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  • 1
    Keywords: CANCER ; IN-VIVO ; TRIAL ; NK cells ; MALIGNANT-MELANOMA ; RECEPTORS ; ADOPTIVE TRANSFER ; NKG2D ligands ; VIVO EXPANSION ; LINE NK-92
    Abstract: During the recent years, immunotherapy has obtained substantial impact on the clinical treatment of melanoma. Besides promising approaches based on T lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells have gained more and more attention as anti-melanoma effector cells. NK cell activation is inhibited by HLA class I molecules expressed by target cells, so they preferentially attack tumor cells that express low levels of HLA class I. Partial or complete loss of HLA class I expression is a frequent event during the development of melanoma. In parallel, ligands for activating NK cell receptors become induced upon malignant transformation. Thus, melanoma cells are often efficiently recognized and lysed by NK cells at least in vitro. In vivo, however, melanomas have developed multiple sophisticated strategies to escape from NK cell mediated attack. Several novel approaches aim at harnessing NK cells to treat melanoma patients and to counteract existing tumor escape mechanisms. This review summarizes the most recent advances in the field.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25640488
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  • 2
    Abstract: AIMS: The differential diagnosis of cystic epithelial masses of the sellar region, especially the histopathological differentiation of craniopharyngiomas and Rathke's cleft cysts, poses a challenge even to experienced diagnosticians. Recently, BRAF V600E mutations have been described as a genetic hallmark of papillary craniopharyngiomas. We investigated a series of 33 Rathke's cleft cysts to determine the frequency of BRAF V600E mutations and its suitability as an additional diagnostic marker for the differentiation of cystic lesions of the sellar region. METHODS: Thirty-three Rathke's cleft cysts and 18 papillary craniopharyngiomas were analysed for BRAF mutational status by immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody (VE1) that selectively recognizes the BRAF V600E mutant epitope and additional BRAF pyrosequencing in a subset of samples. RESULTS: Thirty of 33 specimens diagnosed as Rathke's cleft cysts were negative by VE1 immunohistochemistry and pyrosequencing, whereas in three cysts and in all the 18 papillary craniopharyngiomas, a BRAF V600E mutation was detected. Clinical and histological re-evaluation of the three BRAF V600E mutated cases formerly diagnosed as Rathke's cleft cysts revealed unusual presentations. Two of them were rediagnosed as papillary craniopharyngiomas. The patient of the third case had a history of craniopharyngioma operated 14 years before, and reoperation showed a cystic epithelial lesion with unclear histology. CONCLUSIONS: The determination of BRAF mutational status is recommended in any cystic sellar lesion and can in most cases be provided by VE1 immunohistochemistry even in specimens of low cellularity. Confirmation by (pyro-)sequencing should be attempted whenever sufficient epithelium is available due to variable staining results.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25442675
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  • 3
    Abstract: The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is a type I glycoprotein located on the surface of epithelial cells. It is strongly expressed in many neoplasms and already used in the diagnosis and distinction of various tumour subtypes. Comparative studies about EpCAM expression in cystic sellar lesions are lacking. Therefore, we analysed its distribution pattern in adamantinomatous (aCP) and papillary (pCP) craniopharyngiomas (CP) and Rathke's Cleft Cysts (RCC) using immunohistochemistry and gene expression profiling. Whereas the protein was not detectable in pCP (n = 10), all aCP (n = 64) showed distinct staining patterns. The vast majority of RCC (n = 10) also appeared positive, but these displayed notably lower labeling scores. Additionally, significantly higher mRNA levels were detectable in aCP (n = 19) when compared to pCP (n = 10) (p = 9.985(-8)). Furthermore, pediatric aCP cases, in general, exhibited stronger EpCAM staining levels compared to adult ones (p = 0.015). However, we were not able to verify this result on mRNA level. In summary, our findings demonstrate that EpCAM can be used as an additional distinction-marker for cystic lesions of the sellar region. Its unknown function in aCP and the presence of an approved monoclonal bispecific trifunctional antibody for cancer therapy are interesting starting points for further studies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27431859
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  • 4
    Abstract: Accurate pathological diagnosis is crucial for optimal management of patients with cancer. For the approximately 100 known tumour types of the central nervous system, standardization of the diagnostic process has been shown to be particularly challenging-with substantial inter-observer variability in the histopathological diagnosis of many tumour types. Here we present a comprehensive approach for the DNA methylation-based classification of central nervous system tumours across all entities and age groups, and demonstrate its application in a routine diagnostic setting. We show that the availability of this method may have a substantial impact on diagnostic precision compared to standard methods, resulting in a change of diagnosis in up to 12% of prospective cases. For broader accessibility, we have designed a free online classifier tool, the use of which does not require any additional onsite data processing. Our results provide a blueprint for the generation of machine-learning-based tumour classifiers across other cancer entities, with the potential to fundamentally transform tumour pathology.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29539639
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  • 5
    Abstract: Adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (ACPs) are clinically challenging tumours, the majority of which have activating mutations in CTNNB1. They are histologically complex, showing cystic and solid components, the latter comprised of different morphological cell types (e.g. beta-catenin-accumulating cluster cells and palisading epithelium), surrounded by a florid glial reaction with immune cells. Here, we have carried out RNA sequencing on 18 ACP samples and integrated these data with an existing ACP transcriptomic dataset. No studies so far have examined the patterns of gene expression within the different cellular compartments of the tumour. To achieve this goal, we have combined laser capture microdissection with computational analyses to reveal groups of genes that are associated with either epithelial tumour cells (clusters and palisading epithelium), glial tissue or immune infiltrate. We use these human ACP molecular signatures and RNA-Seq data from two ACP mouse models to reveal that cell clusters are molecularly analogous to the enamel knot, a critical signalling centre controlling normal tooth morphogenesis. Supporting this finding, we show that human cluster cells express high levels of several members of the FGF, TGFB and BMP families of secreted factors, which signal to neighbouring cells as evidenced by immunostaining against the phosphorylated proteins pERK1/2, pSMAD3 and pSMAD1/5/9 in both human and mouse ACP. We reveal that inhibiting the MAPK/ERK pathway with trametinib, a clinically approved MEK inhibitor, results in reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis in explant cultures of human and mouse ACP. Finally, we analyse a prominent molecular signature in the glial reactive tissue to characterise the inflammatory microenvironment and uncover the activation of inflammasomes in human ACP. We validate these results by immunostaining against immune cell markers, cytokine ELISA and proteome analysis in both solid tumour and cystic fluid from ACP patients. Our data support a new molecular paradigm for understanding ACP tumorigenesis as an aberrant mimic of natural tooth development and opens new therapeutic opportunities by revealing the activation of the MAPK/ERK and inflammasome pathways in human ACP.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29541918
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