SPORE Supported Publications

  • The Causes and Consequences of DNA Damage and Chromosomal Instability Induced by Human Papillomavirus Cancers
    Jones KM, Bryan A, McCunn E, Lantz PE, Blalock H, Ojeda IC, Mehta K, Cosper PF
    2024 Apr 25;16(9):1662. doi: 10.3390/cancers16091662.
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      High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are the main cause of cervical, oropharyngeal, and anogenital cancers, which are all treated with definitive chemoradiation therapy when locally advanced. HPV proteins are known to exploit the host DNA damage response to enable viral replication and the epithelial differentiation protocol. This has far-reaching consequences for the host genome, as the DNA damage response is critical for the maintenance of genomic stability. HPV+ cells therefore have increased DNA damage, leading to widespread genomic instability, a hallmark of cancer, which can contribute to tumorigenesis. Following transformation, high-risk HPV oncoproteins induce chromosomal instability, or chromosome missegregation during mitosis, which is associated with a further increase in DNA damage, particularly due to micronuclei and double-strand break formation. Thus, HPV induces significant DNA damage and activation of the DNA damage response in multiple contexts, which likely affects radiation sensitivity and efficacy. Here, we review how HPV activates the DNA damage response, how it induces chromosome missegregation and micronuclei formation, and discuss how these factors may affect radiation response. Understanding how HPV affects the DNA damage response in the context of radiation therapy may help determine potential mechanisms to improve therapeutic response.

      PMID:38730612 | PMC:PMC11083350 | DOI:10.3390/cancers16091662

      View details for PubMedID 38730612
  • Human Papillomavirus-Induced Chromosomal Instability and Aneuploidy in Squamous Cell Cancers Viruses
    Mallick S, Choi Y, Taylor AM, Cosper PF
    2024 Mar 25;16(4):501. doi: 10.3390/v16040501.
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      Chromosomal instability (CIN) and aneuploidy are hallmarks of cancer. CIN is defined as a continuous rate of chromosome missegregation events over the course of multiple cell divisions. CIN causes aneuploidy, a state of abnormal chromosome content differing from a multiple of the haploid. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a well-known cause of squamous cancers of the oropharynx, cervix, and anus. The HPV E6 and E7 oncogenes have well-known roles in carcinogenesis, but additional genomic events, such as CIN and aneuploidy, are often required for tumor formation. HPV+ squamous cancers have an increased frequency of specific types of CIN, including polar chromosomes. CIN leads to chromosome gains and losses (aneuploidies) specific to HPV+ cancers, which are distinct from HPV- cancers. HPV-specific CIN and aneuploidy may have implications for prognosis and therapeutic response and may provide insight into novel therapeutic vulnerabilities. Here, we review HPV-specific types of CIN and patterns of aneuploidy in squamous cancers, as well as how this impacts patient prognosis and treatment.

      PMID:38675844 | PMC:PMC11053578 | DOI:10.3390/v16040501

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  • An algorithm for standardization of tumor Infiltrating lymphocyte evaluation in head and neck cancers Oral oncology
    Xirou V, Moutafi M, Bai Y, Aung TN, Burela S, Liu M, Kimple RJ, Ahmed FS, Schultz B, Flieder D, Connolly DC, Psyrri A, Burtness B, Rimm DL
    2024 May;152:106750. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2024.106750. Epub 2024 Mar 27.
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      PURPOSE: The prognostic and predictive significance of pathologist-read tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in head and neck cancers have been demonstrated through multiple studies over the years. TILs have not been broadly adopted clinically, perhaps due to substantial inter-observer variability. In this study, we developed a machine-based algorithm for TIL evaluation in head and neck cancers and validated its prognostic value in independent cohorts.

      EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A network classifier called NN3-17 was trained to identify and calculate tumor cells, lymphocytes, fibroblasts and "other" cells on hematoxylin-eosin stained sections using the QuPath software. These measurements were used to construct three predefined TIL variables. A retrospective collection of 154 head and neck squamous cell cancer cases was used as the discovery set to identify optimal association of TIL variables and survival. Two independent cohorts of 234 cases were used for validation.

      RESULTS: We found that electronic TIL variables were associated with favorable prognosis in both the HPV-positive and -negative cases. After adjusting for clinicopathologic factors, Cox regression analysis demonstrated that electronic total TILs% (p = 0.025) in the HPV-positive and electronic stromal TILs% (p < 0.001) in the HPV-negative population were independent markers of disease specific outcomes (disease free survival).

      CONCLUSIONS: Neural network TIL variables demonstrated independent prognostic value in validation cohorts of HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck cancers. These objective variables can be calculated by an open-source software and could be considered for testing in a prospective setting to assess potential clinical implications.

      PMID:38547779 | PMC:PMC11060915 | DOI:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2024.106750

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  • Randomized phase II selection design with order constrained strata Biometrics
    Chen Y, Yu M
    2024 Jan 29;80(1):ujad013. doi: 10.1093/biomtc/ujad013.
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      The exploratory nature of phase II trials makes it quite common to include heterogeneous patient subgroups with different prognoses in the same trial. Incorporating such patient heterogeneity or stratification into statistical calculation for sample size can improve efficiency and reduce sample sizes in single-arm phase II trials with binary outcomes. However, such consideration is lacking in randomized phase II trials. In this paper, we propose methods that can utilize some natural order constraints that may exist in stratified population to gain statistical efficiency for randomized phase II designs. For thoroughness and simplicity, we focus on the randomized phase II selection designs in this paper, although our method can be easily generalized to the randomized phase II screening designs. We consider both binary and time-to-event outcomes in our development. Compared with methods that do not use order constraints, our method is shown to improve the probabilities of correct selection or reduce sample size in our simulation and real examples.

      PMID:38364810 | PMC:PMC10873566 | DOI:10.1093/biomtc/ujad013

      View details for PubMedID 38364810
  • Immune Escape Strategies in Head and Neck Cancer: Evade, Resist, Inhibit, Recruit Cancers
    Kostecki KL, Iida M, Crossman BE, Salgia R, Harari PM, Bruce JY, Wheeler DL
    2024 Jan 11;16(2):312. doi: 10.3390/cancers16020312.
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      Head and neck cancers (HNCs) arise from the mucosal lining of the aerodigestive tract and are often associated with alcohol use, tobacco use, and/or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Over 600,000 new cases of HNC are diagnosed each year, making it the sixth most common cancer worldwide. Historically, treatments have included surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and while these treatments are still the backbone of current therapy, several immunotherapies have recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in HNC. The role of the immune system in tumorigenesis and cancer progression has been explored since the early 20th century, eventually coalescing into the current three-phase model of cancer immunoediting. During each of the three phases-elimination, equilibrium, and escape-cancer cells develop and utilize multiple strategies to either reach or remain in the final phase, escape, at which point the tumor is able to grow and metastasize with little to no detrimental interference from the immune system. In this review, we summarize the many strategies used by HNC to escape the immune system, which include ways to evade immune detection, resist immune cell attacks, inhibit immune cell functions, and recruit pro-tumor immune cells.

      PMID:38254801 | PMC:PMC10814769 | DOI:10.3390/cancers16020312

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  • Functionality of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells derived from head and neck cancer patients - A FDA-IND enabling study regarding MSC-based treatments for radiation-induced xerostomia Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
    Blitzer GC, Paz C, Glassey A, Ganz OR, Giri J, Pennati A, Meyers RO, Bates AM, Nickel KP, Weiss M, Morris ZS, Mattison RJ, McDowell KA, Croxford E, Chappell RJ, Glazer TA, Rogus-Pulia NM, Galipeau J, Kimple RJ
    2024 Mar;192:110093. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2024.110093. Epub 2024 Jan 13.
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      PURPOSE: Salivary dysfunction is a significant side effect of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer (HNC). Preliminary data suggests that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can improve salivary function. Whether MSCs from HNC patients who have completed chemoradiation are functionally similar to those from healthy patients is unknown. We performed a pilot clinical study to determine whether bone marrow-derived MSCs [MSC(M)] from HNC patients could be used for the treatment of RT-induced salivary dysfunction.

      METHODS: An IRB-approved pilot clinical study was undertaken on HNC patients with xerostomia who had completed treatment two or more years prior. Patients underwent iliac crest bone marrow aspirate and MSC(M) were isolated and cultured. Culture-expanded MSC(M) were stimulated with IFNγ and cryopreserved prior to reanimation and profiling for functional markers by flow cytometry and ELISA. MSC(M) were additionally injected into mice with radiation-induced xerostomia and the changes in salivary gland histology and salivary production were examined.

      RESULTS: A total of six subjects were enrolled. MSC(M) from all subjects were culture expanded to > 20 million cells in a median of 15.5 days (range 8-20 days). Flow cytometry confirmed that cultured cells from HNC patients were MSC(M). Functional flow cytometry demonstrated that these IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) acquired an immunosuppressive phenotype. IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) from HNC patients were found to express GDNF, WNT1, and R-spondin 1 as well as pro-angiogenesis and immunomodulatory cytokines. In mice, IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) injection after radiation decreased the loss of acinar cells, decreased the formation of fibrosis, and increased salivary production.

      CONCLUSIONS: MSC (M) from previously treated HNC patients can be expanded for auto-transplantation and are functionally active. Furthermore IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) express proteins implicated in salivary gland regeneration. This study provides preliminary data supporting the feasibility of using autologous MSC(M) from HNC patients to treat RT-induced salivary dysfunction.

      PMID:38224919 | PMC:PMC10922976 | DOI:10.1016/j.radonc.2024.110093

      View details for PubMedID 38224919
  • Emerging Prognostic and Predictive Significance of Stress Keratin 17 in HPV-Associated and Non HPV-Associated Human Cancers: A Scoping Review Viruses
    Lozar T, Wang W, Gavrielatou N, Christensen L, Lambert PF, Harari PM, Rimm DL, Burtness B, Kuhar CG, Carchman EH
    2023 Nov 25;15(12):2320. doi: 10.3390/v15122320.
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      A growing body of literature suggests that the expression of cytokeratin 17 (K17) correlates with inferior clinical outcomes across various cancer types. In this scoping review, we aimed to review and map the available clinical evidence of the prognostic and predictive value of K17 in human cancers. PubMed, Web of Science, Embase (via Scopus), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Google Scholar were searched for studies of K17 expression in human cancers. Eligible studies were peer-reviewed, published in English, presented original data, and directly evaluated the association between K17 and clinical outcomes in human cancers. Of the 1705 studies identified in our search, 58 studies met criteria for inclusion. Studies assessed the prognostic significance (n = 54), predictive significance (n = 2), or both the prognostic and predictive significance (n = 2). Altogether, 11 studies (19.0%) investigated the clinical relevance of K17 in cancers with a known etiologic association to HPV; of those, 8 (13.8%) were focused on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and 3 (5.1%) were focused on cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). To date, HNSCC, as well as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and pancreatic cancer, were the most frequently studied cancer types. K17 had prognostic significance in 16/17 investigated cancer types and 43/56 studies. Our analysis suggests that K17 is a negative prognostic factor in the majority of studied cancer types, including HPV-associated types such as HNSCC and cervical cancer (13/17), and a positive prognostic factor in 2/17 studied cancer types (urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract and breast cancer). In three out of four predictive studies, K17 was a negative predictive factor for chemotherapy and immune checkpoint blockade therapy response.

      PMID:38140561 | PMC:PMC10748233 | DOI:10.3390/v15122320

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  • Prospective Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cell Kinetics in Patients With Oligometastatic Disease Receiving Definitive Intent Radiation Therapy JCO precision oncology
    Sud S, Poellmann MJ, Hall J, Tan X, Bu J, Myung JH, Wang AZ, Hong S, Casey DL
    2023 Sep;7:e2300303. doi: 10.1200/PO.23.00303.
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      PURPOSE: There are currently no predictive molecular biomarkers to identify patients with oligometastatic disease (OMD) who will benefit from definitive-intent radiation therapy (RT). We prospectively characterized circulating tumor cell (CTC) kinetics in patients with OMD undergoing definitive-intent RT.

