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Journal: Molecular cancer


BACKGROUND: New therapies are urgently needed for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Chemotherapy and targeted therapies, including the Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-737, may induce tumor cell autophagy. Autophagy can promote survival of cancer cells under stress and comprise a pathway of escape from cytotoxic therapies. METHODS: We explored the combination of ABT-737 and chloroquine, an inhibitor of autophagy, in preclinical models of SCLC. These included cell culture analyses of viability and of autophagic and apoptotic pathway induction, as well as in vivo analyses of efficacy in multiple xenograft models. RESULTS: Combination treatment of SCLC lines with ABT-737 and chloroquine decreased viability and increased caspase-3 activation over treatment with either single agent. ABT-737 induced several hallmarks of autophagy. However, knockdown of beclin-1, a key regulator of entry into autophagy, diminished the efficacy of ABT-737, suggesting either that the effects of chloroquine were nonspecific or that induction but not completion of autophagy is necessary for the combined effect of ABT-737 and chloroquine. ABT-737 and chloroquine in SCLC cell lines downregulated Mcl-1 and upregulated NOXA, both of which may promote apoptosis. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice demonstrated that chloroquine could enhance ABT-737-mediated tumor growth inhibition against NCI-H209 xenografts, but did not alter ABT-737 response in three primary patient-derived xenograft models. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that although ABT-737 can induce autophagy in SCLC, autophagic inhibition by choroquine does not markedly alter in vivo response to ABT-737 in relevant preclinical models, arguing against this as a treatment strategy for SCLC.

Concepts: Cell, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Apoptosis, Tumor, Neoplasm, Small cell carcinoma


Irinotecan is a camptothecin analogue currently used in clinical practice to treat advanced colorectal cancer. However, acquired resistance mediated by the drug efflux pump ABCG2 is a recognized problem. We reported on a novel camptothecin analogue, FL118, which shows anticancer activity superior to irinotecan. In this study, we sought to investigate the potency of FL118 versus irinotecan or its active metabolite, SN-38, in both in vitro and in vivo models of human cancer with high ABCG2 activity. We also sought to assess the potency and ABCG2 affinity of several FL118 analogues with B-ring substitutions.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Antibiotic resistance, In vivo, Colorectal cancer, In vitro, Efflux


Cross-talk between deregulated signaling pathways in cancer cells causes uncontrolled growth and proliferation. These cancers cells become more aggressive and quickly develop resistance to therapy. Therefore targeting of these deregulated pathways simultaneously can result in efficient cell death of cancer cells. In this study we investigated co-expression of Cox-2 and FoxM1 in a cohort of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) samples and also examined whether inhibition of Cox-2 and FoxM1 simultaneously can lead to inhibition of cell viability and induction of apoptosis in colorectal cancer cell lines and in vivo xenografts.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Ionizing radiation, Breast cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Apoptosis, Colorectal cancer


6-Shogaol is a promising antitumor agent isolated from dietary ginger (Zingiber officinale). However, little is known about the efficacy of 6-shogaol on leukemia cells. Here we investigated the underlying mechanism of 6-shogaol induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells in vitro and in vivo.


The Ghrelin-system is a complex, pleiotropic family composed of several peptides, including native-ghrelin and its In1-ghrelin splicing variant, and receptors (GHSR 1a/b), which are dysregulated in various endocrine-related tumors, where they associate to pathophysiological features, but the presence, functional role, and mechanisms of actions of In1-ghrelin splicing variant in prostate-cancer (PCa), is completely unexplored. Herein, we aimed to determine the presence of key ghrelin-system components (native-ghrelin, In1-ghrelin, GHSR1a/1b) and their potential pathophysiological role in prostate cancer (PCa).

