Special Issue "New Biomarkers in Cancers"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jochen Sven Utikal
Website
Guest Editor
Skin Cancer Unit, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and University Medical Center Mannheim, Ruprecht-Karl University of Heidelberg, Theodor-Kutzer Ufer 1-3, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
Interests: Malignant Melanoma, Biomarkers, Translational Oncology, Melanoma Cellular Plasticity, Therapy Resistance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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

Novel analytical techniques using body fluids such as blood and tumor tissue have identified numerous possible biomarkers.

In this Special Issue, we will publish reviews and original research that provide new insights into the role of predictive and prognostic tumor biomarkers. Novel insights into tumor biomarkers are particularly welcome.

Prof. Dr. Jochen Sven Utikal
Guest Editor

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

  • Cancer
  • Tumor
  • Biomarker
  • Molecule
  • Serum
  • Tumor
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • ctDNA
  • DNA
  • RNA
  • Protein
  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Prognosis
  • Prediction
  • Indicator
  • Traceable substance

Published Papers (33 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Application of an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm to Prognostically Stratify Grade II Gliomas
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010050 - 22 Dec 2019
Abstract
(1) Background: Recently, it has been shown that the extent of resection (EOR) and molecular classification of low-grade gliomas (LGGs) are endowed with prognostic significance. However, a prognostic stratification of patients able to give specific weight to the single parameters able to predict [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Recently, it has been shown that the extent of resection (EOR) and molecular classification of low-grade gliomas (LGGs) are endowed with prognostic significance. However, a prognostic stratification of patients able to give specific weight to the single parameters able to predict prognosis is still missing. Here, we adopt classic statistics and an artificial intelligence algorithm to define a multiparametric prognostic stratification of grade II glioma patients. (2) Methods: 241 adults who underwent surgery for a supratentorial LGG were included. Clinical, neuroradiological, surgical, histopathological and molecular data were assessed for their ability to predict overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and malignant progression-free survival (MPFS). Finally, a decision-tree algorithm was employed to stratify patients. (3) Results: Classic statistics confirmed EOR, pre-operative- and post-operative tumor volumes, Ki67, and the molecular classification as independent predictors of OS, PFS, and MPFS. The decision tree approach provided an algorithm capable of identifying prognostic factors and defining both the cut-off levels and the hierarchy to be used in order to delineate specific prognostic classes with high positive predictive value. Key results were the superior role of EOR on that of molecular class, the importance of second surgery, and the role of different prognostic factors within the three molecular classes. (4) Conclusions: This study proposes a stratification of LGG patients based on the different combinations of clinical, molecular, and imaging data, adopting a supervised non-parametric learning method. If validated in independent case studies, the clinical utility of this innovative stratification approach might be proved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
miR-10a-5p and miR-29b-3p as Extracellular Vesicle-Associated Prostate Cancer Detection Markers
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010043 - 21 Dec 2019
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are shed by many different cell types. Their nucleic acids content offers new opportunities for biomarker research in different solid tumors. The role of EV RNA in prostate cancer (PCa) is still largely unknown. EVs were isolated from different benign [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are shed by many different cell types. Their nucleic acids content offers new opportunities for biomarker research in different solid tumors. The role of EV RNA in prostate cancer (PCa) is still largely unknown. EVs were isolated from different benign and malignant prostate cell lines and blood plasma from patients with PCa (n = 18) and controls with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (n = 7). Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), Western blot, electron microscopy, and flow cytometry analysis were used for the characterization of EVs. Non-coding RNA expression profiling of PC3 metastatic PCa cells and their EVs was performed by next generation sequencing (NGS). miRNAs differentially expressed in PC3 EVs were validated with qRT-PCR in EVs derived from additional cell lines and patient plasma and from matched tissue samples. 92 miRNAs were enriched and 48 miRNAs were depleted in PC3 EVs compared to PC3 cells, which could be confirmed by qRT-PCR. miR-99b-5p was significantly higher expressed in malignant compared to benign EVs. Furthermore, expression profiling showed miR-10a-5p (p = 0.018) and miR-29b-3p (p = 0.002), but not miR-99b-5p, to be overexpressed in plasma-derived EVs from patients with PCa compared with controls. In the corresponding tissue samples, no significant differences in the miRNA expression could be observed. We thus propose that EV-associated miR-10a-5p and miR-29b-3p could serve as potential new PCa detection markers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
The Gasdermin E Gene Has Potential as a Pan-Cancer Biomarker, While Discriminating between Different Tumor Types
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111810 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Due to the elevated rates of incidence and mortality of cancer, early and accurate detection is crucial for achieving optimal treatment. Molecular biomarkers remain important screening and detection tools, especially in light of novel blood-based assays. DNA methylation in cancer has been linked [...] Read more.
Due to the elevated rates of incidence and mortality of cancer, early and accurate detection is crucial for achieving optimal treatment. Molecular biomarkers remain important screening and detection tools, especially in light of novel blood-based assays. DNA methylation in cancer has been linked to tumorigenesis, but its value as a biomarker has not been fully explored. In this study, we have investigated the methylation patterns of the Gasdermin E gene across 14 different tumor types using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) methylation data (N = 6502). We were able to identify six CpG sites that could effectively distinguish tumors from normal samples in a pan-cancer setting (AUC = 0.86). This combination of pan-cancer biomarkers was validated in six independent datasets (AUC = 0.84–0.97). Moreover, we tested 74,613 different combinations of six CpG probes, where we identified tumor-specific signatures that could differentiate one tumor type versus all the others (AUC = 0.79–0.98). In all, methylation patterns exhibited great variation between cancer and normal tissues, but were also tumor specific. Our analyses highlight that a Gasdermin E methylation biomarker assay, not only has the potential for being a methylation-specific pan-cancer detection marker, but it also possesses the capacity to discriminate between different types of tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Screening a Broad Range of Solid and Haematological Tumour Types for CD70 Expression Using a Uniform IHC Methodology as Potential Patient Stratification Method
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101611 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
The constitutive expression of CD70 has been described in various haematological and solid tumour types. In addition, the co-expression of its receptor in tumours has been demonstrated, mediating tumour cell proliferation. Although CD70 expression is a prerequisite to enrol patients in solid tumour [...] Read more.
