Background: Adults with primary brain tumors and their caregivers have significant information needs. This review assessed the effect of interventions to improve information provision for adult primary brain tumor patients and/or their caregivers.
Methods: We included randomized or non-randomized trials testing educational interventions that had outcomes of information provision, knowledge, understanding, recall, or satisfaction with the intervention, for adults diagnosed with primary brain tumors and/or their family or caregivers. PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Reviews databases were searched for studies published between 1980 and June 2014.
Results: Two randomized controlled, 1 non-randomized controlled, and 10 single group pre–post trials enrolled more than 411 participants. Five group, four practice/process change, and four individual interventions assessed satisfaction (12 studies), knowledge (4 studies), and information provision (2 studies). Nine studies reported high rates of satisfaction. Three studies showed statistically significant improvements over time in knowledge and two showed greater information was provided to intervention than control group participants, although statistical testing was not performed.
Discussion: The trials assessed intermediate outcomes such as satisfaction, and only 4/13 reported on knowledge improvements. Few trials had a randomized controlled design and risk of bias was either evident or could not be assessed in most domains.
neuro-oncology; brain tumor; information; doctor–patient communication; caregivers
An important key to clinical management of prostate cancer patients is to determine early those who will benefit from primary treatment and are not good candidates for active surveillance (AS). We describe a 67-year-old gentleman with a long history of stable prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and a negative biopsy. After slight PSA rise and low volume Gleason score 6 biopsy, the patient was considered for primary treatment or AS. A multiparametric (MP)-MRI exam revealed a suspicious lesion in the anterior apex of the prostate. Biopsies were carried out on a 3D-ultrasound prostate biopsy system with MRI-fusion. The location of the target area was challenging and could have been missed using standard 12-core biopsy template. The pathology determined Gleason 3 + 4 disease in 30% of the core from this region. Consequently, the patient underwent radiotherapy (RT). MP-MRI was also used to follow the changes from pre- to post-RT.
active surveillance; multiparametric-MRI; prostate cancer; radiotherapy; targeted biopsies
Breast cancer progression toward metastatic disease is linked to re-activation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), a latent developmental process. Breast cancer cells undergoing EMT lose epithelial characteristics and gain the capacity to invade the surrounding tissue and migrate away from the primary tumor. However, less is known about the possible role of EMT in providing cancer cells with properties that allow them to traffic to distant sites. Given the fact that pro-metastatic cancer cells share a unique capacity with immune cells to traffic in-and-out of blood and lymphatic vessels we hypothesized that tumor cells undergoing EMT may acquire properties of immune cells. To study this, we performed gene-profiling analysis of mouse mammary EpRas tumor cells that had been allowed to adopt an EMT program after long-term treatment with TGF-β1 for 2 weeks. As expected, EMT cells acquired traits of mesenchymal cell differentiation and migration. However, in addition, we found another cluster of induced genes, which was specifically enriched in monocyte-derived macrophages, mast cells, and myeloid dendritic cells, but less in other types of immune cells. Further studies revealed that this monocyte/macrophage gene cluster was enriched in human breast cancer cell lines displaying an EMT or a Basal B profile, and in human breast tumors with EMT and undifferentiated (ER−/PR−) characteristics. The results identify an EMT-induced monocyte/macrophage gene cluster, which may play a role in breast cancer cell dissemination and metastasis.
epithelial–mesenchymal transition; breast cancer; immune cells; monocytes; macrophages; gene expression profiling; properties
Purpose: Hyper-activation of the HER (erbB) family receptors, HER 1-4, leads to up-regulation of the three vital signaling pathways: mitogen activated protein kinase, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT, and Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription pathways. Blocking HER1/EGFR has a limited anticancer effect due to either secondary mutation e.g., T790M or by-pass signaling of other HER members. The emergence of an anti-panHER approach to blockade of these pathways as a cancer treatment may provide a solution to this resistance. This review aimed to provide an overview of the HER signaling pathways and their involvement in tumor progression and examine the current progress in panHER inhibition.
