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2.  Novel covalent modification of human anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and potentiation of crizotinib-mediated inhibition of ALK activity by BNP7787 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:375-383.
BNP7787 (Tavocept, disodium 2,2′-dithio-bis-ethanesulfonate) is a novel, investigational, water-soluble disulfide that is well-tolerated and nontoxic. In separate randomized multicenter Phase II and Phase III clinical trials in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, treatment with BNP7787 in combination with standard chemotherapy resulted in substantial increases in the overall survival of patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung in the first-line treatment setting. We hypothesized that BNP7787 might interact with and modify human anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). At least seven different variants of ALK fusions with the gene encoding the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4) are known to occur in NSCLC. EML4–ALK fusions are thought to account for approximately 3% of NSCLC cases. Herein, we report the covalent modification of the kinase domain of human ALK by a BNP7787-derived mesna moiety and the functional consequences of this modification in ALK assays evaluating kinase activity. The kinase domain of the ALK protein crystallizes as a monomer, and BNP7787-derived mesna-cysteine adducts were observed at Cys 1235 and Cys 1156. The BNP7787-derived mesna adduct at Cys 1156 is located in close proximity to the active site and results in substantial disorder of the P-loop and activation loop (A-loop). Comparison with the P-loop of apo-ALK suggests that the BNP7787-derived mesna adduct at Cys 1156 interferes with the positioning of Phe 1127 into a small pocket now occupied by mesna, resulting in a destabilization of the loop’s binding orientation. Additionally, in vitro kinase activity assays indicate that BNP7787 inhibits ALK catalytic activity and potentiates the activity of the ALK-targeted drug crizotinib.
PMCID: PMC4324543
adenocarcinoma; ALK; BNP7787; chemo-enhancing; crizotinib; non-small-cell lung cancer; Tavocept
3.  The utility of bexarotene in mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:367-373.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is an umbrella term that encompasses a group of neoplasms that have atypical T-lymphocytes in the skin. Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common type of CTCL and Sézary syndrome (SS) is the leukemic form. Treatment for CTCL is dependent on the stage of disease and response to previous therapy. Therapy is divided into skin-directed treatment, which tends to be first line for early-stage disease, and systemic therapy, which is reserved for refractory CTCL. Bexarotene is a rexinoid and was licensed in Europe in 2002 for use in patients with advanced disease that have been refractory to a previous systemic treatment. We review the use of bexarotene as monotherapy and in combination with other treatments.
PMCID: PMC4322887
retinoid; CTCL; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
4.  MicroRNA-153 acts as a prognostic marker in gastric cancer and its role in cell migration and invasion 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:357-364.
MicroRNA (miRNA)-153 (miR-153) has been considered as a novel tumor-related miRNA and is found to be significantly deregulated in human cancers. In this study, we found that the expression levels of miR-153 were obviously lower in gastric cancer tissues than those in matched adjacent nontumor tissues. Otherwise, miR-153 was expressed at significantly lower levels in aggressive tumor tissues. Clinical association analysis indicated that low expression of miR-153 was prominently correlated with poor prognostic features in gastric cancer. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the low expression of miR-153 was correlated with short 5-year survival of gastric cancer patients. Multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that miR-153 was an independent prognostic marker in gastric cancer. Our in vitro studies showed that upregulation of miR-153 reduced cell migration and invasion in MKN-45 cells. Meanwhile, downregulation of miR-153 promoted SGC-7901 cell migration and invasion. An inverse correlation between miR-153 and SNAI1 expression was observed in gastric cancer tissues. In addition, upregulation of miR-153 reduced SNAI1 expression and subsequently suppressed epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) with elevated expression of E-cadherin and reduced expression of vimentin in MKN-45 cells. Furthermore, downregulation of miR-153 increased SNAI1 expression and promoted EMT in SGC-7901 cells. In conclusion, miR-153 is an independent prognostic marker for predicting survival of gastric cancer patients and may promote gastric cancer cell migration and invasion, by inhibiting SNAI1-induced EMT.
PMCID: PMC4322869
miR-153; prognosis; SNAI1; EMT; tumor metastasis
5.  Use of transient elastography to predict de novo recurrence after radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:347-356.
Liver stiffness (LS) measurement using transient elastography can accurately assess the degree of liver fibrosis, which is associated with the risk of the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We investigated whether LS values could predict HCC de novo recurrence after radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
This retrospective, multicenter study analyzed 111 patients with HCC who underwent RFA and LS measurement using transient elastography between May 2005 and April 2011. All patients were followed until March 2013 to monitor for HCC recurrence.
