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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-11-16
    Description: Purpose: EGFR inhibitors (EGFRi) are effective against EGFR -mutant lung cancers. The efficacy of these drugs, however, is mitigated by the outgrowth of resistant cells, most often driven by a secondary acquired mutation in EGFR, T790M . We recently demonstrated that T790M can arise de novo during treatment; it follows that one potential therapeutic strategy to thwart resistance would be identifying and eliminating these cells [referred to as drug-tolerant cells (DTC)] prior to acquiring secondary mutations like T790M . Experimental Design: We have developed DTCs to EGFRi in EGFR -mutant lung cancer cell lines. Subsequent analyses of DTCs included RNA-seq, high-content microscopy, and protein translational assays. Based on these results, we tested the ability of MCL-1 BH3 mimetics to combine with EGFR inhibitors to eliminate DTCs and shrink EGFR -mutant lung cancer tumors in vivo . Results: We demonstrate surviving EGFR -mutant lung cancer cells upregulate the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1 in response to short-term EGFRi treatment. Mechanistically, DTCs undergo a protein biosynthesis enrichment resulting in increased mTORC1-mediated mRNA translation of MCL-1, revealing a novel mechanism in which lung cancer cells adapt to short-term pressures of apoptosis-inducing kinase inhibitors. Moreover, MCL-1 is a key molecule governing the emergence of early EGFR -mutant DTCs to EGFRi, and we demonstrate it can be effectively cotargeted with clinically emerging MCL-1 inhibitors both in vitro and in vivo . Conclusions: Altogether, these data reveal that this novel therapeutic combination may delay the acquisition of secondary mutations, therefore prolonging therapy efficacy. Clin Cancer Res; 24(22); 5658–72. ©2018 AACR .
    Print ISSN: 1078-0432
    Electronic ISSN: 1557-3265
    Topics: Medicine
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-02-02
    Description: Purpose: The spatial heterogeneity of phenotypic and molecular characteristics of CTCs within the circulatory system remains unclear. Herein, we mapped the distribution and characterized biological features of CTCs along the transportation route in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Experimental Design: In 73 localized HCC patients, blood was drawn from peripheral vein (PV), peripheral artery (PA), hepatic veins (HV), infrahepatic inferior vena cava (IHIVC), and portal vein (PoV) before tumor resection. Epithelial and mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype in CTCs were analyzed by a 4-channel immunofluorescence CellSearch assay and microfluidic quantitative RT-PCR. The clinical significance of CTCs from different vascular sites was evaluated. Results: The CTC number and size gradient between tumor efferent vessels and postpulmonary peripheral vessels was marked. Tracking the fate of CTC clusters revealed that CTCs displayed an aggregated–singular-aggregated manner of spreading. Single-cell characterization demonstrated that EMT status of CTCs was heterogeneous across different vascular compartments. CTCs were predominantly epithelial at release, but switched to EMT-activated phenotype during hematogeneous transit via Smad2 and β-catenin related signaling pathways. EMT activation in primary tumor correlated with total CTC number at HV, rather than epithelial or EMT-activated subsets of CTCs. Follow-up analysis suggested that CTC and circulating tumor microemboli burden in hepatic veins and peripheral circulation prognosticated postoperative lung metastasis and intrahepatic recurrence, respectively. Conclusions: The current data suggested that a profound spatial heterogeneity in cellular distribution and biological features existed among CTCs during circulation. Multivascular measurement of CTCs could help to reveal novel mechanisms of metastasis and facilitate prediction of postoperative relapse or metastasis pattern in HCC. Clin Cancer Res; 24(3); 547–59. ©2017 AACR .
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    Electronic ISSN: 1557-3265
    Topics: Medicine
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-05-02
    Description: Background: In the present study, we assessed the clinical value of circulating tumor cells (CTC) with stem-like phenotypes for diagnosis, prognosis, and surveillance in hepatitis B virus (HBV)–related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by an optimized qPCR-based detection platform. Methods: Differing subsets of CTCs were investigated, and a multimarker diagnostic CTC panel was constructed in a multicenter patient study with independent validation (total n = 1,006), including healthy individuals and patients with chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB), liver cirrhosis (LC), benign hepatic lesion (BHL), and HBV-related HCC, with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC-ROC) reflecting diagnostic accuracy. The role of the CTC panel in treatment response surveillance and its prognostic significance were further investigated. Results: The AUC of the CTC panel was 0.88 in the training set [sensitivity = 72.5%, specificity = 95.0%, positive predictive value (PPV) = 92.4, negative predictive value (NPV) = 77.8] and 0.93 in the validation set (sensitivity = 82.1%, specificity = 94.2%, PPV = 89.9, NPV = 89.3). This panel performed equally well in detecting early-stage and α-fetoprotein–negative HCC, as well as differentiating HCC from CHB, LC, and BHL. The CTC load was decreased significantly after tumor resection, and patients with persistently high CTC load showed a propensity of tumor recurrence after surgery. The prognostic significance of the CTC panel in predicting tumor recurrence was further confirmed [training: HR = 2.692; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.617–4.483; P 〈 0.001; and validation: HR = 3.127; 95% CI, 1.360–7.190; P = 0.007]. Conclusions: Our CTC panel showed high sensitivity and specificity in HCC diagnosis and could be a real-time parameter for risk prediction and treatment monitoring, enabling early decision-making to tailor effective antitumor strategies. Clin Cancer Res; 24(9); 2203–13. ©2018 AACR .
    Print ISSN: 1078-0432
    Electronic ISSN: 1557-3265
    Topics: Medicine
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-07-03
    Description: Purpose: Actinic keratoses (AK) are precancerous lesions that can progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and topical 5-fluorouracil (5FU) are commonly used agents for AK. Empirical reports suggest that combining them can improve the therapeutic response. However, the optimal combined regimen was not clear in terms of proper sequence, timing, and mechanism. This clinical study explored mechanisms of action for neoadjuvantal 5FU and PDT for treatment of AK. Patients and Methods: A bilaterally controlled trial (17 patients) was performed. One side of the body (face, scalp, forearms) received 5FU pretreatment for 6 days, whereas the other side served as no-pretreatment control. Methylaminolevulinate cream was applied to both sides for 3 hours, and protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) levels were measured by noninvasive fluorimetry and skin biopsy. After red light illumination, lesion clearance was assessed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after PDT. Results: PpIX levels were increased 2- to 3-fold in 5FU-pretreated lesions versus controls. Altered expression of heme-synthetic enzymes (coproporphyrinogen oxidase and ferrochelatase) and induction of p53 were observed, probably accounting for increased PpIX and subsequent cancer cell death. Relative clearance rates after PDT with or without 5FU pretreatment were 75% versus 45% at 3 months, and 67% versus 39% at 6 months, respectively; these differences were statistically significant. Conclusions: Serial 5FU and PDT improve AK clearance by at least two mechanisms, enhanced photosensitizer accumulation and p53 induction. Because 5FU and PDT are FDA-approved modalities, the combined regimen can be readily employed in clinical practice to reduce AK burden and reduce SCC risk. Clin Cancer Res; 24(13); 3026–35. ©2018 AACR .
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    Electronic ISSN: 1557-3265
    Topics: Medicine
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