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María Gutiérrez-Salmerón, Silvia Rocío Lucena, Ana Chocarro-Calvo, José Manuel García-Martínez, Rosa M Martín Orozco, and Custodia García-Jiménez

The existence of molecular links that facilitate colorectal cancer (CRC) development in the population with type 2 diabetes (T2D) is supported by substantial epidemiological evidence. This review summarizes how the systemic, metabolic and hormonal imbalances from T2D alter CRC cell metabolism, signalling and gene expression as well as their reciprocal meshing, with an overview of CRC molecular subtypes and animal models to study the diabetes-CRC cancer links. Metabolic and growth factor checkpoints ensure a physiological cell proliferation rate compatible with limited nutrient supply. Hyperinsulinaemia and hyperleptinaemia in prediabetes and excess circulating glucose and lipids in T2D overcome formidable barriers for tumour development. Increased nutrient availability favours metabolic reprogramming, alters signalling and generates mutations and epigenetic modifications through increased reactive oxygen species and oncometabolites. The reciprocal control between metabolism and hormone signalling is lost in diabetes. Excess adipose tissue at the origin of T2D unbalances adipokine (leptin/adiponectin) secretion ratios and function and disrupts the insulin/IGF axes. Leptin/adiponectin imbalances in T2D are believed to promote proliferation and invasion of CRC cancer cells and contribute to inflammation, an important component of CRC tumourigenesis. Disruption of the insulin/IGF axes in T2D targets systemic and CRC cell metabolic reprogramming, survival and proliferation. Future research to clarify the molecular diabetes-CRC links will help to prevent CRC and reduce its incidence in the diabetic population and must guide therapeutic decisions.

Free access

Salma Ben-Salem, Varadha Balaji Venkadakrishnan, and Hannelore V Heemers

Abstract

Prostate cancer (CaP) remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Western men. These deaths occur because metastatic CaP acquires resistance to available treatments. The novel and functionally diverse treatment options that have been introduced in the clinic over the past decade each eventually induce resistance for which the molecular basis is diverse. Both initiation and progression of CaP have been associated with enhanced cell proliferation and cell cycle dysregulation. A better understanding of the specific pro-proliferative molecular shifts that control cell division and proliferation during CaP progression may ultimately overcome treatment resistance. Here, we examine literature for support of this possibility. We start by reviewing recently renewed insights in prostate cell types and their proliferative and oncogenic potential. We then provide an overview of the basic knowledge on the molecular machinery in charge of cell cycle progression and its regulation by well-recognized drivers of CaP progression such as androgen receptor and retinoblastoma protein. In this respect, we pay particular attention to interactions and reciprocal interplay between cell cycle regulators and androgen receptor. Somatic alterations that impact the cell cycle-associated and -regulated genes encoding p53, PTEN and MYC during progression from treatment-naïve, to castration-recurrent, and in some cases, neuroendocrine CaP are discussed. We considered also non-genomic events that impact cell cycle determinants, including transcriptional, epigenetic and micro-environmental switches that occur during CaP progression. Finally, we evaluate the therapeutic potential of cell cycle regulators and address challenges and limitations in the approaches modulating their action for CaP treatment.

Free access

María Gutiérrez-Salmerón, Silvia Rocío Lucena, Ana Chocarro-Calvo, José Manuel García-Martínez, Rosa M Martín Orozco, and Custodia García-Jiménez

Obesity is the strongest known risk factor to develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) and both share a state of chronic, diffuse and low-grade inflammation, impaired immune responses and alterations in the composition and function of the microbiome. Notably, these hallmarks are shared with colorectal cancer (CRC), which is epidemiologically associated to obesity and T2D. Gut barrier damages in T2D destabilize the microbiome that metabolizes the diet and modulates the host immune response triggering inflammatory and proliferative pathways. In this review, we discuss the pathways altered by defects in the immune response and microbiota that may link T2D to CRC development. Stressed adipocytes, metabolic incongruity in blood and gut barrier failure with dysbiosis cooperate to establish imbalances between immune innate and adaptive cells and cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL6) or TNFA that define low-grade diffuse inflammation in T2D. Inflammation drives tissue repair through proliferation and migration (critical mechanisms for tumourigenesis) and under physiological conditions feeds anti-inflammatory cytokine production to resolve the process. The disproportion in pro- vs anti-inflammatory cells and cytokines imposed by T2D will impact the tumour micro- and macro-environment, favouring tumour proliferation, angiogenesis and decreased immune responses. Complex bidirectional relationships between the metabolic environment of T2D, gut microbiota, and immune dysfunctions may favour tumour cell demands and will define the outcome. Animal models developed to study the relationships between T2D and CRC in the context of microbiota and immune system are discussed.

