Cholesterol is a fundamental molecule for life. Located in the cell membrane, this sterol participates to the cell signaling of growth factors. Inside the cell it can be converted in hormones such as androgens or modulate the immune response. Such important functions could not be solely dependent of external supply by diet hence de novo synthesis could occur from acetate in almost all mammalian cells. If a deficiency in cholesterol sourcing leads to development troubles, overstocking has been associated to various diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancers. Cholesterol homeostasis should thus be tightly regulated at the uptake, de novo synthesis, storage and export processes. Various transcription factors have been described these last years as important to regulate cholesterol levels. Besides, synthetic molecules have been developed for many years to modulate cholesterol synthesis, such as statins. Many articles have associated prostate cancer, whose incidence is constantly increasing, to cholesterol disequilibrium. Targeting cholesterol could thus be a new pharmacological hit to counteract the initiation, development and/or progression of prostate cancer. Among the transcription factors regulating cholesterol homeostasis, the nuclear receptors Liver X Receptors (LXRs) control cholesterol uptake and export. Targeting the LXRs offers a new field of investigation to treat cancer. This review highlights the molecular relationships among LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol and why LXRs have good chance to be targeted one day in this tumor. LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol, more than a “Ménage à trois”, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
LXR; cholesterol; prostate cancer; lipid raft; pharmacological modulation
Endosulfatases HSulf-1 and -2 (also referred to as Sulf1 and -2) represent a family of enzymes that modulate heparin binding growth factor signaling. Heparan sulfatase 1 (HSulf-1) and heparan sulfatase 2 (HSulf-2) are two important 6-O endosulfatases which remove or edit 6-O sulfate residues of N-glucosamine present on highly sulfated HS. Alteration of heparan sulfatases have been identified in the context of several cancer types. Many cancer types either exhibit increased or decreased HSulfs expression at the transcript levels. Specifically, HSulf-1 was found to be downregulated in early-stage ovarian tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, and metastatic breast cancer patients. HSulf-2 was found to be upregulated in ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma, whereas limited information is present about HSulf-2 expression in different stages of ovarian cancers. Here, we review the important role of these sulfatases play in ovarian and breast cancers in terms of tumorigenesis such as angiogenesis, chemoresistance, apoptosis, growth factor signaling, hypoxia and metastasis. These recent discoveries have added significant understanding about these sulfate editing enzymes.
Ovarian and breast cancer; heparin binding growth factor signaling; tumorigenesis; angiogenesis; chemoresponse and metastasis
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths worldwide. Breast cancer-related mortality is associated with the development of metastatic potential of primary tumor lesions. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 has been found to be a prognostic marker in various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Recent advances in the field of cancer biology has pointed to the critical role that CXCR4 receptor and its ligand CXCL12 play in the metastasis of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Breast tumors preferentially metastasize to the lung, bones and lymph nodes, all of which represent organs that secrete high levels of CXCL12. CXCL12 acts as a chemoattractant that drives CXCR4-positive primary tumor cells towards secondary metastatic sites leading to the onset of metastatic lesions. Since its discovery in 2001, the CXCR4 field has progressed at a very fast rate and further studies have pointed to the role of CXCR4 in dissemination of tumor cells from primary sites, transendothelial migration of tumor cells as well as the trafficking and homing of cancer stem cells. This review summarizes the information that has been obtained over the years regarding the role of CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling in breast cancer, discusses its potential application to the development of new therapeutic tools for breast cancer control, and elucidates the potential therapeutic challenges which lie ahead and the future directions that this field can take for the improvement of prognosis in breast cancer patients.
CXCR4; CXCL12; breast cancer
High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), an evolutionarily highly conserved and abundant nuclear protein also has roles within the cytoplasm and as an extracellular damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule. Extracellular HMGB1 is the prototypic endogenous ‘danger signal’ that triggers inflammation and immunity. Recent findings suggest that posttranslational modifications dictate the cellular localization and secretion of HMGB1. HMGB1 is actively secreted from immune cells and stressed cancer cells, or passively released from necrotic cells. During cancer development or administration of therapeutic agents including chemotherapy, radiation, epigenetic drugs, oncolytic viruses, or immunotherapy, the released HMGB1 may either promote or limit cancer growth, depending on the state of progression and vascularization of the tumor. Extracellular HMGB1 enhances autophagy and promotes persistence of surviving cancer cells following initial activation. When oxidized, it chronically suppresses the immune system to promote cancer growth and progression, thereby enhancing resistance to cancer therapeutics. In its reduced form, it can facilitate and elicit innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity, recruiting and activating immune cells, in conjunction with cytotoxic agents, particularly in early transplantable tumor models. We hypothesize that HMGB1 also functions as an epigenetic modifier, mainly through regulation of NF-kB-dependent signaling pathways, to modulate the behavior of surviving cancer cells as well as the immune cells found within the tumor microenvironment. This has significant implications for developing novel cancer therapeutics.
