Systemic inflammation plays an important role in the increased cardiac risk observed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Effective control of inflammation and disease activity may be of benefit in reducing cardiovascular risk in RA patients.
Our study was conducted in patients with active RA to investigate the effects of 24-week abatacept treatment on aortic stiffness measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV).
The study included 21 patients, of whom 17 were females, with a mean age of 65.2±13.7 years. Ten patients had positive rheumatoid factors, 16 positive anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, and 19 presented an erosive form of RA. Sixteen patients were nonresponders to anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha treatments. After 6 months of abatacept treatment, there was a significant increase in PWV levels (9.8±2.9 versus 8.5±3.9 m/second; P=0.02). A nonsignificant increase in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was observed. There was also a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, which led to a nonsignificant decrease in atherogenic index. The improvement in disease activity was significant, and there was a decrease of systemic inflammatory parameters, but without reaching statistical significancy. Changes in PWV were significantly correlated with changes in Disease Activity Score on 28 joints based on erythrocyte sedimentation rate (r=0.46; P=0.035) and in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r=−0.38; P=0.046). No correlation was observed with changes in C-reactive protein and in other parameters of lipid profile or in steroid dose.
The worsening of aortic stiffness found after 6 months of abatacept therapy might be due to an insufficient decrease in systemic inflammation.
arterial stiffness; cardiovascular risk markers; systemic inflammation; atherogenic index
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disorder that affects nearly 2 million adults, mostly in the prime of their youth. An environmental trigger, such as a viral infection, is hypothesized to initiate the abnormal behavior of host immune cells: to attack and damage the myelin sheath surrounding the neurons of the central nervous system. While several other pathways and disease triggers are still being investigated, it is nonetheless clear that MS is a heterogeneous disease with multifactorial etiologies that works independently or synergistically to initiate the aberrant immune responses to myelin. Although there are still no definitive markers to diagnose the disease or to cure the disease per se, research on management of MS has improved many fold over the past decade. New disease-modifying therapeutics are poised to decrease immune inflammatory responses and consequently decelerate the progression of MS disease activity, reduce the exacerbations of MS symptoms, and stabilize the physical and mental status of individuals. In this review, we describe the mechanism of action, optimal dosing, drug administration, safety, and efficacy of the disease-modifying therapeutics that are currently approved for MS therapy. We also briefly touch upon the new drugs currently under investigation, and discuss the future of MS therapeutics.
multiple sclerosis; immunomodulation; interferons; glatiramer acetate; monoclonal antibodies; dimethyl fumarate
Peginesatide is the newest erythropoietin-stimulating agent (ESA) in the quest for the ideal
treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Reduced frequency of administration
along with a possibly lower cost as a result of simpler manufacturing techniques compared with other
available agents makes peginesatide a highly desirable product in the competitive ESA market.
Peginesatide is noninferior to the other ESAs, and has a good safety profile in patients on
hemodialysis. The higher rates of adverse cardiovascular events reported in CKD patients not on
dialysis in the recent Phase III studies require further, better planned, studies. Peginesatide had
to be withdrawn from the market in the US after some reports of hypersensitivity reactions to the
drug. This is a setback, but the scientific advances gained as a result of this product development
can be used to develop other, newer products.
anemia; hemodialysis; chronic kidney disease; peginesatide
There is increasing concern about the speed with which health care providers can administer prophylaxis and treatment in an influenza pandemic. Generally, it takes several months to manufacture an influenza vaccine by propagation of the virus in chicken eggs or cultured cells. Newer, faster protocols for the production of vaccines that induce broad-spectrum immunity are therefore highly desirable. We previously developed human monoclonal antibody B-1 that shows broadly neutralizing activity against influenza A virus H3N2. B-1 recognizes an epitope region that includes an antiparallel β-sheet structure underneath the receptor binding site of influenza hemagglutinin (HA). In this study, the efficacy of a synthetic peptide vaccine derived from this epitope region against influenza A was evaluated.
Materials and methods
Two peptides were synthesized, the upper and lower peptides. These peptides comprise amino acid residues 167–187 and 225–241, respectively, of the B-1 epitope region of HA, which is involved in forming the β-sheet structure. Both peptides were then coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin, and the peptides, alone or in combination, were used to immunize rabbits. The resulting antibody responses were examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The upper peptide, but not the lower peptide, elicited antibodies that were reactive to HA. Interestingly, the use of both peptides together could elicit antibodies with a higher reactivity to HA than either peptide alone. The antibodies were found to react to HA at the N-terminus of the upper peptide, which is exposed at the surface of trimeric HA on influenza virions.
