Forkhead box transcription factor 1 (FOXM1) has been reported to overexpress and correlate with pathogenesis in a variety of human malignancies. However, little research has been done to investigate its clinical significance in gastric cancer.
We examined the expression of FOXM1 in 103 postoperational gastric cancer tissues and 5 gastric cell lines by immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis respectively. Data on clinic-pathological features and relevant prognostic factors in these patients were then analyzed. Moreover, the association of FOXM1 expression and chemosensitivity to docetaxel in gastric cancer cells was further explored.
Our study demonstrated that the level of FOXM1 expression was significantly higher in gastric cancer than in para-cancer tissues (P < 0.001) and normal gastric cell lines (P = 0.026). No significant association was found between FOXM1 expression and any clinical pathological features (P > 0.1). FOXM1 amplification was identified as an independent prognostic factor in gastric cancer (P = 0.001), and its affection is more significant in patients with tumor size larger than 5 cm (P = 0.004), pT3-4 (P = 0.003) or pIII-IV (P = 0.001). Additionally, shown to mediate docetaxel resistance in gastric cancers by our research, FOXM1 was revealed to alter microtubule dynamics in response to the treatment of docetaxel, and the drug resistance could be reversed with FOXM1 inhibitor thiostrepton treatment.
FOXM1 can be a useful marker for predicting patients’ prognosis and monitoring docetaxel response, and might be a new therapeutic target in docetaxel resistant gastric cancer.
FOXM1; Gastric cancer; Prognosis; Docetaxel resistance
Prevalence and distribution of pathogenetic mutations in BRAF and NRAS genes were evaluated in multiple melanoma lesions from patients with different geographical origin within the same Italian population.
Genomic DNA from a total of 749 tumor samples (451 primary tumors and 298 metastases) in 513 consecutively-collected patients with advanced melanoma (AJCC stages III and IV) was screened for mutations in exon 15 of BRAF gene and, at lower extension (354/513; 69%), in the entire coding DNA of NRAS gene by automated direct sequencing. Among tissues, 236 paired samples of primary melanomas and synchronous or asynchronous metastases were included into the screening.
Overall, mutations were detected in 49% primary melanomas and 51% metastases, for BRAF gene, and 15% primary tumors and 16% secondaries, for NRAS gene. A heterogeneous distribution of mutations in both genes was observed among the 451 primary melanomas according to patients’ geographical origin: 61% vs. 42% (p = 0.0372) BRAF-mutated patients and 2% vs. 21% (p < 0.0001) NRAS-mutated cases were observed in Sardinian and non-Sardinian populations, respectively. Consistency in BRAF/NRAS mutations among paired samples was high for lymph node (91%) and visceral metastases (92.5%), but significantly lower for brain (79%; p = 0.0227) and skin (71%; p = 0.0009) metastases.
Our findings about the two main alterations occurring in the different tumor tissues from patients with advanced melanoma may be helpful in improving the management of such a disease.
Malignant melanoma; BRAF gene; NRAS gene; Mutation analysis; Cancer genetic heterogeneity
Osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, resulting in increased fragility and susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporotic fractures are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Direct medical costs from such fractures in the UK are currently estimated at over two billion pounds per year, resulting in a substantial healthcare burden that is expected to rise exponentially due to increasing life expectancy. Currently bone mineral density is the WHO standard for diagnosis of osteoporosis, but poor sensitivity means that potential fractures will be missed if it is used alone. During the past decade considerable progress has been made in the identification and characterisation of specific biomarkers to aid the management of metabolic bone disease. Technological developments have greatly enhanced assay performance producing reliable, rapid, non-invasive cost effective assays with improved sensitivity and specificity. We now have a greater understanding of the need to regulate pre-analytical sample collection to minimise the effects of biological variation. However, bone turnover markers (BTMs) still have limited clinical utility. It is not routinely recommended to use BTMs to select those at risk of fractures, but baseline measurements of resorption markers are useful before commencement of anti-resorptive treatment and can be checked 3–6 months later to monitor response and adherence to treatment. Similarly, formation markers can be used to monitor bone forming agents. BTMs may also be useful when monitoring patients during treatment holidays and aid in the decision as to when therapy should be recommenced. Recent recommendations by the Bone Marker Standards Working Group propose to standardise research and include a specific marker of bone resorption (CTX) and bone formation (P1NP) in all future studies. It is hoped that improved research in turn will lead to optimised markers for the clinical management of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Bone turnover markers; Bone formation; Bone resorption; Osteoporosis; Biological variability
Recent studies have indicated that the expression of endothelin A receptor (ETAR) and chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) could be used as an indicator of the metastatic potential of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of ETAR and CXCR4 in NPC patients and to reveal the interplay of the endothelin-1 (ET-1)/ETAR and stromal-derived factor-1(SDF-1)/CXCR4 pathways in promoting NPC cell motility.
Survival analysis was used to analyze the prognostic value of ETAR and CXCR4 expression in 153 cases of NPC. Chemotaxis assays were used to evaluate alterations in the migration ability of non-metastatic 6-10B and metastatic 5-8F NPC cells. Real-time PCR, immunoblotting, and flow cytometric analyses were used to evaluate changes in the expression levels of CXCR4 mRNA and protein induced by ET-1.
