Multidisciplinary tumor board conferences foster collaboration among health care providers from a variety of specialties and help to facilitate optimal patient care. Typical cases from thoracic tumor board conferences include patients with known or suspected bronchogenic and esophageal carcinomas, as well as less common diseases such as thymomas and mesotheliomas. In most instances, the clinical questions revolve around the best options for establishing a diagnosis, staging the disease and directing treatment. This article describes and illustrates the clinical scenarios of three patients who were presented at our tumor board, focusing on management issues and the role of imaging. These patients had non-small cell lung cancer and mediastinal lymph node metastases; a small, growing ground glass nodule; and oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer, respectively.
Lung cancer; tumor board; multidisciplinary care; stage IIIA; ground glass nodule
Multidisciplinary tumor board conferences foster collaboration among health care providers from a variety of specialties and help to facilitate optimal patient care. Generally, the clinical questions revolve around the best options for establishing a diagnosis, staging the disease and directing treatment. This article describes and illustrates the clinical scenarios of three patients who were presented at our thoracic Tumor Board, focusing on management issues and the role of imaging. These patients had invasive thymoma; concurrent small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer; and esophageal cancer with celiac lymph node metastases, respectively.
Lung cancer; small cell lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; esophageal cancer; invasive thymoma; tumor board
The potential utility of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to guide clinical care in oncology patients has gained momentum with emerging micro- and nanotechnologies. Establishing the role of CTCs in tumor progression and metastasis depends both on enumeration and on obtaining sufficient numbers of CTCs for downstream assays. The numbers of CTCs are few in early stages of cancer, limiting detailed molecular characterization. Recent attempts in the literature to culture CTCs isolated from metastatic patients using monoculture have had limited success rates of less than 20%. Herein, we have developed a novel in-situ capture and culture methodology for ex-vivo expansion of CTCs using a three dimensional co-culture model, simulating a tumor microenvironment to support tumor development. We have successfully expanded CTCs isolated from 14 of 19 early stage lung cancer patients. Expanded lung CTCs carried mutations of the TP53 gene identical to those observed in the matched primary tumors. Next-generation sequencing further revealed additional matched mutations between primary tumor and CTCs of cancer-related genes. This strategy sets the stage to further characterize the biology of CTCs derived from patients with early lung cancers, thereby leading to a better understanding of these putative drivers of metastasis.
expansion of CTCs; early stage lung cancer; microfluidic co-culture
Esophageal adenocarcinomas (EAC) are aggressive cancers that are increasing in incidence and associated with a poor prognosis. The identification of highly expressed genes in EAC relative to metaplastic Barrett’s esophagus (BE) may provide new targets for novel early cancer detection strategies using endoscopically administered, fluorescently labeled peptides.
Gene expression analysis of BE and EACs were used to identify the cell surface marker transglutaminase 2 (TGM2) as overexpressed in cancer. The expression of two major isoforms of TGM2 was determined by qRT-polymerase chain reaction in an independent cohort of 128 EACs. Protein expression was confirmed by tissue microarrays and immunoblot analysis of EAC cell lines. TGM2 DNA copy number was assessed using single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays and confirmed by qPCR. TGM2 expression in neoadjuvantly treated EACs and following small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown in cisplatin-treated EAC cells was used to determine its possible role in chemoresistance.
TGM2 is overexpressed in 15 EACs relative to 26 BE samples. Overexpression of both TGM2 isoforms was confirmed in 128 EACs and associated with higher tumor stage, poor differentiation, and increased inflammatory and desmoplastic response. Tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry confirmed elevated TGM2 protein expression in EAC. Single nucleotide polymorphism and qPCR analysis revealed increased TGM2 gene copy number as one mechanism underlying elevated TGM2 expression. TGM2 was highly expressed in resistant EAC after patient treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy/radiation suggesting a role for TGM2 in chemoresistance.
TGM2 may be a useful cell surface biomarker for early detection of EAC.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; TGM2; Cell surface biomarker
The microRNA-34b/c (miR-34b/c) has been considered a tumor suppressor in different tumor types and it is a known transcriptional target of the tumor suppressor gene TP53. The main objectives of this study were to investigate the clinical implications of miR-34b/c methylation in early stage lung adenocarcinoma (AC) patients and to determine the functional role of miR-34b/c re-expression in lung AC cell lines.
Aberrant methylation and expression of miR-34b/c were assessed in 15 lung AC cell lines and a cohort of 140 early stage lung AC. Lung AC cell lines were transfected with miR-34b/c and the effects upon cell proliferation, migration, invasion and apoptosis were investigated.
Aberrant methylation of miR-34b/c was detected in 6 (40%) of 15 lung AC cell lines and 64 out of 140 (46%) primary lung adenocarcinomas. Expression of miR-34b/c was significantly reduced in all methylated cell lines and primary tumors, especially in those harboring a TP53 mutation. Patients with high levels of miR-34b/c methylation had significantly shorter disease-free survival and overall survival as compared to patients with unmethylated miR-34b/c or low level of miR-34b/c methylation. Ectopic expression of miR-34b/c in lung AC cell lines decreased cell proliferation, migration and invasion.
