SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Expert review of anticancer therapy

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PARP1 and BRCA genes are essential genome caretakers and their interaction has been the first example of synthetic lethality, a genetic concept proposed in the early 20th century, but deeply explored in cancer patients only in the last decade. Areas covered: This review describes PARP1 and BRCA main functions and different roles in genome protection. Furthermore, an overview of the principle mechanisms of action and resistance to PARP inhibitors (PARPi) is presented. This review illustrates the concept of BRCAness, and how this discovery has broadened the routes of PARPi to several different malignancies such as ovarian, breast and prostate cancer. Finally, an insight is provided into the key data of PARPi in these distinctive clinical settings. Expert commentary: PARP inhibition could be a new therapeutic option for a number of tumors in the near future. However, several aspects will be of paramount interest for future investigations, including the molecular bases for PARPi synthetic lethality, the DNA repair independent functions of PARP and BRCA genes, the resistance and biomarkers of response to PARP inhibition, and the mechanisms of interaction between PARPi and antiangiogenic or immunotherapeutic agents.

Concepts: BRCA1, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Prostate cancer, Genetics, DNA, BRCA2, Cancer

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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to be the second leading cause of cancer related mortality in the United States in 2030, with a 5-year overall survival of less than 10% despite decades of extensive research. Pancreatic cancer is marked by the accumulation of complex molecular changes, complex tumor-stroma interaction, and an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. PDAC has proven to be resistant to many cytotoxic, targeted and immunologic treatment approaches. Areas covered: In this paper, we review the major areas of research in PDAC, with highlights on the challenges and areas of opportunity for personalized treatment approaches. Expert commentary: The focus of research in pancreatic cancer has moved away from developing conventional cytotoxic combinations. The marked advances in understanding the molecular biology of this disease especially in the areas of the microenvironment, metabolism, and DNA repair have opened new opportunities for developing novel treatment strategies. Improved understanding of molecular abnormalities allows the development of personalized treatment approaches.

Concepts: Biology, Medicine, Pancreatic cancer, Protein, Molecular biology, Cancer, DNA, Evolution

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To investigate the toxicity profile characteristics of abiraterone acetate and enzalutamide to see if they are of critical clinical value.

Concepts: Epidemiology, BRCA2, Obesity, Screening, Radiation therapy, Metastasis, Prostate cancer, Cancer

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Peritoneal dissemination is a particular form of malignant progression in ovarian cancer, preceding hematogenic or lymphatic dissemination. Thus, prevention of peritoneal implantation of cancer cells is envisioned to inhibit neoplastic dissemination and therefore prolong disease remission and patient’s survival. Areas covered: An extended review on the role of MUC16 (CA125) and mesothelin (MSLN), expressed in a high percentage of ovarian carcinomas, indicate that this duet is relevant for the contact between cancer cells and mesothelial cells in homotypic (cancer cell-cancer cell) and heterotypic (cancer cell-mesothelial cell) interactions. This review discusses the reasons underlying the clinical failure of immunotherapeutic strategies targeting MUC16. Clinical data on MSLN targeting agents such as antibody-based immunotoxins or antibody drug conjugates are also reviewed. The promising anti-tumor effect of CAR-T cells directed to MUC16 or MSLN is emphasized. New emerging strategies specifically disrupting the MUC16-MSLN interaction are at the forefront of this review, including TRAIL ligands bound to MSLN targeting MUC16 expressing cells and single chain monoclonal antibodies and immunoadhesins recognizing MSLN-MUC16 binding domains. Expert commentary: Based on existing evidences the authors advocate that agents targeting MUC16-MSLN may add to the therapeutic armamentarium directed to abrogate peritoneal homing of ovarian cancer.

Concepts: Gene expression, Carcinoma in situ, Endometriosis, Mesothelioma, Immune system, CA-125, Ovarian cancer, Cancer

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Cancer immunotherapies were approved in recent years, including immune checkpoint inhibitors. Experience with ipilimumab (CTLA-4 antagonist), nivolumab and pembrolizumab (PD-1 antagonists), and atezolizumab (PD-L1 antagonist) has shown that the impact on overall survival in cancer patients is paramount. Immune checkpoint inhibitors target the immune system and they can be applied across multiple cancers; the response rate is ranging from 20 to 40%. Many studies have shown that thyroid cancer (TC) cells produce cytokines and chemokines, inducing several tumor-promoting effects. Targeting and/or lowering cytokines and chemokines concentrations within the tumor microenvironment would produce a therapeutic benefit. In TC, increased Treg and PD-1+ T cell frequencies are indicative of aggressive disease and PD-L1 expression correlates with a greater risk of recurrence. Area covered: After performing a literature search, a few pioneering studies have evaluated immunotherapy in thyroid cancer. More recently a case has been described involving anaplastic thyroid cancer treated with vemurafenib and nivolumab, with substantial regression and complete radiographic and clinical remission. Expert Commentary: The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in aggressive TC has not yet been extensively investigated and further studies in a large number of TC patients are urgently needed.

