Special Issue "Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694). This special issue belongs to the section "Tumor Microenvironment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz V. Rojiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacology, Penn State College of Medicine, 500 University Dr., Hershey, PA 17033, USA
Interests: chemoresistance; miRNA; apoptosis; biomarkers; cancer stem cells
Prof. Dr. Srikumar Chellappan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Dr., Mail Code SRB3 Tampa, FL 33612, USA
Interests: molecular mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation; tumor progression; angiogenesis and metastasis; the role of nicotine in promoting growth and metastasis of tumors; cancer stem cells; mechanisms of drug resistance; novel drug targets
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Amyn M. Rojiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. University Chair in Pathology|Penn State College of Medicine, 500 University Dr. - Room C7008 MC HO83, Hershey, PA 17033, USA;
2. Clinical Service Chief|Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Dr. - Room C7008 MC HO83, Hershey, PA 17033, USA
Interests: tumor microenvironment; mechanisms associated with angiogenesis; invasion and metastasis; matrix interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer incidence and mortality among both men and women in the United States and globally, and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) accounts for 87% of all lung cancers. The challenges of this devastating disease are manifold and range from metastatic and recurrent aggressive disease and poor response to therapeutic options and development of chemoresistance. Despite significant investigative efforts, our understanding of the underlying biology remains limited.

This Special Issue of Cancers seeks to compile a series of original research articles and timely, comprehensive reviews encompassing all aspects of lung cancer. Investigations into the myriad changes within the tumor microenvironment, including angiogenesis, invasion, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, deciphering molecular changes, and identifying biomarkers and predictors of prognosis and behavior, as well as advances in therapeutic options and resistance mechanisms, are topics of special interest. Contributions on other significant topics that further enhance our understanding of the biology of lung cancer are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz V. Rojiani
Prof. Dr. Srikumar Chellappan
Prof. Dr. Amyn M. Rojiani
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 semimonthly 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 2200 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

  • tumor microenvironment
  • chemoresistance
  • metastasis
  • molecular mechanisms
  • biomarkers
  • therapeutic interventions

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
Increased Tumor Growth Rate and Mesenchymal Properties of NSCLC-Patient-Derived Xenograft Models during Serial Transplantation
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 2980; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13122980 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The high mortality is very often a consequence of its late diagnosis when the cancer is already locally advanced or has disseminated. Advances in the study of NSCLC tumors have been [...] Read more.
Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The high mortality is very often a consequence of its late diagnosis when the cancer is already locally advanced or has disseminated. Advances in the study of NSCLC tumors have been achieved by using in vivo models, such as patient-derived xenografts. Apart from drug screening, this approach may also be useful for study of the biology of the tumors. In the present study, surgically resected primary lung cancer samples (n = 33) were implanted in immunodeficient mice, and nine were engrafted successfully, including seven adenocarcinomas, one squamous-cell carcinoma, and one large-cell carcinoma. ADC tumors bearing the KRAS-G12C mutation were the most frequently engrafted in our PDX collection. Protein expression of vimentin, ezrin, and Ki67 were evaluated in NSCLC primary tumors and during serial transplantation by immunohistochemistry, using H-score. Our data indicated a more suitable environment for solid adenocarcinoma, compared to other lung tumor subtypes, to grow and preserve its architecture in mice, and a correlation between higher vimentin and ezrin expression in solid adenocarcinomas. A correlation between high vimentin expression and lung adenocarcinoma tumors bearing KRAS-G12C mutation was also observed. In addition, tumor evolution towards more proliferative and mesenchymal phenotypes was already observed in early PDX tumor passages. These PDX models provide a valuable platform for biomarker discovery and drug screening against tumor growth and EMT for lung cancer translational research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Structural Basis for the Functional Changes by EGFR Exon 20 Insertion Mutations
Cancers 2021, 13(5), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13051120 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 618
Abstract
Activating somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are frequently implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While L858R and exon 19 deletion mutations are most prevalent, exon 20 insertions are often observed in NSCLC. Here, we investigated the structural implications [...] Read more.
