This article is based on our previous research, which was presented as a post at the Congress Aiom 2022 Congress and published in Tumori Journal as Conference Abstract (Tumori J. 2022;108:1–194. doi: 10.1177/03008916221114500). In this paper, a comprehensive presentation of all the achieved results is provided. Several tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been investigated to treat patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, direct comparisons between these TKIs are lacking, with many only being compared to crizotinib. To address this gap, a network meta-analysis was conducted to compare the efficacy and safety of various first-line systemic therapies for ALK-positive NSCLC.
A thorough search of PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library was performed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published between January 01, 2000 and April 01, 2022, and included trials that investigated upfront treatments for this molecular subgroup and reported overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and adverse events (AEs) of grade 3 or higher (grade ≥ 3 AEs).
The analysis included 9 RCTs with 2,443 patients receiving eight different treatments: alectinib (at two different dosages), brigatinib, ceritinib, crizotinib, ensartinib, lorlatinib, and chemotherapy. Second and third-generation TKIs significantly prolonged PFS compared to crizotinib, with lorlatinib having the highest probability of yielding the most favorable PFS, followed by alectinib (300 mg or 600 mg). However, only alectinib has been shown to significantly prolong OS compared to crizotinib to date. Lorlatinib appears superior in reducing the risk of central nervous system (CNS) progression, followed by alectinib 600 mg. Ceritinib had the highest rate of AEs, followed by lorlatinib and brigatinib.
Based on the network meta-analysis, alectinib and lorlatinib emerged as the most promising upfront treatment options. These treatments provide prolonged disease control while maintaining an acceptable safety profile.
On Feb 2, 2022, Nature published the paper titled “Decade-long leukemia remissions with the persistence of CD4+ CAR T-cells” (Nature. 2022;602:503–9. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04390-6). According to the results presented, it could be argued that “chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells can actually cure patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)”. CAR T-cells remained detectable more than ten years after infusion, and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) rearrangement deep sequencing showed persistent deep molecular remission for both patients (no CLL clonotypes were detectable six months after CAR T-cell infusion and onwards). However, the existing actual disease status of both patients remained unclear, as it was unknown: (1) if CAR T-cells killed all leukemia cells during the initial anti-leukemic response phase, that is, soon after CAR T-cell infusion into both patients; (2) if few CLL cells survived, but persistent CAR T-cells had been able to destroy any leukemia cells before they reach detectable levels. In the first case, both patients could be considered definitely cured; in the second not and their decade-prolonged deep remission could be a consequence of the cytotoxic activity of the functionally active CD4+ CAR T-cells. The first version appears to be stronger and the supporting arguments have been included in a comprehensive commentary article. A new therapeutic intervention may emerge with the potential to fully improve the quality of life of both patients and in addition, ongoing research into CAR T-cells may turn in a new, more effective direction.
Alternative protein-protein interactions (PPIs) arising from mutations or post-translational modifications (PTMs), termed phenotypic switching (PS), are critical for the transmission of alternative pathogenic signals and are particularly significant in cancer. In recent years, PPIs have emerged as promising targets for rational drug design, primarily because their high specificity facilitates targeting of disease-related signaling pathways. However, obstacles exist at the molecular level that arise from the properties of the interaction interfaces and the propensity of small molecule drugs to interact with more than one cleft surface. The difficulty in identifying small molecules that act as activators or inhibitors to counteract the biological effects of mutations raises issues that have not been encountered before. For example, small molecules can bind tightly but may not act as drugs or bind to multiple sites (interaction promiscuity). Another reason is the absence of significant clefts on protein surfaces; if a pocket is present, it may be too small, or its geometry may prevent binding. PS, which arises from oncogenic (alternative) signaling, causes drug resistance and forms the basis for the systemic robustness of tumors. In this review, the properties of PPI interfaces relevant to the design and development of targeting drugs are examined. In addition, the interactions between three tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) employed as drugs are discussed. Finally, potential novel targets of one of these drugs were identified in silico.
Oncology patients are more susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection due to hospital contact and an immunological system that can be compromised by antineoplastic therapy and supportive treatments. Certain similarities have been described in the physiopathology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and lung cancer (LC) that may explain the higher probability of these patients of developing a more serious disease with more frequent hospitalizations and even death, especially with the addition of smoking, cardiovascular and respiratory comorbidities, old age and corticosteroids use. Pre-existing lesions and cancer therapies change the normal architecture of the lungs, so diagnostic scales such as COVID-19 Reporting and Data System (CO-RADS) are of vital importance for a correct diagnosis and patient homogenization, with a high inter-observer correlation. Moreover, anticancer treatments have required an adaptation to reduce the number of visits to the hospital [hypofractionated radiotherapy (RT), larger intervals between chemotherapy cycles, delay in follow-up tests, among others]. In a way, this has also caused a delay in the diagnosis of new cancers. On the other hand, vaccination has had a positive impact on the mortality of these patients, who maintain a similar seroprevalence to the rest of the population, with a similar impact in mortality.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became pandemic on 11th March 2020 and it deeply stressed the healthcare system. Cancer patients represent a vulnerable population, so many recommendations have been approved to ensure optimal management. Clinical research was notably impacted by COVID too. This review aims to analyze the challenges occurred during a pandemic for the management of enrolled patients (enrollment, use of telemedicine visits, study procedures) and for the clinical trials system (from feasibility to selection visit, site initiation visit, monitorings, use of e-signature, deviations and discontinuations).
The studies included in the present review were selected from PubMed/Google Scholar/ScienceDirect databases.
During the first phase of pandemic many clinical trials were suspended in accrual and, as the pandemic progressed, recommendations were established to guarantee the safety and the continuity of care of enrolled patients. In addition, lot of new strategies was found during the pandemic to reduce the negative consequences on clinical trial performance and to guarantee new opportunities of care in the respect of good clinical practice (GCP) in a bad scenario.
Among all modifiers, investigators would prefer to maintain the positive ones such as pragmatic and simplified trial designs and protocols, reducing in-person visits when not necessary and to minimizing sponsor and contract research organizations (CROs) visits.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the seventh most common cancer worldwide with a survival rate below fifty percent. Addressing meager therapeutic options, a series of small molecule inhibitors were screened for antitumor efficacy. The most potent analog, acryl-3,5-bis(2,4-difluorobenzylidene)-4-piperidone (DiFiD; A-DiFiD), demonstrated strong cellular JUN proto-oncogene, activator protein 1 (AP-1) transcription factor subunit (JUN, c-Jun) antagonism. c-Jun, an oncogenic transcription factor, promotes cancer progression, invasion, and adhesion; high (JUN) mRNA expression correlates with poorer HNSCC survival.
Four new small molecules were generated for cytotoxicity screening in HNSCC cell lines. A-DiFiD-treated HNSCC cells were assessed for cytotoxicity, colony formation, invasion, migration, and adhesion. Dot blot array was used to identify targets. Phospho-c-Jun (p-c-Jun) expression was analyzed using immunoblotting. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) head and neck cancer datasets were utilized to determine overall patient survival. The Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) datasets interfaced with University of Alabama at Birmingham Cancer Data Analysis Portal (UALCAN) were analyzed to determine protein levels of c-Jun in HNSCC patients and correlate levels with patient.
Of the small molecules tested, A-DiFiD was the most potent in HNSCC lines, while demonstrating low half-maximal drug inhibitory concentration (IC50) in non-malignant Het-1A cells. Additionally, A-DiFiD abrogated cell invasion, migration, and colony formation. Phospho-kinase in vitro array demonstrated A-DiFiD reduced p-c-Jun. Likewise, a time dependent reduction in p-c-Jun was observed starting at 3 min post A-DiFiD treatment. TCGA Firehose Legacy vs. recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer reveal a nearly 3% DNA amplification in recurrent/metastatic tumor compared to below 1% in primary tumors that had no lymph node metastasis. CPTAC analysis show higher tumor c-Jun levels compared to normal. Patients with high JUN expression had significantly reduced 3-year survival.
A-DiFiD targets c-Jun, a clinical HNSCC driver, with potent anti-tumor effects.
Many human cancers carry missense mutations in or deletions of the tumor protein 53 (TP53) tumor suppressor gene. TP53’s product, p53 regulates many biological processes, including cell metabolism. Cholesterol is a key lipid needed for the maintenance of membrane function and tissue homeostasis while also serving as a precursor for steroid hormone and bile acid synthesis. An over-abundance of cholesterol can lead to its esterification and storage as cholesterol esters. The recent study has shown that the loss of p53 leads to excessive cholesterol ester biosynthesis, which promotes hepatocellular carcinoma in mice. Blocking cholesterol esterification improves treatment outcomes, particularly for liver cancers with p53 deletions/mutations that originate in a background of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
This study aimed to establish a learning system using an artificial neural network (ANN) to predict the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the serum levels of vitamin D, inflammatory factors, and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in women with breast cancer.
The data set of the current project was created from women with breast cancer who were referred to the Shafa State Hospital of Patients with Cancers in Ahvaz city, Iran. Modeling was implemented using the data set at the serum levels of vitamin D, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), and TAC, before and after vitamin D3 supplement therapy. A prediction ANN model was designed to detect the effects of vitamin D3 supplementation on the serum level changes of vitamin D, inflammatory factors and TAC.
The results showed that the ANN model could predict the effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on the serum level changes of vitamin D, TNF-α, TGF-β1, and TAC with an accuracy average of 85%, 40%, 89.5%, and 88.1%, respectively.
According to the findings of the study, the ANN method could accurately predict the effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on the serum levels of vitamin D, TNF-α, TGF-β1, and TAC. The results showed that the proposed ANN method can help specialists to improve the treatment process more confidently in terms of time and accuracy of predicting the influence of vitamin D supplementation on the factors affecting the progression of breast cancer (https://www.irct.ir/ identifier: IRCT2015090623924N1).
The present coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic scenario has posed a difficulty for cancer treatment. Even under ideal conditions, malignancies like small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are challenging to treat because of their fast development and early metastases. The treatment of these patients must not be jeopardized, and they must be protected as much as possible from the continuous spread of the COVID-19 infection. Initially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the contagious coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Finding inhibitors against the druggable targets of SARS-CoV-2 has been a significant focus of research efforts across the globe. The primary motivation for using molecular modeling tools against SARS-CoV-2 was to identify candidates for use as therapeutic targets from a pharmacological database. In the published study, scientists used a combination of medication repurposing and virtual drug screening methodologies to target many structures of SARS-CoV-2. This virus plays an essential part in the maturation and replication of other viruses. In addition, the total binding free energy and molecular dynamics (MD) modeling findings showed that the dynamics of various medications and substances were stable; some of them have been tested experimentally against SARS-CoV-2. Different virtual screening (VS) methods have been discussed as potential means by which the evaluated medications that show strong binding to the active site might be repurposed for use against SARS-CoV-2.
Mutant Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) is now a drugable oncogenic driver and the KRAS G12C variant responds clinically to sotorasib and adagrasib that covalently block the cysteine of the active center and inhibit downstream signaling and proliferation. Unfortunately, progression-free survival (PFS) of lung cancer patients is only 5–6 months and no survival advantage has been found for sotorasib in comparison to docetaxel chemotherapy. Increased responses to KRAS inhibitors are tested in combination with the son of sevenless 1 (SOS1) inhibitors, upstream and downstream signaling modulators as well as chemotherapeutics. Some of these approaches are limited by toxicity to normal tissues and by diverse mechanisms of resistance. In essence, most of these attempts are directed to the inhibition of proliferation by impairment of the signal transduction pathways. The final target of KRAS-mediated growth stimulation is MYC in the cell nucleus that stimulates transcription of a host of genes. In detail, MYC alters genomic enhancer and super-enhancers of transcription that are frequently deregulated in cancer. Such enhancers can be targeted by bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) inhibitors (BETi) or degraders and this review discusses whether integrated SOS1 inhibition and BET targeting of MYC synergizes against mutant KRAS tumor growth. BET degraders in the form of proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) combined with BAY-293-mediated SOS1 inhibition revealed marked cytotoxic synergy against mutant KRAS cancer cells and may constitute a promising option for clinical treatment.
Changes in strategies in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis and the imposing of restrictions have isolated many vulnerable patients including those with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from routine medical care. This study investigated how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the diagnosis and treatment of HCC.
An extensive search was conducted in the PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases by using the appropriate keywords: COVID-19, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatocellular cancer, and MeSH. Studies in English related to the purpose of the study were included in the analysis, and review studies, case reports, letters to editors, comments, and reports were excluded. The quality of the studies was assessed by the “Adapted Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scales” checklist. The Endnote X7 software has been used for managing items.
The final qualitative analysis consisted of 27 articles. During the COVID-19 crisis, HCC diagnosis decreased from 20% to 34.13% compared to pre-crisis. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HCC treatment encompasses a wide range of aspects. Generally, delays in treatment for patients with HCC ranged from more than one month for 21.5% of patients in France, to two months for 26% of patients in Italy, up to 30% in Austria, and 66.7% in Asia-Pacific countries.
According to the findings, developing and implementing appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and developing low-cost and high-precision screening programs among high-risk populations seem to be effective in reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HCC management.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new field of science in which computers will provide decisions-supporting tools to help doctors make difficult clinical choices. Recent AI applications in otolaryngology include head and neck oncology, rhinology, neurotology, and laryngology. The aim of this systematic review is to describe the potential uses of AI in head and neck oncology with a special focus on the surgical field.
The authors performed a systematic review, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, in the main medical databases, including PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Library, considering all original studies published until February 2023 about the role of AI in head and neck cancer surgery. The search strategy included a combination of the following terms: “artificial intelligence” or “machine learning” and “head and neck cancer”.
Overall, 303 papers were identified and after duplicate removal (12 papers) and excluding papers not written in English (1 paper) and off-topic (4 papers), papers were assessed for eligibility; finally, only 12 papers were included. Three main fields of clinical interest were identified: the most widely investigated included the role of AI in surgical margins assessment (7 papers); the second most frequently evaluated topic was complications assessment (4 papers); finally, only one paper dealt with the indication of salvage laryngectomy after primary radiotherapy.
The authors report the first systematic review in the literature concerning the role of AI in head and neck cancer surgery. An increasing influx of AI applications to clinical problems in otolaryngology is expected, so specialists should be increasingly prepared to manage the constant changes. It will always remain critical for clinicians to use their skills and knowledge to critically evaluate the additional information provided by AI and make the final decisions on each patient.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is one of the most life-threatening urinary malignancies displaying poor response to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Although in the recent past there have been tremendous advancements in using targeted therapies for RCC, despite that it remains the most lethal urogenital cancer with a 5-year survival rate of roughly 76%. Timely diagnosis is still the key to prevent the progression of RCC into metastatic stages as well as to treat it. But due to the lack of definitive and specific diagnostic biomarkers for RCC and its asymptomatic nature in its early stages, it becomes very difficult to diagnose it. Reliable and distinct molecular markers can not only refine the diagnosis but also classifies the tumors into thier sub-types which can escort subsequent management and possible treatment for patients. Potential biomarkers can permit a greater degree of stratification of patients affected by RCC and help tailor novel targeted therapies. The review summarizes the most promising epigenetic [DNA methylation, microRNA (miRNA; miR), and long noncoding RNA (lncRNA)] and protein biomarkers that have been known to be specifically involved in diagnosis, cancer progression, and metastasis of RCC, thereby highlighting their utilization as non-invasive molecular markers in RCC. Also, the rationale and development of novel molecular targeted drugs and immunotherapy drugs [such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs)] as potential RCC therapeutics along with the proposed implication of these biomarkers in predicting response to targeted therapies will be discussed.
A dysregulated circadian rhythm is significantly associated with cancer risk, as is aging. Both aging and circadian dysregulation show suppressed pineal melatonin, which is indicated in many studies to be linked to cancer risk and progression. Another independently investigated aspect of the circadian rhythm is the cortisol awakening response (CAR), which is linked to stress-associated hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation. CAR and HPA axis activity are primarily mediated via activation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which drives patterned gene expression via binding to the promotors of glucocorticoid response element (GRE)-expressing genes. Recent data shows that the GR can be prevented from nuclear translocation by the B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2)-associated athanogene 1 (BAG-1), which translocates the GR to mitochondria, where it can have diverse effects. Melatonin also suppresses GR nuclear translocation by maintaining the GR in a complex with heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90). Melatonin, directly and/or epigenetically, can upregulate BAG-1, suggesting that the dramatic 10-fold decrease in pineal melatonin from adolescence to the ninth decade of life will attenuate the capacity of night-time melatonin to modulate the effects of the early morning CAR. The interactions of pineal melatonin/BAG-1/Hsp90 with the CAR are proposed to underpin how aging and circadian dysregulation are associated with cancer risk. This may be mediated via differential effects of melatonin/BAG-1/Hsp90/GR in different cells of microenvironments across the body, from which tumors emerge. This provides a model of cancer pathogenesis that better integrates previously disparate bodies of data, including how immune cells are regulated by cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment, at least partly via the cancer cell regulation of the tryptophan-melatonin pathway. This has a number of future research and treatment implications.
Breast cancer (BC) is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide where the process of metastasis is a major contributor to the mortality associated with this disease. Metastasis suppressor genes are a group of genes that play a crucial role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of cancer cells. They suppress the metastasis process by inhibiting colonization and by inducing dormancy. These genes function by regulating various cellular processes in the tumor microenvironment (TME), such as cell adhesion, invasion, migration, and angiogenesis. Dysregulation of metastasis suppressor genes can lead to the acquisition of an invasive and metastatic phenotype and lead to poor prognostic outcomes. The components of the TME generally play a necessary in the metastasis progression of tumor cells. This review has identified and elaborated on the role of a few metastatic suppressors associated with the TME that have been shown to inhibit metastasis in BC by different mechanisms, such as blocking certain cell signaling molecules involved in cancer cell migration, invasion, enhancing immune surveillance of cancer cells, and promoting the formation of a protective extracellular matrix (ECM). Understanding the interaction of metastatic suppressor genes and the components of TME has important implications for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to target the metastatic cascade. Targeting these genes or their downstream signaling pathways offers a promising approach to inhibiting the spread of cancer cells and improves patient outcomes.
Despite consistent progress in prompt diagnosis and curative therapies in the last decade, lung cancer (LC) continues to threaten mankind, accounting for nearly twice the casualties compared to prostate, breast, and other cancers. Statistics associate ~25% of 2021 cancer-related deaths with LC, more than 80% of which are explicitly caused by tobacco smoking. Prevailing as small and non-small cell pathologies, with respective occurring frequency of nearly 15% and 80–85%, non-small cell LCs (NSCLCs) are prominently distinguished into lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC), subtypes. Since the first use of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor gefitinib for NSCLC treatment in 2002, immense progress has been made for targeted therapies with the next generation of drugs spanning across the chronological generations of small molecule inhibitors. The last two years have overseen the clinical approval of more than 10 therapeutic agents as first-line NSCLC medications. However, uncertain mutational aberrations as well as systemic resistant responses, and abysmal overall survival curtail the combating efficacies. Of late, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) against various molecules including programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) have been demonstrated as reliable LC treatment targets. Keeping these aspects in mind, this review article discusses the success of NSCLC chemo and immunotherapies with their characteristic effectiveness and future perspectives.
Sarcopenia and skeletal muscle density (SMD) have been shown to be both predictive and prognostic marker in oncology. Advanced lung cancer inflammation index (ALI) has been shown to predict overall survival (OS) in small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Computed tomography (CT) enables skeletal muscle to be quantified, whereas body mass index (BMI) cannot accurately reflect body composition. The purpose was to evaluate the prognostic value of modified ALI (mALI) using CT-determined third lumbar vertebra (L3) muscle index beyond original ALI and see the interaction between sarcopenia, SMD, neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), ALI and mALI at baseline and post 4 cycles of chemotherapy and their effects on OS and progress free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced non-SCLC (NSCLC).
This retrospective study consisted of a total of 285 advanced NSCLC patients. The morphometric parameters such as SMD, skeletal muscle index (SMI) and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured by CT at the L3 vertebra. ALI was defined as BMI × serum albumin/NLR and mALI was defined as SMI × serum albumin/NLR.
Sarcopenia was observed in over 70% of patients across all BMI categories. Patients having sarcopenia suffered from a higher incidence of chemotherapeutic drug toxicities but this was not found to be statistically significant. Concordance was seen between ALI and mALI in the pre-treatment setting and this was statistically significant. A significant proportion of patients with poor ALI (90.9%), poor pre-chemotherapy mALI (91.3%) and poor post-chemotherapy mALI (89%) had poor NLR and each of them was statistically significant.
In both univariate and multivariate analyses, this study demonstrated the statistical significance of sarcopenia, SMD, and mALI as predictive factors for OS. Additionally, sarcopenia and SMD were also found to be statistically significant factors in predicting PFS. These biomarkers could potentially help triage patients for active nutritional intervention for better outcomes.
From attributing mutations to cancers with the advent of cutting-edge genetic technology in recent decades, to re-searching the age-old theory of intrinsic metabolic shift of cancers (Warburg’s glycolysis), the quest for a precise panacea for mainly the metastatic cancers, remains incessant. This review delineates the advanced glycation end product (AGE)-receptor for AGE (RAGE) pathway driven intricate oncogenic cues, budding from the metabolic (glycolytic) reliance of tumour cells, branching into metastatic emergence of malignancies. Strong AGE-RAGE concomitance in metastasis, chemo-resistance and cancer resurgence adversely incite disease progression and patient mortality. At the conjunction of metabolic and metastatic shift of cancers, are the “glycolytically” generated AGEs and AGE-activated RAGE, instigating aberrant molecular pathways, culminating in aggressive malignancies. AGEs as by-products of metabolic insurgence, modify the metabolome, epigenome and microbiome, besides coercing the inter-, intra- and extra-cellular micro-milieu conducive for oncogenic events like epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). AGE-RAGE synergistically elicit ATP surge for surplus energy, autophagy for apoptotic evasion and chemo-resistance, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) for meta-inflammation and angiogenesis, high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) for immune tolerance, S100 proteins for metastasis, and p53 protein attenuation for tumour suppression. AGEs are pronouncedly reported in invasive forms of breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers, higher in patients with cancer than healthy counterparts, and higher in advanced stage than localized phase. Hence, the investigation of person-specific presence of AGEs, soluble RAGE and AGE-activated RAGE can be advocated as impending bio-markers for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic purposes, to predict cancer risk in patients with diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome as well as general population, to monitor prognosis and metastasis in patients with cancer, and to reckon complications in cancer survivors. Furthermore, clinical reports of exogenous (dietary) and endogenous (internally formed) AGEs in cancer patients, and contemporary clinical trials involving AGE-RAGE axis in cancer are underlined with theranostic implications.