The expression levels of ETAR and CXCR4 were closely related to each other and both correlated with a poor prognosis. A multivariate analysis showed that the expression levels of both ETAR and CXCR4 were independent prognostic factors for overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS). The migration of 6-10B and 5-8F cells was elevated by ET-1 in combination with SDF-1α. The knockdown of ETAR protein expression by siRNA reduced CXCR4 protein expression in addition to ETAR protein expression, leading to a decrease in the metastatic potential of the 5-8F cells. ET-1 induced CXCR4 mRNA and protein expression in the 6-10B NPC cells in a time- and concentration-dependent fashion and was inhibited by an ETAR antagonist and PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway inhibitors.
ETAR and CXCR4 expression levels are potential prognostic biomarkers in NPC patients. ETAR activation partially promoted NPC cell migration via a mechanism that enhanced functional CXCR4 expression.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Prognosis; ETAR; CXCR4; Metastasis
Effective eradication of high-risk primary prostate cancer (HRPCa) could significantly decrease mortality from prostate cancer. However, the discovery of curative therapies for HRPCa is hampered by the lack of authentic preclinical models.
We improved upon tumorgraft models that have been shown to predict drug response in other cancer types by implanting thin, precision-cut slices of HRPCa under the renal capsule of immunodeficient mice. Tissue slice grafts (TSGs) from 6 cases of HRPCa were established in mice. Following androgen deprivation by castration, TSGs were recovered and the presence and phenotype of cancer cells were evaluated.
High-grade cancer in TSGs generated from HRPCa displayed characteristic Gleason patterns and biomarker expression. Response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) was as in humans, with some cases exhibiting complete pathologic regression and others showing resistance to castration. As in humans, ADT decreased cell proliferation and prostate-specific antigen expression in TSGs. Adverse pathological features of parent HRPCa were associated with lack of regression of cancer in corresponding TSGs after ADT. Castration-resistant cancer cells remaining in TSGs showed upregulated expression of androgen receptor target genes, as occurs in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in humans. Finally, a rare subset of castration-resistant cancer cells in TSGs underwent epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a process also observed in CRPC in humans.
Our study demonstrates the feasibility of generating TSGs from multiple patients and of generating a relatively large number of TSGs from the same HRPCa specimen with similar cell composition and histology among control and experimental samples in an in vivo setting. The authentic response of TSGs to ADT, which has been extensively characterized in humans, suggests that TSGs can serve as a surrogate model for clinical trials to achieve rapid and less expensive screening of therapeutics for HRPCa and primary CRPC.
Prostate cancer; Androgen deprivation therapy; Tumorgrafts
The quality and safety of cell therapy products must be maintained throughout their production and quality control cycle, ensuring their final use in the patient. We validated the Lymulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) test and immunophenotype according to International Conference on Harmonization Q2 Guidelines and the EU Pharmacopoeia, considering accuracy, precision, repeatability, linearity and range.
For the endotoxin test we used a kinetic chromogenic LAL test. As this is a limit test for the control of impurities, in compliance with International Conference on Harmonization Q2 Guidelines and the EU Pharmacopoeia, we evaluated the specificity and detection limit.
For the immunophenotype test, an identity test, we evaluated specificity through the Fluorescence Minus One method and we repeated all experiments thrice to verify precision. The immunophenotype validation required a performance qualification of the flow cytometer using two types of standard beads which have to be used daily to check cytometer reproducibly set up. The results were compared together.
Collected data were statistically analyzed calculating mean, standard deviation and coefficient of variation percentage (CV%).
The LAL test is repeatable and specific. The spike recovery value of each sample was between 0.25 EU/ml and 1 EU/ml with a CV% < 10%. The correlation coefficient (≥ 0.980) and CV% (< 10%) of the standard curve tested in duplicate showed the test's linearity and a minimum detectable concentration value of 0.005 EU/ml.
The immunophenotype method performed thrice on our cell therapy products is specific and repeatable as showed by CV% inter -experiment < 10%.
Our data demonstrated that validated analytical procedures are suitable as quality controls for the batch release of cell therapy products.
Our paper could offer an important contribution for the scientific community in the field of CTPs, above all to small Cell Factories such as ours, where it is not always possible to have CFR21 compliant software.
Cell therapy; Quality control; Stem cell
Autism is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder. At present there are no defined mechanisms of pathogenesis and therapy is mostly limited to behavioral interventions. Stem cell transplantation may offer a unique treatment strategy for autism due to immune and neural dysregulation observed in this disease. This non-randomized, open-label, single center phase I/II trial investigated the safety and efficacy of combined transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMNCs) and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs) in treating children with autism.
37 subjects diagnosed with autism were enrolled into this study and divided into three groups: CBMNC group (14 subjects, received CBMNC transplantation and rehabilitation therapy), Combination group (9 subjects, received both CBMNC and UCMSC transplantation and rehabilitation therapy), and Control group (14 subjects, received only rehabilitation therapy). Transplantations included four stem cell infusions through intravenous and intrathecal injections once a week. Treatment safety was evaluated with laboratory examinations and clinical assessment of adverse effects. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) were adopted to assess the therapeutic efficacy at baseline (pre-treatment) and following treatment.