This study included 76 men and 35 women with a mean age of 62.4 years, and the mean LS value was 21.2 kPa. During the follow-up period (median 22.4 months), 47 (42.3%) patients experienced HCC de novo recurrence, and 18 (16.2%) died. Patients with recurrence had significantly more frequent liver cirrhosis, more frequent history of previous treatment for HCC, higher total bilirubin, larger spleen size, larger total tumor size, higher tumor number, higher LS values, and lower platelet counts than those without recurrence (all P<0.05). On multivariate analysis, together with previous anti-HCC treatment history, patients with LS values >13.0 kPa were at significantly greater risk for recurrence after RFA, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 3.115 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.238–7.842, P<0.05). Moreover, LS values independently predicted the mortality after RFA, with a HR of 9.834 (95% CI, 1.148–84.211, P<0.05), together with total bilirubin.
Our data suggest that LS measurement is a useful predictor of HCC de novo recurrence and overall survival after RFA.
PMCID: PMC4322870
hepatocellular carcinoma; radiofrequency ablation; recurrence; liver stiffness; fibroscan
6.  Cytotoxic effect of lapatinib is restricted to human papillomavirus-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:335-345.
Lapatinib is a dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 inhibitor. Overexpression of these receptors is frequently observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). As growing proportion of HNSCC is characterized by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, we aimed at evaluating the efficacy of lapatinib as function of HPV status in HNSCC cell lines.
Two HPV-positive and two HPV-negative HNSCC cell lines were used. Proliferation, cell cycle, and Annexin V assays were performed to test their sensitivity to lapatinib. Combination of lapatinib and ionizing radiation was evaluated with clonogenic survival assays. Akt, EGFR and HER2, and E6/E7 expression and activation were analyzed by immunoblotting and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Lapatinib reduced E6 and E7 expression and Akt phosphorylation, inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell death in HPV-positive cell lines. An additive effect of lapatinib with radiation was observed in these cells. Lapatinib had no effect on HPV-negative cells.
Lapatinib efficacy restricted to the HPV-positive cells suggests that HPV status could be a potential marker for enhanced response to lapatinib in HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC4322874
HPV; lapatinib; ionizing radiation; EGFR; HER2; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
7.  Efficacy of nab-paclitaxel plus trastuzumab in a long-surviving heavily pretreated HER2-positive breast cancer patient with brain metastases 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:289-294.
Brain metastases (BMs) represent a major issue in clinical practice and are associated with a significant worsening of patient’s quality of life and, often, a dismal prognosis. Breast cancer (BC) is the second most common solid malignancy that metastasizes to the central nervous system. Incidence of BM varies according to the tumor subtype, with higher rates in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpression and in triple negative breast cancers. The incidence of BM in HER2-positive BC patients has increased as a consequence of the success of trastuzumab-based therapy. BM represents an emerging unmet medical need and no specific treatment options exist because, until recently, nearly all randomized clinical trials in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) excluded such patients. Therefore, novel approaches in this setting are eagerly awaited. Herein, we report a lengthy progression-free survival with the combination trastuzumab/nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)-paclitaxel in a heavily pretreated HER2-positive BC patient with BM. The long-term disease stabilization reported in the present case (>13 months) is of note for several reasons. First, the nab-paclitaxel plus trastuzumab combination, despite several previous lines of treatment, some of which were associated with known activity on BM, was the first systemic therapy not associated with central nervous system recurrence, avoiding recourse to additional locoregional treatments. Moreover, this combination was associated with long extracranial stabilization with minimal toxicity. The remarkably lengthy progression-free survival reported in our case with the nab-paclitaxel plus trastuzumab combination further confirms the efficacy and the favorable toxicity profile of this promising schedule that showed intriguing results in two phase II studies in first-line MBC and suggests a possible activity on BM. In conclusion, weekly nab-paclitaxel plus trastuzumab may represent a valuable option in the treatment of HER2-positive MBC with BM after radiotherapy and is effective and associated with a good toxicity profile, even in heavily pretreated patients.
PMCID: PMC4322880
HER-2; breast cancer; nab-paclitaxel; brain metastases; trastuzumab; long survivor
8.  Tubeimoside-1 induces glioma apoptosis through regulation of Bax/Bcl-2 and the ROS/Cytochrome C/Caspase-3 pathway 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:303-311.
Tubeimoside-1 (TBMS1) is a natural compound isolated from tubeimoside, which has been widely used as a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the anti-tumor effect and the underling mechanism of TBMS1 on glioma cancer cells.
The MTT assay was performed to evaluate the effect of TBMS1 on glioma cell proliferation. The fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry analysis were performed to evaluate the effect of TBMS1 on glioma cell apoptosis. The Western blot analysis was used to evaluate the protein change.
