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Cancers, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2020) – 356 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most aggressive subtype of kidney cancer and up to [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Potential of Tyrosine Kinase Receptor TIE-1 as Novel Therapeutic Target in High-PI3K-Expressing Ovarian Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1705; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061705 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Tyrosine kinase receptor TIE-1 plays a critical role in angiogenesis and blood-vessel stability. In recent years, increased TIE-1 expression has been observed in many types of cancers; however, the biological significance and underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Thus, in the present study, we investigated [...] Read more.
Tyrosine kinase receptor TIE-1 plays a critical role in angiogenesis and blood-vessel stability. In recent years, increased TIE-1 expression has been observed in many types of cancers; however, the biological significance and underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Thus, in the present study, we investigated the tumor biological functions of TIE-1 in ovarian cancer. The treatment of SKOV3 ovarian-cancer cells with siRNA against TIE-1 decreased the expression of key molecules in the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, such as p110α and phospho-Akt, suggesting that TIE-1 is related to the PI3K/Akt pathway. Furthermore, the knockdown of TIE-1 significantly decreased cell proliferation in high-PI3K-expressing cell lines (SKOV3, CAOV3) but not low-PI3K-expressing cell lines (TOV112D, A2780). These results suggested that inhibition of TIE-1 decreases cell growth in high-PI3K-expressing cells. Moreover, in low-PI3K-expressing TOV112D ovarian-cancer cells, TIE-1 overexpression induced PI3K upregulation and promoted a PI3K-mediated cell proliferative phenotype. Mechanistically, TIE-1 participates in cell growth and proliferation by regulating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Taken together, our findings strongly implicate TIE-1 as a novel therapeutic target in high-PI3K-expressing ovarian-cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Cancer Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
CRISPR-Mediated Non-Viral Site-Specific Gene Integration and Expression in T Cells: Protocol and Application for T-Cell Therapy
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1704; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061704 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) show great promise in the treatment of some cancers. Modifying T cells to express CARs generally relies on T-cell transduction using viral vectors carrying a transgene, resulting in semi-random DNA integration within the T-cell genome. [...] Read more.
T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) show great promise in the treatment of some cancers. Modifying T cells to express CARs generally relies on T-cell transduction using viral vectors carrying a transgene, resulting in semi-random DNA integration within the T-cell genome. While this approach has proven successful and is used in generating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, USA) approved B-lymphocyte antigen CD19-specific CAR T cells, it is possible the transgene could integrate into a locus that would lead to malignant transformation of the engineered T cells. In addition, manufacturing viral vectors is time-consuming and expensive. One way to overcome these challenges is site-specific gene integration, which can be achieved through clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) mediated editing and non-viral DNA, which serves as a template for homology-directed repair (HDR). This non-viral gene editing approach provides a rapid, highly specific, and inexpensive way to engineer T cells. Here, we describe an optimized protocol for the site-specific knock-in of a large transgene in primary human T cells using non-viral double stranded DNA as a repair template. As proof-of-principle, we targeted the T-cell receptor alpha constant (TRAC) locus for insertion of a large transgene containing green fluorescence protein (GFP) and interleukin-15 (IL-15). To optimize the knock-in conditions we tested template DNA concentration, homology arm length, cell number, and knock-in efficiency over time. We then applied these established guidelines to target the TRAC or interleukin-13 (IL-13) locus for the knock-in of synthetic molecules, such as a CAR, bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE), and other transgenes. While integration efficiency depends on the targeted gene locus and selected transgene, this optimized protocol reliably generates the desired insertion at rates upwards of 20%. Thus, it should serve as a good starting point for investigators who are interested in knocking in transgenes into specific loci. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tracing Nutrient Flux Following Monocarboxylate Transporter-1 Inhibition with AZD3965
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1703; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061703 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 372
Abstract
The monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) is a key element in tumor cell metabolism and inhibition of MCT1 with AZD3965 is undergoing clinical trials. We aimed to investigate nutrient fluxes associated with MCT1 inhibition by AZD3965 to identify possible biomarkers of drug action. We [...] Read more.
The monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) is a key element in tumor cell metabolism and inhibition of MCT1 with AZD3965 is undergoing clinical trials. We aimed to investigate nutrient fluxes associated with MCT1 inhibition by AZD3965 to identify possible biomarkers of drug action. We synthesized an 18F-labeled lactate analogue, [18F]-S-fluorolactate ([18F]-S-FL), that was used alongside [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG), and 13C-labeled glucose and lactate, to investigate the modulation of metabolism with AZD3965 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma models in NOD/SCID mice. Comparative analysis of glucose and lactate-based probes showed a preference for glycolytic metabolism in vitro, whereas in vivo, both glucose and lactate were used as metabolic fuel. While intratumoral L-[1-13C]lactate and [18F]-S-FL were unchanged or lower at early (5 or 30 min) timepoints, these variables were higher compared to vehicle controls at 4 h following treatment with AZD3965, which indicates that inhibition of MCT1-mediated lactate import is reversed over time. Nonetheless, AZD3965 treatment impaired DLBCL tumor growth in mice. This was hypothesized to be a consequence of metabolic strain, as AZD3965 treatment showed a reduction in glycolytic intermediates and inhibition of the TCA cycle likely due to downregulated PDH activity. Glucose ([18F]FDG and D-[13C6]glucose) and lactate-based probes ([18F]-S-FL and L-[1-13C]lactate) can be successfully used as biomarkers for AZD3965 treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Molecular Imaging)
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Open AccessArticle
TRPV1 Antagonist DWP05195 Induces ER Stress-Dependent Apoptosis through the ROS-p38-CHOP Pathway in Human Ovarian Cancer Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1702; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061702 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 342
Abstract
In addition to their analgesic activity, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonists and antagonists demonstrate profound anti-cancer activities in various human cancers. In the present study, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of a novel TRPV1 antagonist, DWP05195, and evaluated its molecular mechanism [...] Read more.