There were no significant safety issues related to the treatment and no observed severe adverse effects. Statistically significant differences were shown on CARS, ABC scores and CGI evaluation in the two treatment groups compared to the control at 24 weeks post-treatment (p < 0.05).
Transplantation of CBMNCs demonstrated efficacy compared to the control group; however, the combination of CBMNCs and UCMSCs showed larger therapeutic effects than the CBMNC transplantation alone. There were no safety issues noted during infusion and the whole monitoring period.
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01343511, Title “Safety and Efficacy of Stem Cell Therapy in Patients with Autism”.
Autism; Cord blood mononuclear cell; Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell; Cell transplantation
Increasing evidence indicates that deregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) is involved in tumorigenesis. Downregulation of microRNA-503 has been observed in various types of diseases, including cancer. However, the biological function of miR-503 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still largely unknown. In this study we aimed to elucidate the prognostic implications of miR-503 in HCC and its pathophysiologic role.
Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was used to evaluate miR-503 expression in HCC tissues and cell lines. Western blotting was performed to evaluate the expression of the miR-503 target genes. In vivo and in vitro assays were performed to evaluate the function of miR-503 in HCC. Luciferase reporter assay was employed to validate the miR-503 target genes.
miR-503 was frequently downregulated in HCC cell lines and tissues. Low expression levels of miR-503 were associated with enhanced malignant potential such as portal vein tumor thrombi, histologic grade, TNM stage, AFP level and poor prognosis. Multivariate analysis indicated that miR-503 downregulation was significantly associated with worse overall survival of HCC patients. Functional studies showed miR-503 suppressed the proliferation of HCC cells by induction of G1 phase arrest through Rb-E2F signaling pathways, and thus may function as a tumor suppressor. Further investigation characterized two cell cycle-related molecules, cyclin D3 and E2F3, as the direct miR-503 targets.
Our data highlight an important role for miR-503 in cell cycle regulation and in the molecular etiology of HCC, and implicate the potential application of miR-503 in prognosis prediction and miRNA-based HCC therapy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; microRNA-503; Cyclin D3; E2F3; Overall survival; G1/S transition
Moderate-to-severe psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD); however, the link is poorly understood.
Skin and serum from patients with psoriasis were evaluated to understand if there was evidence of dysregulation in a targeted group of inflammatory and lipid genes related to ASCVD. Microarray analyses of expression of targeted ASCVD genes from skin in 89 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis from the ACCEPT trial were compared with non-diseased skin from healthy controls (n = 25). Serum (n = 149) was tested at baseline for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and apolipoprotein-A1 (Apo-A1) comparing to healthy controls (n=162).
An increase in skin gene expression for MCP-1 (7.98-fold) and MDC (6.66-fold) (p < 0.001 each) was observed in lesional versus healthy skin. Significant decreases in liver X receptor-alpha (LXR-α) (−5.94-fold), a protective lipoprotein metabolism gene, and in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) (−7.58-fold), a protective anti-inflammatory and lipid modulating gene, were observed in lesional versus healthy skin (p < 0.001 each). Serum analyses revealed that MCP-1 (502 vs. 141 pg/mL) and MDC (1240 vs. 409 pg/mL) levels were significantly elevated in psoriasis compared with healthy controls (p < 0.001 each). Dysregulated lipid metabolism was also evident in the serum, as Apo-A1, a protein product related to PPAR-α activation, was significantly decreased in patients with psoriasis compared with healthy controls (25.2 vs. 38.9 mg/dL; p < 0.001).
Analyses of targeted genes and their products known to be associated with ASCVD revealed dysregulation of inflammatory (MCP-1 and MDC) and lipid metabolism (LXR-α, PPAR-α) genes in psoriasis. These findings provide evidence of a potential shared pathophysiology linking psoriasis to cardiometabolic diseases.
Inflammation; Atherosclerosis; Lipid metabolism; Psoriasis
Oncolytic viruses have shown potential as cancer therapeutics, but not all patients seem to benefit from therapy. Polymorphisms in Fc gamma receptors (FcgRs) lead to altered binding affinity of IgG between the receptor allotypes and therefore contribute to differences in immune defense mechanisms. Associations have been identified between FcgR polymorphisms and responsiveness to different immunotherapies. Taken together with the increasing understanding that immunological factors might determine the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy we studied whether FcgR polymorphisms would have prognostic and/or predictive significance in the context of oncolytic adenovirus treatments.
235 patients with advanced solid tumors were genotyped for two FcgR polymorphisms, FcgRIIa-H131R (rs1801274) and FcgRIIIa-V158F (rs396991), using TaqMan based qPCR. The genotypes were correlated with patient survival and tumor imaging data.