The higher production of HA-reactive antibodies following immunization with both peptides suggests that the upper peptide forms the effective epitope structure in the binding state, and the lower peptide enhances the production of HA antibodies. This study could be the first step towards the development of pandemic viral vaccines that can be produced within short time periods.
influenza A; hemagglutinin; epitope; synthetic peptide; rabbit
Long-term locoregional control following intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head-and-neck (SCCHN) remains challenging. This study aimed to assess the efficacy and toxicity of IMRT with and without chemotherapy or surgery in locally advanced SCCHN.
Materials and methods
Between January 2007 and January 2011, 61 patients with locally advanced SCCHN were treated with curative IMRT in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University; 28% underwent definitive IMRT and 72% postoperative IMRT, combined with simultaneous cisplatin-based chemotherapy in 58%. The mean doses of definitive and postoperative IMRT were 70.8 Gy (range, 66–74 Gy). Outcomes were analyzed using Kaplan–Meier curves. Acute and late toxicities were graded according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer radiation morbidity scoring criteria.
At a median follow-up of 35 months, 3-year local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), regional recurrence-free survival (RRFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) were 83.8%, 86.1%, 82.4%, 53.2%, and 62%, respectively. Postoperative IMRT (n = 44, 72%) had significantly higher LRFS/OS/DMFS than definitive IMRT (n = 17, 28%; P < 0.05). IMRT combined with chemotherapy (n = 35, 58%) had significantly higher LRFS/OS/DMFS than IMRT alone (n = 26, 42%; P < 0.05). One year after radiotherapy, the incidence of xerostomia of grade 1, 2, or 3 was 13.1%, 19.7%, and 1.6%, respectively. No grade 4 acute or late toxicity was observed.
IMRT combined with surgery or chemotherapy achieved excellent long-term locoregional control and OS in locally advanced SCCHN, with acceptable early toxicity and late side-effects.
SCCHN; IMRT; surgery; chemotherapy; prognosis analysis
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder caused by inactivating mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 genes. It is characterized by the development of multiple, benign tumors in several organs throughout the body. Lesions occur in the brain, kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, and skin and result in seizures and epilepsy, mental retardation, autism, and renal and pulmonary organ system dysfunction, as well as other complications. Elucidation of the molecular pathways and etiological factors responsible for causing TSC has led to a paradigm shift in the management and treatment of the disease. TSC1 or TSC2 mutations lead to constitutive upregulation of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway, which affects many cellular processes involved in tumor growth. By targeting mammalian target of rapamycin with everolimus, an orally active rapamycin derivative, clinically meaningful and statistically significant reductions in tumor burden have been achieved for the main brain (subependymal giant cell astrocytoma) and renal manifestations (angiomyolipoma) associated with TSC. This review provides an overview of TSC, everolimus, and the clinical trials that led to its approval for the treatment of TSC-associated subependymal giant cell astrocytoma and renal angiomyolipoma.
everolimus; subependymal giant cell astrocytoma; angiomyolipomas; lymphangioleiomyomatosis; facial angiofibromas; tuberous sclerosis complex
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by airway inflammation, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and recurrent episodes of reversible airway obstruction. The disease is very heterogeneous in onset, course, and response to treatment, and seems to encompass a broad collection of heterogeneous disease subtypes with different underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. There is a strong need for easily interpreted clinical biomarkers to assess the nature and severity of the disease. Currently available biomarkers for clinical practice – for example markers in bronchial lavage, bronchial biopsies, sputum, or fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) – are limited due to invasiveness or lack of specificity. The assessment of markers in peripheral blood might be a good alternative to study airway inflammation more specifically, compared to FeNO, and in a less invasive manner, compared to bronchoalveolar lavage, biopsies, or sputum induction. In addition, promising novel biomarkers are discovered in the field of breath metabolomics (eg, volatile organic compounds) and (pharmaco)genomics. Biomarker research in asthma is increasingly shifting from the assessment of the value of single biomarkers to multidimensional approaches in which the clinical value of a combination of various markers is studied. This could eventually lead to the development of a clinically applicable algorithm composed of various markers and clinical features to phenotype asthma and improve diagnosis and asthma management.