Cancer; HMGB1; NF-kB signaling; activation; innate immunity; dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; epigenetic pathways
During carcinogenesis, tumors induce dysfunctional development of hematopoietic cells. Myeloid lineage cells, in the form of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and alternatively polarized M2 macrophages, influence almost all types of cancers by regulating diverse facets of immunosuppression, angiogenesis, cell proliferation, growth and metastasis. One-third of Americans are obese, and accumulating evidence suggests that obesity is a risk factor for various cancers. However, the relationship between these immune players and obesity are not well-described. In this review, we evaluate potential mechanisms through which different aspects of obesity, namely insulin resistance, increased estrogen, adiposity and low grade chronic inflammation from adipose tissue macrophages, may coalesce to promote MDSC induction and M2 macrophage polarization, thereby facilitating cancer development. Detailed understanding of the interplay between obesity and myeloid mediated immunosuppression may provide novel avenues for therapeutic targeting, with the goal to reduce the challenge obesity presents towards gains made in cancer outcomes.
Obesity; inflammation; myeloid derived suppressor cells; alternately activated macrophage; cancer
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target the CD20 antigen on B cells are successfully used in the clinic for the depletion of B cells to treat various forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The first CD20 mAb, approved by the FDA in 1998, was rituximab (RTX) and since then it has been widely used to treat more than one million patients thus far. The success of RTX has led to a general interest in the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs. CD20 mAbs can induce tumor killing via various mechanisms, such as direct induction of apoptosis, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement-dependent lysis (CDC). Although we now understand these mechanisms better, it is still unclear which of these mechanisms is the most important for in vivo RTX action. Not every patient respond to RTX treatment and eventually the overwhelming majority will experience a relapse. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the efficacy of CD20 mAbs. This review aims to summarize our current understanding on the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs.
Antibodies; CD20; effector mechanisms; Fc receptors; complement; complement receptors; apoptosis
Recent technological advancements in gene expression analysis have led to the discovery of a promising new group of prostate cancer (PCa) biomarkers that have the potential to influence diagnosis and the prediction of disease severity. The accumulation of deleterious changes in gene expression is a fundamental mechanism of prostate carcinogenesis. Aberrant gene expression can arise from changes in epigenetic regulation or mutation in the genome affecting either key regulatory elements or gene sequences themselves. At the epigenetic level, a myriad of abnormal histone modifications and changes in DNA methylation are found in PCa patients. In addition, many mutations in the genome have been associated with higher PCa risk. Finally, over- or underexpression of key genes involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, cell adhesion and regulation of transcription has been observed. An interesting group of biomarkers are emerging from these studies which may prove more predictive than the standard prostate specific antigen (PSA) serum test. In this review, we discuss recent results in the field of gene expression analysis in PCa including the most promising biomarkers in the areas of epigenetics, genomics and the transcriptome, some of which are currently under investigation as clinical tests for early detection and better prognostic prediction of PCa.
Prostate cancer; biomarker; epigenetics; methylation; acetylation; ncRNA; genomics; SNP; transcriptomics; miRNA; lncRNA
The c-Jun N-terminal Kinases (JNK), along with Erk and p38, constitute the principle members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family. JNK functions primarily through AP1 family transcription factors to regulate a plethora of cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and migration. It also cross-talks and integrates with other signaling pathways in a cell context-specific and cell type-specific manner. The current views of JNK function in various skin cancers and the need of developing JNK subunit-specific inhibitors for cancer type-specific applications have been summarized in this review.
JNK; skin cancer; squamous cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma; cylindroma
Genome-wide studies have revealed that human and other mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed and produce thousands of regulatory non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), including miRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Emerging evidences suggest that these ncRNAs also play a pivotal role in genome integrity and stability via the regulation of DNA damage response (DDR). In this review, we discuss the recent finding on the interplay of ncRNAs with the canonical DDR signaling pathway, with a particular emphasis on miRNAs and lncRNAs. While the expression of ncRNAs is regulated in the DDR, the DDR is also subjected to regulation by those DNA damage-responsive ncRNAs. In addition, the roles of those Dicer- and Drosha-dependent small RNAs produced in the vicinity of double-strand breaks sites are also described.