      METHODS: This prospective correlative biomarker study included patients with any solid malignancy ≤5 metastatic sites in ≤3 anatomic organ systems undergoing definitive-intent RT to all disease sites. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were captured and enumerated using a biomimetic cell rolling and nanotechnology-based assay functionalized with antibodies against epithelial cell adhesion molecule, against human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and against epidermal growth factor receptor before and during RT and at follow-up visits up to 2 years post-RT.

      RESULTS: We enrolled 43 patients with a median follow-up of 14.3 months. The pretreatment CTC level (cells captured/mL) was not associated with the number of disease sites (median one metastatic site/patient, range 1-5) or metastasis location (bone, brain, visceral) on Wilcoxon signed-rank test, P > .05. Post-RT, 56% of patients received systemic therapy, and 72% of patients experienced subsequent local or systemic progression. For 90% of patients, a CTC level <15 within 130 days post-RT corresponded to a durable control of irradiated lesions. Patients with a favorable versus an unfavorable clearance profile experienced significantly longer progression-free survival after RT (median 13 v 4 months, log-rank test, P = .0011). On logistic regression, CTC level >15 at a given time point was associated with clinical disease progression within the subsequent 6 months (odds ratio 3.31, P = .007). In 26% of patients with disease progression, a CTC level >15 preceded radiographic or clinical progression.

      CONCLUSION: CTCs may serve as a biomarker for disease control in OMD and may predict disease progression before standard assessments for patients receiving diverse cancer-directed therapies.

      PMID:38096474 | PMC:PMC10730071 | DOI:10.1200/PO.23.00303

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  • NK cells propagate T cell immunity following in situ tumor vaccination Cell reports
    Jin WJ, Jagodinsky JC, Vera JM, Clark PA, Zuleger CL, Erbe AK, Ong IM, Le T, Tetreault K, Berg T, Rakhmilevich AL, Kim K, Newton MA, Albertini MR, Sondel PM, Morris ZS
    2023 Dec 26;42(12):113556. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.113556. Epub 2023 Dec 13.
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      We report an in situ vaccination, adaptable to nearly any type of cancer, that combines radiotherapy targeting one tumor and intratumoral injection of this site with tumor-specific antibody and interleukin-2 (IL-2; 3xTx). In a phase I clinical trial, administration of 3xTx (with an immunocytokine fusion of tumor-specific antibody and IL-2, hu14.18-IL2) to subjects with metastatic melanoma increases peripheral CD8+ T cell effector polyfunctionality. This suggests the potential for 3xTx to promote antitumor immunity against metastatic tumors. In poorly immunogenic syngeneic murine melanoma or head and neck carcinoma models, 3xTx stimulates CD8+ T cell-mediated antitumor responses at targeted and non-targeted tumors. During 3xTx treatment, natural killer (NK) cells promote CTLA4+ regulatory T cell (Treg) apoptosis in non-targeted tumors. This is dependent on NK cell expression of CD86, which is upregulated downstream of KLRK1. NK cell depletion increases Treg infiltration, diminishing CD8+ T cell-dependent antitumor response. These findings demonstrate that NK cells sustain and propagate CD8+ T cell immunity following 3xTx.

      PMID:38096050 | PMC:PMC10843551 | DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2023.113556

      View details for PubMedID 38096050
  • The Larynx is Protected from Secondary and Vertical Papillomavirus Infection in Immunocompetent Mice The Laryngoscope
    King RE, Rademacher J, Ward-Shaw ET, Hu R, Bilger A, Blaine-Sauer S, Spurgeon ME, Thibeault SL, Lambert PF
    2024 May;134(5):2322-2330. doi: 10.1002/lary.31228. Epub 2023 Dec 12.
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      OBJECTIVE: Mouse papillomavirus MmuPV1 causes both primary and secondary infections of the larynx in immunocompromised mice. Understanding lateral and vertical transmission of papillomavirus to the larynx would benefit patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). To test the hypothesis that the larynx is uniquely vulnerable to papillomavirus infection, and to further develop a mouse model of RRP, we assessed whether immunocompetent mice were vulnerable to secondary or vertical laryngeal infection with MmuPV1.

      METHODS: Larynges were collected from 405 immunocompetent adult mice that were infected with MmuPV1 in the oropharynx, oral cavity, or anus, and 31 mouse pups born to immunocompetent females infected in the cervicovaginal tract. Larynges were analyzed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of lavage fluid or whole tissues for viral DNA, histopathology, and/or in situ hybridization for MmuPV1 transcripts.

      RESULTS: Despite some positive laryngeal lavage PCR screens, all laryngeal tissue PCR and histopathology results were negative for MmuPV1 DNA, transcripts, and disease. There was no evidence for lateral spread of MmuPV1 to the larynges of immunocompetent mice that were infected in the oral cavity, oropharynx, or anus. Pups born to infected mothers were negative for laryngeal MmuPV1 infection from birth through weaning age.

      CONCLUSION: Secondary and vertical laryngeal MmuPV1 infections were not found in immunocompetent mice. Further work is necessary to explore immunologic control of laryngeal papillomavirus infection in a mouse model and to improve preclinical models of RRP.

      LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 134:2322-2330, 2024.

      PMID:38084790 | PMC:PMC11006576 | DOI:10.1002/lary.31228

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  • Dietary restriction of isoleucine increases healthspan and lifespan of genetically heterogeneous mice Cell metabolism
    Green CL, Trautman ME, Chaiyakul K, Jain R, Alam YH, Babygirija R, Pak HH, Sonsalla MM, Calubag MF, Yeh C, Bleicher A, Novak G, Liu TT, Newman S, Ricke WA, Matkowskyj KA, Ong IM, Jang C, Simcox J, Lamming DW
    2023 Nov 7;35(11):1976-1995.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.10.005.
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      Low-protein diets promote health and longevity in diverse species. Restriction of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine recapitulates many of these benefits in young C57BL/6J mice. Restriction of dietary isoleucine (IleR) is sufficient to promote metabolic health and is required for many benefits of a low-protein diet in C57BL/6J males. Here, we test the hypothesis that IleR will promote healthy aging in genetically heterogeneous adult UM-HET3 mice. We find that IleR improves metabolic health in young and old HET3 mice, promoting leanness and glycemic control in both sexes, and reprograms hepatic metabolism in a sex-specific manner. IleR reduces frailty and extends the lifespan of male and female mice, but to a greater degree in males. Our results demonstrate that IleR increases healthspan and longevity in genetically diverse mice and suggests that IleR, or pharmaceuticals that mimic this effect, may have potential as a geroprotective intervention.

      PMID:37939658 | PMC:PMC10655617 | DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2023.10.005

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  • Targeted inhibition of BET proteins in HPV-16 associated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma reveals heterogeneous transcription response bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology
    Rao A, Ni Z, Suresh D, Mohanty C, Wang AR, Lee DL, Nickel KP, Varambally RJ, Lambert PF, Kendziorski C, Iyer G
    2023 Oct 4:2023.10.02.560587. doi: 10.1101/2023.10.02.560587.
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      Integrated human papillomavirus (HPV-16) associated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tumors have worse survival outcomes compared to episomal HPV-16 HNSCC tumors. Therefore, there is a need to differentiate treatment for HPV-16 integrated HNSCC from other viral forms. We analyzed TCGA data and found that HPV+ HNSCC expressed higher transcript levels of the bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) family of transcriptional coregulators. However, the mechanism of BET protein-mediated transcription of viral-cellular genes in the integrated viral-HNSCC genomes needs to be better understood. We show that BET inhibition downregulates E6 significantly independent of the viral transcription factor, E2, and there was overall heterogeneity in the downregulation of viral transcription in response to the effects of BET inhibition across HPV-associated cell lines. Chemical BET inhibition was phenocopied with the knockdown of BRD4 and mirrored downregulation of viral E6 and E7 expression. Strikingly, there was heterogeneity in the reactivation of p53 levels despite E6 downregulation, while E7 downregulation did not alter Rb levels significantly. We identified that BET inhibition directly downregulated c-Myc and E2F expression and induced CDKN1A expression. Overall, our studies show that BET inhibition provokes a G1-cell cycle arrest with apoptotic activity and suggests that BET inhibition regulates both viral and cellular gene expression in HPV-associated HNSCC.

      PMID:37873389 | PMC:PMC10592929 | DOI:10.1101/2023.10.02.560587

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  • Stress Keratin 17 Is a Predictive Biomarker Inversely Associated with Response to Immune Check-Point Blockade in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Beyond Cancers
    Lozar T, Laklouk I, Golfinos AE, Gavrielatou N, Xu J, Flynn C, Keske A, Yu M, Bruce JY, Wang W, Kuhar CG, Bailey HH, Harari PM, Dinh HQ, Rimm DL, Hu R, Lambert PF, Fitzpatrick MB
    2023 Oct 9;15(19):4905. doi: 10.3390/cancers15194905.
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      Low response rates in immune check-point blockade (ICB)-treated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) drive a critical need for robust, clinically validated predictive biomarkers. Our group previously showed that stress keratin 17 (CK17) suppresses macrophage-mediated CXCL9/CXCL10 chemokine signaling involved in attracting activated CD8+ T cells into tumors, correlating with decreased response rate to pembrolizumab-based therapy in a pilot cohort of ICB-treated HNSCC (n = 26). Here, we performed an expanded analysis of the predictive value of CK17 in ICB-treated HNSCC according to the REMARK criteria and investigated the gene expression profiles associated with high CK17 expression. Pretreatment samples from pembrolizumab-treated HNSCC patients were stained via immunohistochemistry using a CK17 monoclonal antibody (n = 48) and subjected to spatial transcriptomic profiling (n = 8). Our findings were validated in an independent retrospective cohort (n = 22). CK17 RNA expression in pembrolizumab-treated patients with various cancer types was investigated for predictive significance. Of the 48 patients (60% male, median age of 61.5 years), 21 (44%) were CK17 high, and 27 (56%) were CK17 low. A total of 17 patients (35%, 77% CK17 low) had disease control, while 31 patients (65%, 45% CK17 low) had progressive disease. High CK17 expression was associated with a lack of disease control (p = 0.037), shorter time to treatment failure (p = 0.025), and progression-free survival (PFS, p = 0.004), but not overall survival (OS, p = 0.06). A high CK17 expression was associated with lack of disease control in an independent validation cohort (p = 0.011). PD-L1 expression did not correlate with CK17 expression or clinical outcome. CK17 RNA expression was predictive of PFS and OS in 552 pembrolizumab-treated cancer patients. Our findings indicate that high CK17 expression may predict resistance to ICB in HNSCC patients and beyond.

      PMID:37835599 | PMC:PMC10571921 | DOI:10.3390/cancers15194905

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  • Generation of Novel Immunocompetent Mouse Cell Lines to Model Experimental Metastasis of High-Risk Neuroblastoma Cancers
    Dhamdhere MR, Spiegelman DV, Schneper L, Erbe AK, Sondel PM, Spiegelman VS
    2023 Sep 23;15(19):4693. doi: 10.3390/cancers15194693.
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      NB, being a highly metastatic cancer, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in children. Increased disease recurrence and clinical resistance in patients with metastatic high-risk NBs (HR-NBs) result in poor outcomes and lower overall survival. However, the paucity of appropriate in vivo models for HR-NB metastasis has limited investigations into the underlying biology of HR-NB metastasis. This study was designed to address this limitation and develop suitable immunocompetent models for HR-NB metastasis. Here, we developed several highly metastatic immunocompetent murine HR-NB cell lines. Our newly developed cell lines show 100% efficiency in modeling experimental metastasis in C57BL6 mice and feature metastasis to the sites frequently observed in humans with HR-NB (liver and bone). In vivo validation demonstrated their specifically gained metastatic phenotype. The in vitro characterization of the cell lines showed increased cell invasion, acquired anchorage-independent growth ability, and resistance to MHC-I induction upon IFN-γ treatment. Furthermore, RNA-seq analysis of the newly developed cells identified a differentially regulated gene signature and an enrichment of processes consistent with their acquired metastatic phenotype, including extracellular matrix remodeling, angiogenesis, cell migration, and chemotaxis. The presented newly developed cell lines are, thus, suitable and promising tools for HR-NB metastasis and microenvironment studies in an immunocompetent system.