asthma; airway inflammation; biological markers; pharmacogenomics; metabolomics
Myelofibrosis (MF) can present as a primary disorder or evolve from polycythemia vera (PV) or essential thrombocythemia (ET) to post-PV MF or post-ET MF, respectively. MF is characterized by bone marrow fibrosis, splenomegaly, leukoerythroblastosis, extramedullary hematopoiesis, and a collection of debilitating symptoms. Until recently, the therapeutic options for patients with MF consisted of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (alloHSCT), the use of cytoreductive agents (ie, hydroxyurea), splenectomy and splenic irradiation for treatment of splenomegaly, and management of anemia with transfusions, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), androgens, and immunomodulatory agents. However, with increased understanding of the pathogenesis of MF resulting from dysregulated Janus kinase (JAK) signaling, new targeted JAK inhibitor therapies, such as ruxolitinib, are now available. The purpose of this article is to review the clinical features of MF, discuss the use and future of JAK inhibitors, reassess when and how to use conventional MF treatments in the context of JAK inhibitors, and provide a perspective on the future of MF treatment.
myelofibrosis; ruxolitinib; JAK inhibitor
Hybridomas that produce human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs) against Dengue virus (DV) had been prepared previously using peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients with DV during the acute and convalescent phases of a secondary infection. Anti-DV envelope glycoprotein (E) 99 clones, anti-DV premembrane protein (prM) 8 clones, and anti-DV nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) 4 clones were derived from four acute-phase patients, and anti-DV E 2 clones, anti-DV prM 2 clones, and anti-DV NS1 8 clones were derived from five convalescent-phase patients.
Methods and results
In the present study, we examined whether these clones cross-reacted with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), which belongs to the same virus family. Forty-six of the above-described 99 (46/99) anti-E, 0/8 anti-prM, and 2/4 anti-NS1 HuMAbs from acute-phase, and 0/2 anti-E, 0/2 anti-prM, and 5/8 anti-NS1 HuMAbs from convalescent-phase showed neutralizing activity against JEV. Thus, most of the anti-E and anti-NS1 (but not the anti-prM) antibodies cross-reacted with JEV and neutralized this virus. Interestingly, 3/46 anti-E HuMAbs derived from acute-phase patients and 3/5 anti-NS1 HuMAbs from convalescent-phase patients showed particularly high neutralizing activity against JEV. Consequently, the HuMAbs showing neutralization against JEV mostly consisted of two populations: one was HuMAbs recognizing DV E and showing neutralization activity against all four DV serotypes (complex-type) and the other was HuMAbs recognizing DV NS1 and showing subcomplex-type cross-reaction with DV.
Anti-DV E from acute phase (46/99) and anti-DV NS1 (7/12) indicate neutralizing activity against JEV. In particular, three of 46 anti-DV E clones from acute phase and three of five anti-NS1 clones from convalescent phase showed strong neutralizing activity against JEV.
Dengue virus; Japanese encephalitis virus; viral neutralization; human monoclonal antibody; envelope; nonstructural protein 1
Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), such as the approved agents epoetin alfa and epoetin beta, has been used successfully for over 20 years to treat anemia in millions of patients. However, due to the relatively short half-life of the molecule (approximately 8 hours), frequent dosing may be required to achieve required hemoglobin levels. Therefore, a need was identified in some anemic patient populations for erythropoiesis stimulating agents with longer half-lives that required less frequent dosing. This need led to the development of second generation molecules which are modified versions of rHuEPO with improved pharma-cokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties such as darbepoetin alfa, a hyperglycosylated analog of rHuEPO, and pegzyrepoetin, a pegylated rHuEPO. Third generation molecules, such as peginesatide, which are peptide mimetics that have no sequence homology to rHuEPO have also recently been developed. The various molecular, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic properties of these and other erythropoiesis stimulating agents will be discussed in this review.
