Choice of first line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is based on tumour and patient related factors and molecular information for determination of individual treatment aim and thus treatment intensity. Recent advances (e.g., extended RAS testing) enable tailored patient assignment to the most beneficial treatment approach. Besides fluoropyrimidines, irinotecan and oxaliplatin, a broad variety of molecular targeting agents are currently available, e.g., anti-angiogenic agents (bevacizumab) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies (cetuximab, panitumumab) for first line treatment of mCRC. Although some combinations should be avoided (e.g., oral or bolus fluoropyrimidines, oxaliplatin and EGFR antibodies), treatment options range from single agent to highly effective four-drug regimen. Preliminary data comparing EGFR antibodies and bevacizumab, both with chemotherapy, seem to favour EGFR antibodies in RAS wildtype disease. However, choosing the most appropriate treatment approach for mCRC patients remains a complex issue, with numerous open questions.
Colorectal cancer; Metastatic; Induction chemotherapy; Epidermal growth factor receptor
In drug discovery, the characterisation of the precise modes of action (MoA) and of unwanted off-target effects of novel molecularly targeted compounds is of highest relevance. Recent approaches for identification of MoA have employed various techniques for modeling of well defined signaling pathways including structural information, changes in phenotypic behavior of cells and gene expression patterns after drug treatment. However, efficient approaches focusing on proteome wide data for the identification of MoA including interference with mutations are underrepresented. As mutations are key drivers of drug resistance in molecularly targeted tumor therapies, efficient analysis and modeling of downstream effects of mutations on drug MoA is a key to efficient development of improved targeted anti-cancer drugs. Here we present a combination of a global proteome analysis, reengineering of network models and integration of apoptosis data used to infer the mode-of-action of various tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell lines expressing wild type as well as TKI resistance conferring mutants of BCR-ABL. The inferred network models provide a tool to predict the main MoA of drugs as well as to grouping of drugs with known similar kinase inhibitory activity patterns in comparison to drugs with an additional MoA. We believe that our direct network reconstruction approach, demonstrated on proteomics data, can provide a complementary method to the established network reconstruction approaches for the preclinical modeling of the MoA of various types of targeted drugs in cancer treatment. Hence it may contribute to the more precise prediction of clinically relevant on- and off-target effects of TKIs.
Cetuximab and panitumumab, two antibodies targeting the extracellular domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), are of major clinical importance particularly in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. As patients may acquire resistance-mediating mutations within the extracellular EGFR domain, functional dissection of the exact binding sites of EGFR targeting antibodies may help predict treatment responses. We therefore assessed the epitope recognition of panitumumab by screening phage-displayed random cyclic 7mer and linear 12mer peptide libraries on this antibody. Phage screenings revealed two strong, potentially epitope-mimicking consensus motifs targeted by panitumumab. A computational approach was used to map the sequences back to the potential epitope region on domain III of EGFR. The presumed epitope regions (386)WPEXRT(391) and a biochemically similar though discontinuous region P349-F352-D355 on a neighboring loop of domain III could be confirmed as part of the functionally relevant binding site of panitumumab by site-directed mutational analysis. To more accurately differentiate the panitumumab epitope from the previously characterized cetuximab epitope, binding studies were performed on a broad range of additional mutants. Taken together, this analysis revealed two large, partially overlapping functional epitopes consisting of 17 critical amino acid positions. Four of these positions were selectively targeted by cetuximab (I467, S468, Q408, and H409), whereas another four were selectively recognized by panitumumab (W386, E388, R390, and T391). In view of the clinical significance of extracellular domain mutations, our data may help guide treatment decisions in selected patients receiving EGFR-targeted therapies.