TBMS1 inhibited glioma cancer cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that TBMS1 induced glioma cell apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Western blotting showed that TBMS1 induced apoptosis by increasing the expression of Bax and downregulating the level of Bcl-2. Furthermore, we found that TBMS1 induced apoptosis by increasing the concentration of reactive oxygen species through the release of Cytochrome C and activation of Caspase-3.
These findings indicate that TBMS1 may be developed as a possible therapeutic agent for the management of glioma.
PMCID: PMC4321652
Tubeimoside-1; glioma; proliferation; apoptosis
9.  Targeting specificity of dendritic cells on breast cancer stem cells: in vitro and in vivo evaluations 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:323-334.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women, and almost all complications are due to chemotherapy resistance. Drug-resistant cells with stem cell phenotypes are thought to cause failure in breast cancer chemotherapy. Dendritic cell (DC) therapy is a potential approach to eradicate these cells. This study evaluates the specificity of DCs for breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) in vitro and in vivo. BCSCs were enriched by a verapamil-resistant screening method, and reconfirmed by ALDH expression analysis and mammosphere assay. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were isolated from allogeneic murine bone marrow. DCs were induced from bone marrow-derived monocytes with 20 ng/mL GC-MSF and 20 ng/mL IL-4. Immature DCs were primed with BCSC- or MSC-derived antigens to make two kinds of mature DCs: BCSC-DCs and MSC-DCs, respectively. In vitro ability of BCSC-DCs and MSC-DCs with cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to inhibit BCSCs was tested using the xCELLigence technique. In vivo, BCSC-DCs and MSC-DCs were transfused into the peripheral blood of BCSC tumor-bearing mice. The results show that in vitro BCSC-DCs significantly inhibited BCSC proliferation at a DC:CTL ratio of 1:40, while MSC-DCs nonsignificantly decreased BCSC proliferation. In vivo, tumor sizes decreased from 18.8% to 23% in groups treated with BCSC-DCs; in contrast, tumors increased 14% in the control group (RPMI 1640) and 47% in groups treated with MSC-DCs. The results showed that DC therapy could target and be specific to BCSCs. DCs primed with MSCs could trigger tumor growth. These results also indicate that DCs may be a promising therapy for treating drug-resistant cancer cells as well as cancer stem cells.
PMCID: PMC4321654
dendritic cells; 4T1 cell line; breast tumor; breast cancer stem cells; verapamil; drug resistance
10.  Targeted therapies for renal cell carcinoma in Chinese patients: focus on everolimus 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:313-321.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of cancer arising from the kidney, with a male to female ratio of 2:1. The incidence of RCC is rising. In males, it was the seventh most common cancer in the People’s Republic of China in 2012. RCC is resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but approximately 20% of patients with advanced RCC respond to immunotherapy. Novel therapies targeting angiogenesis and signaling pathways have been proven to be effective for advanced or metastatic RCC in Western countries. Due to the heterogeneity of RCC between races, it is necessary to have an overview of targeted therapies, especially everolimus, for patients with advanced RCC in the People’s Republic of China. Three targeted therapeutic agents have been approved in Mainland China for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC, ie, two tyrosine kinase inhibitors (sorafenib and sunitinib) and one mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor (everolimus). Compared with Western patients with advanced or metastatic RCC, Chinese patients with the same disease respond better to sorafenib and sunitinib as first-line targeted therapy, but sunitinib has a relatively higher risk of toxicity. Everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor that can be administered orally, is well tolerated and acceptable to Chinese patients. Everolimus has competitive advantages as second-line targeted treatment for Chinese patients with advanced RCC who are resistant to first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Despite a lack of noninferiority when compared with sunitinib as first-line therapy, the sunitinib-everolimus paradigm is still recommended as standard therapy for patients with advanced RCC. Although most studies of targeted therapies for advanced RCC have obvious limitations, such as small sample size and retrospective design, up-to-date evidence indicates that everolimus would be an ideal agent as second-line targeted treatment for advanced or metastatic RCC in the People’s Republic of China.
PMCID: PMC4321650
target therapy; renal cell carcinoma; everolimus; People’s Republic of China
11.  In vivo DNA damaging and apoptotic potential of silver nanoparticles in Swiss albino mice 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:295-302.
Nanoparticles can potentially cause adverse effects on organs, tissue, cell levels, and protein levels because of their physicochemical properties. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are being used on a wide scale in world consumer markets; their potential hazards for humans remain largely unknown. This study aimed to investigate the intraperitoneal toxicity of AgNPs (26 mg per kg of body weight, 52 mg per kg of body weight, and 78 mg per kg of body weight) over 72 hours in Swiss albino mice. AgNPs induced a significant increase in serum liver injury markers including alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase. Induction of DNA damage was also studied in mice injected with AgNPs. Apoptosis (detected by using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxyuridine triphosphatase nick end labeling assay method) in liver tissue and DNA strand breaks (detected by using the comet assay method) in lymphocytes revealed that a concentration of 78 mg of AgNPs per kg body weight can cause significant apoptosis and DNA damage. The DNA damage and apoptosis raise the concern about the safety associated with application of the AgNPs. Significantly more alterations were induced in the hepatocytes of animals exposed to AgNP doses than in the control animals. The induced histological and apoptotic changes may be due to AgNP toxicity. Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural of AgNP.
