The treatment of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) increasingly involves the use of molecularly targeted therapy with activity against either the tumor directly, or indirectly, through activity against host-derived mechanisms of tumor support such as angiogenesis. The most well studied signaling pathway associated with angiogenesis is the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway, and the only antiangiogenic agent currently approved for the treatment of NSCLC is bevacizumab, an antibody targeted against VEGF. More recently, preclinical data supporting the role of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) signaling in angiogenesis have been reported. The platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathways may also stimulate tumor growth directly through activation of downstream mitogenic signaling cascades. In addition, 1 or both of these pathways have been associated with resistance to agents targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and VEGF. A number of agents that target FGF and/or PDGF signaling are now in development for the treatment of NSCLC. This review will summarize the potential molecular roles of PDGFR and FGFR in tumor growth and angiogenesis, as well as discuss the current clinical status of PDGFR and FGFR inhibitors in clinical development.
angiogenesis; fibroblast growth factor (FGF); fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR); non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF); platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)
Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are at increased risk of developing colon cancer, confirming that chronic inflammation predisposes to development of tumors. Moreover, it appears that colon cancers that do not develop as a complication of inflammatory bowel disease are also driven by inflammation, because it has been shown that regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) lowers the mortality from sporadic colon cancer and results in regression of adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients, who inherit a mutation in the Apc gene. Colorectal cancer therefore represents a paradigm for the link between inflammation and cancer.
Inflammation is driven by soluble factors, cytokines and chemokines, which can be produced by tumor cells themselves or, more often, by the cells recruited to the tumor microenvironment. Inflammatory cytokines and chemokines promote growth of tumor cells, perturb their differentiation, and support the survival of cancer cells.
Tumor cells become addicted to inflammatory stroma, suggesting that the tumor microenvironment represents an attractive target for preventive and therapeutic strategies. Proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα, IL-6 and IL-1β, or transcription factors that are required for signaling by these cytokines, including NF-κB and STATs, are indeed emerging as potential targets for anticancer therapy. TNFα antagonists are in phase I/II clinical trials and have been shown to be well tolerated in patients with solid tumors, and IL-1β antagonists that ameliorate several inflammatory disorders characterized by excessive IL-1β production, will likely follow. Therefore, development of drugs that normalize the tumor microenvironment or interrupt the crosstalk between the tumor and the tumor microenvironment is an important approach to the management of cancer.
inflammation; colon cancer; TNF; IL1; NFκB; STAT; TRAIL
Glioblastoma (glioblastoma multiforme; GBM; WHO Grade IV) accounts for the majority of primary malignant brain tumors in adults. Amplification and mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene represent signature genetic abnormalities encountered in GBM. A range of potential therapies that target EGFR or its mutant constitutively active form, ΔEGFR, including tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and RNA-based agents, are currently in development or in clinical trials for the treatment of GBM. Data from experimental studies evaluating these therapies have been very promising; however, their efficacy in the clinic has so far been limited by both upfront and acquired drug resistance. This review discusses the current status of anti-EGFR agents and the recurrent problem of resistance to these agents that strongly indicates that a multiple target approach will provide a more favorable future for these types of targeted therapies in GBM.
Epidermal growth factor receptor; EGFR-targeted therapy; Glioblastoma; therapeutic resistance
Chemotherapy and immunotherapy failed to deliver decisive results in the systemic treatment of metastatic
renal cell carcinoma. Agents representing the current standards operate on members of the RAS signal transduction
pathway. Sunitinib (targeting vascular endothelial growth factor), temsirolimus (an inhibitor of the mammalian target of
rapamycin - mTOR) and pazopanib (a multi-targeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor) are used in the first line of
recurrent disease. A combination of bevacizumab (inhibition of angiogenesis) plus interferon α is also first-line therapy.
Second line options include everolimus (another mTOR inhibitor) as well as tyrosine kinase inhibitors for patients who
previously received cytokine. We review the results of clinical investigations focusing on survival benefit for these agents.
