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Cancers, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2011), Pages 1480-2810

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Open AccessArticle Epigenetic Regulation of Glucose Transporters in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1550-1565; doi:10.3390/cancers3021550
Received: 25 January 2011 / Revised: 9 February 2011 / Accepted: 9 February 2011 / Published: 25 March 2011
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Abstract
Due to their inherently hypoxic environment, cancer cells often resort to glycolysis, or the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to form ATP to provide for their energy needs, known as the Warburg effect. At the same time, overexpression of the insulin receptor in [...] Read more.
Due to their inherently hypoxic environment, cancer cells often resort to glycolysis, or the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to form ATP to provide for their energy needs, known as the Warburg effect. At the same time, overexpression of the insulin receptor in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with an increased risk of metastasis and decreased survival. The uptake of glucose into cells is carried out via glucose transporters or GLUTs. Of these, GLUT-4 is essential for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Following treatment with the epigenetic targeting agents histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), GLUT-3 and GLUT-4 expression were found to be induced in NSCLC cell lines, with minimal responses in transformed normal human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). Similar results for GLUT-4 were observed in cells derived from liver, muscle, kidney and pre-adipocytes. Bioinformatic analysis of the promoter for GLUT-4 indicates that it may also be regulated by several chromatin binding factors or complexes including CTCF, SP1 and SMYD3. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies demonstrate that the promoter for GLUT-4 is dynamically remodeled in response to HDACi. Overall, these results may have value within the clinical setting as (a) it may be possible to use this to enhance fluorodeoxyglucose (18F) positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging sensitivity; (b) it may be possible to target NSCLC through the use of HDACi and insulin mediated uptake of the metabolic targeting drugs such as 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG); or (c) enhance or sensitize NSCLC to chemotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Delineating an Epigenetic Continuum for Initiation, Transformation and Progression to Breast Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1580-1592; doi:10.3390/cancers3021580
Received: 13 January 2011 / Revised: 10 March 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
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Abstract
Aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands is a hallmark of human cancers and is an early event in carcinogenesis. We examined whether promoter hypermethylation contributes to the pathogenesis of benign breast lesions along a progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. The exploratory [...] Read more.
Aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands is a hallmark of human cancers and is an early event in carcinogenesis. We examined whether promoter hypermethylation contributes to the pathogenesis of benign breast lesions along a progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. The exploratory study cohort comprised 17 breast cancer patients with multiple benign and/or in situ lesions concurrently present with invasive carcinoma within a tumor biopsy. DNA from tumor tissue, normal breast epithelium when present, benign lesions (fibroadenoma, hyperplasia, papilloma, sclerosing adenosis, apocrine metaplasia, atypical lobular hyperplasia or atypical ductal hyperplasia), and in situ lesions of lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma were interrogated for promoter methylation status in 22 tumor suppressor genes using the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay (MS-MLPA). Methylation specific PCR was performed to confirm hypermethylation detected by MS-MLPA. Promoter methylation was detected in 11/22 tumor suppressor genes in 16/17 cases. Hypermethylation of RASSF1 was most frequent, present in 14/17 cases, followed by APC in 12/17, and GSTP1 in 9/17 cases with establishment of an epigenetic monocloncal progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. Hypermethylated promoter regions in normal breast epithelium, benign, and premalignant lesions within the same tumor biopsy implicate RASSF1, APC, GSTP1, TIMP3, CDKN2B, CDKN2A, ESR1, CDH13, RARB, CASP8, and TP73 as early events. DNA hypermethylation underlies the pathogenesis of step-wise transformation along a monoclonal continuum from normal to preneoplasia to invasive breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Role of Surgery in Stages II and III Pediatric Abdominal Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A 5-Years Experience
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1593-1604; doi:10.3390/cancers3021593
Received: 26 January 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 21 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
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Abstract
Abdominal Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) are the most common extra nodal presentation of pediatric NHL. Our aim is to assess the role of surgery as a risk factor and to evaluate the impact of risk-adjusted systemic chemotherapy on survival of patients with stages [...] Read more.
Abdominal Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) are the most common extra nodal presentation of pediatric NHL. Our aim is to assess the role of surgery as a risk factor and to evaluate the impact of risk-adjusted systemic chemotherapy on survival of patients with stages II and III disease. This study included 35 pediatric patients with abdominal NHL treated over five years at South Egypt Cancer Institute (SECI), Assiut University, between January 2005 and January 2010. The data of every patient included: Age, sex, and presentation, staging work up to determine extent of the disease and the type of resection performed, histopathological examination, details of chemotherapy, disease free survival and overall survival. The study included 25 boys and 10 girls with a median age of six years (range: 2.5:15). Thirty patients (86%) presented with abdominal pain, 23 patients (66%) presented with abdominal mass and distention, 13 patients (34%) presented with weight loss, and intestinal obstruction occurred in six patients (17%). The ileo-cecal region and abdominal lymph nodes were the commonest sites (48.5%, 21% respectively). Burkitt's lymphoma was the most common histological type in 29 patients (83%). Ten (28.5%) stage II (group A) and 25 (71.5%) stage III (group B). Complete resections were performed in 10 (28.5%), debulking in 6 (17%) and imaging guided biopsy in 19 (54%). A11 patients received systemic chemotherapy. The median follow up duration was 63 months (range 51-78 months). The parameters that significantly affect the overall survival were stage at presentation complete resection for localized disease. In conclusion, the extent of disease at presentation is the most important prognostic factor in pediatric abdominal NHL. Surgery is restricted to defined situations such as; abdominal emergencies, diagnostic biopsy and total tumor extirpation in localized disease. Chemotherapy is the cornerstone in the management of pediatric abdominal NHL. Full article
Open AccessArticle Role of Gene Methylation in Antitumor Immune Response: Implication for Tumor Progression
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1672-1690; doi:10.3390/cancers3021672
Received: 22 December 2010 / Revised: 9 March 2011 / Accepted: 24 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
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Abstract
Cancer immunosurveillance theory has emphasized the role of escape mechanisms in tumor growth. In this respect, a very important factor is the molecular characterization of the mechanisms by which tumor cells evade immune recognition and destruction. Among the many escape mechanisms identified, [...] Read more.
Cancer immunosurveillance theory has emphasized the role of escape mechanisms in tumor growth. In this respect, a very important factor is the molecular characterization of the mechanisms by which tumor cells evade immune recognition and destruction. Among the many escape mechanisms identified, alterations in classical and non-classical HLA (Human Leucocyte Antigens) class I and class II expression by tumor cells are of particular interest. In addition to the importance of HLA molecules, tumor-associated antigens and accessory/co-stimulatory molecules are also involved in immune recognition. The loss of HLA class I antigen expression and of co-stimulatory molecules can occur at genetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Epigenetic defects are involved in at least some mechanisms that preclude mounting a successful host-antitumor response involving the HLA system, tumor-associated antigens, and accessory/co-stimulatory molecules. This review summarizes our current understanding of the role of methylation in the regulation of molecules involved in the tumor immune response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
Open AccessArticle Epigenetics of Estrogen Receptor Signaling: Role in Hormonal Cancer Progression and Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1691-1707; doi:10.3390/cancers3021691
Received: 4 January 2011 / Revised: 11 March 2011 / Accepted: 25 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Estrogen receptor (ERa) signaling plays a key role in hormonal cancer progression. ERa is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that modulates gene transcription via recruitment to the target gene chromatin. Emerging evidence suggests that ERa signaling has the potential to contribute to epigenetic [...] Read more.
Estrogen receptor (ERa) signaling plays a key role in hormonal cancer progression. ERa is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that modulates gene transcription via recruitment to the target gene chromatin. Emerging evidence suggests that ERa signaling has the potential to contribute to epigenetic changes. Estrogen stimulation is shown to induce several histone modifications at the ERα target gene promoters including acetylation, phosphorylation and methylation via dynamic interactions with histone modifying enzymes. Deregulation of enzymes involved in the ERa-mediated epigenetic pathway could play a vital role in ERa driven neoplastic processes. Unlike genetic alterations, epigenetic changes are reversible, and hence offer novel therapeutic opportunities to reverse ERa driven epigenetic changes.  In this review, we summarize current knowledge on mechanisms by which ERa signaling potentiates epigenetic changes in cancer cells via histone modifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle DNA Methylation in Thyroid Tumorigenesis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1732-1743; doi:10.3390/cancers3021732
Received: 14 January 2011 / Revised: 16 March 2011 / Accepted: 21 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (458 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer with 1,690 deaths each year. There are four main types of which the papillary and follicular types together account for >90% followed by medullary cancers with 3% to 5% and anaplastic carcinomas making up < 3%. Epigenetic events of DNA hypermethylation are emerging as promising molecular targets for cancer detection. Our immediate and long term goal is to identify DNA methylation markers for early detection of thyroid cancer. This pilot study comprised of 21 patients to include 11 papillary thyroid cancers (PTC), 2 follicular thyroid cancers (FTC), 5 normal thyroid cases, and 3 hyperthyroid cases. Aberrant promoter methylation was examined in 24 tumor suppressor genes using the methylation specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) assay and in the NIS gene using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). The frequently methylated genes were CASP8 (17/21), RASSF1 (16/21) and NIS (9/21). In the normal samples, CASP8, RASSF1 and NIS were methylated in 5/5, 4/5 and 1/5 respectively. In the hyperthyroid samples, CASP8, RASSF1 and NIS were methylated in 3/3, 2/3 and 1/3 respectively. In the thyroid cancers, CASP8, RASSF1, and NIS were methylated in 9/13, 10/13, and 7/13 respectively. CASP8, RASSF1 and NIS were also methylated in concurrently present normal thyroid tissue in 3/11, 4/11 and 3/11 matched thyroid cancer cases (matched for presence of both normal thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer), respectively. Our data suggests that aberrant methylation of CASP8, RASSF1, and NIS maybe an early change in thyroid tumorigenesis regardless of cell type. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Canine Mammary Cancer Stem Cells are Radio- and Chemo- Resistant and Exhibit an Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Phenotype
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1744-1762; doi:10.3390/cancers3021744
Received: 11 January 2011 / Revised: 25 January 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 30 March 2011
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Abstract
Canine mammary carcinoma is the most common cancer among female dogs and is often fatal due to the development of distant metastases. In humans, solid tumors are made up of heterogeneous cell populations, which perform different roles in the tumor economy. A [...] Read more.
Canine mammary carcinoma is the most common cancer among female dogs and is often fatal due to the development of distant metastases. In humans, solid tumors are made up of heterogeneous cell populations, which perform different roles in the tumor economy. A small subset of tumor cells can hold or acquire stem cell characteristics, enabling them to drive tumor growth, recurrence and metastasis. In veterinary medicine, the molecular drivers of canine mammary carcinoma are as yet undefined. Here we report that putative cancer stem cells (CSCs) can be isolated form a canine mammary carcinoma cell line, REM134. We show that these cells have an increased ability to form tumorspheres, a characteristic of stem cells, and that they express embryonic stem cell markers associated with pluripotency. Moreover, canine CSCs are relatively resistant to the cytotoxic effects of common chemotherapeutic drugs and ionizing radiation, indicating that failure of clinical therapy to eradicate canine mammary cancer may be due to the survival of CSCs. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been associated with cancer invasion, metastasis, and the acquisition of stem cell characteristics. Our results show that canine CSCs predominantly express mesenchymal markers and are more invasive than parental cells, indicating that these cells have a mesenchymal phenotype. Furthermore, we show that canine mammary cancer cells can be induced to undergo EMT by TGFβ and that these cells have an increased ability to form tumorspheres. Our findings indicate that EMT induction can enrich for cells with CSC properties, and provide further insight into canine CSC biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) for Echographic Detection of Hepato Cellular Carcinoma in Cirrhotic Patients Previously Treated with Multiple Techniques: Comparison of Conventional US, Spiral CT and 3-Dimensional CEUS with Navigator Technique (3DNav CEUS)
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1763-1776; doi:10.3390/cancers3021763
Received: 6 February 2011 / Revised: 1 March 2011 / Accepted: 14 March 2011 / Published: 30 March 2011
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Abstract
A commercially available technique named “NAVIGATOR” (Esaote, Italy) easily enables a 3-D reconstruction of a single 2-D acquisition of Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) imaging of the whole liver (with a volumetric correction thanks to the electromagnetic device of NAVIGATOR). Aim of the [...] Read more.