Concepts: Interferon, Signal transduction, Immunology, Antibody, Apoptosis, Cancer, Immune system, Oncology

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Ensuring quality of life for increasing numbers of women surviving cancer has become a key challenge. Patients need to be counseled on potential fertility loss resulting from gonadotoxic treatments, and referred to fertility specialists to discuss existing options and available results. Areas covered: Fertility preservation options have existed for over twenty years. The proposed fertility preservation approach depends on patient age, the urgency of required chemotherapy, and psychosocial factors such as financial concerns, especially in countries where techniques are not covered by social security. Efficacy in terms of pregnancy rates has been demonstrated with frozen-thawed embryos, oocytes and re-implanted ovarian tissue. Appropriate counseling by oncologists is on the increase, despite persistently low rates of referral to fertility specialists. Expert commentary: Access to oncofertility services is steadily improving, facilitated by the growing involvement of public healthcare systems and sustained efforts all over the world to establish specific oncofertility programs. Early referral to reproductive specialists before initiation of chemo/radiotherapy is crucial to success in the field of female fertility preservation. In the near future, efforts should focus on increasing patient referrals and establishing international registries on short- and long-term outcomes of fertility preservation strategies.

Concepts: Reproductive system, Fertility preservation, Chemotherapy, Spermatozoon, Cancer, Pregnancy, Fertility, Oncology

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Current treatment of osteosarcoma includes surgical resection of all gross disease in conjunction with systemic chemotherapy to control micro-metastatic disease. This yields a 5-year event free survival (EFS) of approximately 70% for patients with localized osteosarcoma while patients with metastatic or recurrent disease fare poorly with overall survival rates of less than 20%. Areas covered: This review outlines the current and future approach towards the treatment of osteosarcoma. A literature search was performed utilizing PubMed. Several recent clinical trials are reviewed in detail, as is innovative research evaluating novel agents and surgical techniques which hold promise. Expert commentary: The outcome for patients with osteosarcoma has not changed in several decades. This plateau in survival rates highlights the need for a novel approach towards research. There remains a great deal of interest in utilizing the very high risk population of recurrent osteosarcoma patients to rapidly and sequentially evaluate novel agents to determine if any of these agents hold promise. Several phase II studies are ongoing or in development that offer hope based on intriguing preclinical data. Furthermore, initiatives in obtaining specimens to further explore the genetic and immunological profile behind osteosarcoma will be essential towards identifying novel pathways and targets to exploit.

Concepts: Resection, The Current, Genetic disorder, Medicine, Cancer, Clinical trial, Chemotherapy

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Tumor tissue sample is currently the gold standard for diagnosing gastrointestinal cancers, but also for genomic/immune component analyses that can help in the selection of therapy. However, this approach of studying a ‘representative’ sample of the tumor does not address inherent heterogeneity. Liquid biopsies, mainly represented by circulating tumor cells, circulating tumor DNA, tumor exosomes, and microRNAs, have the potential to assess various biomarkers for early detection of cancer, carrying out genomic/immune profiling for not only selection of appropriate therapy but also to monitor effect of therapy. Areas covered: This review summarizes the current evidence in the literature on liquid biopsies in gastrointestinal cancers concerning diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy. The following terms were used in PubMed: ‘esophageal’, ‘gastric’, ‘colorectal’, ‘cancer’, ‘circulating tumor cells’, ‘circulating tumor DNA’, microRNA', ‘diagnosis’, ‘prognosis’, ‘response’, ‘resistance’. Expert commentary: Data increasingly supports the potential of liquid biopsies for early detection, selection of therapy, and monitoring response to therapy. One major question is whether assaying various components of the blood would accommodate considerable context-dependent heterogeneity of gastrointestinal tumors. There are many potential strategies to exploit liquid biopsy use. To put them in to perspective, well-designed and meticulous prospective studies will be needed to prove their usefulness.

Concepts: Brain tumor, Biopsy, Benign tumor, Pathology, Neoplasm, Tumor, Oncology, Cancer

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Hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer represents the most common subtype of breast cancer. Metastatic HR+ breast cancer may develop resistance to standard hormone therapies, arising from genomic alterations in the estrogen receptor and/or upregulation of other signal transduction pathways. Areas covered: In this review, we discuss hormone resistance and strategies to overcome it, from the pre-clinical and clinical perspectives. This review includes a discussion of inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR, CDK 4/6, histone deacetylation, fibroblast growth factor receptor, and immune pathways, based on review of relevant literature. Expert commentary: Several emerging novel therapies to improve the response to hormone therapy are approved or are in development. The most promising agents at present are inhibitors of CDK 4/6 and mTOR, which have already been incorporated into treatment in the advanced stage setting and are under study for early stage disease.

Concepts: Apoptosis, Cancer, Receptor, Hormone, Breast cancer, Growth factor, Immune system, Signal transduction

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Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) survivors are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

Concepts: Cardiovascular disease, Epidemiology, Cohort study, Actuarial science