Glioblastomas are highly aggressive brain tumors of adults with poor clinical outcome. Despite a broad range of new and more specific treatment strategies, therapy of glioblastomas remains challenging and tumors relapse in all cases. Recent work demonstrated that the posttranslational hypusine modification of the eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (eIF-5A) is a crucial regulator of cell proliferation, differentiation and an important factor in tumor formation, progression and maintenance. Here we report that eIF-5A as well as the hypusine-forming enzymes deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS) and deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH) are highly overexpressed in glioblastoma patient samples. Importantly, targeting eIF-5A and its hypusine modification with GC7, a specific DHS-inhibitor, showed a strong antiproliferative effect in glioblastoma cell lines in vitro, while normal human astrocytes were not affected. Furthermore, we identified p53 dependent premature senescence, a permanent cell cycle arrest, as the primary outcome in U87-MG cells after treatment with GC7. Strikingly, combined treatment with clinically relevant alkylating agents and GC7 had an additive antiproliferative effect in glioblastoma cell lines. In addition, stable knockdown of eIF-5A and DHS by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) could mimic the antiproliferative effects of GC7. These findings suggest that pharmacological inhibition of eIF-5A may represent a novel concept to treat glioblastomas and may help to substantially improve the clinical course of this tumor entity.
Hypusine modification of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (eIF-5A) represents a unique and highly specific post-translational modification with regulatory functions in cancer, diabetes, and infectious diseases. However, the specific cellular pathways that are influenced by the hypusine modification remain largely unknown. To globally characterize eIF-5A and hypusine-dependent pathways, we used an approach that combines large-scale bioreactor cell culture with tandem affinity purification and mass spectrometry: “bioreactor-TAP-MS/MS.” By applying this approach systematically to all four components of the hypusine modification system (eIF-5A1, eIF-5A2, DHS, and DOHH), we identified 248 interacting proteins as components of the cellular hypusine network, with diverse functions including regulation of translation, mRNA processing, DNA replication, and cell cycle regulation. Network analysis of this data set enabled us to provide a comprehensive overview of the protein-protein interaction landscape of the hypusine modification system. In addition, we validated the interaction of eIF-5A with some of the newly identified associated proteins in more detail. Our analysis has revealed numerous novel interactions, and thus provides a valuable resource for understanding how this crucial homeostatic signaling pathway affects different cellular functions.
Mycalamide A, a marine natural compound previously isolated from sponges, is known as a protein synthesis inhibitor with potent antitumor activity. However, the ability of this compound to prevent malignant transformation of cells has never been examined before. Here, for the first time, we report the isolation of mycalamide A from ascidian Polysincraton sp. as well as investigation of its cancer preventive properties. In murine JB6 Cl41 P+ cells, mycalamide A inhibited epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced neoplastic transformation, and induced apoptosis at subnanomolar or nanomolar concentrations. The compound inhibited transcriptional activity of the oncogenic nuclear factors AP-1 and NF-κB, a potential mechanism of its cancer preventive properties. Induction of phosphorylation of the kinases MAPK p38, JNK, and ERK was also observed at high concentrations of mycalamide A. The drug shows promising potential for both cancer-prevention and cytotoxic therapy and should be further developed.
mycalamide A; Polysincraton sp.; cancer preventive activity; apoptosis; AP-1; NF-κB; p53
Background. Multiple myeloma (MM) and its therapies may induce a severely compromised humoral immunity. We have performed a longitudinal analysis of IgG-antibody responses against influenza virus (FLU) and tetanus toxoid (TT) as surrogate markers for the B cell-mediated immunity in MM patients. Methods. 1094 serum samples of 190 MM patients and samples from 100 healthy donors were analyzed by ELISA for FLU- and TT-specific antibodies. Results. MM patients evidenced lower levels of FLU- and TT-specific antibodies than healthy controls (P < 0.001). Immunoreactivity decreased with progressing disease and worsening clinical status. Levels of FLU- and TT-specific antibodies increased shortly (0-6 months) after alloSCT (P < 0.001), a time-period during which intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is routinely applied. Thereafter, antibody concentrations declined and remained suppressed for 3 years in the case of FLU-specific and for more than 5 years in the case of TT-specific antibodies. Conclusions. We found that MM is associated with a profound disease- and therapy-related immunosuppression, which is compensated for a few months after alloSCT, most likely by application of IVIG. This and the differences regarding the recovery of anti-FLU and anti-TT antibody titers during the following years need to be taken into account for optimizing IVIG application and immunization after alloSCT.