A commercially available technique named “NAVIGATOR” (Esaote, Italy) easily enables a 3-D reconstruction of a single 2-D acquisition of Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) imaging of the whole liver (with a volumetric correction thanks to the electromagnetic device of NAVIGATOR). Aim of the study was to evaluate this “panoramic” technique in comparison with conventional US and spiral CT in the detection of new hepatic lesions. 144 cirrhotic patients (previously treated for hepato cellular carcinoma (HCC)) in follow-up with detection of 98 new nodules (N), 28 multinodular (Nmulti), 14 loco-regional regrowth (LR) 94 efficaciously treated without new nodules (neg) and four multinodular without new nodules, were submitted to 200 examinations with this new technique from November 2008 to November 2009. 3DNavCEUS was performed using SonoVue (Bracco), as contrast agent, and a machine (Technos MPX, Esaote). Spiral CT and 3DNav CEUS were performed in the same month during follow up. Sens.,Spec.,diagn.-Acc.,PPV and NPV were evaluated; comparison and differences between the techniques were obtained with chi-square (SPSS release-15). Final diagnosis was: 98 new lesions (N) (one to three), 28 multinodular HCC (Nmulti) and 14 loco-regional regrowth (LR); in 94 no more lesions were observed during follow-up; conventional US obtained: 58 N (+18 multinodularN and 8 LR), 40 false negative (+10 Nmulti and 6 LR) (sens:59.2, spec:100%, Diagn Accur:73.6, PPV:100; NPV:70.1); spiral CT obtained: 84N (+26-multinodularN and 14-LR), 14 false-negative (+2-Nmulti), and one false-positive (sens:85.7, spec:97.9%, Diagn Accur:90.9, PPV:97.7; NPV:86.8); 3DNAV obtained: 92N (+28 multinodularN and 14LR), 6 false-negative, and two false-positives (sens:93.9, spec:97.9%, Diagn Accur:95.6, PPV:97.9; NPV:93.9). 3-DNav CEUS is significantly better than US and almost similar to spiral CT for detection of new HCC. This technique, in particular, showed the presence of lesions even in the cases not detected with spiral CT. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Targeted Alpha Therapy Approach to the Management of Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1821-1843; doi:10.3390/cancers3021821
Received: 21 December 2010 / Revised: 29 December 2010 / Accepted: 12 January 2011 / Published: 1 April 2011
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Abstract
Evidence for the efficacy of targeted alpha therapy for the control of pancreatic cancer in preclinical models is reviewed. Results are given for in vitro pancreatic cancer cells and clusters and micro-metastatic cancer lesions in vivo. Two complementary targeting vectors are [...] Read more.
Evidence for the efficacy of targeted alpha therapy for the control of pancreatic cancer in preclinical models is reviewed. Results are given for in vitro pancreatic cancer cells and clusters and micro-metastatic cancer lesions in vivo. Two complementary targeting vectors are examined. These are the C595 monoclonal antibody that targets the MUC1 antigen and the PAI2 ligand that targets the uPA receptor. The expression of the tumor-associated antigen MUC-1 and the uPA receptor on three pancreatic cancer cell lines is reported for cell clusters, human mouse xenografts and lymph node metastases, as well as for human pancreatic cancer tissues, using immuno-histochemistry, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. The targeting vectors C595 and PAI2 were labeled with the alpha emitting radioisotope 213Bi using the chelators cDTPA and CHX-A″ to form the alpha-conjugates (AC). Cell clusters were incubated with the AC and examined at 48 hours. Apoptosis was documented using the TUNEL assay. In vivo, the anti-proliferative effect for tumors was tested at two days post-subcutaneous cell inoculation. Mice were injected with different concentrations of AC by local or systemic administration. Changes in tumor progression were assessed by tumor size. MUC-1 and uPA are strongly expressed on CFPAC-1, PANC-1 and moderate expression was found CAPAN-1 cell clusters and tumor xenografts. The ACs can target pancreatic cells and regress cell clusters (~100 µm diameter), causing apoptosis in some 70–90 % of cells. At two days post-cell inoculation in mice, a single local injection of 74 MBq/kg of AC causes complete inhibition of tumor growth. Systemic injections of 111, 222 and 333 MBq/kg of alpha-conjugate caused significant tumor growth delay in a dose dependent manner after 16 weeks, compared with the non-specific control at 333 MBq/kg. Cytotoxicity was assessed by the MTS and TUNEL assays. The C595 and PAI2-alpha conjugates are indicated for the treatment of micro-metastatic pancreatic cancer with over-expression of MUC1 and uPA receptors in post-surgical patients with minimal residual disease. The observation of tumor regression in a Phase I clinical trial of targeted alpha therapy for metastatic melanoma indicates that alpha therapy can regress tumors by a process called tumor anti-vascular alpha therapy (TAVAT). As a consequence, this therapy could be indicated for the management of non-surgical pancreatic cancer tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Common Altered Epigenomic Domains in Cancer Cells: Characterization and Subtle Variations
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1996-2013; doi:10.3390/cancers3021996
Received: 9 February 2011 / Revised: 22 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
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Abstract
We have previously identified large megabase-sized hypomethylated zones in the genome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 using the TspRI-ExoIII technique. In this report, we used a more convenient high throughput method for mapping the hypomethylated zones in a number of [...] Read more.
We have previously identified large megabase-sized hypomethylated zones in the genome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 using the TspRI-ExoIII technique. In this report, we used a more convenient high throughput method for mapping the hypomethylated zones in a number of human tumor genomes simultaneously. The method was validated by the bisulfite sequencing of 39 randomly chosen sites in a demethylated domain and by bisulfite genome-wide sequencing of the MCF-7 genome. This showed that the genomes of the various tumor cell lines, as well as some primary tumors, exhibit common hypomethylated domains. Interestingly, these hypomethylated domains are correlated with low CpG density distribution genome-wide, together with the histone H3K27Me3 landscape. Furthermore, they are inversely correlated with the H3K9Ac landscape and gene expression as measured in MCF-7 cells. Treatment with drugs resulted in en-bloc changes to the methylation domains. A close examination of the methylation domains found differences between non-invasive and invasive tumors with respect to tumorigenesis related genes. Taken together these results suggest that the human genome is organized in epigenomic domains that contain various different types of genes and imply that there are cis- and trans-regulators that control these domain-wide epigenetic changes and hence gene expression in the human genome. The hypomethylated domains are located in gene deserts that contain mainly tissue-specific genes and therefore we hypothesize that tumor cells keep these regions demethylated and silenced in order to save energy and resources and allow higher levels of cell proliferation and better survival (a thrifty tumor genome hypothesis). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Glioma Specific Extracellular Missense Mutations in the First Cysteine Rich Region of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Initiate Ligand Independent Activation
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2032-2049; doi:10.3390/cancers3022032
Received: 25 February 2011 / Revised: 29 March 2011 / Accepted: 7 April 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed or mutated in glioma. Recently, a series of missense mutations in the extracellular domain (ECD) of EGFR were reported in glioma patients. Some of these mutations clustered within a cysteine-rich region of the EGFR [...] Read more.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed or mutated in glioma. Recently, a series of missense mutations in the extracellular domain (ECD) of EGFR were reported in glioma patients. Some of these mutations clustered within a cysteine-rich region of the EGFR targeted by the therapeutic antibody mAb806. This region is only exposed when EGFR activates and appears to locally misfold during activation. We expressed two of these mutations (R324L and E330K) in NR6 mouse fibroblasts, as they do not express any EGFR-related receptors. Both mutants were autophosphorylated in the absence of ligand and enhanced cell survival and anchorage-independent and xenograft growth. The ECD truncation that produces the de2-7EGFR (or EGFRvIII), the most common EGFR mutation in glioma, generates a free cysteine in this same region. Using a technique optimized for detecting disulfide-bonded dimers, we definitively demonstrated that the de2-7EGFR is robustly dimerized and that ablation of the free cysteine prevents dimerization and activation. Modeling of the R324L mutation suggests it may cause transient breaking of disulfide bonds, leading to similar disulfide-bonded dimers as seen for the de2-7EGFR. These ECD mutations confirm that the cysteine-rich region of EGFR around the mAb806 epitope has a significant role in receptor activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Signaling Pathways and Crosstalk)
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Open AccessArticle Inferences for the Lead Time in Breast Cancer Screening Trials under a Stable Disease Model
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2131-2140; doi:10.3390/cancers3022131
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 8 April 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
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Abstract
We estimated the effects on the lead time for women participating in a long-term breast cancer screening program when the screening sensitivities and disease progression are independent of age. The lead time, or time by which a diagnosis is advanced by screening, [...] Read more.
We estimated the effects on the lead time for women participating in a long-term breast cancer screening program when the screening sensitivities and disease progression are independent of age. The lead time, or time by which a diagnosis is advanced by screening, is one of the major concerns of any cancer screening program, which we consider to include both a mammogram and physical examination. Using estimates of test sensitivities and mean sojourn times previously calculated by other authors from observed data, we estimated properties of the lead time. We utilized the model for the lead time derived by other authors and ran simulations for different screening program designs, concentrating on screening interval lengths of 0.5 years, 1 year, 1.5 years, and 2 years. These estimates were based on a long-term screening program from age 50 to 80. For each six-month decrease in screening interval length, we estimated the percent increase in mean lead time, as well as the percent increase in the proportion of clinical patients who will have their cancer detected at a screening exam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Tumour Stroma in Colorectal Cancer Invasion and Metastasis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2160-2168; doi:10.3390/cancers3022160
Received: 23 February 2011 / Revised: 5 April 2011 / Accepted: 6 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
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Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of mortality in western society with a 5-year survival of approximately 50%. Metastasis to the liver and lungs is the principal cause of death and occurs in up to 25% of patients at presentation. Despite [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of mortality in western society with a 5-year survival of approximately 50%. Metastasis to the liver and lungs is the principal cause of death and occurs in up to 25% of patients at presentation. Despite advances in available techniques for treating metastases, the majority of patients remain incurable and existing adjuvant therapies such as chemotherapy are only of limited effectiveness. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the metastatic process may allow us to identify those at greatest risk of recurrence and discover new tumour targets to prevent disease progression. It is now apparent that tumour stroma plays an important role in promoting tumour progression. A pronounced desmoplastic reaction was associated with a reduced immune response and has been shown to be an independent poor prognostic indicator in CRC and cancer recurrence. Determining the cause(s) and effect(s) of this stromal response will further our understanding of tumour cell/stromal interactions, and will help us identify prognostic indicators for patients with CRC. This will not only allow us to target our existing treatments more effectively, we also aim to identify novel and more specific therapeutic targets for the treatment of CRC which will add to our current therapeutic options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessArticle Therapeutic Response in Patients with Advanced Malignancies Treated with Combined Dendritic Cell–Activated T Cell Based Immunotherapy and Intensity–Modulated Radiotherapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2223-2242; doi:10.3390/cancers3022223
Received: 7 March 2011 / Revised: 14 April 2011 / Accepted: 19 April 2011 / Published: 28 April 2011
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Abstract
Successful cancer immunotherapy is confounded by the magnitude of the tumor burden and the presence of immunoregulatory elements that suppress an immune response. To approach these issues, 26 patients with advanced treatment refractory cancer were enrolled in a safety/feasibility study wherein a [...] Read more.
Successful cancer immunotherapy is confounded by the magnitude of the tumor burden and the presence of immunoregulatory elements that suppress an immune response. To approach these issues, 26 patients with advanced treatment refractory cancer were enrolled in a safety/feasibility study wherein a conventional treatment modality, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), was combined with dendritic cell-based immunotherapy. We hypothesized that radiation would lower the tumor burdens, decrease the number/function of regulatory cells in the tumor environment, and release products of tumor cells that could be acquired by intratumoral injected immature dendritic cells (iDC). Metastatic lesions identified by CT (computed tomography) were injected with autologous iDC combined with a cytokine-based adjuvant and KLH (keyhole limpet hemocyanin), followed 24 h later by IV-infused T-cells expanded with anti-CD3 and IL-2 (AT). After three to five days, each of the injected lesions was treated with fractionated doses of IMRT followed by another injection of intratumoral iDC and IV-infused AT. No toxicity was observed with cell infusion while radiation-related toxicity was observed in seven patients. Five patients had progressive disease, eight demonstrated complete resolution at treated sites but developed recurrent disease at other sites, and 13 showed complete response at various follow-up times with an overall estimated Kaplan-Meier disease-free survival of 345 days. Most patients developed KLH antibodies supporting our hypothesis that the co-injected iDC are functional with the capacity to acquire antigens from their environment and generate an adaptive immune response. These results demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of this multimodality strategy combining immunotherapy and IMRT in patients with advanced malignancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy)
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Open AccessArticle Tetrandrine, a Compound Common in Chinese Traditional Medicine, Preferentially Kills Breast Cancer Tumor Initiating Cells (TICs) In Vitro
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2274-2285; doi:10.3390/cancers3022274
Received: 12 January 2011 / Revised: 12 April 2011 / Accepted: 15 April 2011 / Published: 4 May 2011
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Abstract
Tetrandrine is a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid found in Stephania tetrandra, a Chinese medicine commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. It has extensive pharmacological activity, including positive ion channel blockade and inhibition of multiple drug resistance proteins. These activities are very similar to that [...] Read more.