Malignant tumors of the external auditory canal (EAC) are rare neoplasms that appear in the head and neck area. A common feature of these malignancies is their rarity, as well as their delayed diagnosis due to the appearance of non-specific symptoms that mimic various benign otologic conditions. The reported histological types of cancer of the external ear are: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, angiosarcoma, adnexal carcinoma (including ceruminous adenocarcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma), and lymphoma (Lancet Oncol. 2005;6:411–20. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(05)70208-4). Several therapeutic interventions have been proposed, primarily orientated towards the cure of the patient, placing the surgical excision of the lesions at the tip of the spear. Subsequently and depending on the clinical stage and the pathological characteristics of the tumor, radiation, chemotherapy, a combination thereof, or some form of palliative treatment for particularly advanced cases, may be recommended. The aim of all the above-mentioned approaches is the complete resection of the mass with negative surgical margins along with lymph node dissection, the elimination of any residual disease or metastasis, and the improvement of survival. The anatomical complexity of the region will always remain a demanding challenge. Nevertheless, advances in the fields of ear microsurgery, imaging, radiation, molecular biology, and genomics have led to remarkable outcomes compared to the past, with a view to the patient’s quality of life. Large, well-organized, and prospective studies with the participation of multiple centers in contrast to existing retrospective studies with a limited number of patients will help to establish universally accepted guidelines. The exploration of the molecular and genetic background of these cancers in conjunction with the search for new biomarkers and target molecules seems promising for providing upgraded and more personalized treatment modalities for the future.
From the start of the pandemic, several aspects of healthcare policies changed, not least the clinical trials management from recruiting capabilities to the protocol compliance in terms of schedule of procedures, follow-up visits, staff constraints and monitoring. This study aims to assess the impact of the COronaVIrusDisease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the conduction of clinical trials at the site of clinical oncology, Ancona (Italy), to identify the strengths and weaknesses upfront the past emergency, and to select better strategies for future similar situations.
Data from February to July of the years 2019, 2020 and 2021 were collected and three practical parameters of the trial unit were investigated: milestones, performance, and impact.
The trials mean numbers were 18, 24, and 23, in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively. The pre-Site Initiation Visit (PRE-SIV) rate grew from 66.6% in 2019 to 95.5% in 2021 with a deflection in 2020. Protocol deviations were 40 in the period February-July 2019, in the same period of 2020 the number of deviations increased due to COVID related ones, then there was a significant total decrease in February-July 2021. In 2020 and 2021, all the investigator meetings were online.
The growing number of remote Site Initiation Visit (SIV) and meetings over the last 3 years suggests the feasibility of the on-line processes. The significant reduction in protocol deviations during 2021 is probably due to an under check of data during a pandemic. But that is also a possible key indicator of the coping strategy made out by clinical oncology to guarantee the continuity of care in clinical trials and to offer new opportunities of cancer care in a bad scenario such as a pandemic one.
DNA damage involves in the carcinogenesis of some cancer and may act as a target for therapeutic intervention of cancers. However, it is unclear whether aflatoxin B1 (AFB1)-DNA adducts (ADAs), an important kind of DNA damage caused by AFB1, affect the efficiency of post-operative adjuvant transarterial chemoembolization (po-TACE) treatment improving hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) survival.
A hospital-based retrospective study, including 318 patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC)-C stage HCC from high AFB1 exposure areas, to investigate the potential effects of ADAs in the tissues with HCC on po-TACE treatment. The amount of ADAs in the cancerous tissues was tested by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (c-ELISA).
Among these patients with HCC, the average amount of ADAs was 3.00 µmol/mol ± 1.51 µmol/mol DNA in their tissues with cancer. For these patients, increasing amount of ADAs was significantly associated with poorer overall survival (OS) and tumor reoccurrence-free survival (RFS), with corresponding death risk (DR) of 3.69 (2.78–4.91) and tumor recurrence risk (TRR) of 2.95 (2.24–3.88). The po-TACE therapy can efficiently improve their prognosis [DR = 0.59 (0.46–0.76), TRR = 0.63 (0.49–0.82)]. Interestingly, this improving role was more noticeable among these patients with high ADAs [DR = 0.36 (0.24–0.53), TRR = 0.40 (0.28–0.59)], but not among those with low ADAs (P > 0.05).
These results suggest that increasing ADAs in the cancerous tissues may be beneficial for po-TACE in ameliorating the survival of patients with HCC.
Delineate structure-based inhibition of colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R) by small molecule CSF1R inhibitors in clinical development for target identification and potential lead optimization in cancer therapeutics since CSF1R is a novel predictive biomarker for immunotherapy in cancer.
Compounds were in silico modelled by induced fit docking protocol in a molecular operating environment (MOE, MOE.v.2015). The 3-dimensional (3D) X-ray crystallized structure of CSF1R kinase (Protein Databank, ID 4R7H) was obtained from Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RSCB) Protein Databank. The 3D conformers of edicotinib, DCC-3014, ARRY-382, BLZ-945, chiauranib, dovitinib, and sorafenib were obtained from PubChem Database. These structures were modelled in Amber10:EHT molecular force field, and quick prep application was used to correct and optimize the structures for missing residues, H-counts, termini capping, and alternates. The binding site was defined within the vicinity of the co-crystallized ligand of CSF1R kinase. The compounds were docked by the triangular matcher placement method and ranked by the London dG scoring function. The docked poses were further refined by the induced fit method. The pose with the lowest binding score (ΔG) was used to model the ligand interaction profile in Discovery Studio Visualizer v17.2. The co-crystallized ligand was docked in its apo conformation, and root-mean-square deviation was computed to validate the docking protocol.
All 7 CSF1R inhibitors interact with residue Met637 exhibiting selectivity except for edicotinib. The inhibitors maintain CSF1R in an auto-inhibitory conformation by interacting with Asp797 of the Asp-Phe-Gly (DFG) motif and/or hindering the conserved salt bridge formed between Glu633 and Lys616 thus stabilizing the activation loop, or interacting with tryptophan residue (Trp550) in the juxtamembrane domain. DCC-3014, ARRY-382, BLZ-945, and sorafenib bind with the lowest binding energy with CSF1R kinase.
Pyrimidines are potent inhibitors that interact with CSF1R residues. DCC-3014 and ARRY-382 exhibit exceptional pharmaceutical potential exhibiting great structural stability and affinity.
In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), tumor heterogeneity generated challenges to biomarker development and therapeutic management, often becoming responsible for primary and acquired drug resistance. This study aimed to assess the inter-tumoral, intra-tumoral, and intra-lesional heterogeneity of known druggable targets in metastatic RCC (mRCC).
The RIVELATOR study was a monocenter retrospective analysis of biological samples from 25 cases of primary RCC and their paired pulmonary metastases. The biomarkers analyzed included MET, mTOR, PD-1/PD-L1 pathways and the immune context.
High multi-level heterogeneity was demonstrated. MET was the most reliable biomarker, with the lowest intratumor heterogeneity: the positive mutual correlation between MET expression in primary tumors and their metastases had a significantly proportional intensity (P = 0.038). The intratumor heterogeneity grade was significantly higher for the mTOR pathway proteins. Combined immunophenotypical expression patterns and their correlations with the immune context were uncovered [i.e., mTOR expression in the metastases positively correlated with PD-L1 expression in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), P = 0.019; MET expression was related to PD-1 expression on TILs (P = 0.041, ρ = 0.41) and peritumoral lymphocytes (RILs; P = 0.013, ρ = 0.49)], suggesting the possibility of predicting drug response or resistance to tyrosine kinase, mTOR, or immune checkpoint inhibitors.
In mRCC, multiple and multi-level assays of potentially predictive biomarkers are needed for their reliable translation into clinical practice. The easy-to-use immunohistochemical method of the present study allowed the identification of different combined expression patterns, providing cues for planning the management of systemic treatment combinations and sequences in an mRCC patient population. The quantitative heterogeneity of the investigated biomarkers suggests that multiple intralesional assays are needed to consider the assessment reliable for clinical considerations.
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a class of zinc (Zn)-dependent metalloenzymes that are responsible for epigenetic modifications. HDACs are largely associated with histone proteins that regulate gene expression at the DNA level. This tight regulation is controlled by acetylation [via histone acetyl transferases (HATs)] and deacetylation (via HDACs) of histone and non-histone proteins that alter the coiling state of DNA, thus impacting gene expression as a downstream effect. For the last two decades, HDACs have been studied extensively and indicated in a range of diseases where HDAC dysregulation has been strongly correlated with disease emergence and progression—most prominently, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, HIV, and inflammatory diseases. The involvement of HDACs as regulators in these biochemical pathways established them as an attractive therapeutic target. This review summarizes the drug development efforts exerted to create HDAC inhibitors (HDACis), specifically class I HDACs, with a focus on the medicinal chemistry, structural design, and pharmacology aspects of these inhibitors.
Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) identified by self-renewal ability and tumor-initiating potential are responsible for tumor recurrence and metastasis in many cancers. Conventional chemotherapy fails to eradicate CSCs that hold a state of dormancy and possess multi-drug resistance. Spurred by the progress of nanotechnology for drug delivery and biomedical applications, nanomedicine has been increasingly developed to tackle stemness-associated chemotherapeutic resistance for cancer therapy. This review focuses on advances in nanomedicine-mediated therapeutic strategies to overcome chemoresistance by specifically targeting CSCs, the combination of chemotherapeutics with chemopotentiators, and programmable controlled drug release. Perspectives from materials and formulations at the nano-scales are specifically surveyed. Future opportunities and challenges are also discussed.
The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of developing a deep learning (DL) algorithm for classifying brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) into epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangement groups and to compare the accuracy with classification based on semantic features on imaging.
Data set of 117 patients was analysed from 2014 to 2018 out of which 33 patients were EGFR positive, 43 patients were ALK positive and 41 patients were negative for either mutation. Convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture efficient net was used to study the accuracy of classification using T1 weighted (T1W) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequence, T2 weighted (T2W) MRI sequence, T1W post contrast (T1post) MRI sequence, fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI sequences. The dataset was divided into 80% training and 20% testing. The associations between mutation status and semantic features, specifically sex, smoking history, EGFR mutation and ALK rearrangement status, extracranial metastasis, performance status and imaging variables of brain metastasis were analysed using descriptive analysis [chi-square test (χ2)], univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis assuming 95% confidence interval (CI).
In this study of 117 patients, the analysis by semantic method showed 79.2% of the patients belonged to ALK positive were non-smokers as compared to double negative groups (P = 0.03). There was a 10-fold increase in ALK positivity as compared to EGFR positivity in ring enhancing lesions patients (P = 0.015) and there was also a 6.4-fold increase in ALK positivity as compared to double negative groups in meningeal involvement patients (P = 0.004). Using CNN Efficient Net DL model, the study achieved 76% accuracy in classifying ALK rearrangement and EGFR mutations without manual segmentation of metastatic lesions. Analysis of the manually segmented dataset resulted in improved accuracy of 89% through this model.
Both semantic features and DL model showed comparable accuracy in classifying EGFR mutation and ALK rearrangement. Both methods can be clinically used to predict mutation status while biopsy or genetic testing is undertaken.
Early diagnosis of paediatric brain tumors significantly improves the outcome. The aim is to study magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of paediatric brain tumors and to develop an automated segmentation (AS) tool which could segment and classify tumors using deep learning methods and compare with radiologist assessment.
This study included 94 cases, of which 75 were diagnosed cases of ependymoma, medulloblastoma, brainstem glioma, and pilocytic astrocytoma and 19 were normal MRI brain cases. The data was randomized into training data, 64 cases; test data, 21 cases and validation data, 9 cases to devise a deep learning algorithm to segment the paediatric brain tumor. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy of the deep learning model were compared with radiologist’s findings. Performance evaluation of AS was done based on Dice score and Hausdorff95 distance.
Analysis of MRI semantic features was done with necrosis and haemorrhage as predicting features for ependymoma, diffusion restriction and cystic changes were predictors for medulloblastoma. The accuracy of detecting abnormalities was 90%, with a specificity of 100%. Further segmentation of the tumor into enhancing and non-enhancing components was done. The segmentation results for whole tumor (WT), enhancing tumor (ET), and non-enhancing tumor (NET) have been analyzed by Dice score and Hausdorff95 distance. The accuracy of prediction of all MRI features was compared with experienced radiologist’s findings. Substantial agreement observed between the classification by model and the radiologist’s given classification [K-0.695 (K is Cohen’s kappa score for interrater reliability)].
The deep learning model had very high accuracy and specificity for predicting the magnetic resonance (MR) characteristics and close to 80% accuracy in predicting tumor type. This model can serve as a potential tool to make a timely and accurate diagnosis for radiologists not trained in neuroradiology.
Precision oncology is a rapidly evolving field that uses advanced technologies to deliver personalized cancer care based on a patient’s unique genetic and clinical profile. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in precision oncology has shown great potential to improve diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment outcomes. However, the integration of AI in precision oncology also raises important ethical considerations related to patient privacy, autonomy, and protection from bias. In this opinion paper, an overview is provided of previous studies that have explored the use of AI in precision oncology and the ethical considerations associated with this technology. The conclusions of these studies are compared, and the importance of approaching the use of AI in precision oncology with caution is emphasized. It is stressed that patient privacy, autonomy, and protection from bias should be made central to the development and use of AI in precision oncology. Clear guidelines and regulations must be established to ensure that AI is used ethically and for the benefit of patients. The use of AI in precision oncology has the potential to revolutionize cancer care, but it should be ensured that it striked a balance between advancements in technology and ethical considerations. In conclusion, the use of AI in precision oncology is a promising development that has the potential to improve cancer outcomes. However, ethical considerations related to patient privacy, autonomy, and protection from bias must be central to the development and use of AI in precision oncology.
One of the major causes of death on the globe is cancer. The fourth most frequent malignancy in women worldwide is cervical cancer. Several cancer patients are remaining incurable due to the emergence of medication resistance, despite notable advances in cancer research over the previous few decades. The importance of natural sources as possible therapeutic candidates may be significant. Anthraquinones are one of the many chemical families of natural products, and they stand out for their wide range of structural variations, notable biological activity, and low toxicity. A natural substance called emodin, an anthraquinone derivative, is present in the roots and rhizomes of several plants. This substance has demonstrated antineoplastic, anti-inflammatory, antiangiogenic, and antiproliferative properties. It is also capable of preventing cancer spread and can reverse cancer cells’ multidrug resistance. Emodin, a broad-spectrum inhibitor of cancer cells, have anticancer properties in many different types of biological pathways. These molecular mechanisms in cancer cells include the suppression of cell growth and proliferation, deterioration of the cell cycle arrest, the start of apoptosis, antimetastasis, and antiangiogenic impact. Therefore, the aim of the present review summarised the antiproliferative and anticarcinogenic qualities of cervical cancer of emodin.
AT-rich interaction domain 1A (ARID1A) encodes a key component of the SWItch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex that participates in gene expression. ARID1A alterations are quite common among cancer patients, although their role remains debated. The aim of this article was to study ARID1A-mutated cancer patients.
Molecular and clinical data of cancer patients evaluated at Phase 1 Unit of Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS were collected. Molecular analyses were performed using FoundationOne® CDx (Foundation Medicine Inc., Cambridge, MA, United States). Cancer patients with at least one molecular alteration in ARID1A gene were identified as ARID1A+.
Among the 270 patients undergoing molecular analysis, we found 25 (9%) with at least one pathogenic alteration in ARID1A. The vast majority of these patients were female (84%). The median age at diagnosis was 59; most of the cancers (15, 60%) were gynecological (especially endometrioid endometrial cancers and clear cell ovarian cancers), diagnosed at an early stage. Frameshift alterations in ARID1A were the most common (19/31, 61%) alterations. The median number of mutations in ARID1A+ population was higher compared to ARID1A– population (6 vs. 4), as well as tumor mutational burden (TMB) [20 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb) vs. 1.26 mut/Mb]. Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), catenin beta 1 (CTNNB1), and lysine methyltransferase 2D (MLL2) mutations were enriched in ARID1A+ population. In this cohort, ARID1A did not display any relation with response to platinum chemotherapy. Cancers with double alterations in ARID1A (ARID1A2+) were all gynecological cancers (83% endometrioid endometrial cancers).
This analysis provides clinical and molecular details about the phenotypes of ARID1A+ cancers, in particular the subgroup of gynecologic cancers. The high frequency of concurrent mutations in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway among endometrioid endometrial cancers may support the proposal of a new treatment strategy based on the combination of ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) inhibitor and PIK3CA inhibitor.
Interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) is a member of the ubiquitin-like (UBL) protein family that can modify specific proteins via a catalytic process called ISGylation. This posttranslational modification can modulate the stability of the ISGylated proteins and protein-protein interactions. Some proteins modified by ISG15 have been identified in malignant neoplasms, suggesting the functional relevance of ISGylation in cancer. This review discusses the ISGylated proteins reported in malignant neoplasms that suggest the potential of ISG15 as a biomarker and therapeutic target in cancer.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is one of the most well-studied oncogenes with roles in proliferation, growth, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. This intense study has led to the development of a range of targeted therapeutics including small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), monoclonal antibodies, and nanobodies. These drugs are excellent at blocking the activation and kinase function of wild-type EGFR (wtEGFR) and several common EGFR mutants. These drugs have significantly improved outcomes for patients with cancers including head and neck, glioblastoma, colorectal, and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, therapeutic resistance is often seen, resulting from acquired mutations or activation of compensatory signaling pathways. Additionally, these therapies are ineffective in tumors where EGFR is found predominantly in the nucleus, as can be found in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). In TNBC, EGFR is subjected to alternative trafficking which drives the nuclear localization of the receptor. In the nucleus, EGFR interacts with several proteins to activate transcription, DNA repair, migration, and chemoresistance. Nuclear EGFR (nEGFR) correlates with metastatic disease and worse patient prognosis yet targeting its nuclear localization has proved difficult. This review provides an overview of current EGFR-targeted therapies and novel peptide-based therapies that block nEGFR, as well as their clinical applications and potential for use in oncology.
Aspirin is a well-known nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has a recognized role in cancer prevention as well as evidence to support its use as an adjuvant for cancer treatment. Importantly there has been an increasing number of studies contributing to the mechanistic understanding of aspirins’ anti-tumour effects and these studies continue to inform the potential clinical use of aspirin for both the prevention and treatment of cancer. This review focuses on the emerging role of aspirin as a regulator of metabolic reprogramming, an essential “hallmark of cancer” required to support the increased demand for biosynthetic intermediates needed for sustained proliferation. Cancer cells frequently undergo metabolic rewiring driven by oncogenic pathways such as hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), wingless-related integration site (Wnt), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), which supports the increased proliferative rate as tumours develop and progress. Reviewed here, cellular metabolic reprogramming has been identified as a key mechanism of action of aspirin and include the regulation of key metabolic drivers, the regulation of enzymes involved in glycolysis and glutaminolysis, and altered nutrient utilisation upon aspirin exposure. Importantly, as aspirin treatment exposes metabolic vulnerabilities in tumour cells, there is an opportunity for the use of aspirin in combination with specific metabolic inhibitors in particular, glutaminase (GLS) inhibitors currently in clinical trials such as telaglenastat (CB-839) and IACS-6274 for the treatment of colorectal and potentially other cancers. The increasing evidence that aspirin impacts metabolism in cancer cells suggests that aspirin could provide a simple, relatively safe, and cost-effective way to target this important hallmark of cancer. Excitingly, this review highlights a potential new role for aspirin in improving the efficacy of a new generation of metabolic inhibitors currently undergoing clinical investigation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) constitutes an extremely malignant form of primary liver cancer. Intricate connections linking to the immune system might be associated with the pathogenesis of HCC. Meanwhile, immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors has been established to be a favorable therapeutic possibility for advanced HCC. Although curative opportunities for advanced HCC are restricted, the immune checkpoint immunotherapy has developed as the main choice for treating HCC. However, patients with metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD)-linked HCC might be less likely to benefit from the immunotherapy alone. The limitation of the effect of the immunotherapy might be owing to the impaired T cell activation in MAFLD patients, which could be well explained by a dysfunctional gut-liver axis. Gut microbiota and their metabolites including several bile acids could contribute to modulating the responses of the immune checkpoint immunotherapy. Roles of gut microbiota in the development of cancers have expected great interest in the latest studies. Here, an interplay between the gut and liver has been presented, which might suggest to affect the efficacy of immune checkpoint immunotherapy against HCC.
Cancer is a fatal disease and the second most cause of death worldwide. Treatment of cancer is a complex process and requires a multi-modality-based approach. Cancer detection and treatment starts with screening/diagnosis and continues till the patient is alive. Screening/diagnosis of the disease is the beginning of cancer management and continued with the staging of the disease, planning and delivery of treatment, treatment monitoring, and ongoing monitoring and follow-up. Imaging plays an important role in all stages of cancer management. Conventional oncology practice considers that all patients are similar in a disease type, whereas biomarkers subgroup the patients in a disease type which leads to the development of precision oncology. The utilization of the radiomic process has facilitated the advancement of diverse imaging biomarkers that find application in precision oncology. The role of imaging biomarkers and artificial intelligence (AI) in oncology has been investigated by many researchers in the past. The existing literature is suggestive of the increasing role of imaging biomarkers and AI in oncology. However, the stability of radiomic features has also been questioned. The radiomic community has recognized that the instability of radiomic features poses a danger to the global generalization of radiomic-based prediction models. In order to establish radiomic-based imaging biomarkers in oncology, the robustness of radiomic features needs to be established on a priority basis. This is because radiomic models developed in one institution frequently perform poorly in other institutions, most likely due to radiomic feature instability. To generalize radiomic-based prediction models in oncology, a number of initiatives, including Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN), Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA), and Image Biomarker Standardisation Initiative (IBSI), have been launched to stabilize the radiomic features.
Targeting the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family proteins has been the backbone for hematological malignancies with overall survival improvements. The Bcl-2 family is a major player in apoptosis regulation and, has captured the researcher’s interest in the treatment of solid tumors. Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of diseases, comprising several entities, with high morbidity and mortality and with few specific therapies available. The treatment for sarcomas is based on platinum regimens, with variable results and poor outcomes, especially in advanced lesions. The high number of different sarcoma entities makes treatment standardization as well as the performance of clinical trials difficult. The use of Bcl-2 family members modifiers has revealed promising results in in vitro and in vivo models and may be a valid option, especially when used in combination with chemotherapy. In this article, a revision of these results and possibilities for the use of Bcl-2 family members inhibitors in sarcomas was performed.
