Since its initial identification as a HIV-1-inducible gene in 2002, astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), subsequently cloned as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), has emerged over the past 10 years as an important oncogene providing a valuable prognostic marker in patients with various cancers. Recent studies demonstrate that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is a pleiotropic protein that can localize in the cell membrane, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), nucleus, and nucleolus, and contributes to diverse signaling pathways such as PI3K–AKT, NF-κB, MAPK, and Wnt. In addition to tumorigenesis, this multifunctional protein is implicated in various physiological and pathological processes including development, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. The present review focuses on the discovery of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC and conceptualizes areas of future direction for this intriguing gene. We begin by describing how AEG-1, MTDH, and LYRIC were initially identified by different research groups and then discuss AEG-1 structure, functions, localization, and evolution. We conclude with a discussion of the expression profile of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in the context of cancer, neurological disorders, inflammation, and embryogenesis, and discuss how AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is regulated. This introductory discussion of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC will serve as the basis for the detailed discussions in other chapters of the unique properties of this intriguing molecule.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), also known as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), was initially cloned in 2002. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has emerged as an important oncogene that is overexpressed in multiple types of human cancer. Expanded research on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has established a functional role of this molecule in several crucial aspects of tumor progression, including transformation, proliferation, cell survival, evasion of apoptosis, migration and invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and chemoresistance. The multifunctional role of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in tumor development and progression is associated with a number of signaling cascades, and recent studies identified several important interacting partners of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in regulating cancer promotion and other biological functions. This review evaluates the current literature on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC function relative to signaling changes, interacting partners, and angiogenesis and highlights new perspectives of this molecule, indicating its potential as a significant target for the clinical treatment of various cancers and other diseases.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly virulent malignancy with diverse etiology. Identification of a common mediator of aggressive progression of HCC would be extremely beneficial not only for diagnostic/prognostic purposes but also for developing targeted therapies. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC gene is amplified in human HCC patients, and overexpression of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been identified in a high percentage of both hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus positive HCC cases, suggesting its key role in regulating hepatocarcinogenesis. Important insights into the molecular mechanisms mediating oncogenic properties of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC, especially regulating chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and metastasis, have been obtained from studies using HCC model. Additionally, analysis of HCC model has facilitated the identification of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC downstream genes and interacting proteins, thereby unraveling novel players regulating HCC development and progression leading to the development of novel interventional strategies. Characterization of a hepatocyte-specific AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC transgenic mouse (Alb/AEG-1) has revealed novel aspects of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC function in in vivo contexts. Combination of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC inhibition and chemotherapy has documented significant efficacy in abrogating human HCC xenografts in nude mice indicating the need for developing effective AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC inhibition strategies to obtain objective response and survival benefits in terminal HCC patients.
“Gain-of-function” and “loss-of-function” studies in human cancer cells and analysis of a transgenic mouse model have convincingly established that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC performs a seminal role in regulating proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, and chemoresistance, the salient defining hallmarks of cancer. These observations are strongly buttressed by clinicopathologic correlations of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC expression in a diverse array of cancers distinguishing AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC as an independent biomarker for highly aggressive metastatic disease with poor prognosis. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been shown to be a marker predicting response to chemotherapy, and serum anti-AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC antibody titer also serves as a predictor of advanced stages of aggressive cancer. However, inconsistent findings have been reported regarding the localization of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC protein in the nucleus or cytoplasm of cancer cells and the utility of nuclear or cytoplasmic AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC to predict the course and prognosis of disease. This chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of the existing literature to emphasize the common and conflicting findings relative to the clinical significance of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in cancer.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and its sequelae are now recognized as serious problems globally. Our aime is to screen hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and identify the characteristics of proteins involved.