Tetrandrine is a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid found in Stephania tetrandra, a Chinese medicine commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. It has extensive pharmacological activity, including positive ion channel blockade and inhibition of multiple drug resistance proteins. These activities are very similar to that of salinomycin, a known drug targeting breast cancer initiation cells (TICs). Herein, we tested tetrandrine targeting of breast cancer TICs. SUM-149, an inflammatory breast cancer cell line and SUM-159, a non-inflammatory metaplastic breast cancer cell line were used in these studies. In proliferation assays using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS), we found that the IC50 for inhibition of proliferation is 15.3 ± 4.1 µM for SUM-149 and 24.3 ± 2.1 µM for SUM-159 cells. Tetrandrine also inhibited mammosphere formation, a surrogate for breast cancer TICs growth in vitro with IC50 around 1 µM for SUM-149 and around 2 µM for SUM-159 cells. Tetrandrine has similar effects on the mammosphere formation from cells isolated from fresh patient sample. Moreover, tetrandrine decreases the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) positive population in SUM-159 by 45% ± 5.45% P = 0.005. In summary, tetrandrine demonstrates significant efficacy against in vitro surrogates for inflammatory and aggressive breast cancer TICs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessArticle Neoadjuvant Therapy in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer: A Disappointing Therapeutic Approach?
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2286-2301; doi:10.3390/cancers3022286
Received: 17 March 2011 / Revised: 9 April 2011 / Accepted: 26 April 2011 / Published: 9 May 2011
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Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in Germany. The incidence in 2003/2004 was 16 cases per 100.000 inhabitants. Of all carcinomas, pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate, with one- and five-year survival [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in Germany. The incidence in 2003/2004 was 16 cases per 100.000 inhabitants. Of all carcinomas, pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate, with one- and five-year survival rates of 25% and less than 5%, respectively, regardless of the stage at diagnosis. These low survival rates demonstrate the poor prognosis of this carcinoma. Previous therapeutic approaches including surgical resection combined with adjuvant therapy or palliative chemoradiation have not achieved satisfactory results with respect to overall survival. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate new therapeutic approaches. Neoadjuvant therapy is an interesting therapeutic option for patients with pancreatic cancer. For selected patients with borderline or unresectable disease, neoadjuvant therapy offers the potential for tumor downstaging, increasing the probability of a margin-negative resection and decreasing the occurrence of lymph node metastasis. Currently, there is no universally accepted approach for treating patients with pancreatic cancer in the neoadjuvant setting. In this review, the most common neoadjuvant strategies will be described, compared and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessArticle Different Aspects of Self-Reported Quality of Life in 450 German Melanoma Survivors
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2316-2332; doi:10.3390/cancers3022316
Received: 30 January 2011 / Revised: 15 April 2011 / Accepted: 28 April 2011 / Published: 11 May 2011
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Abstract
The present study was aimed at assessing quality of life (QoL) in a total of 450 melanoma patients who filled out the EORTC QLQ-C30 (Q1; 15 months post diagnosis) as part of the OVIS Study. Follow-up questionnaires (Q2) were administered two years [...] Read more.
The present study was aimed at assessing quality of life (QoL) in a total of 450 melanoma patients who filled out the EORTC QLQ-C30 (Q1; 15 months post diagnosis) as part of the OVIS Study. Follow-up questionnaires (Q2) were administered two years after Q1. The analyses presented herein were based on the following assumptions: QoL of melanoma patients is worse than that of a German reference population. Further, both tumor location and tumor stage have an influence on self-reported QoL, with patients with tumors located on face, head, neck, and advanced tumor stage (T3/T4) reporting the worst QoL levels. Finally, patients’ QoL improves over time based on the theory of disease adaptation. In contrast to the above assumptions, with the exception of global health/QoL scores, differences between OVIS and the reference population were below the minimal clinical important difference of ten points. Furthermore, no clinically meaningful differences were found between patients after stratifying our data by tumor location and tumor stage. Finally, no clinically relevant changes were seen between Q1 and Q2 across all scales of the EORTC QLQ-C30. However, when data were stratified by patients with stable disease versus those with progression, clinically relevant differences were found between Q1 and Q2 predominantly in women in the latter group regarding emotional function, insomnia, dyspnoea, and fatigue. The lack of clinically meaningful differences across strata (tumor location; tumor stage), time, and patients compared to a reference population is surprising. However, it is possible that the instrument used, a generic QoL instrument, is generally not sensitive enough to detect differences in melanoma patients. Our findings may further be explained by the fact that all patients included in our sample had been diagnosed well before Q1, i.e., main illness adaptation processes may have occurred before study entry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Dose Response Models for Predicting Normal Tissue Complications from Cancer Radiotherapy: Application in Rat Spinal Cord
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2421-2443; doi:10.3390/cancers3022421
Received: 14 March 2011 / Revised: 20 April 2011 / Accepted: 10 May 2011 / Published: 18 May 2011
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Abstract
Seven different radiobiological dose-response models have been compared with regard to their ability to describe experimental data. The first four models, namely the critical volume, the relative seriality, the inverse tumor and the critical element models are mainly based on cell survival [...] Read more.
Seven different radiobiological dose-response models have been compared with regard to their ability to describe experimental data. The first four models, namely the critical volume, the relative seriality, the inverse tumor and the critical element models are mainly based on cell survival biology. The other three models: the Lyman (Gaussian distribution), the parallel architecture and the Weibull distribution models are semi-empirical and rather based on statistical distributions. The maximum likelihood estimation was used to fit the models to experimental data and the χ2-distribution, AIC criterion and F-test were applied to compare the goodness-of-fit of the models. The comparison was performed using experimental data for rat spinal cord injury. Both the shape of the dose-response curve and the ability of handling the volume dependence were separately compared for each model. All the models were found to be acceptable in describing the present experimental dataset (p > 0.05). For the white matter necrosis dataset, the Weibull and Lyman models were clearly superior to the other models, whereas for the vascular damage case, the Relative Seriality model seems to have the best performance although the Critical volume, Inverse tumor, Critical element and Parallel architecture models gave similar results. Although the differences between many of the investigated models are rather small, they still may be of importance in indicating the advantages and limitations of each particular model. It appears that most of the models have favorable properties for describing dose-response data, which indicates that they may be suitable to be used in biologically optimized intensity modulated radiation therapy planning, provided a proper estimation of their radiobiological parameters had been performed for every tissue and clinical endpoint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation and Cancers)
Open AccessArticle Activation of PDGFr-β Signaling Pathway after Imatinib and Radioimmunotherapy Treatment in Experimental Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2501-2515; doi:10.3390/cancers3022501
Received: 4 February 2011 / Revised: 25 April 2011 / Accepted: 17 May 2011 / Published: 25 May 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (539 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer does not respond to a single-agent imatinib therapy. Consequently, multimodality treatments are contemplated. Published data indicate that in colorectal cancer, imatinib and radioimmunotherapy synergize to delay tumor growth. In pancreatic cancer, the tumor response is additive. This disparity of outcomes [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer does not respond to a single-agent imatinib therapy. Consequently, multimodality treatments are contemplated. Published data indicate that in colorectal cancer, imatinib and radioimmunotherapy synergize to delay tumor growth. In pancreatic cancer, the tumor response is additive. This disparity of outcomes merited further studies because interactions between these modalities depend on the imatinib-induced reduction of the tumor interstitial fluid pressure. The examination of human and murine PDGFr-β/PDGF-B pathways in SW1990 pancreatic cancer xenografts revealed that the human branch is practically dormant in untreated tumors but the insult on the stromal component produces massive responses of human cancer cells. Inhibition of the stromal PDGFr-β with imatinib activates human PDGFr-β/PDGF-B signaling loop, silent in untreated xenografts, via an apparent paracrine rescue pathway. Responses are treatment- and time-dependent. Soon after treatment, levels of human PDGFr-β, compared to untreated tumors, are 3.4×, 12.4×, and 5.7× higher in imatinib-, radioimmunotherapy + imatinib-, and radioimmunotherapy-treated tumors, respectively. A continuous 14-day irradiation of imatinib-treated xenografts reduces levels of PDGFr-β and phosphorylated PDGFr-β by 5.3× and 4×, compared to earlier times. Human PDGF-B is upregulated suggesting that the survival signaling via the autocrine pathway is also triggered after stromal injury. These findings indicate that therapies targeting pancreatic cancer stromal components may have unintended mitogenic effects and that these effects can be reversed when imatinib is used in conjunction with radioimmunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Tumor Cell Seeding During Surgery—Possible Contribution to Metastasis Formations
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2540-2553; doi:10.3390/cancers3022540
Received: 1 April 2011 / Revised: 23 May 2011 / Accepted: 26 May 2011 / Published: 8 June 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (317 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In spite of optimal local control in breast cancer, distant metastases can develop as a systemic part of this disease. Surgery is suspected to contribute to metastasis formation activating dormant tumor cells. Here we add data that seeding of cells during surgery [...] Read more.
In spite of optimal local control in breast cancer, distant metastases can develop as a systemic part of this disease. Surgery is suspected to contribute to metastasis formation activating dormant tumor cells. Here we add data that seeding of cells during surgery may add to the risk of metastasis formation. The change in circulating epithelial tumor cells (CETC) was monitored in 66 breast cancer patients operated on with breast conserving surgery or mastectomy and during the further course of the disease, analyzing CETC from unseparated white blood cells stained with FITC-anti-EpCAM. An increase in cell numbers lasting until the start of chemotherapy was observed in about one third of patients. It was more preeminent in patients with low numbers of CETC before surgery and, surprisingly, in patients without involved lymph nodes. Patients with the previously reported behavior—Reincrease in cell numbers during adjuvant chemotherapy and subsequent further increase during maintenance therapy—were at increased risk of relapse. In addition to tumor cells already released during growth of the tumor, cell seeding during surgery may contribute to the early peak of relapses observed after removal of the primary tumor and chemotherapy may only marginally postpone relapse in patients with aggressively growing tumors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Metastasizing, Luciferase Transduced MAT‑Lu Rat Prostate Cancer Models: Follow up of Bolus and Metronomic Therapy with Doxorubicin as Model Drug
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2679-2695; doi:10.3390/cancers3022679
Received: 4 May 2011 / Revised: 16 May 2011 / Accepted: 16 June 2011 / Published: 17 June 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (707 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The most fatal outcomes of prostate carcinoma (PCa) result from hormone-refractory variants of the tumor, especially from metastatic spread rather than from primary tumor burden. The goal of the study was to establish and apply rat MAT-Lu prostate cancer tumor models for [...] Read more.
The most fatal outcomes of prostate carcinoma (PCa) result from hormone-refractory variants of the tumor, especially from metastatic spread rather than from primary tumor burden. The goal of the study was to establish and apply rat MAT-Lu prostate cancer tumor models for improved non-invasive live follow up of tumor growth and metastasis by in vivo bioluminescence. We established luciferase transduced MAT-Lu rat PCa cells and studied tumor growth and metastatic processes in an ectopic as well as orthotopic setting. An intravenous bolus treatment with doxorubicin was used to demonstrate the basic applicability of in vivo imaging to follow up therapeutic intervention in these models. In vitro analysis of tissue homogenates confirmed major metastatic spread of subcutaneous tumors into the lung. Our sensitive method, however, for the first time detects metastasis also in lymph node (11/24), spleen (3/24), kidney (4/24), liver (5/24), and bone tissue (femur or spinal cord - 5/20 and 12/20, respectively). Preliminary data of orthotopic implantation (three animals) showed metastatic invasion to investigated organs in all animals but with varying preference (e.g., to lymph nodes). Intravenous bolus treatment of MAT-Lu PCa with doxorubicin reduced subcutaneous tumor growth by about 50% and the number of animals affected by metastatic lesions in lymph nodes (0/4), lung (3/6) or lumbar spine (0/2), as determined by in vivo imaging and in vitro analysis. Additionally, the possible applicability of the luciferase transduced MAT-Lu model(s) to study basic principles of metronomic therapies via jugular vein catheter, using newly established active microport pumping systems, is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prostate Cancer)
Open AccessArticle Acquisition of Genetic Aberrations by Activation-Induced Cytidine Deaminase (AID) during Inflammation-Associated Carcinogenesis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2750-2766; doi:10.3390/cancers3022750
Received: 13 May 2011 / Revised: 9 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 22 June 2011
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Abstract
Genetic abnormalities such as nucleotide alterations and chromosomal disorders that accumulate in various tumor-related genes have an important role in cancer development. The precise mechanism of the acquisition of genetic aberrations, however, remains unclear. Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a nucleotide editing enzyme, [...] Read more.