In the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been increasingly used to create tools that can enhance workflow in medicine. In particular, neuro-oncology has benefited from the use of AI and especially machine learning (ML) and radiogenomics, which are subfields of AI. ML can be used to develop algorithms that dynamically learn from available medical data in order to automatically do specific tasks. On the other hand, radiogenomics can identify relationships between tumor genetics and imaging features, thus possibly giving new insights into the pathophysiology of tumors. Therefore, ML and radiogenomics could help treatment tailoring, which is crucial in personalized neuro-oncology. The aim of this review is to illustrate current and possible future applications of ML and radiomics in neuro-oncology.
Cancer remains the second leading cause of death worldwide despite modern breakthroughs in medicine, and novel treatments are urgently needed. The revolutionary success of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the past decade serves as proof of concept that the immune system can be effectively harnessed to treat cancer. Cytokines are small signalling proteins with critical roles in orchestrating the immune response and have become an attractive target for immunotherapy. Type 1 immune cytokines, including interferon γ (IFNγ), interleukin-12 (IL-12), and tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα), have been shown to have largely tumour suppressive roles in part through orchestrating anti-tumour immune responses mediated by natural killer (NK) cells, CD8+ T cells and T helper 1 (Th1) cells. Conversely, type 2 immunity involving group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and Th2 cells are involved in tissue regeneration and wound repair and are traditionally thought to have pro-tumoural effects. However, it is found that the classical type 2 immune cytokines IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13 may have conflicting roles in cancer. Similarly, type 2 immunity-related cytokines IL-25 and IL-33 with recently characterised roles in cancer may either promote or suppress tumorigenesis in a context-dependent manner. Furthermore, type 1 cytokines IFNγ and TNFα have also been found to have pro-tumoural effects under certain circumstances, further complicating the overall picture. Therefore, the dichotomy of type 1 and type 2 cytokines inhibiting and promoting tumours respectively is not concrete, and attempts of utilising these for cancer immunotherapy must take into account all available evidence. This review provides an overview summarising the current understanding of type 1 and type 2 cytokines in tumour immunity and discusses the prospects of harnessing these for immunotherapy in light of previous and ongoing clinical trials.
Transmission of a malignancy from a donor’s organ to the recipient of the graft is a rare event, though it is a severe complication that can result in a poor outcome. Usually, immunosuppressive therapy is discontinued and the allograft is removed. However, treatment of patients with the disseminated cancers implies that after the graft removal and cessation of the immunosuppression, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy with alpha-interferon (INF-α) or interleukin-2 (IL-2) are required. The case report presents a clinical case of a transmitted kidney graft with multiple metastases (MTS) in a 31-year-old woman with the spontaneous regression of the metastatic cancer after transplantectomy and cancellation of the immunosuppressive therapy. Obviously, the determining factor is the recognition of the tumor by the effectors of the antitumor immunity due to the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) mismatch between the donor and the recipient. Therefore, cancellation of the immunosuppressive therapy in cases of transferal of a malignancy with a transplanted organ allows the effectors of the immune system to distinguish the tumor as a foreign tissue and effectively eliminate this neoplasm.
Soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) are rare, heterogeneous, and very often asymptomatic diseases. Their diagnosis is fundamental, as is the identification of the degree of malignancy, which may be high, medium, or low. The Italian Medical Oncology Association and European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) guidelines recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because the clinical examination is typically ineffective. The diagnosis of these rare diseases with artificial intelligence (AI) techniques presents reduced datasets and therefore less robust methods. However, the combination of AI techniques with radiomics may be a new angle in diagnosing rare diseases such as STSs. Results obtained are promising within the literature, not only for the performance but also for the explicability of the data. In fact, one can make tumor classification, site localization, and prediction of the risk of developing metastasis. Thanks to the synergy between computer scientists and radiologists, linking numerical features to radiological evidence with excellent performance could be a new step forward for the diagnosis of rare diseases.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a complex process that plays an important role in its progression. Abnormal glucose metabolism in HCC cells can meet the nutrients required for the occurrence and development of liver cancer, better adapt to changes in the surrounding microenvironment, and escape the attack of the immune system on the tumor. There is a close relationship between reprogramming of glucose metabolism and immune escape. This article reviews the current status and progress of glucose metabolism reprogramming in promoting immune escape in liver cancer, aiming to provide new strategies for clinical immunotherapy of liver cancer.
The treatment of central nervous system (CNS) tumors is complicated by high rates of recurrence and treatment resistance that contribute to high morbidity and mortality (Nat Rev Neurol. 2022;18:221–36. doi: 10.1038/s41582-022-00621-0). One of the challenges of treating these tumors is the limited permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB). Early pharmacologic treatments worked to overcome the BBB by targeting vulnerabilities in the tumor cell replication process directly through alkylating agents like temozolomide. However, as advancements have been made options have expanded to include immunologic targets through the use of monoclonal antibodies. In the future, treatment will likely continue to focus on the use of immunotherapies, as well as emerging technology like the use of low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU). Ultimately, this paper serves as an introductory overview of current therapeutic options for post-resection primary brain tumors, as well as a look towards future work and emerging treatment options.
Rectal cancer (RC) is one of the most common tumours worldwide in both males and females, with significant morbidity and mortality rates, and it accounts for approximately one-third of colorectal cancers (CRCs). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been demonstrated to be accurate in evaluating the tumour location and stage, mucin content, invasion depth, lymph node (LN) metastasis, extramural vascular invasion (EMVI), and involvement of the mesorectal fascia (MRF). However, these features alone remain insufficient to precisely guide treatment decisions. Therefore, new imaging biomarkers are necessary to define tumour characteristics for staging and restaging patients with RC. During the last decades, RC evaluation via MRI-based radiomics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools has been a research hotspot. The aim of this review was to summarise the achievement of MRI-based radiomics and AI for the evaluation of staging, response to therapy, genotyping, prediction of high-risk factors, and prognosis in the field of RC. Moreover, future challenges and limitations of these tools that need to be solved to favour the transition from academic research to the clinical setting will be discussed.
Recently, a tumor cell-platelet interaction was identified in different tumor entities, resulting in a transfer of tumor-derived RNA into platelets, named further “tumor-educated platelets (TEP)”. The present pilot study aims to investigate whether such a tumor-platelet transfer of RNA occurs also in patients suffering from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Sequencing analysis of RNA derived from platelets of tumor patients (TPs) and healthy donors (HDs) were performed. Subsequently, quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used for verification of differentially expressed genes in platelets from TPs and HDs in a second cohort of patients and HDs. Data were analyzed by applying bioinformatic tools.
Sequencing of RNA derived from the tumor as well as from platelets of TPs and HDs revealed 426 significantly differentially existing RNA, at which 406 RNA were more and 20 RNA less abundant in platelets from TPs in comparison to that of HDs. In TPs’ platelets, abundantly existing RNA coding for 49 genes were detected, characteristically expressed in epithelial cells and RNA, the products of which are involved in tumor progression. Applying bioinformatic tools and verification on a second TP/HD cohort, collagen type I alpha 1 chain (COL1A1) and zinc finger protein 750 (ZNF750) were identified as the strongest potentially platelet-RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq)-based biomarkers for HNSCC.
These results indicate a transfer of tumor-derived messenger RNA (mRNA) into platelets of HNSCC patients. Therefore, analyses of a patient’s platelet RNA could be an efficient option for liquid biopsy in order to diagnose HNSCC or to monitor tumorigenesis as well as therapeutic responses at any time and in real time.
Human histone deacetylase 8 (KDAC8) is a well-recognized pharmaceutical target in Cornelia de Lange syndrome and different types of cancer, particularly childhood neuroblastoma. Several classes of chemotypes have been identified, which interfere with the enzyme activity of KDAC8. These compounds have been identified under equilibrium or near equilibrium conditions for inhibitor binding to the target enzyme. This study aims for the classification of KDAC8 inhibitors according to the mode of action and identification of most promising lead compounds for drug development.
A continuous enzyme activity assay is used to monitor inhibition kinetics.
A high-throughput continuous KDAC8 activity assay is developed that provides additional mechanistic information about enzyme inhibition enabling the classification of KDAC8 inhibitors according to their mode of action. Fast reversible inhibitors act as a molecular chaperone and are capable to rescue the enzyme activity of misfolded KDAC8, while covalent inactivators and slow dissociating inhibitors do not preserve KDAC8 activity.
The application of continuous KDAC8 activity assay reveals additional information about the mode of interaction with inhibitors, which can be used to classify KDAC8 inhibitors according to their mode of action. The approach is compatible with the high-throughput screening of compound libraries. Fast reversible inhibitors of KDAC8 act as molecular chaperones and recover enzyme activity from misfolded protein conformations. In contrast, slow-binding inhibitors and covalent inactivators of KDAC8 are not capable to recover enzyme activity.
Immunotherapy strategies targeting immune checkpoint molecules such as programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) are revolutionizing oncology. However, its effectiveness is limited in part due to the loss of effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Interestingly, supplementation of vitamin D could abolish the repressive effect of programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) on CD8+ T cells, which might prevent the lymphocytopenia. In addition, vitamin D signaling could contribute to the differentiation of T-regulatory (Treg) cells associated with the expression of Treg markers such as forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) and CTLA-4. Furthermore, vitamin D may be associated with the stimulation of innate immunity. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and estrogen receptor (ESR) signaling, and even the signaling from phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway could have inhibitory roles in carcinogenesis possibly via the modulation of immune checkpoint molecules. In some cases, certain small molecules including vitamin D could be a novel therapeutic modality with a promising potential for the better performance of immune checkpoint blockade cancer therapies.
Cancer serum biomarkers are valuable or even indispensable for cancer diagnostics and/or monitoring and, currently, many cancer serum markers are routinely used in the clinic. Most of those markers are glycoproteins, carrying cancer-specific glycan structures that can provide extra-information for cancer monitoring. Nonetheless, in the majority of cases, this differential feature is not exploited and the corresponding analytical assays detect only the protein amount, disregarding the analysis of the aberrant glycoform. Two exceptions to this trend are the biomarkers α-fetoprotein (AFP) and cancer antigen 19-9 (CA19-9), which are clinically monitored for their cancer-related glycan changes, and only the AFP assay includes quantification of both the protein amount and the altered glycoform. This narrative review demonstrates, through several examples, the advantages of the combined quantification of protein cancer biomarkers and the respective glycoform analysis, which enable to yield the maximum information and overcome the weaknesses of each individual analysis. This strategy allows to achieve higher sensitivity and specificity in the detection of cancer, enhancing the diagnostic power of biomarker-based cancer detection tests.
177Lu-Dotatate (Lu-177), a form of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), was approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of somatostatin-receptor-positive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) in 2018. Clinical trials prior to the FDA approval of Lu-177 showed favorable outcomes but there is limited published real world outcomes data. This study aims to describe and analyze real world outcomes of patients with NET who received Lu-177.
After obtaining institutional review board approval, retrospective evaluation was performed to analyze the efficacy of Lu-177 for somatostatin receptor-positive gastro-entero-pancreatic NETs (GEP-NETs) patients at the University of Kansas Cancer Center between June 2018 and September 2021. This study aims to determine the response rate to the treatment of the entire cohort and subgroups.
A total of 65 patients received Lu-177 of which 58 completed treatment. The 58 patients had a median age of 61.5 years, 24 females and 34 males, 86% Caucasian and 12% black. The origins of NETs were primarily small bowel (n = 24) and pancreatic (n = 14). Pathology showed grades 1 (n = 21), 2 (n = 25), and 3 (n = 4) and were primarily well-differentiated tumors (n = 4). Among the cohort, 52 patients had imaging to assess response with 14 (26.9%) patients with partial response (PR), 31 (59.6%) with stable disease (SD), and 7 (13.5%) with progressive disease (PD). In a subset analysis, patients with non-functional disease (n = 29) had higher rates of PR 42.3% (compared to 11.5%, P = 0.0147) and higher disease control rate of 96% (compared to 78%, P = 0.042) than patients with functional disease (n = 29). Patients with non-functional disease had a lower PD of 3.85% (compared to 23%, P = 0.0147) than those with functional disease.
This real world outcomes analysis of NETs treated with Lu-177 shows improved PR when compared to the initial clinical trials and is promising for patients. In addition, patients with non-functional tumors were found to have a statistically significant improved response rate which has not been described in the literature before. If these study findings are validated in a larger cohort they may guide patient selection for Lu-177 therapy in the future.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling is an important pathway for promoting the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, including cancer. The roles of TGF-β signaling are heterogeneous and versatile in cancer development and progression, both anticancer and protumoral actions are reported. Interestingly, increasing evidence suggests that TGF-β enhances disease progression and drug resistance via immune-modulatory actions in the tumor microenvironment (TME) of solid tumors. A better understanding of its regulatory mechanisms in the TME at the molecular level can facilitate the development of precision medicine to block the protumoral actions of TGF-β in the TME. Here, the latest information about the regulatory mechanisms and translational research of TGF-β signaling in the TME for therapeutic development had been summarized.
Oncologic emergencies are a wide spectrum of oncologic conditions caused directly by malignancies or their treatment. Oncologic emergencies may be classified according to the underlying physiopathology in metabolic, hematologic, and structural conditions. In the latter, radiologists have a pivotal role, through an accurate diagnosis useful to provide optimal patient care. Structural conditions may involve the central nervous system, thorax, or abdomen, and emergency radiologists have to know the characteristics imaging findings of each one of them. The number of oncologic emergencies is growing due to the increased incidence of malignancies in the general population and also to the improved survival of these patients thanks to the advances in cancer treatment. Artificial intelligence (AI) could be a solution to assist emergency radiologists with this rapidly increasing workload. To our knowledge, AI applications in the setting of the oncologic emergency are mostly underexplored, probably due to the relatively low number of oncologic emergencies and the difficulty in training algorithms. However, cancer emergencies are defined by the cause and not by a specific pattern of radiological symptoms and signs. Therefore, it can be expected that AI algorithms developed for the detection of these emergencies in the non-oncological field can be transferred to the clinical setting of oncologic emergency. In this review, a craniocaudal approach was followed and central nervous system, thoracic, and abdominal oncologic emergencies have been addressed regarding the AI applications reported in literature. Among the central nervous system emergencies, AI applications have been reported for brain herniation and spinal cord compression. In the thoracic district the addressed emergencies were pulmonary embolism, cardiac tamponade and pneumothorax. Pneumothorax was the most frequently described application for AI, to improve sensibility and to reduce the time-to-diagnosis. Finally, regarding abdominal emergencies, AI applications for abdominal hemorrhage, intestinal obstruction, intestinal perforation, and intestinal intussusception have been described.
Coagulation is frequently activated in cancer patients and has been correlated with an unfavorable prognosis. To evaluate whether a putative release of tissue factor (TF) by circulating tumor cells (CTCs) represents a target to impair the dissemination of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the expression of relevant proteins in a panel of permanent SCLC and SCLC CTC cell lines that have been established at the Medical University of Vienna.
Five CTC and SCLC lines were analyzed using a TF enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests, RNA sequencing, and western blot arrays covering 55 angiogenic mediators. Furthermore, the influence of topotecan and epirubicin as well as hypoxia-like conditions on the expression of these mediators was investigated.
The results demonstrate that the SCLC CTC cell lines express no significant amounts of active TF but thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), vascular endothelial-derived growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-2 in two cases. The major difference between the SCLC and SCLC CTC cell lines found was the loss of the expression of angiogenin in the blood-derived CTC lines. Topotecan and epirubicin decreased the expression of VEGF, whereas hypoxia-like conditions upregulated VEGF.
Active TF capable of triggering coagulation seems not to be expressed in SCLC CTC cell lines in significant levels and, thus, CTC-derived TF seems dispensable for dissemination. Nevertheless, all CTC lines form large spheroids, termed tumorospheres, which may become trapped in clots of the microvasculature and extravasate in this supportive microenvironment. The contribution of clotting to the protection and dissemination of CTCs in SCLC may be different from other solid tumors such as breast cancer.
In countries where access to mammography equipment and skilled personnel is limited, most breast cancer (BC) cases are detected in locally advanced stages. Infrared breast thermography is recognized as an adjunctive technique for the detection of BC due to its advantages such as safety (by not emitting ionizing radiation nor applying any stress to the breast), portability, and low cost. Improved by advanced computational analytics techniques, infrared thermography could be a valuable complementary screening technique to detect BC at early stages. In this work, an infrared-artificial intelligence (AI) software was developed and evaluated to help physicians to identify potential BC cases.
Several AI algorithms were developed and evaluated, which were learned from a proprietary database of 2,700 patients, with BC cases that were confirmed through mammography, ultrasound, and biopsy. Following by evaluation of the algorithms, the best AI algorithm (infrared-AI software) was submitted to a clinic validation process in which its ability to detect BC was compared to mammography evaluations in a double-blind test.
The infrared-AI software demonstrated efficiency values of 94.87% sensitivity, 72.26% specificity, 30.08% positive predictive value (PPV), and 99.12% negative predictive value (NPV), whereas the reference mammography evaluation reached 100% sensitivity, 97.10% specificity, 81.25% PPV, and 100% NPV.
The infrared-AI software here developed shows high BC sensitivity (94.87%) and high NPV (99.12%). Therefore, it is proposed as a complementary screening tool for BC.
One in eight fatalities globally are considered cancer-related. The need for cancer therapy is growing. Natural products continue to play a role in drug development, as up to 50% of authorized drugs in the last 30 years have been isolated from natural sources.
Anticancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and other actions have all been reported in research papers using plants from the Syzygium genus in the treatment and prevention of disease.
Results from the anticancer test showed that the genus, especially Syzygium aqueum, Syzygium samarangense, and Syzygium cumini had significant promise as an anticancer agent in vitro against several cancer cell lines. Numerous factors, including phytochemical composition, increased apoptotic activity, decreased cell proliferation, stopped angiogenesis, and reduced inflammation.
These results, despite preliminary, show promise for further purification and investigation of bioactive compounds and extracts within the genus Syzygium for their anticancer properties.
A clinical case of a 61-year-old female diagnosed with stage IV right colon adenocarcinoma (unresectable liver and multiple lymph node metastases at the time of diagnosis), Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS), neuroblastoma rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (NRAS) and v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B (BRAF) wild-type, proficient mismatch repair (pMMR), in whom a complete response to the third-line of systemic treatment with trifluridine/tipiracil (TAS-102) was obtained. The complete response has been maintained for more than 2 years after its suspension.
Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are a rare type of tumours that arise from the neuroendocrine cells which are distributed throughout the body. Of all the gastrointestinal tumours only 1–2% account for NETs. They have an extremely low incidence of 0.17% arising in the intrahepatic bile duct epithelium. Majority of hepatic NETs occur as a result of metastases from the primary NETs. Most cases of primary hepatic NET (PHNET) present as a solid nodular mass. However, predominantly cystic PHNET is extremely rare which mimics other cystic space-occupying lesions clinically and radiologically as seen in this case.
It is now well-acknowledged that microbiota has a profound influence on both human health and illness. The gut microbiota has recently come to light as a crucial element that influences cancer through a variety of mechanisms. The connections between the microbiome and cancer therapy are further highlighted by a number of preclinical and clinical evidence, suggesting that these complicated interactions may vary by cancer type, treatment, or even by tumor stage. The paradoxical relationship between gut microbiota and cancer therapies is that in some cancers, the gut microbiota may be necessary to maintain therapeutic efficacy, whereas, in other cancers, gut microbiota depletion significantly increases efficacy. Actually, mounting research has shown that the gut microbiota plays a crucial role in regulating the host immune response and boosting the efficacy of anticancer medications like chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Therefore, gut microbiota modulation, which aims to restore gut microbial balance, is a viable technique for cancer prevention and therapy given the expanding understanding of how the gut microbiome regulates treatment response and contributes to carcinogenesis. This review will provide an outline of the gut microbiota’s role in health and disease, along with a summary of the most recent research on how it may influence the effectiveness of various anticancer medicines and affect the growth of cancer. This study will next cover the newly developed microbiota-targeting strategies including prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) to enhance anticancer therapy effectiveness, given its significance.
This study was designed to investigate the anticancer efficacy of the organic leaf extracts of the plant, Plectranthus vettiveroides (P. vettiveroides), and to analyze the molecular mechanism of the anticancer activity.
The leaf extracts were prepared by polarity-graded serial extraction of the dried leaf powder. The cytotoxic effect of the extracts was analyzed by the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The most active ethyl acetate extract was subjected to bioactivity-guided fractionation by column chromatography, which yielded a cytotoxic fraction designated as the P. vettiveroides fraction (PVF). The anticancer property of PVF was confirmed further by clonogenic assay. The mechanism of PVF-induced cell death was analyzed by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Additionally, the effects of PVF on apoptotic and cell survival pathways were analyzed using western immunoblot analysis.
A bioactive fraction PVF, was isolated from the ethyl acetate leaf extract. PVF showed significant anticancer activity against colon cancer cells, whilst normal cells were comparatively less affected. PVF induced strong apoptotic stimuli in colorectal carcinoma cell line HCT116, involving both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. Investigation into the molecular mechanism of anticancer activity of PVF in HCT116 cells revealed that the fraction activates the pro-apoptotic pathway via tumor suppressor protein 53 (p53) and inhibits the anti-apoptotic pathway by regulating phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling.
The findings of this study demonstrate, with mechanism-based evidence, the chemotherapeutic potential of a bioactive fraction PVF, derived from the leaves of the medicinal plant P. vettiveroides against colon cancer.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Iran, often diagnosed in advanced stages with a poor prognosis. Growth and differentiation factor 3 (GDF3) is a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily. It acts as an inhibitor of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) signaling pathway associated with pluripotent embryonic and cancer stem cells (CSCs) characteristics. Since its expression in ESCC has not yet been evaluated, the clinicopathological relevance of GDF3 expression was elucidated in ESCC patients. Expression of GDF3 in tumor tissues from 40 ESCC patients was compared to the related margin normal tissues by relatively comparative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Glyceraldehydes 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) was used as the endogenous control. Likewise, the function of GDF3 in the differentiation and development of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) was also reviewed. GDF3 was significantly overexpressed in 17.5% of tumors and a significant correlation between GDF3 expression and the depth of tumor invasion was observed (P = 0.032). The results suggest that GDF3 expression is likely to have substantial roles in the progression and invasiveness behavior of ESCC. Having considered the importance of CSC markers identification and their exploitation in targeted cancer therapy, GDF3 may be introduced as a promising therapeutic target to inhibit the invasion of tumor cells in ESCC.
The Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) has been reported to be underexpressed in many cancers and plays a role in the regulation of tumor cells' survival, proliferation, invasion, and metastasis, hence, a tumor suppressor. RKIP also regulates tumor cell resistance to cytotoxic drugs/cells. Likewise, the tumor suppressor, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), which inhibits the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway, is either mutated, underexpressed, or deleted in many cancers and shares with RKIP its anti-tumor properties and its regulation in resistance. The transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulations of RKIP and PTEN expressions and their roles in resistance were reviewed. The underlying mechanism of the interrelationship between the signaling expressions of RKIP and PTEN in cancer is not clear. Several pathways are regulated by RKIP and PTEN and the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulations of RKIP and PTEN is significantly altered in cancers. In addition, RKIP and PTEN play a key role in the regulation of tumor cells response to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. In addition, molecular and bioinformatic data revealed crosstalk signaling networks that regulate the expressions of both RKIP and PTEN. These crosstalks involved the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/PI3K pathways and the dysregulated nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB)/Snail/Yin Yang 1 (YY1)/RKIP/PTEN loop in many cancers. Furthermore, further bioinformatic analyses were performed to investigate the correlations (positive or negative) and the prognostic significance of the expressions of RKIP or PTEN in 31 different human cancers. These analyses were not uniform and only revealed that there was a positive correlation between the expression of RKIP and PTEN only in few cancers. These findings demonstrated the existence of signaling cross-talks between RKIP and PTEN and both regulate resistance. Targeting either RKIP or PTEN (alone or in combination with other therapies) may be sufficient to therapeutically inhibit tumor growth and reverse the tumor resistance to cytotoxic therapies.
Tannins are secondary metabolites that belong to the family of polyphenolic compounds and have gained a huge interest among researchers due to their versatile therapeutic potential. After lignin, these are the second most abundant polyphenols found in almost every plant part like stem, bark, fruit, seed, leaves, etc. Depending upon their structural composition, these polyphenols can be divided into two distinct groups, namely condensed tannins and hydrolysable tannins. Hydrolysable tannins can be further divided into two types: gallotannins and ellagitannins. Gallotannins are formed by the esterification of D-glucose hydroxyl groups with gallic acid. The gallolyl moieties are bound by a depside bond. The current review focuses mainly on the anti-carcinogenic potential of recently discovered gallotannins, ginnalin A, and hamamelitannin (HAM). Both of these gallotannins possess two galloyl moieties linked to a core monosaccharide having anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic abilities. Ginnalin A is found in plants of the genus Acer whereas HAM is present in witch hazel plants. The biosynthetic pathway of ginnalin A along with the mechanism of the anti-cancer therapeutic potential of ginnalin A and HAM has been discussed. This review will certainly help researchers to work further on the chemo-therapeutic abilities of these two unique gallotannins.
Liquid biopsy is a diagnostic repeatable test, which in last years has emerged as a powerful tool for profiling cancer genomes in real-time with minimal invasiveness and tailoring oncological decision-making. It analyzes different blood-circulating biomarkers and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is the preferred one. Nevertheless, tissue biopsy remains the gold standard for molecular evaluation of solid tumors whereas liquid biopsy is a complementary tool in many different clinical settings, such as treatment selection, monitoring treatment response, cancer clonal evolution, prognostic evaluation, as well as the detection of early disease and minimal residual disease (MRD). A wide number of technologies have been developed with the aim of increasing their sensitivity and specificity with acceptable costs. Moreover, several preclinical and clinical studies have been conducted to better understand liquid biopsy clinical utility. Anyway, several issues are still a limitation of its use such as false positive and negative results, results interpretation, and standardization of the panel tests. Although there has been rapid development of the research in these fields and recent advances in the clinical setting, many clinical trials and studies are still needed to make liquid biopsy an instrument of clinical routine. This review provides an overview of the current and future clinical applications and opening questions of liquid biopsy in different oncological settings, with particular attention to ctDNA liquid biopsy.
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the commonest primary malignant brain cancer. The current treatment of MB is usually surgical resection combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Although great progress has been made in the clinical management of MB, tumor metastasis and recurrence are still the main cause of death. Therefore, definitive and timely diagnosis is of great importance for improving therapeutic effects on MB. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) divided MB into four subtypes: wingless-type mouse mammary tumor virus integration site (WNT), sonic hedgehog (SHH), non-WNT/non-SHH group 3, and group 4. Each subtype of MB has a unique profile in copy number variation, DNA alteration, gene transcription, or post-transcriptional/translational modification, all of which are associated with different biological manifestations, clinical features, and prognosis. This article reviewed the research progress of different molecular pathology markers in MB and summarized some targeted drugs against these molecular markers, hoping to stimulate the clinical application of these molecular markers in the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of MB.
Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms have been applied in abundant medical tasks with high accuracy and efficiency. Physicians can improve their diagnostic efficiency with the assistance of AI techniques for improving the subsequent personalized treatment and surveillance. AI algorithms fundamentally capture data, identify underlying patterns, achieve preset endpoints, and provide decisions and predictions about real-world events with working principles of machine learning and deep learning. AI algorithms with sufficient graphic processing unit power have been demonstrated to provide timely diagnostic references based on preliminary training of large amounts of clinical and imaging data. The sample size issue is an inevitable challenge for pediatric oncology considering its low morbidity and individual heterogeneity. However, this problem may be solved in the near future considering the exponential advancements of AI algorithms technically to decrease the dependence of AI operation on the amount of data sets and the efficiency of computing power. For instance, it could be a feasible solution by shifting convolutional neural networks (CNNs) from adults and sharing CNN algorithms across multiple institutions besides original data. The present review provides important insights into emerging AI applications for the diagnosis of pediatric oncology by systematically overviewing of up-to-date literature.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is difficult to treat since it lacks all the three most commonly targeted hormone receptors. Patients afflicted with TNBC are treated with platinum core chemotherapeutics, such as cisplatin. Despite the initial effective anticancer effects of cisplatin, TNBC attenuates its effect and develops resistance eventually, which results in tumor reoccurrence. Hence, there is a critical demand for effective, alternative, and natural ways to treat TNBC. Towards this, a promising technique for inhibiting TNBC cell proliferation involves promoting the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which triggers pro-apoptotic caspases 9 and 3. Resveratrol (RESV), an active bio compound found in naturally available fruits, such as grapes, is utilized in this research for that. In addition, electrochemotherapy (ECT), which involves the application of electrical pulses (EP), was utilized to enhance the uptake of RESV.
MDA-MB-231, human TNBC cells were treated with/out RESV, and eight 600–1,000 V/cm, 100 μs pulses at 1 Hz. The cells were characterized by using various assays, including viability assay, and ROS assay.
A TNBC cell viability of as low as 20% was obtained at 24 h (it was 13% at 60 h), demonstrating the potential of this novel treatment. ROS production was the highest in the combination of EP at 1,000 V/cm along with RESV at 100 μmol/L.
Results indicate that RESV has the potential as an anti-TNBC agent and that EP + RESV can significantly enhance the cell death to reduce MDA-MB-231 cell viability by increasing ROS production and triggering apoptosis.
This study shows how important it is to coordinate research on Ficus deltoidea Jack (FD) so that results from different sources can be compared directly and a scientific conclusion can be made.
The author looked for research papers on Ficus (F.) deltoidea on Google Scholar, Science Direct, Google.com, Wiley, PubMed, Hindawi, Springer, and other related databases. This analysis excludes data that cannot be trusted, thesis papers, and review articles about F. deltoidea.
In traditional medicine, the plant’s leaves and syconia are used to cure a wide variety of ailments, including itchiness, diarrhoea, cancer, sexual dysfunction, age-related issues, malaria, cancer, anxiety, pain, constipation, fever, diabetes, tooth pain, and tooth decay. In vitro and in vivo studies showed the effectiveness of the leaves against cancer cell lines.
Based on the existing research on the health benefits of FD, it is critical to focus on its more active constituents and their identification, determination, further development, and, most importantly, standardization of the leaves for the management and treatment of cancer and its related cases. More research is needed before it can be considered a promising herbal source of novel medication candidates for treating various disorders.
Macrophages, as ubiquitous and functionally diverse immune cells, play a central role in innate immunity and initiate adaptive immunity. Especially, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are crucial contributors to the tumorigenesis and development of cancer. Thus, macrophages are emerging potential targets for cancer treatment. Among the numerous targeted therapeutic options, gene therapy is one of the most potential therapeutic strategies via directly and specifically regulating biological functions of macrophages at the gene level for cancer treatment. This short review briefly introduces the characteristics of macrophage populations, the functions of TAM in the occurrence, and the progress of cancer. It also summarized some representative examples to highlight the current progress in TAM-targeted gene therapy. The review hopes to provide new insights into macrophage-targeted gene therapy for precision cancer therapy.
Glioblastoma is the most common and malignant primary brain tumor. Despite a century of research efforts, the survival of patients has not significantly improved. Currently, diagnosis is based on neuroimaging techniques followed by histopathological and molecular analysis of resected or biopsied tissue. A recent paradigm shift in diagnostics ranks the molecular analysis of tissue samples as the new gold standard over classical histopathology, thus correlating better with the biological behavior of glioblastoma and clinical prediction, especially when a tumor lacks the typical hallmarks for glioblastoma. Liquid biopsy aims to detect and quantify tumor-derived content, such as nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), circulating tumor cells (CTCs), or extracellular vesicles (EVs) in biofluids, mainly blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or urine. Liquid biopsy has the potential to overcome the limitations of both neuroimaging and tissue-based methods to identify early recurrence and to differentiate tumor progression from pseudoprogression, without the risks of repeated surgical biopsies. This review highlights the origins and time-frame of liquid biopsy in glioblastoma and points to recent developments, limitations, and challenges of adding liquid biopsy to support the clinical management of glioblastoma patients.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a major point of interest in modern oncology. Their interest resides in their ability to favor tumor growth without carrying genetic mutations. From a translational standpoint, they are potential therapeutic targets, particularly for hard-to-treat solid cancers. CAFs can be defined as non-tumor cells within the tumor microenvironment that have the morphological traits of fibroblasts, are negative for lineage-specific markers (e.g., leukocyte, endothelium), and enhance tumor progression in a multi-pronged manner. Two often-mentioned aspects of CAF biology are their ability to alter the mechanics and architecture of the tumor microenvironment, and also to drive local immunosuppression. These two aspects are the specific focus of this work, which also contains a brief summary of novel therapeutic interventions under study to normalize or eliminate CAFs from the tumor microenvironment.
The process of biomarker discovery is being accelerated with the application of artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning. Biomarkers of diseases are useful because they are indicators of pathogenesis or measures of responses to therapeutic treatments, and therefore, play a key role in new drug development. Proteins are among the candidates for biomarkers of rectal cancer, which need to be explored using state-of-the-art AI to be utilized for prediction, prognosis, and therapeutic treatment. This paper aims to investigate the predictive power of Ras homolog family member B (RhoB) protein in rectal cancer.
This study introduces the integration of pretrained convolutional neural networks and support vector machines (SVMs) for classifying biopsy samples of immunohistochemical expression of protein RhoB in rectal-cancer patients to validate its biologic measure in biopsy. Features of the immunohistochemical expression images were extracted by the pretrained networks and used for binary classification by the SVMs into two groups of less and more than 5-year survival rates.
The fusion of neural search architecture network (NASNet)-Large for deep-layer feature extraction and classifier using SVMs provided the best average classification performance with a total accuracy = 85%, prediction of survival rate of more than 5 years = 90%, and prediction of survival rate of less than 5 years = 75%.
The finding obtained from the use of AI reported in this study suggest that RhoB expression on rectal-cancer biopsy can be potentially used as a biomarker for predicting survival outcomes in rectal-cancer patients, which can be informative for clinical decision making if the patient would be recommended for preoperative therapy.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is known as the most aggressive and prevalent brain tumor with a high mortality rate. It is reported in people who are as young as 10 years old to as old as over 70 years old, exhibiting inter and intra tumor heterogeneity. There are several genomic and proteomic investigations that have been performed to find the unexplored potential targets of the drug against GBM. Therefore, certain effective targets have been taken to further validate the studies embarking on the robustness in the field of medicinal chemistry followed by testing in clinical trials. Also, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has identified certain overexpressed targets involved in the pathogenesis of GBM in three major pathways, i.e., tumor protein 53 (p53), retinoblastoma (RB), and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)/rat sarcoma virus (Ras)/phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways. This review focuses on the compilation of recent developments in the fight against GBM thus, directing future research into the elucidation of pathogenesis and potential cure for GBM. Also, it highlights the potential biomarkers that have undergone extensive research and have promising prognostic and predictive values. Additionally, this manuscript analyses the advent of gene therapy and immunotherapy, unlocking the way to consider treatment approaches other than, or in addition to, conventional chemo-radiation therapies. This review study encompasses all the relevant research studies associated with the pathophysiology, occurrence, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic intervention for GBM. It highlights the evolution of various therapeutic perspectives against GBM from the most conventional form of radiotherapy to the recent advancement of gene/cell/immune therapy. Further, the review focuses on various targeted therapies for GBM including chemotherapy sensitization, radiotherapy, nanoparticles based, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and gene therapy which would offer a comprehensive account for exploring several facets related to GBM prognostics.
Functional screening of new pharmaceutical compounds requires clinically relevant models to monitor essential cellular and immune responses during cancer progression, with or without treatment. Beyond survival, the emergence of resistant tumor cell clones should also be considered, including specific properties related to plasticity, such as invasiveness, stemness, escape from programmed cell death, and immune response. Numerous pathways are involved in these processes. Defining the relevant ones in the context of a specific tumor type will be key to designing an appropriate combination of inhibitors. However, the diversity and potential redundancy of these pathways remain a challenge for therapy.
A new microfluidic device developed by Okomera was dedicated to the screening of drug treatment for breast cancer. This microchip includes 150 droplet-trapping microwells, offering multi-chip settings and multiple treatment choices.
After validating the system with established cell lines and a panel of drugs used clinically at Gustave Roussy, preclinical experiments were initiated including patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and primary tumor cells-derived tumoroids with the collaboration of Gustave Roussy clinicians. Tumor-isolated lymphocytes were also added to the tumoroids, using secondary droplets in proof-of-concept experiments.
These results show the relevance of the methodology for screening large numbers of drugs, a wide range of doses, and multiple drug combinations. This methodology will be used for two purposes: 1) new drug screening from the compound library, using the high throughput potential of the chip; and 2) pre-clinical assay for a two-weeks response for personalized medicine, allowing evaluation of drug combinations to flag an optimized treatment with potential clinical application.
The onset and development of breast cancer in postmenopausal women are associated with closely related individual-dependent factors, including weight gain and high levels of circulating androgens. Adipose tissue is the most peripheral site of aromatase enzyme synthesis; therefore, the excessive accumulation of visceral fat results in increased androgens aromatization and estradiol production that provides the microenvironment favorable to tumorigenesis in mammary epithelial cells expressing estrogen receptors (ERs). Moreover, to meet the increased requirement of cholesterol for cell membrane assembly and the production of steroid hormones to sustain their proliferation, ER-positive cells activate de novo cholesterol biosynthesis and subsequent steroidogenesis. Several approaches have been followed to neutralize the de novo cholesterol synthesis, including specific enzyme inhibitors, statins, and, more recently, metformin. Cumulating evidence indicated that inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis by statins and metformin may be a promising therapeutic strategy to block breast cancer progression. Unlike antiestrogens and aromatase inhibitors (AIs) which compete for binding to ER and inhibit androgens aromatization, respectively, statins block the production of mevalonic acid by inhibiting the activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, and metformin hampers the activation of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2) transcription factor, thus inhibiting the synthesis of several enzymes involved in cholesterol biosynthesis. Noteworthy, statins and metformin not only improve the prognosis of overweight patients with ER-positive cancer but also improve the prognosis of patients with triple-negative breast cancer, the aggressive tumor subtype that lacks, at present, specific therapy.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a recent, revolutionary approach for malignancies treatment, designed to provide superior efficacy and specific targeting of tumor cells, compared to systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy. Their structure combines highly potent anti-cancer drugs (payloads or warheads) and monoclonal antibodies (Abs), specific for a tumor-associated antigen, via a chemical linker. Because the sensitive targeting capabilities of monoclonal Abs allow the direct delivery of cytotoxic payloads to tumor cells, these agents leave healthy cells unharmed, reducing toxicity. Different ADCs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of a wide range of malignant conditions, both as monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy, including for lymphoma patients. Over 100 ADCs are under preclinical and clinical investigation worldwide. This paper it provides an overview of approved and promising ADCs in clinical development for the treatment of lymphoma. Each component of the ADC design, their mechanism of action, and the highlights of their clinical development progress are discussed.
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) represents a real game changer in today’s landscape of breast cancer imaging. Several innovative AI-based tools have been developed and validated in recent years that promise to accelerate the goal of real patient-tailored management. Numerous studies confirm that proper integration of AI into existing clinical workflows could bring significant benefits to women, radiologists, and healthcare systems. The AI-based approach has proved particularly useful for developing new risk prediction models that integrate multi-data streams for planning individualized screening protocols. Furthermore, AI models could help radiologists in the pre-screening and lesion detection phase, increasing diagnostic accuracy, while reducing workload and complications related to overdiagnosis. Radiomics and radiogenomics approaches could extrapolate the so-called imaging signature of the tumor to plan a targeted treatment. The main challenges to the development of AI tools are the huge amounts of high-quality data required to train and validate these models and the need for a multidisciplinary team with solid machine-learning skills. The purpose of this article is to present a summary of the most important AI applications in breast cancer imaging, analyzing possible challenges and new perspectives related to the widespread adoption of these new tools.
Among the malignant tumors in the central nervous system (CNS), glioma is the most challenging tumor to the public society, which accounts for the majority of intracranial malignant tumors with impaired brain function. In general, conventional therapies are still unable to provide an effective cure. However, novel immunotherapies have changed the treatment scene giving patients a greater potential to attain long term survival, improved quality of life. Having shown favorable results in solid tumors, those therapies are now at a cancer research hotspot, which could even shrink the growth of glioma cells without causing severe complications. However, it is important to recognize that the therapy may be occasionally associated with noteworthy adverse action called immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) which have emerged as a potential limitation of the therapy. Multiple classes of mediators have been developed to enhance the ability of immune system to target malignant tumors including glioma but may also be associated with the IRAEs. In addition, it is probable that it would take long time after the therapy to exhibit severe immune-related disorders. Gut microbiota could play an integral role in optimal immune development and/or appropriate function for the cancer therapy, which is a vital component of the multidirectional communication between immune system, brain, and gut, also known as gut-brain-immune axis. Here, we show the potential effects of the gut-brain-immune axis based on an “engram theory” for the innovative treatment of IRAEs.
Recent progress in cancer immunotherapy has shown its promise and prompted researchers to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells crucial for initiating adaptive anti-tumor immunity, therefore a promising target for cancer treatment. Here, anti-tumor activities of DC-targeting chemokines were explored in murine colorectal tumor models.
The correlation of chemokine messenger RNA (mRNA) expression with DC markers was analyzed using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset. Murine colorectal tumor cell lines (CT26 and MC38) stably overexpressing mouse C-C motif chemokine ligand 3 (CCL3), CCL19, CCL21, and X-C motif chemokine ligand 1 (XCL1) were established by lentiviral transduction. The effect of chemokines on tumor cell proliferation/survival was evaluated in vitro by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and colony formation assay. Syngeneic subcutaneous tumor models were used to study the effects of these chemokines on tumor growth. Ki-67 expression in tumors was examined by immunohistochemistry. Immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and lymph nodes were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Expression of the four chemokines was positively correlated with the two DC markers [integrin alpha X (ITGAX) and CLEC9A] in human colorectal tumor samples. Tumoral overexpression of DC-targeting chemokines had little or no effect on tumor cell proliferation/survival in vitro while significantly suppressing tumor growth in vivo. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis showed that CCL19, CCL21, and XCL1 boosted the ratios of DCs and T cells in CD45+ leukocytes while CCL3 increased the percentage of CD45+ leukocytes in total cells in MC38 tumor. XCL1 had an additional positive effect on antigen uptake by DCs in the TME and antigen transfer to tumor-draining lymph nodes.
CCL3, CCL19, CCL21, and XCL1 exhibited potent anti-tumor activities in vivo, although they might differentially regulate immune cells in the TME and antigen transfer to lymph nodes.
Major advances in cancer treatment have emerged with the introduction of immunotherapies using blocking antibodies that target T-cell inhibitory receptors, such as programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), known as immune checkpoints. However, most cancer patients do not respond to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies, suggesting the development of resistance mechanisms associated with either an insufficient number of preexisting tumor-specific T-cell precursors and/or inappropriate T-cell reactivation. To broaden clinical benefit, anti-PD-1/PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) neutralizing antibodies have been combined with therapeutic cancer vaccines based on non-mutant and/or mutant tumor antigens, to stimulate and expand tumor-specific T lymphocytes. Although these combination treatments achieve the expected goal in some patients, relapse linked to alterations in antigen presentation machinery (APM) of cancer cells often occurs leading to tumor escape from CD8 T-cell immunity. Remarkably, an alternative antigenic peptide repertoire, referred to as T-cell epitopes associated with impaired peptide processing (TEIPP), arises on these malignant cells with altered APM. TEIPP are derived from ubiquitous non-mutant self-proteins and represent a unique resource to target immune-edited tumors that have acquired resistance to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) related to defects in transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) and possibly also to ICB. The present review discusses tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) and mutant neoantigens and their use as targets in peptide- and RNA-based therapeutic cancer vaccines. Finally, this paper highlights TEIPP as a promising immunogenic non-mutant neoantigen candidates for active cancer immunotherapy and combination with TAA and mutant neoantigens. Combining these polyepitope cancer vaccines with ICB would broaden T-cell specificity and reinvigorate exhausted antitumor CTL, resulting in the eradication of all types of neoplastic cells, including immune-escaped subtypes.
Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is the ninth most common tumor worldwide. Neck lymph node (LN) status is the major indicator of prognosis in all head and neck cancers, and the early detection of LN involvement is crucial in terms of therapy and prognosis. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is a non- invasive imaging technique used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize tissues based on the displacement motion of water molecules. This review aims to provide an overview of the current literature concerning quantitative diffusion imaging for LN staging in patients with HNSCC.
This systematic review performed a literature search on the PubMed database (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) for all relevant, peer-reviewed literature on the subject following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) criteria, using the keywords: DWI, MRI, head and neck, staging, lymph node.