In addition to their analgesic activity, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonists and antagonists demonstrate profound anti-cancer activities in various human cancers. In the present study, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of a novel TRPV1 antagonist, DWP05195, and evaluated its molecular mechanism in human ovarian cancer cells. DWP05195 demonstrated potent growth inhibitory effects in all five ovarian cancer cell lines examined. DWP05195 induced apoptosis through the activation of caspase-3, -8, and -9. DWP05195 induced C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Sodium phenylbutyrate (4-PBA), an ER-stress inhibitor, and CHOP knockdown significantly suppressed DWP5195-induced cell death. DWP05195-enhanced CHOP expression stimulated intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways through the regulation of Bcl2-like11 (BIM), death receptor 4 (DR4), and DR5. DWP05195-induced cell death was associated with increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and p38 pathway activation. Pre-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) significantly suppressed DWP05195-induced CHOP expression and p38 activation. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase (NOX) through p47phox knockdown abolished DWP05195-induced CHOP expression and cell death. Taken together, the findings indicate that DWP05195 induces ER stress-induced apoptosis via the ROS-p38-CHOP pathway in human ovarian cancer cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mixed Type Histology as a Predictive Factor for Esophagojejunostomy Leak in Advanced Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1701; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061701 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 281
Abstract
Since esophagojejunostomy leak (EJL) after gastrectomy is a potentially fatal complication and may impact the survival of patients with advanced gastric cancer (GC), it is important to establish risk factors for the EJL and to prevent this surgical complication. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Since esophagojejunostomy leak (EJL) after gastrectomy is a potentially fatal complication and may impact the survival of patients with advanced gastric cancer (GC), it is important to establish risk factors for the EJL and to prevent this surgical complication. The aim of this study was analysis of predictors for the postoperative clinically apparent EJL. All patients operated for advanced GC between October 2016 and December 2019 were analyzed from a prospectively maintained database. The evaluation of the EJL and postoperative complications according to the demographic and clinical (categorized) variables was performed with odds ratio test (multivariate analysis was performed with the use of logistic regression method). Among the 114 patients included in the study, 71.1% received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and 19.3% underwent gastrectomy followed by the hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Postoperative EJL was found in 4.6% patients. The risk of EJL was significantly higher for mixed-type GC (OR = 12.45, 95% CI: 1.03–150.10; p = 0.0472). The risk of other postoperative complications was significantly higher in patients undergoing HIPEC (OR = 3.88, 95% CI: 1.40–10.80, p = 0.0094). The number of lymph nodes removed (>38) was characterized by 80% sensitivity and 79.6% specificity in predicting EJL (AUC = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.72–0.87; p < 0.0001). Mixed histological type of GC is a tumor-related risk factor for the EJL. HIPEC was confirmed to be a risk factor for postoperative complications after gastrectomy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Are Leading Risk Factors for Cancer and Mental Disorders Multimorbidity Shared by These Two Individual Conditions in Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged Adults?
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1700; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061700 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Data on the leading shared risk factors of cancer and mental disorders are limited. We included 98,958 participants (54.8% women) aged 45–64 years from the 45 and Up Study who were free of cancer, depression, and anxiety at baseline (2006–2009). The incidence of [...] Read more.
Data on the leading shared risk factors of cancer and mental disorders are limited. We included 98,958 participants (54.8% women) aged 45–64 years from the 45 and Up Study who were free of cancer, depression, and anxiety at baseline (2006–2009). The incidence of cancer, mental disorders, and multimorbidity (concurrent cancer and mental disorders) was identified using claim databases during follow-up until 31 December 2016. During a nine-year follow-up, the cumulative incidence of cancer, mental disorders, and multimorbidity was 8.8%, 17.4%, and 2.2%, respectively. Participants with cancer were 3.41 times more likely to develop mental disorders, while individuals with mental disorders were 3.06 times more likely to develop cancer than people without these conditions. The shared risk factors for cancer and mental disorders were older age, female gender, smoking, psychological distress, low fruit intake, poor/fair self-rated health, hypertension, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Low education, low income, overweight/obesity, and family history of depression were risk factors for mental disorders and multimorbidity but not cancer. In conclusion, smoking, low fruit intake, and obesity are key modifiable factors for the prevention of cancer and mental disorders. Individuals with poor/fair self-rated health, high psychological distress, asthma, hypertension, arthritis, or diabetes should be targeted for the prevention and screening of cancer and mental disorders. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Optimizing Oncolytic Viral Design to Enhance Antitumor Efficacy: Progress and Challenges
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1699; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061699 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 648
Abstract
The field of oncolytic virotherapy has seen remarkable advancements in last two decades, leading to approval of the first oncolytic immuno-virotherapy, Talimogene Laherparepvec, for the treatment of melanoma. A plethora of preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated excellent safety profiles of other oncolytic [...] Read more.