      PMID:37835389 | PMC:PMC10571844 | DOI:10.3390/cancers15194693

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  • ATM inhibition augments type I interferon response and antitumor T-cell immunity when combined with radiation therapy in murine tumor models Journal for immunotherapy of cancer
    Jin WJ, Zangl LM, Hyun M, Massoud E, Schroeder K, Alexandridis RA, Morris ZS
    2023 Sep;11(9):e007474. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2023-007474.
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      BACKGROUND: Radiation therapy (RT) elicits DNA double-strand breaks, resulting in tumor cytotoxicity and a type I interferon (IFN) response via stimulator of interferon genes (STING) activation. We investigated whether combining RT with an ataxia-telangiectasia mutated inhibitor promoted these effects and amplified tumor immunity.

      METHODS: Mice-bearing syngeneic flank tumors (MOC2 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma or B78 melanoma) were treated with tumor-directed RT and oral administration of AZD0156. Specific immune cell depletion, type 1 interferon receptor 1 knock-out mice (IFNAR1-KO), and STING-deficient tumor cells were used to investigate tumor-immune crosstalk following RT and AZD0156 treatment.

      RESULTS: Combining RT and AZD0156 reduced tumor growth compared with RT or AZD0156 alone in mice bearing MOC2 or B78 tumors. Low-dose AZD0156 (1-100 nM) alone did not affect tumor cell proliferation but suppressed tumor cell clonogenicity in combination with RT. Low-dose AZD0156 with RT synergistically increased IFN-β, major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-I, and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in tumor cells. In contrast to wild-type mice, IFNAR1-KO mice showed reduced CD8+T cell tumor infiltration and poor survival following RT+AZD0156 treatment. CD8+T cell depletion reduced antitumor response during RT+AZD0156 treatment. STING-deficient MOC2 (MOC2-STING+/-) or B78 (B78-STING-/-) tumors eliminated the effects of RT+AZD0156 on the expression of IFN-β, MHC-I, and PD-L1, and reduced CD8+T cell infiltration and migration. Additional anti-PD-L1 therapy promoted antitumor response by elevation of tumor-MHC-I and lymphocyte activation.

      CONCLUSIONS: Combined radiation and AZD0156 increase STING-dependent antitumor response. Tumor-derived cell-autonomous IFN-β amplification drives both MHC-I and PD-L1 induction at the tumor cell surface, which is required by anti-PD-L1 therapy to promote antitumor immune response following RT and AZD0156 combination therapy.

      PMID:37730275 | PMC:PMC10510866 | DOI:10.1136/jitc-2023-007474

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  • Single-cell lipidomics enabled by dual-polarity ionization and ion mobility-mass spectrometry imaging Nature communications
    Zhang H, Liu Y, Fields L, Shi X, Huang P, Lu H, Schneider AJ, Tang X, Puglielli L, Welham NV, Li L
    2023 Aug 25;14(1):5185. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40512-6.
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      Single-cell (SC) analysis provides unique insight into individual cell dynamics and cell-to-cell heterogeneity. Here, we utilize trapped ion mobility separation coupled with dual-polarity ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to enable high-throughput in situ profiling of the SC lipidome. Multimodal SC imaging, in which dual-polarity-mode MSI is used to perform serial data acquisition runs on individual cells, significantly enhanced SC lipidome coverage. High-spatial resolution SC-MSI identifies both inter- and intracellular lipid heterogeneity; this heterogeneity is further explicated by Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection and machine learning-driven classifications. We characterize SC lipidome alteration in response to stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 inhibition and, additionally, identify cell-layer specific lipid distribution patterns in mouse cerebellar cortex. This integrated multimodal SC-MSI technology enables high-resolution spatial mapping of intercellular and cell-to-cell lipidome heterogeneity, SC lipidome remodeling induced by pharmacological intervention, and region-specific lipid diversity within tissue.

      PMID:37626051 | PMC:PMC10457347 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-40512-6

      View details for PubMedID 37626051
  • Marrow-Derived Autologous Stromal Cells for the Restoration of Salivary Hypofunction (MARSH): A pilot, first-in-human study of interferon gamma-stimulated marrow mesenchymal stromal cells for treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia Cytotherapy
    Blitzer GC, Glazer T, Burr A, Gustafson S, Ganz O, Meyers R, McDowell KA, Nickel KP, Mattison RJ, Weiss M, Chappell R, Rogus-Pulia NM, Galipeau J, Kimple RJ
    2023 Nov;25(11):1139-1144. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2023.07.009. Epub 2023 Aug 15.
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      BACKGROUND AIMS: Xerostomia, or the feeling of dry mouth, is a significant side effect of radiation therapy for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). Preliminary data suggest that mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) can improve salivary function. We performed a first-in-human pilot study of interferon gamma (IFNγ)-stimulated autologous bone marrow-derived MSCs, or MSC(M), for the treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia (RIX). Here we present the primary safety and secondary efficacy endpoints.

      METHODS: A single-center pilot clinical trial was conducted investigating the safety and tolerability of autologous IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M). The study was conducted under an approved Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug application using an institutional review board-approved protocol (NCT04489732). Patients underwent iliac crest bone marrow aspirate and MSC(M) were isolated, cultured, stimulated with IFNγ and cryopreserved for later use. Banked cells were thawed and allowed to recover in culture before patients received a single injection of 10 × 106 MSC(M) into the right submandibular gland under ultrasound guidance. The primary objective was determination of safety and tolerability by evaluating dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). A DLT was defined as submandibular pain >5 on a standard 10-point pain scale or any serious adverse event (SAE) within 1 month after injection. Secondary objectives included analysis of efficacy as measured by salivary quantification and using three validated quality of life instruments. Quantitative results are reported as mean and standard deviation.

      RESULTS: Six patients with radiation-induced xerostomia who had completed radiation at least 2 years previously (average 7.8 years previously) were enrolled in the pilot study. The median age was 71 (61-74) years. Five (83%) patients were male. Five patients (83%) were treated with chemoradiation and one patient (17%) with radiation alone. Grade 1 pain was seen in 50% of patients after submandibular gland injection; all pain resolved within 4 days. No patients reported pain 1 month after injection, with no SAE or other DLTs reported 1 month after injection. The analysis of secondary endpoints demonstrated a trend of increased salivary production. Three patients (50%) had an increase in unstimulated saliva at 1 and 3 months after MSC(M) injection. Quality of life surveys also showed a trend toward improvement.

      CONCLUSIONS: Injection of autologous IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) into a singular submandibular gland of patients with RIX is safe and well tolerated in this pilot study. A trend toward an improvement in secondary endpoints of salivary quantity and quality of life was observed. This first-in-human study provides support for further investigation into IFNγ-stimulated MSC(M) injected in both submandibular glands as an innovative approach to treat RIX and improve quality of life for patients with HNC.

      PMID:37589639 | PMC:PMC10615723 | DOI:10.1016/j.jcyt.2023.07.009

      View details for PubMedID 37589639
    Ma X, Korthauer K, Kendziorski C, Newton MA
    2021 Jun;15(2):880-901. doi: 10.1214/20-aoas1423. Epub 2021 Jul 12.
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      On the problem of scoring genes for evidence of changes in the distribution of single-cell expression, we introduce an empirical Bayesian mixture approach and evaluate its operating characteristics in a range of numerical experiments. The proposed approach leverages cell-subtype structure revealed in cluster analysis in order to boost gene-level information on expression changes. Cell clustering informs gene-level analysis through a specially-constructed prior distribution over pairs of multinomial probability vectors; this prior meshes with available model-based tools that score patterns of differential expression over multiple subtypes. We derive an explicit formula for the posterior probability that a gene has the same distribution in two cellular conditions, allowing for a gene-specific mixture over subtypes in each condition. Advantage is gained by the compositional structure of the model not only in which a host of gene-specific mixture components are allowed but also in which the mixing proportions are constrained at the whole cell level. This structure leads to a novel form of information sharing through which the cell-clustering results support gene-level scoring of differential distribution. The result, according to our numerical experiments, is improved sensitivity compared to several standard approaches for detecting distributional expression changes.

      PMID:37332668 | PMC:PMC10275512 | DOI:10.1214/20-aoas1423

      View details for PubMedID 37332668
  • Theranostics and Patient-Specific Dosimetry Seminars in radiation oncology
    Bednarz B
    2023 Jul;33(3):317-326. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2023.03.011.
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      Radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT) is an invigorated form of cancer therapy that systemically delivers targeted radioactive drugs to cancer cells. Theranostics is a type of RPT that utilizes imaging, either of the RPT drug directly or a companion diagnostic, to inform whether a patient will benefit from the treatment. Given the ability to image the drug onboard theranostic treatments also lends itself readily to patient-specific dosimetry, which is a physics-based process that determines the overall absorbed dose burden to healthy organs and tissues and tumors in patients. While companion diagnostics identify who will benefit from RPT treatments, dosimetry determines how much activity these beneficiaries can receive to maximize therapeutic efficacy. Clinical data is starting to accrue suggesting tremendous benefits when dosimetry is performed for RPT patients. RPT dosimetry, which was once performed by florid and often inaccurate workflows, can now be performed more efficiently and accurately with FDA-cleared dosimetry software. Therefore, there is no better time for the field of oncology to adopt this form of personalize medicine to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

      PMID:37331786 | PMC:PMC10414757 | DOI:10.1016/j.semradonc.2023.03.011

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  • Radiation Sensitivity: The Rise of Predictive Patient-Derived Cancer Models Seminars in radiation oncology
    Berube LL, Nickel KP, Iida M, Ramisetty S, Kulkarni P, Salgia R, Wheeler DL, Kimple RJ
    2023 Jul;33(3):279-286. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2023.03.005.
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      Patient-derived cancer models have been used for decades to improve our understanding of cancer and test anticancer treatments. Advances in radiation delivery have made these models more attractive for studying radiation sensitizers and understanding an individual patient's radiation sensitivity. Advances in the use of patient-derived cancer models lead to a more clinically relevant outcome, although many questions remain regarding the optimal use of patient-derived xenografts and patient-derived spheroid cultures. The use of patient-derived cancer models as personalized predictive avatars through mouse and zebrafish models is discussed, and the advantages and disadvantages of patient-derived spheroids are reviewed. In addition, the use of large repositories of patient-derived models to develop predictive algorithms to guide treatment selection is discussed. Finally, we review methods for establishing patient-derived models and identify key factors that influence their use as both avatars and models of cancer biology.

      PMID:37331782 | PMC:PMC10287034 | DOI:10.1016/j.semradonc.2023.03.005

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  • Bedside labial salivary gland biopsy (LSGBx: Lip biopsy): An update for rheumatologists Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology
    Ike RW, McCoy SS
    2023 Mar;37(1):101839. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2023.101839. Epub 2023 Jun 2.
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      Retrieval of minor salivary glands from a labial submucosal site through a minimally invasive bedside procedure was first described nearly 60 years ago and remains an attractive alternative to more invasive surgical procedures to obtain salivary gland tissue for pathologic examination. Examination of glands for features of Sjögren's has constituted the primary use of this procedure but other systemic disorders can affect minor salivary glands and their diagnoses can be supported by biopsy. Performance of the procedure does not require specialized training in head and neck surgery or dentistry, only simple wound closure skills. Skill in performing the procedure enables the clinician to acquire potentially diagnostic material without the need for referral while offering immediate expert feedback to the patient being biopsied. Material obtained at biopsy can also be the focus of research investigations.