The constitutive expression of CD70 has been described in various haematological and solid tumour types. In addition, the co-expression of its receptor in tumours has been demonstrated, mediating tumour cell proliferation. Although CD70 expression is a prerequisite to enrol patients in solid tumour clinical trials using anti-CD70 immunotherapy, there is currently no standardised test to evaluate CD70 expression. These differences in immunohistochemistry (IHC) protocols make it challenging to compare the expression levels that were obtained in different studies, pointing out the need for one uniform methodology. In this retrospective study, over 600 tumour samples from different solid and haematological malignancies were analysed while using one validated IHC method. CD70 and CD27 expression was demonstrated in a broad range of tumour types. In solid tumours, 43% demonstrated CD70 positivity with the highest degree in renal cell carcinoma (79.5%). Kaposi sarcoma showed no CD70 expression on the tumour cells. In lymphoma samples, 58% demonstrated CD70 positivity. Moreover, the co-expression of CD70 and CD27 was observed in 39% of lymphoma samples. These findings highlight the need to further explore anti-CD70 therapies in a broad range of CD70 expressing tumour types and in doing so, implementing one standardised protocol to define CD70 overexpression to use it as a diagnostic tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of A 6-Mirna Signature in Serum from Colorectal Cancer Screening Participants as Non-Invasive Biomarkers for Advanced Adenoma and Colorectal Cancer Detection
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101542 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) and its precancerous lesion, advanced adenomas (AA), is critical to improve CRC incidence and prognosis. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs or miR) are promising non-invasive biomarkers for cancer detection. Our previous results showed that a plasma 6-miRNA signature (miR-15b-5p, [...] Read more.
Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) and its precancerous lesion, advanced adenomas (AA), is critical to improve CRC incidence and prognosis. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs or miR) are promising non-invasive biomarkers for cancer detection. Our previous results showed that a plasma 6-miRNA signature (miR-15b-5p, miR-18a-5p, miR-29a-3p, miR-335-5p, miR-19a-3p and miR-19b-3p) could distinguish between CRC or AA and healthy individuals (controls). However, its diagnostic performance in serum is unknown. In this exploratory study we aim to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the 6-miRNA signature in serum samples in a cohort of individuals participating in Barcelona’s CRC Screening Programme. We prospectively collected serums from 264 faecal immunochemical test (FIT)-positive participants and total RNA was extracted. Finally, 213 individuals (CRC, 59, AA, 74, controls, 80) were included. MiRNA expression was quantified by real-time RT-qPCR and data analysis was performed by logistic regression. Faecal hemoglobin concentration (f(Hb)) from FIT of the same individuals was also considered. As previously described in plasma, serum from patients with AA or CRC presented significant differences in the 6-miRNA signature compared to controls. Moreover, when combined with f(Hb), the final signature showed high discriminative capacity to distinguish CRC from controls (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.88), and even AA (AUC = 0.81) that otherwise are poorly detected if we only consider f(Hb) (AUC = 0.64). Addition of the serum 6-miRNA signature to quantitative f(Hb) show high accuracy to detect patients with advanced colorectal neoplasia in average-risk individuals. A combination of these two non-invasive methods could be a good strategy to improve diagnostic performances of current CRC screening programmes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
A Network Analysis of Multiple Myeloma Related Gene Signatures
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101452 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most prevalent hematological cancer. MM is a complex and heterogeneous disease, and thus, it is essential to leverage omics data from large MM cohorts to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying MM tumorigenesis, progression, and drug responses, which [...] Read more.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most prevalent hematological cancer. MM is a complex and heterogeneous disease, and thus, it is essential to leverage omics data from large MM cohorts to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying MM tumorigenesis, progression, and drug responses, which may aid in the development of better treatments. In this study, we analyzed gene expression, copy number variation, and clinical data from the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) dataset and constructed a multiple myeloma molecular causal network (M3CN). The M3CN was used to unify eight prognostic gene signatures in the literature that shared very few genes between them, resulting in a prognostic subnetwork of the M3CN, consisting of 178 genes that were enriched for genes involved in cell cycle (fold enrichment = 8.4, p value = 6.1 × 10−26). The M3CN was further used to characterize immunomodulators and proteasome inhibitors for MM, demonstrating the pleiotropic effects of these drugs, with drug-response signature genes enriched across multiple M3CN subnetworks. Network analyses indicated potential links between these drug-response subnetworks and the prognostic subnetwork. To elucidate the structure of these important MM subnetworks, we identified putative key regulators predicted to modulate the state of these subnetworks. Finally, to assess the predictive power of our network-based models, we stratified MM patients in an independent cohort, the MMRF-CoMMpass study, based on the prognostic subnetwork, and compared the performance of this subnetwork against other signatures in the literature. We show that the M3CN-derived prognostic subnetwork achieved the best separation between different risk groups in terms of log-rank test p-values and hazard ratios. In summary, this work demonstrates the power of a probabilistic causal network approach to understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the different MM signatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Methylation Assessment for the Prediction of Malignancy in Mediastinal Adenopathies Obtained by Endobronchial Ultrasound-Guided Transbronchial Needle Aspiration in Patients with Lung Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101408 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The evaluation of mediastinal lymph nodes is critical for the correct staging of patients with lung cancer (LC). Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a minimally invasive technique for mediastinal staging, though unfortunately lymph node micrometastasis is often missed by cytological analysis. [...] Read more.
The evaluation of mediastinal lymph nodes is critical for the correct staging of patients with lung cancer (LC). Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a minimally invasive technique for mediastinal staging, though unfortunately lymph node micrometastasis is often missed by cytological analysis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictive capacity of methylation biomarkers and provide a classification rule for predicting malignancy in false negative EBUS-TBNA samples. The study included 112 patients with a new or suspected diagnosis of LC that were referred to EBUS-TBNA. Methylation of p16/INK4a, MGMT, SHOX2, E-cadherin, DLEC1, and RASSF1A was quantified by nested methylation-specific qPCR in 218 EBUS-TBNA lymph node samples. Cross-validated linear regression models were evaluated to predict malignancy. According to EBUS-TBNA and final diagnosis, 90 samples were true positives for malignancy, 110 were true negatives, and 18 were false negatives. MGMT, SHOX2, and E-cadherin were the methylation markers that better predicted malignancy. The model including sex, age, short axis diameter and standard uptake value of adenopathy, and SHOX2 showed 82.7% cross-validated sensitivity and 82.4% specificity for the detection of malignant lymphadenopathies among negative cytology samples. Our results suggest that the predictive model approach proposed can complement EBUS-TBNA for mediastinal staging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Low Numbers of Vascular Vessels Correlate to Progression in Hormone-Naïve Prostate Carcinomas Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1356; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091356 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Vascularization influences tumor development by supporting the nutrition and dissemination of tumor cells. On the other hand, a low number of vascular vessels (VVlow) may induce hypoxia, accounting for selection of resistant clone(s) of tumor cells. This study aimed to evaluate [...] Read more.