PMCID: PMC4321656
silver nanoparticles; liver tissue; histology; apoptosis; DNA damage; Swiss albino mice
12.  NVP-BEZ235 overcomes gefitinib-acquired resistance by down-regulating PI3K/AKT/mTOR phosphorylation 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:269-277.
Patients harboring activating mutations in epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) are particularly sensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). However, most patients develop an acquired resistance after a period of about 10 months. This study focuses on the therapeutic effect of NVP-BEZ235, a dual inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/mTOR), in gefitinib-resistant non-small cell lung cancer.
H1975 cell line was validated as a gefitinib-resistant cell model by the nucleotide-sequence analysis. We used the 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay to detect the growth of H1975 cell line in vitro. H1975 cells’ migration was detected by the migration assay. Xenograft models were used to investigate the growth of gefitinib-resistant non-small cell lung cancer in vivo. Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis were used to investigate the level of PI3K/protein kinase B(AKT)/mTOR signaling pathway proteins.
We show that NVP-BEZ235 effectively inhibited the growth of H1975 cells in vivo as well as in vitro. Similarly, H1975 cell migration was reduced by NVP-BEZ235. Further experiments revealed that NVP-BEZ235 attenuated the phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway proteins.
Taken together, we suggest that NVP-BEZ235 inhibits gefitinib-resistant tumor growth by downregulating PI3K/AKT/mTOR phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC4321659
gefitinib-acquired resistance; PI3K kinase; mTOR; NVP-BEZ235
13.  The impact of IGF-1R expression on the outcomes of patients with breast cancer: a meta-analysis 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:279-287.
The value of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) for predicting survival of patients with breast cancer remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of the published data to attempt to clarify the impact of IGF-1R.
Studies published between January 1, 1990 and October 1, 2014 were identified using an electronic search to aggregate the available survival results. Studies were included if they reported detecting IGF-1R expression in the primary breast cancer and analyzed patient survival data according to IGF-1R status. The principal outcome measures were hazard ratios (HRs) for survival of IGF-1R-positive patients. Combined HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using fixed- or random-effects models according to between-study heterogeneity.
Ten studies, involving 5,406 patients, satisfied our inclusion criteria. Data from five studies provided the impact of IGF-1R on overall survival (OS), three studies the impact on breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS), and seven studies the impact on disease-free survival (DFS). The results of meta-analysis showed that for DFS, membranous IGF-1R positivity was not a significant predictor. The combined HR for OS/BCSS was 0.63 (95% CI: 0.42–0.95, P=0.03), indicating that membranous IGF-1R positivity was a significant predictor of better survival. IGF-1R cytoplasmic positivity was significantly associated with longer DFS and OS/BCSS (combined HR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.35–0.89, P=0.01; combined HR: 0.55, 95% CI: 0.35–0.85, P=0.008, respectively). The results of subgroup analysis suggested that membranous IGF-1R positivity in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer was correlated with favorable DFS (combined HR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.41–0.92, P=0.02) and OS/BCSS (combined HR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.57–0.93, P=0.01). Membranous IGF-1R positivity in triple-negative breast cancer predicted worse DFS (combined HR: 1.86, 95% CI: 1.03–3.34, P=0.04). Membranous IGF-1R positivity in Her-2-positive or ER (estrogen receptor)-negative breast cancer was not found to be a significant prognostic indicator.
The results of this meta-analysis suggest that IGF-1R expression has different prognostic values for patients with breast cancers of different molecular subtypes. It was a favorable prognostic indicator in unselected breast cancers and hormone-receptor-positive cancers, but indicated poor survival in triple-negative breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC4321663
IGF-1R; breast cancer; meta-analysis; prognosis; hazard ratio; overall survival; disease-free survival
14.  Primary malignant lymphoma of the uterus and broad ligament: a case report and review of literature 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:265-268.