In patients treated with oncolytic adenoviruses, overall survival was significantly shorter if the patient had an FcgRIIIa-VV/ FcgRIIa-HR (VVHR) genotype combination (P = 0,032). In contrast, patients with FFHR and FFRR genotypes had significantly longer overall survival (P = 0,004 and P = 0,006, respectively) if they were treated with GM-CSF-armed adenovirus in comparison to other viruses. Treatment of these patients with unarmed virus correlated with shorter survival (P < 0,0005 and P = 0,016, respectively). Treating FFHH individuals with CD40L-armed virus resulted in longer survival than treatment with other viruses (P = 0,047).
Our data are compatible with the hypothesis that individual differences in effector cell functions, such as NK cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and tumor antigen presentation by APCs caused by polymorphisms in FcgRs could play role in the effectiveness of oncolytic virotherapies. If confirmed in larger populations, FcgR polymorphisms could have potential as prognostic and predictive biomarkers for oncolytic adenovirus therapies to enable better selection of patients for clinical trials. Also, putative associations between genotypes, different viruses and survival implicate potentially important mechanistic issues.
Fc gamma receptor (FcgR); Oncolytic virus; NK cell; GM-CSF; CD40L
This study was to investigate the effects and safety of cathepsin B-cleavable doxorubicin (DOX)-prodrug (PDOX) for targeting therapy of metastatic human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using DOX as a positive control drug.
The orthotopic nude mice model of highly metastatic HCC was established and the animals were randomized and treated with PDOX, DOX and saline, respectively. Hematology, biochemistry and tumor markers were studied. At autopsy, liver tumor weight and size, ascites, abdominal lymph nodes metastases, experimental peritoneal carcinomatosis index (ePCI), and tumor-host body weight ratio were investigated. Immunohistochemical studies and western blotting were done to investigate key molecules involved in the mechanism of action.
Compared with Control, both PDOX and DOX could similarly and significantly reduce liver tumor weight and tumor volume by over 40%, ePCI values, retroperitoneal lymph node metastases and lung metastases and serum AFP levels (P < 0.05). The PDOX group had significantly higher WBC than the DOX group (P < 0.05), and higher PLT than Control (P < 0.05). Serum BUN and Cr levels were lower in the PDOX group than DOX and Control groups (P < 0.05). Compared with Control, DOX increased CK and CK-MB; while PDOX decreased CK compared with DOX (P < 0.05). Multiple spotty degenerative changes of the myocardium were observed in DOX-treated mice, but not in the Control and PDOX groups. PDOX could significantly reduce the Ki-67 positive rate of tumor cells, compared with DOX and Control groups. PDOX produced the effects at least via the ERK pathway.
Compared with DOX, PDOX may have better anti-metastatic efficacy and reduced side effects especially cardio-toxicities in this HCC model.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Molecular targeting therapy; Doxorubicin; PDOX; Metastases
Chronic inflammation has been recognized to foster tumour development. Whether chemotherapy can be used to neutralize chronic inflammation is unclear.
We evaluated baseline and nadir neutrophils in 111 patients (pts.) with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and 118 pts. with ovarian cancer (OC) treated with chemotherapy administered with dose-individualization to achieve nadir neutropenia of 1.5. We used predefined baseline neutrophil cut-offs 4.5 × 109/L (NSCLC) and 3.9 × 109/L (OC).
Absence of chemotherapy-induced nadir neutropenia (CTCAE grade 0, neutrophils ≥ LLN) was seen in 23% of OC and 25% of NSCLC pts. Absence of nadir neutropenia was associated with decreased overall survival (OS) compared with presence (>grade 0) of neutropenia (9 vs. 14 months, P = 0.004 for NSCLC and 23 vs. 56 months; P = 0.01 for OC). Obtaining grade 3/4 neutropenia did not improve survival compared with grade 1/2 neutropenia. In multivariate analyses, baseline neutrophils ≥4.5 × 109/L (HR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.11-3.44;P = 0.02) and absence of nadir neutropenia (HR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.02-2.65;P = 0.04) for NSCLC and absence of nadir neutropenia (HR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.04;2.93;P = 0.04) for OC were independently associated with short OS.
Three prognostic neutrophil index (NI) groups were defined. Favourable NI: low baseline neutrophils and presence of nadir neutropenia (>grade 0), Intermediate NI: elevated baseline neutrophils and presence of nadir neutropenia (>grade 0), and Poor NI: elevated baseline neutrophils and absence of nadir neutropenia (grade 0). For NSCLC patients, the median OS was 18.0, 13.4, and 8.8 months for favourable, intermediate and poor NI, respectively (fav vs. poor P = 0.002; fav vs. intermed P = 0.04; and intermed vs. poor P = 0.03). For OC patients, median OS was 69, 52 and 23 months for favourable, intermediate and poor NI, respectively (fav vs. poor P = 0.03; fav vs. intermed P = 0.3; and intermed vs. poor P = 0.02). Interestingly, survival rates in the intermediate NI groups indicated that individualised dose of chemotherapy to induce neutropenia may partly overcome the negative impact of elevated baseline neutrophils.
A neutrophil index comprising elevated baseline neutrophils and absence of neutropenia identified a high risk group of NSCLC and ovarian cancer patients with only modest effect of chemotherapy. New treatment options for this subset of patients are required.