Genetic abnormalities such as nucleotide alterations and chromosomal disorders that accumulate in various tumor-related genes have an important role in cancer development. The precise mechanism of the acquisition of genetic aberrations, however, remains unclear. Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a nucleotide editing enzyme, is essential for the diversification of antibody production. AID is expressed only in activated B lymphocytes under physiologic conditions and induces somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination in immunoglobulin genes. Inflammation leads to aberrant AID expression in various gastrointestinal organs and increased AID expression contributes to cancer development by inducing genetic alterations in epithelial cells. Studies of how AID induces genetic disorders are expected to elucidate the mechanism of inflammation-associated carcinogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Inflammation in Cancers)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Role of Methionine Adenosyltransferase Genes in Hepatocarcinogenesis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1480-1497; doi:10.3390/cancers3021480
Received: 16 December 2010 / Revised: 27 January 2011 / Accepted: 30 January 2011 / Published: 24 March 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary malignant tumor of the liver. Detection of HCC can be difficult, as most of the patients who develop this tumor have no symptoms other than those related to their longstanding liver disease. There is [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary malignant tumor of the liver. Detection of HCC can be difficult, as most of the patients who develop this tumor have no symptoms other than those related to their longstanding liver disease. There is an urgent need to understand the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the development of this disease so that appropriate therapies can be designed. Methionine adenosyltransferase (MAT) is an essential enzyme required for the biosynthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), an important methyl donor in the cell. Alterations in the expression of MAT genes and a decline in AdoMet biosynthesis are known to be associated with liver injury, cirrhosis and HCC. This review focuses on the role of MAT genes in HCC development and the scope for therapeutic strategies using these genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview To Die or to Survive, a Fatal Question for the Destiny of Prostate Cancer Cells after Androgen Deprivation Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1498-1512; doi:10.3390/cancers3021498
Received: 4 February 2011 / Revised: 16 March 2011 / Accepted: 17 March 2011 / Published: 24 March 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in adult males in North America and is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality. For locally advanced or metastatic disease, androgen deprivation, through medical or surgical castration, is the primary treatment to [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in adult males in North America and is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality. For locally advanced or metastatic disease, androgen deprivation, through medical or surgical castration, is the primary treatment to induce prostate cancer cell death and extend patient survival. However, the vast majority of cancers progress to a castration-resistant/androgen-independent state where the cell death processes are no longer active. This review describes the main cell death processes, apoptosis, autophagy, necrosis and necroptosis, which may be activated in prostate cancers after androgen deprivation therapy as well as the molecular mechanisms through which the cancers progress to become castration resistant. In particular, the central role of persistent androgen receptor (AR)-mediated signaling and AR crosstalk with other critical cell signaling pathways, including (i) the PI3K/Akt pathway, (ii) receptor tyrosine kinases, (iii) the p38 MAPK pathway, and (iv) the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, as well as reactivation of AR by de novo synthesized androgen are discussed in this context. Understanding the molecular changes that subvert normal cell death mechanisms and thereby compromise the survival of prostate cancer patients continues to be a major challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
Open AccessReview Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1513-1526; doi:10.3390/cancers3021513
Received: 5 February 2011 / Revised: 28 February 2011 / Accepted: 11 March 2011 / Published: 24 March 2011
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death. The difficulty in detecting pancreatic cancer at an early stage, aggressiveness and the lack of effective therapy all contribute to the high mortality. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a transmembrane [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death. The difficulty in detecting pancreatic cancer at an early stage, aggressiveness and the lack of effective therapy all contribute to the high mortality. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a transmembrane glycoprotein, which is expressed in normal human tissues. It is a member of the tyrosine kinase family of growth factors receptors and is encoded by proto-oncogenes. Several studies have demonstrated that EGFR is over-expressed in pancreatic cancer. Over-expression correlates with more advanced disease, poor survival and the presence of metastases. Therefore, inhibition of the EGFR signaling pathway is an attractive therapeutic target. Although several combinations of EGFR inhibitors with chemotherapy demonstrate inhibition of tumor-induced angiogenesis, tumor cell apoptosis and regression in xenograft models, these benefits remain to be confirmed. Multimodality treatment incorporating EGFR-inhibition is emerging as a novel strategy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Small Molecule Inhibitors of Bcl-2 Family Proteins for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1527-1549; doi:10.3390/cancers3021527
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 24 February 2011 / Accepted: 16 March 2011 / Published: 24 March 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (386 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer (PC) has a complex etiology and displays a wide range of cellular escape pathways that allow it to resist different treatment modalities. Crucial signaling molecules that function downstream of the survival pathways, particularly at points where several of these pathways [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer (PC) has a complex etiology and displays a wide range of cellular escape pathways that allow it to resist different treatment modalities. Crucial signaling molecules that function downstream of the survival pathways, particularly at points where several of these pathways crosstalk, provide valuable targets for the development of novel anti-cancer drugs. Bcl-2 family member proteins are anti-apoptotic molecules that are known to be overexpressed in most cancers including PC. The anti-apoptotic machinery has been linked to the observed resistance developed to chemotherapy and radiation and therefore is important from the targeted drug development point of view. Over the past ten years, our group has extensively studied a series of small molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 against PC and provide solid preclinical platform for testing such novel drugs in the clinic. This review examines the efficacy, potency, and function of several small molecule inhibitor drugs targeted to the Bcl-2 family of proteins and their preclinical progress against PC. This article further focuses on compounds that have been studied the most and also discusses the anti-cancer potential of newer class of Bcl-2 drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells of Differentiated B-Cell Malignancies: Models and Consequences
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1566-1579; doi:10.3390/cancers3021566
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 21 March 2011 / Published: 25 March 2011
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Abstract
The concept of cancer stem cells has revolutionized our current vision of cancer development and was validated in solid tumors and cancers of the primitive hematopoietic compartment. Proof of the principle is still lacking, however, in malignancies of differentiated B-cells. We review [...] Read more.
The concept of cancer stem cells has revolutionized our current vision of cancer development and was validated in solid tumors and cancers of the primitive hematopoietic compartment. Proof of the principle is still lacking, however, in malignancies of differentiated B-cells. We review here the current literature, which nevertheless suggests hierarchical organizations of the tumor clone for mostly incurable B-cell cancers such as multiple myeloma, lymphomas and B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We propose two models accounting for cancer stem cells in these contexts: a “top-to-bottom” clonal hierarchy from memory B-cells and a “bottom-to-top” model of clonal reprogramming. Selection pressure on the growing tumor can drive such reprogramming and increase its genetic diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview The Role of Nrf2 and Cytoprotection in Regulating Chemotherapy Resistance of Human Leukemia Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1605-1621; doi:10.3390/cancers3021605
Received: 10 January 2011 / Revised: 18 February 2011 / Accepted: 7 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
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Abstract
The Nrf2 anti-oxidant response element (ARE) pathway plays an important role in regulating cellular anti-oxidants. Under normal cellular conditions Nrf2 can be described as an anti-tumor molecule due to its induction of cytoprotective genes which protect cells from electrophile and oxidative damage. [...] Read more.
The Nrf2 anti-oxidant response element (ARE) pathway plays an important role in regulating cellular anti-oxidants. Under normal cellular conditions Nrf2 can be described as an anti-tumor molecule due to its induction of cytoprotective genes which protect cells from electrophile and oxidative damage. However in cancerous cells, Nrf2 takes on a pro-tumoral identity as the same cytoprotective genes can enhance resistance of those cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs. Such Nrf2-regulated cytoprotective genes include heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), which has been shown to protect human leukemia cells from apoptotic signals. Moreover, a relationship between Nrf2 and the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway has been recently identified, and is now recognized as an important cross-talk mechanism by which Nrf2 can overcome apoptosis and provide cells with reduced sensitivity towards chemotherapeutic agents. In recent years a number of important research papers have highlighted the role of Nrf2 in providing protection against both current and new chemotherapeutic drugs in blood cancer. This review will provide a synopsis of these research papers with an aim to carefully consider if targeting Nrf2 in combination with current or new chemotherapeutics is a viable strategy in the more effective treatment of blood cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
Open AccessReview Predictive and Prognostic Factors in Colorectal Cancer: A Personalized Approach
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1622-1638; doi:10.3390/cancers3021622
Received: 23 January 2011 / Revised: 13 March 2011 / Accepted: 18 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (396 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is an exciting time for all those engaged in the treatment of colorectal cancer. The advent of new therapies presents the opportunity for a personalized approach to the patient. This approach considers the complex genetic mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis in addition [...] Read more.
It is an exciting time for all those engaged in the treatment of colorectal cancer. The advent of new therapies presents the opportunity for a personalized approach to the patient. This approach considers the complex genetic mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis in addition to classical clinicopathological staging. The potential predictive and prognostic biomarkers which have stemmed from the study of the genetic basis of colorectal cancer and therapeutics are discussed with a focus on mismatch repair status, KRAS, BRAF, 18qLOH, CIMP and TGF-β. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessReview Targeting the Anti-Apoptotic Protein c-FLIP for Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1639-1671; doi:10.3390/cancers3021639
Received: 26 February 2011 / Revised: 15 March 2011 / Accepted: 16 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 38 | PDF Full-text (1033 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cellular FLICE (FADD-like IL-1beta-converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) is a major resistance factor and critical anti-apoptotic regulator that inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), Fas-L, and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis as well as chemotherapy-triggered apoptosis in malignant cells. c-FLIP is expressed as long [...] Read more.
Cellular FLICE (FADD-like IL-1beta-converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) is a major resistance factor and critical anti-apoptotic regulator that inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), Fas-L, and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis as well as chemotherapy-triggered apoptosis in malignant cells. c-FLIP is expressed as long (c-FLIPL), short (c-FLIPS), and c-FLIPR splice variants in human cells. c-FLIP binds to FADD and/or caspase-8 or -10 in a ligand-dependent and-independent fashion, which in turn prevents death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) formation and subsequent activation of the caspase cascade. Moreover, c-FLIPL and c-FLIPS are known to have multifunctional roles in various signaling pathways, as well as activating and/or upregulating several cytoprotective signaling molecules. Upregulation of c-FLIP has been found in various tumor types, and its downregulation has been shown to restore apoptosis triggered by cytokines and various chemotherapeutic agents. Hence, c-FLIP is an important target for cancer therapy. For example, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that specifically knockdown the expression of c-FLIPL in diverse human cancer cell lines augmented TRAIL-induced DISC recruitment and increased the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents, thereby enhancing effector caspase stimulation and apoptosis. Moreover, small molecules causing degradation of c-FLIP as well as decreasing mRNA and protein levels of c-FLIPL and c-FLIPS splice variants have been found, and efforts are underway to develop other c-FLIP-targeted cancer therapies. This review focuses on (1) the functional role of c-FLIP splice variants in preventing apoptosis and inducing cytokine and drug resistance; (2) the molecular mechanisms that regulate c-FLIP expression; and (3) strategies to inhibit c-FLIP expression and function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Regulatory T Cells in Colorectal Cancer: From Biology to Prognostic Relevance
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1708-1731; doi:10.3390/cancers3021708
Received: 4 February 2010 / Revised: 13 March 2011 / Accepted: 21 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
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Abstract
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) were initially described as "suppressive" lymphocytes in the 1980s. However, it took almost 20 years until the concept of Treg-mediated immune control in its present form was finally established. Tregs are obligatory for self-tolerance and defects within their [...] Read more.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) were initially described as "suppressive" lymphocytes in the 1980s. However, it took almost 20 years until the concept of Treg-mediated immune control in its present form was finally established. Tregs are obligatory for self-tolerance and defects within their population lead to severe autoimmune disorders. On the other hand Tregs may promote tolerance for tumor antigens and even hamper efforts to overcome it. Intratumoral and systemic accumulation of Tregs has been observed in various types of cancer and is often linked to worse disease course and outcome. Increase of circulating Tregs, as well as their presence in mesenteric lymph nodes and tumor tissue of patients with colorectal cancer de facto suggests a strong involvement of Tregs in the antitumor control. This review will focus on the Treg biology in view of colorectal cancer, means of Treg accumulation and the controversies regarding their prognostic significance. In addition, a concise overview will be given on how Tregs and their function can be targeted in cancer patients in order to bolster an inherent immune response and/or increase the efficacy of immunotherapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Brain Cancer Stem Cells: Current Status on Glioblastoma Multiforme
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1777-1797; doi:10.3390/cancers3021777
Received: 22 February 2011 / Revised: 3 March 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 30 March 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive brain tumor of astrocytic/neural stem cell origin, represents one of the most incurable cancers. GBM tumors are highly heterogeneous. However, most tumors contain a subpopulation of cells that display neural stem cell characteristics in vitro and that [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive brain tumor of astrocytic/neural stem cell origin, represents one of the most incurable cancers. GBM tumors are highly heterogeneous. However, most tumors contain a subpopulation of cells that display neural stem cell characteristics in vitro and that can generate a new brain tumor upon transplantation in mice. Hence, previously identified molecular pathways regulating neural stem cell biology were found to represent the cornerstone of GBM stem cell self-renewal mechanism. GBM tumors are also notorious for their resistance to radiation therapy. Notably, GBM “cancer stem cells” were also found to be responsible for this radioresistance. Herein, we will analyze the data supporting or not the cancer stem cell model in GBM, overview the current knowledge regarding GBM stem cell self-renewal and radioresistance molecular mechanisms, and discuss the potential therapeutic application of these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Apoptosis and DNA Methylation
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1798-1820; doi:10.3390/cancers3021798
Received: 16 February 2011 / Revised: 11 March 2011 / Accepted: 11 March 2011 / Published: 1 April 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (793 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epigenetic mechanisms assist in maintaining gene expression patterns and cellular properties in developing and adult tissues. The molecular pathology of disease states frequently includes perturbation of DNA and histone methylation patterns, which can activate apoptotic pathways associated with maintenance of genome integrity. [...] Read more.
