Aging is characterized by a progressive loss of physiological integrity, leading to impaired function and increased vulnerability to death. This deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human pathologies including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Aging research has experienced an unprecedented advance over recent years, particularly with the discovery that the rate of aging is controlled, at least to some extent, by genetic pathways and biochemical processes conserved in evolution. This review enumerates nine tentative hallmarks that represent common denominators of aging in different organisms, with special emphasis on mammalian aging. These hallmarks are: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient-sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered intercellular communication. A major challenge is to dissect the interconnectedness between the candidate hallmarks and their relative contribution to aging, with the final goal of identifying pharmaceutical targets to improve human health during aging with minimal side-effects.
aging; cancer; DNA damage; epigenetic; healthspan; lifespan; longevity; metabolism; mitochondria; nutrient-signaling pathways; senescence; stem cells; telomeres
Channel activators (potentiators) of cystic fibrosis (CF) transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), can be used for the treatment of the small subset of CF patients that carry plasma membrane-resident CFTR mutants. However, approximately 90% of CF patients carry the misfolded ΔF508-CFTR and are poorly responsive to potentiators, because ΔF508-CFTR is intrinsically unstable at the plasma membrane (PM) even if rescued by pharmacological correctors. We have demonstrated that human and mouse CF airways are autophagy deficient due to functional sequestration of BECN1 and that the tissue transglutaminase-2 inhibitor, cystamine, or antioxidants restore BECN1-dependent autophagy and reduce SQSTM1/p62 levels, thus favoring ΔF508-CFTR trafficking to the epithelial surface. Here, we investigated whether these treatments could facilitate the beneficial action of potentiators on ΔF508-CFTR homozygous airways. Cystamine or the superoxide dismutase (SOD)/catalase-mimetic EUK-134 stabilized ΔF508-CFTR at the plasma membrane of airway epithelial cells and sustained the expression of CFTR at the epithelial surface well beyond drug withdrawal, overexpressing BECN1 and depleting SQSTM1. This facilitates the beneficial action of potentiators in controlling inflammation in ex vivo ΔF508-CFTR homozygous human nasal biopsies and in vivo in mouse ΔF508-CFTR lungs. Direct depletion of Sqstm1 by shRNAs in vivo in ΔF508-CFTR mice synergized with potentiators in sustaining surface CFTR expression and suppressing inflammation. Cystamine pre-treatment restored ΔF508-CFTR response to the CFTR potentiators genistein, Vrx-532 or Vrx-770 in freshly isolated brushed nasal epithelial cells from ΔF508-CFTR homozygous patients. These findings delineate a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of CF patients with the ΔF508-CFTR mutation in which patients are first treated with cystamine and subsequently pulsed with CFTR potentiators.
cystic fibrosis; autophagy; therapy; cystamine; CFTR potentiators
Resveratrol is a polyphenol contained in red wine that has been amply investigated for its beneficial effects on organismal metabolism, in particular in the context of the so-called “French paradox,” i.e., the relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease exhibited by a population with a high dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. At least part of the beneficial effect of resveratrol on human health stems from its capacity to promote autophagy by activating the NAD-dependent deacetylase sirtuin 1. However, the concentration of resveratrol found in red wine is excessively low to account alone for the French paradox. Here, we investigated the possibility that other mono- and polyphenols contained in red wine might induce autophagy while affecting the acetylation levels of cellular proteins. Phenolic compounds found in red wine, including anthocyanins (oenin), stilbenoids (piceatannol), monophenols (caffeic acid, gallic acid) glucosides (delphinidin, kuronamin, peonidin) and flavonoids (catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, myricetin), were all capable of stimulating autophagy, although with dissimilar potencies. Importantly, a robust negative correlation could be established between autophagy induction and the acetylation levels of cytoplasmic proteins, as determined by a novel immunofluorescence staining protocol that allows for the exclusion of nuclear components from the analysis. Inhibition of sirtuin 1 by both pharmacological and genetic means abolished protein deacetylation and autophagy as stimulated by resveratrol, but not by piceatannol, indicating that these compounds act through distinct molecular pathways. In support of this notion, resveratrol and piceatannol synergized in inducing autophagy as well as in promoting cytoplasmic protein deacetylation. Our results highlight a cause-effect relationship between the deacetylation of cytoplasmic proteins and autophagy induction by red wine components.