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


Lung cancer is a heterogeneous disease consisting of multiple histological subtypes each driven by unique genetic alterations. Despite the development of targeted therapies that inhibit the oncogenic mutations driving a subset of lung cancer cases, there is a paucity of effective treatments for the majority of lung cancer patients and new strategies are urgently needed. In recent years, the concept of synthetic lethality has been established as an effective approach for discovering novel cancer-specific targets as well as a method to improve the efficacy of existing drugs which provide partial but insufficient benefits for patients. In this review, we discuss the concept of synthetic lethality, the various types of synthetic lethal interactions in the context of oncology and the approaches used to identify these interactions, including recent advances that have transformed the ability to discover novel synthetic lethal combinations on a global scale. Lastly, we describe the specific synthetic lethal interactions identified in lung cancer to date and explore the pharmacological challenges and considerations in translating these discoveries to the clinic.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Genetics, Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lung cancer


Accumulating evidence suggests that some long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in certain diseases, such as cancer. The lncRNA, CCDC26, is related to childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) because its copy number is altered in AML patients.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, RNA, Leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia, Non-coding RNA, Long noncoding RNA


Cancer/testis (CT) genes have expression normally restricted to the testis, but become activated during oncogenesis, so they have excellent potential as cancer-specific biomarkers. Evidence is starting to emerge to indicate that they also provide function(s) in the oncogenic programme. Human TEX19 is a recently identified CT gene, but a functional role for TEX19 in cancer has not yet been defined.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cell, Bacteria, Organism, Chromosome


BackgroundVoltage-gated Na+ channels (VGSCs) are heteromeric protein complexes containing pore-forming ¿ subunits and smaller, non-pore-forming ß subunits. VGSCs are classically expressed in electrically excitable cells, e.g. neurons. VGSCs are also expressed in tumour cells, including breast cancer (BCa) cells, where they enhance cellular migration and invasion. However, despite extensive work defining in detail the molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of VGSCs and their pro-invasive role in cancer cells, there has been a notable lack of clinically relevant in vivo data exploring their value as potential therapeutic targets.FindingsWe have previously reported that the VGSC-blocking antiepileptic drug phenytoin inhibits the migration and invasion of metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro. The purpose of the present study was to establish whether VGSCs might be viable therapeutic targets by testing the effect of phenytoin on tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. We found that expression of Nav1.5, previously detected in MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro, was retained on cells in orthotopic xenografts. Treatment with phenytoin, at a dose equivalent to that used to treat epilepsy (60 mg/kg; daily), significantly reduced tumour growth, without affecting animal weight. Phenytoin also reduced cancer cell proliferation in vivo and invasion into surrounding mammary tissue. Finally, phenytoin significantly reduced metastasis to the liver, lungs and spleen.ConclusionsThis is the first study showing that phenytoin reduces breast tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. We propose that pharmacologically targeting VGSCs, by repurposing antiepileptic or antiarrhythmic drugs, should be further studied as a potentially novel anti-cancer therapy.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lung cancer, Chemotherapy, Neoplasm


Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are tumor-selective, multi-mechanistic antitumor agents. They kill infected cancer and associated endothelial cells via direct oncolysis, and uninfected cells via tumor vasculature targeting and bystander effect. Multimodal immunogenic cell death (ICD) together with autophagy often induced by OVs not only presents potent danger signals to dendritic cells but also efficiently cross-present tumor-associated antigens from cancer cells to dendritic cells to T cells to induce adaptive antitumor immunity. With this favorable immune backdrop, genetic engineering of OVs and rational combinations further potentiate OVs as cancer vaccines. OVs armed with GM-CSF (such as T-VEC and Pexa-Vec) or other immunostimulatory genes, induce potent anti-tumor immunity in both animal models and human patients. Combination with other immunotherapy regimens improve overall therapeutic efficacy. Coadministration with a HDAC inhibitor inhibits innate immunity transiently to promote infection and spread of OVs, and significantly enhances anti-tumor immunity and improves the therapeutic index. Local administration or OV mediated-expression of ligands for Toll-like receptors can rescue the function of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells inhibited by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and thus enhances the antitumor effect. Combination with cyclophosphamide further induces ICD, depletes Treg, and thus potentiates antitumor immunity. In summary, OVs properly armed or in rational combinations are potent therapeutic cancer vaccines.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Cancer, Oncology, Vaccination, Innate immune system, Chemotherapy, Immunology