After excluding reviews, meta-analyses, case reports, and bibliometric studies, 18 relevant papers out of the 567 retrieved were selected for analysis.
DWI improves the diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment response evaluation, and overall management of patients affected by HNSCC. More robust data to clarify the role of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and DWI parameters are needed to develop models for prognosis and prediction in HNSCC cancer using MRI.
Onosma (O.) is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae with approximately 250 species widely dispersed in temperate, tropical, and subtropical areas. It is traditionally used to treat rheumatism, fever, asthma, stomach irritation, and inflammatory ailments. The bioactive constituents present in the genus O. include benzoquinones, naphthazarins, alkaloids, phenolic, naphthoquinones, and flavonoids whereas shikonins and onosmins are the most significant. The review compiled contemporary research on O. L., including its distribution, morphology, traditional applications, phytochemistry, ethnopharmacology, and toxicology. This review also highlights a few critical challenges and possible future directions for O. L. research. Modern research has demonstrated a wide range of pharmacological effects of different species of O. L., including anti-diabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and cardiovascular protective. However, the studies on the O. genus are still not fully explored, therefore, researchers need to discover novel products with their toxicity studies, molecular mechanism, and associated side effects. Future exploration of potent constituents from this genus and clinical trials are required to explore its pharmacological importance.
Recently, technological advances in the detection and biological characterization of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) have enabled the implementation of liquid biopsy testing into clinical practice. Methods for analysis of liquid biopsies have rapidly evolved over the past few years and have continued to advance, thus providing details about tumor biological characteristics such as tumor progression, metastasis, tumor heterogeneity, genomic mutation profile, clonal evolution, etc. In tandem with technological advances, the implementation of liquid biopsy in routine clinical settings has proceeded. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first ctDNA liquid biopsy test to detect epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as a companion diagnostic for molecular targeted drug of EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI, EGFR-TKI). More recently, multigene panel assays of liquid biopsy have been approved as companion diagnostics and have been used in routine clinical settings. The estimation of blood tumor mutation burden (bTMB) to predict the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment can be one of the promising approaches to liquid biopsy. The next stage of implementation of liquid biopsy for routine clinical settings is for monitoring of ctDNA after surgical treatment to predict prognosis and to detect disease relapse earlier than conventional imaging diagnosis. Its clinical utility is under assessment in several clinical trials. This review introduces recent advances in liquid biopsy methodology, the development of biomarkers, and its clinical utility in the treatment of NSCLC patients.
The uncontrolled and metastatic nature of cancer makes it worse and more unpredictable. Hence, many therapy and medication are used to control and treat cancer. However, apart from this, many medications cause various side effects. In America, nearly 8% of patients admitted to the hospital are due to side effects. Cancer is more seen in people residing in developed countries related of their lifestyle. There are various phytoconstituents molecules in which resveratrol (RSV) is the best-fitted molecule for cancer due to its significantly less adverse effect on the body. RSV inhibits the initiation and progression of cell proliferation due to the modulation of various pathways like the phosphoinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. RSV downgraded cell cycle-regulated proteins like cyclin E, cyclin D1, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and induced the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria, causing apoptosis or programmed cell death (PCD). A great benefit comes with some challenges, hence, RSV does suffer from poor solubility in water i.e. 0.05 mg/mL. It suffers from poor bioavailability due to being highly metabolized by the liver and intestine. Surprisingly, RSV metabolites also induce the metabolism of RSV. Hence, significantly less amount of RSV presented in the urine in the unchanged form. Due to some challenges like poor bioavailability, less aqueous solubility, and retention time in the body, researchers concluded to make the nanocarriers for better delivery. Adopting the technique of nano-formulations, increased topical penetration by up to 21%, improved nano-encapsulation and consequently improved bioavailability and permeability by many folds. Hence, the present review describes the complete profile of RSV and its nano-formulations for improving anti-cancer activity along with a patent survey.
Steroid use is a widely accepted practice for both the treatment and prevention of tumor-induced edema, but there are many unknowns regarding their current clinical utility with modern anti-tumor therapies. This decreases edema and relieves the symptomatic mass effect. There are clearly understood benefits and commonly accepted complications of methylprednisolone (MP) use, but the topic is recently controversial. With immunotherapy advancing, a robust immune response is crucial for full therapeutic efficacy. The immunosuppression of MP may interfere with future and current therapeutics relying on the integrity of the patient’s immune system. This further emphasizes the need for alternative agents to effectively treat tumor-induced cerebral edema. This review highlights the current clinical utility of steroids to treat brain tumor-related edema and the underlying pathophysiology. It also reviews details regarding different steroid formulations and dosing. Research available regarding concurrent steroid use with immunotherapy is detailed next, followed by alternatives to steroids and barriers to their adoption. Finally, this paper discusses pre-clinical findings and emerging treatments aimed to augment or replace steroid use.
In this era of cancer immunotherapy, the response rates of immune checkpoint blockers (ICBs) are still too low and the adverse events may also be significant. Of the ways of patching up such deficits, chemotherapy (ChT), especially if metronomic, seems promising, especially as immunity induced by immunogenic cell death (ICD) may be preserved. However, side effects, e.g., lymphocytopenia and interstitial pneumonitis cannot be ignored; eventually, resistance may also ensue. Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), being potent angiogenic factors, promote cancer cells’ purposeful angiogenesis rendering an extremely resistant tumor microenvironment (TME). This highly evasive and extremely resilient TME actually demands multi-agent, multi-target agents as currently in use through traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). With a good track record of 3,000 years, TCM is favored by mainland Chinese cancer patients. Although TCM had been criticized as unscientific and imprecise, recently, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies serve to elucidate the sound scientific basis and validity of TCM. Several TCM preparations having anti-VEGF actions are found; others suppress immune checkpoints. Especially, these herbs’ multi-prong approach appears to be more effective than Western medicine’s primarily monotherapy approach if one wishes to eradicate the very resistant TME. A “bonus” point is that some autoimmune-related adverse side effects of ICBs may also be reduced by TCM. Nevertheless, as the TCM experience is mostly anecdotal, robust clinical trials are mandatory. Moreover, other TCM problems, e.g., herbal batch variations and consistency and uniformity of herbal prescriptions are outstanding. Invariably, TCM prescriptions have daily variations as the practice of “syndrome differentiation” is hailed. Despite experienced TCM practitioners would refuse to give up their time-honored traditional practice, the multi-prong approach is still very attractive for the undue resilience of TME, let alone its good safety profile, ready availability, and eminent affordability. Although the passage is dark, light is now appearing at the end of the tunnel.
Prostate cancer (PCa) accounts as the most common non-cutaneous disease affecting males, and as the first cancer, for incidence, in male. With the introduction of the concept of immunoscore, PCa has been classified as a cold tumor, thus driving the attention in the development of strategies aimed at blocking the infiltration/activation of immunosuppressive cells, while favoring the infiltration/activation of anti-tumor immune cells. Even if immunotherapy has revolutionized the approaches to cancer therapy, there is still a window failure, due to the immune cell plasticity within PCa, that can acquire pro-tumor features, subsequent to the tumor microenvironment (TME) capability to polarize them. This review discussed selected relevant soluble factors [transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ), interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-10, IL-23] and cellular components of the innate immunity, as drivers of tumor progression, immunosuppression, and angiogenesis within the PCa-TME.
Diagnostic laboratories are progressively introducing next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies in the routine workflow to meet the increasing clinical need for comprehensive molecular characterization in cancer patients for diagnosis and precision medicine, including fusion-transcripts detection. Nevertheless, the low quality of messenger RNA (mRNA) extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples may affect the transition from traditional single-gene testing approaches [like fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), or polymerase chain reaction (PCR)] to NGS. The present study is aimed at assessing the overall accuracy of RNA fusion transcripts detection by NGS analysis in FFPE samples in real-world diagnostics.
Herein, NGS data from 190 soft tissue tumors (STTs) and carcinoma cases, discussed in the context of the institutional Molecular Tumor Board, are reported and analyzed by FusionPlex© Solid tumor kit through the manufacturer’s pipeline and by two well-known fast and accurate open-source tools [Arriba (ARR) and spliced transcripts alignment to reference (STAR)-fusion (SFU)].
The combination of FusionPlex© Solid tumor with ArcherDX® Analysis suite (ADx) analysis package has been proven to be sensitive and specific in STT samples, while partial loss of sensitivity has been found in carcinoma specimens.
Albeit ARR and SFU showed lower sensitivity, the use of additional fusion-detection tools can contribute to reinforcing or extending the output obtained by ADx, particularly in the case of low-quality input data. Overall, our results sustain the clinical use of NGS for the detection of fusion transcripts in FFPE material.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are highly heterogeneous players that shape the tumor microenvironment and influence tumor progression, metastasis formation, and response to conventional therapies. During the past years, some CAFs subsets have also been involved in the modulation of immune cell functions, affecting the efficacy of both innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses. Consequently, the implication of these stromal cells in the response to immunotherapeutic strategies raised major concerns. In this review, current knowledge of CAFs origins and heterogeneity in the tumor stroma, as well as their effects on several immune cell populations that explain their immunosuppressive capabilities are summarized. The current development of therapeutic strategies for targeting this population and their implication in the field of cancer immunotherapy is also highlighted.
Solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11; also known as xCT), a key component of the cystine/glutamate antiporter, is essential for the maintenance of cellular redox status and the regulation of tumor-associated ferroptosis. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that xCT overexpression, resulting from different oncogenic and tumor suppressor signaling, promotes tumor progression and multidrug resistance partially via suppressing ferroptosis. In addition, recent studies have highlighted the role of xCT in regulating the metabolic flexibility in cancer cells. In this review, the xCT activities in intracellular redox balance and in ferroptotic cell death have been summarized. Moreover, the role of xCT in promoting tumor development, drug resistance, and nutrient dependency in cancer cells has been explored. Finally, different therapeutic strategies, xCT-based, for anti-cancer treatments have been discussed.
Lower grade gliomas [LGGs; World Health Organization (WHO) grades 2 and 3], owing to the heterogeneity of their clinical behavior, present a therapeutic challenge to neurosurgeons. The aim of this study was to explore the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification landscape in the LGGs and to develop an m6A-related microRNA (miRNA) risk model to provide new perspectives for the treatment and prognostic assessment of LGGs.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) and miRNA expression data of LGGs were extracted from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (CGGA) databases. An m6A-related miRNA risk model was constructed via least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO), univariate, and multivariate Cox regression analysis. Next, Kaplan-Meier analysis, principal-component analysis (PCA), functional enrichment analysis, immune infiltrate analysis, dynamic nomogram, and drug sensitivity prediction were used to evaluate this risk model.
Firstly, six m6A-related miRNAs with independent prognostic value were selected based on clinical information and used to construct a risk model. Subsequently, compared with low-risk group, LGGs in the high-risk group had a higher m6A writer and reader scores, but a lower eraser score. Moreover, LGGs in the high-risk group had a significantly worse clinical prognosis than those in the low-risk group. Simultaneously, this risk model outperformed other clinicopathological variables in the prognosis prediction of LGGs. Immune infiltrate analysis revealed that the proportion of M2 macrophages, regulatory T (Treg) cells, and the expression levels of exhausted immune response markers were significantly higher in the high-risk group than in the low-risk group. Finally, this study constructed an easy-to-use and free dynamic nomogram to help clinicians use this risk model to aid in diagnosis and prognosis assessment.
This study developed a m6A-related risk model and uncovered two different m6A modification landscapes in LGGs. Moreover, this risk model may provide guidance and help in clinical prognosis assessment and immunotherapy response prediction for LGGs.
The dynamic spectrum of microRNA (miRNA) has grown significantly over the years with its identification and exploration in cancer therapeutics and is currently identified as an important resource for innovative strategies due to its functional behavior for gene regulation and modulation of complex biological networks. The progression of cancer is the consequence of uncontrolled, nonsynchronous procedural faults in the biological system. Diversified and variable cellular response of cancerous cells has always raised challenges in effective cancer therapy. miRNAs, a class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), are the natural genetic gift, responsible to preserve the homeostasis of cell to nurture. The unprecedented significance of endogenous miRNAs has exhibited promising therapeutic potential in cancer therapeutics. Currently, miRNA mimic miR-34, and an antimiR aimed against miR-122 has entered the clinical trials for cancer treatments. This review, highlights the recent breakthroughs, challenges, clinical trials, and advanced delivery vehicles in the administration of miRNA therapies for precision oncology.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) represent the most common epithelial tumors that arise from mucosa of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. The development of HNSCCs is usually associated with tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Most HNSCCs are diagnosed in advanced states, leading to a worse clinical outcome. Screening tests based on potential biomarkers associated with HNSCCs could improve this scenario. Liquid biopsy has emerged as a promising area of cancer investigation, offering a minimally invasive approach to track circulating biomarkers in body fluids that could potentially contribute to the diagnosis, predict prognosis, and monitor response to treatment. This review will discuss translational studies describing the clinical applications of liquid biopsy in HPV-negative and HPV-positive HNSCCs focused on circulating nucleic acids [cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and cell-free RNA (cfRNA)], circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and extracellular vesicles (EVs), which can be found in plasma, serum, and saliva.
With the rapid development of gene therapy technology and the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics have attracted more and more attention, and the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency authorization. To improve the delivery efficiency of mRNA in vitro and in vivo, researchers have developed a variety of mRNA carriers and explored different administration routes. This review will systematically introduce the types of mRNA vectors, routes of administration, storage methods, safety of mRNA therapeutics, and the type of diseases that mRNA drugs are applied for. Finally, some suggestions are supplied on the development direction of mRNA therapeutic agents in the future.
Bone metastasis is a frequent complication for cancers and an important reason for the mortality in cancer patients. After surviving in bone, cancer cells can cause severe pain, life-threatening hypercalcemia, pathologic fractures, spinal cord compression, and even death. However, the underlying mechanisms of bone metastasis were not clear. The role of calcium (Ca2+) in cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion has been well established. Interestingly, emerging evidence indicates that Ca2+ signaling played a key role in bone metastasis, for it not only promotes cancer progression but also mediates osteoclasts and osteoblasts differentiation. Therefore, Ca2+ signaling has emerged as a novel therapeutical target for cancer bone metastasis treatments. Here, the role of Ca2+ channels and Ca2+-binding proteins including calmodulin and Ca2+-sensing receptor in bone metastasis, and the perspective of anti-cancer bone metastasis therapeutics via targeting the Ca2+ signaling pathway are summarized.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer that derives from plasma cells (PCs), which will accumulate in the bone marrow (BM). Over time, several drugs have been developed to treat this disease that is still uncurable. The therapies used to treat the disease target immune activity, inhibit proteasome activity, and involve the use of monoclonal antibodies. However, MM is a highly heterogeneous disease, in fact, there are several mutations in signaling pathways that are particularly important for MM cell biology and that are possible therapeutic targets. Indeed, some studies suggest that MM is driven by mutations within the rat sarcoma virus (RAS) signaling cascade, which regulates cell survival and proliferation. The RAS/proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase (RAF)/mitogen-activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)/ERK signaling pathway is deregulated in several cancers, for which drugs have been developed to inhibit these pathways. In addition to the signaling pathways, the disease implements mechanisms to ensure the survival and consequently a high replicative capacity. This strategy consists in the deregulation of apoptosis. In particular, some cases of MM show overexpression of anti-apoptotic proteins belonging to the B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family that represent a possible druggable target. Venetoclax is an anti-BCL-2 molecule used in hematological malignancies that may be used in selected MM patients based on their molecular profile. We focused on the possible effects in MM of off-label drugs that are currently used for other cancers with the same molecular characteristics. Their use, combined with the current treatments, could be a good strategy against MM.
Endocrine resistance is a major hurdle in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. When abnormally regulated, molecular signals responsible for cellular proliferation, as well as ER itself, allow for cellular evasion of ER-dependent treatments. Therefore, pharmacological treatments that target these evasion mechanisms are beneficial for the treatment of endocrine-resistant breast cancers. This review summarizes currently understood molecular signals that contribute to endocrine resistance and their crosstalk that stem from mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositol-3 kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT), mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) and aberrant ER function. Recent clinical trials that target these molecular signals as a treatment strategy for endocrine-resistant breast cancer are also highlighted.
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a group of immature myeloid cells, which are expanded in most cancer patients. MDSCs suppress host immune responses, leading to cancer growth and progression. Several studies demonstrated that there was a relationship between levels of MDSCs and tumorigenesis in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. MDSCs are now being investigated for their role as possible therapeutic targets in cancer treatment. This review summarizes available studies that investigated MDSC expansion in CRC patients, as well as their role in CRC tumorigenesis, prognosis, and targeting. Based on the available studies, there is a possible relationship between high levels of MDSCs and CRC progression. Additionally, targeting MDSCs in CRC patients selectively represents a significant challenge for the development of targeted treatments. Targeting of MDSCs could be exploited in different ways including MDSC depletion, inhibition of MDSC function and recruitment, and enhancing MDSC differentiation. Overall, MDSCs could be exploited as prognostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in CRC.
Compared to humans, plants can synthesize an extremely diverse array of chemical compounds, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans, terpenoids, alkaloids, and many other types of secondary metabolites that have been demonstrated to exert important bioactivities and impacts on the human health. As a result of extensive and sustained efforts, some phytochemicals like vincristine, vinblastine, and paclitaxel have already been approved as anticancer drugs today, while several others are under clinical trials. However, despite this remarkable success, studies on anticancer action of plant-derived products have been and paradoxically are still in some places, mixed up with alternative approaches and thereby considered non-credible, especially in regions where the role of traditional medicine has not been historically so prevalent as in several Asian countries. As a result, only about 10% of higher plants have been explored regarding the potential therapeutic effects of their constituents. Moreover, as one function of secondary metabolites includes the protection of plants against diverse environmental stresses, the content and composition of these phytochemicals might importantly vary between different regional habitats. Therefore, the stereotyped attitudes to plant products as something related to alternative medicine must be changed to identify new lead molecules for novel anticancer drugs. It is possible that plants still harbor an important spectrum of pharmaceutically interesting, but still unidentified, chemical compounds.
To evaluate the local impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on breast cancer (BC) care, with particular attention to the economical and psychological consequences of the possible delay of new diagnoses and treatments.
Three years’ activity (from 2019 to 2021) has been compared. The number of BCs diagnosed from the total amount of mammographic and ultrasound (US) examinations performed in women aged more than 40 years old has been considered. A Pearson’s chi-squared test was performed to verify differences between results. Statistical significance was set at P ≤ 0.01.
A statistically significant difference was found in the number of BC diagnosed between screening and ambulatory care patients in both the 2019–2020 (χ2 = 24.93, P < 0.01) and 2019–2021 (χ2 = 29.93, P < 0.01) comparisons. No statistically significant difference was found in the data recorded between 2020 and 2021 (χ2 = 2.35, P > 0.01). By evaluating the specific age groups for each year, a statistically significant difference (P < 0.01) was found in the number of BC diagnosed in screening patients aged 50–69 years old in both 2019–2020 and 2019–2021 comparisons. The percentages of early BC diagnosed in 2019, 2020, and 2021 were 80.9%, 91.7%, and 89.8%, respectively. The adherence rates to screening in 2019, 2020, and 2021 were 67.5%, 45.2%, and 56.9%, respectively.
Results showed a reduction of new diagnoses in the screening range during the pandemic in comparison with the previous period. The high percentage of early BC would seem to have prevented worsening outcomes. Nevertheless, women who have not undergone screening could present a more advanced stage disease in the following years. Consequently, the evaluation of possible solutions to guarantee an essential level of care with the purpose to avoid worsening patients’ outcomes and the increase in healthcare costs is mandatory.
Gene-based immunotherapy against cancer is limited by low gene transfer efficiency. In the literature, interleukin-12 (IL-12) encoding plasmid associated with sonoporation has been shown to enhance antitumoral activity. Moreover, non-viral carriers and high-frequency ultrasound have both been shown to promote immune response activation. Here, IL-12 encoding plasmid, non-viral carrier stimulating the immune response and focused ultrasound were combined in order to improve the antitumoral efficiency.
In order to enhance a gene-based antitumoral immune response, home-made lipids Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) agonists and plasmid free of antibiotic resistance version 4 (pFAR4), a mini-plasmid, encoding the IL-12 cytokine were combined with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). The lipid composition and the combination conditions were selected following in vitro and in vivo preliminary studies. The expression of IL-12 from our plasmid construct was measured in vitro and in vivo. The combination strategy was evaluated in mice bearing colon carcinoma cells (CT26) tumors following their weight, tumor volume, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels in the serum and produced by splenocytes exposed to CT26 tumor cells.
Lipid-mediated cell transfection and intratumoral injection into CT26 tumor mice using pFAR4-IL-12 led to the secretion of the IL-12 cytokine into cell supernatant and mice sera, respectively. Conditions of thermal deposition using HIFU were optimized. The plasmid encoding pFAR4-IL-12 or TLR2 agonist alone had no impact on tumor growth compared with control mice, whereas the complete treatment consisting of pFAR4-IL-12, TLR2 lipid agonist, and HIFU limited tumor growth. Moreover, only the complete treatment increased significantly mice survival and provided an abscopal effect on a metastatic CT26 model.
The HIFU condition was highly efficient to stop tumor growth. The combined therapy was the most efficient in terms of IL-12 and IFN-γ production and mice survival. The study showed the feasibility and the limits of this combined therapy which has the potential to be improved.
Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) is a ubiquitous calcium (Ca2+) channel involved in the regulation of cellular fate and motility. Its modulation by anti-apoptotic protein B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) plays an important role in cancer progression. Disrupting this interaction could overcome apoptosis avoidance, one of the hallmarks of cancer, and is, thus, of great interest. Earlier reports have shown the involvement of both the Bcl-2 homology 4 (BH4) and the transmembrane domains (TMDs) of Bcl-2 in regulating IP3R activity, while the Bcl-2 hydrophobic cleft was associated primarily with its anti-apoptotic and IP3R-independent action at the mitochondria (Oncotarget. 2016;7:55704–20. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11005). The aim of this study was to investigate how targeting the BH3 hydrophobic cleft of Bcl-2 affects IP3R:Bcl-2 interaction.
Organelle membrane-derived (OMD) patch-clamp and circular dichroism (CD) thermal melting experiments were used to elucidate the effects of the ABT-199 (venetoclax) on the IP3R:Bcl-2 interaction. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of free and ABT-199 bound Bcl-2 were used to propose a molecular model of such interaction.