Additionally, trials focusing on new agents, including the kinase inhibitors axitinib, tivozanib, dovitinib and cediranib and
monoclonal antibodies including velociximab are also discussed. In addition to published outcomes we also include
follow-up and interim results of ongoing clinical trials. In summary, we give a comprehensive overview of current
advances in the systemic treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
Biomarkers; everolimus; renal cell cancer; sunitinib; temsirolimus; tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
In an effort to develop strategies that improve the efficacy of existing anticancer agents, we have conducted a siRNA-based RNAi screen to identify genes that, when targeted by siRNA, improve the activity of the topoisomerase I (Top1) poison camptothecin (CPT). Screening was conducted using a set of siRNAs corresponding to over 400 apoptosis-related genes in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. During the course of these studies, we identified the silencing of MAP3K7 as a significant enhancer of CPT activity. Follow-up analysis of caspase activity and caspase-dependent phosphorylation of histone H2AX demonstrated that the silencing of MAP3K7 enhanced CPT-associated apoptosis. Silencing MAP3K7 also sensitized cells to additional compounds, including CPT clinical analogs. This activity was not restricted to MDA-MB-231 cells, as the silencing of MAP3K7 also sensitized the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-468 and HCT-116 colon cancer cells. However, MAP3K7 silencing did not affect compound activity in the comparatively normal mammary epithelial cell line MCF10A, as well as some additional tumorigenic lines. MAP3K7 encodes the TAK1 kinase, an enzyme that is central to the regulation of many processes associated with the growth of cancer cells (e.g. NF-κB, JNK, and p38 signaling). An analysis of TAK1 signaling pathway members revealed that the silencing of TAB2 also sensitizes MDA-MB-231 and HCT-116 cells towards CPT. These findings may offer avenues towards lowering the effective doses of Top1 inhibitors in cancer cells and, in doing so, broaden their application.
RNAi; siRNA; Screen; Camptothecin; TAK1; MAP3K7; TAB2; TRAF6
KP772 is a new lanthanum complex containing three 1,10-phenathroline molecules. Recently, we have demonstrated that the promising in vitro and in vivo anticancer properties of KP772 are based on p53-independent G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis induction. A National Cancer Institute (NCI) screen revealed significant correlation of KP772 activity with that of the ribonucleotide reductase (RR) inhibitor hydroxyurea (HU). Consequently, this study aimed to investigate whether KP772 targets DNA synthesis in tumor cells by RR inhibition. Indeed, KP772 treatment led to significant reduction of cytidine incorporation paralleled by a decrease of deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pools. This strongly indicates disruption of RR activity. Moreover, KP772 protected against oxidative stress, suggesting that this drug might interfere with RR by interaction with the tyrosyl radical in subunit R2. Additionally, several observations (e.g. increase of transferrin receptor expression and protective effect of iron preloading) indicate that KP772 interferes with cellular iron homeostasis. Accordingly, co-incubation of Fe(II) with KP772 led to generation of a coloured iron complex (Fe-KP772) in cell free systems. In electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements of mouse R2 subunits, KP772 disrupted the tyrosyl radical while Fe-KP772 had no significant effects. Moreover, coincubation of KP772 with iron-loaded R2 led to formation of Fe-KP772 suggesting chelation of RR-bound Fe(II). Summarizing, our data prove that KP772 inhibits RR by targeting the iron centre of the R2 subunit. As also Fe-KP772 as well as free lanthanum exert significant -though less pronounced- cytotoxic/static activities, additional mechanisms are likely to synergise with RR inhibition in the promising anticancer activity of KP772.
Lanthanum; ribonucleotide reductase; 1,10-phenanthroline; cell cycle arrest; anticancer activity; KP772
It is strongly established by numerous studies that oxidative stress-induced inflammation is one of the major causative agents in a variety of cancers. Various factors such as bacterial, viral, parasitic infections, chemical irritants, carcinogens are involved in the initiation of oxidative stress-mediated inflammation. Chronic and persistent inflammation promotes the formation of cancerous tumors. Recent investigations strongly suggest that aldose reductase [AR; AKR1B1], a member of aldo-keto reductase superfamily of proteins, is the mediator of inflammatory signals induced by growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, carcinogens etc. Further, AR reduced product(s) of lipid derived aldehydes and their metabolites such as glutathionyl 1,4-dihydroxynonanol (GS-DHN) have been shown to be involved in the activation of transcription factors such as NF-κB and AP-1 which transcribe the genes of inflammatory cytokines. The increased inflammatory cytokines and growth factors promote cell proliferation, a main feature involved in the tumorigenesis process. Inhibition of AR has been shown to prevent cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo models. In this review, we have described the possible association between AR with oxidative stress- and inflammation- initiated carcinogenesis. A thorough understanding of the role of AR in the inflammation – associated cancers could lead to the use of AR inhibitors as novel chemotherapeutic agents against cancer.