Activating somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are frequently implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While L858R and exon 19 deletion mutations are most prevalent, exon 20 insertions are often observed in NSCLC. Here, we investigated the structural implications of two common EGFR exon 20 insertions in NSCLC, V769insASV and D770insNPG. The active and inactive conformations of wild-type, D770insNPG and V769insASV EGFRs were probed with molecular dynamics simulations to identify local and global alterations that the mutations exert on the EGFR kinase domain, highlighting mechanisms for increased enzymatic activity. In the active conformation, the mutations increase interactions that stabilize the αC helix that is essential for EGFR activity. Moreover, the key Lys745–Glu762 salt bridge was more conserved in the insertion mutations. The mutants also preserved the state of the structurally critical aspartate–phenylalanine–glycine (DFG)-motif and regulatory spine (R-spine), which were altered in wild-type EGFR. The insertions altered the structure near the ATP-binding pocket, e.g., the P-loop, which may be a factor for the clinically observed tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) insensitivity by the insertion mutants. The inactive state simulations also showed that the insertions disrupt the Ala767–Arg776 interaction that is key for maintaining the “αC-out” inactive conformation, which could consequently fuel the transition from the inactive towards the active EGFR state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Blocking Aerobic Glycolysis by Targeting Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinase in Combination with EGFR TKI and Ionizing Radiation Increases Therapeutic Effect in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells
Cancers 2021, 13(5), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13050941 - 24 Feb 2021
Viewed by 764
Abstract
Increased glycolytic activity is a hallmark of cancer initiation and progression and is often observed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex acts as a gatekeeper between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and activation of PDH is known to inhibit glycolytic [...] Read more.
Increased glycolytic activity is a hallmark of cancer initiation and progression and is often observed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex acts as a gatekeeper between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and activation of PDH is known to inhibit glycolytic activity. As part of a standard therapeutic regimen, patients with NSCLC harboring oncogenic mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are treated with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR TKIs). Independent of good initial response, development of resistance to this therapy is inevitable. In the presented work, we propose that inhibition of glycolysis will add to the therapeutic effects and possibly prevent development of resistance against both EGFR TKIs and ionizing radiation in NSCLC. Analysis of transcriptome data from two independent NSCLC patient cohorts identified increased expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDHK1) as well as upregulated expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism in tumors compared to normal tissue. We established in vitro models of development of resistance to EGFR TKIs to study metabolism and determine if targeting PDHK would prevent development of resistance to EGFR TKIs in NSCLC cells. The PDHK1 inhibitor dichloroacetate (DCA) in combination with EGFR TKIs and/or ionizing radiation was shown to increase the therapeutic effect in our NSCLC cell models. This mechanism was associated with redirected metabolism towards pyruvate oxidation and reduced lactate production, both in EGFR TKI sensitive and resistant NSCLC cells. Using DCA, the intracellular pool of pyruvate available for lactic fermentation becomes limited. Consequently, pyruvate is redirected to the mitochondria, and reinforces mitochondrial activity. Addition of DCA to cell culture deacidifies the extracellular microenvironment as less lactate is produced and excreted. In our study, we find that this redirection of metabolism adds to the therapeutic effect of EGFR TKI and ionizing radiation in NSCLC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Toll-Like Receptor 7 Mediates Inflammation Resolution and Inhibition of Angiogenesis in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(4), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040740 - 10 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 612
Abstract
Pattern recognition receptors (PRR) promote inflammation but also its resolution. We demonstrated that a specific PRR—formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1)—sustains an inflammation resolution response with anti-angiogenic and antitumor potential in gastric cancer. Since toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) is crucial in the physiologic resolution [...] Read more.
Pattern recognition receptors (PRR) promote inflammation but also its resolution. We demonstrated that a specific PRR—formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1)—sustains an inflammation resolution response with anti-angiogenic and antitumor potential in gastric cancer. Since toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) is crucial in the physiologic resolution of airway inflammation, we asked whether it could be responsible for pro-resolving and anti-angiogenic responses in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). TLR7 correlated directly with pro-resolving and inversely with angiogenic mediators in NSCLC patients, as revealed by a publicly available RNAseq analysis. In NSCLC cells, depletion of TLR7 caused an upregulation of angiogenic mediators and a stronger vasculogenic response of endothelial cells compared to controls, assessed by qPCR, ELISA, protein array, and endothelial cell responses. TLR7 activation induced the opposite effects. TLR7 silencing reduced, while its activation increased, the pro-resolving potential of NSCLC cells, evaluated by qPCR, flow cytometry, and EIA. The increased angiogenic potential of TLR7-silenced NSCLC cells is due to the lack of pro-resolving mediators. MAPK and STAT3 signaling are responsible for these activities, as demonstrated through Western blotting and inhibitors. Our data indicate that TLR7 sustains a pro-resolving signaling in lung cancer that inhibits angiogenesis. This opens new possibilities to be exploited for cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Immunogenomic Gene Signature of Cell-Death Associated Genes with Prognostic Implications in Lung Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13010155 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1626
Abstract
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Cell death pathways such as autophagy, apoptosis, and necrosis can provide useful clinical and immunological insights that can assist in the design of personalized therapeutics. In this study, variations in the expression [...] Read more.