We affinity-purified sample serum with weak cation-exchange (WCX) magnetic beads and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) analysis to search for potential markers. The 4210 Da protein, which differed substantially between HCC and CHB isolates, was later identified to be eukaryotic peptide chain release factor GTP-binding subunit eRF3b. Further research showed that eRF3b/GSPT2 was positively expressed in liver tissues. GSPT2 mRNA was, however differentially expressed in blood. Compared with normal controls, the relative expression of GSPT2/18s rRNA was higher in CHB patients than in patients with either LC or HCC (P = 0.035 for CHB vs. LC; P = 0.020 for CHB vs. HCC). The data of further research showed that eRF3b/GSPT2 promoted the entrance of the HepG2 cells into the S-phase and that one of the substrates of the mTOR kinase, 4E-BP1, was hyperphosphorylated in eRF3b-overexpressing HepG2 cells.
Overall, the differentially expressed protein eRF3b, which was discovered as a biomarker for HCC, could change the cell cycle and influence the phosphorylation status of 4E-BP1 on Ser65 in HepG2.
Exploring a green chemistry approach, this study brings to the fore, the anthelmintic efficacy of gold nanoparticles, highlighting the plausible usage of myconanotechnology. Gold nanoparticles of ∼6 to ∼18 nm diameter were synthesized by treating the mycelia-free culture filtrate of the phytopathogenic fungus with gold chloride. Their size and morphology were confirmed by UV-Vis spectroscopy, DLS data, AFM and TEM images. The XRD studies reveal a crystalline nature of the nanoparticles, which are in cubic phase. The FTIR spectroscopic studies before and after the formation of nanoparticles show the presence of possible functional groups responsible for the bio-reduction and capping of the synthesized gold nanoparticles. The latter were tested as vermifugal agents against a model cestode Raillietina sp., an intestinal parasite of domestic fowl. Further, ultrastructural and biochemical parameters were used to corroborate the efficacy study.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-9 (mda-9/syntenin) encodes an adapter scaffold protein whose expression correlates with and mediates melanoma progression and metastasis. Tumor angiogenesis represents an integral component of cancer metastasis prompting us to investigate a possible role of mda-9/syntenin in inducing angiogenesis. Genetic (gain-of-function and loss-of-function) and pharmacological approaches were employed to modify mda-9/syntenin expression in normal immortal melanocytes, early radial growth phase melanoma and metastatic melanoma cells. The consequence of modifying mda-9/syntenin expression on angiogenesis was evaluated using both in vitro and in vivo assays, including tube formation assays using human vascular endothelial cells, CAM assays and xenograft tumor animal models. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments confirm that MDA-9/syntenin induces angiogenesis by augmenting expression of several pro-angiogenic factors/genes. Experimental evidence is provided for a model of angiogenesis induction by MDA-9/syntenin in which MDA-9/syntenin interacts with the ECM activating Src and FAK resulting in activation by phosphorylation of Akt, which induces HIF-1α. The HIF-1α activates transcription of Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein-2 (IGFBP-2), which is secreted thereby promoting angiogenesis and further induces endothelial cells to produce and secrete VEGF-A augmenting tumor angiogenesis. Our studies delineate an unanticipated cell non-autonomous function of MDA-9/syntenin in the context of angiogenesis, which may directly contribute to its metastasis-promoting properties. As a result, targeting MDA-9/syntenin or its downstream-regulated molecules may provide a means of simultaneously impeding metastasis by both directly inhibiting tumor cell transformed properties (autonomous) and indirectly by blocking angiogenesis (non-autonomous).
mda-9/syntenin; melanoma; angiogenesis; IGFBP-2; HuVECs; CAM assay
Therapeutic vaccines represent a viable option for active immunotherapy of cancers that aim to treat late stage disease by using a patient's own immune system. The promising results from clinical trials recently led to the approval of the first therapeutic cancer vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This major breakthrough not only provides a new treatment modality for cancer management, but also paves the way for rationally designing and optimizing future vaccines with improved anticancer efficacy. Numerous vaccine strategies are currently being evaluated both pre-clinically and clinically. This review discusses therapeutic cancer vaccines of diverse platforms or targets as well as the preclinical and clinical studies employing these therapeutic vaccines. We will also consider tumor-induced immune suppression that hinders the potency of therapeutic vaccines, and potential strategies to counteract these mechanisms for generating more robust and durable antitumor immune responses.
cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; tumor-associated antigen; immune modulator; immunosuppression; tumor microenvironment
Tumor vascularization is a highly complex process that involves the interaction between tumors and their surrounding stroma, as well as many distinct angiogenesis-regulating factors. Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) represent one of the most abundant cell components in the tumor environment and key contributors to cancer-related inflammation. A large body of evidence supports the notion that TAMs play a critical role in promoting the formation of an abnormal tumor vascular network and subsequent tumor progression and invasion. Clinical and experimental evidence has shown that high levels of infiltrating TAMs are associated with poor patient prognosis and tumor resistance to therapies. In addition to stimulating angiogenesis during tumor growth, TAMs enhance tumor revascularization in response to cytotoxic therapy (e.g., radiotherapy), thereby causing cancer relapse. In this review, we highlight the emerging data related to the phenotype and polarization of TAMs in the tumor microenvironment, as well as the underlying mechanisms of macrophage function in the regulation of the angiogenic switch and tumor vascularization. Additionally, we discuss the potential of targeting pro-angiogenic TAMs, or reprograming TAMs toward a tumoricidal and angiostatic phenotype, to promote normalization of the tumor vasculature to enhance the outcome of cancer therapies.
Angiogenesis; Tumor vascularization; Tumor-associated macrophages
MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and are crucial to tumorigenesis. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a prevalent malignancy worldwide. Up-regulation of miR-146 has been identified in OSCC tissues. However, the roles of miR-146 in carcinogenesis are controversial as it is suppressive in many other malignancies. The present study investigated the pathogenic implications of miR-146a in oral carcinogenesis. Microdissected OSCC exhibits higher levels of miR-146a expression than matched adjacent mucosal cells. The plasma miR-146a levels of patients are significantly higher than those of control subjects; these levels decrease drastically after tumor resection. miR-146a levels in tumors and in patients’ plasma can be used to classify OSCC and non-disease status (sensitivity: >0.72). Exogenous miR-146a expression is significantly increased in vitro oncogenic phenotypes as well as during xenograft tumorigenesis and OSCC metastasis. The plasma miR-146a levels of these mice parallel the xenograft tumor burdens of the mice. A miR-146a blocker abrogates the growth of xenograft tumors. miR-146a oncogenic activity is associated with down-regulation of IRAK1, TRAF6 and NUMB expression. Furthermore, miR-146a directly targets the 3′UTR of NUMB and a region within the NUMB coding sequence when suppressing NUMB expression. Exogenous NUMB expression attenuates OSCC oncogenicity. Double knockdown of IRAK1 and TRAF6, and of TRAF6 and NUMB, enhance the oncogenic phenotypes of OSCC cells. Oncogenic enhancement modulated by miR-146a expression is attenuated by exogenous IRAK1 or NUMB expression. This study shows that miR-146a expression contributes to oral carcinogenesis by targeting the IRAK1, TRAF6 and NUMB genes.
Background and Purpose
NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) mediated quinone reduction and subsequent UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyzed glucuronidation is the dominant metabolic pathway of tanshinone IIA (TSA), a promising anti-cancer agent. UGTs are positively expressed in various tumor tissues and play an important role in the metabolic elimination of TSA. This study aims to explore the role of UGT1A in determining the intracellular accumulation and the resultant apoptotic effect of TSA.
We examined TSA intracellular accumulation and glucuronidation in HT29 (UGT1A positive) and HCT116 (UGT1A negative) human colon cancer cell lines. We also examined TSA-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, cytotoxicity and apoptotic effect in HT29 and HCT116 cells to investigate whether UGT1A levels are directly associated with TSA anti-cancer effect. UGT1A siRNA or propofol, a UGT1A9 competitive inhibitor, was used to inhibit UGT1A expression or UGT1A9 activity.