Aldose reductase; Oxidative stress; Inflammation; Cancer and NF-kB
Replication-conditional, oncolytic adenoviruses are emerging as powerful tools in the warfare on cancer. The ability to modify cell-specific infectivity or tissue-specific replication machinery, as well as the possibility of modifying viral-cellular protein interactions with cellular checkpoint regulators are emerging as new trends in the design of safer and more effective adenoviruses. The integration of oncolytic adenoviruses with mainstream cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, continues to yield significant therapeutic benefits. Adenoviruses can be armed with prodrug-activating enzymes as well as tumor suppressor genes or anti-angiogenic factors, thus providing for enhanced anti-tumor therapy and reduced host toxicity. Thus far, encouraging results have been obtained from extensive preclinical and human clinical studies. However, there is a need to improve adenoviral vectors to overcome unresolved problems facing this promising anti-cancer agent, chief among these issues is the adenovirus-triggered immune response threatening its efficacy. The continued expansion of the knowledge base of adenovirus biology will likely lead to further improvements in the design of the ideal oncolytic adenoviruses for cancer treatment.
conditionally-replicating adenoviruses; prodrug activating enzymes; cancer gene therapy; oncolytic viruses
The SCF (Skp1, Cullins, F-box proteins) multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligase, also known as CRL (Cullin-RING ubiquitin Ligase) is the largest E3 ubiquitin ligase family that promotes the ubiquitination of various regulatory proteins for targeted degradation, thus regulating many biological processes, including cell cycle progression, signal transduction, and DNA replication. The efforts to discover small molecule inhibitors of a SCF-type ligase or its components were expedited by the FDA approval of Bortezomib (also known as Velcade or PS-341), the first (and only) class of general proteasome inhibitor, for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Although Bortezomib has demonstrated a certain degree of cancer cell selectivity with measurable therapeutic index, the drug is, in general, cytotoxic due to its inhibition of overall protein degradation. An alternative and ideal approach is to target a specific E3 ligase, known to be activated in human cancer, for a high level of specificity and selectivity with less associated toxicity, since such inhibitors would selectively stabilize a specific set of cellular proteins regulated by this E3. Here, we review recent advances in validation of SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase as an attractive anti-cancer target and discuss how MLN4924, a small molecule inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme, can be developed as a novel class of anticancer agents by inhibiting SCF E3 ligase via removal of cullin neddylation. Finally, we discuss under future perspective how basic research on SCF biology will direct the drug discovery efforts surrounding this target.
Ubiquitin-proteasome system; SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase; anticancer target; drug discovery; neddylation; cullins; F-box proteins; RING ligases
Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in both men and women, with over 1,000,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide annually and a 5-year survival rate of only 14%, a figure that has improved little in the past thirty years. This poor prognosis suggests a need for novel approaches for the treatment and prevention of lung cancer. The renin-angiotensin system is an established, primary regulator of blood pressure, homeostasis, and natriuresis; however, compelling evidence indicates that the angiotensin peptides also play a role in cell proliferation and inflammation. Angiotensin II is a vasoconstrictor, a mitogen, and an angiogenic factor, while angiotensin-(1-7) has vasodilator, anti-proliferative, and anti-angiogenic properties. This review focuses on studies examining the renin-angiotensin system in pulmonary cancers and whether clinical intervention of this pathway may serve as an effective chemotherapeutic and/or chemopreventive modality for lung cancer.
