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Free access

Alberto Ferlin, Francesco Ganz, Manuel Pengo, Riccardo Selice, Anna Chiara Frigo and Carlo Foresta

It is generally assumed that the development of testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) is under endocrine control. In particular, unbalanced androgen/estrogen levels and/or activity are believed to represent the key events for TGCT development and progression. Furthermore, recent evidence has suggested a strong genetic component for TGCT. In this study, we analyzed whether a genetic variation in estrogen receptor (ESR) genes and steroid hormone metabolism genes is associated with TGCT. We genotyped for 17 polymorphic markers in 11 genes in 234 TGCT cases and 218 controls: ESR (ESR1 and ESR2); CYP19A1 (aromatase); 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase types 1 and 4 (HSD17B1 and HSD17B4) dehydrogenases that convert potent androgens and estrogens to weak hormones; cytochrome P450 hydroxylating enzymes CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1; and the metabolic enzymes COMT, SULT1A1, and SULT1E1. We observed a significant association of rs11205 in HSD17B4 with TGCT. TGCT risk was increased twofold per copy of the minor A allele at this locus (odds ratios (OR)=2.273, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.737–2.973). Homozygous carriage of the minor A allele was associated with an over fourfold increased risk of TGCT (OR=4.561, 95% CI=2.615–7.955) compared with homozygous carriage of the major G allele. The risk was increased both for seminoma (OR=5.327, 95% CI=2.857–9.931) and for nonseminoma (OR=3.222, 95% CI=1.471–7.059). We found for the first time an association of polymorphisms in HSD17B4 gene with TGCT. Our findings expand the current knowledge on the role of genetic contribution in testicular cancer susceptibility, and support the hypothesis that variations in hormone metabolism genes might change the hormonal environment implicated in testicular carcinogenesis.

Restricted access

Zhi Long, Yinan Li, Yu Gan, Dongyu Zhao, Guangyu Wang, Ning Xie, Jessica M Lovnicki, Ladan Fazli, Qi Cao, Kaifu Chen and Xuesen Dong

Homeobox A10 (HOXA10) is an important transcription factor that regulates the development of the prostate gland. However, it remains unknown whether it modulates prostate cancer (PCa) progression into castrate-resistant stages. In this study, we have applied RNA in situ hybridization assays to demonstrate that downregulation of HOXA10 expression is associated with castrate-resistant PCa. These findings are supported by public RNA-seq data showing that reduced HOXA10 expression is correlated with poor patient survival. We show that HOXA10 suppresses PCa cell proliferation, anchorage colony formation and xenograft growth independent to androgens. Using AmpliSeq transcriptome sequencing, we have found that gene groups associated with lipid metabolism and androgen receptor (AR) signaling are enriched in the HOXA10 transcriptome. Furthermore, we demonstrate that HOXA10 suppresses the transcription of the fatty acid synthase (FASN) gene by forming a protein complex with AR and prevents AR recruitment to the FASN gene promoter. These results lead us to conclude that downregulation of HOXA10 gene expression may enhance lipogenesis to promote PCa cell growth and tumor progression to castrate-resistant stage.

Open access

Sung Gwe Ahn, Chang Ik Yoon, Jae Hoon Lee, Hye Sun Lee, So Eun Park, Yoon Jin Cha, Chihwan Cha, Soong June Bae, Kyung-A Lee and Joon Jeong

On the basis of TP53 mutations and standardized uptake values (SUVs) from 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG-PET), we sought to enhance our knowledge of the biology underlying low progesterone receptor (PR) expression in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)-negative tumors. This study included 272 patients surgically treated for ER-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer and who had undergone TP53 gene sequencing. Of these, 229 patients also underwent 18F-FDG PET or PET/CT. Mutational analysis of exons 5–9 of the TP53 gene was conducted using PCR amplification and direct sequencing. The SUVs were measured using 18F-FDG-PET scan images. Twenty-eight (10.3%) tumors had a somatic TP53 mutation. The TP53 mutation rate was significantly higher in low-PR tumors than in high-PR tumors (17.1% vs 7.9%, P = 0.039). Low-PR tumors had significantly higher median SUVs than high-PR tumors (P = 0.046). The multivariable analysis revealed that SUV and age remained independent variables associated with low PR expression. An adverse impact of low PR expression on recurrence-free survival was observed in the multivariable Cox regression hazard model. We provide clinical evidence that genetic alteration of the TP53 gene and dysregulated glucose metabolism partly involve low PR expression in ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer.