Multiple UGT1A isoforms are positively expressed in HT29 but not in HCT116 cells. Cellular S9 fractions prepared from HT29 cells exhibit strong glucuronidation activity towards TSA, which can be inhibited by propofol or UGT1A siRNA interference. TSA intracellular accumulation in HT29 cells is much lower than that in HCT116 cells, which correlates with high expression levels of UGT1A in HT29 cells. Consistently, TSA induces less intracellular ROS, cytotoxicity, and apoptotic effect in HT29 cells than those in HCT116 cells. Pretreatment of HT29 cells with UGT1A siRNA or propofol can decrease TSA glucuronidation and simultaneously improve its intracellular accumulation, as well as enhance TSA anti-cancer effect.
Conclusions and Implications
UGT1A can compromise TSA cytotoxicity via reducing its intracellular exposure and switching the NQO1-triggered redox cycle to metabolic elimination. Our study may shed a light in understanding the cellular pharmacokinetic and molecular mechanism by which UGTs determine the chemotherapy effects of drugs that are UGTs’ substrates.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a key contributor to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and progression. To enhance our understanding of the role of AEG-1 in hepatocarcinogenesis, a transgenic mouse with hepatocyte-specific expression of AEG-1 (Alb/AEG1) was developed. Treating Alb/AEG-1, but not Wild type (WT) mice, with N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN), resulted in multinodular HCC with steatotic features and associated modulation of expression of genes regulating invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis and fatty acid synthesis. Hepatocytes isolated from Alb/AEG-1 mice displayed profound resistance to chemotherapeutics and growth factor deprivation with activation of pro-survival signaling pathways. Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes also exhibited marked resistance towards senescence, which correlated with abrogation of activation of a DNA damage response. Conditioned media (CM) from Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes induced marked angiogenesis with elevation in several coagulation factors. Among these factors, AEG-1 facilitated association of Factor XII (FXII) mRNA with polysomes resulting in increased translation. siRNA-mediated knockdown of FXII resulted in profound inhibition of AEG-1-induced angiogenesis.
We uncover novel aspects of AEG-1 functions, including induction of steatosis, inhibition of senescence and activation of coagulation pathway to augment aggressive hepatocarcinogenesis. The Alb/AEG-1 mouse provides an appropriate model to scrutinize the molecular mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis and to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies targeting HCC.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1); transgenic; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); senescence; angiogenesis
Twist-related protein 1 (Twist1), also known as class A basic helix-loop-helix protein 38 (bHLHa38), has been implicated in cell lineage determination and differentiation. Previous studies demonstrate that Twist1 expression is up-regulated in gastric cancer with poor clinical outcomes. Besides, Twist1 is suggested to be involved in progression of human gastric cancer. However, its biological functions remain largely unexplored. In the present study, we show that Twist 1 overexpression leads to a significant up-regulation of FoxM1, which plays a key role in cell cycle progression in gastric cancer cells. In contrast, knockdown of Twist 1 reduces FoxM1 expression, suggesting that FoxM1 might be a direct transcriptional target of Twist 1. At the molecular level, we further reveal that Twist 1 could bind to the promoter region of FoxM1, and subsequently recruit p300 to induce FoxM1 mRNA transcription. Therefore, our results uncover a previous unknown Twist 1/FoxM1 regulatory pathway, which may help to understand the mechanisms of gastric cancer proliferation.
The Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible 45 (GADD45) proteins have been implicated in regulation of many cellular functions including DNA repair, cell cycle control, senescence and genotoxic stress. However, the pro-apoptotic activities have also positioned GADD45 as an essential player in oncogenesis. Emerging functional evidence implies that GADD45 proteins serve as tumor suppressors in response to diverse stimuli, connecting multiple cell signaling modules. Defects in the GADD45 pathway can be related to the initiation and progression of malignancies. Moreover, induction of GADD45 expression is an essential step for mediating anti-cancer activity of multiple chemotherapeutic drugs and the absence of GADD45 might abrogate their effects in cancer cells. In this review, we present a comprehensive discussion of the functions of GADD45 proteins, linking their regulation to effectors of cell cycle arrest, DNA repair and apoptosis. The ramifications regarding their roles as essential and central players in tumor growth suppression are also examined. We also extensively review recent literature to clarify how different chemotherapeutic drugs induce GADD45 gene expression and how its up-regulation and interaction with different molecular partners may benefit cancer chemotherapy and facilitate novel drug discovery.