Renin-angiotensin system; angiotensin; lung cancer; pulmonary cancer; angiotensin-(1-7); angiotensin converting enzyme; angiogenesis; angiotensin receptor blocker
The polyisoprenylation pathway incorporates a reversible step that metabolizes polyisoprenylated methylated proteins from the ester to the carboxylate form. Polyisoprenylated protein methyl transferase (PPMTase) catalyses the esterification whereas polyisoprenylated methylated protein methyl esterase (PMPMEase) hydrolyzes them. Significant changes in the balance between the two enzymes may alter polyisoprenylated protein function possibly resulting in disease. Previous studies show that PMPMEase is the serine hydrolase, Sus scrofa carboxylesterase. Its susceptibility to the nonspecific serine hydrolase inhibitor, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) paved the way for its use as a prototypical compound to design and synthesize a series of putative high affinity specific inhibitors of PMPMEase. Pseudo first-order kinetics revealed an over 680-fold increase in kobs/[I] values from PMSF (6 M−1s−1), S-phenyl (L-50, 180 M−1s−1), S-benzyl (L-51, 350 M−1s−1), S-trans, trans-farnesyl (L-28, 2000 M−1s−1), to S-trans-geranylated (L-23, 4100 M−1s−1) 2-thioethanesulfonyl fluorides. C10 S-alkyl substitution revealed a kobs/[I] value (1800 M−1s−1) that was 298 times greater than that for PMSF. The compounds induced the degeneration of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with EC50 values of 49, 130 and >1000 μM for L-28, L-23 and PMSF, respectively. The increased affinity with the polyisoprenyl derivatization is consistent with the observed substrate specificity and the reported hydrophobic nature of the active site. These results suggest that (1) PMPMEase is a key enzyme for polyisoprenylated protein metabolism, (2) regulation of its activity is essential for maintaining normal cell viability, (3) abnormal activities may be involved in degenerative diseases and cancers and (4) its specific inhibitors may be useful in combating cancers.
Cell Death; Esterase Inhibitors; Methyl Esterase; Molecular Docking; Neuroblastoma; Polyisoprenyltion; Psuedo-first order kinetics; Sulfonyl Fluorides
Targeting the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway has emerged as a rational approach in the treatment of human cancer. Based on positive preclinical and clinical studies, bortezomib was subsequently approved for the clinical use as a front-line treatment for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients and for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, for which this drug has become the staple of treatment. The approval of bortezomib by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) represented a significant milestone as the first proteasome inhibitor to be implemented in the treatment of malignant disease. Bortezomib has shown a positive clinical benefit either alone or as a part of combination therapy to induce chemo-/radio-sensitization or overcome drug resistance. One of the major mechanisms of bortezomib associated with its anticancer activity is through upregulation of NOXA, which is a proapoptotic protein, and NOXA may interact with the anti-apoptotic proteins of Bcl-2 subfamily Bcl-XL and Bcl-2, and result in apoptotic cell death in malignant cells. Another important mechanism of bortezomib is through suppression of the NF-κB signaling pathway resulting in the down-regulation of its anti-apoptotic target genes. Although the majority of success achieved with bortezomib has been in hematological malignancies, its effect toward solid tumors has been less than encouraging. Additionally, the widespread clinical use of bortezomib continues to be hampered by the appearance of dose-limiting toxicities, drug-resistance and interference by some natural compounds. These findings could help guide physicians in refining the clinical use of bortezomib, and encourage basic scientists to generate next generation proteasome inhibitors that broaden the spectrum of efficacy and produce a more durable clinical response in cancer patients. Other desirable applications for the use of proteasome inhibitors include the development of inhibitors against specific E3 ligases, which act at an early step in the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and the discovery of less toxic and novel proteasome inhibitors from natural products and traditional medicines, which may provide more viable drug candidates for cancer chemoprevention and the treatment of cancer patients in the future.