The occurrence of SOX2-specific autoantibodies seems to be associated with an improved prognosis in patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). However, it is unclear if SOX2-specific antibodies also develop in established multiple myeloma (MM). Screening 1094 peripheral blood (PB) sera from 196 MM patients and 100 PB sera from healthy donors, we detected SOX2-specific autoantibodies in 7.7% and 2.0% of patients and donors, respectively. We identified SOX2211–230 as an immunodominant antibody-epitope within the full protein sequence. SOX2 antigen was expressed in most healthy tissues and its expression did not correlate with the number of BM-resident plasma cells. Accordingly, anti-SOX2 immunity was not related to SOX2 expression levels or tumor burden in the patients' BM. The only clinical factor predicting the development of anti-SOX2 immunity was application of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT). Anti-SOX2 antibodies occurred more frequently in patients who had received alloSCT (n = 74). Moreover, most SOX2-seropositive patients had only developed antibodies after alloSCT. This finding indicates that alloSCT is able to break tolerance towards this commonly expressed antigen. The questions whether SOX2-specific autoantibodies merely represent an epiphenomenon, are related to graft-versus-host effects or participate in the immune control of myeloma needs to be answered in prospective studies.
We have previously reported significant downregulation of ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 1 (UCHL1) in prostate cancer (PCa) compared to the surrounding benign tissue. UCHL1 plays an important role in ubiquitin system and different cellular processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation. We now show that the underlying mechanism of UCHL1 downregulation in PCa is linked to its promoter hypermethylation. Furthermore, we present evidences that UCHL1 expression can affect the behavior of prostate cancer cells in different ways.
Methylation specific PCR analysis results showed a highly methylated promoter region for UCHL1 in 90% (18/20) of tumor tissue compared to 15% (3/20) of normal tissues from PCa patients. Pyrosequencing results confirmed a mean methylation of 41.4% in PCa whereas only 8.6% in normal tissues. To conduct functional analysis of UCHL1 in PCa, UCHL1 is overexpressed in LNCaP cells whose UCHL1 expression is normally suppressed by promoter methylation and found that UCHL1 has the ability to decrease the rate of cell proliferation and suppresses anchorage-independent growth of these cells. In further analysis, we found evidence that exogenous expression of UCHL1 suppress LNCaP cells growth probably via p53-mediated inhibition of Akt/PKB phosphorylation and also via accumulation of p27kip1 a cyclin dependant kinase inhibitor of cell cycle regulating proteins. Notably, we also observed that exogenous expression of UCHL1 induced a senescent phenotype that was detected by using the SA-ß-gal assay and might be due to increased p14ARF, p53, p27kip1 and decreased MDM2.
From these results, we propose that UCHL1 downregulation via promoter hypermethylation plays an important role in various molecular aspects of PCa biology, such as morphological diversification and regulation of proliferation.
prostate cancer; UCHL1; ubiquitin system; tumour suppression; signalling
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a life-threatening disease with poor prognosis. Encouraging efforts have been made to target the main vasoproliferative aspects of the disease. Promising emerging therapeutics are tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib.
Here, we discuss the relevance of previously published cases and add another well-characterised patient who developed pre-capillary PH under long-term therapy with the multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor dasatinib approved for therapy of chronic myeloic leukaemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphocytic leukaemia (mean time of all patients on dasatinib: 26 months). Hence, we discuss the possibility of dasatinib itself causing PH after long-term therapy and turn specialist's attention to this possible severe side effect.
At present, the true incidence of dasatinib-associated PH remains illusive and systematic data regarding haemodynamics are missing.
We therefore recommend systematic screening of dasatinib-treated patients for pulmonary hypertension and subsequent collection of haemodynamic data.