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Cell death pathways such as autophagy, apoptosis, and necrosis can provide useful clinical and immunological insights that can assist in the design of personalized therapeutics. In this study, variations in the expression of genes involved in cell death pathways and resulting infiltration of immune cells were explored in lung adenocarcinoma (The Cancer Genome Atlas: TCGA, lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), 510 patients). Firstly, genes involved in autophagy (n = 34 genes), apoptosis (n = 66 genes), and necrosis (n = 32 genes) were analyzed to assess the prognostic significance in lung cancer. The significant genes were used to develop the cell death index (CDI) of 21 genes which clustered patients based on high risk (high CDI) and low risk (low CDI). The survival analysis using the Kaplan–Meier curve differentiated patients based on overall survival (40.4 months vs. 76.2 months), progression-free survival (26.2 months vs. 48.6 months), and disease-free survival (62.2 months vs. 158.2 months) (Log-rank test, p < 0.01). Cox proportional hazard model significantly associated patients in high CDI group with a higher risk of mortality (Hazard Ratio: H.R 1.75, 95% CI: 1.28–2.45, p < 0.001). Differential gene expression analysis using principal component analysis (PCA) identified genes with the highest fold change forming distinct clusters. To analyze the immune parameters in two risk groups, cytokines expression (n = 265 genes) analysis revealed the highest association of IL-15RA and IL 15 (> 1.5-fold, p < 0.01) with the high-risk group. The microenvironment cell-population (MCP)-counter algorithm identified the higher infiltration of CD8+ T cells, macrophages, and lower infiltration of neutrophils with the high-risk group. Interestingly, this group also showed a higher expression of immune checkpoint molecules CD-274 (PD-L1), CTLA-4, and T cell exhaustion genes (HAVCR2, TIGIT, LAG3, PDCD1, CXCL13, and LYN) (p < 0.01). Furthermore, functional enrichment analysis identified significant perturbations in immune pathways in the higher risk group. This study highlights the presence of an immunocompromised microenvironment indicated by the higher infiltration of cytotoxic T cells along with the presence of checkpoint molecules and T cell exhaustion genes. These patients at higher risk might be more suitable to benefit from PD-L1 blockade or other checkpoint blockade immunotherapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Comprehensive Analysis of SWI/SNF Inactivation in Lung Adenocarcinoma Cell Models
Cancers 2020, 12(12), 3712; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123712 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Mammalian SWI/SNF (SWitch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable) complexes are ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers whose subunits have emerged among the most frequently mutated genes in cancer. Studying SWI/SNF function in cancer cell line models has unveiled vulnerabilities in SWI/SNF-mutant tumors that can lead to the discovery of new [...] Read more.
Mammalian SWI/SNF (SWitch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable) complexes are ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers whose subunits have emerged among the most frequently mutated genes in cancer. Studying SWI/SNF function in cancer cell line models has unveiled vulnerabilities in SWI/SNF-mutant tumors that can lead to the discovery of new therapeutic drugs. However, choosing an appropriate cancer cell line model for SWI/SNF functional studies can be challenging because SWI/SNF subunits are frequently altered in cancer by various mechanisms, including genetic alterations and post-transcriptional mechanisms. In this work, we combined genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic approaches to study the mutational status and the expression levels of the SWI/SNF subunits in a panel of 38 lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) cell lines. We found that the SWI/SNF complex was mutated in more than 76% of our LUAD cell lines and there was a high variability in the expression of the different SWI/SNF subunits. These results underline the importance of the SWI/SNF complex as a tumor suppressor in LUAD and the difficulties in defining altered and unaltered cell models for the SWI/SNF complex. These findings will assist researchers in choosing the most suitable cellular models for their studies of SWI/SNF to bring all of its potential to the development of novel therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Association of Mutation Profiles with Postoperative Survival in Patients with Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3472; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113472 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
Findings on mutations, associated with lung cancer, have led to advancements in mutation-based precision medicine. This study aimed to comprehensively and synthetically analyze mutations in lung cancer, based on the next generation sequencing data of surgically removed lung tumors, and identify the mutation-related [...] Read more.