The field of oncolytic virotherapy has seen remarkable advancements in last two decades, leading to approval of the first oncolytic immuno-virotherapy, Talimogene Laherparepvec, for the treatment of melanoma. A plethora of preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated excellent safety profiles of other oncolytic viruses. While oncolytic viruses show clinical promise in already immunogenic malignancies, response rates are inconsistent. Response rates are even less consistent in immunosuppressed tumor microenvironments like those found in liver, pancreas, and MSI-stable colon cancers. Therefore, the efficacy of oncolytic viruses needs to be improved for more oncolytic viruses to enter mainstream cancer therapy. One approach to increase the therapeutic efficacy of oncolytic viruses is to use them as primers for other immunotherapeutics. The amenability of oncolytic viruses to transgene-arming provides an immense opportunity for investigators to explore different ways of improving the outcome of oncolytic therapy. In this regard, genes encoding immunomodulatory proteins are the most commonly studied genes for arming oncolytic viruses. Other transgenes used to arm oncolytic viruses include those with the potential to favorably modulate tumor stroma, making it possible to image the virus distribution and increase its suitability for combination with other therapeutics. This review will detail the progress made in arming oncolytic viruses with a focus on immune-modulatory transgenes, and will discuss the challenges that need to be addressed for more armed oncolytic viruses to find widespread clinical use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncolytic Virus Therapy Against Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
The Value of Laboratory Parameters for Anemia, Renal Function, Systemic Inflammation and Nutritional Status as Predictors for Outcome in Elderly Patients with Head-and-Neck Cancers
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1698; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061698 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 284
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the value of routine blood markers regarding their predictive potential for treatment outcomes of elderly head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. In total, 246 elderly HNSCC patients (≥65 years) undergoing (chemo)radiotherapy from 2010 to 2018 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the value of routine blood markers regarding their predictive potential for treatment outcomes of elderly head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. In total, 246 elderly HNSCC patients (≥65 years) undergoing (chemo)radiotherapy from 2010 to 2018 were analyzed for treatment outcomes, depending on their hemoglobin, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and albumin values, representing anemia, kidney function, inflammation and nutrition status, respectively. Local/locoregional control, progression-free and overall survival (OS) were calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Cox analyses were performed to examine the influence of blood parameters on oncological outcomes. In the univariate Cox regression analysis, hemoglobin ≤ 12 g/dL (HR = 1.536, p < 0.05), a GFR ≤ 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (HR = 1.537, p < 0.05), a CRP concentration > 5 mg/L (HR = 1.991, p < 0.001) and albumin levels ≤ 4.2 g/dL (HR = 2.916, p < 0.001) were significant risk factors for OS. In the multivariate analysis including clinical risk factors, only performance status (HR = 2.460, p < 0.05) and baseline albumin (HR = 2.305, p < 0.05) remained significant prognosticators. Additionally, baseline anemia correlated with the prevalence of higher-grade chronic toxicities. We could show for the first time that laboratory parameters for anemia (and at least partly, tumor oxygenation), decreased renal function, inflammation and reduced nutrition status are associated with impaired survival in elderly HNSCC patients undergoing (chemo)radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C-Reactive Protein in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Influence of Fibroblasts on Mammary Gland Development, Breast Cancer Microenvironment Remodeling, and Cancer Cell Dissemination
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1697; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061697 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 481
Abstract
The stromal microenvironment regulates mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. In normal mammary glands, the stromal microenvironment encompasses the ducts and contains fibroblasts, the main regulators of branching morphogenesis. Understanding the way fibroblast signaling pathways regulate mammary gland development may offer insights into the [...] Read more.
The stromal microenvironment regulates mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. In normal mammary glands, the stromal microenvironment encompasses the ducts and contains fibroblasts, the main regulators of branching morphogenesis. Understanding the way fibroblast signaling pathways regulate mammary gland development may offer insights into the mechanisms of breast cancer (BC) biology. In fact, the unregulated mammary fibroblast signaling pathways, associated with alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and branching morphogenesis, drive breast cancer microenvironment (BCM) remodeling and cancer growth. The BCM comprises a very heterogeneous tissue containing non-cancer stromal cells, namely, breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (BCAFs), which represent most of the tumor mass. Moreover, the different components of the BCM highly interact with cancer cells, thereby generating a tightly intertwined network. In particular, BC cells activate recruited normal fibroblasts in BCAFs, which, in turn, promote BCM remodeling and metastasis. Thus, comparing the roles of normal fibroblasts and BCAFs in the physiological and metastatic processes, could provide a deeper understanding of the signaling pathways regulating BC dissemination. Here, we review the latest literature describing the structure of the mammary gland and the BCM and summarize the influence of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EpMT) and autophagy in BC dissemination. Finally, we discuss the roles of fibroblasts and BCAFs in mammary gland development and BCM remodeling, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Special Issue on Tumor Stroma )
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Characterization of Astrocytoma Progression Towards Secondary Glioblastomas Utilizing Patient-Matched Tumor Pairs
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1696; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061696 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Astrocytomas are primary human brain tumors including diffuse or anaplastic astrocytomas that develop towards secondary glioblastomas over time. However, only little is known about molecular alterations that drive this progression. We measured multi-omics profiles of patient-matched astrocytoma pairs of initial and recurrent tumors [...] Read more.
Astrocytomas are primary human brain tumors including diffuse or anaplastic astrocytomas that develop towards secondary glioblastomas over time. However, only little is known about molecular alterations that drive this progression. We measured multi-omics profiles of patient-matched astrocytoma pairs of initial and recurrent tumors from 22 patients to identify molecular alterations associated with tumor progression. Gene copy number profiles formed three major subcluters, but more than half of the patient-matched astrocytoma pairs differed in their gene copy number profiles like astrocytomas from different patients. Chromosome 10 deletions were not observed for diffuse astrocytomas, but occurred in corresponding recurrent tumors. Gene expression profiles formed three other major subclusters and patient-matched expression profiles were much more heterogeneous than their copy number profiles. Still, recurrent tumors showed a strong tendency to switch to the mesenchymal subtype. The direct progression of diffuse astrocytomas to secondary glioblastomas showed the largest number of transcriptional changes. Astrocytoma progression groups were further distinguished by signaling pathway expression signatures affecting cell division, interaction and differentiation. As expected, IDH1 was most frequently mutated closely followed by TP53, but also MUC4 involved in the regulation of apoptosis and proliferation was frequently mutated. Astrocytoma progression groups differed in their mutation frequencies of these three genes. Overall, patient-matched astrocytomas can differ substantially within and between patients, but still molecular signatures associated with the progression to secondary glioblastomas exist and should be analyzed for their potential clinical relevance in future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Association of Allostatic Load with All-Cause and Cancer Mortality by Race and Body Mass Index in the REGARDS Cohort
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1695; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061695 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Among 29,701 Black and White participants aged 45 years and older in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Difference in Stroke (REGARDS) study, allostatic load (AL) was defined as the sum score of established baseline risk-associated biomarkers for which participants exceeded a set [...] Read more.