Methods: Recent literature associated with HER signaling pathways and panHER inhibition was reviewed through PubMed and Medline database, followed by critical comparison and analysis.
Results: Pre-clinical studies and clinical trials of panHER inhibitors show promising results, and the potential to improve patient outcomes in solid cancers.
Conclusion: The use of panHER inhibitors in cancers with HER-family hyper-activation, such as other epithelial cancers and sarcoma, is a new direction to research and has potential in clinical cancer therapy in the future.
targeted therapy; panHER inhibitors; drug resistance; HER signaling pathways; EGFR
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones (e.g., calreticulin, heat shock proteins, and isomerases) perform a multitude of functions within the ER. However, many of these chaperones can translocate to the cytosol and eventually the surface of cells, particularly during ER stress induced by e.g., drugs, UV irradiation, and microbial stimuli. Once on the cell surface or in the extracellular space, the ER chaperones can take on immunogenic characteristics, as mostly described in the context of cancer, appearing as damage-associated molecular patterns recognized by the immune system. How ER chaperones relocate to the cell surface and interact with other intracellular proteins appears to influence whether a tumor cell is targeted for cell death. The relocation of ER proteins to the cell surface can be exploited to target cancer cells for elimination by immune mechanism. Here we evaluate the evidence for the different mechanisms of ER protein translocation and binding to the cell surface and how ER protein translocation can act as a signal for cancer cells to undergo killing by immunogenic cell death and other cell death pathways. The release of chaperones can also exacerbate underlying autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and the immunomodulatory role of extracellular chaperones as potential cancer immunotherapies requires cautious monitoring, particularly in cancer patients with underlying autoimmune disease.
calreticulin; damage associated molecular patterns; ER stress; immunogenic cell death; post-translational modification
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and EGFRvIII analysis is of current interest in glioblastoma – the most common malignant primary CNS tumor, because of new EGFRvIII vaccine trials underway. EGFR activation in glioblastoma promotes cellular proliferation via activation of MAPK and PI3K–Akt pathways, and EGFRvIII is the most common variant, leading to constitutively active EGFR. This review explains EGFR and EGFRvIII signaling in GBM; describes targeted therapy approaches to date including tyrosine kinase inhibitor, antibody-based therapies, vaccines and pre-clinical RNA-based therapies, and discusses the difficulties encountered with these approaches including pathway redundancy and intratumoral heterogeneity.
EGFR; EGFRvIII; EFGR inhibitors; glioblastoma multiforme; molecular marker
Immunotherapy seeks to improve the body’s immune response to a tumor. Currently, the principal mechanisms employed are: (1) to improve an aspect of the immune response (e.g., T cell activation) and (2) to encourage the targeting of particular antigens. The latter is typically achieved by exposing the immune system to the antigen in question, in vivo, or in vitro followed by re-introduction of the primed cells to the body. The clinical relevance of these approaches has already been demonstrated for solid tumors such as melanoma and prostate cancer. The central nervous system was previously thought to be immune privileged. However, we know now that the immune system is highly active in the brain and interacts with brain tumors. Thus, harnessing and exploiting this interaction represents an important approach for treating malignant brain tumors. We present a summary of progress in this area, focusing particularly on immune-checkpoint inhibition, vaccines, and T cell engineering.
immunotherapy; glioblastoma; vaccines; antibodies; monoclonal; checkpoint modulators; T cell engineering
tagged MRI; radiation toxicity; cardiac modelling; breast cancer; radiation therapy
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been linked to many diseases, including cancer. A large body of work has focused on the activation of the ER stress response in cancer cells to facilitate their survival and tumor growth; however, there are some studies suggesting that the ER stress response can also mitigate cancer progression. Despite these contradictions, it is clear that the ER stress response is closely associated with cancer biology. The ER stress response classically encompasses activation of three separate pathways, which are collectively categorized the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR has been extensively studied in various cancers and appears to confer a selective advantage to tumor cells to facilitate their enhanced growth and resistance to anti-cancer agents. It has also been shown that ER stress induces chromatin changes, which can also facilitate cell survival. Chromatin remodeling has been linked with many cancers through repression of tumor suppressor and apoptosis genes. Interplay between the classic UPR and genome damage repair mechanisms may have important implications in the transformation process of normal cells into cancer cells.