Findings on mutations, associated with lung cancer, have led to advancements in mutation-based precision medicine. This study aimed to comprehensively and synthetically analyze mutations in lung cancer, based on the next generation sequencing data of surgically removed lung tumors, and identify the mutation-related factors that can affect clinical outcomes. Targeted sequencing was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical specimens obtained from 172 patients with lung cancer who underwent surgery in our hospital. The clinical and genomic databases of the hospital were combined to determine correlations between clinical factors and mutation profiles in lung cancer. Multivariate analyses of mutation-related factors that may affect the prognosis were also performed. Based on histology, TP53 was the driver gene in 70.0% of the cases of squamous cell carcinoma. In adenocarcinoma cases, driver mutations were detected in TP53 (26.0%), KRAS (25.0%), and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (23.1%). According to multivariate analysis, the number of pathogenic mutations (≥3), presence of a TP53 mutation, and TP53 allele fraction >60 were poor prognostic mutational factors. The TP53 allele fraction tended to be high in caudally and dorsally located tumors. Moreover, TP53-mutated lung cancers located in segments 9 and 10 were associated with significantly poorer prognosis than those located in segments 1–8. This study has identified mutation-related factors that affect the postoperative prognosis of lung cancer. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that the TP53 mutation profile varies with the site of lung tumor, and that postoperative prognosis varies accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Deregulated microRNAs Are Associated with Patient Survival and Predicted to Target Genes That Modulate Lung Cancer Signaling Pathways
Cancers 2020, 12(9), 2711; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092711 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 847
Abstract
(1) Background: Although the advances in diagnostic and treatment strategies, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, worldwide, with survival rates as low as 16% in developed countries. Low survival rates are mainly due to late diagnosis and the lack of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Although the advances in diagnostic and treatment strategies, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, worldwide, with survival rates as low as 16% in developed countries. Low survival rates are mainly due to late diagnosis and the lack of effective treatment. Therefore, the identification of novel, clinically useful biomarkers is still needed for patients with advanced disease stage and poor survival. Micro(mi)RNAs are non-coding RNAs and potent regulators of gene expression with a possible role as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers in cancer. (2) Methods: We applied global miRNA expression profiling analysis using TaqMan® arrays in paired tumor and normal lung tissues (n = 38) from treatment-naïve patients with lung adenocarcinoma (AD; n = 23) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC; n = 15). miRNA target genes were validated using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) lung AD (n = 561) and lung SCC (n = 523) RNA-Seq datasets. (3) Results: We identified 33 significantly deregulated miRNAs (fold change, FC ≥ 2.0 and p < 0.05) in tumors relative to normal lung tissues, regardless of tumor histology. Enrichment analysis confirmed that genes targeted by the 33 miRNAs are aberrantly expressed in lung AD and SCC, and modulate known pathways in lung cancer. Additionally, high expression of miR-25-3p was significantly associated (p < 0.05) with poor patient survival, when considering both tumor histologies. (4) Conclusions: miR-25-3p may be a potential prognostic biomarker in non-small cell lung cancer. Genes targeted by miRNAs regulate EGFR and TGFβ signaling, among other known pathways relevant to lung tumorigenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
BMI1-Mediated Pemetrexed Resistance in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells Is Associated with Increased SP1 Activation and Cancer Stemness
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2069; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082069 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 876
Abstract
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the therapeutic strategies include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) account for around 85% of cases of lung cancers. Pemetrexed is an antifolate agent that is currently used [...] Read more.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the therapeutic strategies include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) account for around 85% of cases of lung cancers. Pemetrexed is an antifolate agent that is currently used as the second line chemotherapy drug in the treatment of advanced NSCLC patients with a response rate of 20–40%. The search for any combination therapy to improve the efficacy of pemetrexed is required. The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is considered as the main reason for drug resistance of cancers. In this study, we first found that pemetrexed-resistant NSCLC cells derived from A549 cells displayed higher CSC activity in comparison to the parental cells. The expression of CSC related proteins, such as BMI1 or CD44, and the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) signature was elevated in pemetrexed-resistant NSCLC cells. We next discovered that the overexpression of BMI1 in A549 cells caused the pemetrexed resistance and inhibition of BMI1 by a small molecule inhibitor, PTC-209, or transducing of BMI1-specific shRNAs suppressed cell growth and the expression of thymidylate synthase (TS) in pemetrexed-resistant A549 cells. We further identified that BMI1 positively regulated SP1 expression and treatment of mithramycin A, a SP1 inhibitor, inhibited cell proliferation, as well as TS expression, of pemetrexed-resistant A549 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of BMI1 in A549 cells also caused the activation of EMT in and the enhancement of CSC activity. Finally, we demonstrated that pretreatment of PTC-209 in mice bearing pemetrexed-resistant A549 tumors sensitized them to pemetrexed treatment and the expression of Ki-67, BMI1, and SP1 expression in tumor tissues was observed to be reduced. In conclusion, BMI1 expression level mediates pemetrexed sensitivity of NSCLC cells and the inhibition of BMI1 will be an effective strategy in NSCLC patients when pemetrexed resistance has developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Comparative Analysis of Age- and Gender-Associated Microbiome in Lung Adenocarcinoma and Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061447 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1008
Abstract
The intra-tumor microbiota has been increasingly implicated in cancer pathogenesis. In this study, we aimed to examine the microbiome in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) and determine its compositional differences with relation to age and gender. After grouping 497 [...] Read more.
