SErum aNgiogenesis-cenTRAL) in 72 mCRC patients enrolled in the phase II CENTRAL (ColorEctalavastiNTRiAlLdh) trial, with the aim to identify potential predictive factors for sensitivity/resistance to first line folinic acid-fluorouracil-irinotecan regimen (FOLFIRI) plus bevacizumab. Methods: First-line FOLFIRI/bevacizumab patients were prospectively assessed for the following circulating pro-angiogenic factors, evaluated with ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)-based technique at baseline and at every cycle: Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1), placental derived growth factor (PlGF), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), monocyte chemotactic protein-3 (MCP-3), interleukin-8 (IL-8). Results: Changes in circulating FGF-2 levels among different blood samples seemed to correlate with clinical outcome. Patients who experienced an increase in FGF-2 levels at the second cycle of chemotherapy compared to baseline, had a median Progression Free Survival (mPFS) of 12.85 vs. 7.57 months (Hazard Ratio—HR: 0.73, 95% Confidence Interval—CI: 0.43-1.27, p = 0.23). Similar results were seen when comparing FGF-2 concentrations between baseline and eight-week time point (mPFS 12.98 vs. 8.00 months, HR: 0.78, 95% CI: 0.46–1.33, p = 0.35). Conclusions: Our pre-planned, prospective analysis suggests that circulating FGF-2 levels’ early increase could be used as a marker to identify patients who are more likely to gain benefit from FOLFIRI/bevacizumab first-line therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma)
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Open AccessArticle
mTOR Pathway Expression as Potential Predictive Biomarker in Patients with Advanced Neuroendocrine Tumors Treated with Everolimus
Cancers 2020, 12(5), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051201 - 10 May 2020
Abstract
Background. Everolimus (Eve), which is a mammalian target of Rapamicin (mTOR) inhibitor, is part of the therapeutic armamentarium of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Currently, there are no validated biomarkers predicting Eve efficacy in NETs. In this study, we explore whether the expression of phosphorilated [...] Read more.
Background. Everolimus (Eve), which is a mammalian target of Rapamicin (mTOR) inhibitor, is part of the therapeutic armamentarium of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Currently, there are no validated biomarkers predicting Eve efficacy in NETs. In this study, we explore whether the expression of phosphorilated (p)-mTOR and p70S6-kinase (S6K), a downstream effector of mTOR, correlates with the outcome of patients with NET that were treated with Eve. Methods. Tissue specimens that were derived from NETs treated with Eve at our Institution were examined for the expression levels of p-mTOR and p-S6K by immunohistochemistry. Response rate (RR), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were analyzed in two groups: p-mTOR/p-S6K positive (group 1) and p-mTOR/p-S6K negative (group 2). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis were performed. Results. Twenty-four patients with advanced NETs that were treated with Eve were included in the analysis. Eight out 24 (33.3%) patients were both p-mTOR and p-S6K positive. A better median PFS and OS in group 1 (18.2 and 39.9 months) as compared to group 2 (13 and 32.4 months) was depicted, with a toxicity profile that was comparable with data literature. Conclusions. Our study suggests that the activation of mTOR pathway can predict better outcomes in patients with NET treated with Eve. However, these results warrant further confirmation in a prospective setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma)
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Open AccessArticle
Blood Free-Circulating DNA Testing of Methylated RUNX3 Is Useful for Diagnosing Early Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(4), 789; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12040789 - 26 Mar 2020
Abstract
The main modalities for gastric cancer screening are limited to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and contrast radiography. The former is invasive, and the latter has high false-negative rates. Thus, alternative diagnostic strategies are required. One solution may be a liquid biopsy. Methylated RUNX3 is [...] Read more.
The main modalities for gastric cancer screening are limited to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and contrast radiography. The former is invasive, and the latter has high false-negative rates. Thus, alternative diagnostic strategies are required. One solution may be a liquid biopsy. Methylated RUNX3 is a well-known biomarker of gastric cancer but it is very difficult to detect with conventional bisulfite-based methylation assays when only a small amount of serum is available. We developed the combined restriction digital PCR (CORD) assay, a new methylation assay allowing for the counting of as little as one copy of a methylated gene in a small sample of DNA without necessitating DNA bisulfite treatment. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the serum DNA testing of methylated RUNX3 by the CORD assay for the detection of early gastric cancer using 50 patients with early gastric cancer and 61 control individuals. The CORD assay had a sensitivity of 50.0% and a specificity of 80.3% for early gastric cancer. Methylated RUNX3 copies were significantly associated with tumor size, massive submucosal invasion, and lymph-vascular invasion. After the treatment, the median number of methylated RUNX3 copies was significantly decreased. The CORD assay may provide an alternative screening strategy to detect even early-stage gastric cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma)
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Open AccessArticle
1H-NMR Based Serum Metabolomics Highlights Different Specific Biomarkers between Early and Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Stages
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010241 - 18 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The application of non-targeted serum metabolomics profiling represents a noninvasive tool to identify new clinical biomarkers and to provide early diagnostic differentiation, and insight into the pathological mechanisms underlying hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. In this study, we used proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance ( [...] Read more.
The application of non-targeted serum metabolomics profiling represents a noninvasive tool to identify new clinical biomarkers and to provide early diagnostic differentiation, and insight into the pathological mechanisms underlying hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. In this study, we used proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H-NMR) Spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis to profile the serum metabolome of 64 HCC patients, in early (n = 28) and advanced (n = 36) disease stages. We found that 1H-NMR metabolomics profiling could discriminate early from advanced HCC patients with a cross-validated accuracy close to 100%. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) showed significant changes in serum glucose, lactate, lipids and some amino acids, such as alanine, glutamine, 1-methylhistidine, lysine and valine levels between advanced and early HCC patients. Moreover, in early HCC patients, Kaplan–Meier analysis highlighted the serum tyrosine level as a predictor for overall survival (OS). Overall, our analysis identified a set of metabolites with possible clinical and biological implication in HCC pathophysiology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Molecular-Biology-Driven Treatment for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(5), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051214 - 13 May 2020
Abstract
Background: Metastatic CRC (mCRC) is a molecular heterogeneous disease. The aim of this review is to give an overview of molecular-driven treatment of mCRC patients. Methods: A review of clinical trials, retrospective studies and case reports was performed regarding molecular biomarkers with therapeutic [...] Read more.
Background: Metastatic CRC (mCRC) is a molecular heterogeneous disease. The aim of this review is to give an overview of molecular-driven treatment of mCRC patients. Methods: A review of clinical trials, retrospective studies and case reports was performed regarding molecular biomarkers with therapeutic implications. Results: RAS wild-type status was confirmed as being crucial for anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies and for rechallenge strategy. Antiangiogenic therapies improve survival in first- and second-line settings, irrespective of RAS status, while tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) remain promising in refractory mCRC. Promising results emerged from anti-HER2 drugs trials in HER2-positive mCRC. Target inhibitors were successful for BRAFV600E mutant mCRC patients, while immunotherapy was successful for microsatellite instability-high/defective mismatch repair (MSI-H/dMMR) or DNA polymerase epsilon catalytic subunit (POLE-1) mutant patients. Data are still lacking on NTRK, RET, MGMT, and TGF-β, which require further research. Conclusion: Several molecular biomarkers have been identified for the tailored treatment of mCRC patients and multiple efforts are currently ongoing to increase the therapeutic options. In the era of precision medicine, molecular-biology-driven treatment is the key to impro patient selection and patient outcomes. Further research and large phase III trials are required to ameliorate the therapeutic management of these patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Gastrointestinal Carcinoma)
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