Among 29,701 Black and White participants aged 45 years and older in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Difference in Stroke (REGARDS) study, allostatic load (AL) was defined as the sum score of established baseline risk-associated biomarkers for which participants exceeded a set cutoff point. Cox proportional hazard regression was utilized to determine the association of AL score with all-cause and cancer-specific mortality, with analyses stratified by body-mass index, age group, and race. At baseline, Blacks had a higher AL score compared with Whites (Black mean AL score: 2.42, SD: 1.50; White mean AL score: 1.99, SD: 1.39; p < 0.001). Over the follow-up period, there were 4622 all-cause and 1237 cancer-specific deaths observed. Every unit increase in baseline AL score was associated with a 24% higher risk of all-cause (HR: 1.24, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.27) and a 7% higher risk of cancer-specific mortality (HR: 1.07, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.12). The association of AL with overall- and cancer-specific mortality was similar among Blacks and Whites and across age-groups, however the risk of cancer-specific mortality was higher among normal BMI than overweight or obese participants. In conclusion, a higher baseline AL score was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality among both Black and White participants. Targeted interventions to patient groups with higher AL scores, regardless of race, may be beneficial as a strategy to reduce all-cause and cancer-specific mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Molecular Basis of Cancer Health Disparities)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical, Physical and Biological Triggers of Evolutionary Conserved Bcl-xL-Mediated Apoptosis
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1694; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061694 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 721
Abstract
Background: The evidence that pan-Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL-specific inhibitors prematurely kill virus-infected or RNA/DNA-transfected cells provides rationale for investigating these apoptotic inducers further. We hypothesized that not only invasive RNA or DNA (biological factors) but also DNA/RNA-damaging chemical or physical factors could trigger apoptosis [...] Read more.
Background: The evidence that pan-Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL-specific inhibitors prematurely kill virus-infected or RNA/DNA-transfected cells provides rationale for investigating these apoptotic inducers further. We hypothesized that not only invasive RNA or DNA (biological factors) but also DNA/RNA-damaging chemical or physical factors could trigger apoptosis that have been sensitized with pan-Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL-specific agents; Methods: We tested chemical and physical factors plus Bcl-xL-specific inhibitor A-1155463 in cells of various origins and the small roundworms (C. elegans); Results: We show that combination of a A-1155463 along with a DNA-damaging agent, 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO), prematurely kills cells of various origins as well as C. elegans. The synergistic effect is p53-dependent and associated with the release of Bad and Bax from Bcl-xL, which trigger mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Furthermore, we found that combining Bcl-xL-specific inhibitors with various chemical compounds or physical insults also induced cell death; Conclusions: Thus, we were able to identify several biological, chemical and physical triggers of the evolutionarily conserved Bcl-xL-mediated apoptotic pathway, shedding light on strategies and targets for novel drug development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tumor-Suppressive miR-192-5p Has Prognostic Value in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1693; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061693 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by fast tumor progression and diagnosis at advanced, inoperable stages. Previous studies could demonstrate an involvement of miR-192-5p in epigenetic regulation of visceral carcinomas. Due to contradictory results, however, the clinical utility of miR-192-5p in PDAC has [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by fast tumor progression and diagnosis at advanced, inoperable stages. Previous studies could demonstrate an involvement of miR-192-5p in epigenetic regulation of visceral carcinomas. Due to contradictory results, however, the clinical utility of miR-192-5p in PDAC has yet to be determined. MiR-192-5p expression was analyzed by RT-qRT-PCR in human PDAC and benign tissue (n = 78), blood serum (n = 81) and serum exosomes (n = 74), as well as in PDAC cell lines (n = 5), chemoresistant cell clones (n = 2), and pancreatic duct cell line H6c7. Analysis of EMT-associated (epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition) proteins was performed by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. MiR-192-5p was deregulated in PDAC as compared to healthy controls (HCs), with downregulation in macrodissected tissue (p < 0.001) and upregulation in blood serum of PDAC UICC (Union for International Cancer Control) stage IV (p = 0.016) and serum exosomes of PDAC UICC stages II to IV (p < 0.001). MiR-192-5p expression in tumor tissue was significantly lower as compared to corresponding peritumoral tissue (PDAC UICC stage II: p < 0.001; PDAC UICC stage III: p = 0.024), while EMT markers ZEB1 and ZEB2 were more frequently expressed in tumor tissue as compared to peritumoral tissue, HCs, and chronic pancreatitis. Tissue-derived (AUC of 0.86; p < 0.0001) and exosomal (AUC of 0.83; p = 0.0004) miR-192-5p could differentiate between PDAC and HCs with good accuracy. Furthermore, high expression of miR-192-5p in PDAC tissue of curatively resected PDAC patients correlated with prolonged overall and recurrence-free survival in multivariate analysis. In vitro, miR-192-5p was downregulated in gemcitabine-resistant cell clones of AsPC-1 (p = 0.029). Transient transfection of MIA PaCa-2 cells with miR-192-5p mimic resulted in downregulation of ZEB2. MiR-192-5p seems to possess a tumor-suppressive role and high potential as a diagnostic and prognostic marker in PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Regulatory and Non-Coding RNAs in Cancer Epigenetic Mechanisms)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Assessment of Circulating Cell-Free MicroRNA Signatures in Plasma of Patients with Melanoma Brain Metastasis
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061692 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Primary cutaneous melanoma frequently metastasizes to distant organs including the brain. Identification of cell-free microRNAs (cfmiRs) found in the blood can be used as potential body fluid biomarkers for detecting and monitoring patients with melanoma brain metastasis (MBM). In this pilot study, we [...] Read more.