The intra-tumor microbiota has been increasingly implicated in cancer pathogenesis. In this study, we aimed to examine the microbiome in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) and determine its compositional differences with relation to age and gender. After grouping 497 LUAD and 433 LUSC patients by age and gender and removing potential contaminants, we identified differentially abundant microbes in each patient cohort vs. adjacent normal samples. We then correlated dysregulated microbes with patient survival rates, immune infiltration, immune and cancer pathways, and genomic alterations. We found that most age and gender cohorts in both LUAD and LUSC contained unique, significantly dysregulated microbes. For example, LUAD-associated Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. W3110 was dysregulated in older female and male patients and correlated with both patient survival and genomic alterations. For LUSC, the most prominent bacterial species that we identified was Pseudomonas putida str. KT2440, which was uniquely associated with young LUSC male patients and immune infiltration. In conclusion, we found differentially abundant microbes implicated with age and gender that are also associated with genomic alterations and immune dysregulations. Further investigation should be conducted to determine the relationship between gender and age-associated microbes and the pathogenesis of lung cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
Preoperative Peak Oxygen Consumption: A Predictor of Survival in Resected Lung Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(4), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12040836 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
The peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak) serves as a prognostic factor in cardio-respiratory diseases and plays an important role in cancer patients. The long-term prognostic relevance of VO2 peak in lung cancer patients has not been investigated extensively. The aim of [...] Read more.
The peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak) serves as a prognostic factor in cardio-respiratory diseases and plays an important role in cancer patients. The long-term prognostic relevance of VO2 peak in lung cancer patients has not been investigated extensively. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the preoperative VO2 peak on the postoperative long-term survival in patients with operated lung cancer. Retrospective analysis of 342 patients with curatively resected non-small-cell lung cancer using a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model. Results: Preoperative VO2 peak ranged from 10.2 to 51.8 mL/kg/min (mean: 18.3 ± 4.6), VO2 peak % of predicted ranged from 32 to 172% (mean: 65.2 ± 18.0%). Overall 10-year survival was 23%. A Log-rank test comparing predicted VO2 peak ≥ 60% with predicted VO2 peak < 60% showed overall survival of 30% and 17%, respectively (p < 0.001) and non-tumour-related survival of 71% and 51% (p = 0.001) at 10 years. In multivariable Cox analysis, overall 10-year survival correlated with a high predicted VO2 peak% (p = 0.001) and low N-stage corresponding to N0 and N1 (p < 0.001). Non-tumour-related death correlated with low VO2 peak% of predicted (p = 0.001), and age (p < 0.001). Low preoperative VO2 peak was associated with both decreased postoperative overall survival and decreased non-tumour-related survival during the 10-year follow-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Article
A Novel Role for the Tumor Suppressor Gene ITF2 in Tumorigenesis and Chemotherapy Response
Cancers 2020, 12(4), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12040786 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
Despite often leading to platinum resistance, platinum-based chemotherapy continues to be the standard treatment for many epithelial tumors. In this study we analyzed and validated the cytogenetic alterations that arise after treatment in four lung and ovarian paired cisplatin-sensitive/resistant cell lines by 1-million [...] Read more.