Vascularization influences tumor development by supporting the nutrition and dissemination of tumor cells. On the other hand, a low number of vascular vessels (VVlow) may induce hypoxia, accounting for selection of resistant clone(s) of tumor cells. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic significance of vascular (VV) and lymphatic vessels (LV) in prostate cancer (PCa). Tumor samples from 400 PCa patients undergoing radical prostatectomy (RP) were prepared in duplex as tissue microarrays. Numbers of VV and LV were evaluated using immunohistochemistry detecting CD34 and podoplanin, respectively, and correlated to clinical data, biochemical recurrence (BR), and proteins analyzed in tumor cells. VVlow and LV were found in 32% and 43% of patients with informative PCa samples, respectively. VVlow correlated with a shorter time to BR 3, 5, and 10 years after RP in hormone-naïve patients (p = 0.028, p = 0.027 and p = 0.056, respectively). It was also shown to be an independent prognostic factor 5 years after surgery (multivariate analysis, p = 0.046). Tumors characterized by VVlow expressed the epithelial cell adhesion molecule, EpCAM, less frequently (p = 0.016) and revealed a borderline correlation to increased levels of tumor cell invasion marker Loxl-2 (p = 0.059). No correlations were found for LV. In summary, VVlow in hormone-naïve patients undergoing RP has prognostic potential and seems to be related to an aggressive phenotype of tumor cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Clinical Relevance of Collagen Protein Degradation Markers C3M and C4M in the Serum of Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Neoadjuvant Therapy in the GeparQuinto Trial
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081186 - 15 Aug 2019
Abstract
Background: Remodeling of extracellular matrix through collagen degradation is a crucial step in the metastatic cascade. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential clinical relevance of the serum collagen degradation markers (CDM) C3M and C4M during neoadjuvant chemotherapy for [...] Read more.
Background: Remodeling of extracellular matrix through collagen degradation is a crucial step in the metastatic cascade. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential clinical relevance of the serum collagen degradation markers (CDM) C3M and C4M during neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. Methods: Patients from the GeparQuinto phase 3 trial with untreated HER2-positive operable or locally advanced breast cancer were enrolled between 7 November 2007, and 9 July 2010, and randomly assigned to receive neoadjuvant treatment with EC/docetaxel with either trastuzumab or lapatinib. Blood samples were collected at baseline, after four cycles of chemotherapy and at surgery. Cutoff values were determined using validated cutoff finder software (C3M: Low ≤9.00 ng/mL, high >9.00 ng/mL, C4M: Low ≤40.91 ng/mL, high >40.91 ng/mL). Results: 157 patients were included in this analysis. At baseline, 11.7% and 14.8% of patients had high C3M and C4M serum levels, respectively. No correlation was observed between CDM and classical clinical-pathological factors. Patients with high levels of CDM were significantly more likely to achieve a pathological complete response (pCR, defined as ypT0 ypN0) than patients with low levels (C3M: 66.7% vs. 25.7%, p = 0.002; C4M: 52.7% vs. 26.6%, p = 0.031). Median levels of both markers were lower at the time of surgery than at baseline. In the multivariate analysis including clinical-pathological factors and C3M levels at baseline and changes in C3M levels between baseline and after four cycles of therapy, only C3M levels at baseline (p = 0.035, OR 4.469, 95%-CI 1.115–17.919) independently predicted pCR. In a similar model including clinical-pathological factors and C4M, only C4M levels at baseline (p = 0.028, OR 6.203, 95%-CI 1.220–31.546) and tumor size (p = 0.035, OR 4.900, 95%-CI 1.122–21.393) were independent predictors of pCR. High C3M levels at baseline did not correlate with survival in the entire cohort but were associated with worse disease-free survival (DFS; p = 0.029, 5-year DFS 40.0% vs. 74.9%) and overall survival (OS; p = 0.020, 5-year OS 60.0% vs. 88.3%) in the subgroup of patients randomized to lapatinib. In the trastuzumab arm, C3M did not correlate with survival. In the entire patient cohort, high levels of C4M at baseline were significantly associated with shorter DFS (p = 0.001, 5-year DFS 53.1% vs. 81.6%) but not with OS. When treatment arms were considered separately, the association with DFS was still significant (p = 0.014, 5-year DFS 44.4% vs. 77.0% in the lapatinib arm; p = 0.023, 5-year DFS 62.5% vs. 86.2% in the trastuzumab arm). Conclusions: Collagen degradation markers are associated with response to neoadjuvant therapy and seem to play a role in breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Unravelling the Diagnostic Dilemma: A MicroRNA Panel of Circulating MiR-16 and MiR-877 as A Diagnostic Classifier for Distal Bile Duct Tumors
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081181 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Accurate diagnosis of pancreatic head lesions remains challenging as no minimally invasive biomarkers are available to discriminate distal cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The aim of this study is to identify specific circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) to diagnose distal CCA. In the [...] Read more.
Accurate diagnosis of pancreatic head lesions remains challenging as no minimally invasive biomarkers are available to discriminate distal cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The aim of this study is to identify specific circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) to diagnose distal CCA. In the discovery phase, PCR profiling of 752 miRNAs was performed on fourteen patients with distal CCA and age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Candidate miRNAs were selected for evaluation and validation by RT-qPCR in an independent cohort of distal CCA (N = 24), healthy controls (N = 32), benign diseases (N = 20), and PDAC (N = 24). The optimal diagnostic combination of miRNAs was determined by multivariate logistic regression analysis and evaluated by ROC curves with AUC values. The discovery phase revealed 19 significantly dysregulated miRNAs, of which six were validated in the evaluation phase. The validation phase confirmed downregulated miR-16 in patients with distal CCA compared to benign disease or PDAC (P = 0.048 and P = 0.012), while miR-877 was significantly upregulated (P = 0.003 and P = 0.006). This two-miRNA panel was validated as a CCA-specific profile, discriminating distal CCA from benign disease (AUC = 0.90) and from PDAC (AUC = 0.88). In conclusion, the present study identified a two-miRNA panel of downregulated miR-16 and upregulated miR-877 with promising capability to diagnose patients with distal CCA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Accuracy of Tumour-Associated Circulating Endothelial Cells as a Screening Biomarker for Clinically Significant Prostate Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081064 - 27 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Even though more than 350,000 men die from prostate cancer every year, broad-based screening for the disease remains a controversial topic. Guidelines demand that the only commonly accepted screening tool, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, must be followed by prostate biopsy if results are [...] Read more.