Beclin 1; LC3; longevity; p62/SQSTM1; trichostatin A; U2OS
Malfunctioning of the protein α-synuclein is critically involved in the demise of dopaminergic neurons relevant to Parkinson's disease. Nonetheless, the precise mechanisms explaining this pathogenic neuronal cell death remain elusive. Endonuclease G (EndoG) is a mitochondrially localized nuclease that triggers DNA degradation and cell death upon translocation from mitochondria to the nucleus. Here, we show that EndoG displays cytotoxic nuclear localization in dopaminergic neurons of human Parkinson-diseased patients, while EndoG depletion largely reduces α-synuclein-induced cell death in human neuroblastoma cells. Xenogenic expression of human α-synuclein in yeast cells triggers mitochondria-nuclear translocation of EndoG and EndoG-mediated DNA degradation through a mechanism that requires a functional kynurenine pathway and the permeability transition pore. In nematodes and flies, EndoG is essential for the α-synuclein-driven degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. Moreover, the locomotion and survival of α-synuclein-expressing flies is compromised, but reinstalled by parallel depletion of EndoG. In sum, we unravel a phylogenetically conserved pathway that involves EndoG as a critical downstream executor of α-synuclein cytotoxicity.
The mitochondrial pro-apoptotic nuclease Endonuclease G is a key downstream executor of α-synuclein neurotoxicity in different Parkinson's disease models.
α-synuclein; cell death; endonuclease G; mitochondria; Parkinson's disease
Dendritic cells (DCs) occupy a privileged position at the interface between innate and adaptive immunity, orchestrating a large panel of responses to both physiological and pathological cues. In particular, whereas the presentation of antigens by immature DCs generally results in the development of immunological tolerance, mature DCs are capable of priming robust, and hence therapeutically relevant, adaptive immune responses. In line with this notion, functional defects in the DC compartment have been shown to etiologically contribute to pathological conditions including (but perhaps not limited to) infectious diseases, allergic and autoimmune disorders, graft rejection and cancer. Thus, the possibility of harnessing the elevated immunological potential of DCs for anticancer therapy has attracted considerable interest from both researchers and clinicians over the last decade. Alongside, several methods have been developed not only to isolate DCs from cancer patients, expand them, load them with tumor-associated antigens and hence generate highly immunogenic clinical grade infusion products, but also to directly target DCs in vivo. This intense experimental effort has culminated in 2010 with the approval by the US FDA of a DC-based preparation (sipuleucel-T, Provenge®) for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castration-refractory prostate cancer. As an update to the latest Trial Watch dealing with this exciting field of research (October 2012), here we summarize recent advances in DC-based anticancer regimens, covering both high-impact studies that have been published during the last 13 mo and clinical trials that have been launched in the same period to assess the antineoplastic potential of this variant of cellular immunotherapy.