DNA damage response; ncRNAs; miRNAs; lncRNAs; crosstalk
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the result of a multistep transforming process of hematopoietic precursor cells (HPCs) which enables them to proceed through limitless numbers of cell cycles and to become resistant to cell death. Increased proliferation renders these cells vulnerable to acquiring mutations and may favor leukemic transformation. Here, we review how deregulated cell cycle control contributes to increased proliferation in AML and favors genomic instability, a prerequisite to confer selective advantages to particular clones in order to adapt and independently proliferate in the presence of a changing microenvironment. We discuss the connection between differentiation and proliferation with regard to leukemogenesis and outline the impact of specific alterations on response to therapy. Finally, we present examples, how a better understanding of cell cycle regulation and deregulation has already led to new promising therapeutic strategies.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML); cell cycle; genetic instability; proliferation; differentiation
Recent studies revealed that tumor-associated macrophages play a decisive role in the regulation of tumor progression by manipulating tumor oncogenesis, angiogenesis and immune functions within tumor microenvironments. However, the role of cancer stem cells in the tumorigenic activities of tumor-associated macrophages during the course of transformation and treatment remains largely unknown. Recent studies have clarified the functional aspects of tumor-associated macrophages in the regulation of the tumorigenic activities and anticancer drug responsiveness of cancer stem cells through complex networks formed by distinct sets of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. In this article we discuss recent advances and future perspectives regarding the molecular interplay between cancer stem cells and tumor-associated macrophages and provide future perspective about the therapeutic implication against treatment-resistant variants of cancer.
Cancer stem cells; tumor associated macrophages; tumor microenvironments; MFG-E8; IL-6; TIM-3; M-CSF
Epigenetic dysregulation is being increasingly recognized as a hallmark of cancer. Post-translational modifications of histones, in particular, are known to play important roles gene expression alterations in cancer development and progression. Given their key involvement in the various stages of carcinogenesis, histone modifications are also being explored as potential biomarkers of disease progression and prognosis. This review will therefore discuss the role of histone modifications in cancer biology and will explore their prognostic potential.
Histone modifications; cancer; biomarkers; prognosis
Disturbances in microRNA expression by epigenetic alterations and mutations may
promote not only tumorigenesis but also tumor aggressiveness, invasion,
metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Several studies
have profiled microRNA expression in normal and tumorigenic tissues,
demonstrating a unique microRNA signature, which can be used as a marker for
cancer diagnosis and prognosis. This review discusses the importance of
microRNAs as regulatory biomolecules involved in cancer, focusing on microRNAs
related to cancer invasion, metastasis, epigenetic alterations, chemoresistance,
and radioresistance. The identification of both differentially expressed
microRNAs in tumors and their target genes provides new tools for gene therapy;
the re-expression of microRNAs silenced by cancer development or the silencing
of oncogenic microRNAs can be effective in the blockade of cancer-related cell
MicroRNA; epigenetic modifications; metastasis; chemotherapy; radiotherapy
Although p62/SQSTM1 was initially identified as an essential mediator of NFκB signaling, several recent studies have also highlighted its important role at the crossroad between the mTOR or MAPK signaling pathways and selective autophagy. The p62 structure containing important interaction domains attests to the ability of this protein to regulate and modulate the activation of these signaling pathways during tumor formation and propagation. The second very important function of this protein is to act as a molecular adaptor between the autophagic machinery and its substrates. Consequently, p62 is degraded following an increase in autophagic flux for which this protein currently serves as an indicator. However, the measurement of p62 expression strictly as a marker of autophagic flux is still controversial and can be misinterpreted mainly because this protein is subject to complex regulation at both the transcriptional and post-translational levels. Finally, because p62 is an autophagic substrate, it acts as a molecular link between cancer and autophagy by conferring a high level of selectivity through the degradation of important signaling molecules.