darbepoetin alfa; erythropoiesis; erythropoietin; glycosylation; pharmacokinetics; pharmacology; polyethylene glycols
The development of coronary stents represents a major step forward in the treatment of obstructive coronary artery disease since the introduction of percutaneous coronary intervention. The initial enthusiasm for bare metal stents was, however, tempered by a significant incidence of in-stent restenosis, the manifestation of excessive neointima hyperplasia within the stented vessel segment, ultimately leading to target vessel revascularization. Later, drug-eluting stents, with controlled local release of antiproliferative agents, consistently reduced this need for repeat revascularization. In turn, the long-term safety of first-generation drug-eluting stents was brought into question with the observation of an increased incidence of late stent thrombosis, often presenting as myocardial infarction or sudden death. Since then, new drugs, polymers, and platforms for drug elution have been developed to improve stent safety and preserve efficacy. Development of a novel platinum chromium alloy with high radial strength and high radiopacity has enabled the design of a new, thin-strut, flexible, and highly trackable stent platform, while simultaneously improving stent visibility. Significant advances in polymer coating, serving as a drug carrier on the stent surface, and in antiproliferative agent technology have further improved the safety and clinical performance of newer-generation drug-eluting stents. This review will provide an overview of the novel platinum chromium everolimus-eluting stents that are currently available. The clinical data from major clinical trials with these devices will be summarized and put into perspective.
drug-eluting stent; restenosis; Promus Element; Synergy
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an aggressive malignancy compared to other urological malignancies and has been associated with poor responses to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Interferon-α and interleukin-2 were previously utilized in a limited number of patients with good performance status due to toxicity and safety issues. Over the last decade, through advances in the understanding of the biology and pathology of RCC, the important role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in RCC has been identified. Data from randomized trials have led to the approval of first-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) sorafenib, sunitinib, and pazopanib; however, these agents inhibit a wide variety of kinase targets and are associated with a range of adverse effects. More recently, a new generation TKI, axitinib, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Tivozanib is a novel TKI, which is a potent inhibitor of VEGF-1, VEGF-2, VEGF-3, c-kit, and PDGR kinases, with a more restricted target spectrum. Phase II and III studies have demonstrated significant activity and a favorable safety profile as an initial targeted treatment for advanced RCC. This review examines the emerging data with tivozanib for the treatment of advanced RCC. Preclinical investigations as well as Phase I, II, and III data are examined; data on the comparative benefits of tivozanib are reviewed. Finally, we discuss the future potential of tivozanib in combination, biomarkers associated with tivozanib response, and acquisition of resistance and nonkidney cancer indications.
targeted therapy; renal cell cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; tivozanib
Current standard immunomodulatory therapy with interferons (IFNs) for relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) exhibits proven, but limited, efficacy and increased side effects due to the need of frequent application of the drug. Therefore, there is a need for more effective and tolerable drugs. Due to their small size, optimization of therapy with IFNs in MS by PEGylation is feasible. PEGylation of an IFN means that at least one molecule of polyethylene glycol (PEG) is covalently added. This modification is a standard procedure to increase the stability, solubility, half-life, and efficacy of a drug, and is applied in several drugs and diseases. Currently, a therapy regimen applying PEG-IFN beta-1a in MS is being developed to achieve an optimized relationship between therapy-related side effects and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic efficacy. Phase I studies demonstrated that subcutaneous PEG-IFN beta-1a at a dose of 125 μg every 2 or 4 weeks might be at least as efficient and safe as the current standard therapy with IFN beta-1a. A global Phase III clinical study is investigating the efficacy of PEG-IFN beta-1a in terms of reduction of the relapse rate in relapsing–remitting MS patients. The latest primary safety and efficacy analysis after 1 year has revealed a favorable risk–benefit profile with no significant difference between dosing regimens. Compared to placebo, the annualized relapse rate was reduced by about one-third and new or newly enlarging T2 brain lesions were reduced by about one-third when dosing every 4 weeks or by two-thirds when dosing every 2 weeks. This presents a significant effect of the dosing interval, favoring administration every 2 weeks. Chronic administration of PEGylated proteins mostly at toxic concentrations causes vacuolation of renal epithelium in animals, which – along with the issue of occurrence of anti-PEG antibodies – has to be addressed by Phase IV studies.