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway; proteasome inhibitors; bortezomib; chemotherapy; multiple myeloma
Next to water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. The most abundant and active compound in green tea is (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is extensively studied for its cancer-preventive and anti-cancer activities as well as its cellular targets. One potential molecular target of EGCG is the proteasome. While molecular docking and structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis suggests that the ester carbon of EGCG is important for mediating its proteasome-inhibitory activity, EGCG is very unstable under physiological conditions. Therefore, a series of analogs were synthesized aiming to improve stability and bioavailability of EGCG. Among them, peracetate-protected or the prodrug of EGCG was found to have increased bioavailability, stability, and proteasome-inhibitory activities against various human cancer cells and tumors compared to EGCG, suggesting its potential use for cancer prevention and treatment. Epidemiological studies have indicated that green tea consumption is associated with the reduced risk of cancers, especially associated with the reduced risk of late stage of cancers. This risk reduction may be attributed not only to proteasome inhibition, but also to numerous other intracellular molecules targeted by EGCG that are involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis.
Proteasome inhibitors; drug discovery; chemoprevention; targeted therapy
Polyisoprenylated proteins (PPs) methylation by polyisoprenylated protein methyl transferase (PPMTase) is counteracted by polyisoprenylated methylated protein methyl esterase (PMPMEase). This is the only reversible step of the polyisoprenylation pathway as the relative amounts of the acid and ester forms are determined by the two competing reactions. Since PMPMEase and PPMTase may influence both the structural/functional conformations of PPs, a thorough study of these enzymes is essential to our understanding of the structural/functional features of PPs. PMPMEase has been reported under such pseudonyms as human carboxylesterase 1 (hCE1) because of its apparent broad substrate spectrum. The current study aimed to show the complementarity between its active site and the polyisoprenylated substrates that it metabolizes. Kinetics analysis was conducted with N-, S- and O-substituted substrates using porcine liver PMPMEase and docking analysis using Arguslab. Consistent with the biochemical analysis, the S-ethyl analog yielded an AScore binding energy of -11.32 compared to -13.48, -14.88, -16.15, and -16.81 kcal/mol for S-prenyl (C-5), S-trans-geranyl (C-10), S-trans,trans-farnesyl (C-15) and S-all trans-geranylgeranyl (C-20), respectively. The all trans-geranylgeranyl moiety provides the optimal size for active site interactions. The data reveal that the trans,trans-farnesyl and all trans-geranylgeranyl groups, which are reminiscent of endogenous PPs modifications, have the highest affinity for PMPMEase. Since PPs such as monomeric G-proteins are oncogenic, PMPMEase may be viewed as a viable target for anticancer drug development. The analyses reveal the important structural elements for the design of specific PMPMEase inhibitors to serve in the modulation of oncogenic PPs activities. The results also show that hCE1's repertoire of substrates extends beyond xenobiotics to include PPs as its endogenous substrates.
Cytotoxic approaches to killing tumor cells, such as chemotherapeutic agents, γ-irradiation, suicide genes or immunotherapy, have been shown to induce cell death through apoptosis. The intrinsic apoptotic pathway is activated following treatment with cytotoxic drugs, and these reactions ultimately lead to the activation of caspases, which promote cell death in tumor cells. In addition, activation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway with death-inducing ligands leads to an increased sensitivity of tumor cells toward cytotoxic stimuli, illustrating the interplay between the two cell death pathways. In contrast, tumor resistance to cytotoxic stimuli may be due to defects in apoptotic signaling. As a result of their importance in killing cancer cells, a number of apoptotic molecules are implicated in cancer therapy. The knowledge gleaned from basic research into apoptotic pathways from cell biological, structural, biochemical, and biophysical approaches can be used in strategies to develop novel compounds that eradicate tumor cells. In addition to current drug targets, research into molecules that activate procaspase–3 directly may show the direct activation of the executioner caspase to be a powerful therapeutic strategy in the treatment of many cancers.
Caspase; apoptosis; programmed cell death; protease; zymogen; dimerization; active site formation; human disease; cancer treatment; dimer interface; proteolytic cleavage; active site loops; crystallography; enzyme activation
In the development of novel immune therapies for high-risk cancers, one goal is to find tumor targets that are not widely shared by normal cells. One such target is the surface disialoganglioside GD2. This antigen is expressed on the surface of a variety of tumors for which no curative therapies exist for patients with advanced disease. In childhood, the most common GD2-expressing tumor is neuroblastoma. GD2 is also expressed on several other high-risk tumors, including those of neuroectodermal or epithelial origin, virtually all melanomas, and approximately 50% of tumor samples from osteosarcoma and soft-tissue sarcomas. Because of the tumor-selective expression of this molecule, it is an attractive target for tumor-specific therapies such as antibody therapy. Over the last 2 decades, several anti-GD2 antibodies have been developed. To reduce both the toxicity of the antibody and the development of human anti-mouse antibodies (HAMA), research efforts have primarily focused on exploring anti-GD2 antibodies that have progressively more human elements while at the same time reducing the mouse components. This review will examine antibodies currently undergoing clinical testing as well as the most recent advances to improve antibody therapy for patients with GD2-expressing tumors.