Epigenetic mechanisms assist in maintaining gene expression patterns and cellular properties in developing and adult tissues. The molecular pathology of disease states frequently includes perturbation of DNA and histone methylation patterns, which can activate apoptotic pathways associated with maintenance of genome integrity. This perspective focuses on the pathways linking DNA methyltransferases and methyl-CpG binding proteins to apoptosis, and includes new bioinformatic analyses to characterize the evolutionary origin of two G/T mismatch-specific thymine DNA glycosylases, MBD4 and TDG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Biomarkers in Advanced Colorectal Cancer: Challenges in Translating Clinical Research into Practice
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1844-1860; doi:10.3390/cancers3021844
Received: 27 February 2011 / Accepted: 25 March 2011 / Published: 1 April 2011
PDF Full-text (170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The growing number of therapeutic agents and known molecular targets in oncology makes the study and clinical use of biomarkers imperative for improving response and survival, reducing toxicity and ensuring economic sustainability. Colorectal cancer, among others, is at the forefront of development [...] Read more.
The growing number of therapeutic agents and known molecular targets in oncology makes the study and clinical use of biomarkers imperative for improving response and survival, reducing toxicity and ensuring economic sustainability. Colorectal cancer, among others, is at the forefront of development of predictive and prognostic biomarkers; however, the difficulty lies in translating potential biomarkers garnered from retrospective analyses in small numbers of patients to generalizable and affordable biomarkers used worldwide. This review outlines the progress made in prognostic and predictive biomarkers in advanced colorectal cancer (ACRC) from the early use of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to the KRAS mutation and beyond. Future challenges are to incorporate standardized and validated methods preferentially during early phases of drug development linked with sophisticated biostatistical support. New trial designs focusing on biomarkers will be essential not only for better understanding of mechanisms of action, but also to make confident ‘go or no-go’ decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessReview Molecular Epidemiology of Female Lung Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1861-1876; doi:10.3390/cancers3021861
Received: 4 January 2011 / Revised: 18 March 2011 / Accepted: 31 March 2011 / Published: 1 April 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lung cancer is still a leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. The incidence of lung cancer in developed countries started to decrease mainly due to global anti-smoking campaigns. However, the incidence of lung cancer in women has been increasing in [...] Read more.
Lung cancer is still a leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. The incidence of lung cancer in developed countries started to decrease mainly due to global anti-smoking campaigns. However, the incidence of lung cancer in women has been increasing in recent decades for various reasons. Furthermore, since the screening of lung cancer is not as yet very effective, clinically applicable molecular markers for early diagnosis are much required. Lung cancer in women appears to have differences compared with that in men, in terms of histologic types and susceptibility to environmental risk factors. This suggests that female lung cancer can be derived by carcinogenic mechanisms different from those involved in male lung cancer. Among female lung cancer patients, many are non-smokers, which could be studied to identify alternative carcinogenic mechanisms independent from smoking-related ones. In this paper, we reviewed molecular susceptibility markers and genetic changes in lung cancer tissues observed in female lung cancer patients, which have been validated by various studies and will be helpful to understand the tumorigenesis of lung cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lung Cancer)
Open AccessReview Recent Advance in Biosensors for microRNAs Detection in Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1877-1898; doi:10.3390/cancers3021877
Received: 27 January 2011 / Revised: 25 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 8 April 2011
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (581 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-protein-coding RNA molecules that regulate the expression of a wide variety of genes. They act by sequence-specific base pairing in the 3’ untranslated region (3’UTR) of the target mRNA leading to mRNA degradation or translation inhibition. Recent studies [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-protein-coding RNA molecules that regulate the expression of a wide variety of genes. They act by sequence-specific base pairing in the 3’ untranslated region (3’UTR) of the target mRNA leading to mRNA degradation or translation inhibition. Recent studies have implicated miRNAs in a wide range of biological processes and diseases including development, metabolism and cancer, and revealed that expression levels of individual miRNAs may serve as reliable molecular biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Therefore, a major challenge is to develop innovative tools able to couple high sensitivity and specificity for rapid detection of miRNAs in a given cell or tissue. In this review, we focus on the latest innovative approaches proposed for miRNA profiling in cancer and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Neuropilins: A New Target for Cancer Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1899-1928; doi:10.3390/cancers3021899
Received: 23 February 2011 / Revised: 23 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 8 April 2011
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent investigations highlighted strong similarities between neural crest migration during embryogenesis and metastatic processes. Indeed, some families of axon guidance molecules were also reported to participate in cancer invasion: plexins/semaphorins/neuropilins, ephrins/Eph receptors, netrin/DCC/UNC5. Neuropilins (NRPs) are transmembrane non tyrosine-kinase glycoproteins first identified [...] Read more.
Recent investigations highlighted strong similarities between neural crest migration during embryogenesis and metastatic processes. Indeed, some families of axon guidance molecules were also reported to participate in cancer invasion: plexins/semaphorins/neuropilins, ephrins/Eph receptors, netrin/DCC/UNC5. Neuropilins (NRPs) are transmembrane non tyrosine-kinase glycoproteins first identified as receptors for class-3 semaphorins. They are particularly involved in neural crest migration and axonal growth during development of the nervous system. Since many types of tumor and endothelial cells express NRP receptors, various soluble molecules were also found to interact with these receptors to modulate cancer progression. Among them, angiogenic factors belonging to the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) family seem to be responsible for NRP-related angiogenesis. Because NRPs expression is often upregulated in cancer tissues and correlated with poor prognosis, NRPs expression might be considered as a prognostic factor. While NRP1 was intensively studied for many years and identified as an attractive angiogenesis target for cancer therapy, the NRP2 signaling pathway has just recently been studied. Although NRP genes share 44% homology, differences in their expression patterns, ligands specificities and signaling pathways were observed. Indeed, NRP2 may regulate tumor progression by several concurrent mechanisms, not only angiogenesis but lymphangiogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis. In view of their multiples functions in cancer promotion, NRPs fulfill all the criteria of a therapeutic target for innovative anti-tumor therapies. This review focuses on NRP-specific roles in tumor progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells and Cell Death
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1929-1946; doi:10.3390/cancers3021929
Received: 30 December 2010 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 6 April 2011 / Published: 11 April 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays it is reported that, similarly to other solid tumors, colorectal cancer is sustained by a rare subset of cancer stem–like cells (CSCs), which survive conventional anticancer treatments, thanks to efficient mechanisms allowing escape from apoptosis, triggering tumor recurrence. To improve patient [...] Read more.
Nowadays it is reported that, similarly to other solid tumors, colorectal cancer is sustained by a rare subset of cancer stem–like cells (CSCs), which survive conventional anticancer treatments, thanks to efficient mechanisms allowing escape from apoptosis, triggering tumor recurrence. To improve patient outcomes, conventional anticancer therapies have to be replaced with specific approaches targeting CSCs. In this review we provide strong support that BMP4 is an innovative therapeutic approach to prevent colon cancer growth increasing differentiation markers expression and apoptosis. Recent data suggest that in colorectal CSCs, protection from apoptosis is achieved by interleukin-4 (IL-4) autocrine production through upregulation of antiapoptotic mediators, including survivin. Consequently, IL-4 neutralization could deregulate survivin expression and localization inducing chemosensitivity of the colon CSCs pool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
Open AccessReview Endoscopic Palliation for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1947-1956; doi:10.3390/cancers3021947
Received: 1 March 2011 / Revised: 1 April 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 13 April 2011
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Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is devastating due to its poor prognosis. Patients require a multidisciplinary approach to guide available options, mostly palliative because of advanced disease at presentation. Palliation including relief of biliary obstruction, gastric outlet obstruction, and cancer-related pain has become the focus [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is devastating due to its poor prognosis. Patients require a multidisciplinary approach to guide available options, mostly palliative because of advanced disease at presentation. Palliation including relief of biliary obstruction, gastric outlet obstruction, and cancer-related pain has become the focus in patients whose cancer is determined to be unresectable. Endoscopic stenting for biliary obstruction is an option for drainage to avoid the complications including jaundice, pruritus, infection, liver dysfunction and eventually failure. Enteral stents can relieve gastric obstruction and allow patients to resume oral intake. Pain is difficult to treat in cancer patients and endoscopic procedures such as pancreatic stenting and celiac plexus neurolysis can provide relief. The objective of endoscopic palliation is to primarily address symptoms as well improve quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessReview Colon Cancer Stem Cells: Bench-to-Bedside—New Therapeutical Approaches in Clinical Oncology for Disease Breakdown
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1957-1974; doi:10.3390/cancers3021957
Received: 15 December 2010 / Revised: 11 April 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 13 April 2011
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is widely accepted by the scientific community that cancer, including colon cancer, is a “stem cell disease”. Until a few years ago, common opinion was that all neoplastic cells within a tumor contained tumorigenic growth capacity, but recent evidences hint to [...] Read more.
It is widely accepted by the scientific community that cancer, including colon cancer, is a “stem cell disease”. Until a few years ago, common opinion was that all neoplastic cells within a tumor contained tumorigenic growth capacity, but recent evidences hint to the possibility that such a feature is confined to a small subset of cancer-initiating cells, also called cancer stem cells (CSCs). Thus, malignant tumors are organized in a hierarchical fashion in which CSCs give rise to more differentiated tumor cells. CSCs possess high levels of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters and anti-apoptotic molecules, active DNA-repair, slow replication capacities and they produce growth factors that confer refractoriness to antineoplastic treatments. The inefficacy of conventional therapies towards the stem cell population might explain cancer chemoresistance and the high frequency of relapse shown by the majority of tumors. Nowadays, in fact all the therapies available are not sufficient to cure patients with advanced forms of colon cancer since they target differentiated cancer cells which constitute most of the tumor mass and spare CSCs. Since CSCs are the entities responsible for the development of the tumor and represent the only cell population able to sustain tumor growth and progression, these cells represent the elective target for innovative therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Essential Gene Pathways for Glioblastoma Stem Cells: Clinical Implications for Prevention of Tumor Recurrence
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1975-1995; doi:10.3390/cancers3021975
Received: 5 February 2011 / Revised: 19 February 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glioblastoma (World Health Organization/WHO grade IV) is the most common and most aggressive adult glial tumor. Patients with glioblastoma, despite being treated with gross total resection and post-operative radiation/chemotherapy, will almost always develop tumor recurrence. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), a minor subpopulation [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma (World Health Organization/WHO grade IV) is the most common and most aggressive adult glial tumor. Patients with glioblastoma, despite being treated with gross total resection and post-operative radiation/chemotherapy, will almost always develop tumor recurrence. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), a minor subpopulation within the tumor mass, have been recently characterized as tumor-initiating cells and hypothesized to be responsible for post-treatment recurrence because of their enhanced radio-/chemo-resistant phenotype and ability to reconstitute tumors in mouse brains. Genome-wide expression profile analysis uncovered molecular properties of GSC distinct from their differentiated, proliferative progeny that comprise the majority of the tumor mass. In contrast to the hyperproliferative and hyperangiogenic phenotype of glioblastoma tumors, GSC possess neuroectodermal properties and express genes associated with neural stem cells, radial glial cells, and neural crest cells, as well as portray a migratory, quiescent, and undifferentiated phenotype. Thus, cell cycle-targeted radio-chemotherapy, which aims to kill fast-growing tumor cells, may not completely eliminate glioblastoma tumors. To prevent tumor recurrence, a strategy targeting essential gene pathways of GSC must be identified and incorporated into the standard treatment regimen. Identifying intrinsic and extrinsic cues by which GSC maintain stemness properties and sustain both tumorigenesis and anti-apoptotic features may provide new insights into potentially curative strategies for treating brain cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview EGFR-Targeting as a Biological Therapy: Understanding Nimotuzumab’s Clinical Effects
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2014-2031; doi:10.3390/cancers3022014
Received: 4 February 2011 / Revised: 19 March 2011 / Accepted: 24 March 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (615 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current clinical trials of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted therapies are mostly guided by a classical approach coming from the cytotoxic paradigm. The predominant view is that the efficacy of EGFR antagonists correlates with skin rash toxicity and induction of objective clinical [...] Read more.