Primary malignant lymphoma of the uterus and broad ligament is rare. Here, we present a rare case of primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of uterus and broad ligament in a 63-year-old female. The patient presenting with lower abdominal distention was referred to our hospital. Subsequent abdominal and pelvic ultrasound revealed the presence of a large mass, which was highly suspected as subserosal uterine leiomyoma. A large tumor was found with unclear boundary with right posterior wall, broad ligament and bilateral adnexa during surgery. Her uterus and the tumor of a broad ligament and bilateral adnexa were all excised as a result. Postoperative pathological examination showed DLBCL in uterus and broad ligament. Further examinations excluded metastatic diseases, which supported the diagnosis of primary DLBCL of the uterus and broad ligament. The patient received six cycles of R-CHOP (21 days) regimen. During the 8 months follow-up, no evidence of disease recurrence was identified. As the prevalence of primary extranodal lymphoma is increasing, the details of this rare case may highlight the importance and facilitate treatment of similar diseases. A summary focusing on the presentation and prognosis as well as a review of current management is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC4321664
diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; primary uterine and broad ligament lymphoma; extranodal lymphoma; diagnosis; therapy
15.  Prolonged radiation time and low nadir hemoglobin during postoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy are both poor prognostic factors with synergistic effect on locally advanced head and neck cancer patients 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:251-258.
Anemia, a common complication of head and neck cancer treatment, is regarded as a poor prognostic factor. We evaluated the impact of low hemoglobin (Hb) levels, measured at different time points, on a consecutive cohort of patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LA-SCCHN) who underwent postoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT).
Materials and methods
From 2002 to 2009, 140 patients were enrolled and reviewed retrospectively. Preoperative (pre-op Hb), pre-CCRT Hb, and nadir Hb during CCRT were measured and recorded. The three Hb parameters were analyzed against several well-established pathologic risk factors and radiation-associated variables. Prognostic impacts were investigated with multivariate analysis by Cox proportional hazards model.
On Cox regression analysis, significantly higher risk of death was associated with pre-op Hb ≦13 g/dL (hazard ratio [HR] =1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–3.1; P=0.023), nadir Hb ≦11 g/dL (HR =1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.3; P=0.020), radiation treatment time (RTT) >7 weeks (HR =1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.3; P=0.022), and multiple positive lymph nodes (HR =2.1; 95% CI, 1.2–3.7; P=0.010), after adjusting for primary tumor site and pathologic lymphovascular invasion. Patients with poor prognosticators including low nadir Hb ≦11 g/dL and RTT >7 weeks had a higher risk of death (HR =4.0; 95% CI =1.6–10.2; P=0.004).
In the treatment setting of LA-SCCHN patients who underwent postoperative CCRT, coexistance of lower nadir Hb during CCRT and prolonged RTT resulted in reduced survival.
PMCID: PMC4315538
anemia; radiation time; concurrent chemoradiotherapy; hemoglobin; head and neck cancer
16.  Changes in sebum levels and the development of acneiform rash in patients with non–small cell lung cancer after treatment with EGFR inhibitors 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:259-263.
It has recently been shown that patients treated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors often develop various cutaneous adverse events. While the pathogenesis underlying these events remains unclear, the relationship between skin toxicity induced by EGFR inhibitors and the sebaceous glands that express EGFR has been previously reported.
The primary aim of this study was to determine the relationship between cutaneous sebum levels and acneiform rash, a typical skin toxicity of EGFR inhibitors, by measuring the sebum levels before and after EGFR inhibitor treatment.
Eight patients diagnosed with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (three men and five women with an average age of 69.3 years) who were initiated on treatment with EGFR inhibitors (either gefitinib [Iressa®] or erlotinib [Tarceva®]) were enrolled. Using a Sebumeter®, sebum levels in the face, chest, and back of each patient were measured before and after EGFR inhibitor treatment. The development of acneiform rash in each skin region was also assessed.
Changes in sebum level along with the development of an acneiform rash were observed after patients were started on EGFR inhibitor treatment. Patients who developed an EGFR inhibitor–induced acneiform rash tended to have higher pretreatment sebum levels (baseline) than did patients who did not experience an acneiform rash. At each time point measurement, sebum levels were found to be significantly higher in patients who had developed an acneiform rash at that time. Patients who developed rash during treatment showed greater differences in sebum level compared with pretreatment baseline.
Patients who had increased levels of sebum or whose sebum levels showed greater change from pretreatment baseline developed an acneiform rash, suggesting that sebaceous gland activity may be involved in the mechanism underlying the development of acneiform rash, in patients treated with EGFR inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4315547
skin toxicity; cutaneous adverse event; gefitinib; erlotinib
17.  Anticoagulant therapy for venous thromboembolism detected by Doppler ultrasound in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer receiving bevacizumab 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:243-249.
Doppler ultrasound imaging is useful for management of venous thromboembolism associated with a subclavicular implantable central venous access system in patients receiving bevacizumab (Bev). We investigated the efficacy and safety of our anticoagulant regimen based on Doppler findings.