monoclonal antibody; disialoganglioside; neuroblastoma; melanoma
Both RAS and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling cascades are central in tumorigenesis and show synergisms depending on tumor stage and tissue context. In this review we focus on the interaction of RAS subeffector proteins with signaling components of the TGF-β family including those of TGF-βs, activins and bone morphogenic proteins. Compelling evidence indicates that RAS signaling is essentially involved in the switch from tumor-suppressive to tumor-promoting functions of the TGF-β family leading to enhanced cancer growth and metastatic dissemination of primary tumors. Thus, the interface of these signaling cascades is considered as a promising target for the development of novel cancer therapeutics. The current pharmacological anti-cancer concepts combating the molecular cooperation between RAS and TGF-β family signaling during carcinoma progression are critically discussed.
Activin; BMP; cancer progression; RAS; Smad; targeted therapy; TGF-β
A large number of novel therapeutics is currently undergoing clinical evaluation for the treatment of prostate cancer, and small molecule signal transduction inhibitors are a promising class of agents. These inhibitors have recently become a standard therapy in renal cell carcinoma and offer significant promise in prostate cancer. Through an understanding of the key pathways involved in prostate cancer progression, a rational drug design can be aimed at the molecules critical to cellular signaling. This may enable administration of selective therapies based on the expression of molecular targets, more appropriately individualizing treatment for prostate cancer patients.
One pathway with a prominent role in prostate cancer is the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. Current estimates suggest that PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling is upregulated in 30-50% of prostate cancers, often through loss of PTEN. Molecular changes in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway have been demonstrated to differentiate benign from malignant prostatic epithelium and are associated with increasing tumor stage, grade, and risk of biochemical recurrence. Multiple inhibitors of this pathway have been developed and are being assessed in the laboratory and in clinical trials, with much attention focusing on mTOR inhibition. Current clinical trials in prostate cancer are assessing efficacy of mTOR inhibitors in combination with multiple targeted or traditional chemotherapies, including bevacizumab, gefitinib, and docetaxel. Completion of these trials will provide substantial information regarding the importance of this pathway in prostate cancer and the clinical implications of its targeted inhibition. In this article we review the data surrounding PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibition in prostate cancer and their clinical implications.
Prostate cancer; targeted therapy; PI3K; Akt; mTOR
Metronomic cyclophosphamide treatment is associated with anti-angiogenic activity and is anticipated to generate exploitable hypoxia using hypoxia-activated prodrugs. Weekly administration of tirapazamine (TPZ; 5 mg/kg body weight i.p.) failed to inhibit the growth of 9L gliosarcoma tumors grown s.c. in scid mice. However, the anti-tumor effect of weekly cyclophosphamide (CPA) treatment (140 mg/kg BW i.p.) was substantially enhanced by weekly TPZ administration. An extended tumor free period and increased frequency of tumor eradication without overt toxicity were observed when TPZ was given 3, 4 or 5 days after each weekly CPA treatment. Following the 2nd CPA injection, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Oximetry indicated significant increases in tumor pO2, starting at 48 hr, which further increased after the 3rd CPA injection. pO2 levels were, however, stable in growing untreated tumors. A strong negative correlation (−0.81) between tumor pO2 and tumor volume during 21 days of weekly CPA chemotherapy was observed, indicating increasing tumor pO2 with decreasing tumor volume. Furthermore, CPA treatment resulted in increased tumor uptake of activated CPA. CPA induced increases in VEGF RNA, which reached a maximum on day 1, and in PLGF RNA which was sustained throughout the treatment, while anti-angiogenic host thrombospondin-1 increased dramatically through day 7 post-CPA treatment. Weekly cyclophosphamide treatment was anticipated to generate exploitable hypoxia. However, our findings suggest that weekly CPA treatment induces a functional improvement of tumor vasculature, which is characterized by increased tumor oxygenation and drug uptake in tumors, thus counter-intuitively, benefiting intratumoral activation of TPZ and perhaps other bioreductive drugs.