It was shown that occlusion of Bcl-2’s hydrophobic cleft by the drug ABT-199 finely modulates IP3R gating in the low open probability (Po) regime, characteristic of the basal IP3R activity in non-excited cells. Complementary MD simulations allowed to propose a model of this modulation, involving an allosteric interaction with the BH4 domain on the opposite side of Bcl-2.
Bcl-2 is an important regulator of IP3R activity and, thus of Ca2+ release from internal stores and associated processes, including cellular proliferation and death. The presence of multiple regulatory domains in both proteins suggests a complex interaction. Thus, it was found that the occlusion of the hydrophobic cleft of Bcl-2 by ABT-199 disrupts IP3R activity, leading to Bcl-2 rebinding with smaller affinity and lesser inhibitory effect. MDs simulations of free and ABT-199 bound Bcl-2 propose a molecular model of such disruption, involving an allosteric interaction with the BH4 domain on the opposite side of Bcl-2.
Neuroendocrine tumor (NET) is a rare tumor that has been observed in different sites such as lungs and throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Clinical features are usually non-specific and vary considerably depending upon the location of the tumor. Symptoms are similar to those of common conditions such as peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, etc. Thus, an initial diagnosis of a NET usually occurs at an advanced stage. This report describes a case of pancreatic NET (PNET, grade 2) with liver metastasis in a 37-year-old male which was found to be inoperable due to extensive direct involvement of the proximal jejunal branches and superior mesenteric vein. Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with lutetium-177 dotatate (177Lu-DOTATATE) was administered due to the inoperability of primary PNET. Complete resolution of symptoms occurred with three cycles of PRRT.
Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is an aggressive tumor characterized by a poor prognosis. In the latest years, targetable genetic alterations have been discovered in BTC patients, leading to the approval of new targeted therapies. Liquid biopsy, which is a non-invasive method for detecting tumor biomarkers from fluid samples, is a useful tool for diagnosis and molecular characterization, but also for prognosis assessment and monitoring of treatment response. In this review, recent works on liquid biopsy in BTC patients were analyzed, focusing on some relevant aspects for clinical use and trying to depict the future role of this technique. Moreover, differences between plasma and bile samples were pointed out, in light of the peculiar biology of BTC and the possibility of using bile as an alternative source of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) for genomic analysis. In the era of precision oncology, the increasing adoption of liquid biopsy in BTC patients will certainly improve the management of this disease.
The most common breast cancer (BC) subtypes are hormone-dependent, being either estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), progesterone receptor-positive (PR+), or both, and altogether comprise the luminal subtype. The mainstay of treatment for luminal BC is endocrine therapy (ET), which includes several agents that act either directly targeting ER action or suppressing estrogen production. Over the years, ET has proven efficacy in reducing mortality and improving clinical outcomes in metastatic and nonmetastatic BC. However, the development of ET resistance promotes cancer survival and progression and hinders the use of endocrine agents. Several mechanisms implicated in endocrine resistance have now been extensively studied. Based on the current clinical and pre-clinical data, the present article briefly reviews the well-established pathways of ET resistance and continues by focusing on the three most recently uncovered pathways, which may mediate resistance to ET, namely receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL)/receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK), nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), and Notch. It additionally overviews the evidence underlying the approval of combined therapies to overcome ET resistance in BC, while highlighting the relevance of future studies focusing on putative mediators of ET resistance to uncover new therapeutic options for the disease.
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic two needs have overlapped: on one hand continuing to provide the best care for patients with lung cancer and preventing the spread of the virus between patients and healthcare professionals on the other hand. Due to the pandemic’s unpredictable duration, physicians had to evaluate the risk/benefit ratio of anti-cancer therapeutic strategy to do the best for their patients and to protect patients themselves, as well as healthcare workers.
Systematic literature research was performed with the aim to assess the available guidelines for the management of lung cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirteen potentially relevant articles were selected and recommendations have been divided into three main categories: dos, don’ts and don’t knows.
All guidelines and recommendations highlighted the relevance of being able to delay, if possible and based on risk stratification, and curative interventions. The selected recommendations should be considered adaptable and flexible because they might be contextualized on the basis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection prevalence and the availability of diagnostic-therapeutic resources.
It remains of fundamental importance to discuss each diagnostic and therapeutic decision with the patient taking into account risks and benefits that might vary from case to case.
The development of endocrine resistance is a common reason for the failure of endocrine therapies in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This review provides an overview of the different types of in vitro models that have been developed as tools for studying endocrine resistance. In vitro models include cell lines that have been rendered endocrine-resistant by ex vivo treatment; cell lines with de novo resistance mechanisms, including genetic alterations; three-dimensional (3D) spheroid, co-culture, and mammosphere techniques; and patient-derived organoid models. In each case, the key discoveries, different analysis strategies that are suitable, and strengths and weaknesses are discussed. Certain recently developed methodologies that can be used to further characterize the biological changes involved in endocrine resistance are then emphasized, along with a commentary on the types of research outcomes that using these techniques can support. Finally, a discussion anticipates how these recent developments will shape future trends in the field. We hope this overview will serve as a useful resource for investigators that are interested in understanding and testing hypotheses related to mechanisms of endocrine therapy resistance.
The antiapoptotic B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family members are apical regulators of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis that orchestrate mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) through interactions with their proapoptotic counterparts. Overexpression of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins has been linked to therapy resistance and poor prognosis in diverse cancers. Among the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members, predominant overexpression of the prosurvival myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) has been reported in a myriad of hematological malignancies and solid tumors, contributing to therapy resistance and poor outcomes, thus making it a potential druggable target. The unique structure of Mcl-1 and its complex regulatory mechanism makes it an adaptive prosurvival switch that ensures tumor cell survival despite therapeutic intervention. This review focusses on diverse mechanisms adopted by tumor cells to maintain sustained elevated levels of Mcl-1 and how high Mcl-1 levels contribute to resistance in conventional as well as targeted therapies. Moreover, recent developments in the Mcl-1-targeted therapeutics and the underlying challenges and considerations in designing novel Mcl-1 inhibitors are also discussed.
The recent approvals for antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in multiple malignancies in recent years have fuelled the ongoing development of this class of drugs. These novel agents combine the benefits of high specific targeting of oncogenic cell surface antigens with the additional cell kill from high potency cytotoxic payloads, thus achieving wider therapeutic windows. This review will summarise the clinical activity of ADCs in tumour types not covered elsewhere in this issue, such as gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) cancers and glioblastoma (GBM). In addition to the ongoing clinical testing of existing ADCs, there is substantial preclinical and early phase testing of newer ADCs or ADC incorporating strategies. This review will provide selected insights into such future development, focusing on the development of novel ADCs against new antigen targets in the tumour microenvironment (TME) and combination of ADCs with immuno-oncology (IO) agents.
Endocrine resistant breast cancer metastasis continues to serve as a significant clinical challenge with high morbidity and mortality for patients. As the number of breast cancer cases continues to rise, the rate of brain metastasis has also increased. For single lesions or a large symptomatic lesion with other smaller lesions, surgical resection is a viable option in non-eloquent regions. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a great option for post-operative therapy or for 10 or fewer small lesions (< 3 cm in size). Whole-brain radiation can be used sparingly for large tumor burdens but should encompass hippocampus sparing techniques. Chemotherapy options have remained relatively limited due to decreased permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Emerging monoclonal antibody treatments have offered initial promise, especially for endocrine resistant breast cancer metastasis.
Improving the survival of patients with cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) has long proved challenging, although the treatment of this disease nowadays is on advancement. The historical invariability of survival outcomes and the limited number of agents known to be effective in the treatment of this disease has increased the number of studies designed to identify genetic targetable hits that can be efficacious for novel therapies. In this respect, the increasing feasibility of molecular profiling starting either from tumor tissue or circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has led to an increased understanding of CCA biology. Intrahepatic CCA (iCCA) and extrahepatic CCA (eCCA) display different and typical patterns of actionable genomic alterations, which offer opportunity for therapeutic intervention. This review article will summarize the current knowledge on the genomic alterations of iCCA and eCCA, provide information on the main technologies for genomic profiling using either tumor tissue or cfDNA, and briefly discuss the main clinical trials with targeted agents in this disease.
Zinc is a key secondary messenger that can regulate multiple signalling pathways within cancer cells, thus its levels need to be strictly controlled. The Zrt, Irt-like protein (ZIP, SLC39A) family of zinc transporters increase cytosolic zinc from either extracellular or intracellular stores. This study examines the relevance of zinc transporters ZIP7 and ZIP6 as therapeutic targets in tamoxifen resistant (TAMR) breast cancer.
A series of in vitro assays, including immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and western blotting were used to evaluate levels and activity of ZIP7 and ZIP6 in models of TAMR and sensitive (MCF-7) breast cancer. Analyses of these transporters in the clinical setting were performed using publicly available online resources: Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA)2 and Kaplan-Meier Plotter (KmPlot).
TAMR cells displayed increased activity of both ZIP7 and ZIP6 transporters compared to anti-hormone responsive cells, suggesting their potential as novel therapeutic targets following development of resistant disease.
The majority of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor (ER) and for this group of patients, endocrine therapy is the cornerstone of systemic treatment. However, drug resistance is common and a focus for breast cancer preclinical and clinical research. Over the past 2 decades, the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis has emerged as an important driver of treatment failure, and inhibitors of mTOR and PI3K are now licensed for the treatment of women with advanced ER-positive breast cancer who have relapsed on first-line hormonal therapy. This review presents the preclinical and clinical data that led to this new treatment paradigm and discusses future directions.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) represent a new class of therapeutic agents designed to target specific antigens on tumor cells, combining the specificity of monoclonal antibodies to the cytotoxicity of classic chemotherapy agents. These drugs have been extensively studied both in solid and hematologic malignancies, leading to substantial improvement in the therapeutic landscape for several tumors. Despite no ADC have been yet approved for the treatment of gynecological malignancies, some agents have shown promising results and might have the potential to become part of the standard of care. Among them, mirvetuximab soravtansine has shown activity in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer with high folate-α receptor expression, as a single agent and in combination. Tisotumab vedotin is active in patients with pre-treated cervical cancer, and further investigation is ongoing. The purpose of this review is to summarize the structural and functional characteristics of ADCs and analyze the most recent and promising data regarding the clinical development of ADCs in gynecological malignancies. The available data on the efficacy of the more studied ADCs in ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers will be discussed along with toxicities of special interest, the mechanisms of resistance, and future possible drugs combination.
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a favorite model in biology, does not contain any protein of the Bcl-2 family. From initial experiments with two-hybrid systems to the heterologous expression of human Bcl-2 family members, and the characterization of several forms of yeast programmed cell death, it has however always been a powerful tool to gain information on the mechanisms of apoptosis in general and on Bcl-2 family in particular. This is a short survey of 25 years of experiments that have provided, and at times initiated, insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of Bcl-2 family members.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) has recently made important progress in clinical implementation, offering a promising therapeutic option for infectious disease and cancer. However, the nature of mRNA molecules rendered them poorly bioavailable and unstable in vivo, impeding their further clinical application. Therefore, safe and efficient delivery of mRNA therapeutics to the target site is crucial for their successful translation into the clinical setting. Various vectors have been explored for mRNA delivery. Among them, polyesters and their analogs, a family of biodegradable polymers, have exhibited great potential for mRNA delivery. In this short review, the authors briefly introduce mRNA therapeutics, their therapeutic applications and delivery challenges. The authors then presented the typical examples of polyester materials for mRNA delivery to highlight the current progress and discuss the challenges for the rational design of polyester based mRNA delivery vectors. The authors hope to provide a new insight for the design of biodegradable vectors for nucleic acids delivery, thereby promoting their further clinic translation.
The importance of Ca2+ signaling, and particularly Ca2+ channels, in key events of cancer cell function such as proliferation, metastasis, autophagy and angiogenesis, has recently begun to be appreciated. Of particular note are two-pore channels (TPCs), a group of recently identified Ca2+-channels, located within the endolysosomal system. TPC2 has recently emerged as an intracellular ion channel of significant pathophysiological relevance, specifically in cancer, and interest in its role as an anti-cancer drug target has begun to be explored. Herein, an overview of the cancer-related functions of TPC2 and a discussion of its potential as a target for therapeutic intervention, including a summary of clinical trials examining the TPC2 inhibitors, naringenin, tetrandrine, and verapamil for the treatment of various cancers is provided.
Hilar cholangiocarcinoma is a rare primary malignancy associated with a dismal prognosis. Currently, complete extended right or left-sided hepatectomy is the primary curative therapy. Achieving a negative resection margin is associated with long-term survival and better quality of life, while post-hepatectomy liver failure (PHLF) due to insufficient liver remnant remains the most dreaded complication with a negative effect on overall survival. Precise preoperative management with sufficient future remnant liver (FRL) volume is the key to achieving good results in the treatment of bile duct carcinoma. To present a case report and a literature review for preoperative FRL optimization prior to major hepatectomies for hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Improvement of postoperative outcomes after extended liver resections in the case of hilar cholangiocarcinoma. A 62-year-old Caucasian woman with Lynch syndrome presented to our department with a hilar cholangiocarcinoma Bismuth type IIIa. The patient had an insufficient future liver volume for extended liver resection. She underwent preoperative preconditioning using a liver venous deprivation (LVD) and underwent two weeks later a right trisectorectomy without any interventional complications. Liver function remained stable postoperatively. The patient was discharged on the 20th postoperative day without major surgical post-operative complications or the need for readmission. LVD is a technically feasible, safe, and effective procedure to increase the FRL in a short period of time with low intra and post-operative complications and therefore improving the survival of patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma.
A model of progressively endocrine-resistant breast cancer was investigated to identify changes that can occur in signaling pathways after endocrine manipulation.
The MCF7 breast cancer model is sensitive to estrogens and anti-estrogens while variant lines previously derived from wild-type MCF7 are either relatively 17β-estradiol (E2 )-insensitive (LCC1) or fully resistant to estrogen and anti-estrogens (LCC9).
In LCC1 and LCC9 cell lines, loss of estrogen sensitivity was accompanied by loss of growth response to transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα), heregulin-beta and pertuzumab. LCC1 and LCC9 cells had enhanced AKT phosphorylation relative to MCF7 which was reflected in downstream activation of phospho-mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), phospho-S6, and phospho-estrogen receptor alpha Ser167 [ERα(Ser167)]. Both AKT2 and AKT3 were phosphorylated in the resistant cell lines, but small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown suggested that all three AKT isoforms contributed to growth response. ERα(Ser118) phosphorylation was increased by E2 and TGFα in MCF7, by E2 only in LCC1, but by neither in LCC9 cells. Multiple alterations in E2-mediated cell cycle control were identified in the endocrine-resistant cell lines including increased expression of MYC, cyclin A1, cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1), CDK2, and hyperphosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (ppRb), whereas p21 and p27 were reduced. Estrogen modulated expression of these regulators in MCF7 and LCC1 cells but not in LCC9 cells. Seliciclib inhibited CDK2 activation in MCF7 cells but not in resistant variants; in all lines, it reduced ppRb, increased p53 associated responses including p21, p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA), and p53 apoptosis-inducing protein 1 (p53AIP1), inhibited growth, and produced G2/M block and apoptosis.
Multiple changes occur with progression of endocrine resistance in this model with AKT activation contributing to E2 insensitivity and loss of ERα(Ser118) phosphorylation being associated with full resistance. Cell cycle regulation is modified in endocrine-resistant breast cancer cells, and seliciclib is effective in both endocrine-sensitive and resistant diseases.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have changed the treatment of breast cancer (BC) in more recent years. BC is a heterogenous group of malignancies with a broad range of histopathological characteristics. ADCs represent a class of therapeutics that combines an antigen-specific antibody backbone bound to a potent cytotoxic agent (the payload), via a linker, contributing to an improved therapeutic index. Currently, three ADCs received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are in routine clinical use in different treatment settings; many more ADCs are in earlier and later stages of development, and their future approval will improve treatment options for patients with advanced but potentially also early-stage BC over time. Just recently, the results of three phase 3 trials (ASCENT, TULIP, and DESTINY-Breast03) evaluating sacituzumab govitecan (SG), trastuzumab duocarmazine, and trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) in different treatment settings were presented and showed promising results. This overview focuses on the newer ADCs, including T-DXd and SG, their pharmacology, mechanisms of action, and relevant studies. In addition, the latest results from trials investigating some newer ADCs, in further stages of development are presented.
T-helper cells could play an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a common B-cell neoplasm. Although CLL cells can present soluble antigens targeted from the B-cell receptor to T-helper cells via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, antigens recognized by some CLL cells may be encountered in a particulate form. Here the ability of CLL cells to internalize and present anti-immunoglobulin M (IgM) beads as a model for the interaction of CLL cells with particulate antigens was investigated.
The effect of anti-IgM beads on antigen presentation pathways was analyzed using RNA-seq and internalization of anti-IgM beads by primary CLL cells was investigated using confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. Antigen presentation was investigated by analyzing activation of a T-cell line expressing a T-cell receptor specific for a peptide derived from mouse κ light chains after incubating CLL cells with a mouse κ light chain-containing anti-IgM monoclonal antibody. Kinase inhibitors were used to characterize the pathways mediating internalization and antigen presentation.
Stimulation of surface IgM of CLL cells increased expression of the antigen presentation machinery and CLL cells were able to phagocytose anti-IgM beads. Internalization of anti-IgM beads was associated with MHC class II-restricted activation of cognate T-helper cells. Antigen presentation by CLL cells was dependent on activity of spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase delta (PI3Kδ) but was unaffected by inhibitors of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK).
CLL cells can internalize and present antigen from anti-IgM beads. This capacity of CLL cells may be particularly important for recruitment of T-cell help in vivo in response to particulate antigens.
During the past two decades, tremendous progress has been made in the dendrimer-based delivery of therapeutic molecules including, for instance, small molecules, macromolecules, and genes. This review deals with recent successes in the development of promising biocompatible phosphorus dendrimers, a specific type of dendrimer, to deliver genes to treat cancers.
B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2)-like protein-10 (Bcl2L10) is the less studied member of Bcl-2 family proteins, with the controversial role in different cancer histotypes. Very recently, Bcl2L10 expression in melanoma tumor specimens and its role in melanoma response to therapy have been demonstrated. Here, the involvement of Bcl2L10 on the in vitro and in vivo properties associated with melanoma aggressive features has been investigated.
Endogenous Bcl2L10 protein expression was detected by western blotting analysis in a panel of patient-derived and commercially available human melanoma cells. In vitro assays to evaluate clonogenicity, cell proliferation, cell migration, cell invasion, and in vitro capillary-like structure formation [vasculogenic mimicry (VM)] have been performed by using human melanoma cells stably overexpressing Bcl2L10 or transiently transfected for loss/gain function of Bcl2L10, grown under two- or three-dimensional (3D) conditions Xenograft melanoma model was employed to evaluate in vivo tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Results demonstrated that Bcl2L10 acts as an inducer of in vitro cell migration, invasion, and VM, while in vitro cell proliferation, in vivo tumor growth, as well as colony formation properties were not affected. Dissecting different signaling pathways, it was found that Bcl2L10 positively affects the phosphorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and the expression of markers of cell invasion, such as urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Of note, Bcl2L10-dependent in vitro migration, invasion, and VM are linked to uPAR. Bcl2L10 also negatively regulates the intracellular calcium level. Finally, reduced invasion capability in 3D spheroid invasion assay of melanoma cells transiently overexpressing Bcl2L10 was observed after treatment with inhibitors of MMPs and uPAR.
Overall, data reported in this paper provide evidence supporting a positive role of Bcl2L10 in melanoma aggressive features.
Targeted immunotherapy has arisen over the past decade to the forefront of cancer care. Notably, targeted therapies such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are becoming more recognized for a novel approach in cancer treatment. The mechanism of action of ADCs incorporates a monoclonal antibody portion directed against the tumor cell antigen and attached to the tumoricidal portion via chemical linkage. The binding of the monoclonal antibody portion allows for tumor cell internalization of the ADC and precise release of the toxic payload within the cancer cell. Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable cancer for which belantamab mafodotin was the first-in-class ADC to achieve United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treatment of this disease. Clinical trials are currently evaluating other ADCs in the treatment of MM. In this review, a look at the current ADCs being tested in MM clinical trials with a focus on those that are more promising and a potential next-in-line for FDA approval for treatment of MM is discussed.
Obesity has dramatically increased over the past fifty years. In the last decade, it has been noted that augmented body mass, metabolic abnormalities, and the relevant “obese” tumor microenvironment (TME) are connected with signaling molecular networks, which in turn, may contribute to aggressive tumor biology in some patients with breast malignancies. This article presents the associations between obesity, metabolic derangements, inflammatory processes in the adipose tissue or TME, and aggressive behavior of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in African American (AA) women. It also describes some abnormal molecular signaling patterns in the “obese” TME with relevance to TNBC biology. Ethnic disparities in TNBC can be due to a variety of biological features (e.g., genetic mutations and tumor heterogeneity), comorbidities (e.g., cardio-metabolic diseases, including diabetes mellitus), and reproductive factors (e.g., multiparty or short breastfeeding period). Such a constellation of biological variables potentially leads to the association between obesity, metabolic derangements, inflammatory processes in the adipose tissue or TME, and aggressive behavior of TNBC in AA women. Since the TNBC and its TME can display very aggressive behavior, it is crucial that the afflicted AA women make efforts to maintain healthy body weight, “flexible” metabolism, and a well-functioning immune system. Further studies are merited to explore the multi-disciplinary factors that can affect TNBC prevention, management, and outcomes to optimize treatment strategies and survival among AA women.
Bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins are epigenetic readers that play a fundamental role in transcription regulation. Preclinical and early clinical evidence sustain BET targeting as an anti-cancer approach. BET degraders are chimeric compounds comprising of a BET inhibitor, which allows the binding to BET bromodomains, linked to a small molecule, binder for an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, triggering BET proteins degradation via the proteasome. These degraders, called proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs), can exhibit greater target specificity compared to BET inhibitors and overcome some of their limitations, such as the upregulation of the BET proteins themselves. Here are presented data on the anti-tumor activity and the mechanism of action of the BET degrader MZ1 in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the activated B-cell like (ABC, ABC DLBCL), using a BET inhibitor as a comparison.
Established lymphoma cell lines were exposed for 72 h to increasing doses of the compounds. Cell proliferation was evaluated by using an 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazolyl-2)-2,5-diphenyltetrazoliumbromide (MTT) assay. Fluorescent-Activated Cell Sorter (FACS) analysis was performed to measure apoptotic activation and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to study the transcriptional changes induced by the compounds.