antigen-presenting cells; immunogenic cell death; monoclonal antibodies; plasmacytoid dendritic cells; regulatory T cells; Toll-like receptors
Radiotherapy has extensively been employed as a curative or palliative intervention against cancer throughout the last century, with a varying degree of success. For a long time, the antineoplastic activity of X- and γ-rays was entirely ascribed to their capacity of damaging macromolecules, in particular DNA, and hence triggering the (apoptotic) demise of malignant cells. However, accumulating evidence indicates that (at least part of) the clinical potential of radiotherapy stems from cancer cell-extrinsic mechanisms, including the normalization of tumor vasculature as well as short- and long-range bystander effects. Local bystander effects involve either the direct transmission of lethal signals between cells connected by gap junctions or the production of diffusible cytotoxic mediators, including reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide and cytokines. Conversely, long-range bystander effects, also known as out-of-field or abscopal effects, presumably reflect the elicitation of tumor-specific adaptive immune responses. Ionizing rays have indeed been shown to promote the immunogenic demise of malignant cells, a process that relies on the spatiotemporally defined emanation of specific damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Thus, irradiation reportedly improves the clinical efficacy of other treatment modalities such as surgery (both in neo-adjuvant and adjuvant settings) or chemotherapy. Moreover, at least under some circumstances, radiotherapy may potentiate anticancer immune responses as elicited by various immunotherapeutic agents, including (but presumably not limited to) immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies, cancer-specific vaccines, dendritic cell-based interventions and Toll-like receptor agonists. Here, we review the rationale of using radiotherapy, alone or combined with immunomodulatory agents, as a means to elicit or boost anticancer immune responses, and present recent clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of this approach in cancer patients.
brachytherapy; immunogenic cell death; intensity-modulated radiation therapy; radionuclide; stereotactic body radiation therapy; stereotactic radiosurgery
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have long been known for their ability to initiate innate immune responses upon exposure to conserved microbial components such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and double-stranded RNA. More recently, this family of pattern recognition receptors has been attributed a critical role in the elicitation of anticancer immune responses, raising interest in the development of immunochemotherapeutic regimens based on natural or synthetic TLR agonists. In spite of such an intense wave of preclinical and clinical investigation, only three TLR agonists are currently licensed by FDA for use in cancer patients: bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), an attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis that operates as a mixed TLR2/TLR4 agonist; monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), a derivative of Salmonella minnesota that functions as a potent agonist of TLR4; and imiquimod, a synthetic imidazoquinoline that activates TLR7. One year ago, in the August and September issues of OncoImmunology, we described the main biological features of TLRs and discussed the progress of clinical studies evaluating the safety and therapeutic potential of TLR agonists in cancer patients. Here, we summarize the latest developments in this exciting area of research, focusing on preclinical studies that have been published during the last 13 mo and clinical trials launched in the same period to investigate the antineoplastic activity of TLR agonists.
CpG oligodeoxynucleotides; Hiltonol™; damage-associated molecular patterns; lipopolysaccharide; picibanil; resiquimod
Autophagy is a rapidly expanding field in the sense that our knowledge about the molecular mechanism and its connections to a wide range of physiological processes has increased substantially in the past decade. Similarly, the vocabulary associated with autophagy has grown concomitantly. This fact makes it difficult for readers, even those who work in the field, to keep up with the ever-expanding terminology associated with the various autophagy-related processes. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive glossary of autophagy-related terms that is meant to provide a quick reference for researchers who need a brief reminder of the regulatory effects of transcription factors or chemical agents that induce or inhibit autophagy, the function of the autophagy-related proteins, or the role of accessory machinery or structures that are associated with autophagy.
autophagy; definitions; glossary; lexicon; terms
During the past two decades, the notion that cancer would merely constitute a cell-intrinsic disease has gradually been complemented by a model postulating that the immune system plays a relevant role during all stages of oncogenesis and tumor progression. Along with this conceptual shift, several strategies have been devised to stimulate tumor-specific immune responses, including relatively unselective approaches such as the systemic administration of adjuvants or immunomodulatory cytokines. One year ago, in the July issue of OncoImmunology, we described the main biological features of this large group of proteins and discussed the progress of ongoing clinical studies evaluating their safety and therapeutic potential in cancer patients. Here, we summarize the latest developments in this area of clinical research, focusing on high impact studies that have been published during the last 13 mo and clinical trials launched in the same period to investigate which cytokines can be employed as safe and efficient immunostimulatory interventions against cancer.