Primary cutaneous melanoma frequently metastasizes to distant organs including the brain. Identification of cell-free microRNAs (cfmiRs) found in the blood can be used as potential body fluid biomarkers for detecting and monitoring patients with melanoma brain metastasis (MBM). In this pilot study, we initially aimed to identify cfmiRs in the blood of MBM patients. Normal donors plasma (healthy, n = 48) and pre-operative MBM patients’ plasma samples (n = 36) were compared for differences in >2000 microRNAs (miRs) using a next generation sequencing (NGS) probe-based assay. A 74 cfmiR signature was identified in an initial cohort of MBM plasma samples and then verified in a second cohort of MBM plasma samples (n = 24). Of these, only 58 cfmiRs were also detected in MBM tissues (n = 24). CfmiR signatures were also found in patients who have lung and breast cancer brain metastasis (n = 13) and glioblastomas (n = 36) compared to MBM plasma samples. The 74 cfmiR signature and the latter cfmiR signatures were then compared. We found a 6 cfmiR signature that was commonly upregulated in MBM plasma samples in all of the comparisons, and a 29 cfmiR signature that distinguishes MBM patients from normal donors’ samples. In addition, we assessed for cfmiRs in plasma (n = 20) and urine (n = 14) samples collected from metastatic melanoma patients receiving checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy (CII). Pre- and post-treatment samples showed consistent changes in cfmiRs. Analysis of pre- and post-treatment plasma samples showed 8 differentially expressed (DE) cfmiRs that overlapped with the 35 cfmiR signature found in MBM patients. In paired pre-treatment plasma and urine samples receiving CII 8 cfmiRs overlapped. This study identified specific cfmiRs in MBM plasma samples that may potentially allow for assessment of melanoma patients developing MBM. The cfmiR signatures identified in both blood and urine may have potential utility to assess CII responses after further validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Biopsy: Latest Advances and Future Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness and Healthcare Cost of Adding Trastuzumab to Standard Chemotherapy for First-Line Treatment of Metastatic Gastric Cancer: A Population-Based Cohort Study
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1691; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061691 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 316
Abstract
A randomized clinical trial showed that trastuzumab, added to traditional chemotherapy, significantly improved overall survival in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-overexpressing metastatic gastric cancer patients. This population-based study aimed at evaluating both the clinical and economic impact of trastuzumab in a [...] Read more.
A randomized clinical trial showed that trastuzumab, added to traditional chemotherapy, significantly improved overall survival in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-overexpressing metastatic gastric cancer patients. This population-based study aimed at evaluating both the clinical and economic impact of trastuzumab in a real-world setting. By using the healthcare utilization databases of Lombardy, Italy, a cohort of patients newly diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer during the period 2011–2016 was selected. Among these, patients initially treated with either trastuzumab-based chemotherapy or standard chemotherapy alone were followed up until death, migration in other regions or June 2018. Overall survival and average cumulative costs were estimated and compared between the two treatment arms. Among the 1198 metastatic gastric cancer patients who started therapy within six months after metastasis detection, 87 were initially treated with trastuzumab-based chemotherapy and 1111 with standard chemotherapy. Median overall survival and restricted mean survival were 10.2 and 7.4 months, and 14.9 and 11.4 months, respectively, in the two treatment arms. The adjusted hazard ratio of death was 0.73 (95% CI 0.57–0.93). The average per capita cumulative healthcare costs were, respectively, EUR 39,337 and 26,504, corresponding to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of EUR 43,998 for each year of survival gained. Our study shows that adding trastuzumab to conventional chemotherapy is effective and cost-effective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeted Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Androgen Deprivation Therapy Combined with Proton Beam Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Results from a Multi-Institutional Study of the Japanese Radiation Oncology Study Group
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061690 - 25 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Background: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) combined with radiation therapy benefits intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer (PC) patients. The optimal ADT duration in combination with high-dose proton beam therapy (PBT) remains unknown. Methods: Intermediate- and high-risk PC patients treated with PBT combined with ADT [...] Read more.
Background: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) combined with radiation therapy benefits intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer (PC) patients. The optimal ADT duration in combination with high-dose proton beam therapy (PBT) remains unknown. Methods: Intermediate- and high-risk PC patients treated with PBT combined with ADT for various durations were analyzed retrospectively. To assess the relationship between ADT and biochemical relapse-free (bRF) rate, Cox proportional hazards models including T stage, prostate specific antigen (PSA) level, Gleason score (GS), and total radiation dose were used. Results: In the intermediate-risk PC patients (n = 520), ADT use improved bRF (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.26–0.93; p = 0.029), especially in those with multiple intermediate-risk factors (T2b–2c, PSA 10–20 ng/mL, and GS 7). In the high-risk PC patients (n = 555), a longer ADT duration (>6 months) conferred a benefit for bRF (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.32–0.90; p = 0.018), which was most apparent in patients with multiple high-risk factors (T3a–4, PSA > 20 ng/mL, and GS ≥ 8) treated with ADT for ≥21 months. Conclusions: Short-term (≤6 months) ADT is beneficial for intermediate-risk PC patients, but likely unnecessary for those with a single risk factor, whereas ADT for >6 months is necessary for high-risk PC patients and ADT for ≥21 months might be optimal for those with multiple risk factors in combination of high-dose PBT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy For Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Tumor Localization and Molecular Subtypes on the Prognostic and Predictive Significance of p53 Expression in Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1689; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061689 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 328
Abstract
We investigated the prognostic and predictive impact of p53 expression for gastric cancer (GC) patients treated without or with preoperative chemotherapy (CTx) and its relationship with specific molecular GC subtypes. Specimens from 694 GC patients (562 surgical resection specimens without or after CTx, [...] Read more.