Despite often leading to platinum resistance, platinum-based chemotherapy continues to be the standard treatment for many epithelial tumors. In this study we analyzed and validated the cytogenetic alterations that arise after treatment in four lung and ovarian paired cisplatin-sensitive/resistant cell lines by 1-million microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) and qRT-PCR methodologies. RNA-sequencing, functional transfection assays, and gene-pathway activity analysis were used to identify genes with a potential role in the development of this malignancy. The results were further explored in 55 lung and ovarian primary tumors and control samples, and in two extensive in silico databases. Long-term cell exposure to platinum induces the frequent deletion of ITF2 gene. Its expression re-sensitized tumor cells to platinum and recovered the levels of Wnt/β-catenin transcriptional activity. ITF2 expression was also frequently downregulated in epithelial tumors, predicting a worse overall survival. We also identified an inverse correlation between ITF2 and HOXD9 expression, revealing that Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with lower expression of HOXD9 had a better overall survival rate. We defined the implication of ITF2 as a molecular mechanism behind the development of cisplatin resistance probably through the activation of the Wnt-signaling pathway. This data highlights the possible role of ITF2 and HOXD9 as novel therapeutic targets for platinum resistant tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Review

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Review
Intratumoral Cellular Heterogeneity: Implications for Drug Resistance in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(9), 2023; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092023 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 493
Abstract
Tailored therapies based on the identification of molecular targets currently represent a well-established therapeutic scenario in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, while aiming to improve patients’ response to therapy, development of resistance is frequently observed in daily clinical [...] Read more.
Tailored therapies based on the identification of molecular targets currently represent a well-established therapeutic scenario in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, while aiming to improve patients’ response to therapy, development of resistance is frequently observed in daily clinical practice. Intratumoral heterogeneity is a frequent event in NSCLC, responsible for several critical issues in patients’ diagnosis and treatment. Advances in single-cell sequencing technologies have allowed in-depth profiling of tumors and attributed intratumoral heterogeneity to genetic, epigenetic, and protein modification driven diversities within cancer cell populations. This review highlights current research on the biological role of tumor heterogeneity and its impact on the development of acquired resistance in NSCLC patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Review
Biology of NSCLC: Interplay between Cancer Cells, Radiation and Tumor Immune Microenvironment
Cancers 2021, 13(4), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040775 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
The overall prognosis and survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients remain poor. The immune system plays an integral role in driving tumor control, tumor progression, and overall survival of NSCLC patients. While the tumor cells possess many ways to escape the [...] Read more.
The overall prognosis and survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients remain poor. The immune system plays an integral role in driving tumor control, tumor progression, and overall survival of NSCLC patients. While the tumor cells possess many ways to escape the immune system, conventional radiotherapy (RT) approaches, which are directly cytotoxic to tumors, can further add additional immune suppression to the tumor microenvironment by destroying many of the lymphocytes that circulate within the irradiated tumor environment. Thus, the current immunogenic balance, determined by the tumor- and radiation-inhibitory effects is significantly shifted towards immunosuppression, leading to poor clinical outcomes. However, newer emerging evidence suggests that tumor immunosuppression is an “elastic process” that can be manipulated and converted back into an immunostimulant environment that can actually improve patient outcome. In this review we will discuss the natural immunosuppressive effects of NSCLC cells and conventional RT approaches, and then shift the focus on immunomodulation through novel, emerging immuno- and RT approaches that promise to generate immunostimulatory effects to enhance tumor control and patient outcome. We further describe some of the mechanisms by which these newer approaches are thought to be working and set the stage for future trials and additional preclinical work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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Review
Renin-Angiotensin System in Lung Tumor and Microenvironment Interactions
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1457; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061457 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1046
Abstract
The mechanistic involvement of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) reaches beyond cardiovascular physiopathology. Recent knowledge pinpoints a pleiotropic role for this system, particularly in the lung, and mainly through locally regulated alternative molecules and secondary pathways. Angiotensin peptides play a role in cell proliferation, [...] Read more.
The mechanistic involvement of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) reaches beyond cardiovascular physiopathology. Recent knowledge pinpoints a pleiotropic role for this system, particularly in the lung, and mainly through locally regulated alternative molecules and secondary pathways. Angiotensin peptides play a role in cell proliferation, immunoinflammatory response, hypoxia and angiogenesis, which are critical biological processes in lung cancer. This manuscript reviews the literature supporting a role for the renin-angiotensin system in the lung tumor microenvironment and discusses whether blockade of this pathway in clinical settings may serve as an adjuvant therapy in lung cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-small Cell Lung Cancer--Tumor Biology)
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