GM-CSF; IFN; IL-2; TGFβ; TNFα; chemokines
Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) represents a prominent form of immunotherapy against malignant diseases. ACT is conceptually distinct from dendritic cell-based approaches (which de facto constitute cellular vaccines) and allogeneic transplantation (which can be employed for the therapy of hematopoietic tumors) as it involves the isolation of autologous lymphocytes exhibiting antitumor activity, their expansion/activation ex vivo and their reintroduction into the patient. Re-infusion is most often performed in the context of lymphodepleting regimens (to minimize immunosuppression by host cells) and combined with immunostimulatory interventions, such as the administration of Toll-like receptor agonists. Autologous cells that are suitable for ACT protocols can be isolated from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes or generated by engineering their circulating counterparts for the expression of transgenic tumor-specific T-cell receptors. Importantly, lymphocytes can be genetically modified prior to re-infusion for increasing their persistence in vivo, boosting antitumor responses and minimizing side effects. Moreover, recent data indicate that exhausted antitumor T lymphocytes may be rejuvenated in vitro by exposing them to specific cytokine cocktails, a strategy that might considerably improve the clinical success of ACT. Following up the Trial Watch that we published on this topic in the third issue of OncoImmunology (May 2012), here we summarize the latest developments in ACT-related research, covering both high-impact studies that have been published during the last 13 months and clinical trials that have been initiated in the same period to assess the antineoplastic profile of this form of cellular immunotherapy.
chimeric antigen receptor; cyclophosphamide; FOXP3+ regulatory T cells; lymphodepletion; T-cell receptor; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
The antineoplastic effects of anthracyclines have been shown to rely, at least in part, on a local immune response that involves dendritic cells (DCs) and several distinct subsets of T lymphocytes. Here, we show that the administration of anthracyclines to mice bearing established neoplasms stimulates the intratumoral secretion of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). However, blocking the TNFα/TNF receptor (TNFR) system by three different strategies—namely, (1) neutralizing antibodies, (2) etanercept, a recombinant protein in which TNFR is fused to the constant domain of an IgG1 molecule, and (3) gene knockout—failed to negatively affect the therapeutic efficacy of anthracyclines in three distinct tumor models. In particular, TNFα-blocking strategies did not influence the antineoplastic effects of doxorubicin (a prototypic anthracycline) against MCA205 fibrosarcomas growing in C57BL/6 mice, F244 sarcomas developing in 129/Sv hosts and H2N100 mammary carcinomas arising in BALB/c mice. These findings imply that, in contrast to other cytokines (such as interleukin-1β, interleukin-17 and interferon γ), TNFα is not required for anthracyclines to elicit therapeutic anticancer immune responses.
T cells; apoptosis; calreticulin; dendritic cell; immunogenic cell death; interferon γ
Tumor cells succumb to chemotherapy while releasing ATP. We have found that extracellular ATP attracts dendritic cell (DC) precursors into the tumor bed, facilitates their permanence in the proximity of dying cells and promotes their differentiation into mature DCs endowed with the capacity of presenting tumor-associated antigens.
apoptosis; autophagy; calreticulin; CD39; doxorubicin; immunogenic cell death
Oncolytic virotherapy is emerging as a promising approach for the treatment of several neoplasms. The term “oncolytic viruses” is generally employed to indicate naturally occurring or genetically engineered attenuated viral particles that cause the demise of malignant cells while sparing their non-transformed counterparts. From a conceptual standpoint, oncolytic viruses differ from so-called “oncotropic viruses” in that only the former are able to kill cancer cells, even though both display a preferential tropism for malignant tissues. Of note, such a specificity can originate at several different steps of the viral cycle, including the entry of virions (transductional specificity) as well as their intracellular survival and replication (post-transcriptional and transcriptional specificity). During the past two decades, a large array of replication-competent and replication-incompetent oncolytic viruses has been developed and engineered to express gene products that would specifically promote the death of infected (cancer) cells. However, contrarily to long-standing beliefs, the antineoplastic activity of oncolytic viruses is not a mere consequence of the cytopathic effect, i.e., the lethal outcome of an intense, productive viral infection, but rather involves the elicitation of an antitumor immune response. In line with this notion, oncolytic viruses genetically modified to drive the local production of immunostimulatory cytokines exert more robust therapeutic effects than their non-engineered counterparts. Moreover, the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy is significantly improved by some extent of initial immunosuppression (facilitating viral replication and spread) followed by the administration of immunostimulatory molecules (boosting antitumor immune responses). In this Trial Watch, we will discuss the results of recent clinical trials that have evaluated/are evaluating the safety and antineoplastic potential of oncolytic virotherapy.