carcinogenesis; cell death; chromatin damage; coping responses; DNA breaks; endoplasmic reticulum; unfolded proteins
NSCLC; personalized medicine; lung cancer; NSCLC treatment; supportive care
Calreticulin is recognized as one of the pivotal damage-associated molecular pattern molecules alerting the host of the presence of distressed cells. In this role, calreticulin becomes exposed on the surface of tumor cells treated by several types of cancer therapy including photodynamic therapy (PDT). The goal of the present study was to examine the potential of externally added calreticulin for augmenting antitumor effect mediated by PDT. Recombinant calreticulin was found to bind to mouse SCCVII tumor cells treated by PDT. Compared to the outcome with PDT alone, cure rates of SCCVII tumors grown in immunocompetent C3H/HeN mice were elevated when calreticulin (0.4 mg/mouse) was injected peritumorally immediately after PDT. Such therapeutic gain with PDT plus calreticulin combination was not obtained with SCCVII tumors growing in immunodeficient NOD-scid mice. In PDT-vaccine protocol, where PDT-treated SCCVII cells are used for vaccination of SCCVII tumor-bearing mice, adding recombinant calreticulin to cells before their injection produced improved therapeutic effect. The expression of calreticulin gene was reduced in PDT-treated cells, while no changes were observed with the expression of this gene in tumor, liver, and spleen tissues in PDT-vaccine-treated mice. These findings reveal that externally added recombinant calreticulin can boost antitumor response elicited by PDT or PDT-generated vaccines, and can thus serve as an effective adjuvant for cancer treatment with PDT and probably other cancer cell stress-inducing modalities.
calreticulin; photodynamic therapy; cancer vaccine; DAMPs; antitumor-immune response
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a genetically heterogeneous disease that develops and progresses through several distinct pathways characterized by genomic instability. In recent years, it has emerged that inherent plasticity in some populations of CRC cells can contribute to heterogeneity in differentiation state, metastatic potential, therapeutic response, and disease relapse. Such plasticity is thought to arise through interactions between aberrant signaling events, including persistent activation of the APC/β-catenin and KRAS/BRAF/ERK pathways, and the tumor microenvironment. Here, we highlight key concepts and evidence relating to the role of epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity as a driver of CRC progression and stratification of the disease into distinct molecular and clinicopathological subsets.
CRC; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; cancer stem cell; tumor progression; subtypes; serrated
Neuroendocrine prostate carcinoma, either co-present with the local adenocarcinoma disease or as a result of transdifferentiation later in time, was described as one major process of emerging resistance to androgen deprivation therapies, and at the clinical level it is consistent with the development of rapidly progressive visceral disease, often in the absence of elevated serum prostate-specific antigen level. Until present, platinum-based chemotherapy has been the only treatment modality, able to produce a fair amount of responses but of short duration. Recently, several efforts for molecular characterization of this lethal phenotype have resulted in identification of novel signaling factors involved in microenvironment interactions, mitosis, and neural reprograming as potential therapeutic targets. Ongoing clinical testing of specific inhibitors of these targets, for example, Aurora kinase A inhibitors, in carefully selected patients and exploitation of expression changes of the target before and after manipulation is anticipated to increase the existing data and facilitate therapeutic decision making at this late stage of the disease when hormonal manipulations, even with the newest androgen-directed therapies are no longer feasible.