Patients aged ≤75 years with metastatic colorectal cancer, no history of thromboembolism, and no prior use of Bev received chemotherapy plus Bev. Doppler ultrasound imaging of the deep venous system to detect thrombosis was performed after the first course of Bev and repeated after the third course in patients with asymptomatic thrombosis. Indications for anticoagulant therapy in patients with asymptomatic thrombosis were as follows: enlarging thrombus (E), thrombus >40 mm in diameter (S), thrombus involving the superior vena cava (C), and decreased blood flow (V).
Among 79 patients enrolled in this study, asymptomatic thrombosis was detected in 56 patients (70.9%) by Doppler ultrasound imaging after the first course of Bev and there was no thrombus in 23 patients (29.1%). Of these 56 patients, 11 (19.6%) received anticoagulant therapy with warfarin, including eight after the first course and three after follow-up imaging. S + V was observed in four of 11 patients (36.4%), as well as V in two (18.2%), S + V + C in one (9.1%), E + S + V in one (9.1%), E + C in one (9.1%), E in one (9.1%), and C in one (9.1%). All patients resumed chemotherapy, including seven who resumed Bev. Improvement or stabilization of thrombi was achieved in ten patients (90.9%). Only one patient had symptomatic thromboembolism. Mild bleeding due to anticoagulant therapy occurred in six patients (54.5%), but there were no treatment-related severe adverse events or deaths. Severe thromboembolism was not observed in the other 68 patients.
Our anticoagulant protocol for asymptomatic thrombosis detected by Doppler ultrasound imaging was effective at preventing severe thromboembolism during continued treatment with Bev.
PMCID: PMC4315555
venous thromboembolism; Bev; anticoagulant therapy; colorectal cancer
19.  Tumor deposit is a poor prognostic indicator in patients who underwent simultaneous resection for synchronous colorectal liver metastases 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:233-240.
Tumor deposits are one of the important influencing factors among the different editions of Tumor, Node, Metastasis classification. Incidence and prognosis of tumor deposits in stage I, II, and III colorectal cancer patients has been explored. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of tumor deposits in stage IV colorectal cancer patients who underwent simultaneous resection for synchronous colorectal liver metastases (SCRLM).
Clinicopathological and outcome data of 146 consecutive SCRLM patients who underwent simultaneous R0 resection between July 2003 and July 2013 were collected from our prospectively established SCRLM database. The prognostic value of tumor deposits was evaluated by Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression analysis.
Tumor deposits were detected in 41.8% (61/146) of these SCRLM patients. Tumor deposits were significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis and nerve invasion of the primary tumors (P=0.002, P=0.041; respectively). The Kaplan–Meier survival analysis revealed that the overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of SCRLM patients with tumor deposits were significantly poorer than those with no tumor deposits (P=0.039, P=0.001; respectively). And with multivariate analysis, we found that positive tumor deposits were significantly associated with shorter DFS independent of lymph node status (P=0.002). Subgroup analysis found that of the 57 SCRLM patients with negative lymph node status, the OS and DFS of patients with positive tumor deposits were significantly shorter than those with negative tumor deposits (P=0.002 and P=0.031, respectively). Of the 89 patients with positive lymph node status, the OS of patients with tumor deposits was not significantly different than those without tumor deposits (P=0.965); however, the DFS of patients with tumor deposits was significantly shorter than those with no tumor deposits (P=0.034).
Tumor deposits may be an independent adverse prognostic factor in SCRLM patients who underwent simultaneous R0 resection.
PMCID: PMC4309783  PMID: 25653544
tumor deposits; synchronous colorectal liver metastases; prognostic factors
20.  Impact on growth and invasion of gastric cancer cell lines by silencing NEDD9 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:223-231.
Gastric adenocarcinoma is a predominant disease with latent attribute, high malignancy, and poor prognosis in People’s Republic of China. Gastric cancer is the most common malignant tumor of the digestive tract. It has been suggested that abnormal expression of NEDD9 was associated with stage progression and metabolism of carcinomas. Some authors demonstrated that both messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein of NEDD9 were highly expressed in gastric cancer, and paired paracancerous atypical hyperplasia tissues were correlated with lymph node metastasis, tumor depth, and tumor-lymph node-metastasis (TNM) staging. In this study, we found that NEDD9 small interfering RNA (siRNA) can induce apoptosis and suppress proliferation, migration, and invasion of BGC823 cell lines. These findings suggested that NEDD9 siRNA might serve as a tumor suppressor by targeting NEDD9 in gastric cancer cell. It has been suggested that abnormal expression of NEDD9 was associated with carcinogenesis, and in the first part of the study, we found that NEDD9 was highly expressed in gastric cancer tissues; and it too was correlated with lymph node metastasis, tumor depth, and TNM staging. In this project, experiments were carried out to silence NEDD9 in BGC823 cell lines using NEDD9 siRNA, and the biological activity of BGC823 cells was observed after RNA interference.