Paget’s disease; mTOR; NFκB; NRF2; MAPK; Atg; ROS; ubiquitin; protein aggregates; oxidative stress
Cancer is a genetic disease, grows exponentially with the development of intrinsic and acquired treatment resistance. Past decade has witnessed a considerable progress towards the treatment and understanding of proposed hallmarks of cancer and together with advances in early detection and various treatment modalities. Radiation therapy is an integral part of cancer treatment armamentarium. In developed countries more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their course of illness. Although radiation damages both cancer and normal cells, the goal of radiation therapy is to maximize the radiation dose to abnormal cancer cells while minimizing exposure to normal cells, which is adjacent to cancer cells or in the path of radiation. In recent years, life expectancy increases among cancer patients and this increase is due to the results of early diagnosis, screening efforts, improved treatments and with less late effects mostly secondary cancer development. Therefore, cancer survivorship issues have been gaining prominence in the area of radiation oncology research. Understanding the tradeoff between the expected decreases in normal tissue toxicity resulting from an improved radiation dose distribution to the targeted site is an increasingly pertinent, yet needed attention and research in the area of radiation oncology. In recent years, a number of potential molecular targets that involve either with radiation increased tumor cell killing or protecting normal cells have been identified. For clinical benefits, translating these findings to maximize the toxicity of radiation on tumor cells while safeguarding early or late normal cell toxicities using molecular targeted radioprotectors will be useful in radiation treatment.
Cancer; radiation therapy; radioprotectors; normal genome maintenance
Breast cancer occurs at a high frequency in women and, given this fact, a primary focus of breast cancer research has been the study of estrogen receptor α (ER) signaling. However, androgens are known to play a role in normal breast physiology and therefore androgen receptor (AR) signaling is becoming increasingly recognized as an important contributor towards breast carcinogenesis. Moreover, the high frequency of AR expression in breast cancer makes it an attractive therapeutic target, but the ability to exploit AR for therapy has been difficult. Here we review the historical use of androgen/anti-androgen therapies in breast cancer, the challenges of accurately modeling nuclear hormone receptor signaling in vitro, and the presence and prognostic significance of AR in breast cancer.
Androgen receptor; MAP kinase; breast cancer; p21; androgens
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer to cause death due to advanced stage at diagnosis and poor response to current treatment. Autophagy is the lysosome-mediated degradation pathway which plays a critical role in cellular defense, quality control, and energy metabolism. Targeting autophagy is now an exciting field for translational cancer research, as autophagy dysfunction is among the hallmarks of cancer. Pancreatic tumors have elevated autophagy under basal conditions when compared with other epithelial cancers. This review describes our current understanding of the interaction between autophagy and pancreatic cancer development, including risk factors (e.g., pancreatitis, smoking, and alcohol use), tumor microenvironment (e.g., hypoxia and stromal cells), and molecular biology (e.g., K-Ras and p53) of pancreatic cancer. The importance of the HMGB1-RAGE pathway in regulation of autophagy and pancreatic cancer is also presented. Finally, we describe current studies involving autophagy inhibition using either pharmacological inhibitors (e.g., chloroquine) or RNA interference of essential autophagy genes that regulate chemotherapy sensitivity in pancreatic cancer. Summarily, autophagy plays multiple roles in the regulation of pancreatic cancer pathogenesis and treatment, although the exact mechanisms remain unknown.
Autophagy; pancreatic cancer; oncogene; hypoxia; pancreatitis; HMGB1; RAGE; p53; HIF1α; AMPK
The non-receptor tyrosine kinases of the SRC family (SFK) play important roles in signal transduction induced by a large variety of extracellular stimuli, including growth factors and Integrins. When deregulated, SFKs show oncogenic activity, as originally reported for v-Src, the transforming product of the avian retrovirus RSV, and then, in many human cancers, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC). In CRC, SFK deregulation largely occurs in the absence of mutations of the corresponding genes, but the underlying molecular mechanisms involved are still unclear. In addition to a role in early tumor progression, SFK deregulation may also be important in advanced CRC, as suggested by the association between increased SFK activity and poor clinical outcome. However, SFK contribution to CRC metastasis formation is still poorly documented. Here, we will review recent findings that broaden our understanding of the mechanisms underlying SFK deregulation and signaling in advanced CRC. We will also discuss the implication of these observations for SFK-based therapy in metastatic CRC.
Non-receptor tyrosine kinases; signal transduction; colorectal cancer (CRC); early tumor progression; advanced CRC
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been defined as cells within tumor that possess the capacity to self-renew and to cause the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the tumor. They have been identified in blood, breast, brain, colon, melanoma, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, lung cancers and so on. It is often considered to be associated with chemo-resistance and radio-resistance that lead to the failure of traditional therapies. Most therapies are directed at the fast growing tumor mass but not the slow dividing cancer stem cells. Eradicating cancer stem cells, the root of cancer origin and recurrence, has been thought as a promising approach to improve cancer survival or even to cure cancer patients. Understanding the characteristics of cancer stem cells will help to develop novel therapies to eliminate the initiating cancer stem cell, and the relevant patents on the cancer stem cell and cancer therapy by cancer stem cells will be discussed.