We investigated the prognostic and predictive impact of p53 expression for gastric cancer (GC) patients treated without or with preoperative chemotherapy (CTx) and its relationship with specific molecular GC subtypes. Specimens from 694 GC patients (562 surgical resection specimens without or after CTx, 132 biopsies before CTx) were analyzed by p53 immunohistochemistry. High (H) and low (L) microsatellite instability (MSI) and Epstein–Barr virus positivity were determined previously. Our results show that aberrant p53 expression was a negative prognostic factor in uni- and multivariable analysis in the resection specimens cohort (each p < 0.01). Subgroup analysis showed the strongest prognostic effect for patients with distally located tumors or no CTx treatment. In the biopsy cohort before CTx, p53 did not predict response or survival. p53 expression was significantly different among the molecular subtypes in surgical resection and bioptic specimens with strong association of altered p53 with MSI-L. Patients with MSI-H and aberrant p53 showed the worst survival in the biopsy cohort. In conclusion, the prognostic impact of p53 in GC differs according to tumor localization and CTx. Altered p53 is characteristic for MSI-L, and the p53 status in biopsies before CTx delineates MSI-H subtypes with inverse prognostic impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Gastric Cancer Development)
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Open AccessReview
Immunoglobulin M Paraproteinaemias
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1688; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061688 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Monoclonal paraproteinaemia is an increasingly common reason for referral to haematology services. Paraproteinaemias may be associated with life-threatening haematologic malignancies but can also be an incidental finding requiring only observation. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) paraproteinaemias comprise 15–20% of monoclonal proteins but pose unique clinical [...] Read more.
Monoclonal paraproteinaemia is an increasingly common reason for referral to haematology services. Paraproteinaemias may be associated with life-threatening haematologic malignancies but can also be an incidental finding requiring only observation. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) paraproteinaemias comprise 15–20% of monoclonal proteins but pose unique clinical challenges. IgM paraproteins are more commonly associated with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma than multiple myeloma and can occur in a variety of other mature B-cell neoplasms. The large molecular weight of the IgM multimer leads to a spectrum of clinical manifestations more commonly seen with IgM paraproteins than others. The differential diagnosis of B-cell and plasma cell dyscrasias associated with IgM gammopathies can be challenging. Although the discovery of MYD88 L265P and other mutations has shed light on the molecular biology of IgM paraproteinaemias, clinical and histopathologic findings still play a vital role in the diagnostic process. IgM secreting clones are also associated with a number of “monoclonal gammopathy of clinical significance” entities. These disorders pose a novel challenge from both a diagnostic and therapeutic perspective. In this review we provide a clinical overview of IgM paraproteinaemias while discussing the key advances which may affect how we manage these patients in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Asymptomatic Version of Myeloma: MGUS and Smoldering Myeloma)
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Open AccessReview
Telomerase and CD4 T Cell Immunity in Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061687 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) is a conserved self-tumor antigen which is overexpressed in most tumors and plays a critical role in tumor formation and progression. As such, TERT is an antigen of great relevance to develop widely applicable immunotherapies. CD4 T cells play [...] Read more.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) is a conserved self-tumor antigen which is overexpressed in most tumors and plays a critical role in tumor formation and progression. As such, TERT is an antigen of great relevance to develop widely applicable immunotherapies. CD4 T cells play a major role in the anti-cancer response alone or with other effector cells such as CD8 T cells and NK cells. To date, efforts have been made to identify TERT peptides capable of stimulating CD4 T cells that are also able to bind diverse MHC-II alleles to ease immune status monitoring and immunotherapies. Here, we review the current status of TERT biology, TERT/MHC-II immunobiology, and past and current vaccine clinical trials. We propose that monitoring CD4 T cell immunity against TERT is a simple and direct way to assess immune surveillance in cancer patients and a new way to predict the response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPi). Finally, we present the initial results of a systematic discovery of TERT peptides able to bind the most common HLA Class II alleles worldwide and show that the repertoire of MHC-II TERT peptides is wider than currently appreciated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Telomeres and Telomerase in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Obesity and Breast Cancer: A Case of Inflamed Adipose Tissue
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1686; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061686 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 307
Abstract
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women and a worse prognosis for all major breast cancer subtypes regardless of menopausal status. While the link between obesity and the pathogenesis of breast cancer is clear, the [...] Read more.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women and a worse prognosis for all major breast cancer subtypes regardless of menopausal status. While the link between obesity and the pathogenesis of breast cancer is clear, the molecular mechanism of this association is not completely understood due to the complexity of both obesity and breast cancer. The aim of this review is to highlight the association between obesity and breast cancer and discuss the literature, which indicates that this association is due to chronic adipose tissue inflammation. We will discuss the epidemiological data for the association between breast cancer incidence and progression as well as the potential molecular mechanisms for this association. We will focus on the role of inflammation within the adipose tissue during the pathogenesis of breast cancer. A better understanding of how obesity and adipose tissue inflammation affects the pathogenesis of breast cancer will lead to new strategies to reduce breast cancer risk and improve patient outcomes for obese patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Does Obesity Cause Cancer?)
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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Tumor Mutation Burden and PD-L1 Testing in Routine Laboratory Diagnostics in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1685; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061685 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 623
Abstract
In recent years, Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has evolved into a prime example for precision oncology with multiple FDA-approved “precision” drugs. For the majority of NSCLC lacking targetable genetic alterations, immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) has become standard of care in first-line treatment [...] Read more.
In recent years, Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has evolved into a prime example for precision oncology with multiple FDA-approved “precision” drugs. For the majority of NSCLC lacking targetable genetic alterations, immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) has become standard of care in first-line treatment or beyond. PD-L1 tumor expression represents the only approved predictive biomarker for PD-L1/PD-1 checkpoint inhibition by therapeutic antibodies. Since PD-L1-negative or low-expressing tumors may also respond to ICI, additional factors are likely to contribute in addition to PD-L1 expression. Tumor mutation burden (TMB) has emerged as a potential candidate; however, it is the most complex biomarker so far and might represent a challenge for routine diagnostics. We therefore established a hybrid capture (HC) next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay that covers all oncogenic driver alterations as well as TMB and validated TMB values by correlation with the assay (F1CDx) used for the CheckMate 227 study. Results of the first consecutive 417 patients analyzed in a routine clinical setting are presented. Data show that fast reliable comprehensive diagnostics including TMB and targetable alterations are obtained with a short turn-around time. Thus, even complex biomarkers can easily be implemented in routine practice to optimize treatment decisions for advanced NSCLC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Clinically Applicable Approach to the Classification of B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas with Flow Cytometry and Machine Learning
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1684; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061684 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 637
Abstract
The immunophenotype is a key element to classify B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (B-NHL); while it is routinely obtained through immunohistochemistry, the use of flow cytometry (FC) could bear several advantages. However, few FC laboratories can rely on a long-standing practical experience, and the literature [...] Read more.