PEGylation; relapsing–remitting; side effect; Avonex®; ADVANCE; clinical study
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is the most common form of chronic inflammatory bowel disease and lacks a curative pharmacological treatment. Traditional therapies, which include 5-aminosalicylates, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, aim to induce and maintain remission. Biological therapy with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha agents has added to the range of available treatments. Vedolizumab belongs to a new class of agents (integrin antagonists) that inhibit leukocyte adhesion and aim to selectively inhibit the inflammatory pathway. This article reviews the emerging data on the use of vedolizumab for UC. Evidence to date supports its efficacy in inducing remission in UC, with no major safety concerns identified.
inflammatory bowel disease; effectiveness; integrin antagonists
Bosutinib (SKI-606) is an orally available, once-daily dual Src and Abl kinase inhibitor, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adults with chronic, accelerated, or blast-phase Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia who are intolerant of or resistant to first- or second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Bosutinib effectively overcomes the majority of imatinib-resistance-conferring BCR-ABL mutations except V299L and T315I. In the Bosutinib Efficacy and Safety in chronic myeloid LeukemiA (BELA) trial, bosutinib attained a faster and deeper molecular response than imatinib in newly diagnosed chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia patients. Treatment-emergent adverse events are usually very manageable. Low grade, mostly self-limiting diarrhea represents the most frequently observed toxicity of bosutinib. Anti-diarrheal drugs, antiemetic agents, and/or fluid replacement should be used to treat these patients. The improved hematological toxicity of bosutinib compared with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors has been ascribed to its minimal activity against platelet-derived growth factor receptor and KIT. In this review, we give an overview on the profile of bosutinib, the clinical potential and treatment-emergent adverse events.
CML; BCR-ABL; SRC/ABL kinase inhibitor; resistance-conferring mutation
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an autosomal dominant, potentially life-threatening condition, manifesting as recurrent and self-limiting episodes of facial, laryngeal, genital, or peripheral swelling with abdominal pain secondary to intra-abdominal edema. The estimated prevalence of HAE in the general population is one individual per 50,000, with reported ranges from 1:10,000 to 1:150,000, without major sex or ethnic differences. Various treatment options for acute attacks and prophylaxis of HAE are authorized and available in the market, including plasma-derived (Berinert®, Cinryze®, and Cetor®) and recombinant (Rhucin® and Ruconest™) C1 inhibitors, kallikrein inhibitor-ecallantide (Kalbitor®), and bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist-icatibant (Firazyr®). Some of these drugs are used only to treat HAE attacks, whereas others are only approved for prophylactic therapies and all of them have improved disease outcomes due to their different mechanisms of action. Bradykinin and its binding to B2 receptor have been demonstrated to be responsible for most of the symptoms of HAE. Thus icatibant (Firazyr®), a bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist, has proven to be an effective and more targeted treatment option and has been approved for the treatment of acute attacks of HAE. Rapid and stable relief from symptoms of cutaneous, abdominal, or laryngeal HAE attacks has been demonstrated by 30 mg of icatibant in Phase III clinical trials. Self-resolving mild to moderate local site reactions after subcutaneous injection of icatibant were observed. Icatibant is a new, safe, and effective treatment for acute attacks of HAE. HAE has been reported to result in enormous humanistic burden to patients, affecting both physical and mental health, with a negative impact on education, career, and work productivity, and with substantial economic burdens. The timely and proper use of disease-specific treatments could improve patients’ quality of life, reduce the disease-specific morbidity and mortality, and, last but not least, reduce costs associated with hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Therefore, the paradigm of HAE treatment has the potential to evolve significantly, thereby exponentially improving a patient’s quality of life.
hereditary angioedema; icatibant; C1 inhibitor; bradykinin
Discoveries over the last decade have fundamentally transformed the way we define lung cancer. Gone are the days of the simple binary classification system of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer. Today, accurate identification of the histological and molecular subtype of NSCLC is required for selecting standard cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted therapies. The identification of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements in 5–7% of NSCLC patients and the rapid clinical development of crizotinib for these patients is the most recent clinical example necessitating the proper identification of the molecular characteristics of NSCLC for treatment decisions. The discovery of ALK rearrangements in NSCLC serendipitously coincided with the development of crizotinib for other ALK or MET driven malignancies. The clinical development of crizotinib for ALK-positive NSCLC patients has been an amazing success story of translational medicine that relied on the prior clinical experience of other targeted predecessors (i.e. erlotinib in EGFR mutant NSCLC) and a compound ready for clinical development to gain expedited FDA approval. This review discusses the clinical development and use of crizotinib in NSCLC.