Lung cancer; Ovarian cancer; Neutrophils; Tumour microenvironment; Prognostic factor
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, ascorbate) is a key water soluble antioxidant that, when administered in doses well above its recommended dietary allowance, may have preventative and therapeutic value against a number of pathologies. The intravenous administration of high dose ascorbate (IVC) has increased in popularity among complementary and alternative medicine practitioners: thousands of patients received IVC, at an average dose of 0.5 g/kg, without significant side effects. While IVC may have a variety of possible applications, it has generated the most interest for its potential use in treating cancer.
Medical records of patients with cancer treated with IVC at the Riordan Clinic were retrospectively reviewed. Cancer patients, for whom plasma ascorbate concentration data before and after treatment were available, along with C-reactive protein (CRP) measurements, were chosen for analysis.
The results of the analysis can be summarized as follows. IVC produces peak plasma ascorbate concentrations on the order of ten millimolars with lower peak plasma concentrations obtained in cancer patients as compared to healthy subjects. Cancer patients who are deficient in vitamin C prior to therapy tend to achieve lower plasma levels post infusion. High inflammation or tumor burdens, as measured by CRP or tumor antigen levels, tend to lower peak plasma ascorbate levels after IVC. When compared to patients with localized tumors, patients with metastatic tumors tend to achieve lower post infusion plasma ascorbate concentrations.
The data indicate that, while potentially therapeutic plasma ascorbate concentrations can be achieved with IVC, levels attained will vary based on tumor burden and degree of inflammation (among other factors). Evidence suggests that IVC may be able to modulate inflammation, which in turn might improve outcomes for cancer patients. IVC may serve as a safe, adjunctive therapy in clinical cancer care.
Flotillin-2 (FLOT2) has been implicated in several signaling pathways in tumor cells. Our study aimed to investigate the expression pattern and clinicopathological significance of FLOT2 in patients with breast cancer.
The expression level of FLOT2 in normal breast epithelial cells, breast cancer cell lines, and four breast cancer biopsies paired with adjacent noncancerous tissues were quantified using real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting. FLOT2 protein expression was analyzed in 171 archived paraffin-embedded breast cancer samples using immunohistochemistry (IHC). Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate the clinicopathological significance of FLOT2 expression.
FLOT2 was significantly upregulated in breast cancer cell lines and tissue samples compared with normal cells and adjacent noncancerous breast tissues, respectively. IHC analysis revealed high expression levels of FLOT2 in 82 of 171 (48.0%) breast cancer specimens. Statistical analysis revealed that FLOT2 expression was significantly correlated with clinical stage (P < 0.001), T classification (P < 0.001), M classification (P < 0.001), histological differentiation (P = 0.005) and ErbB2 expression (P = 0.003). Patients with higher levels of FLOT2 expression had a shorter overall survival duration than patients with lower FLOT2 expression levels. Multivariate analysis suggested that FLOT2 expression was an independent prognostic marker for survival in patients with breast cancer.
The current results demonstrated that high FLOT2 protein expression was associated with poor outcomes in patients with breast cancer. FLOT2 could be used as a prognostic biomarker for breast cancer progression.
FLOT2; Breast cancer; Prognosis; Biomarker
After hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) T- and B-cell reconstitution from primary lymphoid organs are a prerequisite for an effective early lymphocyte reconstitution and a long-term survival for adult patients suffering from acute leukemia. Here, we asked whether quantification of T cell receptor excision circle, (TREC) and kappa-deleting recombination excision circle (KREC) before and within six month after allogeneic HSCT could be used to measure the thymic and bone marrow outputs in such patients.
We used a duplex real time PCR assay to quantify the absolute copy counts of TREC and KREC, and correlated the data with absolute cell counts of CD3+CD4+ T-cell and CD19+ B-cell subsets determined by flow cytometry, respectively.
By comparing two recently proposed naïve T cell subsets, CD31+ naive and CD31- naive T cells, we found a better correlation for the CD31+ subset with TREC level post alloHSCT, in line with the assumption that it contained T cells recently derived from the thymus, indicating that TREC levels reflected real thymic de novo production. Transitional as well as naïve B cells highly correlated with KREC levels, which suggested an association of KREC levels with ongoing bone marrow B cell output. CD45RO+ memory T cells and CD27+ memory B cells were significantly less correlated with TREC and KREC recovery, respectively.
We conclude that simultaneous TREC/ KREC quantification is as a suitable and practicable method to monitor thymic and bone marrow output post alloHSCT in adult patients diagnosed with acute leukemia.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Acute leukemia; Simultaneous TREC/KREC quantification assay; Monitoring immune reconstitution
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an incurable malignant disease, which results from chronic exposition to asbestos in at least 70% of the cases. Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is predominantly expressed on the surface of reactive tumor-associated fibroblasts as well as on particular cancer types. Because of its expression on the cell surface, FAP is an attractive target for adoptive T cell therapy. T cells can be re-directed by retroviral transfer of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) against tumor-associated antigens (TAA) and therefore represent a therapeutic strategy of adoptive immunotherapy.
To evaluate FAP expression immunohistochemistry was performed in tumor tissue from MPM patients. CD8+ human T cells were retrovirally transduced with an anti-FAP-F19-∆CD28/CD3ζ-CAR. T cell function was evaluated in vitro by cytokine release and cytotoxicity assays. In vivo function was tested with an intraperitoneal xenograft tumor model in immunodeficient mice.