GADD45 family; cancer; apoptosis; survival
Background and Aims
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is highly resistant to chemotherapy, including gemcitabine (Gem) treatment. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, non-coding, short RNAs that can regulate multiple genes expression. Some miRNAs play important roles in the chemosensitivity of tumors. Here, we examined the relationship between miRNA expression and the sensitivity of CCA cells to Gem.
Microarray analysis was used to determine the miRNA expression profiles of two CCA cell lines, HuH28 and HuCCT1. To determine the effect of candidate miRNAs on Gem sensitivity, expression of each candidate miRNA was modified via either transfection of a miRNA mimic or transfection of an anti-oligonucleotide. Ontology-based programs were used to identify potential target genes of candidate miRNAs that were confirmed to affect the Gem sensitivity of CCA cells.
HuCCT1 cells were more sensitive to Gem than were HuH28 cells, and 18 miRNAs were differentially expressed whose ratios over ± 2log2 between HuH28 and HuCCT1. Among these 18 miRNAs, ectopic overexpression of each of three downregulated miRNAs in HuH28 (miR-29b, miR-205, miR-221) restored Gem sensitivity to HuH28. Suppression of one upregulated miRNA in HuH28, miR-125a-5p, inhibited HuH28 cell proliferation independently to Gem treatment. Selective siRNA-mediated downregulation of either of two software-predicted targets, PIK3R1 (target of miR-29b and miR-221) or MMP-2 (target of miR-29b), also conferred Gem sensitivity to HuH28.
miRNA expression profiling was used to identify key miRNAs that regulate Gem sensitivity in CCA cells, and software that predicts miRNA targets was used to identify promising target genes for anti-tumor therapies.
Human Polynucleotide Phosphorylase (hPNPaseold-35 or PNPT1) is an evolutionarily conserved 3′→5′ exoribonuclease implicated in the regulation of numerous physiological processes including maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis, mtRNA import and aging-associated inflammation. From an RNase perspective, little is known about the RNA or miRNA species it targets for degradation or whose expression it regulates; except for c-myc and miR-221. To further elucidate the functional implications of hPNPaseold-35 in cellular physiology, we knocked-down and overexpressed hPNPaseold-35 in human melanoma cells and performed gene expression analyses to identify differentially expressed transcripts. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicated that knockdown of hPNPaseold-35 resulted in significant gene expression changes associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and cholesterol biosynthesis; whereas overexpression of hPNPaseold-35 caused global changes in cell-cycle related functions. Additionally, comparative gene expression analyses between our hPNPaseold-35 knockdown and overexpression datasets allowed us to identify 77 potential “direct” and 61 potential “indirect” targets of hPNPaseold-35 which formed correlated networks enriched for cell-cycle and wound healing functional association, respectively. These results provide a comprehensive database of genes responsive to hPNPaseold-35 expression levels; along with the identification new potential candidate genes offering fresh insight into cellular pathways regulated by PNPT1 and which may be used in the future for possible therapeutic intervention in mitochondrial- or inflammation-associated disease phenotypes.