Cancer stem cell; biomarker; signal pathway; drug resistance; natural compound; Mesenchymal stem cells; differentiation therapy
The transcription factor LSF (Late SV40 Factor), also known as TFCP2, belongs to the LSF/CP2 family related to Grainyhead family of proteins and is involved in many biological events, including regulation of cellular and viral promoters, cell cycle, DNA synthesis, cell survival and Alzheimer’s disease. Our recent studies establish an oncogenic role of LSF in Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). LSF overexpression is detected in human HCC cell lines and in more than 90% cases of human HCC patients, compared to normal hepatocytes and liver, and its expression level showed significant correlation with the stages and grades of the disease. Forced overexpression of LSF in less aggressive HCC cells resulted in highly aggressive, angiogenic and multi-organ metastatic tumors in nude mice. Conversely, inhibition of LSF significantly abrogated growth and metastasis of highly aggressive HCC cells in nude mice. Microarray studies revealed that as a transcription factor LSF modulated specific genes regulating invasion, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and senescence. LSF transcriptionally regulates thymidylate synthase (TS) gene, thus contributing to cell cycle regulation and chemoresistance. Our studies identify a network of proteins, including osteopontin (OPN), Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), c-Met and complement factor H (CFH), that are directly regulated by LSF and play important role in LSF-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. A high throughput screening identified small molecule inhibitors of LSF DNA binding and the prototype of these molecules, Factor Quinolinone inhibitor 1 (FQI1), profoundly inhibited cell viability and induced apoptosis in human HCC cells without exerting harmful effects to normal immortal human hepatocytes and primary mouse hepatocytes. In nude mice xenograft studies, FQI1 markedly inhibited growth of human HCC xenografts as well as angiogenesis without exerting any toxicity. These studies establish a key role of LSF in hepatocarcinogenesis and usher in a novel therapeutic avenue for HCC, an invariably fatal disease.
Late SV40 Factor (LSF); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); osteopontin (OPN); matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9); c-Met; thymidylate synthase (TS); angiogenesis; metastasis; cell cycle regulation; small molecule inhibitors; FQI1
A DNA double strand break (DSB) is a highly toxic lesion, which can generate genetic instability and profound genome rearrangements. However, DSBs are required to generate diversity during physiological processes such as meiosis or the establishment of the immune repertoire. Thus, the precise regulation of a complex network of processes is necessary for the maintenance of genomic stability, allowing genetic diversity but protecting against genetic instability and its consequences on oncogenesis. Two main strategies are employed for DSB repair: homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). HR is initiated by single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) resection and requires sequence homology with an intact partner, while NHEJ requires neither resection at initiation nor a homologous partner. Thus, resection is an pivotal step at DSB repair initiation, driving the choice of the DSB repair pathway employed. However, an alternative end-joining (A-EJ) pathway, which is highly mutagenic, has recently been described; A-EJ is initiated by ssDNA resection but does not require a homologous partner. The choice of the appropriate DSB repair system, for instance according the cell cycle stage, is essential for genome stability maintenance. In this context, controlling the initial events of DSB repair is thus an essential step that may be irreversible, and the wrong decision should lead to dramatic consequences. Here, we first present the main DSB repair mechanisms and then discuss the importance of the choice of the appropriate DSB repair pathway according to the cell cycle phase. In a third section, we present the early steps of DSB repair i.e., DSB signaling, chromatin remodeling, and the regulation of ssDNA resection. In the last part, we discuss the competition between the different DSB repair mechanisms. Finally, we conclude with the importance of the fine tuning of this network for genome stability maintenance and for tumor protection in fine.
DNA double strand break; Homologous recombination; Non homologous end joining; alternative end-joining; Resection; chromatin remodeling; genetic instability; genome rearrangements
It is commonly accepted that cancer is linked to inflammation. The possible mechanisms by which inflammation can contribute to carcinogenesis include induction of genomic instability, alterations in epigenetic events and subsequent inappropriate gene expression, enhanced proliferation of initiated cells, resistance to apoptosis, aggressive tumor neovascularization, invasion through tumor-associated basement membrane and metastasis. Inflammation also affects immune surveillance and responses to therapy. In this review, we overview the current understanding of different aspects of thyroid cancer and inflammation. Several studies have strongly suggested an increased risk of PTC in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), the most common autoimmune disease in thyroid cancer. Furthermore, an intense immune infiltrate is often associated with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), and might play a critical role in the regulation of carcinogenesis and in carcinoma progression. The characterization of the most relevant inflammatory pathways of cancer-related inflammation (CRI) is instrumental for the identification of new target molecules that could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.