Pulmonary hypertension; drug induced; antiproliferative therapy; leukaemia; side effects
We compared microRNA expression patterns in three cisplatin resistant sublines derived from paternal cisplatin sensitive germ cell tumor cell lines in order to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of cisplatin resistance.
Three cisplatin resistant sublines (NTERA-2-R, NCCIT-R, 2102EP-R) showing 2.7-11.3-fold increase in drug resistance after intermittent exposure to increasing doses of cisplatin were compared to their parental counterparts, three well established relatively cisplatin sensitive germ cell tumor cell lines (NTERA-2, NCCIT, 2102EP). Cells were cultured and total RNA was isolated from all 6 cell lines in three independent experiments. RNA was converted into cDNA and quantitative RT-PCR was run using 384 well low density arrays covering almost all (738) known microRNA species of human origin.
Altogether 72 of 738 (9.8%) microRNAs appeared differentially expressed between sensitive and resistant cell line pairs (NTERA-2R/NTERA-2 = 43, NCCIT-R/NCCIT = 53, 2102EP-R/2102EP = 15) of which 46.7-95.3% were up-regulated (NTERA-2R/NTERA-2 = 95.3%, NCCIT-R/NCCIT = 62.3%, 2102EP-R/2102EP = 46.7%). The number of genes showing differential expression in more than one of the cell line pairs was 34 between NTERA-2R/NTERA-2 (79%) and NCCIT-R/NCCIT (64%), and 3 and 4, respectively, between these two cell lines and 2102EP-R/2102EP (about 27%). Only the has-miR-10b involved in breast cancer invasion and metastasis and has-miR-512-3p appeared to be up-regulated (2-3-fold) in all three cell lines. The hsa-miR-371-373 cluster (counteracting cellular senescence and linked with differentiation potency), as well as hsa-miR-520c/-520h (inhibiting the tumor suppressor p21) were 3.9-16.3 fold up-regulated in two of the three cisplatin resistant cell lines. Several new micro-RNA species missing an annotation towards cisplatin resistance could be identified. These were hsa-miR-512-3p/-515/-517/-518/-525 (up to 8.1-fold up-regulated) and hsa-miR-99a/-100/-145 (up to 10-fold down-regulated).
Examining almost all known human micro-RNA species confirmed the miR-371-373 cluster as a promising target for explaining cisplatin resistance, potentially by counteracting wild-type P53 induced senescence or linking it with the potency to differentiate. Moreover, we describe for the first time an association of the up-regulation of micro-RNA species such as hsa-miR-512-3p/-515/-517/-518/-525 and down-regulation of hsa-miR-99a/-100/-145 with a cisplatin resistant phenotype in human germ cell tumors. Further functional analyses are warranted to gain insight into their role in drug resistance.
germ cell tumor cell line; cisplatin resistance; microRNA; gene expression
The success of Imatinib (IM) therapy in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is compromised by the development of IM resistance and by a limited IM effect on hematopoietic stem cells. Danusertib (formerly PHA-739358) is a potent pan-aurora and ABL kinase inhibitor with activity against known BCR-ABL mutations, including T315I. Here, the individual contribution of both signaling pathways to the therapeutic effect of Danusertib as well as mechanisms underlying the development of resistance and, as a consequence, strategies to overcome resistance to Danusertib were investigated. Starting at low concentrations, a dose-dependent inhibition of BCR-ABL activity was observed, whereas inhibition of aurora kinase activity required higher concentrations, pointing to a therapeutic window between the two effects. Interestingly, the emergence of resistant clones during Danusertib exposure in vitro occurred considerably less frequently than with comparable concentrations of IM. In addition, Danusertib-resistant clones had no mutations in BCR-ABL or aurora kinase domains and remained IM-sensitive. Overexpression of Abcg2 efflux transporter was identified and functionally validated as the predominant mechanism of acquired Danusertib resistance in vitro. Finally, the combined treatment with IM and Danusertib significantly reduced the emergence of drug resistance in vitro, raising hope that this drug combination may also achieve more durable disease control in vivo.