FAP was found to be expressed in all subtypes of MPM. Additionally, FAP expression was evaluated in healthy adult tissue samples and was only detected in specific areas in the pancreas, the placenta and very weakly for cervix and uterus. Expression of the anti-FAP-F19-∆CD28/CD3ζ-CAR in CD8+ T cells resulted in antigen-specific IFNγ release. Additionally, FAP-specific re-directed T cells lysed FAP positive mesothelioma cells and inflammatory fibroblasts in an antigen-specific manner in vitro. Furthermore, FAP-specific re-directed T cells inhibited the growth of FAP positive human tumor cells in the peritoneal cavity of mice and significantly prolonged survival of mice.
FAP re-directed CD8+ T cells showed antigen-specific functionality in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, FAP expression was verified in all MPM histotypes. Therefore, our data support performing a phase I clinical trial in which MPM patients are treated with adoptively transferred FAP-specific re-directed T cells.
Natural killer (NK) cells can kill tumor cells in a non-MHC-restricted manner. However, cancer cells frequently escape from the attack of NK cells by multiple ways. In this study, we investigated the effect of gefitinib on the interaction between NK cells and lung cancer cells.
51Cr release assay, CD107a assay, and IFN-γ secretion assay were performed to detect the sensitivity of lung cancer cell lines A549 and H1975 to NK cells cytotoxicity in the presence of gefitinib. Human NK cells were co-cultured with A549 and H1975 cell lines in the presence of gefitinib. NKG2D ligands, ULBP1, ULBP2, MICA, and MHC-I on tumor cells, and NKG2D, NKp44 and NKp46 on NK cells were evaluated with flow cytometry. 51Cr release assay was performed when NKG2D antibody were added into the co-culture system. Expressions of stat3 and LC3 I/II on tumor cells were determined with western blot after co-cultured with NK cells. After treated with gefitinib, mannose-6-phosphate receptor (MPR) on H1975 cells was evaluated by flow cytometry. 51Cr release assay were performed when MPR antagonist were used.
Gefitinib increased cytotoxicity of NK cells to human lung cancer H1975 cells with EGFR L858R + T790M mutations, while not in A549 cells with wild type EGFR. Gefitinib could block the immune escape by up-regulating the expression of NKG2D ligands ULBP1, ULBP2 or MICA on tumor cells and NKG2D on NK cells in the co-culture system. Gefitinib and NK cells up-regulated MHC-I expression in A549 while not in H1975 cells. NKG2D antibody blocked the enhanced NK cytotoxicity by gefitinib. The combination of NK cells and gefitinib could significantly down-regulate stat3 expression. Furthermore, NK cells-mediated tumor cell autophagy was observed in A549 cells while not in H1975 cells. Notably, gefitinib increased autophagy and MPR expression in H1975 cells, which improved the sensitivity to NK cell-based immunotherapy.
Gefitinib greatly enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity to lung cancer cells with EGFR L858R + T790M resistance mutation. Combination of EGFR tyrokinase inhibitors and NK cells adoptive immunotherapy may represent a potentially effective strategy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Gefitinib; Natural killer cells; Immunotherapy; EGFR; NSCLC
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α), induced by tumor hypoxia, regulates tumor cell metabolism and metastasis by up-regulation of c-Met, carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1). The prognostic significance of hypoxia and metabolic markers is not clearly defined in cervical cancer. Here, we have examined the primary players in the hypoxia signaling pathway, by immunohistochemistry, but confirming their interactions, as well as defining which proteins are associated with outcome.
The study subjects were comprised of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN, n = 209), carcinoma in situ (CIS, n = 74), cervical cancer (n = 179), and matched nonadjacent normal tissues (n = 357). Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed to identify HIF-1α, c-Met, CA9, and GLUT1. IHC scoring was performed using automated digital image analysis and the association of hypoxic markers with prognostic outcome was evaluated.
HIF-1α, c-Met, CA9 and GLUT1 expression were higher in cervical cancer than in CIN and normal cervix (all P < 0.001). Among these markers, expression of HIF-1α and c-Met were significantly different in FIGO stage (P < 0.001 and P = 0.019, respectively) and patients with lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001 and P = 0.010, respectively). HIF-1α expression was correlated with c-Met expression in cervical cancer (P < 0.001). High expression of HIF-1α and c-Met showed worse 5-year overall survival rate (P = 0.047 and P = 0.005, respectively) than low expression group, but CA9 and GLUT1 did not show significant survival difference. After adjusting the prognostic covariates, c-Met was found to be an independent risk factor (HR=3.27; 95% CI, 1.05-10.23, P = 0.041) for overall survival in cervical cancer.
We demonstrate that c-Met correlates with HIF-1α and is a poor prognostic factor in survival in cervical cancer.