Even though more than 350,000 men die from prostate cancer every year, broad-based screening for the disease remains a controversial topic. Guidelines demand that the only commonly accepted screening tool, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, must be followed by prostate biopsy if results are elevated. Due to the procedure’s low positive predictive value (PPV), however, over 80% of biopsies are performed on healthy men or men with clinically insignificant cancer—prompting calls for new ways of vetting equivocal PSA readings prior to the procedure. Responding to the challenge, the present study investigated the diagnostic potential of tumour-associated circulating endothelial cells (tCECs), which have previously been described as a novel, blood-based biomarker for clinically significant cancers. Specifically, the objective was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of a tCEC-based blood test to detect clinically significant prostate cancer (defined as Gleason score ≥ 3 + 4) in high-risk patients. Performed in a blinded, prospective, single-centre set-up, it compared a novel tCEC index test with transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy as a reference on a total of 170 patients and found that a tCEC add-on test will almost double the PPV of a standalone PSA test (32% vs. 17%; p = 0.0012), while retaining a negative predictive value above 90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Prognostic Impact of Melatonin Receptors MT1 and MT2 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11071001 - 17 Jul 2019
Abstract
Background: Several studies have investigated the inhibitory effect of melatonin on lung cancer cells. There are no data available on the prognostic impact of melatonin receptors MT1 and MT2 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemical studies of [...] Read more.
Background: Several studies have investigated the inhibitory effect of melatonin on lung cancer cells. There are no data available on the prognostic impact of melatonin receptors MT1 and MT2 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemical studies of MT1 and MT2 were conducted on NSCLC (N = 786) and non-malignant lung tissue (NMLT) (N = 120) using tissue microarrays. Molecular studies were performed on frozen fragments of NSCLC (N = 62; real time PCR), NMLT (N = 24) and lung cancer cell lines NCI-H1703, A549 and IMR-90 (real time PCR, western blot). Results: The expression of both receptors was higher in NSCLC than in NMLT. Higher MT1 and MT2 expression levels (at protein and mRNA) were noted in squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) compared to adenocarcinomas (AC). MT1 immunoexpression decreased as both the tumour size and the cancer stage increased in the whole cohort, while MT2 decreased as the cancer stage increased, with lymph node involvement (in the whole study group) and increasing malignancy grade (in SCC). Higher expression of MT2 was associated with a favorable prognosis. MT2 was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (OS) in all analyzed NSCLC and in smoking patients. Conclusions: Our observations may point to the potential prognostic significance of MT2 in NSCLC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncovering Potential Therapeutic Targets in Colorectal Cancer by Deciphering Mutational Status and Expression of Druggable Oncogenes
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 983; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070983 - 14 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Numerous driver mutations have been identified in colorectal cancer (CRC), but their relevance to the development of targeted therapies remains elusive. The secondary effects of pathogenic driver mutations on downstream signaling pathways offer a potential approach for the identification of therapeutic targets. [...] Read more.
Background: Numerous driver mutations have been identified in colorectal cancer (CRC), but their relevance to the development of targeted therapies remains elusive. The secondary effects of pathogenic driver mutations on downstream signaling pathways offer a potential approach for the identification of therapeutic targets. We aimed to identify differentially expressed genes as potential drug targets linked to driver mutations. Methods: Somatic mutations and the gene expression data of 582 CRC patients were utilized, incorporating the mutational status of 39,916 and the expression levels of 20,500 genes. To uncover candidate targets, the expression levels of various genes in wild-type and mutant cases for the most frequent disruptive mutations were compared with a Mann–Whitney test. A survival analysis was performed in 2100 patients with transcriptomic gene expression data. Up-regulated genes associated with worse survival were filtered for potentially actionable targets. The most significant hits were validated in an independent set of 171 CRC patients. Results: Altogether, 426 disruptive mutation-associated upregulated genes were identified. Among these, 95 were linked to worse recurrence-free survival (RFS). Based on the druggability filter, 37 potentially actionable targets were revealed. We selected seven genes and validated their expression in 171 patient specimens. The best independently validated combinations were DUSP4 (p = 2.6 × 10−12) in ACVR2A mutated (7.7%) patients; BMP4 (p = 1.6 × 10−04) in SOX9 mutated (8.1%) patients; TRIB2 (p = 1.35 × 10−14) in ACVR2A mutated patients; VSIG4 (p = 2.6 × 10−05) in ANK3 mutated (7.6%) patients, and DUSP4 (p = 7.1 × 10−04) in AMER1 mutated (8.2%) patients. Conclusions: The results uncovered potentially druggable genes in colorectal cancer. The identified mutations could enable future patient stratification for targeted therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Urinary Metabolic Signatures Detect Recurrences in Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070914 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) undergo lifelong monitoring based on repeated cystoscopy and urinary cytology due to the high recurrence rate of this tumor. Nevertheless, these techniques have some drawbacks, namely, low accuracy in detection of low-grade tumors, omission of pre-neoplastic [...] Read more.
Patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) undergo lifelong monitoring based on repeated cystoscopy and urinary cytology due to the high recurrence rate of this tumor. Nevertheless, these techniques have some drawbacks, namely, low accuracy in detection of low-grade tumors, omission of pre-neoplastic lesions and carcinomas in situ (CIS), invasiveness, and high costs. This work aims to identify a urinary metabolomic signature of recurrence by proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy for the follow-up of NMIBC patients. To do this, changes in the urinary metabolome before and after transurethral resection (TUR) of tumors are analyzed and a Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) model is developed. The usefulness of this discriminant model for the detection of tumor recurrences is assessed using a cohort of patients undergoing monitoring. The trajectories of the metabolomic profile in the follow-up period provide a negative predictive value of 92.7% in the sample classification. Pathway analyses show taurine, alanine, aspartate, glutamate, and phenylalanine perturbed metabolism associated with NMIBC. These results highlight the potential of 1H NMR metabolomics to detect bladder cancer (BC) recurrences through a non-invasive approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Plasma microRNA Levels Combined with CEA and CA19-9 in the Follow-Up of Colorectal Cancer Patients
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 864; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060864 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks among the most common cancers worldwide. Surgical removal remains the best strategy for treatment of resectable tumors. An important part of caring for patients after surgery is monitoring for early detection of a possible relapse of the disease. Efforts [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks among the most common cancers worldwide. Surgical removal remains the best strategy for treatment of resectable tumors. An important part of caring for patients after surgery is monitoring for early detection of a possible relapse of the disease. Efforts are being made to improve the sensitivity and specificity of routinely used carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) with the use of additional biomarkers such as microRNAs. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prognostic potential of microRNAs and their use as markers of disease recurrence. The quantitative estimation of CEA, CA19-9, and 22 selected microRNAs (TaqMan Advanced miRNA Assays) was performed in 85 paired (preoperative and postoperative) blood plasma samples of CRC patients and in samples taken during the follow-up period. We have revealed a statistically significant decrease in plasma levels for miR-20a, miR-23a, miR-210, and miR-223a (p = 0.0093, p = 0.0013, p = 0.0392, and p = 0.0214, respectively) after surgical removal of the tumor tissue. A statistically significant relation to prognosis (overall survival; OS) was recorded for preoperative plasma levels of miR-20a, miR-21, and miR-23a (p = 0.0236, p = 0.0316, and p =0.0271, respectively) in a subgroup of patients who underwent palliative surgery. The best discrimination between patients with favorable and unfavorable outcomes was achieved by a combination of CEA, CA19-9 with miR-21, miR-20a, and miR-23a (p < 0.0001). The use of these microRNAs for early disease recurrence detection was affected by a low specificity in comparison with CEA and CA19-9. CEA and CA19-9 had high specificity but low sensitivity. Our results show the benefit of combining currently used standard biomarkers and microRNAs for precise prognosis estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Discrimination of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients and Healthy Adults by 10-Color Flow Cytometry: Development of a Score Based on Leukocyte Subsets
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060814 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
Background: Leukocytes in peripheral blood (PB) are prognostic biomarkers in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cancer patients (HNSCC-CPs), but differences between HNSCC-CPs and healthy adults (HAs) are insufficiently described. Methods: 10-color flow cytometry (FCM) was used for in-depth immunophenotyping of PB samples [...] Read more.
Background: Leukocytes in peripheral blood (PB) are prognostic biomarkers in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cancer patients (HNSCC-CPs), but differences between HNSCC-CPs and healthy adults (HAs) are insufficiently described. Methods: 10-color flow cytometry (FCM) was used for in-depth immunophenotyping of PB samples of 963 HAs and 101 therapy-naïve HNSCC-CPs. Absolute (AbsCC) and relative cell counts (RelCC) of leukocyte subsets were determined. A training cohort (TC) of 43 HNSCC-CPs and 43 HAs, propensity score (PS)-matched according to age, sex, alcohol, and smoking, was used to develop a score consecutively approved in a validation cohort (VC). Results: Differences in AbsCC were detected in leukocyte subsets (p < 0.001), but had low power in discriminating HNSCC-CPs and HAs. Consequently, RelCC of nine leukocyte subsets in the TC were used to calculate 36 ratios; receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves defined optimum cut-off values. Binary classified data were combined in a score based on four ratios: monocytes-to-granulocytes (MGR), classical monocytes-to-monocytes (clMMR), monocytes-to-lymphocytes (MLR), and monocytes-to-T-lymphocytes (MTLR); ≥3 points accurately discriminate HNSCC-CPs and HAs in the PS-matched TC (p = 2.97 × 10−17), the VC (p = 4.404 × 10−178), and both combined (p = 7.74 × 10−199). Conclusions: RelCC of leukocyte subsets in PB of HNSCC-CPs differ significantly from those of HAs. A score based on MGR, clMMR, MLR, and MTLR allows for accurate discrimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Kinase Activation in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Patients Treated with Nivolumab
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060762 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the era of precision medicine, research of biomarkers for identification of responders to nivolumab therapy is a major challenge. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) could be an interesting surrogate tissue for identifying pharmacodynamic biomarkers. The aim of this exploratory study was to [...] Read more.
In the era of precision medicine, research of biomarkers for identification of responders to nivolumab therapy is a major challenge. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) could be an interesting surrogate tissue for identifying pharmacodynamic biomarkers. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the global serine/threonine kinase (STK) activity in PBMC from non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients using a high throughput kinomic profiling method. PamChip® microarrays were used to explore the STK kinomic profile in PBMC from 28 NSCLC patients before nivolumab initiation (D0) and on day 14 (D14) of the first administration. Two clusters of patients (A and B) were identified at D0, median overall survival (OS) tended to be longer in cluster A than in B (402 vs. 112.5 days, respectively; p = 0.15). Interestingly, the PD-L1 tumor cell score (p = 0.045), the count of CD8+ cells (p = 0.023) and the total body weight (p = 0.038) were statistically different between the clusters. On D14, clusters C and D were identified. Greater activity of most STK, especially those of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, was noticed among cluster C. No significant difference between C and D was observed regarding OS. Considering the small number of patients, results from this preliminary study are not conclusive. However, the 4-fold longer median OS in cluster A paves the way to further investigate, in a larger cohort of NSCLC patients, the benefit of basal STK kinomic profile in PBMC to identify responders to nivolumab therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Evaluation of CA72-4 for Screening Gastric Cancer in a Healthy Population: A Multicenter Retrospective Study
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11050733 - 27 May 2019
Abstract
Early detection is important for improving the survival rate of patients with gastric cancer (GC). Serum tumor markers have been widely used for detecting GC. However, their clinical values remain controversial. This study aims to investigate the role of serum cancer antigen 72-4 [...] Read more.