      PMID:37271612 | DOI:10.1016/j.berh.2023.101839

      View details for PubMedID 37271612
  • Proteogenomic and V(D)J Analysis of Human Decidual T Cells Highlights Unique Transcriptional Programming and Clonal Distribution Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
    Chasman DA, Schwartz RW, Vazquez J, Chavarria M, Jenkins ET, Lopez GE, Tyler CT, Stanic AK, Ong IM
    2023 Jul 1;211(1):154-162. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2200061.
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      Immunological tolerance toward the semiallogeneic fetus is one of many maternal adaptations required for a successful pregnancy. T cells are major players of the adaptive immune system and balance tolerance and protection at the maternal-fetal interface; however, their repertoire and subset programming are still poorly understood. Using emerging single-cell RNA sequencing technologies, we simultaneously obtained transcript, limited protein, and receptor repertoire at the single-cell level, from decidual and matched maternal peripheral human T cells. The decidua maintains a tissue-specific distribution of T cell subsets compared with the periphery. We find that decidual T cells maintain a unique transcriptome programming, characterized by restraint of inflammatory pathways by overexpression of negative regulators (DUSP, TNFAIP3, ZFP36) and expression of PD-1, CTLA-4, TIGIT, and LAG3 in some CD8 clusters. Finally, analyzing TCR clonotypes demonstrated decreased diversity in specific decidual T cell populations. Overall, our data demonstrate the power of multiomics analysis in revealing regulation of fetal-maternal immune coexistence.

      PMID:37195197 | PMC:PMC10330249 | DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.2200061

      View details for PubMedID 37195197
  • Microphysiological head and neck cancer model identifies novel role of lymphatically secreted monocyte migration inhibitory factor in cancer cell migration and metabolism Biomaterials
    Yada RC, Desa DE, Gillette AA, Bartels E, Harari PM, Skala MC, Beebe DJ, Kerr SC
    2023 Jul;298:122136. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2023.122136. Epub 2023 Apr 27.
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      Regional metastasis of head and neck cancer (HNC) is prevalent (approximately 50% of patients at diagnosis), yet the underlying drivers and mechanisms of lymphatic spread remain unclear. The complex tumor microenvironment (TME) of HNC plays a crucial role in disease maintenance and progression; however, the contribution of the lymphatics remains underexplored. We created a primary patient cell derived microphysiological system that incorporates cancer-associated-fibroblasts from patients with HNC alongside a HNC tumor spheroid and a lymphatic microvessel to create an in vitro TME platform to investigate metastasis. Screening of soluble factor signaling identified novel secretion of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) by lymphatic endothelial cells conditioned in the TME. Importantly, we also observed patient-to-patient heterogeneity in cancer cell migration similar to the heterogeneity observed in clinical disease. Optical metabolic imaging at the single cell level identified a distinct metabolic profile of migratory versus non-migratory HNC cells in a microenvironment dependent manner. Additionally, we report a unique role of MIF in increasing HNC reliance on glycolysis over oxidative phosphorylation. This multicellular, microfluidic platform expands the tools available to explore HNC biology in vitro through multiple orthogonal outputs and establishes a system with enough resolution to visualize and quantify patient-to-patient heterogeneity.

      PMID:37178589 | PMC:PMC10205684 | DOI:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2023.122136

      View details for PubMedID 37178589
  • Ranking Antibody Binding Epitopes and Proteins Across Samples from Whole Proteome Tiled Linear Peptides bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology
    McIlwain SJ, Hoefges A, Erbe AK, Sondel PM, Ong IM
    2023 Apr 25:2023.04.23.536620. doi: 10.1101/2023.04.23.536620.
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      Ultradense peptide binding arrays that can probe millions of linear peptides comprising the entire proteomes or immunomes of human or mouse, or numerous microbes, are powerful tools for studying the abundance of different antibody repertoire in serum samples to understand adaptive immune responses. There are few statistical analysis tools for exploring high-dimensional, significant and reproducible antibody targets for ultradense peptide binding arrays at the linear peptide, epitope (grouping of adjacent peptides), and protein level across multiple samples/subjects (I.e. epitope spread or immunogenic regions within each protein) for understanding the heterogeneity of immune responses. We developed HERON (Hierarchical antibody binding Epitopes and pROteins from liNear peptides), an R package, which allows users to identify immunogenic epitopes using meta-analyses and spatial clustering techniques to explore antibody targets at various resolution and confidence levels, that can be found consistently across a specified number of samples through the entire proteome to study antibody responses for diagnostics or treatment. Our approach estimates significance values at the linear peptide (probe), epitope, and protein level to identify top candidates for validation. We test the performance of predictions on all three levels using correlation between technical replicates and comparison of epitope calls on 2 datasets, which shows HERON's competitiveness in estimating false discovery rates and finding general and sample-level regions of interest for antibody binding. The code is available as an R package downloadable from http://github.com/Ong-Research/HERON.

      PMID:37162956 | PMC:PMC10168206 | DOI:10.1101/2023.04.23.536620

      View details for PubMedID 37162956
  • Learn Labial Salivary Gland Biopsy Online Journal of clinical rheumatology : practical reports on rheumatic & musculoskeletal diseases
    Ike RW, McCoy SS
    2023 Oct 1;29(7):363. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000001983. Epub 2023 Apr 27.
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      PMID:37106484 | PMC:PMC10528586 | DOI:10.1097/RHU.0000000000001983

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  • Studentized permutation method for comparing two restricted mean survival times with small sample from randomized trials Statistics in medicine
    Ditzhaus M, Yu M, Xu J
    2023 Jun 15;42(13):2226-2240. doi: 10.1002/sim.9720. Epub 2023 Apr 17.
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      Recent observations, especially in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials with time-to-event outcomes, show that the commonly used proportional hazard assumption is often not justifiable, hampering an appropriate analysis of the data by hazard ratios. An attractive alternative advocated is given by the restricted mean survival time (RMST), which does not rely on any model assumption and can always be interpreted intuitively. Since methods for the RMST based on asymptotic theory suffer from inflated type-I error under small sample sizes, a permutation test was proposed recently leading to more convincing results in simulations. However, classical permutation strategies require an exchangeable data setup between comparison groups which may be limiting in practice. Besides, it is not possible to invert related testing procedures to obtain valid confidence intervals, which can provide more in-depth information. In this paper, we address these limitations by proposing a studentized permutation test as well as respective permutation-based confidence intervals. In an extensive simulation study, we demonstrate the advantage of our new method, especially in situations with relatively small sample sizes and unbalanced groups. Finally, we illustrate the application of the proposed method by re-analyzing data from a recent lung cancer clinical trial.

      PMID:37070141 | DOI:10.1002/sim.9720

      View details for PubMedID 37070141
  • Circulating tumor cell abundance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma decreases with successful chemoradiation and cetuximab treatment Cancer letters
    Poellmann MJ, Bu J, Kim D, Iida M, Hong H, Wang AZ, Wheeler DL, Kimple RJ, Hong S
    2023 May 28;562:216187. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2023.216187. Epub 2023 Apr 15.
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      Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a common and deadly cancer. Circulating tumor cell (CTC) abundance may a valuable, prognostic biomarker in low- and intermediate-risk patients. However, few technologies have demonstrated success in detecting CTCs in these populations. We prospectively collected longitudinal CTC counts from two cohorts of patients receiving treatments at our institution using a highly sensitive device that purifies CTCs using biomimetic cell rolling and dendrimer-conjugated antibodies. In patients with intermediate risk human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive HNSCC, elevated CTC counts were detected in 13 of 14 subjects at screening with a median of 17 CTC/ml (range 0.2-2986.5). A second cohort of non-metastatic, HPV- HNSCC subjects received cetuximab monotherapy followed by surgical resection. In this cohort, all subjects had elevated baseline CTC counts median of 73 CTC/ml (range 5.4-332.9) with statistically significant declines during treatment. Interestingly, two patients with recurrent disease had elevated CTC counts during and following treatment, which also correlated with growth of size and ki67 expression in the primary tumor. The results suggest that our device may be a valuable tool for evaluating the success of less intensive treatment regimens.

      PMID:37068555 | PMC:PMC10510654 | DOI:10.1016/j.canlet.2023.216187

      View details for PubMedID 37068555
  • MmuPV1 E7's interaction with PTPN14 delays Epithelial differentiation and contributes to virus-induced skin disease PLoS pathogens
    Romero-Masters JC, Grace M, Lee D, Lei J, DePamphilis M, Buehler D, Hu R, Ward-Shaw E, Blaine-Sauer S, Lavoie N, White EA, Munger K, Lambert PF
    2023 Apr 10;19(4):e1011215. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1011215. eCollection 2023 Apr.
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      Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) contribute to approximately 5% of all human cancers. Species-specific barriers limit the ability to study HPV pathogenesis in animal models. Murine papillomavirus (MmuPV1) provides a powerful tool to study the roles of papillomavirus genes in pathogenesis arising from a natural infection. We previously identified Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Non-Receptor Type 14 (PTPN14), a tumor suppressor targeted by HPV E7 proteins, as a putative cellular target of MmuPV1 E7. Here, we confirmed the MmuPV1 E7-PTPN14 interaction. Based on the published structure of the HPV18 E7/PTPN14 complex, we generated a MmuPV1 E7 mutant, E7K81S, that was defective for binding PTPN14. Wild-type (WT) and E7K81S mutant viral genomes replicated as extrachromosomal circular DNAs to comparable levels in mouse keratinocytes. E7K81S mutant virus (E7K81S MmuPV1) was generated and used to infect FoxN/Nude mice. E7K81S MmuPV1 caused neoplastic lesions at a frequency similar to that of WT MmuPV1, but the lesions arose later and were smaller than WT-induced lesions. The E7K81S MmuPV1-induced lesions also had a trend towards a less severe grade of neoplastic disease. In the lesions, E7K81S MmuPV1 supported the late (productive) stage of the viral life cycle and promoted E2F activity and cellular DNA synthesis in suprabasal epithelial cells to similar degrees as WT MmuPV1. There was a similar frequency of lateral spread of infections among mice infected with E7K81S or WT MmuPV1. Compared to WT MmuPV1-induced lesions, E7K81S MmuPV1-induced lesions had a significant expansion of cells expressing differentiation markers, Keratin 10 and Involucrin. We conclude that an intact PTPN14 binding site is necessary for MmuPV1 E7's ability to contribute to papillomavirus-induced pathogenesis and this correlates with MmuPV1 E7 causing a delay in epithelial differentiation, which is a hallmark of papillomavirus-induced neoplasia.

      PMID:37036883 | PMC:PMC10085053 | DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1011215

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  • Factors impacting the efficacy of the in-situ vaccine with CpG and OX40 agonist Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII
    Pieper AA, Spiegelman DV, Felder AR, Feils AS, Tsarovsky NW, Zaborek J, Morris ZS, Erbe AK, Rakhmilevich AL, Sondel PM
    2023 Jul;72(7):2459-2471. doi: 10.1007/s00262-023-03433-3. Epub 2023 Apr 5.
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      BACKGROUND: The in-situ vaccine using CpG oligodeoxynucleotide combined with OX40 agonist antibody (CpG + OX40) has been shown to be an effective therapy activating an anti-tumor T cell response in certain settings. The roles of tumor volume, tumor model, and the addition of checkpoint blockade in the efficacy of CpG + OX40 in-situ vaccination remains unknown.

      METHODS: Mice bearing flank tumors (B78 melanoma or A20 lymphoma) were treated with combinations of CpG, OX40, and anti-CTLA-4. Tumor growth and survival were monitored. In vivo T cell depletion, tumor cell phenotype, and tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) studies were performed. Tumor cell sensitivity to CpG and macrophages were evaluated in vitro.