Open access

Mehtap Derya Aydemirli, Jaap D H van Eendenburg, Tom van Wezel, Jan Oosting, Willem E Corver, Ellen Kapiteijn, and Hans Morreau

Finding targetable gene fusions can expand the limited treatment options in radioactive iodine-refractory (RAI-r) thyroid cancer. To that end, we established a novel cell line ‘JVE404’ derived from an advanced RAI-r papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patient, harboring an EML4-ALK gene fusion variant 3 (v3). Different EML4-ALK gene fusions can have different clinical repercussions. JVE404 cells were evaluated for cell viability and cell signaling in response to ALK inhibitors crizotinib, ceritinib and lorlatinib, in parallel to the patient’s treatment. He received, after first-line lenvatinib, crizotinib (Drug Rediscovery Protocol (DRUP) trial), and lorlatinib (compassionate use). In vitro treatment with crizotinib or ceritinib decreased viability in JVE404, but most potently and significantly only with lorlatinib. Western blot analysis showed a near total decrease of 99% and 89%, respectively, in pALK and pERK expression levels in JVE404 cells with lorlatinib, in contrast to remaining signal intensities of a half and a third of control, respectively, with crizotinib. The patient had a 6-month lasting stable disease on crizotinib, but progressive disease occurred, including the finding of cerebral metastases, at 8 months. With lorlatinib, partial response, including clinical cerebral activity, was already achieved at 11 weeks’ use and ongoing partial response at 7 months. To our best knowledge, this is the first reported case describing a patient-specific targeted treatment with lorlatinib based on an EML4-ALK gene fusion v3 in a thyroid cancer patient, and own cancer cell line. Tumor-agnostic targeted therapy may provide valuable treatment options in personalized medicine.

Open access

Jamie Tae Wook Kwon, Richard J Bryant, and Eileen E Parkes

The landscape of cancer treatment has been transformed over the past decade by the success of immune-targeting therapies. However, despite sipuleucel-T being the first ever approved vaccine for cancer and the first immunotherapy licensed for prostate cancer in 2010, immunotherapy has since seen limited success in the treatment of prostate cancer. The tumour microenvironment of prostate cancer presents particular barriers for immunotherapy. Moreover, prostate cancer is distinguished by being one of only two solid tumours where increased T cell infiltration correlates with a poorer, rather than improved, outlook. Here, we discuss the specific aspects of the prostate cancer microenvironment that converge to create a challenging microenvironment, including myeloid-derived immune cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts. By exploring the immune microenvironment of defined molecular subgroups of prostate cancer, we propose an immunogenomic subtyping approach to single-agent and combination immune targeting strategies that could improve outcomes in prostate cancer treatment.

Restricted access

Jingyuan Ma, Xinyu Huang, Jungong Zhao, Jingyi Lu, Wei Lu, Yuqian Bao, Jian Zhou, and Junfeng Han

Insulin release index (IRI) based on 72-h fasting test has been used for the definitive diagnosis of insulinoma; however, hospitalization and subsequent costs contribute to the disadvantage of IRI. Therefore, a simple and cost-effective screening procedure for the diagnosis of insulinoma for outpatients are crucially needed. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) has been widely used for monitoring high level of glucose in diabetic patients. The aim of the study is to determine the potential contribution or implementation of CGM in the screening of the insulinoma. We performed a single-center prospective study with the demographics and laboratory data including 28 patients with the pathological diagnosis of insulinoma and 25 patients with functional hypoglycemia as control group. The analysis showed that areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of coefficient of variation (CV) was 0.914. The CV cutoff point was 19% with the Youden 62.1%, the corresponding sensitivity and specificity were 82.1 and 80%, respectively. In patients with CV greater than the median, more than 60% of insulinomas were located in the head of the pancreas; most Ki-67 values were more than 2% and when compared with the group with CV smaller than the median, the average tumor size was 2.7 times larger. In conclusion, CGM can be used as a valuable tool in not only monitoring high glucose levels in diabetic patients but also identifying the etiology of insulinoma. CV greater than 19% can be highly effective for the screening of insulinoma in outpatients.

Free access

Krystallenia I Alexandraki, Ariadni Spyroglou, Stylianos Kykalos, Kosmas Daskalakis, Georgios Kyriakopoulos, Georgios C Sotiropoulos, Gregory A Kaltsas, and Ashley B Grossman

Following improvements in the management and outcome of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) in recent years, we see a subset, particularly of pancreatic NENs, which become more aggressive during the course of the disease. This is reflected by an increase in the Ki-67 labelling index, as a marker of proliferation, which may lead to an occasion of increase in grading, but generally does not appear to be correlated with histologically confirmed dedifferentiation. A systematic review of the literature was performed in PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase until May 2020 to identify cases that have behaved in such a manner. We screened 244 articles: only seven studies included cases in their cohort, or in a subset of the cohort studied, with a proven increase in the Ki-67 during follow-up through additional biopsy. In addition to these studies, we have also tried to identify possible pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in advanced NENs, although currently no studies appear to have addressed the mechanisms implicated in the switch to a more aggressive biological phenotype over the course of the disease. Such progression of the disease course may demand a change in the management. Summarising the overall evidence, we suggest that future studies should concentrate on changes in the molecular pathways during disease progression with sequential biopsies in order to shed light on the mechanisms that render a neoplasm more aggressive than its initial phenotype or genotype.