Anti-angiogenic chemotherapy; Tirapazamine; cyclophosphamide; tumor; pO2; EPR oximetry
The development of targeted therapies with true specificity for cancer relies upon exploiting differences between cancerous and normal cells. Genetic and genomic alterations including somatic mutations, translocations, and amplifications have served as recent examples of how such differences can be exploited as effective drug targets. Small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies directed against the protein products of these genetic anomalies have led to cancer therapies with high specificity and relatively low toxicity. Recently, our group and others have demonstrated that somatic mutations in the PIK3CA gene occur at high frequency in breast and other cancers. Moreover, the majority of mutations occur at three hotspots, making these ideal targets for therapeutic development. Here we review the literature on PIK3CA mutations in cancer, as well as existing data on PIK3CA inhibitors and inhibitors of downstream effectors for potential use as targeted cancer therapeutics.
PIK3CA; mutation; oncogene; PI3 kinase; AKT; mTOR
Luteolin, 3′,4′,5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone, is a common flavonoid that exists in many types of plants including fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. Plants rich in luteolin have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for treating various diseases such as hypertension, inflammatory disorders, and cancer. Having multiple biological effects such as anti-inflammation, anti-allergy and anticancer, luteolin functions as either an antioxidant or a pro-oxidant biochemically. The biological effects of luteolin could be functionally related to each other. For instance, the anti-inflammatory activity may be linked to its anticancer property. Luteolin's anticancer property is associated with the induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of cell proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, luteolin sensitizes cancer cells to therapeutic-induced cytotoxicity through suppressing cell survival pathways such as phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), and stimulating apoptosis pathways including those that induce the tumor suppressor p53. These observations suggest that luteolin could be an anticancer agent for various cancers. Furthermore, recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin. In this review, we summarize the progress of recent research on luteolin, with a particular focus on its anticancer role and molecular mechanisms underlying this property of luteolin.
luteolin; cancer; therapy; prevention; ROS; apoptosis; carcinogenesis; flavonoid
Prolonged and repeated exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light (UV) leads not only to aging of the skin but also increases the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Damage of cells induced by ultraviolet B (UVB) light both at the DNA level and molecular level initiates the activation of transcription factor pathways, which in turn regulate the expression of a number of genes termed the “UV response genes”. Two such transcription factor families that are activated in this way are those of the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) families. These two transcription factor families have been identified to be involved in the processes of cell proliferation, cell differentiation and cell survival and therefore play important roles in tumorigenesis. The study of these two transcription factor pathways and the cross-talk between them in response to UVB exposure may help with the development of new chemopreventive strategies for the prevention of UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis.
Ultraviolet B-radiation (UVB); Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-κB); Activator Protein-1 (AP-1); transcription factor families; UV response genes; photochemoprevention
Angiogenesis is indispensable for the growth of solid tumors and angiogenic factors are also involved in the progression of hematological malignancies. Targeting the formation of blood vessels is therefore regarded as a promising strategy in cancer therapy. Interestingly, besides demonstration of some beneficial effects of novel anti-angiogenic compounds, recent data on the activity of already available drugs point to their potential application in anti-angiogenic therapy. Among these are the statins, the inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase. Statins are very efficient in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia in cardiovascular disorders; however, their effects are pleiotropic and some are not directly related to the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis. Some reports particularly highlight the pro-angiogenic effects of statins, which are caused by low, nanomolar concentrations and are regarded as beneficial for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, the anti-angiogenic activities, observed at micromolar concentrations of statins, may be of special significance for cancer therapy. Those effects are caused by the inhibition of both proliferation and migration and induction of apoptosis in endothelial cells. Moreover, the statin-mediated inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor synthesis, the major angiogenic mediator, may contribute to the attenuation of angiogenesis.