HIF-1α; c-Met; Cervical cancer; Prognosis; Automated digital image analysis
Risk of bias in translational medicine may take one of three forms: A. a systematic error of methodology as it pertains to measurement or sampling (e.g., selection bias), B. a systematic defect of design that leads to estimates of experimental and control groups, and of effect sizes that substantially deviate from true values (e.g., information bias), and C. a systematic distortion of the analytical process, which results in a misrepresentation of the data with consequential errors of inference (e.g., inferential bias). Risk of bias can seriously adulterate the internal and the external validity of a clinical study, and, unless it is identified and systematically evaluated, can seriously hamper the process of comparative effectiveness and efficacy research and analysis for practice. The Cochrane Group and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have independently developed instruments for assessing the meta-construct of risk of bias. The present article begins to discuss this dialectic.
Wall stress is a useful concept to understand the progression of ventricular remodeling. We measured cumulative LV wall stress throughout the cardiac cycle over unit time and tested whether this “integrated wall stress (IWS)” would provide a reliable marker of total ventricular workload.
Methods and results
We applied IWS to mice after experimental myocardial infarction (MI) and sham-operated mice, both at rest and under dobutamine stimulation. Small infarcts were created so as not to cause subsequent overt hemodynamic decompensation. IWS was calculated over one minute through simultaneous measurement of LV internal diameter and wall thickness by echocardiography and LV pressure by LV catheterization. At rest, the MI group showed concentric LV hypertrophy pattern with preserved LV cavity size, LV systolic function, and IWS comparable with the sham group. Dobutamine stimulation induced a dose-dependent increase in IWS in MI mice, but not in sham mice; MI mice mainly increased heart rate, whereas sham mice increased LV systolic and diastolic function. IWS showed good correlation with a product of peak-systolic wall stress and heart rate. We postulate that this increase in IWS in post-MI mice represents limited myocardial contractile reserve.
We hereby propose that IWS provides a useful estimate of total ventricular workload in the mouse model and that increased IWS indicates limited LV myocardial contractile reserve.
Wall stress; Ventricular workload; Myocardial contractile reserve; Ventricular remodeling
Array-CGH represents a comprehensive tool to discover genomic disease alterations that could potentially be applied to body fluids. In this report, we aimed at applying array-CGH to urinary samples to characterize bladder cancer.
Urinary DNA from bladder cancer patients and controls were hybridized on 44K oligonucleotide arrays. Validation analyses of identified regions and candidates included fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry in an independent set of bladder tumors spotted on custom-made tissue arrays (n = 181).
Quality control of array-CGH provided high reproducibility in dilution experiments and when comparing reference pools. The most frequent genomic alterations (minimal recurrent regions) among bladder cancer urinary specimens included gains at 1q and 5p, and losses at 10p and 11p. Supervised hierarchical clustering identified the gain at 1q23.3-q24.1 significantly correlated to stage (p = 0.011), and grade (p = 0.002). The amplification and overexpression of Prefoldin (PFND2), a selected candidate mapping to 1q23.3-q24.1, correlated to increasing stage and tumor grade by means of custom-designed and optimized FISH (p = 0.013 and p = 0.023, respectively), and immunohistochemistry (p ≤0.0005 and p = 0.011, respectively), in an independent set of bladder tumors included in tissue arrays. Moreover, PFND2 overexpression was significantly associated with poor disease-specific survival (p ≤0.0005). PFND2 was amplified and overexpressed in bladder tumors belonging to patients providing urinary specimens where 1q23.3q24.1 amplification was detected by array-CGH.
Genomic profiles of urinary DNA mirrowed bladder tumors. Molecular profiling of urinary DNA using array-CGH contributed to further characterize genomic alterations involved in bladder cancer progression. PFND2 was identified as a tumor stratification and clinical outcome prognostic biomarker for bladder cancer patients.
Bladder cancer; Array-CGH; FISH; Immunohistochemistry; Urine; Tissue arrays
The current study sought to investigate the safety of intraoperative and early postoperative continuous hyperthermic intraperitoneal perfusion (IEPCHIP) at different temperatures in a swine model of experimental distal gastrectomy with Billroth II reconstruction.
Thirty pigs were randomly divided into 5 groups. Two groups were used as the control groups (groups A1 and A2), and 3 groups were used as the perfusion groups (groups B, C and D). Pigs in group A1 received distal gastrectomy with Billroth II reconstruction only. Pigs in groups A2, B, C and D received the same surgery as group A1, followed by IEPCHIP at 37 ± 0.5°C, 42.5 ± 0.5°C, 43.5 ± 0.5°C or 44.5 ± 0.5°C, respectively. The perfusion time was assessed for each pig in group A2 as well as in the perfusion groups, and the perfusions were performed twice for each group. The first perfusion was conducted intraoperatively, and the second perfusion was initiated 1 day after surgery. Data concerning vital signs and hepatic and renal function were collected. Parameters concerning anastomotic healing, the pathology of the anastomotic tissue and abdominal adhesion were compared.
The vital signs and hepatic and renal functions of the pigs in groups A1, A2, B and C were not significantly affected by this procedure. In contrast, the vital signs and hepatic and renal functions of the pigs in group D were significantly affected. Compared to the pigs in groups A1, A2 or B, the anastomotic bursting pressure, breaking strength and hydroxyproline content in group C and D pigs were significantly lower. No significant differences were observed in these parameters between groups A1, A2 and B. Abdominal adhesion was more severe in group D pigs. Collagen deposition in group A1, A2 and B pigs was dense in the anastomosis, and inflammatory cell infiltration was observed in group D.