MZ1, and not its negative control epimer cisMZ1, was very active with a median half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 49 nmol/L. MZ1 was more in vitro active than the BET inhibitor birabresib (OTX015). Importantly, MZ1 induced cell death in all the ABC DLBCL cell lines, while the BET inhibitor was cytotoxic only in a fraction of them. BET degrader and inhibitor shared partially similar changes at transcriptome level but the MZ1 effect was stronger and overlapped with that caused cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibition.
The BET degrader MZ1 had strong cytotoxic activity in all the ABC DLBCL cell lines that were tested, and, at least in vitro, it elicited more profound effects than BET inhibitors, and encourages further investigations.
Direct analytical comparison of two major drug-linkers in the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) field was conducted.
Four different analytical methods [AlogP calculation, reverse phase (RP) high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC; RP-HPLC), size exclusion chromatography HPLC (SEC-HPLC), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)] were tested for this comparison.
Maytansinoid-based ADCs showed less hydrophobicity than auristatin-based ADCs. Regardless of the drug-linker and drug-to-antibody ratios (DARs), the stability detected by DSC was decreased by conjugation.
The cost and time-efficient analytical comparison described in this manuscript may be useful information for an initial characterization of ADCs prior to detailed biological studies.
To investigate alterations in transcription of genes, encoding Ca2+ toolkit proteins, in oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) and to assess associations between gene expression, tumor grade, nodal-metastatic stage, and patient survival.
The expression of 275 transcripts, encoding components of the Ca2+ toolkit, was analyzed in two OAC datasets: the Cancer Genome Atlas [via the University of Alabama Cancer (UALCAN) portal] and the oesophageal-cancer, clinical, and molecular stratification [Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS)] dataset. Effects of differential expression of these genes on patient survival were determined using Kaplan-Meier log-rank tests. OAC grade- and metastatic-stage status was investigated for a subset of genes. Adjustment for the multiplicity of testing was made throughout.
Of the 275 Ca2+-toolkit genes analyzed, 75 displayed consistent changes in expression between OAC and normal tissue in both datasets. The channel-encoding genes, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2D (GRIN2D), transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel classical or canonical 4 (TRPC4), and TRP ion channel melastatin 2 (TRPM2) demonstrated the greatest increase in expression in OAC in both datasets. Nine genes were consistently upregulated in both datasets and were also associated with improved survival outcomes. The 6 top-ranking genes for the weighted significance of altered expression and survival outcomes were selected for further analysis: voltage-gated Ca2+ channel subunit α 1D (CACNA1D), voltage-gated Ca2+ channel auxiliary subunit α2 δ4 (CACNA2D4), junctophilin 1 (JPH1), acid-sensing ion channel 4 (ACCN4), TRPM5, and secretory pathway Ca2+ ATPase 2 (ATP2C2). CACNA1D, JPH1, and ATP2C2 were also upregulated in advanced OAC tumor grades and nodal-metastatic stages in both datasets.
This study has unveiled alterations of the Ca2+ toolkit in OAC, compared to normal tissue. Such Ca2+ signalling findings are consistent with those from studies on other cancers. Genes that were consistently upregulated in both datasets might represent useful markers for patient diagnosis. Genes that were consistently upregulated, and which were associated with improved survival, might be useful markers for patient outcome. These survival-associated genes may also represent targets for the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents.
The dismal prognosis of recurrent/metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) prompted recent advances in the field of therapeutic approaches beyond cytotoxic cancer therapy. In recent years, the deeper and increasing knowledge on the genomic landscape and the upcoming new data on immunotherapy enacted by HNSCCs have led to successful therapeutic targeting of the immune system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have changed state of the art in R/M patients and could have a potential role even in early disease. The purpose of this work is to summarize the role of immunotherapy for R/M HNSCC in clinical practice, with insights about future perspectives. Updated immunotherapy results in other R/M head and neck cancers such as thyroid, salivary glands, nasopharynx, sinonasal cancers, and nuclear protein in testis (NUT) are presented.
Proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) are a class of small molecules designed to target proteins for degradation. Their novel and unique modes of action provide PROTACs with the potential for their application in the management of both solid and hematologic malignancies. Since its initial discovery, the technology of targeted protein degradation, especially in the form of PROTACs, has had significant advances. A number of PROTACs have entered a late stage of preclinical development. Several of them are either in phase 1/2 clinical trials or approaching approval for initial clinical evaluation. This article discusses the preclinical and clinical findings of PROTACs of clinically relevant protein targets in cancer.
Breast cancer (BC) is a highly heterogeneous neoplasm of the mammary tissue, causing the deaths of a large number of women worldwide. Nearly 70% and 20% of BC cases are estrogen receptor alpha positive (ERα+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+), respectively; therefore, ER and HER2 targeted therapies have been employed in BC treatment. However, resistance to these therapies has been reported, indicating a need for developing novel therapeutic strategies. Proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) are new, promising therapeutic tools designed with a bimodular structure: one module allows specific binding to target proteins, and the other module allows efficient degradation of these target proteins. In this paper, PROTACs and their potential in controlling the progression of ERα and HER2+ BC are discussed.
Patients with unresectable biliary tract carcinomas (BTCs) have a poor prognosis with a median overall survival of fewer than 12 months following systemic chemotherapy. In recent years, the identification of distinct molecular alterations with corresponding targeted therapies is modifying this therapeutic algorithm. The aim of this review is to present an overview of targeted therapy for BTCs, describing published available data and potential future challenges in ongoing trials. From clinicaltrials.gov online database all ongoing trials for BTCs (any stage) was examinated in July 2021, and data regarding study design, disease characteristics and type of treatments were registered. Oncogenic-driven therapy (targeted therapy) was investigated in 67 trials. According to research, 15 ongoing trials (22.4%) are investigating fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR)-inhibitors in BTCs. Three (18.7%) are open-label randomized multicenter phase 3 trials, 8 (50%) are single-arm phase two trials, and 4 (25%) are phase one studies. Twelve (17.9%) clinical trials dealt with isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1/2 targeting therapy either in combination with cisplatin (Cis) and gemcitabine (Gem) as first-line treatment for BTCs or in monotherapy in patients with IDH1 mutant advanced malignancies, including cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Nine (13.4%) clinical trials tested human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2 targeting therapy. Four (44.4%) studies are phase I trials, two (22.2%) are phase I/II trials, and three (33.3%) phase II trials. Rare molecular alterations in BTCs, such as anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), c-ros oncogene1 receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS1), and v-RAF murine sarcoma viral oncogene homologue B1 (BRAF), are also under investigation in a few trials. Forty-four clinical trials (17.2%) are investigating not oncogenic-driven multitarget therapy like multireceptor tyrosin kinase inhibitors and antiangiogenetic agents. In conclusion, this review shows that BTCs management is experiencing important innovations, especially in biomarker-based patient selection and in the new emerging therapeutic approach. Many ongoing trials could answer questions regarding the role of molecular inhibitors leading to new therapeutic frontiers for molecular subcategories of BTCs.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant proliferative disease of monoclonal plasma cells (PCs) and is characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of PCs and excessive production of specific types of immunoglobulins. Since PCs are terminally differentiated B cells, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies MM as lymphoproliferative B-cell disease. The incidence of MM is 6–7 cases per 100,000 people in the world every year and the second most common cancer in the blood system. Due to the effects of drug resistance and malignant regeneration of MM cells in the microenvironment, all current treatment methods can prolong both overall and symptom-free survival rates of patients with MM but cannot cure MM. Both basic and clinical studies have proven that targeted therapy leads to a clear and significant prolongation of the survival of patients with MM, but when the disease recurs again, resistance to the previous treatment will occur. Therefore, the discovery of new targets and treatment methods plays a vital role in the treatment of MM. This article introduces and summarizes targeted MM therapy, potential new targets, and future precision medicine in MM.
Since SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly spread around the world, Italy has quickly become one of the most affected countries. Healthcare systems introduced strict infection control measures to ensure optimal care, especially in frail groups such as cancer patients (pts). This study investigated the efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 pre-procedure screening and whether COVID-19 influenced timely diagnosis and therapy.
Data of oncological procedures of pts with confirmed or suspected cancer diagnosis, treated at Oncology Department or coming from Emergency Department of San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital between June 2020 and March 2021 were retrospectively collected. A nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) was performed in outpatients 24/48 h before procedures. Inpatients were tested by NPS before and after hospitalization.
Two hundred and twenty-one pts were included in this analysis. Median age was 73 years, males were 58%. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status was 0 or 1 in 88% of pts. The most frequent cancer type was lung cancer (57%). Stages IV were 77%. Two hundred and forty-three scheduled procedures were performed with diagnostic (n: 142; 58%), therapeutic (n: 55; 23%), and palliative (n: 46; 19%) intent. One hundred and four and 139 procedures were performed in out- and in-pts, respectively. Of the 234 NPS performed, 10 (4%) were positive. Two pts were infected during hospitalization, 8 in community. Most of them were asymptomatic, while only 2 had mild symptoms. Eight procedures (3%) were postponed, 1 cancelled, while 2 were performed in positive pts. Median time to resolution of the infection was 17 days (11–36). Median delay in the procedures was 25 days (14–55). Five pts started systemic treatment, after a median time of 37.5 days (13–57).
SARS-CoV-2 infection led to the postponement of a small, but not negligible percentage of oncological procedures. However, the low infection rate observed suggests that structured screening for COVID-19 is critical for the best management of scheduled procedures during pandemic.
Adjuvant hormonal therapy is one of the most important treatments of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer and includes selective estrogen receptor modulators, aromatase inhibitors, and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogs. In patients receiving these drugs, a progressive recession of frontal-temporal hairlines is often observed, such as a certain grade of hair miniaturization in the same areas and the central scalp area, producing a pseudo-female androgenic alopecia, which has to be considered oncotherapy-induced alopecia. The aim of this work, is to describe the clinical aspects and pathogenesis of this type of alopecia and to analyze the different drugs which have been proposed until now. The authors concude that topical hormones should not be considered as a therapeutic approach because of their direct or indirect oncogenic potential. A therapeutic approach that could be both safe and effective is proposed.
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are aggressive tumors arising from different portions of the biliary tree and classified according to the anatomical location in intrahepatic (i) cholangiocarcinoma (CCA, iCCA), perihilar CCA (pCCA), and distal CCA (dCCA), gallbladder cancer (GBC), and ampulla of Vater cancer (AVC). Due to their silent behavior, BTCs are frequently diagnosed at advanced stages when the prognosis is poor. The available chemotherapeutic options are palliative and unfortunately, most patients will die from their disease between 6 and 18 months from diagnosis. However, over the last decade, amounting interest has been posed on the genomic landscape of BTCs and deep-sequencing studies have identified different potentially actionable driver mutations. Hence, the promising results of the early phase clinical studies with targeted agents against isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 mutation or fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR) 2 aberrations inintrahepatic tumors, and other agents against humanepidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2 overexpression/mutations, neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) fusions or B-type Raf kinase (BRAF) mutations across different subtypes of BTCs, have paved the way for a “precision medicine” strategy for BTCs. Moreover, despite the modest results when used as monotherapy, beyond microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) tumors, immune checkpoint inhibitors are being evaluated in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, possibly further expanding the therapeutic landscape of advanced BTCs. This review aims to provide an overview of the approved systemic therapies, the promising results, and the ongoing studies to explore the current and future directions of advanced BTC systemic treatment.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a disease with a very poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Although targeted therapies directed towards specific mutations found in CCA are becoming available and are showing great potential, many tumors do not carry actionable mutations and, in those that do, the emergence of drug resistance is a likely consequence of treatment. Therapeutic targeting of enzymes and other proteins that show elevated activity in CCA cells but which are not altered by mutation is a potential strategy for the treatment of target negative and drug-resistant disease. Protein kinase CK2 (CK2) is a ubiquitously expressed kinase that has increased expression and increased activity in a variety of cancer types including CCA. Several potent CK2 inhibitors are in pre-clinical development or under assessment in a variety of clinical trials often in combination with drugs that induce DNA damage. This review outlines the importance of CK2 in CCA and assesses the progress that has been made in the evaluation of CK2 inhibition as a treatment strategy in this disease. Targeting CK2 based on the expression levels or activity of this protein and/or in combination with drugs that induce DNA damage or inhibit cell cycle progression, could be a viable option for tumors that lack actionable mutations, or for tumors that develop resistance to targeted treatments.
Cancer is an aging-associated disease and caused by genomic instability that is driven by the accumulation of mutations and epimutations in the aging process. Although Ca2+ signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, DNA damage response (DDR) and senescence inflammation response (SIR) are processed during genomic instability, the underlying mechanism for the cause of genomic instability and cancer development is still poorly understood and needs to be investigated. Nociceptive transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which firstly respond to environmental stimuli, such as microbes, chemicals or physical injuries, potentiate regulation of the aging process by Ca2+ signaling. In this review, the authors provide an explanation of the dual role of nociceptive TRP channels in regulating cancer progression, initiating cancer progression by aging-induced genomic instability, and promoting malignancy by epigenetic regulation. Thus, therapeutically targeting nociceptive TRP channels seems to be a novel strategy for treating cancers.
Breast cancer (BC) is the most ubiquitous cancer in women. Approximately 70–80% of BC diagnoses are positive for estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (ERα). The steroid hormone estrogen [17β-estradiol (E2)] plays a vital role both in the initiation and progression of BC. The E2-ERα mediated actions involve genomic signaling and non-genomic signaling. The specificity and magnitude of ERα signaling are mediated by interactions between ERα and several coregulator proteins called coactivators or corepressors. Alterations in the levels of coregulators are common during BC progression and they enhance ligand-dependent and ligand-independent ERα signaling which drives BC growth, progression, and endocrine therapy resistance. Many ERα coregulator proteins function as scaffolding proteins and some have intrinsic or associated enzymatic activities, thus the targeting of coregulators for blocking BC progression is a challenging task. Emerging data from in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that targeting coregulators to inhibit BC progression to therapy resistance is feasible. This review explores the current state of ERα coregulator signaling and the utility of targeting the ERα coregulator axis in treating advanced BC.
In spite of the immense advancement in the diagnostic and treatment modalities, cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality across the globe, responsible for the death of around 10 million patients every year. The foremost challenges faced in the treatment of this disease are chemoresistance, adverse effects of the drugs, and the high cost of treatment. Though scientific studies over the past few decades have foreseen and are focusing on the cancer-preventive and therapeutic potential of natural products and their underlying mechanism of action, many more of these agents are not still explored. Piperlongumine (PL), or piplartine, is one such alkaloid isolated from Piper longum Linn., which is shown to be safe and has significant potential in the prevention and therapy of cancer. Numerous shreds of evidence have established the ability of this alkaloid and its analogs and nanoformulations in modulating various complex molecular pathways such as phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin, nuclear factor-kappa B, Janus kinases/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, etc. and inhibit different hallmarks of cancer such as cell survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal-transition, metastases, etc. In addition, PL was also shown to inhibit radioresistance and chemoresistance and sensitize the cancer cells to the standard chemotherapeutic agents. Therefore, this compound has high potential as a drug candidate for the prevention and treatment of different cancers. The current review briefly reiterates the anti-cancer properties of PL against different types of cancer, which permits further investigation by conducting clinical studies.
The treatment landscape for multiple myeloma (MM) has dramatically changed over the last three decades, moving from no US Food and Drug Administration approvals and two active drug classes to over 19 drug approvals and at least eight different active classes. The advances seen in MM therapy have relied on both a structured approach to obtaining new labels and cautious off-label drug use. Although there are country and regional differences in drug approval processes, many of the basic principles behind off-label drug use in MM can be summarized into four main categories: 1) use of a therapy prior to the current approval regulations; 2) widespread use of a therapy following the release of promising clinical trial results but prior to drug approval; 3) use of a cheap therapy supported by clinical safety and efficacy data but without commercial backing; and 4) niche therapies for small well-defined patient populations where large clinical trials with sufficient power may be difficult to perform. This review takes a historical approach to discuss how off-label drug use has helped to shape the current treatment approach for MM.
The gut microbiome is a novel player in the pathogenesis and treatment of breast cancer. The term “microbiome” is used to describe the diverse community of micro-organisms existing within the gastrointestinal tract. The gut microbiome plays an important role in oestrogen metabolism through its ability to deconjugate oestrogens within the gut resulting in their reabsorption. Therefore, it is not unsurprising that “dysbiosis”, the disruption of normal gut microbiota composition, is now thought to play a role in the development of the disease, as women with breast cancer have been shown to have altered gut microbiota and this has been correlated with tumour characteristics. There is emerging evidence to suggest that the gut microbiota may also impact on breast cancer treatment, by mediating both drug efficacy and toxicity. The present review will discuss the influence of the gut microbiota on systemic treatments for breast cancer, including chemotherapy, anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) therapy, endocrine therapy and immunotherapy as well as other targeted treatments.
Anticancer drugs (chemotherapeutics) used in cancer treatment (chemotherapy) lead to drug resistance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effect of iron on calcium homeostasis in epithelial ovarian cancer cells (MDAH-2774) and cisplatin-resistant cells of the same cell line (MDAH-2774/DDP).
To develop MDAH-2774/DDP cells, MDAH-2774 (MDAH) cells were treated with cisplatin in dose increases of 5 μM between 0 μM and 70 μM. The effect of iron on the viability of MDAH and MDAH/DDP cells was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide test at the end of 24 h incubation.
At increasing iron concentrations in MDAH and MDAH/DDP cells, the mRNA gene of fifteen genes [inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor (IP3R)1/2/3, ryanodine receptor (RYR)1/2, sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA)1/2/3, Na+/Ca2+ exchange (NCX)1/2/3, and plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA)1/2/3/4] associated with Ca2+ differences in expression were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Changes in IP3R2, RYR1, SERCA2, NCX3, PMCA1, and PMCA3 gene expressions were observed in iron treatment of MDAH/DDP cells, while changes were detected in iron treatment of MDAH cells in IP3R1/2/3, RYR1/2, SERCA1/2/3, NCX2/3, and PMCA1 expressions.
This changes in the expression of calcium channels, pumps, and exchange proteins in the epithelial ovarian cancer cell line and in cisplatin-resistant epithelial ovarian cancer cells suggest that iron may have an important role in regulating calcium homeostasis. Due to differences in the expression of genes that play of an important role in the regulation of calcium homeostasis in the effect of iron, drug resistance can be prevented by introducing a new perspective on the use of inhibitors and activators of these genes and thus cytostatic treatment strategies.
Phosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins regulates the dynamics of polymerization, stability, and disassembly of the different types of cytoskeletal polymers. These control the ability of cells to migrate and divide. Mutations and alterations of the expression levels of multiple protein kinases are hallmarks of most forms of cancer. Thus, altered phosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins is observed in most cancer cells. These alterations potentially control the ability of cancer cells to divide, invade and form distal metastasis. This review highlights the emergent role of phosphorylation in the control of the function of the different cytoskeletal polymers in cancer cells. It also addresses the potential effect of targeted inhibitors in the normalization of cytoskeletal function.
Metastasis is still the primary cause of cancer-related mortality. However, the underlying mechanisms of cancer metastasis are not yet fully understood. Currently, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metabolic remodeling, cancer cell intercommunication and the tumor microenvironment including diverse stromal cells, are reported to affect the metastatic process of cancer cells. Calcium ions (Ca2+) are ubiquitous second messengers that manipulate cancer metastasis by affecting signaling pathways. Diverse transporter/pump/channel-mediated Ca2+ currents form Ca2+ oscillations that can be decoded by Ca2+-binding proteins, which are promising prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets of cancer metastasis. This paper presents a review of the advances in research on the mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis and the roles of Ca2+-related signals in these events.
The role of tumor burden (TB) for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving immunotherapy is still unknown. The aim of this analysis was to analyze the prognostic value of TB in a real-world sample of advanced NSCLC patients.
Sixty-five consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC treated with immunotherapy as first or second line therapy were retrospectively analyzed between August 2015 and February 2018. TB was recorded at baseline considering sites and number of metastases, thoracic vs. extrathoracic disease, measurable disease (MD) vs. not-MD (NMD) and evaluating dimensional aspects as maximum lesion diameter (cut-off = 6.3 cm), sum of the 5 major lesions diameters (cut-off = 14.3 cm), and number of sites of metastases (cut-off > 4). All cut-offs were calculated by receiver operating characteristic curves. Median overall survival (OS) was estimated using Kaplan-Meier method. A Cox regression model was carried out for univariate and multivariate analyses.
Median age was 70 years and most patients (86.2%) had a good performance status (PS-Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group < 2). No significant difference in OS was noted between subgroups of patients according to TB. Bone metastases (BM) had a negative prognostic impact [median OS (mOS), 13.8 vs. 70.0 months, P = 0.0009; median progression free survival in the second line (mPFS2) 2.97 vs. 8.63 months; P = 0.0037]. Patients with NMD had a poorer prognosis (mOS, 15.9 months vs. not reached, P < 0.0001; mPFS2 3.8 vs. 12.2 months; P = 0.0199). Patients with disease limited to the thorax had a better prognosis compared to patients with involvement of extrathoracic sites (mOS, 70 vs. 17.3 months; P = 0.0136). Having more than 4 metastatic sites resulted as a negative prognostic factor (mOS, 15.9 vs. 25.2 months; P = 0.0106). At multivariate analysis, BM, NMD, extrathoracic disease and number of sites of metastases > 4 were negative prognostic factors (P < 0.0001).
This study underlines the negative prognostic impact of specific metastatic sites, presence of NMD and extrathoracic disease in advanced NSCLC patients treated with immunotherapy. However, TB does not appear to affect the outcome of these patients.
Lynch syndrome is a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome caused by germline alterations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes leading to increased risk of colon cancer as well as other cancer types. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is not among typical Lynch syndrome-associated tumors: pembrolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, is actually approved for the treatment of NSCLC patients and represents a promising treatment option for patients with advanced metastatic MMR-deficient cancer, regardless of tumor origin. This case report describes the clinical presentation and management of a 74-year-old female with a history of rectal adenocarcinoma and ovarian cancer, who has a documented frameshift pathogenic variant in the exon 8 of MSH6 gene and an intronic variant in the BRCA2 gene (classified as a variant of uncertain significance), affected by NSCLC with brain metastases. Despite these premises, the patient was treated with pembrolizumab and she did not benefit from this kind of treatment.