Free access

J Ragaz

Aromatase is one of the key enzymes possibly linked with the perpetuation or even initiation of breast cancer. Modulation of its activity by the new generation inhibitors has resulted in increased responses and improved therapeutic ratio compared with those of parent aromatase inhibitors. More recent trials have shown promising results with regard to improved therapeutic ratio compared with what is seen with presently accepted second-line hormonal approaches. Present data and laboratory research indicate that new aromatase inhibitors have the potential to play an important role as adjuvants, and possibly in the prevention of human breast cancer. It is probable that it may be as adjuvants that their real therapeutic strength in terms of a beneficial impact on survival may be realized. The absence of estrogen agonist activity of new aromatase inhibitors on lipid and bone metabolism calls for more clinical studies having late mortality in breast cancer survivors as the ultimate outcome objective; in this regard, interaction of new aromatase inhibitors with new selective estrogen receptor modulators looks promising. Achievement of these outcomes, and understanding of interactions with other therapies, await the termination of present trials and the start of new initiatives.

Free access

P Hadji

Third-generation aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are replacing tamoxifen as adjuvant therapy in postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer due to their superiority shown in several recent head-to-head trials. Healthy postmenopausal women normally experience age-related side effects, and in postmenopausal women with breast cancer, these symptoms may be exacerbated by adjuvant endocrine therapy. This review evaluates the current literature regarding bone health, lipid metabolism, cardiovascular disease, gynecologic health, and cognition in postmenopausal women receiving adjuvant AI therapy. The AIs – anastrozole, exemestane, and letrozole – are generally well tolerated: most adverse events are mild to moderate and common to menopause. Common short-term AI-associated toxicities are hot flushes, musculoskeletal complaints/arthralgia, and bone loss, all of which can be effectively managed. AIs may lack the cardioprotective and lipid-lowering effects of tamoxifen but, in contrast to tamoxifen, do not increase the risk of serious life-threatening thromboembolic or cerebrovascular events or endometrial cancer. Every patient should be individually assessed with respect to therapy risks and benefits. Lifestyle, comorbidities, and concomitant medications must be considered, and the importance of compliance to adjuvant therapy should be discussed before selecting a treatment regimen. The superior efficacy of adjuvant AI therapy will in most cases outweigh the risk of bothersome side effects that can be prevented or easily managed.

Free access

A Stigliano, L Cerquetti, M Borro, G Gentile, B Bucci, S Misiti, P Piergrossi, E Brunetti, M Simmaco and V Toscano

Mitotane, 1,1-dichloro-2-(o-chlorophenyl)-2-(p-chloro-phenyl) ethane (o,p′-DDD), is a compound that represents the effective agent in the treatment of the adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), able to block cortisol synthesis. In this type of cancer, the biological mechanism induced by this treatment remains still unknown. In this study, we have already shown a greater impairment in the first steps of the steroidogenesis and recognized a little effect on cell cycle. We also evaluated the variation of proteomic profile of the H295R ACC cell line, either in total cell extract or in mitochondria-enriched fraction after treatment with mitotane. In total cell extracts, triose phosphate isomerase, α-enolase, D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase, peroxiredoxin II and VI, heat shock protein 27, prohibitin, histidine triad nucleotide-binding protein, and profilin-1 showed a different expression. In the mitochondrial fraction, the following proteins appeared to be down regulated: aldolase A, peroxiredoxin I, heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1, tubulin-β isoform II, heat shock cognate 71 kDa protein, and nucleotide diphosphate kinase, whereas adrenodoxin reductase, cathepsin D, and heat shock 70 kDa protein 1A were positively up-regulated. This study represents the first proteomic study on the mitotane effects on ACC. It permits to identify some protein classes affected by the drug involved in energetic metabolism, stress response, cytoskeleton structure, and tumorigenesis.

Free access

Jennifer Munkley

Changes in glycan composition are common in cancer and can play important roles in all of the recognised hallmarks of cancer. We recently identified glycosylation as a global target for androgen control in prostate cancer cells and further defined a set of 8 glycosylation enzymes (GALNT7, ST6GalNAc1, GCNT1, UAP1, PGM3, CSGALNACT1, ST6GAL1 and EDEM3), which are also significantly upregulated in prostate cancer tissue. These 8 enzymes are under direct control of the androgen receptor (AR) and are linked to the synthesis of important cancer-associated glycans such as sialyl-Tn (sTn), sialyl LewisX (SLeX), O-GlcNAc and chondroitin sulfate. Glycosylation has a key role in many important biological processes in cancer including cell adhesion, migration, interactions with the cell matrix, immune surveillance, cell signalling and cellular metabolism. Our results suggest that alterations in patterns of glycosylation via androgen control might modify some or all of these processes in prostate cancer. The prostate is an abundant secretor of glycoproteins of all types, and alterations in glycans are, therefore, attractive as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Emerging data on these often overlooked glycan modifications have the potential to improve risk stratification and therapeutic strategies in patients with prostate cancer.