GM-CSF; HSV; immunotherapy; JX594; reolysin; talimogene laherparepvec
The foundation of modern vaccinology dates back to the 1790s, when the English physician Edward Jenner uncovered the tremendous medical potential of prophylactic vaccination. Jenner’s work ignited a wave of nationwide vaccination campaigns abating the incidence of multiple life-threatening infectious diseases and culminating with the eradication of natural smallpox virus, which was definitively certified by the WHO in 1980. The possibility of using vaccines against cancer was first proposed at the end of the 19th century by Paul Ehrlich and William Coley. However, it was not until the 1990s that such a hypothesis began to be intensively investigated, following the realization that the immune system is not completely unresponsive to tumors and that neoplastic cells express immunogenic tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). Nowadays, anticancer vaccines are rapidly moving from the bench to the bedside, and a few prophylactic and therapeutic preparations have already been approved by FDA for use in humans. In this setting, one interesting approach is constituted by DNA vaccines, i.e., TAA-encoding circularized DNA constructs, often of bacterial origin, that are delivered to patients as such or by means of specific vectors, including (but not limited to) liposomal preparations, nanoparticles, bacteria and viruses. The administration of DNA vaccines is most often performed via the intramuscular or subcutaneous route and is expected to cause (1) the endogenous synthesis of the TAA by myocytes and/or resident antigen-presenting cells; (2) the presentation of TAA-derived peptides on the cell surface, in association with MHC class I molecules; and (3) the activation of potentially therapeutic tumor-specific immune responses. In this Trial Watch, we will summarize the results of recent clinical trials that have evaluated/are evaluating DNA vaccines as therapeutic interventions against cancer.
cross-presentation; dendritic cells; electroporation; mucosal immunity; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Salmonella typhimurium
It is now clear that the immune system plays a critical role not only during oncogenesis and tumor progression, but also as established neoplastic lesions respond to therapy. Selected cytotoxic chemicals can indeed elicit immunogenic cell death, a functionally peculiar type of apoptosis that stimulates tumor-specific cognate immune responses. Such immunogenic chemotherapeutics include cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and oxaliplatin (which are approved by FDA for the treatment of various hematological and solid malignancies), mitoxantrone (which is currently employed both as an anticancer agent and against multiple sclerosis) and patupilone (a microtubular poison in clinical development). One year ago, in the second issue of OncoImmunology, we discussed the scientific rationale behind immunogenic chemotherapy and reviewed the status of recent clinical trials investigating the off-label use of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, oxaliplatin and mitoxantrone in cancer patients. Here, we summarize the latest developments in this area of clinical research, covering both high-impact studies that have been published during the last 13 months and clinical trials that have been initiated in the same period to assess the antineoplastic profile of immunogenic chemotherapeutics.
autophagy; ATP; calreticulin; dendritic cells; epothilone B; HMGB1
The BCL-2 homolog BCL-XL, one of the two protein products of BCL2L1, has originally been characterized for its prominent prosurvival functions. Similar to BCL-2, BCL-XL binds to its multidomain proapoptotic counterparts BAX and BAK, hence preventing the formation of lethal pores in the mitochondrial outer membrane, as well as to multiple BH3-only proteins, thus interrupting apical proapoptotic signals. In addition, BCL-XL has been suggested to exert cytoprotective functions by sequestering a cytosolic pool of the pro-apoptotic transcription factor p53 and by binding to the voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), thereby inhibiting the so-called mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT). Thus, BCL-XL appears to play a prominent role in the regulation of multiple distinct types of cell death, including apoptosis and regulated necrosis. More recently, great attention has been given to the cell death-unrelated functions of BCL-2-like proteins. In particular, BCL-XL has been shown to modulate a number of pathophysiological processes, including—but not limited to—mitochondrial ATP synthesis, protein acetylation, autophagy and mitosis. In this short review article, we will discuss the functions of BCL-XL at the interface between cell death and metabolism.