Early detection is important for improving the survival rate of patients with gastric cancer (GC). Serum tumor markers have been widely used for detecting GC. However, their clinical values remain controversial. This study aims to investigate the role of serum cancer antigen 72-4 (CA72-4) in the diagnosis of GC in a healthy population. A total of 7757 adults who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and serum CA72-4 level measurement in multicenters in Taiwan from January 2006 to August 2016 were recruited in this retrospective study. Risk factors for GC, serum tumor markers, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) findings were evaluated. High serum levels of CA72-4 were found in 7.2% of healthy adults. CA72-4 level showed lower sensitivity (33.3%) but higher specificity (92.8%); however, the positive predictive value was quite low (0.18%). After adjustment of clinical risk factors for GC using EGD findings, gastric ulcer (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.11), gastric polyps (aOR = 1.42), and atrophic gastritis (aOR = 1.27) were significantly associated with high serum CA72-4 levels. Furthermore, both age (OR = 1.01) and Helicobacter pylori infection (OR = 1.44) exhibited a significant association with high serum CA72-4 levels. These results indicate that routine screening of CA72-4 levels for diagnosing GC in asymptomatic patients may be ineffective due to low sensitivity and low positive predictive value. The clinical utility of EGD findings along with serum CA72-4 level for screening healthy individuals with GC is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
CYFRA 21-1 in Lymph Node Fine Needle Aspiration Washout Improves Diagnostic Accuracy for Metastatic Lymph Nodes of Differentiated Thyroid Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(4), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040487 - 05 Apr 2019
Abstract
Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and washout thyroglobulin (Tg) measurements are the standard for evaluating a metastatic lymph node (LN) in thyroid cancer. However, patients rarely benefit from these procedures due to false results. This study aims to identify a reliable biomarker that [...] Read more.
Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and washout thyroglobulin (Tg) measurements are the standard for evaluating a metastatic lymph node (LN) in thyroid cancer. However, patients rarely benefit from these procedures due to false results. This study aims to identify a reliable biomarker that significantly improves the diagnosis of metastatic LNs, in addition to FNAC and washout Tg. This study analyzed 130 LNs that were suspected to have metastases on thyroid ultrasonography, from June 2016 to December 2017. All subjects underwent FNAC, washout Tg measurements and a new biomarker, washout Cytokeratin fragment 21-1 (CYFRA 21-1) measurement. The final LN outcomes were confirmed by surgical histology, repeat FNAC, or follow-up image. The diagnostic values of the presence of washout CYFRA 21-1 for diagnosing metastatic LNs were evaluated according to final LN outcomes. Among the 130 LNs, 42 were metastatic lesions and 88 were benign. The washout CYFRA 21-1 levels were significantly higher in metastatic LNs than in benign LNs. In contrast to the findings of washout Tg, washout CYFRA 21-1 showed little overlap between benign and malignant LNs, and its diagnostic cutoff values were not affected by surgery. The combinations of FNAC and washout CYFRA 21-1 showed higher sensitivity (91.9%), specificity (96.5%), negative predictive value (98.8%), and diagnostic accuracy (94.2%) than FNAC with washout Tg. The combination of FNAC, washout Tg, and washout CYFRA 21-1 showed the best sensitivity (98.8%). When washout CYFRA 21-1 was applied to the discordant results that were observed between FNAC and washout Tg, 20 of 22 LNs were correctly diagnosed. Washout CYFRA 21-1 measurements in thyroid LNs provide a diagnostic modality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of DNA Aptamers to Native EpCAM for Isolation of Lung Circulating Tumor Cells from Human Blood
Cancers 2019, 11(3), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11030351 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
We selected DNA aptamers to the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) expressed on primary lung cancer cells isolated from the tumors of patients with non-small cell lung cancer using competitive displacement of aptamers from EpCAM by a corresponding antibody. The resulting aptamers clones [...] Read more.
We selected DNA aptamers to the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) expressed on primary lung cancer cells isolated from the tumors of patients with non-small cell lung cancer using competitive displacement of aptamers from EpCAM by a corresponding antibody. The resulting aptamers clones showed good nanomolar affinity to EpCAM-positive lung cancer cells. Confocal microscopy imaging and spectral profiling of lung cancer tissues confirmed the same protein target for the aptamers and anti-EpCAM antibodies. Furthermore, the resulted aptamers were successfully applied for isolation and detection of circulating tumor cells in clinical samples of peripheral blood of lung cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Promising Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers for Precision Prevention and Therapy
Cancers 2019, 11(12), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11121932 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) has been ranked as the third most prevalent cancer worldwide. Indeed, it represents 10.2% of all cancer cases. It is also the second most common cause of cancer mortality, and accounted for about 9.2% of all cancer deaths in 2018. [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) has been ranked as the third most prevalent cancer worldwide. Indeed, it represents 10.2% of all cancer cases. It is also the second most common cause of cancer mortality, and accounted for about 9.2% of all cancer deaths in 2018. Early detection together with a correct diagnosis and staging remains the most effective clinical strategy in terms of disease recovery. Thanks to advances in diagnostic techniques, and improvements of surgical adjuvant and palliative therapies, the mortality rate of CRC has decreased by more than 20% in the last decade. Cancer biomarkers for the early detection of CRC, its management, treatment and follow-up have contributed to the decrease in CRC mortality. Herein, we provide an overview of molecular biomarkers from tumor tissues and liquid biopsies that are approved for use in the CRC clinical setting for early detection, follow-up, and precision therapy, and of biomarkers that have not yet been officially validated and are, nowadays, under investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
CD147 Is a Promising Target of Tumor Progression and a Prognostic Biomarker
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1803; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111803 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Microenvironment plays a crucial role in tumor development and progression. Cancer cells modulate the tumor microenvironment, which also contribute to resistance to therapy. Identifying biomarkers involved in tumorigenesis and cancer progression represents a great challenge for cancer diagnosis and therapeutic strategy development. CD147 [...] Read more.
Microenvironment plays a crucial role in tumor development and progression. Cancer cells modulate the tumor microenvironment, which also contribute to resistance to therapy. Identifying biomarkers involved in tumorigenesis and cancer progression represents a great challenge for cancer diagnosis and therapeutic strategy development. CD147 is a glycoprotein involved in the regulation of the tumor microenvironment and cancer progression by several mechanisms—in particular, by the control of glycolysis and also by its well-known ability to induce proteinases leading to matrix degradation, tumor cell invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated the role of CD147 expression in tumor progression and prognosis, suggesting it as a relevant tumor biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, as well as validating its potential as a promising therapeutic target in cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Translational Potential of MicroRNAs for Preoperative Staging and Prediction of Chemoradiotherapy Response in Rectal Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101545 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second cause of cancer-related deaths. Rectal cancer presents roughly one-third of all colorectal cancer cases and differs from it on both anatomical and molecular levels. While standard treatment of colon cancer patients is [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second cause of cancer-related deaths. Rectal cancer presents roughly one-third of all colorectal cancer cases and differs from it on both anatomical and molecular levels. While standard treatment of colon cancer patients is radical surgery, rectal cancer is usually treated with pre-operative chemoradiotherapy followed by total mesorectal excision, which requires precise estimation of TNM staging. Unfortunately, stage evaluation is based solely on imaging modalities, and they often do not correlate with postoperative pathological findings. Moreover, approximately half of rectal cancer patients do not respond to such pre-operative therapy, so they are exposed to its toxic effects without any clinical benefit. Thus, biomarkers that could precisely predict pre-operative TNM staging, and especially response to therapy, would significantly advance rectal cancer treatment—but till now, no such biomarker has been identified. In cancer research, microRNAs are emerging biomarkers due to their connection with carcinogenesis and exceptional stability. Circulating miRNAs are promising non-invasive biomarkers that could allow monitoring of a patient throughout the whole therapeutic process. This mini-review aims to summarize the current knowledge on miRNAs and circulating miRNAs involved in the prediction of response to treatment and pre-operative staging in rectal cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Panoptic View of Prognostic Models for Personalized Breast Cancer Management
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091325 - 07 Sep 2019
Abstract
The efforts to personalize treatment for patients with breast cancer have led to a focus on the deeper characterization of genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity among breast cancers. Traditional pathology utilizes microscopy to profile the morphologic features and organizational architecture of tumor tissue for [...] Read more.