Current clinical trials of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted therapies are mostly guided by a classical approach coming from the cytotoxic paradigm. The predominant view is that the efficacy of EGFR antagonists correlates with skin rash toxicity and induction of objective clinical response. Clinical benefit from EGFR-targeted therapies is well documented; however, chronic use in advanced cancer patients has been limited due to cumulative and chemotherapy-enhanced toxicity. Here we analyze different pieces of data from mechanistic and clinical studies with the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody Nimotuzumab, which provides several clues to understand how this antibody may induce a biological control of tumor growth while keeping a low toxicity profile. Based on these results and the current state of the art on EGFR-targeted therapies, we discuss the need to evaluate new therapeutic approaches using anti-EGFR agents, which would have the potential of transforming advanced cancer into a long-term controlled chronic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Wnt/β-catenin Signaling in Normal and Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2050-2079; doi:10.3390/cancers3022050
Received: 3 March 2011 / Revised: 12 April 2011 / Accepted: 13 April 2011 / Published: 19 April 2011
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (719 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ability of Wnt ligands to initiate a signaling cascade that results in cytoplasmic stabilization of, and nuclear localization of, β-catenin underlies their ability to regulate progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying [...] Read more.
The ability of Wnt ligands to initiate a signaling cascade that results in cytoplasmic stabilization of, and nuclear localization of, β-catenin underlies their ability to regulate progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Wnt/β-catenin signaling and how the pathway regulates normal differentiation of stem cells in the intestine, mammary gland, and prostate. We will also discuss how dysregulation of the pathway is associated with putative cancer stem cells and the potential therapeutic implications of regulating Wnt signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Prognostic Value of Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2080-2105; doi:10.3390/cancers3022080
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 23 March 2011 / Published: 19 April 2011
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Abstract
Despite the large amount of data in cancer biology and many studies into the likely survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, knowledge regarding the issue of CRC prognostic biomarkers remains poor. The Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) staging system continues to be the most powerful [...] Read more.
Despite the large amount of data in cancer biology and many studies into the likely survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, knowledge regarding the issue of CRC prognostic biomarkers remains poor. The Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) staging system continues to be the most powerful and reliable predictor of the clinical outcome of CRC patients. The exponential increase of knowledge in the field of molecular genetics has lead to the identification of specific alterations involved in the malignant progression. Many of these genetic alterations were proposed as biomarkers which could be used in clinical practice to estimate CRC prognosis. Recently there has been an explosive increase in the number of putative biomarkers able to predict the response to specific adjuvant treatment. In this review we explore and summarize data concerning prognostic and predictive biomarkers and we attempt to shed light on recent research that could lead to the emergence of new biomarkers in CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells and Side Population Cells in Breast Cancer and Metastasis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2106-2130; doi:10.3390/cancers3022106
Received: 25 February 2011 / Revised: 1 April 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 19 April 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In breast cancer it is never the primary tumour that is fatal; instead it is the development of metastatic disease which is the major cause of cancer related mortality. There is accumulating evidence that suggests that Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) may play [...] Read more.
In breast cancer it is never the primary tumour that is fatal; instead it is the development of metastatic disease which is the major cause of cancer related mortality. There is accumulating evidence that suggests that Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) may play a role in breast cancer development and progression. Breast cancer stem cell populations, including side population cells (SP), have been shown to be primitive stem cell-like populations, being long-lived, self-renewing and highly proliferative. SP cells are identified using dual wavelength flow cytometry combined with Hoechst 33342 dye efflux, this ability is due to expression of one or more members of the ABC transporter family. They have increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and apoptotic stimuli and have increased migratory potential above that of the bulk tumour cells making them strong candidates for the metastatic spread of breast cancer. Treatment of nearly all cancers usually involves one first-line agent known to be a substrate of an ABC transporter thereby increasing the risk of developing drug resistant tumours. At present there is no marker available to identify SP cells using immunohistochemistry on breast cancer patient samples. If SP cells do play a role in breast cancer progression/Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC), combining chemotherapy with ABC inhibitors may be able to destroy both the cells making up the bulk tumour and the cancer stem cell population thus preventing the risk of drug resistant disease, recurrence or metastasis. Full article
Open AccessReview Lymph Node Metastasis of Gastric Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2141-2159; doi:10.3390/cancers3022141
Received: 9 February 2011 / Revised: 1 April 2011 / Accepted: 4 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite a decrease in incidence in recent decades, gastric cancer is still one of the most common causes of cancer death worldwide [1]. In areas without screening for gastric cancer, it is diagnosed late and has a high frequency of nodal involvement [...] Read more.
Despite a decrease in incidence in recent decades, gastric cancer is still one of the most common causes of cancer death worldwide [1]. In areas without screening for gastric cancer, it is diagnosed late and has a high frequency of nodal involvement [1]. Even in early gastric cancer (EGC), the incidence of lymph node (LN) metastasis exceeds 10%; it was reported to be 14.1% overall and was 4.8 to 23.6% depending on cancer depth [2]. It is important to evaluate LN status preoperatively for proper treatment strategy; however, sufficient results are not being obtained using various modalities. Surgery is the only effective intervention for cure or long-term survival. It is possible to cure local disease without distant metastasis by gastrectomy and LN dissection. However, there is no survival benefit from surgery for systemic disease with distant metastasis such as para-aortic lymph node metastasis [3]. Therefore, whether the disease is local or systemic is an important prognostic indicator for gastric cancer, and the debate continues over the importance of extended lymphadenectomy for gastric cancer. The concept of micro-metastasis has been described as a prognostic factor [4-9], and the biological mechanisms of LN metastasis are currently under study [10-12]. In this article, we review the status of LN metastasis including its molecular mechanisms and evaluate LN dissection for the treatment of gastric cancer. Full article
Open AccessReview X Inactivation and Progenitor Cancer Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2169-2175; doi:10.3390/cancers3022169
Received: 11 February 2011 / Revised: 16 March 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
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Abstract
In mammals, silencing of one of the two X chromosomes is necessary to achieve dosage compensation. The 17 kb non-coding RNA called Xist triggers X inactivation. Gene silencing by Xist can only be achieved in certain contexts such as in cells of [...] Read more.
In mammals, silencing of one of the two X chromosomes is necessary to achieve dosage compensation. The 17 kb non-coding RNA called Xist triggers X inactivation. Gene silencing by Xist can only be achieved in certain contexts such as in cells of the early embryo and in certain hematopoietic progenitors where silencing factors are present. Moreover, these epigenetic contexts are maintained in cancer progenitors in which SATB1 has been identified as a factor related to Xist-mediated chromosome silencing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Predictive Factors of the Response of Rectal Cancer to Neoadjuvant Radiochemotherapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2176-2194; doi:10.3390/cancers3022176
Received: 11 March 2011 / Revised: 8 April 2011 / Accepted: 11 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Locally advanced rectal cancer is currently treated with pre-operative radiochemotherapy (pRCT), but the response is not uniform. Identification of patients with higher likelihood of responding to pRCT is clinically relevant, as patients with resistant tumors could be spared exposure to radiation or [...] Read more.
Locally advanced rectal cancer is currently treated with pre-operative radiochemotherapy (pRCT), but the response is not uniform. Identification of patients with higher likelihood of responding to pRCT is clinically relevant, as patients with resistant tumors could be spared exposure to radiation or DNA-damaging drugs that are associated with adverse side effects. To highlight predictive biomarkers of response to pRCT, a systematic search of PubMed was conducted with a combination of the following terms: “rectal”, “predictive”, “radiochemotherapy”, “neoadjuvant”, “response” and “biomarkers”. Genetic polymorphisms in epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) and thymidylate synthase (TS) genes, the expression of several markers, such as EGFR, bcl-2/bax and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and circulating biomarkers, such as serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level, are promising as predictor markers, but need to be further evaluated. The majority of the studies did not support the predictive value of p53, while the values of Ki-67, TS and p21 is still controversial. Gene expression profiles of thousands of genes using microarrays, microRNA studies and the search for new circulating molecules, such as human telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA and cell-free DNA, are providing interesting results that might lead to the identification of new useful biomarkers. Evaluation of biomarkers in larger, prospective trials are required to guide therapeutic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessReview Harnessing Dendritic Cells for Tumor Antigen Presentation
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2195-2213; doi:10.3390/cancers3022195
Received: 14 March 2011 / Revised: 14 April 2011 / Accepted: 19 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen presenting cells that are crucial for the induction of anti-tumor T cell responses. As a consequence, research has focused on the harnessing of DCs for therapeutic interventions. Although current strategies employing ex vivo-generated and tumor-antigen [...] Read more.
Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen presenting cells that are crucial for the induction of anti-tumor T cell responses. As a consequence, research has focused on the harnessing of DCs for therapeutic interventions. Although current strategies employing ex vivo-generated and tumor-antigen loaded DCs have been proven feasible, there are still many obstacles to overcome in order to improve clinical trial successes and offset the cost and complexity of customized cell therapy. This review focuses on one of these obstacles and a pivotal step for the priming of tumor-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells; the in vitro loading of DCs with tumor antigens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy)
Open AccessReview Cell Autonomous and Non-Autonomous Functions of IKKβ and NF-κB during the Pathogenesis of Gastrointestinal Tumors
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2214-2222; doi:10.3390/cancers3022214
Received: 6 February 2011 / Revised: 4 April 2011 / Accepted: 14 April 2011 / Published: 28 April 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Genetic studies describing a link between cancer and inflammation have increased recently. Activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and its effector pathways has been proposed to be the missing link between these two processes. NF-κB is persistently activated in several [...] Read more.
Genetic studies describing a link between cancer and inflammation have increased recently. Activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and its effector pathways has been proposed to be the missing link between these two processes. NF-κB is persistently activated in several types of tumors. However, NF-κB has a distinct role in cancer cells and in inflammatory cells. While in tumor cells NF-κB controls cell survival, in inflammatory cells NF-κB activates genes that encode pro-inflammatory cytokines which further act in a paracrine manner within the tumor microenvironment to contribute to tumorigenesis. Inactivation of NF-κB can also reduce chemoresistance and radioresistance of cancer cells. Therefore, specific NF-κB inhibition in combination with cytotoxic drugs and/or irradiation represents a very promising strategy for cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
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Open AccessReview Targeted Therapy for Biliary Tract Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2243-2254; doi:10.3390/cancers3022243
Received: 4 March 2011 / Revised: 10 April 2011 / Accepted: 13 April 2011 / Published: 3 May 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is necessary to establish effective chemotherapy to improve the survival of patients with biliary tract cancer, because most of these patients are unsuitable candidates for surgery, and even patients undergoing curative surgery often have recurrence. Recently, the combination of cisplatin plus [...] Read more.