IEPCHIP at 42.5 ± 0.5°C was safe and caused minimal impairments. However, anastomotic healing was affected by perfusion at 43.5 ± 0.5°C and 44.5 ± 0.5°C, and abdominal adhesion was most severe in the group D animals, which were perfused at 44.5 ± 0.5°C.
Temperature; Safety; Swine model; Continuous hyperthermic intraperitoneal perfusion; Anastomotic healing; Abdominal adhesion; Intraoperative; Early postoperative
Treatment of advanced melanoma has been improved with the advent of the BRAF inhibitors. However, a limitation to such treatment is the occurrence of resistance. Several mechanisms have been identified to be responsible for the development of resistance, either MEK-dependent or MEK-independent. In order to overcome resistance due to reactivation of MEK signaling, MEK inhibitors are being clinically developed with promising results. However, also in this case resistance inevitably occurs. It has been recently reported that ErbB3, a member of the EGFR receptor family, may be involved in the establishment of drug resistance.
Three melanoma cell lines were tested: LOX IMVI (BRAF V600E), MST-L (BRAF V600R) and WM266 (BRAF V600D). Phosphorylation of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) was assessed by an RTK array. Western blot analysis was performed on total protein extracts using anti-ErbB3, anti-AKT and anti-ERK 1/2 antibodies. The expression of neuregulin after vemurafenib treatment was assessed by Real Time PCR and Western blotting. The growth inhibitory effects of vemurafenib, GSK1120212b and/or anti-ErbB3 mAbs were evaluated by in vitro colony formation assays.
In the present study we demonstrate that ErbB3 is the main RTK undergoing rapidly hyperphosphorylation upon either treatment with a BRAF inhibitor or with a MEK inhibitor in a panel of melanoma cell lines harboring a variety of V600BRAF mutations and that this results in a strong activation of phospho-AKT. Importantly, ErbB3 activation is fully abrogated by the simultaneous use of anti-ErbB3 monoclonal antibodies, which are also shown to potently synergize with BRAF inhibitors in the inactivation of both AKT and ERK pathways and in the inhibition of melanoma cell growth. We show that upregulation of phospho-ErbB3 is due to an autocrine loop involving increased transcription and production of neuregulin by melanoma cells.
On the basis of these results, we propose that initial co-treatment with BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors and anti-ErbB3 antibodies should be pursued as a strategy to reduce the ErbB3-dependent feedback survival mechanism and enhance duration of clinical response.
Melanoma; BRAF/MEK inhibitors; ErbB3 hyperphosphorylation; Anti-ErbB3 antibodies
Nephrolithiasis is a very common disease with an increasing prevalence among industrialized populations. Kidney stone formation is a complex phenomenon, involving genetic and metabolic patterns, and nutrition can play an important role in this match both as a promoter or as a protective factor. To promote a deeper knowledge of such a challenging disease, clinicians and researchers have met in Rome, Italy, last March 2013, at the International Congress “Nephrolithiasis: a systemic disorder” to discuss patho-physiology and possible treatment of kidney stones. During the meeting, a whole session was dedicated to nutrition, seen both as a cause or a therapeutic tool for nephrolithiasis. Due to its etiopathogenesis, nephrolithiasis is also an ideal model for a nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics approach. Nutrigenomics and nutrigenetic respectively study the effects of a dietary treatment on gene expression and, on the other hand, the impact of an inherited trait on the response to a specific dietary treatment.
While the majority of studies have focused on the association between sex hormones and dementia, emerging evidence supports the role of other hormone signals in increasing dementia risk. However, due to the lack of an integrated view on mechanistic interactions of hormone signaling pathways associated with dementia, molecular mechanisms through which hormones contribute to the increased risk of dementia has remained unclear and capacity of translating hormone signals to potential therapeutic and diagnostic applications in relation to dementia has been undervalued.
Using an integrative knowledge- and data-driven approach, a global hormone interaction network in the context of dementia was constructed, which was further filtered down to a model of convergent hormone signaling pathways. This model was evaluated for its biological and clinical relevance through pathway recovery test, evidence-based analysis, and biomarker-guided analysis. Translational validation of the model was performed using the proposed novel mechanism discovery approach based on ‘serendipitous off-target effects’.
Our results reveal the existence of a well-connected hormone interaction network underlying dementia. Seven hormone signaling pathways converge at the core of the hormone interaction network, which are shown to be mechanistically linked to the risk of dementia. Amongst these pathways, estrogen signaling pathway takes the major part in the model and insulin signaling pathway is analyzed for its association to learning and memory functions. Validation of the model through serendipitous off-target effects suggests that hormone signaling pathways substantially contribute to the pathogenesis of dementia.
The integrated network model of hormone interactions underlying dementia may serve as an initial translational platform for identifying potential therapeutic targets and candidate biomarkers for dementia-spectrum disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Hormone; Dementia; Network model; Translational validation; Off-target effect