      RESULTS: As tumor volumes increased in the B78 (one-tumor) and A20 (one-tumor or two-tumor) models, the anti-tumor efficacy of the in-situ vaccine decreased. In vitro, CpG had a direct effect on A20 proliferation and phenotype and an indirect effect on B78 proliferation via macrophage activation. As A20 tumors progressed in vivo, tumor cell phenotype changed, and T cells became more involved in the local CpG + OX40 mediated anti-tumor response. In mice with larger tumors that were poorly responsive to CpG + OX40, the addition of anti-CTLA-4 enhanced the anti-tumor efficacy in the A20 but not B78 models.

      CONCLUSIONS: Increased tumor volume negatively impacts the anti-tumor capability of CpG + OX40 in-situ vaccine. The addition of checkpoint blockade augmented the efficacy of CpG + OX40 in the A20 but not B78 model. These results highlight the importance of considering multiple preclinical model conditions when assessing the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy regimens and their translation to clinical testing.

      PMID:37016127 | PMC:PMC10264285 | DOI:10.1007/s00262-023-03433-3

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  • HPV16 E6 induces chromosomal instability due to polar chromosomes caused by E6AP-dependent degradation of the mitotic kinesin CENP-E Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Cosper PF, Hrycyniak CF, Paracha M, Lee DL, Wan J, Jones K, Bice SA, Nickel K, Mallick S, Taylor AM, Kimple RJ, Lambert PF, Weaver BA
    2023 Apr 4;120(14):e2216700120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2216700120. Epub 2023 Mar 29.
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      Chromosome segregation during mitosis is highly regulated to ensure production of genetically identical progeny. Recurrent mitotic errors cause chromosomal instability (CIN), a hallmark of tumors. The E6 and E7 oncoproteins of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical, anal, and head and neck cancers (HNC), cause mitotic defects consistent with CIN in models of anogenital cancers, but this has not been studied in the context of HNC. Here, we show that HPV16 induces a specific type of CIN in patient HNC tumors, patient-derived xenografts, and cell lines, which is due to defects in chromosome congression. These defects are specifically induced by the HPV16 oncogene E6 rather than E7. We show that HPV16 E6 expression causes degradation of the mitotic kinesin CENP-E, whose depletion produces chromosomes that are chronically misaligned near spindle poles (polar chromosomes) and fail to congress. Though the canonical oncogenic role of E6 is the degradation of the tumor suppressor p53, CENP-E degradation and polar chromosomes occur independently of p53. Instead, E6 directs CENP-E degradation in a proteasome-dependent manner via the E6-associated ubiquitin protein ligase E6AP/UBE3A. This study reveals a mechanism by which HPV induces CIN, which may impact HPV-mediated tumor initiation, progression, and therapeutic response.

      PMID:36989302 | PMC:PMC10083562 | DOI:10.1073/pnas.2216700120

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  • Inhibiting IGF1R-mediated Survival Signaling in Head and Neck Cancer with the Peptidomimetic SSTN<sub>IGF1R</sub> Cancer research communications
    Stueven NA, Beauvais DM, Hu R, Kimple RJ, Rapraeger AC
    2023 Jan 19;3(1):97-108. doi: 10.1158/2767-9764.CRC-22-0274. eCollection 2023 Jan.
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      Previous studies have shown that the type I IGFR (IGF1R) suppresses apoptosis when it is autoactivated by coupling its extracellular domain to a matrix adhesion receptor complex consisting of syndecan-1 (Sdc1) and αvβ3 or αvβ5 integrin. We now report that head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) relies on this receptor complex. Disruption of the complex in HNSCC cells in vitro with a peptide mimetic of the organizer site in Sdc1 (called SSTNIGF1R) inactivates IGF1R, even in the presence of IGF1, and relieves the suppression of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase-1 (ASK1), dramatically reducing tumor cell survival. Normal epithelial cells do not assemble this receptor complex, require IGF1 to activate the IGF1R, and are refractory to SSTNIGF1R. In vivo, SSTNIGF1R reduced the growth of patient-derived HNSCC tumors in immunodeficient mice by 85%-95%. IGF1R's assimilation into the matrix receptor complex, which is detected in these tumors using the proximity ligation assay (PLA), is quantitatively disrupted by SSTNIGF1R, coinciding with ASK1 activation. PLA also detects the IGF1R-containing receptor complex in the archival sections of tonsil carcinomas, whereas the adjacent benign epithelium is negative. Likewise, PLA screening of oropharyngeal and adenoid cystic tumor microarrays demonstrated that over 95% of the tumors contained this unique receptor complex with no detectable expression in benign tissue. These findings suggest that HNSCC upregulates and is highly dependent on IGF1R signaling via this adhesion receptor complex. Targeting this mechanism with novel therapeutics, including highly specific SSTNIGF1R, is likely to offer promising outcomes for patients with carcinoma.

      SIGNIFICANCE: A newly developed biomarker reveals upregulation of an antiapoptotic IGF1R-integrin-syndecan receptor complex in head and neck cancer and documents disruption of the complex in patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX) treated with the inhibitor SSTNIGF1R. A corresponding blockade in PDX growth in the presence of this inhibitor demonstrates that therapies designed to target this mechanism will likely offer promising outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer.

      PMID:36968227 | PMC:PMC10035507 | DOI:10.1158/2767-9764.CRC-22-0274

      View details for PubMedID 36968227
  • Dual Axl/MerTK inhibitor INCB081776 creates a proinflammatory tumor immune microenvironment and enhances anti-PDL1 efficacy in head and neck cancer Head & neck
    Kostecki KL, Iida M, Wiley AL, Kimani S, Mehall B, Tetreault K, Alexandridis R, Yu M, Hong S, Salgia R, Bruce JY, Birge RB, Harari PM, Wheeler DL
    2023 May;45(5):1255-1271. doi: 10.1002/hed.27340. Epub 2023 Mar 20.
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      BACKGROUND: The tyrosine kinase receptors Axl and MerTK are highly overexpressed in head and neck cancer (HNC) cells, where they are critical drivers of survival, proliferation, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance.

      METHODS: We investigated the role of Axl and MerTK in creating an immunologically "cold" tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) by targeting both receptors simultaneously with a small molecule inhibitor of Axl and MerTK (INCB081776). Effects of INCB081776 and/or anti-PDL1 on mouse oral cancer (MOC) cell growth and on the TIME were evaluated.

      RESULTS: Targeting Axl and MerTK can reduce M2 and induce M1 macrophage polarization. In vivo, INCB081776 treatment alone or with anti-PDL1 appears to slow MOC tumor growth, increase proinflammatory immune infiltration, and decrease anti-inflammatory immune infiltration.

      CONCLUSIONS: This data indicates that simultaneous targeting of Axl and MerTK with INCB081776, either alone or in combination with anti-PDL1, slows tumor growth and creates a proinflammatory TIME in mouse models of HNC.

      PMID:36939040 | PMC:PMC10079616 | DOI:10.1002/hed.27340

      View details for PubMedID 36939040
  • Antibody landscape of C57BL/6 mice cured of B78 melanoma via immunotherapy bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology
    Hoefges A, McIlwain SJ, Erbe AK, Mathers N, Xu A, Melby D, Tetreault K, Le T, Kim K, Pinapati RS, Garcia B, Patel J, Heck M, Feils AS, Tsarovsky N, Hank JA, Morris ZS, Ong IM, Sondel PM
    2023 Apr 28:2023.02.24.529012. doi: 10.1101/2023.02.24.529012.
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      Hoefges et al. utilized a whole-proteome peptide array approach to show that C57BL/6 mice develop a large repertoire of antibodies against linear peptide sequences of their melanoma after receiving a curative immunotherapy regimen consisting of radiation and an immunocytokine. Antibodies can play an important role in innate and adaptive immune responses against cancer, and in preventing infectious disease. Flow cytometry analysis of sera of immune mice that were previously cured of their melanoma through a combined immunotherapy regimen with long-term memory showed strong antibody-binding against melanoma tumor cell lines. Using a high-density whole-proteome peptide array, we assessed potential protein-targets for antibodies found in immune sera. Sera from 6 of these cured mice were analyzed with this high-density, whole-proteome peptide array to determine specific antibody-binding sites and their linear peptide sequence. We identified thousands of peptides that were targeted by 2 or more of these 6 mice and exhibited strong antibody binding only by immune, not naive sera. Confirmatory studies were done to validate these results using 2 separate ELISA-based systems. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of the "immunome" of protein-based epitopes that are recognized by immune sera from mice cured of cancer via immunotherapy.

      PMID:36896021 | PMC:PMC9996675 | DOI:10.1101/2023.02.24.529012

      View details for PubMedID 36896021
  • Nanotechnology and machine learning enable circulating tumor cells as a reliable biomarker for radiotherapy responses of gastrointestinal cancer patients Biosensors & bioelectronics
    Poellmann MJ, Bu J, Liu S, Wang AZ, Seyedin SN, Chandrasekharan C, Hong H, Kim Y, Caster JM, Hong S
    2023 Apr 15;226:115117. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2023.115117. Epub 2023 Feb 1.
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      A highly sensitive, circulating tumor cell (CTC)-based liquid biopsy was used to monitor gastrointestinal cancer patients during treatment to determine if CTC abundance was predictive of disease recurrence. The approach used a combination of biomimetic cell rolling on recombinant E-selectin and dendrimer-mediated multivalent immunocapture at the nanoscale to purify CTCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Due to the exceptionally high numbers of CTCs captured, a machine learning algorithm approach was developed to efficiently and reliably quantify abundance of immunocytochemically-labeled cells. A convolutional neural network and logistic regression model achieved 82.9% true-positive identification of CTCs with a false positive rate below 0.1% on a validation set. The approach was then used to quantify CTC abundance in peripheral blood samples from 27 subjects before, during, and following treatments. Samples drawn from the patients either prior to receiving radiotherapy or early in chemotherapy had a median 50 CTC ml-1 whole blood (range 0.6-541.6). We found that the CTC counts drawn 3 months post treatment were predictive of disease progression (p = .045). This approach to quantifying CTC abundance may be a clinically impactful in the timely determination of gastrointestinal cancer progression or response to treatment.

      PMID:36753988 | PMC:PMC10034717 | DOI:10.1016/j.bios.2023.115117

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  • Interstitial Brachytherapy for Lip Cancer: Technical Aspects to Individualize Treatment Approach and Optimize Outcomes Practical radiation oncology
    Merfeld EC, Witek ME, Francis DM, Burr AR, Wallace CR, Kuczmarska-Haas A, Lamichhane N, Kimple RJ, Glazer TA, Wieland AM, McCulloch TM, Hartig GK, Harari PM
    2023 Jul-Aug;13(4):340-345. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2023.01.004. Epub 2023 Jan 25.
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      Primary radiation therapy using interstitial brachytherapy (IBT) provides excellent local tumor control for early-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the lip. Technical aspects of treatment are important to optimize outcomes. In this report, we discuss patient selection criteria, procedural details, and dosimetric considerations for performing IBT for cancers of the lip. Catheters are inserted across the length of tumor entering and exiting approximately 5 mm beyond the palpable tumor extent. A custom mouthpiece is fabricated to facilitate normal tissue sparing. Patients undergo computed tomography imaging, the gross tumor volume is contoured based on physical examination and computed tomography findings, and an individualized brachytherapy plan is generated with the goals of achieving gross tumor volume D90% ≥ 90% and minimizing V150%. Ten patients with primary (n = 8) or recurrent (n = 2) cancers of the lip who received high-dose-rate lip IBT using 2.0- to 2.5-week treatment regimens are described (median prescription: 47.6 Gy in 14 fractions of 3.4 Gy). Local tumor control was 100%. There were no cases of acute grade ≥4 or late grade ≥2 toxicity, and cosmesis scores were graded as good to excellent in all patients. IBT represents an excellent treatment option for patients with lip squamous cell carcinoma. With careful attention to technical considerations furthered described in the present report, high rates of tumor control, low rates of toxicity, and favorable esthetic and functional outcomes can be achieved with IBT for lip cancer.