High-risk neuroblastoma remains a therapeutic challenge with a long-term survival rate of less than 40%. Therefore, new agents are urgently needed to overcome chemotherapy resistance so as to improve the treatment outcome of this deadly disease. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (HDACIs) represent a novel class of anticancer drugs. Recent studies demonstrated that HDACIs can down-regulate the CHK1 pathway by which cancer cells can develop resistance to conventional chemotherapy drugs. This prompted our hypothesis that combining HDACIs with DNA damaging chemotherapeutic drugs for treating neuroblastoma would result in enhanced anti-tumor activities of these drugs. Treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma cell lines with a novel pan-HDACI, panobinostat (LBH589), resulted in dose-dependent growth arrest and apoptosis in 4 high-risk neuroblastoma cell lines. Further, the combination of panobinostat with cisplatin, doxorubicin, or etoposide resulted in highly synergistic antitumor interactions in the high-risk neuroblastoma cell lines, independent of the sequence of drug administration. This was accompanied by cooperative induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, panobinostat treatment resulted in substantial down-regulation of CHK1 and its downstream pathway and abrogation of the G2 cell cycle checkpoint. Synergistic antitumor interactions were also observed when the DNA damaging agents were combined with a CHK1-specific inhibitor, LY2603618. Contrary to panobinostat treatment, LY2603618 treatments neither resulted in abrogation of the G2 cell cycle checkpoint nor enhanced cisplatin, doxorubicin, or etoposide-induced apoptosis in the high-risk neuroblastoma cells. Surprisingly, LY2603618 treatments caused substantial down-regulation of total CDK1. Despite this discrepancy between panobinostat and LY2603618, our results indicate that suppression of the CHK1 pathway by panobinostat is at least partially responsible for the synergistic antitumor interactions between panobinostat and the DNA damaging agents in high-risk neuroblastoma cells. The results of this study provide a rationale for clinical evaluation of the combination of panobinostat and cisplatin, doxorubicin, or etoposide for treating children with high-risk neuroblastoma.
Previous study in mice using real-time intravital imaging revealed an acute deleterious effect of doxorubicin (DXR) on the gonadal vasculature, as a prototype of an end-organ, manifested by a reduction in blood flow and disintegration of the vessel wall. We hypothesized that this pattern may represent the formation of microthrombi. We aimed to further characterize the effect of DXR on platelets’ activity and interaction with endothelial cells (EC) and to examine potential protectants to reduce DXR acute effect on the blood flow.
The effect of DXR on platelet adhesion and aggregation were studied in
vitro. For in
vivo studies, mice were injected with either low molecular weight heparin (LMWH; Enoxaparin) or with eptifibatide (Integrilin©) prior to DXR treatment. Testicular arterial blood flow was examined in real-time by pulse wave Doppler ultrasound.
Platelet treatment with DXR did not affect platelet adhesion to a thrombogenic surface but significantly decreased ADP-induced platelet aggregation by up to 40% (p<0.001). However, there was a significant increase in GPIIbIIIa-mediated platelet adhesion to DXR-exposed endothelial cells (EC; 5.7-fold; p<0.001) reflecting the toxic effect of DXR on EC. The testicular arterial blood flow was preserved in mice pre-treated with LMWH or eptifibatide prior to DXR (P<0.01).
DXR-induced acute vascular toxicity may involve increased platelet–EC adhesion leading to EC-bound microthrombi formation resulting in compromised blood flow. Anti-platelet/anti-coagulant agents are effective in reducing the detrimental effect of DXR on the vasculature and thus may serve as potential protectants to lessen this critical toxicity.
Structure-based modeling combined with rational drug design, and high throughput screening approaches offer significant potential for identifying and developing lead compounds with therapeutic potential. The present review focuses on these two approaches using explicit examples based on specific derivatives of Gossypol generated through rational design and applications of a cancer-specific-promoter derived from Progression Elevated Gene-3. The Gossypol derivative Sabutoclax (BI-97C1) displays potent anti-tumor activity against a diverse spectrum of human tumors. The model of the docked structure of Gossypol bound to Bcl-XL provided a virtual structure-activity-relationship where appropriate modifications were predicted on a rational basis. These structure-based studies led to the isolation of Sabutoclax, an optically pure isomer of Apogossypol displaying superior efficacy and reduced toxicity. These studies illustrate the power of combining structure-based modeling with rational design to predict appropriate derivatives of lead compounds to be empirically tested and evaluated for bioactivity. Another approach to cancer drug discovery utilizes a cancer-specific promoter as readouts of the transformed state. The promoter region of Progression Elevated Gene-3 is such a promoter with cancer-specific activity. The specificity of this promoter has been exploited as a means of constructing cancer terminator viruses that selectively kill cancer cells and as a systemic imaging modality that specifically visualizes in vivo cancer growth with no background from normal tissues. Screening of small molecule inhibitors that suppress the Progression Elevated Gene-3-promoter may provide relevant lead compounds for cancer therapy that can be combined with further structure-based approaches leading to the development of novel compounds for cancer therapy.