It has been suggested that the anti-cancer effect of statins can be potentially exploited for the cancer therapy. However, several clinical trials aimed at the inhibition of tumor growth by treatment with very high doses of statins did not provide conclusive data. Herein, the reasons for those outcomes are discussed and the rationale for further studies is presented.
Vascular endothelial growth factor; 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase; nitric oxide; heme oxygenase; apoptosis; endothelium; atherosclerosis; hypercholesterolemia; bFGF = Basic fibroblast growth factor; EGF = Epidermal growth factor; eNOS = Endothelial nitric oxide synthase; EPCs = Endothelial progenitor cells; FPP = Farnesylpyrophosphate; GGPP = Geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate; HGM-CoA reductase = 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase; HMEC-1 = Human microvascular endothelial cells-1; HUVEC = Human umbilical vein endothelial cells; HO-1 = Heme oxygenase-1; IL-8 = Interleukin 8; LPC = Lysophosphatidylcholine; MAPK = Mitogen activated protein kinase; MCP-1 = Monocyte chemotactic protein-1; MMPs = Metalloproteinases; oxLDL = Oxidized low density lipoprotein; PDGF-BB = Platelet-derived growth factor-BB; PI 3-K = Phosphatidylinositol -3-kinase; TGF = Transforming growth factor; TNF = Tumor necrosis factor; UPA = Urokinase plasminogen activator; VEGF = Vascular endothelial growth factor
Cyclin E is essential for progression through the G1-phase of the cell cycle and initiation of DNA replication by interacting with and activating its catalytic partner, the cyclin dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2). Rb, as well as Cdc6, NPAT, and nucleophosmin, critical components of cell proliferation and DNA replication, respectively, are targets of Cyclin E/Cdk2 phosphorylation. There are a number of putative binding sites for E2F in the cyclin E promoter region, suggesting an E2F-dependent regulation. Skp2 and Fbw7 are novel proteins, responsible for ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of Cyclin E. The tight regulation of cyclin E expression, both at the transcriptional level and by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, indicates that it has a major role in the control of the G1- and S-phase transitions. Cyclin E is also transcriptionally regulated during radiation-induced apoptosis of hematopoietic cells. In addition to its biological roles, deregulated cyclin E expression has an established role in tumorigenesis. Cell cycle regulatory molecules, such as cyclin E, are frequently deregulated in different types of cancers, where overexpressed native or low molecular weight forms of Cyclin E have a significant role in oncogenesis. During apoptosis of hematopoietic cells, caspase-dependent proteolysis of Cyclin E generates a p18-Cyclin E variant. Understanding the role of Cyclin E in apoptosis may provide a novel target, which may be effective in cancer therapy. This review summarizes what is known about the biological role of cyclin E, its deregulation in cancer, and the opportunities it may provide as a target in clinical therapy.
CDK = Cyclin-dependent kinases; CKI = CDK inhibitors; IR = Ionizing radiation; LMW = Low molecular weight; T380 = Threonine 380
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) recently emerged with a key role in multiple myeloma (MM) pathophysiology and are considered important regulators of MM cell growth and survival. Since miRNAs can act either as oncogenes or tumour suppressors, the potential of targeting the miRNA network arises as a novel therapeutic approach for human cancer. Potential strategies based on miRNA therapeutics basically rely on miRNA inhibition or miRNA replacement approaches and take benefit respectively from the use of antagomirs or synthetic miRNAs as well as from lipid-based nanoparticles which allow an efficient miRNA-delivery. The availability of experimental in vivo platforms which recapitulate the growth of MM cells within the specific human bone marrow microenvironment in immunocompromised mice (SCID-hu and SCID-synth-hu) provides powerful systems for development of miRNA-based therapeutics in MM. Preliminary findings on the anti-MM activity of synthetic miRNAs in such experimental models offer a proof-of-principle that miRNA therapeutics is a promising opportunity for this still incurable disease representing the rationale for a new venue of investigation in this specific field.
Experimental therapeutics; microRNA; miRNAs; multiple myeloma; nanotechnology; nucleic acid delivery.