The goal of an efficacious cancer therapy is to specifically target diseased cells at high accuracy while sparing normal, healthy cells. Over the past three decades, immunotherapy, based on the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against tumor-associated antigens, to inhibit their oncogenic function, or against immune checkpoints, to modulate specific T cell responses against cancer, has proven to be an important strategy for cancer therapy. Nevertheless, the number of mAbs approved for clinical use is still limited because of significant drawbacks to their applicability. Oligonucleotide aptamers, similarly to antibodies, form high-affinity bonds with their specific protein targets, thus representing an effective tool for active cancer targeting. Compared to antibodies, aptamers’ use as therapeutic agents benefits from their low size, low/no immunogenicity, simple synthesis and design flexibility for improving efficacy and stability. This review intends to highlight recently emerged applications of aptamers as recognition elements, from biomarker discovery to targeted drug delivery and targeted treatment, showing aptamers’ potential to work in conjunction with antibodies for attacking cancer from multiple flanks.
Multiple myeloma (MM), the second most common hematologic cancer, is caused by accumulation of aberrant plasma cells in the bone marrow. Its molecular causes are not fully understood and its great heterogeneity among patients complicates therapeutic decision-making. In the past decades, development of new therapies and drugs have significantly improved survival of MM patients. However, resistance to drugs and relapse remain the most common causes of mortality and are the major challenges to overcome. The advent of high throughput omics technologies capable of analyzing big amount of clinical and biological data has changed the way to diagnose and treat MM. Integration of omics data (gene mutations, gene expression, epigenetic information, and protein and metabolite levels) with clinical histories of thousands of patients allows to build scores to stratify the risk at diagnosis and predict the response to treatment, helping clinicians to make better educated decisions for each particular case. There is no doubt that the future of MM treatment relies on personalized therapies based on predictive models built from omics studies. This review summarizes the current treatments and the use of omics technologies in MM, and their importance in the implementation of personalized medicine.
Immunotherapy has changed the natural history of several malignancies that, a decade ago, had a very poor prognosis, such as lung cancer and melanoma. Consequently, many attempts have been done to expand the indications of immunotherapy agents, predominantly immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), in other cancers, including gynecological malignancies. Alongside promising results in cervical and endometrial neoplasms, there are not clear data on the benefit of ICIs as single agent or in combination with antiangiogenic agents in ovarian cancer (OC) and ongoing trials are focusing on combining ICIs with standard chemotherapy or PARP inhibitors. This chapter summarized the evidences of ICIs in gynecological malignancies and report the ongoing trials in cervical, endometrial and OC.
The occurrence of phenotype switch from an epithelial to a mesenchymal cell state during the activation of the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) program in cancer cells has been closely associated with the generation of invasive tumor cells that contribute to metastatic dissemination and treatment failure. Liquid biopsy represents an emergent non-invasive tool that may improve our understanding of the molecular events leading to cancer progression and initiating the metastatic cascade through the dynamic analysis of tumor-derived components isolated from body fluids. The present review will primarily focus on the applications of liquid biopsy in lung cancer patients for identifying EMT signature, elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying the acquisition of an invasive phenotype and detecting new targets for therapy.
Transcription factors (TFs) are modular protein groups that preferably bind to DNA sequences and guide genomic expression through transcription. Among these key regulators, “pioneer factors” are an emerging class of TFs that specifically interact with nucleosomal DNA and facilitate accessible genomic binding sites for the additional TFs. There is growing evidence of these specialized modulators in particular malignancies, as highlighted by agents’ clinical efficacy, specifically targeting nuclear hormone receptors. They have been implicated in multiple cancers more recently, with a high proportion inculpating on hormone influential cancers. Moreover, extended crosstalk and cooperation between ERα pioneering factors in estrogen-dependent breast cancer (BC) remain elucidated. This review discusses on the recent advances in our understanding of pioneer TFs in cancer, especially highlighting its potentiality to modulate chromatin condensation to permit ERα recruitment in BC cells. Through the study it was concluded that the highly prospected pioneer TFs in BC, including FOXA1, TLE1, PBX1, and GATA3, possess the potential therapeutic significance and further innovations in the field could yield targeted therapy in cancer treatment.
The introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in non-oncogene addicted non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has revolutionized the treatment scenario and led to a meaningful improvement in patient prognosis. Disappointingly, the success of ICI therapy in NSCLC has not been fully replicated in other thoracic malignancies as small cell lung cancer (SCLC), malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), and thymic epithelial tumors (TETs), due to the peculiar biological features of these disease and to the difficulties in the conduction of well-designed, biomarker-driven clinical trials. Therefore, combination strategies of ICIs plus conventional therapies (either chemotherapy, alternative ICIs or targeted agents) have been implemented. Although first approvals of ICI therapy have been recently granted in SCLC and MPM (in combination with chemotherapy and different ICIs), results remain somewhat modest and limited to a small proportion of patients. This work reviews the trial results of ICI therapy in mesothelioma, SCLC, and TETs and discusses the potential of combining ICIs with old drugs.