Free access

Atsushi Mizokami, Eitetsu Koh, Kouji Izumi, Kazutaka Narimoto, Masashi Takeda, Seijiro Honma, Jinlu Dai, Evan T Keller and Mikio Namiki

One of the mechanisms through which advanced prostate cancer (PCa) usually relapses after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the adaptation to residual androgens in PCa tissue. It has been observed that androgen biosynthesis in PCa tissue plays an important role in this adaptation. In the present study, we investigated how stromal cells affect adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) metabolism in androgen-sensitive PCa LNCaP cells. DHEA alone had little effect on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) promoter activity and the proliferation of LNCaP cells. However, the addition of prostate stromal cells or PCa-derived stromal cells (PCaSC) increased DHEA-induced PSA promoter activity via androgen receptor activation in the LNCaP cells. Moreover, PCaSC stimulated the proliferation of LNCaP cells under physiological concentrations of DHEA. Biosynthesis of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone from DHEA in stromal cells and LNCaP cells was involved in this stimulation of LNCaP cell proliferation. Androgen biosynthesis from DHEA depended upon the activity of various steroidogenic enzymes present in stromal cells. Finally, the dual 5α-reductase inhibitor dutasteride appears to function not only as a 5α-reductase inhibitor but also as a 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitor in LNCaP cells. Taken together, this coculture assay system provides new insights of coordinate androgen biosynthesis under the microenvironment of PCa cells before and after ADT, and offers a model system for the identification of important steroidogenic enzymes involved in PCa progression and for the development of the corresponding inhibitors of androgen biosynthesis.

Open access

Lindsay G Carter, John A D'Orazio and Kevin J Pearson

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol that provides a number of anti-aging health benefits including improved metabolism, cardioprotection, and cancer prevention. Much of the work on resveratrol and cancer comes from in vitro studies looking at resveratrol actions on cancer cells and pathways. There are, however, comparatively fewer studies that have investigated resveratrol treatment and cancer outcomes in vivo, perhaps limited by its poor bioavailability when taken orally. Although research in cell culture has shown promising and positive effects of resveratrol, evidence from rodents and humans is inconsistent. This review highlights the in vivo effects of resveratrol treatment on breast, colorectal, liver, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Resveratrol supplementation in animal models of cancer has shown positive, neutral as well as negative outcomes depending on resveratrol route of administration, dose, tumor model, species, and other factors. Within a specific cancer type, there is variability between studies with respect to strain, age, and sex of animal used, timing and method of resveratrol supplementation, and dose of resveratrol used to study cancer endpoints. Together, the data suggest that many factors need to be considered before resveratrol can be used for human cancer prevention or therapy.

Free access

N Angelopoulos, V Barbounis, S Livadas, D Kaltsas and G Tolis

Breast cancer is one of the main life-threatening diseases that a woman may have to face during her lifetime. The increasing incidence of breast neoplasia reported over the last few decades has led to widespread screening of women resulting in early diagnosis. One common but challenging question for most doctors, after the surgical excision of the lesion, is determination of the ideal adjuvant therapy for their patients for the achievement of maximum life expectancy with the best quality of life.

Since the beginning of the last century, the knowledge that breast cancer arises from hormone-responsive tissues has long made use of hormone-blocking agents in the beneficial treatment of breast neoplasia. The discovery of new molecules with endocrine actions has rendered the use of adjuvant therapy in a tailor-made pattern too complicated, as these agents have a different mode of action, different adverse effects and probably different indications.

The aim of the present review is to clarify these issues, analyzing the mechanism of action of available drugs and their actions on specific areas of uncertainty: cognitive function, cardiovascular system, urogenital tract, bone metabolism, weight gain, hot flushes and premature menopause. Regarding the efficacy of adjuvant therapy, there has been particular focus on the multiple hormonal-induced consequences of each regimen in order to provide the clinician with the available data for choosing the ideal therapy for the patient.