The efforts to personalize treatment for patients with breast cancer have led to a focus on the deeper characterization of genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity among breast cancers. Traditional pathology utilizes microscopy to profile the morphologic features and organizational architecture of tumor tissue for predicting the course of disease, and is the first-line set of guiding tools for customizing treatment decision-making. Currently, clinicians use this information, combined with the disease stage, to predict patient prognosis to some extent. However, tumoral heterogeneity stubbornly persists among patient subgroups delineated by these clinicopathologic characteristics, as currently used methodologies in diagnostic pathology lack the capability to discern deeper genotypic and subtler phenotypic differences among individual patients. Recent advancements in molecular pathology, however, are poised to change this by joining forces with multiple-omics technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) that provide a wealth of data about the precise molecular complement of each patient’s tumor. In addition, these technologies inform the drivers of disease aggressiveness, the determinants of therapeutic response, and new treatment targets in the individual patient. The tumor architecture information can be integrated with the knowledge of the detailed mutational, transcriptional, and proteomic phenotypes of cancer cells within individual tumors to derive a new level of biologic insight that enables powerful, data-driven patient stratification and customization of treatment for each patient, at each stage of the disease. This review summarizes the prognostic and predictive insights provided by commercially available gene expression-based tests and other multivariate or clinical -omics-based prognostic/predictive models currently under development, and proposes a more inclusive multiplatform approach to tackling the challenging heterogeneity of breast cancer to individualize its management. “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”-William Ford Gibson Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Neuromedin U: A Small Peptide in the Big World of Cancer
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091312 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Neuromedin U (NMU), a neuropeptide isolated from porcine spinal cord and named because of its activity as a rat uterus smooth muscle contraction inducer, is emerging as a new player in the tumorigenesis and/or metastasis of many types of cancers. Expressed in a [...] Read more.
Neuromedin U (NMU), a neuropeptide isolated from porcine spinal cord and named because of its activity as a rat uterus smooth muscle contraction inducer, is emerging as a new player in the tumorigenesis and/or metastasis of many types of cancers. Expressed in a variety of tissues, NMU has been shown to possess many important activities in the central nervous system as well as on the periphery. Along with the main structural and functional features of NMU and its currently known receptors, we summarized a growing number of recently published data from different tissues and cells that associate NMU activity with cancer development and progression. We ask if, based on current reports, NMU can be included as a marker of these processes and/or considered as a therapeutic target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Novel Biomarkers for Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancers 2019, 11(9), 1223; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091223 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as a novel and effective treatment strategy for several types of cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have recently demonstrated impressive clinical benefit in some advanced cancers. Nonetheless, in the majority of patients, the successful use of ICIs is limited [...] Read more.
Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as a novel and effective treatment strategy for several types of cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have recently demonstrated impressive clinical benefit in some advanced cancers. Nonetheless, in the majority of patients, the successful use of ICIs is limited by a low response rate, high treatment cost, and treatment-related toxicity. Therefore, it is necessary to identify predictive and prognostic biomarkers to select the patients who are most likely to benefit from, and respond well to, these therapies. In this review, we summarize the evidence for candidate biomarkers of response to cancer immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Liquid Biopsy as Surrogate for Tissue for Molecular Profiling in Pancreatic Cancer: A Meta-Analysis Towards Precision Medicine
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081152 - 10 Aug 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Liquid biopsy (LB) is a non-invasive approach representing a promising tool for new precision medicine strategies for cancer treatment. However, a comprehensive analysis of its reliability for pancreatic cancer (PC) is lacking. To this aim, we performed the first meta-analysis on this topic. [...] Read more.
Liquid biopsy (LB) is a non-invasive approach representing a promising tool for new precision medicine strategies for cancer treatment. However, a comprehensive analysis of its reliability for pancreatic cancer (PC) is lacking. To this aim, we performed the first meta-analysis on this topic. We calculated the pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive (LR+) and negative (LR−) likelihood ratio, and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR). A summary receiver operating characteristic curve (SROC) and area under curve (AUC) were used to evaluate the overall accuracy. We finally assessed the concordance rate of all mutations detected by multi-genes panels. Fourteen eligible studies involving 369 patients were included. The overall pooled sensitivity and specificity were 0.70 and 0.86, respectively. The LR+ was 3.85, the LR- was 0.34 and DOR was 15.84. The SROC curve with an AUC of 0.88 indicated a relatively high accuracy of LB for molecular characterization of PC. The concordance rate of all mutations detected by multi-genes panels was 31.9%. LB can serve as surrogate for tissue in the molecular profiling of PC, because of its relatively high sensitivity, specificity and accuracy. It represents a unique opportunity to be further explored towards its introduction in clinical practice and for developing new precision medicine approaches against PC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Circulating Tumour Cell Biomarkers in Head and Neck Cancer: Current Progress and Future Prospects
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081115 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Head and neck cancer (HNC) continues to carry a significant burden of disease both for patients and health services. Facilitating biomarker-led treatment decisions is critical to improve outcomes in this group and deliver therapy tailored to the individual tumour biological profile. One solution [...] Read more.