Epigenetic inactivation of miR-34b/c by DNA methylation has independent prognostic value in early stage lung AC patients with surgically resected tumors. Re-expression of miR-34b/c leads to a less aggressive phenotype in lung AC cell lines.
microRNA; DNA methylation; microRNA-34b/c; lung adenocarcinoma; TP53
Overexpression of checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1) is associated with poorer patient outcome and therapeutic resistance in multiple tumor models. Inhibition of CHK1 has been proposed as a strategy to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents, especially in p53-deficient tumors. In this study, we evaluated the effects of a novel CHK1 inhibitor, MK-8776, in combination with pemetrexed (PMX) on cell proliferation and survival in a panel of p53 mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines.
We examined CHK1 expression in 442 resected lung adenocarcinoma specimens using Affymetrix U133A gene expression arrays. We correlated CHK1 mRNA expression with patient survival, tumor differentiation and genomic complexity. We evaluated CHK1 levels in NSCLC cell lines and identified four p53 mutant cell lines with variable CHK1 expression (H1993, H23, H1437 and H1299) based on publicly available gene expression data. We confirmed differential CHK1 mRNA and CHK1 protein levels by qRT-PCR, ELISA, Western Blot analysis (WB) and immunohistochemistry. We examined cell line sensitization to PMX in response to CHK1 inhibition with MK-8776 using WST-1 and clonogenic survival assays.
We found that elevated CHK1 expression in primary lung adenocarcinomas correlates with poor tumor differentiation and significantly worse patient survival. Tumors with elevated CHK1 mRNA levels have a higher number of gene mutations and DNA copy number gain or amplifications. CHK1 inhibition by MK-8776 enhances sensitivity of NSCLC cell lines to PMX. CHK1 mRNA and protein expression are variable among NSCLC cell lines, and cells expressing higher levels of CHK1 protein are more sensitive to the CHK1 inhibition by MK-8776 as compared to low CHK1 expressing cells.
These findings suggest that CHK1 levels may not only serve as a biomarker of poor prognosis in surgically-resected lung adenocarcinomas, but could also be a predictive marker for CHK1 inhibitor sensitivity, pending in vivo and clinical confirmation.
CHK1; Lung; Chemosensitivity; NSCLC; Patient survival; Genomic complexity
The spread of cancer throughout the body is driven by circulating tumour cells (CTCs)1. These cells detach from the primary tumour and move from the blood stream to a new site of subsequent tumour growth. They also carry information about the primary tumour and have the potential to be valuable biomarkers for disease diagnosis and progression, and for the molecular characterization of certain biological properties of the tumour. However, the limited sensitivity and specificity of current methods to measure and study these cells in patient blood samples prevent the realization of their full clinical potential. The use of microfluidic devices is a promising method for isolating CTCs2, 3; however, the devices are reliant on three-dimensional structures, which limit further characterization and expansion of cells on the chip. Here we demonstrate an effective approach to isolate CTCs from blood samples of pancreatic, breast and lung cancer patients, by using functionalised graphene oxide nanosheets on a patterned gold surface. CTCs were captured with high sensitivity at low concentration of target cells (73% ± 32.4 at 3–5 cells/mL blood).
The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has risen 600% over the last 30 years. With a five-year survival rate of 15%, identification of new therapeutic targets for EAC is greatly important. We analyze the mutation spectra from whole exome sequencing of 149 EAC tumors/normal pairs, 15 of which have also been subjected to whole genome sequencing. We identify a mutational signature defined by a high prevalence of A to C transversions at AA dinucleotides. Statistical analysis of exome data identified significantly mutated 26 genes. Of these genes, four (TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, and PIK3CA) have been previously implicated in EAC. The novel significantly mutated genes include chromatin modifying factors and candidate contributors: SPG20, TLR4, ELMO1, and DOCK2. Functional analyses of EAC-derived mutations in ELMO1 reveal increased cellular invasion. Therefore, we suggest a new hypothesis about the potential activation of the RAC1 pathway to be a contributor to EAC tumorigenesis.
This prospective study aimed to develop a robust and clinically-applicable method to identify high-risk early stage lung cancer patients and then to validate this method for use in future translational studies.
Patients and Methods
Three published Affymetrix microarray data sets representing 680 primary tumors were used in the survival-related gene selection procedure using clustering, Cox model and random survival forest (RSF) analysis. A final set of 91 genes was selected and tested as a predictor of survival using a qRT-PCR-based assay utilizing an independent cohort of 101 lung adenocarcinomas.
The RSF model built from 91 genes in the training set predicted patient survival in an independent cohort of 101 lung adenocarcinomas, with a prediction error rate of 26.6%. The mortality risk index (MRI) was significantly related to survival (Cox model p < 0.00001) and separated all patients into low, medium, and high-risk groups (HR = 1.00, 2.82, 4.42). The MRI was also related to survival in stage 1 patients (Cox model p = 0.001), separating patients into low, medium, and high-risk groups (HR = 1.00, 3.29, 3.77).