The target analysis of NEDD9 siRNA was forecast using online tools. In order to determine a more efficient NEDD9 siRNA, three pairs of NEDD9 siRNA primer were designed, synthesized, and then transfected into BGC823 cells. NEDD9-2 siRNA was finally adopted by detecting the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Cells were collected for detecting mRNA by qRT-PCR or protein by western blot analysis. Cell apoptosis was detected using flow cytometry, and the transwell invasion system was used for cell migration and invasion assays. The effect of NEDD9 siRNA in silencing the target gene in BGC823 cells was then assessed. Also, the impact of NEDD9-2 siRNA on cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion were detected in BGC823 cell lines.
The relative quantity of expression of mRNA and protein showed a decrease in all cells transfected with siNEDD9-2 at different concentrations. The cell proliferation inhibition assay showed that the inhibition rate was significantly increased in all transfected cells compared with control groups. Cell apoptosis assay showed that the number of living cells were significantly reduced compared with control groups, and cell migration and invasion assay showed that siNEDD9 could inhibit BGC823 cell migration and invasion in vitro.
NEDD9 siRNA could inhibit expression of NEDD9 and induce apoptosis, suppress proliferation, migration, and invasion of BGC823 cells, acting as a tumor suppressor in carcinogenesis of gastric cancer. These findings suggested that NEDD9 siRNA plays an important role in the proliferation, apoptosis, and invasion of BGC823 cells.
PMCID: PMC4309781  PMID: 25653543
NEDD9 siRNA; apoptosis
21.  Meta-analysis of the association between APC promoter methylation and colorectal cancer 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:211-222.
Previous studies investigating the association between adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene promoter methylation and colorectal cancer (CRC) have yielded conflicting results. The aim of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the potential application of the detection of APC promoter methylation to the prevention and treatment of CRC. PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE (results updated to October 2014) were searched for relevant studies. The effect size was defined as the weighted odds ratio (OR), which was calculated using either the fixed-effects or random-effects model. Prespecified subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted to evaluate potential heterogeneity among the included studies. Nineteen studies comprising 2,426 participants were selected for our meta-analysis. The pooled results of nine studies comprising a total of 740 subjects indicated that APC promoter methylation was significantly associated with CRC risk (pooled OR 5.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.50–8.76; P<0.01). Eleven studies with a total of 1,219 patients evaluated the association between APC promoter methylation and the presence of CRC metastasis, and the pooled OR was 0.80 (95% CI 0.44–1.46; P=0.47). A meta-analysis conducted with four studies with a total of 467 patients found no significant correlation between APC promoter methylation and the presence of colorectal adenoma (pooled OR 1.85; 95% CI 0.67–5.10; P=0.23). No significant correlation between APC promoter methylation and patients’ Dukes’ stage, TNM stage, differentiation grade, age, or sex was identified. In conclusion, APC promoter methylation was found to be significantly associated with a higher risk of developing CRC. The findings indicate that APC promoter methylation may be a potential biomarker for the carcinogenesis of CRC.
PMCID: PMC4304602  PMID: 25632237
APC promoter methylation; colorectal cancer; meta-analysis
22.  HMGA2 is associated with epithelial–mesenchymal transition and can predict poor prognosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:169-176.
High-mobility group protein 2 (HMGA2) and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT)-associated proteins play key roles in cancer progression and metastasis. However, the clinical significance of HMGA2 and its relationship with EMT markers in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is unclear. This study aimed to assess the clinicopathological significance and prognostic value of HMGA2, E-cadherin, and vimentin in NPC.
Using immunohistochemistry, HMGA2, E-cadherin, and vimentin expression levels were evaluated in NPC (n=124) and non-tumoral inflammatory nasopharynx (n=20) tissues. The association of HMGA2 and EMT markers with clinicopathological characteristics and relationships between the protein levels and overall survival were analyzed.
Compared with non-tumorous tissues, HMGA2 and vimentin levels were markedly increased in NPC tissues, whereas decreased E-cadherin levels were observed (P<0.001). Moreover, HMGA2 expression was positively correlated with vimentin levels (r=0.431, P<0.001) and negatively correlated with E-cadherin amounts (r=−0.413, P<0.001) in NPC tissues. The expression of all three proteins correlated significantly with tumor N stage, TNM stage, and 2-year metastasis. Furthermore, significant correlations were found for T stage, N stage, TNM stage, HMGA2, E-cadherin, and vimentin (all P<0.013) with poor prognosis (univariate analysis). However, multivariate analyses showed that only HMGA2 (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.683, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.185–6.077, P=0.018) and N stage (HR: 7.892, 95% CI: 2.731–22.807, P<0.001) were independent predictors of poor prognosis.
