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Camilo Jimenez, Sasan Fazeli and Alejandro Román-Gonzalez

Metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are rare, highly vascular tumors that spread primarily to the lymph nodes, skeletal tissue, lungs, and liver. Tumor morbidity is related to their size, location, hormonal activity, vascular nature, and rate of progression. Systemic therapies for this indication are limited. Only high-specific-activity iodine-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine is approved in the Unites States for treatment of these patients, and not all patients are candidates for this radiopharmaceutical. Antiangiogenic medications are currently being evaluated in prospective clinical trials for patients with metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, and preliminary results have been encouraging. Antiangiogenic medications frequently offer antineoplastic effects with sometimes durable responses. However, cardiovascular toxicity and the development of tumor resistance may limit their efficacy. Experience derived from clinical trials is being used to identify mechanisms to effectively improve drug toxicity and possibly prevent the emergence of resistance. Therefore, antiangiogenic medications represent a therapeutic option for patients with metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Furthermore, in the world of oncology, there is strong scientific interest in the development of clinical trials that combine antiangiogenic medications with other modalities such as immunotherapy, radiopharmaceuticals, and hypoxia inhibitors since these combinations may substantially enhance clinical outcomes, including survivorship. In this review, we examine the progress made to date on antiangiogenic treatments for patients with metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.

Free access

Kenzo Nakano, Toshihiko Masui, Akitada Yogo, Yuichiro Uchida, Asahi Sato, Yosuke Kasai, Kazuyuki Nagai, Takayuki Anazawa, Yoshiya Kawaguchi and Shinji Uemoto

Although pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PanNENs) are generally indolent, patients with distant metastasis have a dismal prognosis. Recently, the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) has been shown to suppress the tumour growth of PanNENs, but the detailed mechanisms have not been elucidated. Furthermore, these results were obtained from poorly differentiated cell lines rather than well-differentiated cell lines, which is the most prevalent type in this tumour. To explore the mechanism and efficacy of CQ on PanNENs, we applied CQ to cell lines and evaluated the resulting apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. CQ treatment induced ER stress, and an unfolded protein response was activated through the PERK-eIF2α-ATF4 pathway, resulting in the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), which reflects ER-stress-mediated apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was effective in Men1 heterozygous-deficient (Men1+/ΔN3-8) mice, a mouse PanNEN model that is considered to correspond to human low-grade PanNEN. HCQ administration decreased tumour size in Men1+/ΔN3-8 mice. In the HCQ group, histological analyses revealed that proliferative activity was unchanged, but apoptosis was accelerated, accompanied by CHOP expression. These results suggest that autophagy inhibition by CQ/HCQ could be used for the treatment of PanNEN, including the well-differentiated type.

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Marianna Volpert, Luc Furic, Jinghua Hu, Anne E O’Connor, Richard J Rebello, Shivakumar Keerthikumar, Jemma Evans, D Jo Merriner, John Pedersen, Gail P Risbridger, Peter McIntyre and Moira K O’Bryan

Identifying the factors stimulating prostate cancer cells migration and invasion has the potential to bring new therapeutic targets to the clinic. Cysteine-rich secretory protein 3 (CRISP3) is one of the most highly upregulated proteins during the transition of a healthy human prostatic epithelium to prostate cancer. Here we show using a genetically engineered mouse model of prostate cancer that CRISP3 production greatly facilitates disease progression from carcinoma in situ to invasive prostate cancer in vivo. This interpretation was confirmed using both human and mouse prostate cancer cell lines, which showed that exposure to CRISP3 enhanced cell motility and invasion. Further, using mass spectrometry, we show that CRISP3 induces changes in abundance of a subset of cell-cell adhesion proteins, including LASP1 and TJP1 both in vivo and in vitro. Collectively, these data identify CRISP3 as being pro-tumorigenic in the prostate and validate it as a potential target for therapeutic intervention.

Free access

Mairéad G McNamara, Jean-Yves Scoazec and Thomas Walter

Patients with extrapulmonary poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (EP-PD-NECs) have a poor prognosis. Surgery is offered for those with localised disease, but the majority of patients present with advanced disease. Treatment strategies adopted are analogous to that of high grade NECs of the lung, with platinum/etoposide-based regimens advocated in the first-line setting for advanced disease. There is no standard second-line therapy. Research into their molecular and immune pathways may pave the way for novel drug discovery. The molecular drivers of NEC are best identified in small cell lung carcinoma, which present with near universal genomic alterations in TP53 and RB1. The genetics of EP-PD-NEC remain poorly understood; TP53, KRAS, PIK3CA/PTEN and BRAF mutations have been identified, with alterations in the BRCA pathway reported additionally in small cell NEC of the cervix and absence of argininosuccinate synthetase 1 expression in NEC of the urinary bladder. The use of cell lines and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) to predict response to treatment in NEC and the emergence of alternative biomarkers, such as circulating tumour cells and cell-free DNA, will also be explored. Despite limited published data on the immune microenvironment of EP-NEC, there are a number of clinical trials investigating the use of immune-targeted agents in this disease category, with conflicting emerging data from studies thus far. This review will summarise the treatment and available molecular and immune data in this under researched diagnosis and may stimulate the direction of future exploratory studies.