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common type of cancer found in men and among the leading causes of cancer death in the western world. In the present study, we compared the individual protein expression patterns from histologically characterized PCa and the surrounding benign tissue obtained by manual micro dissection using highly sensitive two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) coupled with mass spectrometry. Proteomic data revealed 118 protein spots to be differentially expressed in cancer (n = 24) compared to benign (n = 21) prostate tissue. These spots were analysed by MALDI-TOF-MS/MS and 79 different proteins were identified. Using principal component analysis we could clearly separate tumor and normal tissue and two distinct tumor groups based on the protein expression pattern. By using a systems biology approach, we could map many of these proteins both into major pathways involved in PCa progression as well as into a group of potential diagnostic and/or prognostic markers. Due to complexity of the highly interconnected shortest pathway network, the functional sub networks revealed some of the potential candidate biomarker proteins for further validation. By using a systems biology approach, our study revealed novel proteins and molecular networks with altered expression in PCa. Further functional validation of individual proteins is ongoing and might provide new insights in PCa progression potentially leading to the design of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Bilateral vestibular schwannomas are the hallmark of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and these tumors impair hearing and frequently lead to deafness. Neurosurgical intervention, the only established treatment, often damages the vestibular nerve. We report 2 cases in which treatment with bevacizumab (for 3 months in one case and 6 months in the other) induced regression of progressive vestibular schwannomas by more than 40% and substantially improved hearing in the patient treated for 6 months. Bevacizumab therapy may thus provide an effective treatment for progressive vestibular schwannomas in patients with NF2.
bevacizumab; neurofibromatosis type 2; vestibular schwannoma
There is an urgent need for earlier diagnosis of malignancies and more stringent monitoring of relapses after antitumor therapy. In addition, new prognostic markers are needed for risk stratification and design of individualized cancer therapies. New diagnostic and prognostic parameters should overcome the impairments of current standards in a cost-effective manner. Serological approaches measuring spontaneous antibody responses against tumor-associated antigens could be of use as diagnostic and prognostic markers and could also be employed to evaluate response to therapy in cancer patients. Autoantibodies have been suggested to be of frequent and specific occurrence in patients with malignancies and to correlate with clinical parameters. Screening the relevant literature on this topic, we suggest that the analysis of single antibody specificities is unlikely to provide sufficient diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. The combined analysis of autoantibodies targeting different antigens, however, may reach high sensitivity and specificity. In addition, screening cancer patients for autoantibodies might identify subgroups with high relapse risk and a worse prognosis. Larger prospective trials should be initiated to identify sets of tumor-associated autoantibodies suited for the use in diagnostic algorithms for cancer detection and followup.
Malignant ascites is a common manifestation of advanced cancers, and treatment options are limited. The trifunctional antibody catumaxomab (anti-epithelial cell-adhesion molecule x anti-CD3) represents a targeted immunotherapy for the intraperitoneal (i.p.) treatment of malignant ascites secondary to epithelial cancers. In this phase II/III trial (EudraCT 2004-000723-15; NCT00836654), cancer patients (n = 258) with recurrent symptomatic malignant ascites resistant to conventional chemotherapy were randomized to paracentesis plus catumaxomab (catumaxomab) or paracentesis alone (control) and stratified by cancer type (129 ovarian and 129 nonovarian). Catumaxomab was administered as an i.p. infusion on Days 0, 3, 7 and 10 at doses of 10, 20, 50 and 150 μg, respectively. The primary efficacy endpoint was puncture-free survival. Secondary efficacy parameters included time to next paracentesis, ascites signs and symptoms and overall survival (OS). Puncture-free survival was significantly longer in the catumaxomab group (median 46 days) than the control group (median 11 days) (hazard ratio = 0.254: p < 0.0001) as was median time to next paracentesis (77 versus 13 days; p < 0.0001). In addition, catumaxomab patients had fewer signs and symptoms of ascites than control patients. OS showed a positive trend for the catumaxomab group and, in a prospectively planned analysis, was significantly prolonged in patients with gastric cancer (n = 66; 71 versus 44 days; p = 0.0313). Although adverse events associated with catumaxomab were frequent, they were manageable, generally reversible and mainly related to its immunologic mode of action. Catumaxomab showed a clear clinical benefit in patients with malignant ascites secondary to epithelial cancers, especially gastric cancer, with an acceptable safety profile.