The development and validation of this robust qRT-PCR platform allows prediction of patient survival with early stage lung cancer. Utilization will now allow investigators to evaluate it prospectively by incorporation into new clinical trials with the goal of personalized treatment of lung cancer patients and improving patient survival.
Lung cancer; qRT-PCR; Prognosis
The chemopreventive effects of selenium have been extensively examined but its role in cancer development or as a chemotherapeutic agent have only recently been explored. Because Selenium Binding Protein 1 (SELENBP1, SBP1, hSP56) has been shown to bind selenium covalently and selenium deficiency has been associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), we examined its role in EAC development and its potential effect on chemosensitivity in the presence of selenium.
SELENBP1 expression level and copy number variation were determined by oligonucleotide microarrays, real-time RT-PCR, tissue microarrays, immunoblotting and SNP arrays. Bisulfite sequencing and sequence analysis of RT-PCR-amplified products explored epigenetic and post-transcriptional regulation of SELENBP1 expression, respectively. WST-1 cell proliferation assays, senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining, immunoblotting, and flow cytometry were performed to evaluate the biological significance of SELENBP1 overexpression in selenium-supplemented EAC cells.
SELENBP1 expression decreased significantly in Barrett's esophagus to adenocarcinoma progression. Both epigenetic and post-transcriptional mechanisms appeared to modulate SELENBP1 expression. Stable overexpression of SELENBP1 in methylseleninic acid-supplemented Flo-1 cells resulted in enhanced apoptosis, increased cellular senescence, and enhanced cisplatin cytotoxicity. Although inorganic sodium selenite similarly enhanced cisplatin cytotoxicity, these 2 forms of selenium elicited different cellular responses.
SELENBP1 expression may be an important predictor of response to chemoprevention or chemosensitization with certain forms of selenium in esophageal tissues.
Ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of cyclins plays a critical role in cell cycle progression and tumorigenesis. We examined the expression of ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2C (UBE2C) during progression from Barrett's metaplasia to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) and the effects of targeting this enzyme on EA-derived cell lines. Using oligonucleotide microarrays UBE2C expression was elevated in 73% (11 of 15) of EAs relative to Barrett's metaplasia. Tissue microarray showed elevated UBE2C in 70% (7 of 10) of dysplastic samples and in 87% (58 of 67) of tumors relative to metaplastic samples. Transfection of dominant-negative UBE2C into Seg-1 cells decreased proliferation (P = .04) and increased mitotic arrest compared to vector controls (63.5% vs 6.8%; P < .001). Transfection of UBE2C small interfering RNA also caused inhibiton of cell proliferation and distortion of the cell cycle, with maximal increase of G2 cells (155% of mock cells) at 72 hours and of S-phase cells (308% of mock cells) at 24 hours. Treatment of Seg-1 cells with the proteasome inhibitor MG-262 (1 nM-1 µM) showed decreased proliferation (P = .02). EA-derived cells expressing UBE2C are sensitive to treatment with MG-262 and to silencing of UBE2C, suggesting that patients with EAs overexpressing UBE2C may benefit from agents targeting this ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; ubiquitin; UBE2C; proteasome inhibitor; siRNA
The L-type amino acid transporter-1 (LAT-1) has been associated with tumor growth. Using cDNA microarrays, overexpression of LAT-1 was found in 87.5% (7/8) of esophageal adenocarcinomas relative to 12 Barrett's samples (33% metaplasia and 66% dysplasia) and was confirmed in 100% (28/28) of Barrett's adenocarcinomas by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemistry revealed LAT-1 staining in 37.5% (24/64) of esophageal adenocarcinomas on tissue microarray. LAT-1 also transports the amino acid-related chemotherapeutic agent, melphalan. Two esophageal adenocarcinoma and one esophageal squamous cell line, expressing LAT-1 on Western blot analysis, were sensitive to therapeutic doses of melphalan (P < .001). Simultaneous treatment with the competitive inhibitor, BCH [2-aminobicyclo-(2,1,1)-heptane-2-carboxylic acid], decreased sensitivity to melphalan (P < .05). In addition, confluent esophageal squamous cultures were less sensitive to melphalan (P < .001) and had a decrease in LAT-1 protein expression. Tumors from two esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines grown in nude mice retained LAT-1 mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that LAT-1 is highly expressed in a subset of esophageal adenocarcinomas and that Barrett's adenocarcinoma cell lines expressing LAT-1 are sensitive to melphalan. LAT-1 expression is also retained in cell lines grown in nude mice providing a model to evaluate melphalan as a chemotherapeutic agent against esophageal adenocarcinomas expressing LAT-1.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma; L-type amino acid transporter-1; amino acid transporters; melphalan; chemotherapy