Open access

Estefania Labanca, Elba S Vazquez, Paul G Corn, Justin M Roberts, Fen Wang, Christopher J Logothetis and Nora M Navone

Many solid tumors metastasize to bone, but only prostate cancer has bone as a single, dominant metastatic site. Recently, the FGF axis has been implicated in cancer progression in some tumors and mounting evidence indicate that it mediates prostate cancer bone metastases. The FGF axis has an important role in bone biology and mediates cell-to-cell communication. Therefore, we discuss here basic concepts of bone biology, FGF signaling axis, and FGF axis function in adult bone, to integrate these concepts in our current understanding of the role of FGF axis in bone metastases.

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Fady Hannah-Shmouni, Annabel Berthon, Fabio R Faucz, Juan Medina Briceno, Andrea Gutierrez Maria, Andrew Demidowich, Mirko Peitzsch, Jimmy Masjkur, Fidéline Bonnet-Serrano, Anna Vaczlavik, Jérôme Bertherat, Martin Reincke, Graeme Eisenhofer and Constantine A Stratakis

Biochemical characterization of primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (PBMAH) by distinct plasma steroid profiles and its putative correlation to disease has not been previously studied. LC-MS/MS–based steroid profiling of 16 plasma steroids was applied to 36 subjects (22 females, 14 males) with PBMAH, 19 subjects (16 females, 3 males) with other forms of adrenal Cushing's syndrome (ACS), and an age and sex-matched control group. Germline ARMC5 sequencing was performed in all PBMAH cases. Compared to controls, PBMAH showed increased plasma 11-deoxycortisol, corticosterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, 18-hydroxycortisol, and aldosterone, but lower progesterone, DHEA, and DHEA-S with distinct differences in subjects with and without pathogenic variants in ARMC5. Steroids that showed isolated differences included cortisol and 18-oxocortisol with higher (P < 0.05) concentrations in ACS than in controls and aldosterone with higher concentrations in PBMAH when compared to controls. Larger differences in PBMAH than with ACS were most clear for corticosterone, but there were also trends in this direction for 18-hydroxycortisol and aldosterone. Logistic regression analysis indicated four steroids – DHEA, 11-deoxycortisol, 18-oxocortisol, and corticosterone – with the most power for distinguishing the groups. Discriminant analyses with step-wise variable selection indicated correct classification of 95.2% of all subjects of the four groups using a panel of nine steroids; correct classification of subjects with and without germline variants in ARMC5 was achieved in 91.7% of subjects with PBMAH. Subjects with PBMAH show distinctive plasma steroid profiles that may offer a supplementary single-test alternative for screening purposes.

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Juan A Ardura, Luis Álvarez-Carrión, Irene Gutiérrez-Rojas, Peter A Friedman, Arancha R Gortázar and Verónica Alonso

Bone metastases are common in advanced prostate cancer patients, but mechanisms by which specific pro-metastatic skeletal niches are formed before tumor cell homing are unclear. We aimed to analyze the effects of proteins secreted by primary prostate tumors on the bone microenvironment before the settlement and propagation of metastases. Here, using an in vivo pre-metastatic prostate cancer model based on the implantation of prostate adenocarcinoma TRAMP-C1 cells in immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice, we identify MINDIN as a prostate tumor secreted protein that induces bone microstructural and bone remodeling gene expression changes before tumor cell homing. Associated with these changes, increased tumor cell adhesion to the endosteum ex vivo and to osteoblasts in vitro was observed. Furthermore, MINDIN promoted osteoblast proliferation and mineralization and monocyte expression of osteoclast markers. β-catenin signaling pathway revealed to mediate MINDIN actions on osteoblast gene expression but failed to affect MINDIN-induced adhesion to prostate tumor cells or monocyte differentiation to osteoclasts. Our study evidences that MINDIN secretion by primary prostate tumors creates a favorable bone environment for tumor cell homing before metastatic spread.

Free access

Nima Sharifi and Charles J Ryan

Free access

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

Prostate cancer (CaP) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Western men. Because androgens drive CaP by activating the androgen receptor (AR), blocking AR’s ligand activation, known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), is the default treatment for metastatic CaP. Despite an initial remission, CaP eventually develops resistance to ADT and progresses to castration-recurrent CaP (CRPC). CRPC continues to rely on aberrantly activated AR that is no longer inhibited effectively by available therapeutics. Interference with signaling pathways downstream of activated AR that mediate aggressive CRPC behavior may lead to alternative CaP treatments. Developing such therapeutic strategies requires a thorough mechanistic understanding of the most clinically relevant and druggable AR-dependent signaling events. Recent proteomics analyses of CRPC clinical specimens indicate a shift in the phosphoproteome during CaP progression. Kinases and phosphatases represent druggable entities, for which clinically tested inhibitors are available, some of which are incorporated already in treatment plans for other human malignancies. Here, we reviewed the AR-associated transcriptome and translational regulon, and AR interactome involved in CaP phosphorylation events. Novel and for the most part mutually exclusive AR-dependent transcriptional and post-transcriptional control over kinase and phosphatase expression was found, with yet other phospho-regulators interacting with AR. The multiple mechanisms by which AR can shape and fine-tune the CaP phosphoproteome were reflected in diverse aspects of CaP biology such as cell cycle progression and cell migration. Furthermore, we examined the potential, limitations and challenges of interfering with AR-mediated phosphorylation events as alternative strategy to block AR function during CaP progression.

Free access

Jennifer W Carlisle, Caroline S Jansen, Mehmet Asim Bilen and Haydn Kissick