neuroendocrine prostate cancer; small cell prostate carcinoma; targeted therapy; androgen-independent; castration-resistant
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a serine/threonine phosphatase that is required for normal cell growth and development. PP2A is a potent tumor suppressor, which is inactivated in cancer cells as a result of genetic deletions and mutations. In myeloid leukemias, genes encoding PP2A subunits are generally intact. Instead, PP2A is functionally inhibited by post-translational modifications of its catalytic C subunit, and interactions with negative regulators by its regulatory B and scaffold A subunits. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms of genetic and functional inactivation of PP2A in human cancers, with a particular focus on human acute myeloid leukemias (AML). By analyzing expression of genes encoding PP2A subunits using transcriptome sequencing, we find that PP2A dysregulation in AML is characterized by silencing and overexpression of distinct A scaffold and B regulatory subunits, respectively. We review the mechanisms of functional PP2A activation by drugs such as fingolimod, forskolin, OP449, and perphenazine. This analysis yields two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms for therapeutic PP2A re-activation: (i) allosteric activation of the phosphatase activity, and (ii) stabilization of active holo-enzyme assembly and displacement of negative regulatory factors from A and B subunits. Future studies should allow the development of specific and potent pharmacologic activators of PP2A, and definition of susceptible disease subsets based on specific mechanisms of PP2A dysregulation.
protein phosphatase 2A; gene expression; enzyme activation; leukemia; kinase signaling
melanoma; immunity; T-cell; sex; gender identity
Tumors arising at the lacrimal sac are extremely rare, as a limited number of cases have been reported worldwide. They are commonly primary and the majority of them are malignant and epithelial in origin. Adenocarcinomas account for a small percentage of these tumors. Treatment of local disease mainly includes complete surgical resection. However, metastatic disease has a poor prognosis and the development of new treatment strategies is highly important. Research efforts mainly focus on the identification of molecular targets for therapy. Herein, we describe for the first time a case of a patient with an androgen receptor expressing adenocarcinoma of the lacrimal sac that had an impressive response to abiraterone.
lacrimal sac; adenocarcinoma; androgen receptor; abiraterone; molecular target
Upon binding their cognate receptors, ERα (ESR1) and ERβ (ESR2), estrogens activate intracellular signaling cascades that have important consequences for cellular behavior. Historically linked to carcinogenesis in reproductive organs, estrogens have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of different cancer types of non-reproductive tissues including the colon. ERβ is the predominant estrogen receptor expressed in both normal and malignant colonic epithelium. However, during colon cancer progression, ERβ expression is lost, suggesting that estrogen signaling may play a role in disease progression. Estrogens may in fact exert an anti-tumor effect through selective activation of pro-apoptotic signaling mediated by ERβ, inhibition of inflammatory signals and modulation of the tumor microenvironment. In this review, we analyze the estrogen pathway as a possible therapeutic avenue in colorectal cancer, we report the most recent experimental evidence to explain the cellular and molecular mechanisms of estrogen-mediated protection against colorectal tumorigenesis, and we discuss future challenges and potential avenues for targeted therapy.
estrogen; estrogen receptor; colorectal cancer; tumor immunology; tumor microenvironment
Patients with early stage high-risk prostate cancer (prostate specific antigen > 20, Gleason score > 7) are at high risk of recurrence following prostate cancer irradiation. Radiation dose escalation to the prostate may improve biochemical-free survival for these patients. However, high rectal and bladder dose with conventional three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy may lead to excessive gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicity. Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), by virtue of combining the steep dose gradient of intensity-modulated radiotherapy and daily pretreatment imaging, may allow for radiation dose escalation and decreased treatment morbidity. Reduced treatment time is feasible with hypo-fractionated IGRT and it may improve patient quality of life.