Progression Elevated Gene-3; Sabutoclax; Apogossypol; BI-97C1; Gossypol; AP-1; PEA3; ETV4; E1AF; c-fos; c-jun; Cancer Terminator Virus
A sensitive, simple and reproducible protocol for nanoparticle-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging technique is described. The use of commercially available TiO2 nanoparticles abolishes heterogeneous crystallization, matrix background interferences and enhances signal detection, especially in the low mass range. Molecular image normalization was based on internal standard deposition on tissues, allowing direct comparison of drug penetration and distribution between different organs and tissues. The method was applied to analyze the distribution of the anticancer drug paclitaxel, inside normal and neoplastic mouse tissue sections. Spatial resolution was good, with a linear response between different in vivo treatments and molecular imaging intensity using therapeutic drug doses. This technique distinguishes the different intensity of paclitaxel distribution in control organs of mice, such as liver and kidney, in relation to the dose. Animals treated with 30 mg/kg of paclitaxel had half of the concentration of those treated with 60 mg/kg. We investigated the spatial distribution of paclitaxel in human melanoma mouse xenografts, following different dosage schedules and found a more homogeneous drug distribution in tumors of mice given repeated doses (5×8 mg/kg) plus a 60 mg/kg dose than in those assigned only a single 60 mg/kg dose. The protocol can be readily applied to investigate anticancer drug distribution in neoplastic lesions and to develop strategies to optimize and enhance drug penetration through different tumor tissues.
The incidence of melanoma continues to rise and prognosis in patients with metastatic melanoma remains poor. The cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) serves as one of the primary immune checkpoints and downregulates T cell activation pathways. Enhancing T cell activation by antibody blockade of the CTLA-4 provides a novel approach to overcome tumor-induced immune tolerance. Recently, anti-CTLA-4 therapy demonstrated significant clinical benefit in patients with metastatic melanoma, which led to the approval of ipilimumab by the Food and Drug Administration in early 2011.
The fundamental concepts underlying CTLA-4 blockade-potentiated immune activation, the scientific rationale for and the preclinical evidence supporting CTLA-4-targeted cancer immunotherapy are presented. We also provide an update on clinical trials with anti-CTLA-4 inhibitors and discuss the associated autoimmune toxicity.
Given that overall survival is the only validated endpoint for the anti-CTLA-4 therapy, the clinical implications of the antigen or tumor-specific immunity in patients remain to be clarified. Additional research is necessary to elucidate the prognostic significance of immune-related side effects and significantly optimize the treatment regimens. An improved understanding of the mechanisms of action of CTLA-4 antibodies may also culminate in wide-ranging clinical applications of this novel therapy for other tumor types.
cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen; CTL-A blockade; T cell activation; tumor immunity; overall survival
Peritumoral liver tissue could play a potential role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression and patient survival via angiogenesis- and lymphangiogensis-related factors. The prognostic role of these factors in hepatocytes and stromal cells in HCC patients after curative resection remains to be explored.
Tumor tissue and surrounding peritumoral tissue were obtained from 145 resected HCC patients without lymph node metastasis (LNM) and 37 resected HCC patients with LNM. Tissue microarrays were constructed from duplicate cores of tumor tissue and surrounding peritumoral tissue from each resected specimen. Immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to evaluate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), VEGF-C, VEGF receptor-1(VEGFR-1), VEGFR-2, and VEGFR-3. Macrophage infiltration was determined by CD68 staining. Correlations between the expression of these factors and overall survival (OS) and time to recurrence (TTR) were studied.