The immunophenotype is a key element to classify B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (B-NHL); while it is routinely obtained through immunohistochemistry, the use of flow cytometry (FC) could bear several advantages. However, few FC laboratories can rely on a long-standing practical experience, and the literature in support is still limited; as a result, the use of FC is generally restricted to the analysis of lymphomas with bone marrow or peripheral blood involvement. In this work, we applied machine learning to our database of 1465 B-NHL samples from different sources, building four artificial predictive systems which could classify B-NHL in up to nine of the most common clinico-pathological entities. Our best model shows an overall accuracy of 92.68%, a mean sensitivity of 88.54% and a mean specificity of 98.77%. Beyond the clinical applicability, our models demonstrate (i) the strong discriminatory power of MIB1 and Bcl2, whose integration in the predictive model significantly increased the performance of the algorithm; (ii) the potential usefulness of some non-canonical markers in categorizing B-NHL; and (iii) that FC markers should not be described as strictly positive or negative according to fixed thresholds, but they rather correlate with different B-NHL depending on their level of expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Informatics and Big Data)
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Open AccessArticle
Role of Colposcopy after Treatment for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1683; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061683 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 403
Abstract
Colposcopy is often used in follow-up after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) despite its marked inter-observer variability and low sensitivity. Our objective was to assess the role of colposcopy in post-treatment follow-up in comparison to hrHPV (high-risk human papillomavirus) testing, cytology, and [...] Read more.
Colposcopy is often used in follow-up after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) despite its marked inter-observer variability and low sensitivity. Our objective was to assess the role of colposcopy in post-treatment follow-up in comparison to hrHPV (high-risk human papillomavirus) testing, cytology, and cone margin status. Altogether, 419 women treated for histological high-grade lesion (HSIL) with large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) attended colposcopy with cytology and hrHPV test at six months. Follow-up for recurrence of HSIL continued for 24 months. Colposcopy was considered positive if colposcopic impression was recorded as high grade and cytology if HSIL, ASC-H (atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude HSIL), or AGC-FN (atypical glandular cells, favor neoplasia) were present. Overall, 10 (10/419, 2.4%) recurrent HSIL cases were detected, 5 at 6 months and 5 at 12 months. Colposcopic impression was recorded at 407/419 6-month visits and was positive for 11/407 (2.7%). None of them had recurrent lesions, resulting in 0% sensitivity and 97% specificity for colposcopy. Sensitivity for the hrHPV test at 6 months was 100% and specificity 85%, for cytology 40% and 99%, and for margin status at treatment 60% and 82%, respectively. While the hrHPV test is highly sensitive in predicting recurrence after local treatment for CIN, colposcopy in an unselected population is not useful in follow-up after treatment of CIN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevention & Screening in Cervical Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Multiparametric Analysis of Longitudinal Quantitative MRI Data to Identify Distinct Tumor Habitats in Preclinical Models of Breast Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061682 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 327
Abstract
This study identifies physiological tumor habitats from quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and evaluates their alterations in response to therapy. Two models of breast cancer (BT-474 and MDA-MB-231) were imaged longitudinally with diffusion-weighted MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to quantify tumor cellularity [...] Read more.
This study identifies physiological tumor habitats from quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and evaluates their alterations in response to therapy. Two models of breast cancer (BT-474 and MDA-MB-231) were imaged longitudinally with diffusion-weighted MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to quantify tumor cellularity and vascularity, respectively, during treatment with trastuzumab or albumin-bound paclitaxel. Tumors were stained for anti-CD31, anti-Ki-67, and H&E. Imaging and histology data were clustered to identify tumor habitats and percent tumor volume (MRI) or area (histology) of each habitat was quantified. Histological habitats were correlated with MRI habitats. Clustering of both the MRI and histology data yielded three clusters: high-vascularity high-cellularity (HV-HC), low-vascularity high-cellularity (LV-HC), and low-vascularity low-cellularity (LV-LC). At day 4, BT-474 tumors treated with trastuzumab showed a decrease in LV-HC (p = 0.03) and increase in HV-HC (p = 0.03) percent tumor volume compared to control. MDA-MB-231 tumors treated with low-dose albumin-bound paclitaxel showed a longitudinal decrease in LV-HC percent tumor volume at day 3 (p = 0.01). Positive correlations were found between histological and imaging-derived habitats: HV-HC (BT-474: p = 0.03), LV-HC (MDA-MB-231: p = 0.04), LV-LC (BT-474: p = 0.04; MDA-MB-231: p < 0.01). Physiologically distinct tumor habitats associated with therapeutic response were identified with MRI and histology data in preclinical models of breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiomics and Cancers)
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Open AccessReview
Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-Up of Exocrine Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Evidence Evaluation and Recommendations by the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM)
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1681; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061681 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 316
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in women (7%) and the sixth in men (5%) in Italy, with a life expectancy of around 5% at 5 years. From 2010, the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) developed [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in women (7%) and the sixth in men (5%) in Italy, with a life expectancy of around 5% at 5 years. From 2010, the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) developed national guidelines for several cancers. In this report, we report a summary of clinical recommendations of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of PDAC, which may guide physicians in their current practice. A panel of AIOM experts in upper gastrointestinal cancer malignancies discussed the available scientific evidence supporting the clinical recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Pancreatic Cancer Research)
Open AccessReview
The Double-Edged Sword Role of Viruses in Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061680 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Due to its high morbidity and mortality, gastric cancer is a topic of a great concern throughout the world. Major ways of treatment are gastrectomy and chemotherapy, unfortunately they are not always successful. In a search for more efficient therapy strategies, viruses and [...] Read more.