prostate cancer; high-risk; image-guided radiotherapy; hypofractionation
Pancreatic cancer is characterized by constitutive activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Mutations of KRAS or BRAF and epigenetic abrogation of DUSP6 contribute synergistically to the constitutive activation of MAPK. Active MAPK induces the expression of a variety of genes that are thought to play roles in malignant phenotypes of pancreatic cancer. By blocking the functions of such induced genes, it is possible to attenuate the malignant phenotypes. The development of drugs targeting genes downstream of MAPK may provide a novel therapeutic option for pancreatic cancer.
pancreatic cancer; mitogen-activated protein kinase; KRAS; BRAF; DUSP6; ERK; MKP-3; microRNA
Background: Commonly used methods of assessing the accuracy of deformable image registration (DIR) rely on image segmentation or landmark selection. These methods are very labor intensive and thus limited to relatively small number of image pairs. The direct voxel-by-voxel comparison can be automated to examine fluctuations in DIR quality on a long series of image pairs.
Methods: A voxel-by-voxel comparison of three DIR algorithms applied to lung patients is presented. Registrations are compared by comparing volume histograms formed both with individual DIR maps and with a voxel-by-voxel subtraction of the two maps. When two DIR maps agree one concludes that both maps are interchangeable in treatment planning applications, though one cannot conclude that either one agrees with the ground truth. If two DIR maps significantly disagree one concludes that at least one of the maps deviates from the ground truth. We use the method to compare 3 DIR algorithms applied to peak inhale-peak exhale registrations of 4DFBCT data obtained from 13 patients.
Results: All three algorithms appear to be nearly equivalent when compared using DICE similarity coefficients. A comparison based on Jacobian volume histograms shows that all three algorithms measure changes in total volume of the lungs with reasonable accuracy, but show large differences in the variance of Jacobian distribution on contoured structures. Analysis of voxel-by-voxel subtraction of DIR maps shows differences between algorithms that exceed a centimeter for some registrations.
Conclusion: Deformation maps produced by DIR algorithms must be treated as mathematical approximations of physical tissue deformation that are not self-consistent and may thus be useful only in applications for which they have been specifically validated. The three algorithms tested in this work perform fairly robustly for the task of contour propagation, but produce potentially unreliable results for the task of DVH accumulation or measurement of local volume change. Performance of DIR algorithms varies significantly from one image pair to the next hence validation efforts, which are exhaustive but performed on a small number of image pairs may not reflect the performance of the same algorithm in practical clinical situations. Such efforts should be supplemented by validation based on a longer series of images of clinical quality.
deformable image registration; deformable dose addition
Epigenetic modifications such as histone post-transcriptional modifications, DNA methylation, and non-protein-coding RNAs organize the DNA in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and are critical for the spatio-temporal regulation of gene expression. These epigenetic modifications are reversible and precisely regulated by epigenetic enzymes. In addition to genetic mutations, epigenetic modifications are highly disrupted in cancer relative to normal tissues. Many epigenetic alterations (epi-mutations) are associated with aberrations in the expression and/or activity of epigenetic enzymes. Thus, epigenetic regulators have emerged as prime targets for cancer therapy. Currently, several inhibitors of epigenetic enzymes (epi-drugs) have been approved for use in the clinic to treat cancer patients with hematological malignancies. However, one potential disadvantage of epi-drugs is their lack of locus-selective specificity, which may result in the over-expression of undesirable parts of the genome. The emerging and rapidly growing field of epigenome engineering has opened new grounds for improving epigenetic therapy in view of reducing the genome-wide “off-target” effects of the treatment. In the current review, we will first describe the language of epigenetic modifications and their involvement in cancer. Next, we will overview the current strategies for engineering of artificial DNA-binding domains in order to manipulate and ultimately normalize the aberrant landscape of the cancer epigenome (epigenome engineering). Lastly, the potential clinical applications of these emerging genome-engineering approaches will be discussed.