Head and neck cancer (HNC) continues to carry a significant burden of disease both for patients and health services. Facilitating biomarker-led treatment decisions is critical to improve outcomes in this group and deliver therapy tailored to the individual tumour biological profile. One solution to develop such biomarkers is a liquid biopsy analysing circulating tumour cells (CTCs)—providing a non-invasive and dynamic assessment of tumour specific alterations in ‘real-time’. A major obstacle to implementing such a test is the standardisation of CTC isolation methods and subsequent down-stream analysis. Several options are available, with a recent shift in vogue from positive-selection marker-dependent isolation systems to marker-independent negative-selection techniques. HNC single-CTC characterisation, including single-cell sequencing, to identify actionable mutations and gene-expression signatures has the potential to both guide the understanding of patient tumour heterogeneity and support the adoption of personalised medicine strategies. Microfluidic approaches for isolating CTCs and cell clusters are emerging as novel technologies which can be incorporated with computational platforms to complement current diagnostic and prognostic strategies. We review the current literature to assess progress regarding CTC biomarkers in HNC and potential avenues for future translational research and clinical implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Specific and Non-Specific Biomarkers in Neuroendocrine Gastroenteropancreatic Tumors
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081113 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is a challenging task: Symptoms are rarely specific, and clinical manifestations are often evident only when metastases are already present. However, several bioactive substances secreted by NETs can be included for diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive purposes. Expression [...] Read more.
The diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is a challenging task: Symptoms are rarely specific, and clinical manifestations are often evident only when metastases are already present. However, several bioactive substances secreted by NETs can be included for diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive purposes. Expression of these substances differs between different NETs according to the tumor hormone production. Gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) NETs originate from the diffuse neuroendocrine system of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreatic islets cells: These tumors may produce many non-specific and specific substances, such as chromogranin A, insulin, gastrin, glucagon, and serotonin, which shape the clinical manifestations of the NETs. To provide an up-to-date reference concerning the different biomarkers, as well as their main limitations, we reviewed and summarized existing literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
Open AccessReview
Possible Biomarkers for Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070935 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have drastically changed the clinical care of cancer. Although cancer immunotherapy has shown promise in various types of malignancies, thus far, the proportion of patients who can benefit from ICIs is relatively small. Immune-related adverse events and high cost [...] Read more.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have drastically changed the clinical care of cancer. Although cancer immunotherapy has shown promise in various types of malignancies, thus far, the proportion of patients who can benefit from ICIs is relatively small. Immune-related adverse events and high cost are unavoidable problems. Therefore, biomarkers defining patients that are most likely to benefit from ICIs are urgently needed. The expression of programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a logical biomarker for the prediction of response to anti-PD1/PD-L1 immunotherapies. However, its usefulness is currently debatable because of its varied definition, threshold, and spatial/temporal heterogeneity. Recently, it was reported that the tumor mutational burden, expression of neoantigens, mismatch repair status, and specific gene mutations may be markers for the success of treatment with ICIs. Moreover, it was suggested that the fecal microbiota prior to immunotherapy may play an important role in predicting the efficacy of ICIs. In this review, we focused on these potential biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy reported in recent clinical articles. Further studies are warranted to develop a predictive model using these biomarkers, with the aim of practicing precision medicine in cancer immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
miRNA Predictors of Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapeutic Response: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11070900 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: pancreatic cancer (PC) has increasing incidence and mortality in developing countries, and drug resistance is a significant hindrance to the efficacy of successful treatment. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between miRNAs and response to [...] Read more.
Background: pancreatic cancer (PC) has increasing incidence and mortality in developing countries, and drug resistance is a significant hindrance to the efficacy of successful treatment. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between miRNAs and response to chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer patients. Methods: the systematic review and meta-analysis was based on articles collected from a thorough search of PubMed and Science Direct databases for publications spanning from January 2008 to December 2018. The articles were screened via a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria based on the preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Data was extracted, collated and tabulated in MS Excel for further synthesis. Hazard ratio (HR) was selected as the effect size metric to be pooled across studies for the meta-analysis, with the random effects model being applied. Subgroup analysis was also conducted, and the presence of publication bias in the selected studies was assessed. Publication bias of the included studies was quantified. Findings: of the 169 articles screened, 43 studies were included in our systematic review and 13 articles were included in the meta-analysis. Gemcitabine was observed to be the principal drug used in a majority of the studies. A total of 48 miRNAs have been studied, and 18 were observed to have possible contributions to chemoresistance, while 15 were observed to have possible contributions to chemosensitivity. 41 drug-related genetic pathways have been identified, through which the highlighted miRNA may be affecting chemosensitivity/resistance. The pooled HR value for overall survival was 1.603; (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.2–2.143; p-value: 0.01), with the subgroup analysis for miR-21 showing HR for resistance of 2.061; 95% CI 1.195–3.556; p-value: 0.09. Interpretation: our results highlight multiple miRNAs that have possible associations with modulation of chemotherapy response in pancreatic cancer patients. Further studies are needed to discover the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations before they can be suggested for use as biomarkers of response to chemotherapeutic interventions in pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Breath Analysis: A Systematic Review of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Management of Pleural Mesothelioma
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060831 - 14 Jun 2019
Abstract
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare neoplasm related to asbestos exposure and with high mortality rate. The management of patients with MPM is complex and controversial, particularly with regard to early diagnosis. In the last few years, breath analysis has been greatly [...] Read more.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare neoplasm related to asbestos exposure and with high mortality rate. The management of patients with MPM is complex and controversial, particularly with regard to early diagnosis. In the last few years, breath analysis has been greatly implemented with this aim. In this review the strengths of breath analysis and preliminary results in searching breath biomarkers of MPM are highlighted and discussed, respectively. Through a systematic electronic literature search, collecting papers published from 2000 until December 2018, fifteen relevant scientific papers were selected. All papers considered were prospective, comparative, observational case–control studies although every single one pilot and based on a relatively small number of samples. The identification of diagnostic VOCs pattern, through breath sample characterization and the statistical data treatment, allows to obtain a strategic information for clinical diagnostics. To date the collected data provide just preliminary information and, despite the promising results and diagnostic accuracy, conclusions cannot be generalized due to the limited number of individuals included in each cohort study. Furthermore none of studies was externally validated, although validation process is a necessary step towards clinical implementation. Breathomics-based biomarker approach should be further explored to confirm and validate preliminary findings and to evaluate its potential role in monitoring the therapeutic response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Neuromedin U: A Small Peptide in the Big World of Cancer. Cancers 2019, 11, 1312
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010251 - 20 Jan 2020
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Biomarkers in Cancers)
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