catumaxomab; trifunctional antibody; malignant ascites; epithelial cancer; clinical trial
The TGF-β pathway controls a broad range of cellular behavior including cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of various cell types including tumor cells, endothelial cells, immune cells, and fibroblasts. Besides TGF-β's direct effects on tumor growth and its involvement in neoangiogenesis have received recent attention. Germline mutations in TGF-β receptors or coreceptors causing Hereditary Hemorrhagic Teleangiectasia and the Loeys-Dietz syndrome underline the involvement of TGF-β in vessel formation and maturation. Several therapeutic approaches are evaluated at present targeting the TGF-β pathway including utilization of antisense oligonucleotides against TGF-β itself or antibodies or small molecule inhibitors of TGF-β receptors. Some of these therapeutic agents have already entered the clinical arena including an antibody against the endothelium specific TGF-β class I receptor ALK-1 targeting tumor vasculature. In conclusion, therapeutic manipulation of the TGF-β pathway opens great opportunities in future cancer therapy.
Since nasal NK/T cell lymphoma and NK/T cell lymphoma nasal type are rare diseases, gastric involvement has seldom been seen. We report a unique case of a patient with a primary NK/T cell lymphoma nasal type of the stomach with skin involvement. The patient had no history of malignant diseases and was diagnosed with hematemesis and intense bleeding from his gastric primary site. Shortly after this event, exanthemic skin lesions appeared with concordant histology to the primary site. Despite chemotherapy, the patient died one month after the first symptomatic appearance of disease.
NK/T cell lymphoma nasal type; primary intestinal lymphoma; skin involvement.
Several studies have shown that darbepoetin alfa, an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA), can reduce transfusions and increase hemoglobin (Hb) levels in patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA). Recent safety concerns, however, have prompted changes to ESA product information. In the European Union and United States, ESA therapy initiation for CIA is now recommended at a Hb level ≤10 g/dL. The present exploratory analysis examined how ESA initiation at this Hb level may impact patient care.
Data from a phase 3 randomized trial were retrospectively reanalyzed. CIA patients with nonmyeloid malignancies were randomized 1:1 to 500 mcg darbepoetin alfa every three weeks (Q3W) or 2.25 mcg/kg darbepoetin alfa weekly (QW) for 15 weeks. A previously published report from this trial showed Q3W dosing was non-inferior to QW dosing for reducing transfusions from week 5 to end-of-the-treatment period (EOTP). In the present analysis, outcomes were reanalyzed by baseline Hb <10 g/dL and ≥10 g/dL. Endpoints included transfusion rates, Hb outcomes, and safety profiles.
This study reanalyzed 351 and 354 patients who initiated ESA therapy at a baseline Hb of <10 g/dL or ≥10 g/dL, respectively. From week 5 to EOTP, the estimated Kaplan-Meier transfusion incidence (Q3W vs QW) was lower in the ≥10 g/dL baseline-Hb group (14% vs 21%) compared with the <10 g/dL baseline-Hb group (36% vs 41%). By week 5, the ≥10 g/dL baseline-Hb group, but not the <10 g/dL baseline-Hb group, achieved a mean Hb ≥11 g/dL. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of percentage of patients (Q3W vs QW) who achieved Hb ≥11 g/dL from week 1 to EOTP was 90% vs 85% in the ≥10 g/dL baseline-Hb group and 54% vs 57% in the <10 g/dL baseline-Hb group. Both baseline-Hb groups maintained mean Hb levels <12 g/dL and had similar safety profiles, though more patients in the ≥10 g/dL baseline-Hb group reached the threshold Hb of ≥13 g/dL.