      PMID:36709044 | PMC:PMC10330101 | DOI:10.1016/j.prro.2023.01.004

      View details for PubMedID 36709044
  • SpatialCorr identifies gene sets with spatially varying correlation structure Cell reports methods
    Bernstein MN, Ni Z, Prasad A, Brown J, Mohanty C, Stewart R, Newton MA, Kendziorski C
    2022 Dec 13;2(12):100369. doi: 10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100369. eCollection 2022 Dec 19.
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      Recent advances in spatially resolved transcriptomics technologies enable both the measurement of genome-wide gene expression profiles and their mapping to spatial locations within a tissue. A first step in spatial transcriptomics data analysis is identifying genes with expression that varies spatially, and robust statistical methods exist to address this challenge. While useful, these methods do not detect spatial changes in the coordinated expression within a group of genes. To this end, we present SpatialCorr, a method for identifying sets of genes with spatially varying correlation structure. Given a collection of gene sets pre-defined by a user, SpatialCorr tests for spatially induced differences in the correlation of each gene set within tissue regions, as well as between and among regions. An application to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma demonstrates the power of the approach for revealing biological insights not identified using existing methods.

      PMID:36590683 | PMC:PMC9795364 | DOI:10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100369

      View details for PubMedID 36590683
  • Dendrimer-Peptide Conjugates for Effective Blockade of the Interactions between SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Human ACE2 Receptor Biomacromolecules
    Jeong W, Bu J, Mickel P, Han Y, Rawding PA, Wang J, Kang H, Hong H, Král P, Hong S
    2023 Jan 9;24(1):141-149. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.2c01018. Epub 2022 Dec 23.
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      The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has threatened the stability of global healthcare, which is becoming an endemic issue. Despite the development of various treatment strategies to fight COVID-19, the currently available treatment options have shown varied efficacy. Herein, we have developed an avidity-based SARS-CoV-2 antagonist using dendrimer-peptide conjugates (DPCs) for effective COVID-19 treatment. Two different peptide fragments obtained from angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) were integrated into a single sequence, followed by the conjugation to poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers. We hypothesized that the strong multivalent binding avidity endowed by dendrimers would help peptides effectively block the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2, and this antagonist effect would be dependent upon the generation (size) of the dendrimers. To assess this, binding kinetics of the DPCs prepared from generation 4 (G4) and G7 PAMAM dendrimers to spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 were quantitatively measured using surface plasmon resonance. The larger dendrimer-based DPCs exhibited significantly enhanced binding strength by 3 orders of magnitude compared to the free peptides, whereas the smaller one showed a 12.8-fold increase only. An in vitro assay using SARS-CoV-2-mimicking microbeads also showed the improved SARS-CoV-2 blockade efficiency of the G7-peptide conjugates compared to G4. In addition, the interaction between the DPCs and SARS-CoV-2 was analyzed using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, providing an insight into how the dendrimer-mediated multivalent binding effect can enhance the SARS-CoV-2 blockade. Our findings demonstrate that the DPCs having strong binding to SARS-CoV-2 effectively block the interaction between ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2, providing a potential as a high-affinity drug delivery system to direct anti-COVID payloads to the virus.

      PMID:36562668 | PMC:PMC9811402 | DOI:10.1021/acs.biomac.2c01018

      View details for PubMedID 36562668
  • Patterns of failure for hypopharynx cancer patients treated with limited high-dose radiotherapy treatment volumes Radiation oncology journal
    Burr A, Harari P, Wieland A, Kimple R, Hartig G, Witek M
    2022 Dec;40(4):225-231. doi: 10.3857/roj.2022.00311. Epub 2022 Dec 2.
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      PURPOSE: Optimal radiotherapy treatment volumes for patients with locally advanced hypopharynx squamous cell carcinoma should ensure maximal tumor coverage with minimal inclusion of normal surrounding structures. Here we evaluated the effectiveness of a direct 3-mm high-dose gross tumor volume to planning target volume expansion on clinical outcomes for hypopharynx cancers.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients with hypopharynx carcinoma treated between 2004 and 2018 with primary radiotherapy using a direct high-dose gross tumor volume to planning target volume expansion and with or without concurrent systemic therapy. Diagnostic imaging of recurrences was co-registered with the planning CT. Spatial and volumetric analyses of contoured recurrences were compared with planned isodose lines. Failures were initially defined as in field, marginal, elective nodal, and out of field. Each failure was further classified as central high-dose, peripheral high-dose, central intermediate/low-dose, peripheral intermediate/low-dose, and extraneous. Clinical outcomes were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier estimation.

      RESULTS: Thirty-six patients were identified. At a median follow-up at 52.4 months, estimated 5-year overall survival was 59.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36.3%-74.1%), 5-year local and nodal control was 71.7% (95% CI, 47.1%-86.3%) and 69.9% (95% CI, 57.0%-82.6%), respectively. The most common failure was in the high-dose primary target volume. The gastrostomy tube retention rate at 1 year among patients without recurrence was 13.0% (95% CI, 3.2%-29.7%).

      CONCLUSION: Minimal high-dose target volume expansions for hypopharynx cancers were associated with favorable locoregional control. This approach may enable therapy intensification to improve clinical outcomes.

      PMID:36456541 | PMC:PMC9830040 | DOI:10.3857/roj.2022.00311

      View details for PubMedID 36456541
  • Evolutionary Action Score of <em>TP53</em> Analysis in Pathologically High-Risk Human Papillomavirus-Negative Head and Neck Cancer From a Phase 2 Clinical Trial: NRG Oncology Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 0234 Advances in radiation oncology
    Michikawa C, Torres-Saavedra PA, Silver NL, Harari PM, Kies MS, Rosenthal DI, Le Q, Jordan RC, Duose DY, Mallampati S, Trivedi S, Luthra R, Wistuba II, Osman AA, Lichtarge O, Foote RL, Parvathaneni U, Hayes DN, Pickering CR, Myers JN
    2022 May 18;7(6):100989. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2022.100989. eCollection 2022 Nov-Dec.
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      PURPOSE: An evolutionary action scoring algorithm (EAp53) based on phylogenetic sequence variations stratifies patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) bearing TP53 missense mutations as high-risk, associated with poor outcomes, or low-risk, with similar outcomes as TP53 wild-type, and has been validated as a reliable prognostic marker. We performed this study to further validate prior findings demonstrating that EAp53 is a prognostic marker for patients with locally advanced HNSCC and explored its predictive value for treatment outcomes to adjuvant bio-chemoradiotherapy.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: Eighty-one resection samples from patients treated surgically for stage III or IV human papillomavirus-negative HNSCC with high-risk pathologic features, who received either radiation therapy + cetuximab + cisplatin (cisplatin) or radiation therapy + cetuximab + docetaxel (docetaxel) as adjuvant treatment in a phase 2 study were subjected to TP53 targeted sequencing and EAp53 scoring to correlate with clinical outcomes. Due to the limited sample size, patients were combined into 2 EAp53 groups: (1) wild-type or low-risk; and (2) high-risk or other.

      RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 9.8 years, there was a significant interaction between EAp53 group and treatment for overall survival (P = .008), disease-free survival (P = .05), and distant metastasis (DM; P = .004). In wild-type or low-risk group, the docetaxel arm showed significantly better overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0.11, [0.03-0.36]), disease-free survival (HR 0.24, [0.09-0.61]), and less DM (HR 0.04, [0.01-0.31]) than the cisplatin arm. In high-risk or other group, differences between treatments were not statistically significant.

      CONCLUSIONS: The docetaxel arm was associated with better survival than the cisplatin arm for patients with wild-type or low-risk EAp53. These benefits appear to be largely driven by a reduction in DM.

      PMID:36420184 | PMC:PMC9677209 | DOI:10.1016/j.adro.2022.100989

      View details for PubMedID 36420184
  • Molecular Mechanisms of MmuPV1 E6 and E7 and Implications for Human Disease Viruses
    Romero-Masters JC, Lambert PF, Munger K
    2022 Sep 28;14(10):2138. doi: 10.3390/v14102138.
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      Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause a substantial amount of human disease from benign disease such as warts to malignant cancers including cervical carcinoma, head and neck cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancer. Our ability to model HPV-induced malignant disease has been impeded by species specific barriers and pre-clinical animal models have been challenging to develop. The recent discovery of a murine papillomavirus, MmuPV1, that infects laboratory mice and causes the same range of malignancies caused by HPVs provides the papillomavirus field the opportunity to test mechanistic hypotheses in a genetically manipulatable laboratory animal species in the context of natural infections. The E6 and E7 proteins encoded by high-risk HPVs, which are the HPV genotypes associated with human cancers, are multifunctional proteins that contribute to HPV-induced cancers in multiple ways. In this review, we describe the known activities of the MmuPV1-encoded E6 and E7 proteins and how those activities relate to the activities of HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins encoded by mucosal and cutaneous high-risk HPV genotypes.

      PMID:36298698 | PMC:PMC9611894 | DOI:10.3390/v14102138

      View details for PubMedID 36298698
  • IQGAP1 and RNA Splicing in the Context of Head and Neck via Phosphoproteomics Journal of proteome research
    Muehlbauer LK, Wei T, Shishkova E, Coon JJ, Lambert PF
    2022 Sep 2;21(9):2211-2223. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.2c00309. Epub 2022 Aug 18.
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      IQGAP1 (IQ motif-containing GTPase-activating protein 1) scaffolds several signaling pathways in mammalian cells that are implicated in carcinogenesis, including the RAS and PI3K pathways that involve multiple protein kinases. IQGAP1 has been shown to promote head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); however, the underlying mechanism(s) remains unclear. Here, we report a mass spectrometry-based analysis identifying differences in phosphorylation of cellular proteins in vivo and in vitro in the presence or absence of IQGAP1. By comparing the esophageal phosphoproteome profiles between Iqgap1+/+ and Iqgap1-/- mice, we identified RNA splicing as one of the most altered cellular processes. Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 6 (SRSF6) was the protein with the most downregulated levels of phosphorylation in Iqgap1-/- tissue. We confirmed that the absence of IQGAP1 reduced SRSF6 phosphorylation both in vivo and in vitro. We then expanded our analysis to human normal oral keratinocytes. Again, we found factors involved in RNA splicing to be highly altered in the phosphoproteome profile upon genetic disruption of IQGAP1. Both the Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) and the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data sets indicate that phosphorylation of splicing-related proteins is important in HNSCC prognosis. The Biological General Repository for Interaction Datasets (BioGRID) repository also suggested multiple interactions between IQGAP1 and splicing-related proteins. Based on these collective observations, we propose that IQGAP1 regulates the phosphorylation of splicing proteins, which potentially affects their splicing activities and, therefore, contributes to HNSCC. Raw data are available from the MassIVE database with identifier MSV000087770.

      PMID:35980772 | PMC:PMC9833422 | DOI:10.1021/acs.jproteome.2c00309

      View details for PubMedID 35980772
  • Combinations of chemo-, immuno-, and gene therapies using nanocarriers as a multifunctional drug platform Expert opinion on drug delivery
    Hopkins C, Javius-Jones K, Wang Y, Hong H, Hu Q, Hong S
    2022 Oct;19(10):1337-1349. doi: 10.1080/17425247.2022.2112569. Epub 2022 Sep 26.
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      INTRODUCTION: Cancer immunotherapies have created a new generation of therapeutics to employ the immune system to attack cancer cells. However, these therapies are typically based on biologics that are nonspecific and often exhibit poor tumor penetration and dose-limiting toxicities. Nanocarriers allow the opportunity to overcome these barriers as they have the capabilities to direct immunomodulating drugs to tumor sites via passive and active targeting, decreasing potential adverse effects from nonspecific targeting. In addition, nanocarriers can be multifunctionalized to deliver multiple cancer therapeutics in a single drug platform, offering synergistic potential from co-delivery approaches.