Cancer-related inflammation; thyroid cancer; inflammatory cell; chemokine
Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial heat shock protein involved in the protection from DNA damages and apoptosis induced by oxidants and several other stress conditions. Despite the well-characterized role in the regulation of mitochondrial integrity, through the interaction with cyclophilin D, a mitochondrial permeability transition pore regulator, several recent studies contributed to draw a more complex “picture” of the TRAP1 pathway: most of these updated functions arise from the identification of novel specific TRAP1 “client” proteins and from the recent discovery of multiple subcellular localizations/functions for this chaperone. This review briefly highlights some general features of TRAP1, and among others its role in cytoprotection, summarizing many different functions, which contribute to its protective role upon several stress inducers. Of note, particular emphasis is given to the recent findings on the regulation of Endoplasmic Reticulum stress and protein quality control by TRAP1, as well as to its role in regulating calcium homeostasis throughout its client protein Sorcin. Starting from the above observations a preliminary “TRAP1 signature” is provided and a new intriguing and interesting field to explore is discussed. Several questions are still open given the complexity of such mechanisms. However, by translating these recent insights at the molecular and cellular levels into personalized individual anticancer treatments, designing novel strategies based on the simultaneous inhibition of multiple tumor-specific pathways, and contemplating subcellular-targeted approaches aimed at reverting drug resistance and improving antitumor activity the struggle to combat cancer become more successful and closer.
TRAP1; HSP90; apoptosis; mitochondria; endoplasmic reticulum; stress; cancer; drug resistance
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the most common malignancy in young men. While most TGCT are potentially curable, approximately 5% of patients with TGCT may develop chemoresistance and die from the disease. This review article summarizes current knowledge in genetics underlying the development, progression and chemoresistance of TGCT. Most post-pubertal TGCT originate from intratubular germ cell neoplasia unclassified (IGCNU), which are transformed fetal gonocytes. Development of IGCNU may involve aberrantly activated KITLG/KIT pathway and overexpression of embryonic transcription factors such as NANOG and POU5F1, which leads to suppression of apoptosis, increased proliferation, and accumulation of mutations in gonocytes. Invasive TGCT consistently show gain of chromosome 12p, typically isochromosome 12p. Single gene mutations are uncommon in TGCT. KIT, TP53, KRAS/NRAS, and BRAF are genes most commonly mutated in TGCT and implicated in their pathogenesis. Different histologic subtypes of TGCT possess different gene expression profiles that reflect different directions of differentiation. Their distinct gene expression profiles are likely caused by epigenetic regulation, in particular DNA methylation, but not by gene copy number alterations. Resistance of TGCT to chemotherapy has been linked to karyotypic aberrations, single-gene mutations, and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in small-scale studies. The study of TGCT genetics could ultimately translate into development of new molecular diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for these tumors and improve the care of patients with these malignancies.
Pathology; genetics; testis; germ cell tumor
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive neoplasm with a poor prognosis. MPM grows from the mesothelial cells lining the surface of the lung and chest wall called Pleura. Exposure to asbestos is mainly linked to the development of MPM. Approximately 80% of the tumors are pleural in origin, and up to 3000 people are diagnosed with MPM in the United States annually. The incidence of MPM is expected to rise in the coming decades particularly in the developing countries. Although there is an increase in the awareness of danger associated with the use of asbestos, its use is still prevalent in Australia and Asia because of its durability and low cost. This further warns and adds to the mortality and morbidity of patients with MPM globally. The traditional treatment strategies have shown only modest improvement towards the disease. MPM is difficult to treat because of the fact that the time between the exposure to asbestos and the appearance of symptoms is extremely delayed, and also due to tumor involvement with the pleural surface and the adjoining tissues such as the chest wall, pericardium and subdiaphragmatic organs. Despite advances in the diagnostic and treatment approaches the median survival rate for MPM is between 9 to 17 months. The standard care with double agent has shown modest improvement however, multimodality approach using novel targets may have potential to achieve the improvement in the survival rate. In this review we give an update on the conventional treatment modalities and discuss about various molecular targets including receptor EphA2, a novel target gene which may be considered as a biomarker for the diagnosis and treatment of MPM.
Receptor EphA2; EphrinA1; malignant pleural mesothelioma; receptor tyrosine kinases; asbestos; surgery; chemotherapy; gene therapy