The peritumoral expression of VEGF-A, VEGF-C, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and VEGFR-3 were significantly higher than expression of these factors in tumors. VEGFR-1 was mostly located in peritumoral macrophages, while VEGF-C and VEGFR-3 were mostly located in peritumoral hepatocytes. HCC with high peritumoral co-expression of VEGF-C, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-3 was associated with higher peritumoral distribution of macrophages (0.87%±0.26% versus 0.45%±0.20%), LNM (32.4% versus 12.0%), shorter TTR (10.2 months versus 34.5 months), and poor prognosis (19.4 months versus 49.3 months).
Expression of VEGF-C, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-3 in peritumoral liver tissue is associated with a unique type of HCC that has a poorer outcome after hepatectomy.
Dietary supplementation of selenium and green tea holds promise in cancer prevention. In this study, we evaluated the efficacies of selenium and green tea administered individually and in combination against colorectal cancer in an azoxymethane (AOM)-induced rat colonic carcinogenesis model and determined the underlying mechanisms of the protection. Four-week old Sprague-Dawley male rats were fed with diets containing 0.5% green tea extract, 1ppm selenium as selenium-enriched milk protein, or combination of 1ppm selenium and 0.5% green tea extract. Animals received 2 AOM (15 mg/kg) treatments to induce colonic oncogenesis. Rats were killed 8 or 30 wk later after the last AOM to examine the effect of dietary intervention on aberrant crypt foci (ACF) formation or tumor development. On sacrifice, colons were examined for ACF and tumors, the mRNA levels of SFRP5 and Cyclin D1, and the proteins levels of ß-catenin, COX-2, Ki-67, DNMT1 and acetyl histone H3. The combination of selenium and green tea resulted in a significant additive inhibition of large ACF formation, this effect was greater than either selenium or green tea alone, P<0.01; the combination also had a significant additive inhibition effect on all tumor endpoints, the effect of the combination diet on tumor incidence, multiplicity and size was greater than selenium or green tea alone, P<0.01. Rats fed the combination diet showed marked reduction of DNMT1 expression and induction of histone H3 acetylation, which were accompanied by restoration of SFRP5 mRNA in normal-appearing colonic crypts. The combination diet also significantly reduced ß-catenin nuclear translocation, Cyclin D1 expression and cell proliferation. These data show, for the first time, that combination of selenium and green tea is more effective in suppressing colorectal oncogenesis than either agent alone. The preventive effect is associated with regulation of genetic and epigenetic biomarkers implicated in colonic carcinogenesis.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the hardest subtypes of breast cancer to treat due to the heterogeneity of the disease and absence of well-defined molecular targets. Emerging evidence has shown the role of cohesin in the formation and progression of various cancers including colon and lung cancer but the role of cohesin in breast cancer remains elusive. Our data showed that structural maintenance of chromosome 1 (SMC1), a subunit of the cohesin protein complex, is differentially overexpressed both at RNA and protein level in a panel of TNBC cell lines as compared to normal epithelial or luminal breast cancer cells, suggesting that the amplified product of this normal gene may play role in tumorigenesis in TNBC. In addition, our results show that induced overexpression of SMC1 through transient transfection enhanced cell migration and anchorage independent growth while its suppression with targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced the migration ability of TNBC cells. Increased expression of SMC1 also lead to increase in the mesenchymal marker vimentin and decrease in the normal epithelial marker, E-cadherin. Immunocytochemical studies along with flow cytometry and cell fractionation showed the localization of SMC1 in the nucleus, cytoplasm and also in the plasma membrane. The knockdown of SMC1 by siRNA sensitized the TNBC cells towards a PARP inhibitor (ABT-888) and IC50 was approximately three fold less than ABT-888 alone. The cytotoxic effect of combination of SMC1 suppression and ABT-888 was also confirmed by the colony propagation assay. Taken together, these studies report for the first time that SMC1 is overexpressed in TNBC cells where it plays a role in cell migration and drug sensitivity, and thus provides a potential therapeutic target for this highly invasive breast cancer subtype.