Xalkori; Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer; ALK; EML4-ALK; HSP90 inhibitors; ROS1; MET
Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. At present, globally about 650,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) are diagnosed each year. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is almost invariably expressed in SCCHN. Overexpression of the EGFR is a strong and independent unfavorable prognostic factor in SCCHN. Cetuximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody, which binds with high affinity to the extracellular domain of the human EGFR, blocking ligand binding, resulting in inhibition of the receptor function. It also targets cytotoxic immune effector cells towards EGFR-expressing tumor cells (antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity). The addition of cetuximab to radiotherapy (RT) improves locoregional control and survival when compared to RT alone. The addition of cetuximab to platinum-based chemoradiation (CRT) is feasible but does not lead to an improved outcome. Cetuximab plus RT has never been compared prospectively to CRT, which therefore remains the standard treatment for patients with locoregionally advanced SCCHN for whom surgery is not considered the optimal treatment, provided they can tolerate CRT. The addition of cetuximab to platinum-based chemotherapy prolongs survival in patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN. The combination of a platinum-based regimen and cetuximab should be considered as the standard first line regimen for patients who can tolerate this treatment.
SCCHN; cetuximab; recurrent metastatic; locoregionally advanced; chemoradiation
Increased cardiovascular mortality has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There are reports indicating that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers may exert favorable but transient effects on the lipid profile, flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and the common carotid intima–media thickness (ccIMT) in RA. We evaluated 38 RA patients (33 females and five males with a mean age of 66.7 ± 10.2 years) who were unresponsive to TNF blockers. The patients received one or more courses of two rituximab (RTX) 1000 mg infusions. Disease activity was evaluated at each visit. Investigations included erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, the 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28), DAS28CRP, the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the FMD percent change from baseline (FMD%), and the postnitroglycerine endothelium-independent vasodilatation. In comparison with the baseline, there was a significant improvement in clinical variables and acute-phase reactants 24 months after the start of RTX therapy. There was also a major improvement in FMD% (from baseline 5.24 ± 1.12 to 5.43 ± 1.16; P = −0.03) and a smaller change in the ccIMT (from baseline 0.69 ± 0.16 to 0.67 ± 0.12 mm P = 0.25). Univariate analysis showed that global health (P < 0.034) was associated with the improvement in FMD%. Multivariate models showed that GH (odds ratio [OR] 0.91; 95% CI: 0.99–0.83; P = 0.032), CD19+ cells (OR 1.024; 95% CI: 1.045–1.003; P = 0.025), IgM (OR 1.025; 95% CI: 1.045–1.004; P = 0.016), and interleukin (IL)-8 (OR 0.487; 95% CI: 0.899–0.264; P = 0.021) were statistically associated with the improvement of FMD%, and that IL-8 (OR 0.717; 95% CI: 0.926–0.555; P = 0.018) was also statistically associated with improvement of ccIMT. The findings of the study confirm that RTX reduces the progression of accelerated atherosclerosis in patients with RA. They also show that improvement in CD19+ cells, IgM and GH after treatment are statistically associated with the improvement of FMD%, and that improvement in IL-8 levels after treatment is statistically associated with improved FMD% and with decrease in the ccIMT.
rituximab; rheumatoid arthritis; endothelial dysfunction
Lung cancer treatment has rapidly changed in the last few years thanks to novel insights into cancer biology. Several biomarkers and signaling pathways have been recognized as conceivable targets for treatment, and among them is the mesenchymal–epithelial transition/hepatocyte growth factor (c-MET/HGF) axis. Alterations in the c-MET gene and aberrations of MET and HGF expression impact on lung cancer prognosis and are involved in resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring activating EGFR mutations. Several anti-MET and anti-HGF strategies are currently under investigation, including monoclonal antibodies. Ficlatuzumab is a monoclonal antibody directed against HGF that is currently under investigation in NSCLC. The aim of the present review is to critically review available data on HGF and ficlatuzumab in NSCLC.
non-small cell lung cancer; MET; hepatocyte growth factor; ficlatuzumab; AV-299
A growing understanding of the biology of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has led to the development and US Food and Drug Administration approval of seven new molecular targeted agents over the past 7 years. Axitinib is a potent, selective, second-generation inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors and the latest to join the armamentarium of drugs available for the treatment of metastatic RCC. Despite recent advances in the development of molecular targeted agents for metastatic RCC, the ideal sequencing of these agents remains unclear.