It is necessary to establish effective chemotherapy to improve the survival of patients with biliary tract cancer, because most of these patients are unsuitable candidates for surgery, and even patients undergoing curative surgery often have recurrence. Recently, the combination of cisplatin plus gemcitabine was reported to show survival benefits over gemcitabine alone in randomized clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom and Japan. Thus, the combination of cisplatin plus gemcitabine is now recognized as the standard therapy for unresectable biliary tract cancer. One of the next issues that need to be addressed is whether molecular targeted agents might also be effective against biliary tract cancer. Although some targeted agents have been investigated as monotherapy for first-line chemotherapy, none were found to exert satisfactory efficacy. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies such as bevacizumab and cetuximab have also been investigated in combination with a gemcitabine-based regimen and have been demonstrated to show promising activity. Furthermore, clinical trials using new targeted agents for biliary tract cancer are also proposed. This cancer is a relatively rare and heterogeneous tumor consisting of cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder carcinoma. Therefore, a large randomized clinical trial is necessary to confirm the efficacy of chemotherapy, and international collaboration is important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Targeted Therapy in Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2255-2273; doi:10.3390/cancers3022255
Received: 11 March 2011 / Revised: 11 April 2011 / Accepted: 26 April 2011 / Published: 3 May 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (260 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most prevalent cancer in light-skinned populations, and includes mainly Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC), representing around 75% of NMSC and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC). The incidence of these tumors is continuously growing. It was found that the [...] Read more.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most prevalent cancer in light-skinned populations, and includes mainly Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC), representing around 75% of NMSC and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC). The incidence of these tumors is continuously growing. It was found that the overall number of procedures for NMSC in US rose by 76%, from 1,158,298 in 1992 to 2,048,517 in 2006. Although mortality from NMSC tends to be very low, clearly the morbidity related to these skin cancers is very high. Treatment options for NMSC include both surgical and nonsurgical interventions. Surgery was considered the gold standard therapy, however, advancements in the knowledge of pathogenic mechanisms of NMSCs led to the identification of key targets for drug intervention and to the consequent development of several targeted therapies. These represent the future in treatment of these common forms of cancer ensuring a high cure rate, preservation of the maximal amount of normal surrounding tissue and optimal cosmetic outcome. Here, we will review recent advancements in NMSC targeted therapies focusing on BCC and SCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview The Role of High Frequency Dynamic Threshold (HiDT) Serum Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Measurements in Colorectal Cancer Surveillance: A (Revisited) Hypothesis Paper
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2302-2315; doi:10.3390/cancers3022302
Received: 25 January 2011 / Revised: 22 April 2011 / Accepted: 4 May 2011 / Published: 11 May 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (194 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Following curative treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC), 30% to 50% of patients will develop recurrent disease. For CRC there are several lines of evidence supporting the hypothesis that early detection of metachronous disease offers a second opportunity for cure. This paper revisits [...] Read more.
Following curative treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC), 30% to 50% of patients will develop recurrent disease. For CRC there are several lines of evidence supporting the hypothesis that early detection of metachronous disease offers a second opportunity for cure. This paper revisits the potential role of serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in follow-up. A comprehensive review of the literature (1978–2008) demonstrates that the initial promise of serum CEA as an effective surveillance tool has been tarnished through perpetuation of poorly designed studies. Specific limitations included: testing CEA as only an ‘add-on’ diagnostic tool; lack of standardization of threshold values; use of static thresholds; too low measurement frequency. Major changes in localizing imaging techniques and treatment of metastatic CRC further cause a decrease of clinical applicability of past trial outcomes. In 1982, Staab hypothesized that the optimal benefit of serum CEA as a surveillance tool is through high-frequency triage using a dynamic threshold (HiDT). Evidence supporting this hypothesis was found in the biochemical characteristics of serum CEA and retrospective studies showing the superior predictive value of a dynamic threshold. A multi-centred randomized phase III study optimizing the usage of HiDT against resectability of recurrent disease is commencing recruitment in the Netherlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)
Open AccessReview Tomato Lycopene and Lung Cancer Prevention: From Experimental to Human Studies
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2333-2357; doi:10.3390/cancers3022333
Received: 7 March 2011 / Revised: 28 April 2011 / Accepted: 3 May 2011 / Published: 11 May 2011
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (286 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing evidence suggests that tomato lycopene may be preventive against the formation and the development of lung cancer. Experimental studies demonstrated that lycopene may inhibit the growth of several cultured lung cancer cells and prevent lung tumorigenesis in animal models through various [...] Read more.
Increasing evidence suggests that tomato lycopene may be preventive against the formation and the development of lung cancer. Experimental studies demonstrated that lycopene may inhibit the growth of several cultured lung cancer cells and prevent lung tumorigenesis in animal models through various mechanisms, including a modulation of redox status, cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis induction, a regulation of growth factor signaling, changes in cell growth-related enzymes, an enhancement of gap junction communication and a prevention of smoke-induced inflammation. In addition, lycopene also inhibited cell invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Several lycopene metabolites have been identified, raising the question as to whether the preventive effects of lycopene on cancer risk is, at least in part, due to its metabolites. Despite these promising reports, it is difficult at the moment to directly relate available experimental data to human pathophysiology. More well controlled clinical intervention trials are needed to further clarify the exact role of lycopene in the prevention of lung cancer cell growth. Such studies should take into consideration subject selection, specific markers of analysis, the levels of carotenoids being tested, metabolism and isomerization of lycopene, interaction with other bioactive food components. This article reviews data on the cancer preventive activities of lycopene, possible mechanisms involved, and the relationship between lycopene consumption and human cancer risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lung Cancer)
Open AccessReview Systematic Review of Breast Cancer Biology in Developing Countries (Part 1): Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2358-2381; doi:10.3390/cancers3022358
Received: 19 January 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 14 April 2011 / Published: 13 May 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There has been no systematic appraisal of ethnicity-based variations in breast cancer (BC) biology amongst women from developing countries. A qualitative systematic review was conducted of breast cancer size, stage, grade, histological type, extra-mammary involvement, hormone receptor status as well as patient [...] Read more.
There has been no systematic appraisal of ethnicity-based variations in breast cancer (BC) biology amongst women from developing countries. A qualitative systematic review was conducted of breast cancer size, stage, grade, histological type, extra-mammary involvement, hormone receptor status as well as patient demographics. This review includes patients from Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. BC in these regions present at an earlier age with large aggressive tumours. Distant metastases are frequently present at the time of diagnosis. African women have a higher frequency of triple negative tumours. Over half of Middle Eastern women have lymph node involvement at the time of diagnosis. Despite experiencing a lower incidence compared to the Ashkenazi Jewish population, Palestinian women have poorer five-year survival outcomes. The majority of women from Mexico and South America have stage two or three disease whilst over sixty percent of women from Eastern Europe have either stage one or stage two disease. The biological characteristics of BC in the Caribbean cannot be fully assessed due to a paucity of data from the region. BC amongst the developing world is characterised by an early peak age of onset with aggressive biological characteristics. Strategies that improve breast cancer awareness, address amenable risk factors and improve early detection are essential. Full article
Open AccessReview Systematic Review of Breast Cancer Biology in Developing Countries (Part 2): Asian Subcontinent and South East Asia
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2382-2401; doi:10.3390/cancers3022382
Received: 19 January 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 14 April 2011 / Published: 13 May 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There has been no systematic appraisal of ethnicity-based variations in breast cancer (BC) biology amongst women from developing countries. A qualitative systematic review was conducted of breast cancer size, stage, grade, histological type, extra-mammary involvement, hormone receptor status as well as patient [...] Read more.
There has been no systematic appraisal of ethnicity-based variations in breast cancer (BC) biology amongst women from developing countries. A qualitative systematic review was conducted of breast cancer size, stage, grade, histological type, extra-mammary involvement, hormone receptor status as well as patient demographics. This review includes patients from Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. BC in these regions present at an earlier age with large aggressive tumours. Distant metastases are frequently present at the time of diagnosis. African women have a higher frequency of triple negative tumours. Over half of Middle Eastern women have lymph node involvement at the time of diagnosis. Despite experiencing a lower incidence compared to the Ashkenazi Jewish population, Palestinian women have poorer five-year survival outcomes. The majority of women from Mexico and South America have stage two or three disease whilst over sixty percent of women from Eastern Europe have either stage one or stage two disease. The biological characteristics of BC in the Caribbean cannot be fully assessed due to a paucity of data from the region. BC amongst the developing world is characterised by an early peak age of onset with aggressive biological characteristics. Strategies that improve breast cancer awareness, address amenable risk factors and improve early detection are essential. Full article
Open AccessReview Differentiation Therapy of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2402-2420; doi:10.3390/cancers3022402
Received: 30 January 2011 / Revised: 29 April 2011 / Accepted: 5 May 2011 / Published: 16 May 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (340 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a predominant acute leukemia among adults, characterized by accumulation of malignantly transformed immature myeloid precursors. A very attractive way to treat myeloid leukemia, which is now called ‘differentiation therapy’, was proposed as in vitro studies have shown [...] Read more.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a predominant acute leukemia among adults, characterized by accumulation of malignantly transformed immature myeloid precursors. A very attractive way to treat myeloid leukemia, which is now called ‘differentiation therapy’, was proposed as in vitro studies have shown that a variety of agents stimulate differentiation of the cell lines isolated from leukemic patients. One of the differentiation-inducing agents, all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which can induce granulocytic differentiation in myeloid leukemic cell lines, has been introduced into clinics to treat patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) in which a PML-RARA fusion protein is generated by a t(15;17)(q22;q12) chromosomal translocation. Because differentiation therapy using ATRA has significantly improved prognosis for patients with APL, many efforts have been made to find alternative differentiating agents. Since 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) is capable of inducing in vitro monocyte/macrophage differentiation of myeloid leukemic cells, clinical trials have been performed to estimate its potential to treat patients with AML or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Unfortunately therapeutic concentrations of 1,25D can induce potentially fatal systemic hypercalcemia, thus limiting clinical utility of that compound. Attempts to overcome this problem have focused on the synthesis of 1,25D analogs (VDAs) which retain differentiation inducing potential, but lack its hypercalcemic effects. This review aims to discuss current problems and potential solutions in differentiation therapy of AML. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Crosstalks in Liver Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2444-2461; doi:10.3390/cancers3022444
Received: 20 April 2011 / Revised: 6 May 2011 / Accepted: 12 May 2011 / Published: 18 May 2011
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex multistep process in which many different molecular pathways have been implicated. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is refractory to conventional chemotherapeutic agents, and the new targeted therapies are meeting with limited success. Interreceptor crosstalk and the positive feedback between different [...] Read more.
Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex multistep process in which many different molecular pathways have been implicated. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is refractory to conventional chemotherapeutic agents, and the new targeted therapies are meeting with limited success. Interreceptor crosstalk and the positive feedback between different signaling systems are emerging as mechanisms of targeted therapy resistance. The identification of such interactions is therefore of particular relevance to improve therapeutic efficacy. Among the different signaling pathways activated in hepatocarcinogenesis the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) system plays a prominent role, being recognized as a “signaling hub” where different extracellular growth and survival signals converge. EGFR can be transactivated in response to multiple heterologous ligands through the physical interaction with multiple receptors, the activity of intracellular kinases or the shedding of EGFR-ligands. In this article we review the crosstalk between the EGFR and other signaling pathways that could be relevant to liver cancer development and treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Signaling Pathways and Crosstalk)
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Open AccessReview Roles of StearoylCoA Desaturase-1 in the Regulation of Cancer Cell Growth, Survival and Tumorigenesis
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2462-2477; doi:10.3390/cancers3022462
Received: 21 March 2011 / Revised: 27 April 2011 / Accepted: 11 May 2011 / Published: 20 May 2011
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The development and maintenance of defining features of cancer, such as unremitting cell proliferation, evasion of programmed cell death, and the capacity for colonizing local tissues and distant organs, demand a massive production of structural, signaling and energy-storing lipid biomolecules of appropriate [...] Read more.
The development and maintenance of defining features of cancer, such as unremitting cell proliferation, evasion of programmed cell death, and the capacity for colonizing local tissues and distant organs, demand a massive production of structural, signaling and energy-storing lipid biomolecules of appropriate fatty acid composition. Due to constitutive activation of fatty acid biosynthesis, cancer cell lipids are enriched with saturated (SFA) and, in particular, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which are generated by StearoylCoA desaturase-1, the main enzyme that transforms SFA into MUFA. An increasing number of experimental and epidemiological studies suggest that high levels of SCD1 activity is a major factor in establishing the biochemical and metabolic perturbations that favors the oncogenic process. This review examines evidence that suggests the critical implication of SCD1 in the modulation of multiple biological mechanisms, specifically lipid biosynthesis and proliferation and survival signaling pathways that contribute to the development and progression of cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Targeting the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) in Cancer Therapy: Lessons from Past and Future Perspectives
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2478-2500; doi:10.3390/cancers3022478
Received: 6 April 2011 / Revised: 13 May 2011 / Accepted: 16 May 2011 / Published: 24 May 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (544 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the last decade, extensive studies have been made to understand the role played by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in cancer. Knowledge in this field has been gained from discoveries in basic research as well as from observations made in [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, extensive studies have been made to understand the role played by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in cancer. Knowledge in this field has been gained from discoveries in basic research as well as from observations made in patients treated with allosteric mTOR inhibitors such as rapamycin. Despite promising preclinical studies, targeting mTOR in cancer therapy has shown limited clinical benefits so far. However, recent findings have revealed the complexity of the functions of mTOR in cancer and have helped develop new strategies to improve the anticancer efficacy of mTOR inhibitors. In particular, a complex network between mTOR and other signaling pathways has been identified that influences the anticancer efficacy of mTOR inhibitors. In addition, an emerging role of mTOR in the tumor microenvironment has been suggested. In this review, we confront the major findings that have been made in the past, both in experimental settings as well as in clinical trials. We further review the strategies that have been designed to further improve the efficacy of therapies targeting mTOR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Signaling Pathways and Crosstalk)
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Open AccessReview Cell Death Pathways in Photodynamic Therapy of Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2516-2539; doi:10.3390/cancers3022516
Received: 24 March 2011 / Revised: 26 April 2011 / Accepted: 3 May 2011 / Published: 3 June 2011
Cited by 97 | PDF Full-text (655 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an emerging cancer therapy that uses the combination of non-toxic dyes or photosensitizers (PS) and harmless visible light to produce reactive oxygen species and destroy tumors. The PS can be localized in various organelles such as mitochondria, lysosomes, [...] Read more.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an emerging cancer therapy that uses the combination of non-toxic dyes or photosensitizers (PS) and harmless visible light to produce reactive oxygen species and destroy tumors. The PS can be localized in various organelles such as mitochondria, lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and plasma membranes and this sub-cellular location governs much of the signaling that occurs after PDT. There is an acute stress response that leads to changes in calcium and lipid metabolism and causes the production of cytokines and stress response mediators. Enzymes (particularly protein kinases) are activated and transcription factors are expressed. Many of the cellular responses center on mitochondria and frequently lead to induction of apoptosis by the mitochondrial pathway involving caspase activation and release of cytochrome c. Certain specific proteins (such as Bcl-2) are damaged by PDT-induced oxidation thereby increasing apoptosis, and a build-up of oxidized proteins leads to an ER-stress response that may be increased by proteasome inhibition. Autophagy plays a role in either inhibiting or enhancing cell death after PDT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
Open AccessReview State of the Art in Tumor Antigen and Biomarker Discovery
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2554-2596; doi:10.3390/cancers3022554
Received: 6 April 2011 / Revised: 24 May 2011 / Accepted: 27 May 2011 / Published: 9 June 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (417 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our knowledge of tumor immunology has resulted in multiple approaches for the treatment of cancer. However, a gap between research of new tumors markers and development of immunotherapy has been established and very few markers exist that can be used for treatment. [...] Read more.