Due to its high morbidity and mortality, gastric cancer is a topic of a great concern throughout the world. Major ways of treatment are gastrectomy and chemotherapy, unfortunately they are not always successful. In a search for more efficient therapy strategies, viruses and their potential seem to be an important issue. On one hand, several oncogenic viruses have been noticed in the case of gastric cancer, making the positive treatment even more advantageous, but on the other, viruses exist with a potential therapeutic role in this malignancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncolytic Virus Therapy Against Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Telomerase Biogenesis and Activities from the Perspective of Its Direct Interacting Partners
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061679 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 368
Abstract
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)—the catalytic subunit of telomerase—is reactivated in up to 90% of all human cancers. TERT is observed in heterogenous populations of protein complexes, which are dynamically regulated in a cell type- and cell cycle-specific manner. Over the past two decades, [...] Read more.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)—the catalytic subunit of telomerase—is reactivated in up to 90% of all human cancers. TERT is observed in heterogenous populations of protein complexes, which are dynamically regulated in a cell type- and cell cycle-specific manner. Over the past two decades, in vitro protein–protein interaction detection methods have discovered a number of endogenous TERT binding partners in human cells that are responsible for the biogenesis and functionalization of the telomerase holoenzyme, including the processes of TERT trafficking between subcellular compartments, assembly into telomerase, and catalytic action at telomeres. Additionally, TERT have been found to interact with protein species with no known telomeric functions, suggesting that these complexes may contribute to non-canonical activities of TERT. Here, we survey TERT direct binding partners and discuss their contributions to TERT biogenesis and functions. The goal is to review the comprehensive spectrum of TERT pro-malignant activities, both telomeric and non-telomeric, which may explain the prevalence of its upregulation in cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Telomeres and Telomerase in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Intensive Care Outcomes of Patients after High Dose Chemotherapy and Subsequent Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation: A Retrospective, Single Centre Analysis
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061678 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 388
Abstract
High dose chemotherapy (HDT) followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is standard of care including a curative treatment option for several cancers. While much is known about the management of patients with allogenic SCT at the intensive care unit (ICU), [...] Read more.
High dose chemotherapy (HDT) followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is standard of care including a curative treatment option for several cancers. While much is known about the management of patients with allogenic SCT at the intensive care unit (ICU), data regarding incidence, clinical impact, and outcome of critical illness following ASCT are less reported. This study included 256 patients with different cancer entities. Median age was 56 years (interquartile ranges (IQR): 45–64), and 67% were male. One-year survival was 89%; 15 patients (6%) required treatment at the ICU following HDT. The main reason for ICU admission was septic shock (80%) with the predominant focus being the respiratory tract (53%). Three patients died, twelve recovered, and six (40%) were alive at one-year, resulting in an immediate treatment-related mortality of 1.2%. Independent risk factors for ICU admission were age (odds ratio (OR) 1.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00–1.09; p = 0.043), duration of aplasia (OR: 1.37; CI: 1.07–1.75; p = 0.013), and Charlson comorbidity score (OR: 1.64; CI: 1.20–2.23; p = 0.002). HDT followed by ASCT performed at an experienced centre is generally associated with a low risk for treatment related mortality. ICU treatment is warranted mainly due to infectious complications and has a strong positive impact on intermediate-term survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention)
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Open AccessReview
Integrating the Tumor Microenvironment into Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1677; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061677 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Tumor progression is mediated by reciprocal interaction between tumor cells and their surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME), which among other factors encompasses the extracellular milieu, immune cells, fibroblasts, and the vascular system. However, the complexity of cancer goes beyond the local interaction of tumor [...] Read more.
Tumor progression is mediated by reciprocal interaction between tumor cells and their surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME), which among other factors encompasses the extracellular milieu, immune cells, fibroblasts, and the vascular system. However, the complexity of cancer goes beyond the local interaction of tumor cells with their microenvironment. We are on the path to understanding cancer from a systemic viewpoint where the host macroenvironment also plays a crucial role in determining tumor progression. Indeed, growing evidence is emerging on the impact of the gut microbiota, metabolism, biomechanics, and the neuroimmunological axis on cancer. Thus, external factors capable of influencing the entire body system, such as emotional stress, surgery, or psychosocial factors, must be taken into consideration for enhanced management and treatment of cancer patients. In this article, we review prognostic and predictive biomarkers, as well as their potential evaluation and quantitative analysis. Our overarching aim is to open up new fields of study and intervention possibilities, within the framework of an integral vision of cancer as a functional tissue with the capacity to respond to different non-cytotoxic factors, hormonal, immunological, and mechanical forces, and others inducing stroma and tumor reprogramming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Tumor Microenvironment)
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Open AccessOpinion
Endometriosis-Associated Ovarian Cancer: The Origin and Targeted Therapy
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061676 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 537
Abstract
Endometrial cysts (ECs) are thought to be the origin of endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer (EAOC). A hypothesis that the oxidative stress of iron in cysts causes “malignant transformation of ECs” has been proposed, but this has not been verified. Several population-based studies showed that [...] Read more.
Endometrial cysts (ECs) are thought to be the origin of endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer (EAOC). A hypothesis that the oxidative stress of iron in cysts causes “malignant transformation of ECs” has been proposed, but this has not been verified. Several population-based studies showed that endometriosis was a risk factor but did not reflect the “malignant transformation of ECs”. A review showed that most patients were diagnosed with EAOC early in monitoring following detection of ECs, and that these cases might have been cancer from the start. Epidemiologically, EAOC was reduced by hysterectomy rather than by cystectomy of ECs. Gene mutation analyses identified oncogenic mutations in endometriosis and normal endometrium and revealed that the same mutations were present at different endometriotic lesions. It was also shown that most of the gene mutations found in endometriosis occurred in normal endometrium. Taking together, EAOC might be caused by eutopic endometrial glandular epithelial cells with oncogenic mutations that have undergone menstrual blood reflux and engrafted in the ovary, rather than by low-risk ECs acquiring oncogenic mutations and becoming malignant. This review discusses the mechanisms of EAOC development and targeted therapy based on genetic variation in EAOC with a focus on eutopic endometrium. Full article
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