Cardiac glycosides (CGs) are natural compounds sharing the ability to operate as potent inhibitors of the plasma membrane Na+/K+-ATPase, hence promoting—via an indirect mechanism—the intracellular accumulation of Ca2+ ions. In cardiomyocytes, increased intracellular Ca2+ concentrations exert prominent positive inotropic effects, that is, they increase myocardial contractility. Owing to this feature, two CGs, namely digoxin and digitoxin, have extensively been used in the past for the treatment of several cardiac conditions, including distinct types of arrhythmia as well as contractility disorders. Nowadays, digoxin is approved by the FDA and indicated for the treatment of congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter with rapid ventricular response, whereas the use of digitoxin has been discontinued in several Western countries. Recently, CGs have been suggested to exert potent antineoplastic effects, notably as they appear to increase the immunogenicity of dying cancer cells. In this Trial Watch, we summarize the mechanisms that underpin the unsuspected anticancer potential of CGs and discuss the progress of clinical studies that have evaluated/are evaluating the safety and efficacy of CGs for oncological indications.
breast carcinoma; Digitalis purpurea; estrogen receptor; immunogenic cell death; ouabain; phytoestrogens
Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients harboring the most common deletion mutation of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), F508del, are poor responders to potentiators of CFTR channel activity which can be used to treat a small subset of CF patients who genetically carry plasma membrane (PM)-resident CFTR mutants. The misfolded F508del-CFTR protein is unstable in the PM even if rescued by pharmacological agents that prevent its intracellular retention and degradation. CF is a conformational disease in which defective CFTR induces an impressive derangement of general proteostasis resulting from disabled autophagy. In this review, we discuss how rescuing Beclin 1 (BECN1), a major player of autophagosome formation, either by means of direct gene transfer or indirectly by administration of proteostasis regulators, could stabilize F508del-CFTR at the PM. We focus on the relationship between the improvement of peripheral proteostasis and CFTR PM stability in F508del-CFTR homozygous bronchial epithelia or mouse lungs. Moreover, this article reviews recent pre-clinical evidence indicating that targeting the intracellular environment surrounding the misfolded mutant CFTR instead of protein itself could constitute an attractive therapeutic option to sensitize patients carrying the F508del-CFTR mutation to the beneficial action of CFTR potentiators on lung inflammation.
cystic fibrosis; CFTR; proteostasis regulators; autophagy; BECN1
Spermidine is a naturally occurring polyamine involved in multiple biological processes, including DNA metabolism, autophagy and aging. Like other polyamines, spermidine is also indispensable for successful reproduction at several stages. However, a direct influence on the actual fertilization process, i.e., the fusion of an oocyte with a spermatocyte, remains uncertain. To explore this possibility, we established the mating process in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model for fertilization in higher eukaryotes. During human fertilization, the sperm capacitates and the acrosome reaction is necessary for penetration of the oocyte. Similarly, sexually active yeasts form a protrusion called “shmoo” as a prerequisite for mating. In this study, we demonstrate that pheromone-induced shmoo formation requires spermidine. In addition, we show that spermidine is essential for mating in yeast as well as for egg fertilization in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In both cases, this occurs independently from autophagy. In synthesis, we identify spermidine as an important mating component in unicellular and multicellular model organisms, supporting an unprecedented evolutionary conservation of the mechanisms governing fertilization-related cellular fusion.