metastatic RCC; vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor; molecular targeted agent; clear-cell carcinoma
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are an emerging class of therapeutics with potential as anticancer drugs. The rationale for developing HDAC inhibitors (and other chromatin-modifying agents) as anticancer therapies arose from the understanding that in addition to genetic mutations, epigenetic changes such as dysregulation of HDAC enzymes can alter phenotype and gene expression, disturb homeostasis, and contribute to neoplastic growth. The family of HDAC inhibitors is large and diverse. It includes a range of naturally occurring and synthetic compounds that differ in terms of structure, function, and specificity. HDAC inhibitors have multiple cell type-specific effects in vitro and in vivo, such as growth arrest, cell differentiation, and apoptosis in malignant cells. HDAC inhibitors have the potential to be used as monotherapies or in combination with other anticancer therapies. Currently, there are two HDAC inhibitors that have received approval from the US FDA for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, Zolinza) and depsipeptide (romidepsin, Istodax). More recently, depsipeptide has also gained FDA approval for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Many more clinical trials assessing the effects of various HDAC inhibitors on hematological and solid malignancies are currently being conducted. Despite the proven anticancer effects of particular HDAC inhibitors against certain cancers, many aspects of HDAC enzymes and HDAC inhibitors are still not fully understood. Increasing our understanding of the effects of HDAC inhibitors, their targets and mechanisms of action will be critical for the advancement of these drugs, especially to facilitate the rational design of HDAC inhibitors that are effective as antineoplastic agents. This review will discuss the use of HDAC inhibitors as multitargeted therapies for malignancy. Further, we outline the pharmacology and mechanisms of action of HDAC inhibitors while discussing the safety and efficacy of these compounds in clinical studies to date.
chromatin modifications; histone acetylation; histone deacetylase inhibitor; suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid; depsipeptide; entinostat
Hemophilia B is a recessive X-linked bleeding disorder characterized by deficiency of the coagulation factor IX (FIX). In hemophilia B patients the severity of the bleeding phenotype is related to the degree of the FIX defect. Hemophilia B treatment has improved greatly in the last 20 years with the introduction first of plasma-derived and then of recombinant FIX concentrates. Replacement therapy may be administered through on-demand or prophylaxis regimens, but the latter treatment modality has been shown to be superior in prevention of hemophilic arthropathy and in improvement of patients’ quality of life. The purpose of this narrative review is to summarize the current knowledge on treatment strategies for hemophilia B, focusing on recombinant FIX products either clinically used or in development. There is only one rFIX product that is licensed to treat hemophilia B patients; from the analysis of the literature data presented in this review, the authors conclude that this rFIX product has demonstrated an excellent safety profile and excellent clinical efficacy for halting and preventing bleeds in hemophilia B patients. While prophylaxis has emerged as the best therapeutic strategy for such patients because of its ability to prevent hemophilic arthropathy and to improve patients’ quality of life, the pharmacokinetically tailored dosing of rFIX is another key point when planning hemophilia B treatment, as it allows optimization of the factor concentrate usage. Further clinical studies are needed to better assess the safety and efficacy (ie, the incidence of adverse reactions and inhibitor development) of newer rFIX products.
recombinant FIX products; plasma-derived FIX concentrate; bleeding; blood clotting disorder; on-demand treatment; prophylaxis treatment
Proteasomal inhibition revolutionized myeloma therapies in this decade of novel agents. The only US Food and Drug Administration approved proteasome inhibitor so far, bortezomib effectively targets the constitutive proteasome subunit β5 of the 26S proteasome. Bortezomib induces high and quality response rates that are durable. However, myeloma cells acquire resistance to bortezomib through various mechanisms. Further, grade 3/4 peripheral neuropathy is seen in up to a quarter of patients treated with bortezomib. While the recent change in the mode of administration via the subcutaneous route is associated with a lower incidence of grade 3/4 peripheral neuropathy, it remains a major concern. The second generation proteasome inhibitors are promising, with increased preclinical efficacy and a better administration schedule. The current review spotlights the second generation proteasome inhibitors with special focus on the safety and efficacy of carfilzomib, an epoxyketone with lesser peripheral neuropathy, which exhibits irreversible proteasome inhibition. In this article, we review the pharmacology and preclinical and clinical efficacy and safety of carfilzomib alone and in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents in the various lymphoid neoplasms and multiple myeloma as well as ongoing clinical trials.
myeloma; carfilzomib; second generation; proteasome inhibitor; epoxyketone