      AREAS COVERED: This review focuses on the delivery of cancer therapeutics using emerging nanocarriers to achieve synergistic results via co-delivery of immune-modulating components (i.e. chemotherapeutics, monoclonal antibodies, and genes).

      EXPERT OPINION: Nanocarrier-mediated delivery of combinatorial immunotherapy creates the opportunity to fine-tune drug release while achieving superior tumor targeting and tumor cell death, compared to free drug counterparts. As these nanoplatforms are constantly improved upon, combinatorial immunotherapy will afford the greatest benefit to treat an array of tumor types while inhibiting cancer evasion pathways.

      PMID:35949105 | DOI:10.1080/17425247.2022.2112569

      View details for PubMedID 35949105
  • Log-Rank Test vs MaxCombo and Difference in Restricted Mean Survival Time Tests for Comparing Survival Under Nonproportional Hazards in Immuno-oncology Trials: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis JAMA oncology
    Mukhopadhyay P, Ye J, Anderson KM, Roychoudhury S, Rubin EH, Halabi S, Chappell RJ
    2022 Sep 1;8(9):1294-1300. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.2666.
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      IMPORTANCE: The log-rank test is considered the criterion standard for comparing 2 survival curves in pivotal registrational trials. However, with novel immunotherapies that often violate the proportional hazards assumptions over time, log-rank can lose power and may fail to detect treatment benefit. The MaxCombo test, a combination of weighted log-rank tests, retains power under different types of nonproportional hazards. The difference in restricted mean survival time (dRMST) test is frequently proposed as an alternative to the log-rank under nonproportional hazard scenarios.

      OBJECTIVE: To compare the log-rank with the MaxCombo and dRMST in immuno-oncology trials to evaluate their performance in practice.

      DATA SOURCES: Comprehensive literature review using Google Scholar, PubMed, and other sources for randomized clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at major clinical conferences before December 2019 assessing efficacy of anti-programmed cell death protein-1 or anti-programmed death/ligand 1 monoclonal antibodies.

      STUDY SELECTION: Pivotal studies with overall survival or progression-free survival as the primary or key secondary end point with a planned statistical comparison in the protocol. Sixty-three studies on anti-programmed cell death protein-1 or anti-programmed death/ligand 1 monoclonal antibodies used as monotherapy or in combination with other agents in 35 902 patients across multiple solid tumor types were identified.

      DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Statistical comparisons (n = 150) were made between the 3 tests using the analysis populations as defined in the original protocol of each trial.

      MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Nominal significance based on a 2-sided .05-level test was used to evaluate concordance. Case studies featuring different types of nonproportional hazards were used to discuss more robust ways of characterizing treatment benefit instead of sole reliance on hazard ratios.

      RESULTS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 63 studies including 35 902 patients, between the log-rank and MaxCombo, 135 of 150 comparisons (90%) were concordant; MaxCombo achieved nominal significance in 15 of 15 discordant cases, while log-rank did not. Several cases appeared to have clinically meaningful benefits that would not have been detected using log-rank. Between the log-rank and dRMST tests, 137 of 150 comparisons (91%) were concordant; log-rank was nominally significant in 5 of 13 cases, while dRMST was significant in 8 of 13. Among all 3 tests, 127 comparisons (85%) were concordant.

      CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this review show that MaxCombo may provide a pragmatic alternative to log-rank when departure from proportional hazards is anticipated. Both tests resulted in the same statistical decision in most comparisons. Discordant studies had modest to meaningful improvements in treatment effect. The dRMST test provided no added sensitivity for detecting treatment differences over log-rank.

      PMID:35862037 | PMC:PMC9305601 | DOI:10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.2666

      View details for PubMedID 35862037
  • NKX3.1 Expression in Salivary Gland "Intraductal" Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm: A Low-Grade Subtype of Salivary Gland Mucinous Adenocarcinoma Head and neck pathology
    Nakaguro M, Sadow PM, Hu R, Hattori H, Kuwabara K, Tsuzuki T, Urano M, Nagao T, Faquin WC
    2022 Dec;16(4):1114-1123. doi: 10.1007/s12105-022-01471-4. Epub 2022 Jul 14.
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      BACKGROUND: Salivary gland intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (SG IPMN) is a recently proposed entity characterized by a papillary-cystic proliferation of mucin-producing cells. Because of overlapping histologic features and a clonal AKT1 p.E17K variant, SG IPMN has been presumed to be a precursor or a low-grade subtype of mucinous adenocarcinoma. NKX3.1 is a tumor suppressor gene located on chromosome 8p and is a known immunohistochemical marker of prostate epithelium and mucinous acinar cells of the intraoral salivary glands.

      METHODS: We retrieved 12 SG IPMN cases, and performed histologic and genetic analysis. Given the association of SG IPMN with mucinous acinar cells, we also investigated the performance of NKX3.1 as a marker of this tumor entity.

      RESULTS: Diffuse and strong NKX3.1 expression was observed in all SG IPMN cases (12/12, 100%) as well as in normal mucinous acinar cells. In contrast, mucoepidermoid carcinoma and pancreatic IPMN cases as well as normal serous acinar cells were negative for NKX3.1. Genetically, 11 of 12 cases (92%) harbored an AKT1 p.E17K variant. A novel PTEN frameshift deletion (p.G36Dfs*18) was detected in the other single case. At least one of the histologic features implying malignant tumors, such as severe cellular atypia, brisk mitotic activity, high Ki-67 proliferating index, lymphovascular invasion, and lymph node metastasis, was detected in 6 SG IPMN cases (50%).

      CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that SG IPMN is a low-grade subtype of mucinous adenocarcinoma which may be derived from mucinous acinar cells of the minor salivary gland.

      PMID:35834096 | PMC:PMC9729659 | DOI:10.1007/s12105-022-01471-4

      View details for PubMedID 35834096
  • Expanded Basal Compartment and Disrupted Barrier in Vocal Fold Epithelium Infected with Mouse Papillomavirus MmuPV1 Viruses
    King RE, Ward-Shaw ET, Hu R, Lambert PF, Thibeault SL
    2022 May 16;14(5):1059. doi: 10.3390/v14051059.
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      Laryngeal infection with low-risk human papillomaviruses can cause recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a disease with severe effects on vocal fold epithelium resulting in impaired voice function and communication. RRP research has been stymied by limited preclinical models. We recently reported a murine model of laryngeal MmuPV1 infection and disease in immunodeficient mice. In the current study, we compare quantitative and qualitative measures of epithelial proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and barrier between mice with MmuPV1-induced disease of the larynx and surrounding tissues and equal numbers of uninfected controls. Findings supported our hypothesis that laryngeal MmuPV1 infection recapitulates many features of RRP. Like RRP, MmuPV1 increased proliferation in infected vocal fold epithelium, expanded the basal compartment of cells, decreased differentiated cells, and altered cell-cell junctions and basement membrane. Effects of MmuPV1 on apoptosis were equivocal, as with RRP. Barrier markers resembled human neoplastic disease in severe MmuPV1-induced disease. We conclude that MmuPV1 infection of the mouse larynx provides a useful, if imperfect, preclinical model for RRP that will facilitate further study and treatment development for this intractable and devastating disease.

      PMID:35632798 | PMC:PMC9146965 | DOI:10.3390/v14051059

      View details for PubMedID 35632798
  • A Novel In Vivo Model of Laryngeal Papillomavirus-Associated Disease Using <em>Mus musculus</em> Papillomavirus Viruses
    King RE, Bilger A, Rademacher J, Ward-Shaw ET, Hu R, Lambert PF, Thibeault SL
    2022 May 8;14(5):1000. doi: 10.3390/v14051000.
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      Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), caused by laryngeal infection with low-risk human papillomaviruses, has devastating effects on vocal communication and quality of life. Factors in RRP onset, other than viral presence in the airway, are poorly understood. RRP research has been stalled by limited preclinical models. The only known papillomavirus able to infect laboratory mice, Mus musculus papillomavirus (MmuPV1), induces disease in a variety of tissues. We hypothesized that MmuPV1 could infect the larynx as a foundation for a preclinical model of RRP. We further hypothesized that epithelial injury would enhance the ability of MmuPV1 to cause laryngeal disease, because injury is a potential factor in RRP and promotes MmuPV1 infection in other tissues. In this report, we infected larynges of NOD scid gamma mice with MmuPV1 with and without vocal fold abrasion and measured infection and disease pathogenesis over 12 weeks. Laryngeal disease incidence and severity increased earlier in mice that underwent injury in addition to infection. However, laryngeal disease emerged in all infected mice by week 12, with or without injury. Secondary laryngeal infections and disease arose in nude mice after MmuPV1 skin infections, confirming that experimentally induced injury is dispensable for laryngeal MmuPV1 infection and disease in immunocompromised mice. Unlike RRP, lesions were relatively flat dysplasias and they could progress to cancer. Similar to RRP, MmuPV1 transcript was detected in all laryngeal disease and in clinically normal larynges. MmuPV1 capsid protein was largely absent from the larynx, but productive infection arose in a case of squamous metaplasia at the level of the cricoid cartilage. Similar to RRP, disease spread beyond the larynx to the trachea and bronchi. This first report of laryngeal MmuPV1 infection provides a foundation for a preclinical model of RRP.

      PMID:35632742 | PMC:PMC9147793 | DOI:10.3390/v14051000

      View details for PubMedID 35632742
  • SpotClean adjusts for spot swapping in spatial transcriptomics data Nature communications
    Ni Z, Prasad A, Chen S, Halberg RB, Arkin LM, Drolet BA, Newton MA, Kendziorski C
    2022 May 27;13(1):2971. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30587-y.
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      Spatial transcriptomics is a powerful and widely used approach for profiling the gene expression landscape across a tissue with emerging applications in molecular medicine and tumor diagnostics. Recent spatial transcriptomics experiments utilize slides containing thousands of spots with spot-specific barcodes that bind RNA. Ideally, unique molecular identifiers (UMIs) at a spot measure spot-specific expression, but this is often not the case in practice due to bleed from nearby spots, an artifact we refer to as spot swapping. To improve the power and precision of downstream analyses in spatial transcriptomics experiments, we propose SpotClean, a probabilistic model that adjusts for spot swapping to provide more accurate estimates of gene-specific UMI counts. SpotClean provides substantial improvements in marker gene analyses and in clustering, especially when tissue regions are not easily separated. As demonstrated in multiple studies of cancer, SpotClean improves tumor versus normal tissue delineation and improves tumor burden estimation thus increasing the potential for clinical and diagnostic applications of spatial transcriptomics technologies.

      PMID:35624112 | PMC:PMC9142522 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-30587-y

      View details for PubMedID 35624112
  • Stress Keratin 17 Expression in Head and Neck Cancer Contributes to Immune Evasion and Resistance to Immune-Checkpoint Blockade Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
    Wang W, Lozar T, Golfinos AE, Lee D, Gronski E, Ward-Shaw E, Hayes M, Bruce JY, Kimple RJ, Hu R, Harari PM, Xu J, Keske A, Sondel PM, Fitzpatrick MB, Dinh HQ, Lambert PF
    2022 Jul 1;28(13):2953-2968. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-3039.
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      PURPOSE: We investigated whether in human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) high levels of expression of stress keratin 17 (K17) are associated with poor survival and resistance to immunotherapy.

      EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We investigated the role of K17 in regulating both the tumor microenvironment and immune responsiveness of HNSCC using a syngeneic mouse HNSCC model, MOC2. MOC2 gives rise to immunologically cold tumors that are resistant to immune-checkpoint blockade (ICB). We engineered multiple, independent K17 knockout (KO) MOC2 cell lines and monitored their growth and response to ICB. We also measured K17 expression in human HNSCC of patients undergoing ICB.