Restricted access

Yu-Ling Lu, Yu-Tung Huang, Ming-Hsien Wu, Ting-Chao Chou, Richard J Wong, and Shu-Fu Lin

Wee1 is a kinase that regulates the G2/M progression by the inhibition of CDK1, which is critical for ensuring DNA damage repair before initiation of mitotic entry. Targeting Wee1 may be a potential strategy in the treatment of anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare but lethal disease. The therapeutic effects of adavosertib, a Wee1 inhibitor for anaplastic thyroid cancer was evaluated in this study. Adavosertib inhibited cell growth in three anaplastic thyroid cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Cell cycle analysis revealed cells were accumulated in the G2/M phase. Adavosertib induced caspase-3 activity and led to apoptosis. Adavosertib monotherapy showed significant retardation of the growth of two anaplastic thyroid cancer tumor models. The combination of adavosertib with dabrafenib and trametinib revealed strong synergism in vitro and demonstrated robust suppression of tumor growth in vivo in anaplastic thyroid cancer xenograft models with BRAFV600E mutation. The combination of adavosertib with either sorafenib or lenvatinib also demonstrated synergism in vitro and had strong inhibition of tumor growth in vivo in an anaplastic thyroid cancer xenograft model. No appreciable toxicity appeared in mice treated with either a single agent or combination treatment. Our findings suggest adavosertib holds the promise for the treatment of patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Open access

Georgios Kostopoulos, Ioannis Doundoulakis, Christina Antza, Emmanouil Bouras, Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar, Dimitrios Tsiachris, G Neil Thomas, Gregory Y H Lip, and Konstantinos A Toulis

Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) represents the most common form of thyroid neoplasms and is becoming increasingly prevalent. Evidence suggests a possible relationship between DTC diagnosis and subsequent atrial fibrillation (AF). If confirmed, this may present an alarming health risk (AF) in an otherwise condition with a relatively good prognosis (DTC). The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to provide for the first time a pooled estimate of AF incidence in DTC patients in comparison to healthy controls. A detailed search in electronic databases, clinical trial registries and grey literature was performed to identify studies reporting the incidence of AF in DTC patients. Newcastle–Ottawa quality assessment scale was used to assess study quality. We used a random effects (RE) generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) in pooling of individual studies and also calculated a prediction interval for the estimate of a new study. Six observational studies met the eligibility criteria, which included totally 187,754 patients with DTC and 199,770 healthy controls. The median follow-up period was 4.3 to 18.8 years; the incidence rate of AF was 4.86 (95% CI, 3.29 to 7.17, I2 = 96%) cases per 1000 person-years, while the incidence rate ratio was 1.54 (95% CI, 1.44 to 1.65, I2 = 0%, 95% PI, 1.33 to 1.78).This is the first meta-analysis to confirm that patients with DTC are at a high risk for developing AF, which may be attributed to a state of iatrogenic hyperthyroidism due to long-term thyrotropin suppression therapy.

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Lisa K Philp, Anja Rockstroh, Martin C Sadowski, Atefeh Taherian Fard, Melanie Lehman, Gregor Tevz, Michelle S Libério, Charles L Bidgood, Jennifer H Gunter, Stephen McPherson, Nenad Bartonicek, John D Wade, Laszlo Otvos, and Colleen C Nelson

Hyperleptinaemia is a well-established therapeutic side effect of drugs inhibiting the androgen axis in prostate cancer (PCa), including main stay androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and androgen targeted therapies (ATT). Given significant crossover between the adipokine hormone signalling of leptin and multiple cancer-promoting hallmark pathways, including growth, proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, metabolism and inflammation, targeting the leptin axis is therapeutically appealing, especially in advanced PCa where current therapies fail to be curative. In this study, we uncover leptin as a novel universal target in PCa and are the first to highlight increased intratumoural leptin and leptin receptor (LEPR) expression in PCa cells and patients' tumours exposed to androgen deprivation, as is observed in patients' tumours of metastatic and castrate resistant (CRPC) PCa. We also reveal the world-first preclinical evidence that demonstrates marked efficacy of targeted leptin-signalling blockade, using Allo-aca, a potent, specific, and safe LEPR peptide antagonist. Allo-aca-suppressed tumour growth and delayed progression to CRPC in mice bearing LNCaP xenografts, with reduced tumour vascularity and altered pathways of apoptosis, transcription/translation, and energetics in tumours determined as potential mechanisms underpinning anti-tumour efficacy. We highlight LEPR blockade in combination with androgen axis inhibition represents a promising new therapeutic strategy vital in advanced PCa treatment.