epigenetics; epigenome editing; genome editing; histone modifications; DNA methylation; zinc finger proteins; TALEs; CRISPR/dCas9
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a complex phenomenon principally due to the overexpression of some transmembrane proteins belonging to the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter family. Among these transporters, P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is mostly involved in MDR and its overexpression is the major cause of cancer therapy failure. The classical approach used to overcome MDR is the co-administration of a P-gp inhibitor and the classic antineoplastic drugs, although the results were often unsatisfactory. Different classes of P-gp ligands have been developed and, among them, Tariquidar has been extensively studied both in vitro and in vivo. Although Tariquidar has been considered for several years as the lead compound for the development of P-gp inhibitors, recent studies demonstrated it to be a substrate and inhibitor, in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, Tariquidar structure–activity relationship studies were difficult to carry out because of the complexity of the structure that does not allow establishing the role of each moiety for P-gp activity. For this purpose, SMALL molecules bearing different scaffolds such as tetralin, biphenyl, arylthiazole, furoxane, furazan have been developed. Many of these ligands have been tested both in in vitro assays and in in vivo PET studies. These preliminary evaluations lead to obtain a library of P-gp interacting agents useful to conjugate chemotherapeutic agents displaying reduced pharmacological activity and appropriate small molecules. These molecules could get over the limits due to the antineoplastic-P-gp inhibitor co-administration since pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles are related to a dual innovative drug.
MDR; P-gp; dual effect; multitarget drugs; MDR reverting activity
Ionizing radiation is a non-specific but highly effective way to kill malignant cells. However, tumor recurrence sustained by a minor fraction of surviving tumor cells is a commonplace phenomenon caused by the activation of both cancer cell intrinsic resistance mechanisms, and also extrinsic intermediaries of therapy resistance, represented by non-malignant cells and structural components of the tumor stroma. The improved accuracy offered by advanced radiotherapy (RT)-technology permits reduced volume of healthy tissue in the irradiated field, and has been triggering an increase in the prescription of high-dose oligo-fractionated regimens in the clinics. Given the remarkable clinical success of high-dose RT and the current therapeutic shift occurring in the field, in this review we revise the existing knowledge on the effects that different radiation regimens exert on the different compartments of the tumor microenvironment, and highlight the importance of anti-tumor immunity and other tumor cell extrinsic mechanisms influencing therapeutic responses to high-dose radiation.
stereotactic ablative radiotherapy; tumor microenvironment; hypoxia; angiogenesis; cancer-immunity; cancer-associated fibroblasts
Women who have an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a substantial increased lifetime risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), and epidemiological factors related to parity, ovulation, and hormone regulation have a dramatic effect on the risk in both BRCA mutation carriers and non-carriers. The most common and most aggressive histotype of EOC, high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC), is also the histotype associated with germline BRCA mutations. In recent years, evidence has emerged indicating that the likely tissue of origin of HGSC is the fallopian tube. We have reviewed, what is known about the fallopian tube in BRCA mutation carriers at both the transcriptional and translational aspect of their biology. We propose that changes of the transcriptome in BRCA heterozygotes reflect an altered response to the ovulatory stresses from the microenvironment, which may include the post-ovulation inflammatory response and altered reproductive hormone physiology.
BRCA; fallopian tube epithelium; high-grade serous carcinoma
Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) proteins are a family of proteins with antiapoptotic functions that contribute to the evasion of apoptosis, a form of programed cell death. IAP proteins are expressed at high levels in a variety of human cancers including childhood acute leukemia. This elevated expression has been associated with unfavorable prognosis and poor outcome. Therefore, IAP proteins are currently exploited as therapeutic targets for cancer drug discovery. Consequently, small-molecule inhibitors or antisense oligonucleotides directed against IAP proteins have been developed over the last years. Indeed, IAP antagonists proved to exhibit in vitro and in vivo antitumor activities against childhood pediatric leukemia in several preclinical studies. Thus, targeting IAP proteins represents a promising molecular targeted strategy to overcome apoptosis resistance in childhood leukemia, which warrants further exploitation.
IAP proteins; Smac; apoptosis; leukemia; lymphoma