Caenorhabditis elegans; spermidine; mating; fertilization; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; shmoo; autophagy; sexual reproduction
The illicit generation of tetraploid cells constitutes a prominent driver of oncogenesis, as it often precedes the development of aneuploidy and genomic instability. In addition, tetraploid (pre-)malignant cells display an elevated resistance against radio- and chemotherapy. Here, we report a strategy to preferentially kill tetraploid tumor cells based on the broad-spectrum kinase inhibitor SP600125. Live videomicroscopy revealed that SP600125 affects the execution of mitosis, impedes proper cell division and/or activates apoptosis in near-to-tetraploid, though less so in parental, cancer cells. We propose a novel graphical model to quantify the differential response of diploid and tetraploid cells to mitotic perturbators, including SP600125, which we baptized “transgenerational cell fate profiling.” We speculate that this representation constitutes a valid alternative to classical “single-cell fate” and “genealogical” profiling and, hence, may facilitate the analysis of cell fate within a heterogeneous population as well as the visual examination of cell cycle alterations.
cell death; cytokinesis failure; mitotic catastrophe; microtubules; polyploidy; time-lapse microscopy
One of the driving forces of oncogenesis is tetraploidy, a duplication of the DNA content that, upon asymmetric cell division or progressive chromosome loss, can originate aneuploidy. Recent findings from our group indicate the existence of an immunosurveillance system that eliminates tetraploid cancer cells. We surmise that tetraploidy-inducing chemotherapeutic agents may elicit potent anticancer responses by re-activating this immunosurveillance system.
breast carcinoma; calreticulin; HMGB1; hyperploidy; immunogenic cell death; mitotic catastrophe
During the past 20 years, dozens—if not hundreds—of monoclonal antibodies have been developed and characterized for their capacity to mediate antineoplastic effects, either as they activate/enhance tumor-specific immune responses, either as they interrupt cancer cell-intrinsic signal transduction cascades, either as they specifically delivery toxins to malignant cells or as they block the tumor-stroma interaction. Such an intense research effort has lead to the approval by FDA of no less than 14 distinct molecules for use in humans affected by hematological or solid malignancies. In the inaugural issue of OncoImmunology, we briefly described the scientific rationale behind the use of monoclonal antibodies in cancer therapy and discussed recent, ongoing clinical studies investigating the safety and efficacy of this approach in patients. Here, we summarize the latest developments in this exciting area of clinical research, focusing on high impact studies that have been published during the last 15 months and clinical trials launched in the same period to investigate the therapeutic profile of promising, yet hitherto investigational, monoclonal antibodies.
bevacizumab; dalotuzumab; ipilimumab; nimotuzumab; ramucirumab; trastuzumab
CTLA4; ipilimumab; L-BLP25; mucin 1; non-small cell lung carcinoma; PD1
Prophylactic vaccination constitutes one of the most prominent medical achievements of history. This concept was first demonstrated by the pioneer work of Edward Jenner, dating back to the late 1790s, after which an array of preparations that confer life-long protective immunity against several infectious agents has been developed. The ensuing implementation of nation-wide vaccination programs has de facto abated the incidence of dreadful diseases including rabies, typhoid, cholera and many others. Among all, the most impressive result of vaccination campaigns is surely represented by the eradication of natural smallpox infection, which was definitively certified by the WHO in 1980. The idea of employing vaccines as anticancer interventions was first theorized in the 1890s by Paul Ehrlich and William Coley. However, it soon became clear that while vaccination could be efficiently employed as a preventive measure against infectious agents, anticancer vaccines would have to (1) operate as therapeutic, rather than preventive, interventions (at least in the vast majority of settings), and (2) circumvent the fact that tumor cells often fail to elicit immune responses. During the past 30 y, along with the recognition that the immune system is not irresponsive to tumors (as it was initially thought) and that malignant cells express tumor-associated antigens whereby they can be discriminated from normal cells, considerable efforts have been dedicated to the development of anticancer vaccines. Some of these approaches, encompassing cell-based, DNA-based and purified component-based preparations, have already been shown to exert conspicuous anticancer effects in cohorts of patients affected by both hematological and solid malignancies. In this Trial Watch, we will summarize the results of recent clinical trials that have evaluated/are evaluating purified peptides or full-length proteins as therapeutic interventions against cancer.
EGFR; MAGE-A3; NY-ESO-1; p53; RAS; WT1