These results demonstrated that HMGA2, an independent prognostic factor, may promote NPC progression and metastasis, and is significantly associated with EMT proteins. Therefore, HMGA2 may be considered a potential therapeutic target in NPC.
PMCID: PMC4303461  PMID: 25653540
EMT; NPC; high-mobility group protein 2
23.  BRAF-mutant melanoma: treatment approaches, resistance mechanisms, and diagnostic strategies 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:157-168.
BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib and dabrafenib achieved improved overall survival over chemotherapy and have been approved for the treatment of BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. More recently, the combination of BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib with MEK inhibitor trametinib has shown improved progression-free survival, compared to dabrafenib monotherapy, in a Phase II study and has received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, even when treated with the combination, most patients develop mechanisms of acquired resistance, and some of them do not achieve tumor regression at all, because of intrinsic resistance to therapy. Along with the development of BRAF inhibitors, immunotherapy made an important step forward: ipilimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody, was approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma; anti-PD-1 agents achieved promising results in Phase I/II trials, and data from Phase III studies will be ready soon. The availability of such drugs, which are effective regardless of BRAF status, has made the therapeutic approach more complex, as first-line treatment with BRAF inhibitors may not be the best choice for all BRAF-mutated patients. The aim of this paper is to review the systemic therapeutic options available today for patients affected by BRAF V600-mutated metastatic melanoma, as well as to summarize the mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and discuss the possible strategies to overcome them. Moreover, since the molecular analysis of tumor specimens is now a pivotal and decisional factor in the treatment strategy of metastatic melanoma patients, the advances in the molecular detection techniques for the BRAF V600 mutation will be reported.
PMCID: PMC4303458  PMID: 25653539
melanoma; BRAF; vemurafenib; dabrafenib; resistance; BRAF inhibitor
24.  Triple-negative breast cancer: new perspectives for targeted therapies 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:177-193.
Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, encompassing a large number of entities showing different morphological features and having clinical behaviors. It has became apparent that this diversity may be justified by distinct patterns of genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic aberrations. The identification of gene-expression microarray-based characteristics has led to the identification of at least five breast cancer subgroups: luminal A, luminal B, normal breast-like, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and basal-like. Triple-negative breast cancer is a complex disease diagnosed by immunohistochemistry, and it is characterized by malignant cells not expressing estrogen receptors or progesterone receptors at all, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Along with this knowledge, recent data show that triple-negative breast cancer has specific molecular features that could be possible targets for new biological targeted drugs. The aim of this article is to explore the use of new drugs in this particular setting, which is still associated with poor prognosis and high risk of distant recurrence and death.
PMCID: PMC4303459  PMID: 25653541
basal-like breast cancer; estrogen–progesterone receptors; gene-expression microarray; human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; chemotherapy; target therapy
25.  Oncogenic mutation profiling in new lung cancer and mesothelioma cell lines 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:195-209.
Thoracic tumor, especially lung cancer, ranks as the top cancer mortality in most parts of the world. Lung adenocarcinoma is the predominant subtype and there is increasing knowledge on therapeutic molecular targets, namely EGFR, ALK, KRAS, and ROS1, among lung cancers. Lung cancer cell lines established with known clinical characteristics and molecular profiling of oncogenic targets like ALK or KRAS could be useful tools for understanding the biology of known molecular targets as well as for drug testing and screening.
Materials and methods
Five new cancer cell lines were established from pleural fluid or biopsy tissues obtained from Chinese patients with primary lung adenocarcinomas or malignant pleural mesothelioma. They were characterized by immunohistochemistry, growth kinetics, tests for tumorigenicity, EGFR and KRAS gene mutations, ALK gene rearrangement and OncoSeq mutation profiling.
These newly established lung adenocarcinoma and mesothelioma cell lines were maintained for over 100 passages and demonstrated morphological and immunohistochemical features as well as growth kinetics of tumor cell lines. One of these new cell lines bears EML4-ALK rearrangement variant 2, two lung cancer cell lines bear different KRAS mutations at codon 12, and known single nucleotide polymorphism variants were identified in these cell lines.
Four new lung adenocarcinoma and one mesothelioma cell lines were established from patients with different clinical characteristics and oncogenic mutation profiles. These characterized cell lines and their mutation profiles will provide resources for exploration of lung cancer and mesothelioma biology with regard to the presence of known oncogenic mutations.
PMCID: PMC4303463  PMID: 25653542
lung adenocarcinomas; oncogenic mutations; EGFR; ALK; KRAS

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