Our knowledge of tumor immunology has resulted in multiple approaches for the treatment of cancer. However, a gap between research of new tumors markers and development of immunotherapy has been established and very few markers exist that can be used for treatment. The challenge is now to discover new targets for active and passive immunotherapy. This review aims at describing recent advances in biomarkers and tumor antigen discovery in terms of antigen nature and localization, and is highlighting the most recent approaches used for their discovery including “omics” technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy)
Open AccessReview Enhancing Photodynamyc Therapy Efficacy by Combination Therapy: Dated, Current and Oncoming Strategies
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2597-2629; doi:10.3390/cancers3022597
Received: 11 March 2011 / Revised: 2 May 2011 / Accepted: 31 May 2011 / Published: 9 June 2011
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Combination therapy is a common practice in many medical disciplines. It is defined as the use of more than one drug to treat the same disease. Sometimes this expression describes the simultaneous use of therapeutic approaches that target different cellular/molecular pathways, increasing [...] Read more.
Combination therapy is a common practice in many medical disciplines. It is defined as the use of more than one drug to treat the same disease. Sometimes this expression describes the simultaneous use of therapeutic approaches that target different cellular/molecular pathways, increasing the chances of killing the diseased cell. This short review is concerned with therapeutic combinations in which PDT (Photodynamyc Therapy) is the core therapeutic partner. Besides the description of the principal methods used to assess the efficacy attained by combinations in respect to monotherapy, this review describes experimental results in which PDT was combined with conventional drugs in different experimental conditions. This inventory is far from exhaustive, as the number of photosensitizers used in combination with different drugs is very large. Reports cited in this work have been selected because considered representative. The combinations we have reviewed include the association of PDT with anti-oxidants, chemotherapeutics, drugs targeting topoisomerases I and II, antimetabolites and others. Some paragraphs are dedicated to PDT and immuno-modulation, others to associations of PDT with angiogenesis inhibitors, receptor inhibitors, radiotherapy and more. Finally, a look is dedicated to combinations involving the use of natural compounds and, as new entries, drugs that act as proteasome inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
Open AccessReview Regulation of Autophagy by Kinases
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2630-2654; doi:10.3390/cancers3022630
Received: 16 March 2011 / Revised: 15 May 2011 / Accepted: 27 May 2011 / Published: 9 June 2011
Cited by 41 | PDF Full-text (403 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Autophagy is a process of self-degradation that maintains cellular viability during periods of metabolic stress. Although autophagy is considered a survival mechanism when faced with cellular stress, extensive autophagy can also lead to cell death. Aberrations in autophagy are associated with several [...] Read more.
Autophagy is a process of self-degradation that maintains cellular viability during periods of metabolic stress. Although autophagy is considered a survival mechanism when faced with cellular stress, extensive autophagy can also lead to cell death. Aberrations in autophagy are associated with several diseases, including cancer. Therapeutic exploitation of this process requires a clear understanding of its regulation. Although the core molecular components involved in the execution of autophagy are well studied there is limited information on how cellular signaling pathways, particularly kinases, regulate this complex process. Protein kinases are integral to the autophagy process. Atg1, the first autophagy-related protein identified, is a serine/threonine kinase and it is regulated by another serine/threonine kinase mTOR. Emerging studies suggest the participation of many different kinases in regulating various components/steps of this catabolic process. This review focuses on the regulation of autophagy by several kinases with particular emphasis on serine/threonine protein kinases such as mTOR, AMP-activated kinase, Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK, p38 and JNK) and protein kinase C that are often deregulated in cancer and are important therapeutic targets. Full article
Open AccessReview Glioblastoma Stem-Like Cells—Biology and Therapeutic Implications
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2655-2666; doi:10.3390/cancers3022655
Received: 4 March 2011 / Revised: 4 May 2011 / Accepted: 31 May 2011 / Published: 10 June 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem-cell hypothesis proposes that malignant tumors are likely to encompass a cellular hierarchy that parallels normal tissue and may be responsible for the maintenance and recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in patients. The purpose of this manuscript is to review [...] Read more.
The cancer stem-cell hypothesis proposes that malignant tumors are likely to encompass a cellular hierarchy that parallels normal tissue and may be responsible for the maintenance and recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in patients. The purpose of this manuscript is to review methods for optimizing the derivation and culturing of stem-like cells also known as tumor stem cells (TSCs) from patient-derived GBM tissue samples. The hallmarks of TSCs are that they must be able to self-renew and retain tumorigenicity. The isolation, optimization and derivation of TSCs as outlined in this review, will be important in understanding biology and therapeutic applications related to these cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview The Role of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutations and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in the Treatment of Lung Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2667-2678; doi:10.3390/cancers3022667
Received: 28 April 2011 / Revised: 1 June 2011 / Accepted: 7 June 2011 / Published: 10 June 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases comprise approximately 85% of the lung cancer cases. Before the era of target therapy, platinum-based doublet chemotherapy only led to a median survival of 8–9 months and [...] Read more.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases comprise approximately 85% of the lung cancer cases. Before the era of target therapy, platinum-based doublet chemotherapy only led to a median survival of 8–9 months and a one-year survival of 30%–40% in patients with advanced NSCLC. In July 2002, gefitinib, a small-molecule epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI), was approved for the treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC in Japan. After the widespread use of gefitinib in the treatment of NSCLC, there have been many new studies regarding the association between the clinical anticancer efficacy of gefitinib and the somatic EGFR mutation status in patients with NSCLC. This article summarizes the role of EGFR mutations in lung cancer and the use of EGFR antagonists in the treatment of lung cancer and its associated adverse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lung Cancer)
Open AccessReview Clinical Trial Design for Testing the Stem Cell Model for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2696-2708; doi:10.3390/cancers3022696
Received: 27 April 2011 / Revised: 7 June 2011 / Accepted: 8 June 2011 / Published: 20 June 2011
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem cell model introduces new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancers. In cancers that appear to follow the stem cell model, pathways such as Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog may be targeted with natural compounds such as curcumin or [...] Read more.
The cancer stem cell model introduces new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancers. In cancers that appear to follow the stem cell model, pathways such as Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog may be targeted with natural compounds such as curcumin or drugs to reduce the risk of initiation of new tumors. Disease progression of established tumors could also potentially be inhibited by targeting the tumorigenic stem cells alone, rather than aiming to reduce overall tumor size. These new approaches mandate a change in the design of clinical trials and biomarkers chosen for efficacy assessment for preventative, neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative treatments. Cancer treatments could be evaluated by assessing stem cell markers before and after treatment. Targeted stem cell specific treatment of cancers may not result in “complete” or “partial” responses radiologically, as stem cell targeting may not reduce the tumor bulk, but eliminate further tumorigenic potential. These changes are discussed using breast, pancreatic, and lung cancer as examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Mechanism of Cancer Growth Suppression of Alpha-Fetoprotein Derived Growth Inhibitory Peptides (GIP): Comparison of GIP-34 versus GIP-8 (AFPep). Updates and Prospects
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2709-2733; doi:10.3390/cancers3022709
Received: 6 April 2011 / Revised: 2 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 20 June 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) derived Growth Inhibitory Peptide (GIP) is a 34-amino acid segment of the full-length human AFP molecule that inhibits tumor growth and metastasis. The GIP-34 and its carboxy-terminal 8-mer segment, termed GIP-8, were found to be effective as anti-cancer therapeutic [...] Read more.
The Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) derived Growth Inhibitory Peptide (GIP) is a 34-amino acid segment of the full-length human AFP molecule that inhibits tumor growth and metastasis. The GIP-34 and its carboxy-terminal 8-mer segment, termed GIP-8, were found to be effective as anti-cancer therapeutic peptides against nine different human cancer types. Following the uptake of GIP-34 and GIP-8 into the cell cytoplasm, each follows slightly different signal transduction cascades en route to inhibitory pathways of tumor cell growth and proliferation. The parallel mechanisms of action of GIP-34 versus GIP-8 are demonstrated to involve interference of signaling transduction cascades that ultimately result in: (1) cell cycle S-phase/G2-phase arrest; (2) prevention of cyclin inhibitor degradation; (3) protection of p53 from inactivation by phosphorylation; and (4) blockage of K+ ion channels opened by estradiol and epidermal growth factor (EGF). The overall mechanisms of action of both peptides are discussed in light of their differing modes of cell attachment and uptake fortified by RNA microarray analysis and electrophysiologic measurements of cell membrane conductance and resistance. As a chemotherapeutic adjunct, the GIPs could potentially aid in alleviating the negative side effects of: (1) tamoxifen resistance, uterine hyperplasia/cancer, and blood clotting; (2) Herceptin antibody resistance and cardiac (arrest) arrhythmias; and (3) doxorubicin’s bystander cell toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Signaling Pathways and Crosstalk)
Open AccessReview TRAF4, at the Crossroad between Morphogenesis and Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2734-2749; doi:10.3390/cancers3022734
Received: 12 May 2011 / Revised: 16 June 2011 / Accepted: 17 June 2011 / Published: 21 June 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 4 (TRAF4) is a gene whose expression is altered in cancers. It is overexpressed in a variety of carcinomas of different origins, often as a consequence of amplification. TRAF4 encodes an adaptor protein that belongs to the [...] Read more.
Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 4 (TRAF4) is a gene whose expression is altered in cancers. It is overexpressed in a variety of carcinomas of different origins, often as a consequence of amplification. TRAF4 encodes an adaptor protein that belongs to the TRAF protein family. While most TRAF proteins influence immune and inflammation processes, TRAF4 is mainly involved in developmental and morphogenic processes. Interestingly, this protein has been shown to be linked to crucial cellular functions such as cell polarity and the regulation of reactive oxygen species production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
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Open AccessReview Review of Histopathological and Molecular Prognostic Features in Colorectal Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2767-2810; doi:10.3390/cancers3022767
Received: 10 March 2011 / Revised: 14 June 2011 / Accepted: 15 June 2011 / Published: 23 June 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prediction of prognosis in colorectal cancer is vital for the choice of therapeutic options. Histopathological factors remain paramount in this respect. Factors such as tumor size, histological type and subtype, presence of signet ring morphology and the degree of differentiation as well [...] Read more.
Prediction of prognosis in colorectal cancer is vital for the choice of therapeutic options. Histopathological factors remain paramount in this respect. Factors such as tumor size, histological type and subtype, presence of signet ring morphology and the degree of differentiation as well as the presence of lymphovascular invasion and lymph node involvement are well known factors that influence outcome. Our understanding of these factors has improved in the past few years with factors such as tumor budding, lymphocytic infiltration being recognized as important. Likewise the prognostic significance of resection margins, particularly circumferential margins has been appreciated in the last two decades. A number of molecular and genetic markers such as KRAS, BRAF and microsatellite instability are also important and correlate with histological features in some patients. This review summarizes our current understanding of the main histopathological factors that affect prognosis of colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Colorectal Cancer)

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