Intracellular Ca2+ ions that are thought to be one of the most important second messengers for cellular signaling, have a substantial diversity of roles in regulating a plethora of fundamental cellular physiology such as gene expression, cell division, cell motility and apoptosis. It has been suggestive of the Ca2+ signaling-dependent cellular processes to be tightly regulated by the numerous types of Ca2+ channels, pumps, exchangers and sensing receptors. Consequently, dysregulated Ca2+ homeostasis leads to a series of events connected to elevated malignant phenotypes including uncontrolled proliferation, migration, invasion and metastasis, all of which are frequently observed in advanced stage lung cancer cells. The incidence of bone metastasis in patients with advanced stage lung cancer is estimated in a range of 30% to 40%, bringing about a significant negative impact on both morbidity and survival. This review dissects and summarizes the important roles of Ca2+ signaling transduction in contributing to lung cancer progression, and address the question: if and how Ca2+ signaling might have been engaged in metastatic lung cancer with bone metastasis, thereby potentially providing the multifaceted and promising solutions for therapeutic intervention.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most malignant subtype of breast cancer with high heterogeneity, rapid progression, and paucity of treatment options. The most effective chemotherapeutic drug used to treat TNBC is doxorubicin (Doxo) which is an anthracycline antibiotic. However, Doxo treatment alters cytosolic calcium dynamics leading to drug-resistance condition. The aim of this study is to capture the alterations in the activity of various calcium channels and pumps during Doxo treatment and their consequences on cytosolic calcium dynamics that ultimately result in drug resistance.
In the present study, a mathematical model is proposed to capture the complex dynamical landscape of intracellular calcium during Doxo treatment. This study provides an insight into Doxo remodeling of calcium dynamics and associated drug-resistance effect. The model was first analyzed analytically and then explored through numerical simulation using techniques like global sensitivity analysis, parameter recalibration, etc.
The model is used to predict the potential combination therapy for Doxo that can overcome Doxo associated drug resistance. The results show targeting the dysregulated Ca2+ channels and pumps might provide efficient chemotherapy in TNBC. It was also observed that the indispensability of calcium influx rate is paramount in the Doxo drug resistance. Finally, three drugs were identified from existing literature that could be used as a combination therapy along with Doxo.
The investigation highlights the importance of integrating the calcium signaling of various calcium regulating compounds for their effective anti-tumor effects deliverance along with chemotherapeutic agents. The results from this study might provide a new direction to the experimental biologists to explore different combination therapies with Doxo to enhance its anti-tumor effect.
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a key component in the cell’s response to oxidative and electrophilic stress and is a transcription factor regulating the expression of a collection of anti-oxidative and cytoprotective genes. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 4 (HER4/erbB4) regulates growth and differentiation in many cancer types. Here, NRF2 and HER4 receptor interactions were investigated in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines.
Pharmacological [tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) and retinoid/rexinoid, bexarotene] and genetic [small interfering RNA (siRNA)] manipulations were used to activate or inhibit NRF2 function in the cell line panel (PE01, OVCAR3, SKOV3). Activity of the HER-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors, erlotinib (ERL) and lapatinib (LAP), was evaluated after NRF2 activation.
While tBHQ increased the levels of both phosphorylated-NRF2 (pNRF2) and HER4 in PE01, OVCAR3 and SKOV3 cells, bexatorene and NRF2-target siRNA treatment decreased pNRF2 and total HER4 levels. The tBHQ-dependent pharmacological activation of NRF2 attenuated the therapeutic effectiveness of ERL and LAP. Analyses of gene expression data from a HER4 driven reporter system and in vitro or in vivo cancer models, support NRF2 regulation of HER4 expression.
These results support the presence of signaling interaction between the NRF2 and HER4 receptor pathways and suggest that intervention modulating this cross-talk could have anticancer therapeutic value.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. To date, tissue biopsy has been the gold standard for the diagnosis and the identification of specific molecular mutations, to guide choice of therapy. However, this procedure has several limitations. Liquid biopsy could represent a solution to the intrinsic limits of traditional biopsy. It can detect cancer markers such as circulating tumor DNA or RNA (ctDNA, ctRNA), and circulating tumor cells, in plasma, serum or other biological fluids. This procedure is minimally invasive, reproducible and can be used repeatedly. The main clinical applications of liquid biopsy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients are the early diagnosis, stratification of the risk of relapse, identification of mutations to guide application of targeted therapy and the evaluation of the minimum residual disease. In this review, the current role of liquid biopsy and associated markers in the management of NSCLC patients was analyzed, with emphasis on ctDNA and CTCs, and radiotherapy.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 inhibitors, programmed cell death 1 inhibitors and programmed cell death-ligand 1 inhibitors, have recently emerged as novel drugs in the anti-cancer therapy. Their use in different types of advanced cancer has shown good results and an increase in survival rates. However, immune-related adverse events (irAEs) are frequent and often require special care. IrAEs may affect all the organs, but they are most commonly seen in skin, lungs, endocrine glands and in the gastrointestinal tract where small bowel, colon, the liver and/or the pancreas can be involved. Despite being usually mild and self-resolving, irAEs may present in severe and life-threatening forms, causing the withdrawal of anti-cancer therapy. IrAEs, therefore, represent a challenging condition to manage that often requires the cooperation between the oncologists and the gastroenterologists in order to identify and treat them adequately.
About 15–20% of all breast cancers (BCs) are defined human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive, based on the overexpression of HER2 protein and/or amplification of ERBB2 gene. Such alterations lead to a more aggressive behavior of the disease, but also predict response to treatments targeting HER2. Indeed, several anti-HER2 compounds have been developed and approved in the last two decades, significantly improving our ability to cure patients in the early setting, and greatly extending their survival in the advanced setting. However, recent evolutions in this field promise to improve outcomes even further, through advancements in established HER2-targeting strategies, as well as the exploration of novel strategies. In particular, the engineering of new antibody-drug conjugates, with higher drug-to-antibody ratios (DARs) and cleavable linkers, has already led to the development of a highly effective drug, namely trastuzumab deruxtecan, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of advanced HER2-positive (HER2+) BC, and currently in study in the early setting. Moreover, the novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor tucatinib was recently approved by FDA and EMA, showing to improve survival of HER2+ advanced BC patients, particularly in those with brain metastasis. Immunotherapy is also being investigated in the HER2+ subtype, through immune-checkpoint inhibition, cancer vaccines and adoptive-cell therapies. Overall, the enlarging arsenal of promising anti-HER2 compounds is expected to deliver significant improvements in the prognosis of both early and advanced HER2+ BC in the years to come. Moreover, some of such agents are showing encouraging activity in the much wider population of HER2-low advanced BC patients, challenging current BC classifications. If confirmed, this new paradigm would potentially expand the population deriving benefit from HER2-targeted treatments to up to 70% of all advanced BC patients, leading to a revolution in current treatment algorithms, and possibly to a redefinition of HER2 classification.
Fungal compounds have long been used for centuries as food supplements. β-glucans have been identified as the most interesting molecules with beneficial effects in several chronic diseases. In vitro studies have shown that they are able to elicit the immune cells maturation and activation with the result of an increased release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines and a stimulation of anti-bacterial activity of macrophages and neutrophils. As β-glucans enhance pathogen elimination through non-self antigens identification, they can also direct immune response against tumor cells. These compounds also stimulate the activity on adaptive immune cells and they have been regarded as biological response modifiers. In this way, β-glucans can be exploited as adjuvant cancer therapy, in particular by a synergic action with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. In the immuno-oncology era, the need is to identify innovative drugs that can simultaneously target and inhibit different biological processes relevant for cancer cells survivors. Recent clinical studies showed promising results about the combination of β-glucans and immune checkpoint inhibitors for patients affected by different solid tumors. This review aims to investigate molecular mechanisms of action of β-glucans and is focused on their application in clinical practice as immune-adjuvants for treatment of cancer patients.
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.
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.
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.
Hyperprogressive disease (HPD) is a novel pattern of response during immunotherapy treatment. Several retrospective studies have evaluated its prevalence among various cancer types and, in particular, in non-small cell lung cancer patients, based on different definition criteria. If HPD is a just a typical phenomenon of immunotherapy is still an unsolved concern. This paper summarized the available data about HPD in other cancer treatments.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor strictly connected to asbestos exposure. Prognosis is dismal as diagnosis commonly occurs in advanced stage. Radiological screenings have not proven to be effective and also pathological diagnosis may be challenging. In the era of precision oncology, validation of robust non-invasive biomarkers for screening of asbestos-exposed individuals, assessment of prognosis and prediction of response to treatments remains an important unmet clinical need. This review provides an overview on current understanding and possible applications of liquid biopsy in MPM, mostly focused on the utility as diagnostic and prognostic test.
Although breast cancer is not traditionally considered an immunogenic type of tumor, the combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy has recently emerged as a novel treatment option in triple-negative subtype in the advanced setting and other similar combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors with chemotherapy are expected to become part of the neoadjuvant management in the near future. In addition, encouraging results have been observed with the combination of immune checkpoint blockade with diverse biological agents, including anti-HER2 agents, CDK 4/6 inhibitors, PARP-inhibitors. The present review summarized the available evidence coming from clinical trials on the role of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the management of breast cancer, both in advanced and early setting.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality, contributing to 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018 alone. Although several cancer treatments exist, they are often associated with severe side effects and high toxicities, leaving room for significant advancements to be made in the field. In recent years, several phytochemicals from plants and natural bioresources have been extracted and tested against various human malignancies using both in vitro and in vivo preclinical model systems. Cardamonin, a chalcone extracted from the Alpinia species, is an example of a natural therapeutic agent that has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects against human cancer cell lines, including breast, lung, colon, and gastric, in both in vitro culture systems as well as xenograft mouse models. Earlier, cardamonin was used as a natural medicine against stomach related issues, diarrhea, insulin resistance, nephroprotection against cisplatin treatment, vasorelaxant and antinociceptive. The compound is well-known to inhibit proliferation, migration, invasion, and induce apoptosis, through the involvement of Wnt/β-catenin, NF-κB, and PI3K/Akt pathways. The good biosafety and pharmacokinetic profiling of cardamonin satisfy it as an attractive molecule for the development of an anticancer agent. The present review has summarized the chemo-preventive ability of cardamonin as an anticancer agent against numerous human malignancies.
Cancer drug discovery is currently dominated by clinical trials or clinical research. Several potential drug candidates have been brought into the pipeline of drug discovery after showing very promising results at the pre-clinical level and are waiting to be tested in human clinical trials. Interestingly, among the potential drug candidates, a few of them have targeted transcription factors highlighting the fundamental undruggable nature of these molecules. However, using advanced technologies, researchers were recently successful in partly unlocking this undruggable nature, which was considered as a ‘grey area’ in the early days of drug discovery, and as a result, several potential candidates have emerged recently. The purpose of the review is to highlight some of the recently reported studies of targeting transcription factors in cancer and their promising outcomes.
Liquid biopsy has emerged as a minimally invasive alternative to tumor tissue analysis for the management of lung cancer patients, especially for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) oncogene addicted tumor. In these patients, despite the clear benefits of tyrosine kinase inhibitors therapy, the development of acquired resistance and progressive disease is inevitable in most cases and liquid biopsy is important for molecular characterization at resistance and, being non-invasive, may be useful for disease monitoring. In this review, the authors will focus on the applications of liquid biopsy in EGFR-mutated non small cells lung cancer at diagnosis, during treatment and at progression, describing available data and possible future scenarios.
Proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) represent a promising class of hetero-bivalent molecules that facilitate ubiquitination of a target protein by simultaneously binding and bringing together both the E3 enzyme and the target. These compounds consist of three structural components: two ligands one of which binds the protein of interest (POI) while the other binds an E3 ubiquitin ligase to promote POI ubiquitination, and a linker connecting both moieties. Recent developments in the field highlight the fact that linker composition and length play a crucial role in achieving optimal PROTAC properties, modulate binding kinetics and substantially impacts the potency and selectivity. In this review, the authors briefly discuss the recent findings in PROTAC design approaches with focus on the linker. For each PROTAC such linker parameters as chemical nature, length, hydrophilicity and rigidity have to be optimized to achieve improved stability, bioavailability cell membrane permeability and suitable spatial orientation between the target POI and the E3 ubiquitin ligase. Thus rational linker design with respect to composition, length and attachment sites is essential for the development of potent PROTAC compounds. Computer-aided design and novel innovative linker strategies, such as PROTAC shortening, photo-switchable PROTACs, in-cell click-formed CLIPTACs, “click chemistry” approaches are also discussed in the review.
Cancer is one of the most dreadful diseases in the world with a mortality of 9.6 million annually. Despite the advances in diagnosis and treatment during the last couple of decades, it still remains a serious concern due to the limitations associated with currently available cancer management strategies. Therefore, alternative strategies are highly required to overcome these glitches. The importance of medicinal plants as primary healthcare has been well-known from time immemorial against various human diseases, including cancer. Commiphora wightii that belongs to Burseraceae family is one such plant which has been used to cure various ailments in traditional systems of medicine. This plant has diverse pharmacological properties such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antimutagenic, and antitumor which mostly owes to the presence of its active compound guggulsterone (GS) that exists in the form of Z- and E-isomers. Mounting evidence suggests that this compound has promising anticancer activities and was shown to suppress several cancer signaling pathways such as NF-κB/ERK/MAPK/AKT/STAT and modulate the expression of numerous signaling molecules such as the farnesoid X receptor, cyclin D1, survivin, caspases, HIF-1α, MMP-9, EMT proteins, tumor suppressor proteins, angiogenic proteins, and apoptotic proteins. The current review is an attempt to summarize the biological activities and diverse anticancer activities (both in vitro and in vivo) of the compound GS and its derivatives, along with its associated mechanism against various cancers.
Immunotherapy dramatically changed the management of several malignancies including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Since immune checkpoint inhibitors have a different mechanism of action from cytotoxic agents or small molecules against NSCLC, also tumor response may present with atypical features. Pseudoprogression (PP) is a distinct response pattern defined by a transient enlargement of the tumor burden, sustained by inflammatory cells and usually not associated with worsening of performance status (PS). Here the authors describe the case of a lung adenocarcinoma patient treated with pembrolizumab, who developed an early symptomatic PP with a dramatic global worsening of PS. Subsequently an improvement in general condition and a brilliant tumor response were observed. Tumor re-biopsy was collected after the treatment in order to support the identification of PP and to describe microenvironment modifications induce by immunotherapy.
Tamoxifen (TAM) resistance remains a clinical issue in breast cancer. The authors previously reported that 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (HPGD) was significantly downregulated in tamoxifen-resistant (TAMr) breast cancer cell lines. Here, the authors investigated the relationship between HPGD expression, TAM resistance and prediction of outcome in breast cancer.
HPGD overexpression and silencing studies were performed in isogenic TAMr and parental human breast cancer cell lines to establish the impact of HPGD expression on TAM resistance. HPGD expression and clinical outcome relationships were explored using immunohistochemistry and in silico analysis.
Restoration of HPGD expression and activity sensitised TAMr MCF-7 cells to TAM and 17β-oestradiol, whilst HPGD silencing in parental MCF-7 cells reduced TAM sensitivity. TAMr cells released more prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) than controls, which was reduced in TAMr cells stably transfected with HPGD. Exogenous PGE2 signalled through the EP4 receptor to reduce breast cancer cell sensitivity to TAM. Decreased HPGD expression was associated with decreased overall survival in ERα-positive breast cancer patients.
HPGD downregulation in breast cancer is associated with reduced response to TAM therapy via PGE2-EP4 signalling and decreases patient survival. The data offer a potential target to develop combination therapies that may overcome acquired tamoxifen resistance.
PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACs) are heterobifunctional molecules consisting of two ligands; an “anchor” to bind to an E3 ubiquitin ligase and a “warhead” to bind to a protein of interest, connected by a chemical linker. Targeted protein degradation by PROTACs has emerged as a new modality for the knock down of a range of proteins, with the first agents now reaching clinical evaluation. It has become increasingly clear that the length and composition of the linker play critical roles on the physicochemical properties and bioactivity of PROTACs. While linker design has historically received limited attention, the PROTAC field is evolving rapidly and currently undergoing an important shift from synthetically tractable alkyl and polyethylene glycol to more sophisticated functional linkers. This promises to unlock a wealth of novel PROTAC agents with enhanced bioactivity for therapeutic intervention. Here, the authors provide a timely overview of the diverse linker classes in the published literature, along with their underlying design principles and overall influence on the properties and bioactivity of the associated PROTACs. Finally, the authors provide a critical analysis of current strategies for PROTAC assembly. The authors highlight important limitations associated with the traditional “trial and error” approach around linker design and selection, and suggest potential future avenues to further inform rational linker design and accelerate the identification of optimised PROTACs. In particular, the authors believe that advances in computational and structural methods will play an essential role to gain a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of PROTAC ternary complexes, and will be essential to address the current gaps in knowledge associated with PROTAC design.
Lung cancer is still one of the main causes of cancer-related death, together with prostate and colorectal cancers in males and breast and colorectal cancers in females. The prognosis for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is strictly dependent on feasibility of a complete surgical resection of the tumor at diagnosis. Since surgery is indicated only in early stages tumors, it is necessary to anticipate the timing of diagnosis in clinical practice. In the diagnostic and therapeutic pathway for NSCLC, sampling of neoplastic tissue is usually obtained using invasive methods that are not free from disadvantages and complications. A valid alternative to the standard biopsy is the liquid biopsy (LB), that is, the analysis of samples from peripheral blood, urine, and other biological fluids, with a simple and non-invasive collection. In particular, it is possible to detect in the blood different tumor derivatives, such as cell-free DNA (cfDNA) with its subtype circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), cell-free RNA (cfRNA), and circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Plasma-based testing seems to have several advantages over tumor tissue biopsy; firstly, it reduces medical costs, risk of complications related to invasive procedures, and turnaround times; moreover, the analysis of genes alteration, such as EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and BRAF is faster and safer with this method, compared to tissue biopsy. Despite all these advantages, the evidences in literatures indicate that assays performed on liquid biopsies have a low sensitivity, making them unsuitable for screening in lung cancer at the current state. This is caused by lack of standardization in sampling and preparation of specimen and by the low concentration of biomarkers in the bloodstream. Instead, routinely use of LB should be preferred in revaluation of patients with advanced NSCLC resistant to chemotherapy, due to onset of new mutations.
Cancer is the second death causing disease worldwide after cardiovascular abnormalities. The difficulty in treating tumor cells with more precise targeted interventions and recurrence of cancer after treatment may pose great difficulty in developing sustainable therapeutic regimens. These limitations have prompted the need to explore several compounds with ability to cease tumor growth while at the same time induce apoptosis of tumor cells. Several studies have emphasized the use of natural compounds as antitumor agents due to their high efficacy against cancer cells and low toxicity in normal cells. Salvianolic acid B (SAB), a naturally occurring phenolic compound extracted from the radix of Chinese herb Salvia miltiorrhiza can induce apoptosis in different types of tumor cells. It can be used to treat cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, hepatic fibrosis, and cancers. Several studies have shown that SAB can mitigate tumorigenesis by modulating MAPK, PI3K/AKT, and NF-ĸB signaling pathways. It also sensitizes the tumor cells to different anti-cancer agents by reversing the multi-drug resistance mechanisms found in tumor cells. This review summarizes the studies showing antitumor potential of SAB in different types of cancer cell lines, animal models and highlights the possible mechanisms through which SAB can induce apoptosis, inhibit growth and metastasis in tumor cells. Moreover, the possible role of nano-technological approaches to induce targeted delivery of SAB to eradicate tumor cells has been also discussed.
BCL-XL is an anti-apoptotic protein that plays an important role in tumorigenesis, metastasis, and intrinsic or therapy-induced cancer drug resistance. More recently, BCL-XL has also been identified as a key survival factor in senescent cells. Accumulation of senescent cells has been indicated as a causal factor of aging and many age-related diseases and contributes to tumor relapse and metastasis. Thus, inhibition of BCL-XL is an attractive strategy for the treatment of cancer and extension of healthspan. However, development of BCL-XL inhibitors such as navitoclax for clinical use has been challenging because human platelets depend on BCL-XL for survival. In this review, the authors discuss how BCL-XL-targeted proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) afford a novel approach to mitigate the on-target thrombocytopenia associated with BCL-XL inhibition. The authors summarize the progress in the development of BCL-XL PROTACs. The authors highlight the in vitro and in vivo data supporting that by hijacking the ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) that are poorly expressed in human platelets, BCL-XL PROTACs can significantly improve the therapeutic window compared to conventional BCL-XL inhibitors. These findings demonstrated the potentially broad utility of PROTAC technology to achieve tissue selectivity through recruiting differentially expressed E3 ligases and to reduce on-target toxicity.
Lung cancer represents the world’s most common cause of cancer death. In recent years, we moved from a generic therapeutic strategy to a personalized approach, based on the molecular characterization of the tumor. In this view, liquid biopsy is becoming an important tool for assessing the progress or onset of lung disease. Liquid biopsy is a non-invasive procedure able to isolate circulating tumor cells, tumor educated platelets, exosomes and free circulating tumor DNA from body fluids. The characterization of these liquid biomarkers can help to choose the therapeutic strategy for each different case. In this review, the authors will analyze the main aspects of lung cancer and the applications currently in use focusing on the benefits associated with this approach for predicting the prognosis and monitoring the clinical conditions of lung cancer disease.
Cancer remains the second leading cause of mortality globally. In combating cancer, conventional chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are administered as first-line therapy. However, these are usually accompanied with adverse side effects that decrease the quality of patient’s lives. As such, natural bioactive compounds have gained an attraction in the scientific and medical community as evidence of their anticancer properties and attenuation of side effects mounted. In particular, quassinoids have been found to exhibit a plethora of inhibitory activities such as anti-proliferative effects on tumor development and metastasis. Recently, bruceine D, a quassinoid isolated from the shrub Brucea javanica (L.) Merr. (Simaroubaceae), has come under immense investigation on its antineoplastic properties in various human cancers including pancreas, breast, lung, blood, bone, and liver. In this review, we have highlighted the antineoplastic effects of bruceine D and its mode of actions in different tumor models.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a common form of leukemia and is dependent on growth-promoting signaling via the B-cell receptor. The Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) is an important mediator of B-cell receptor signaling and the irreversible BTK inhibitor ibrutinib can trigger dramatic clinical responses in treated patients. However, emergence of resistance and toxicity are major limitations which lead to treatment discontinuation. There remains, therefore, a clear need for new therapeutic options. In this review, we discuss recent progress in the development of BTK-targeted proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) describing how such agents may provide advantages over ibrutinib and highlighting features of PROTACs that are important for the development of effective BTK degrading agents. Overall, PROTACs appear to be an exciting new approach to target BTK. However, development is at a very early stage and considerable progress is required to refine these agents and optimize their drug-like properties before progression to clinical testing.