In this exploratory analysis, darbepoetin alfa Q3W and QW raised Hb levels and maintained mean Hb at <12 g/dL in both baseline-Hb groups. The ≥10 g/dL baseline-Hb group had fewer transfusions and faster anemia correction. Additional studies should prospectively evaluate the relationship between Hb levels at ESA initiation and outcomes.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00118638.
In recent years, the monoclonal epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting antibody cetuximab was introduced into systemic therapy of colorectal cancer and gained an established role in the treatment of this disease. Cetuximab was shown to be active as a single agent in chemorefractory metastatic disease as well as in combination with varying chemotherapies. Recently, randomized trials demonstrated the activity of cetuximab combinations in the first-line setting of metastatic colorectal cancer. Interestingly, the activity of cetuximab was restricted to patients with KRAS wildtype tumors, as was seen with panitumumab, another EGFR antibody. While 60%–70% of tumors harbor KRAS wildtype genes, 30%–40% of tumors express oncogenic KRAS with mutations in codons 12 and 13 causing constitutive activation of signaling cascades downstream of EGFR and resistance to EGFR blockade. Since proof of KRAS wildtype status became a prerequisite for cetuximab treatment, KRAS testing is being established throughout the world. Future trials will address the question which part of the KRAS wildtype cohort will benefit from EGFR inhibition and how to identify those patients. Additionally, new strategies for treatment of KRAS mutated tumors are strongly needed. Recent developments and future strategies will be summarized.
cetuximab; colorectal cancer; KRAS
The antiangiogenic agent cilengitide disrupts integrin binding to the extracellular matrix leading to apoptosis of activated endothelial cells. Integrins are also widely expressed in malignant glioma and integrin inhibitors may directly target tumor cells in this disease. Aim of the current study was to investigate effects of cilengitide on endothelial and glioma cells on molecular and cellular levels.
Cilengitide caused dose-dependent detachment of endothelial cells from cell culture dishes. Proliferation of endothelial cells was significantly inhibited while the proportion of apoptotic cells was increased. Incubation of integrin-expressing glioma cells with cilengitide caused rounding and detachment after 24 hours as observed with endothelial cells. Cilengitide inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in glioma cells with methylated MGMT promotor when given alone or in combination with temozolomide. In endothelial as well as glioma cells cilengitide inhibited phosphorylation of FAK, Src and Akt. Assembly of cytoskeleton and tight junctions was heavily disturbed in both cell types.
Cilengitide inhibits integrin-dependent signaling, causes disassembly of cytoskeleton, cellular detachment and induction of apoptosis in endothelial and glioma cells thereby explaining the profound activity of integrin inhibitors in gliomas. The combination of cilengitide with temozolomide exerted additive effects in glioma cells as observed clinically.
Male germ cell tumors (GCTs) are extremely sensitive to platinum-containing chemotherapy, with only 10% of patients showing therapy resistance. However, the biological basis of the high curability of disseminated GCTs by chemotherapy is still unknown. Recently, we demonstrated that the mammalian serine/arginine-rich protein-specific kinase 1 (SRPK1) is a cisplatin-sensitive gene, inactivation of which leads to cisplatin resistance. Because, in mammalians, the expression of SRPK1 is preferentially high in testicular tissues, cisplatin responsiveness of male GCTs might be associated with SRPK1 levels. In the present study, we monitored SRPK1 protein expression in a unique series of nonseminomatous GCTs by immunohistochemistry. Randomly selected GCTs (n = 70) and tumors from patients responding to standard chemotherapy (n = 20) generally showed strong SRPK1 staining. In contrast, expression in refractory GCTs (n = 20) as well as in GCTs from poor-prognosis patients responding to high-dose chemotherapy only (n = 11) was significantly lower (two-sided Wilcoxon rank sum test: P < .001). In conclusion, our data suggest that SRPK1 expression might be an important prognostic indicator for the chemoresponsiveness of nonseminomatous GCTs.
Chemotherapy resistance; germ cell tumors; chemotherapy sensitivity; protein kinase SRPK1; immunohistochemistry