      RESULTS: MOC2 tumors were found to express K17 at high levels. When knocked out for K17 (K17KO MOC2), these cells formed tumors that grew slowly or spontaneously regressed and had a high CD8+ T-cell infiltrate in immunocompetent syngeneic C57BL/6 mice compared with parental MOC2 tumors. This phenotype was reversed when we depleted mice for T cells. Whereas parental MOC2 tumors were resistant to ICB treatment, K17KO MOC2 tumors that did not spontaneously regress were eliminated upon ICB treatment. In a cohort of patients with HNSCC receiving pembrolizumab, high K17 expression correlated with poor response. Single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis revealed broad differences in the immune landscape of K17KO MOC2 tumors compared with parental MOC2 tumors, including differences in multiple lymphoid and myeloid cell types.

      CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that K17 expression in HNSCC contributes to immune evasion and resistance to ICB treatment by broadly altering immune landscapes of tumors.

      PMID:35621713 | PMC:PMC9250640 | DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-3039

      View details for PubMedID 35621713
  • Validation of Monte Carlo <sup>131</sup> I radiopharmaceutical dosimetry workflow using a 3D-printed anthropomorphic head and neck phantom Medical physics
    Adam DP, Grudzinski JJ, Bormett I, Cox BL, Marsh IR, Bradshaw TJ, Harari PM, Bednarz BP
    2022 Aug;49(8):5491-5503. doi: 10.1002/mp.15699. Epub 2022 Jun 6.
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      PURPOSE: Approximately 50% of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients will experience loco-regional disease recurrence following initial courses of therapy. Retreatment with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is technically challenging and may be associated with a significant risk of irreversible damage to normal tissues. Radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT) is a potential method to treat recurrent HNC in conjunction with EBRT. Phantoms are used to calibrate and add quantification to nuclear medicine images, and anthropomorphic phantoms can account for both the geometrical and material composition of the head and neck. In this study, we present the creation of an anthropomorphic, head and neck, nuclear medicine phantom, and its characterization for the validation of a Monte Carlo, SPECT image-based, 131 I RPT dosimetry workflow.

      METHODS: 3D-printing techniques were used to create the anthropomorphic phantom from a patient CT dataset. Three 131 I SPECT/CT imaging studies were performed using a homogeneous, Jaszczak, and an anthropomorphic phantom to quantify the SPECT images using a GE Optima NM/CT 640 with a high energy general purpose collimator. The impact of collimator detector response (CDR) modeling and volume-based partial volume corrections (PVCs) upon the absorbed dose was calculated using an image-based, Geant4 Monte Carlo RPT dosimetry workflow and compared against a ground truth scenario. Finally, uncertainties were quantified in accordance with recent EANM guidelines.

      RESULTS: The 3D-printed anthropomorphic phantom was an accurate re-creation of patient anatomy including bone. The extrapolated Jaszczak recovery coefficients were greater than that of the 3D-printed insert (∼22.8 ml) for both the CDR and non-CDR cases (with CDR: 0.536 vs. 0.493, non-CDR: 0.445 vs. 0.426, respectively). Utilizing Jaszczak phantom PVCs, the absorbed dose was underpredicted by 0.7% and 4.9% without and with CDR, respectively. Utilizing anthropomorphic phantom recovery coefficient overpredicted the absorbed dose by 3% both with and without CDR. All dosimetry scenarios that incorporated PVC were within the calculated uncertainty of the activity. The uncertainties in the cumulative activity ranged from 23.6% to 106.4% for Jaszczak spheres ranging in volume from 0.5 to 16 ml.

      CONCLUSION: The accuracy of Monte Carlo-based dosimetry for 131 I RPT in HNC was validated with an anthropomorphic phantom. In this study, it was found that Jaszczak-based PVCs were sufficient. Future applications of the phantom could involve 3D printing and characterizing patient-specific volumes for more personalized RPT dosimetry estimates.

      PMID:35607296 | PMC:PMC9388595 | DOI:10.1002/mp.15699

      View details for PubMedID 35607296
  • Plasma membrane proteoglycans syndecan-2 and syndecan-4 engage with EGFR and RON kinase to sustain carcinoma cell cycle progression The Journal of biological chemistry
    Beauvais DM, Nelson SE, Adams KM, Stueven NA, Jung O, Rapraeger AC
    2022 Jun;298(6):102029. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102029. Epub 2022 May 13.
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      Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a causal factor in carcinoma, yet many carcinoma patients are resistant to EGFR inhibitors. Potential insight into this resistance stems from prior work that showed EGFR in normal epithelial cells docks to the extracellular domain of the plasma membrane proteoglycan syndecan-4 (Sdc4) engaged with α3β1 and α6β4 integrins. We now report that this receptor complex is modified by the recruitment of syndecan-2 (Sdc2), the Recepteur d'Origine Nantais (RON) tyrosine kinase, and the cellular signaling mediator Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 (ABL1) in triple-negative breast carcinoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, where it contributes to EGFR kinase-independent proliferation. Treatment with a peptide mimetic of the EGFR docking site in the extracellular domain of Sdc4 (called SSTNEGFR) disrupts the entire complex and causes a rapid, global arrest of the cell cycle. Normal epithelial cells do not recruit these additional receptors to the adhesion mechanism and are not arrested by SSTNEGFR. Although EGFR docking with Sdc4 in the tumor cells is required, cell cycle progression does not depend on EGFR kinase. Instead, progression depends on RON kinase, activated by its incorporation into the complex. RON activates ABL1, which suppresses p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and prevents a p38-mediated signal that would otherwise arrest the cell cycle. These findings add to the growing list of receptor tyrosine kinases that support tumorigenesis when activated by their association with syndecans at sites of matrix adhesion and identify new potential targets for cancer therapy.

      PMID:35569509 | PMC:PMC9190016 | DOI:10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102029

      View details for PubMedID 35569509
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus large T antigen binding to pRb promotes skin hyperplasia and tumor development PLoS pathogens
    Spurgeon ME, Cheng J, Ward-Shaw E, Dick FA, DeCaprio JA, Lambert PF
    2022 May 13;18(5):e1010551. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010551. eCollection 2022 May.
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      Clear evidence supports a causal link between Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) and the highly aggressive human skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Integration of viral DNA into the human genome facilitates continued expression of the MCPyV small tumor (ST) and large tumor (LT) antigens in virus-positive MCCs. In MCC tumors, MCPyV LT is truncated in a manner that renders the virus unable to replicate yet preserves the LXCXE motif that facilitates its binding to and inactivation of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (pRb). We previously developed a MCPyV transgenic mouse model in which MCC tumor-derived ST and truncated LT expression were targeted to the stratified epithelium of the skin, causing epithelial hyperplasia, increased proliferation, and spontaneous tumorigenesis. We sought to determine if any of these phenotypes required the association between the truncated MCPyV LT and pRb. Mice were generated in which K14-driven MCPyV ST/LT were expressed in the context of a homozygous RbΔLXCXE knock-in allele that attenuates LT-pRb interactions through LT's LXCXE motif. We found that many of the phenotypes including tumorigenesis that develop in the K14-driven MCPyV transgenic mice were dependent upon LT's LXCXE-dependent interaction with pRb. These findings highlight the importance of the MCPyV LT-pRb interaction in an in vivo model for MCPyV-induced tumorigenesis.

      PMID:35560034 | PMC:PMC9132321 | DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1010551

      View details for PubMedID 35560034
  • Dendritic-Linear Copolymer and Dendron Lipid Nanoparticles for Drug and Gene Delivery Bioconjugate chemistry
    Poellmann MJ, Javius-Jones K, Hopkins C, Lee JW, Hong S
    2022 Nov 16;33(11):2008-2017. doi: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.2c00128. Epub 2022 May 5.
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      Polymers constitute a diverse class of macromolecules that have demonstrated their unique advantages to be utilized for drug or gene delivery applications. In particular, polymers with a highly ordered, hyperbranched structure─"dendrons"─offer significant benefits to the design of such nanomedicines. The incorporation of dendrons into block copolymer micelles can endow various unique properties that are not typically observed from linear polymer counterparts. Specifically, the dendritic structure induces the conical shape of unimers that form micelles, thereby improving the thermodynamic stability and achieving a low critical micelle concentration (CMC). Furthermore, through a high density of highly ordered functional groups, dendrons can enhance gene complexation, drug loading, and stimuli-responsive behavior. In addition, outward-branching dendrons can support a high density of nonfouling polymers, such as poly(ethylene glycol), for serum stability and variable densities of multifunctional groups for multivalent cellular targeting and interactions. In this paper, we review the design considerations for dendron-lipid nanoparticles and dendron micelles formed from amphiphilic block copolymers intended for gene transfection and cancer drug delivery applications. These technologies are early in preclinical development and, as with other nanomedicines, face many obstacles on the way to clinical adoption. Nevertheless, the utility of dendron micelles for drug delivery remains relatively underexplored, and we believe there are significant and dramatic advancements to be made in tumor targeting with these platforms.

      PMID:35512322 | DOI:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.2c00128

      View details for PubMedID 35512322
  • Activation of the CREB Coactivator CRTC2 by Aberrant Mitogen Signaling promotes oncogenic functions in HPV16 positive head and neck cancer Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)
    Carper MB, Goel S, Zhang AM, Damrauer JS, Cohen S, Zimmerman MP, Gentile GM, Parag-Sharma K, Murphy RM, Sato K, Nickel KP, Kimple RJ, Yarbrough WG, Amelio AL
    2022 Jul;29:100799. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2022.100799. Epub 2022 Apr 30.
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      Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the 6th most common cancer worldwide and incidence rates are continuing to rise globally. Patients often present with locally advanced disease and a staggering 50% chance of relapse following treatment. Aberrant activation of adaptive response signaling pathways, such as the cAMP/PKA pathway, induce an array of genes associated with known cancer pathways that promote tumorigenesis and drug resistance. We identified the cAMP Regulated Transcription Coactivator 2 (CRTC2) to be overexpressed and constitutively activated in HNSCCs and this confers poor prognosis. CRTCs are regulated through their subcellular localization and we show that CRTC2 is exclusively nuclear in HPV(+) HNSCC, thus constitutively active, due to non-canonical Mitogen-Activated Kinase Kinase 1 (MEKK1)-mediated activation via a MEKK1-p38 signaling axis. Loss-of-function and pharmacologic inhibition experiments decreased CRTC2/CREB transcriptional activity by reducing nuclear CRTC2 via nuclear import inhibition and/or by eviction of CRTC2 from the nucleus. This shift in localization was associated with decreased proliferation, migration, and invasion. Our results suggest that small molecules that inhibit nuclear CRTC2 and p38 activity may provide therapeutic benefit to patients with HPV(+) HNSCC.

      PMID:35504112 | PMC:PMC9065880 | DOI:10.1016/j.neo.2022.100799

      View details for PubMedID 35504112
  • AXL regulates neuregulin1 expression leading to cetuximab resistance in head and neck cancer BMC cancer
    Iida M, McDaniel NK, Kostecki KL, Welke NB, Kranjac CA, Liu P, Longhurst C, Bruce JY, Hong S, Salgia R, Wheeler DL
    2022 Apr 23;22(1):447. doi: 10.1186/s12885-022-09511-6.
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      BACKGROUND: The receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed and an important therapeutic target in Head and Neck cancer (HNC). Cetuximab is currently the only EGFR-targeting agent approved by the FDA for treatment of HNC; however, intrinsic and acquired resistance to cetuximab is a major problem in the clinic. Our lab previously reported that AXL leads to cetuximab resistance via activation of HER3. In this study, we investigate the connection between AXL, HER3, and neuregulin1 (NRG1) gene expression with a focus on understanding how their interdependent signaling promotes resistance to cetuximab in HNC.

      METHODS: Plasmid or siRNA transfections and cell-based assays were conducted to test cetuximab sensitivity. Quantitative PCR and immunoblot analysis were used to analyze gene and protein expression levels. Seven HNC patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) were evaluated for protein expression levels.

      RESULTS: We found that HER3 expression was necessary but not sufficient for cetuximab resistance without AXL expression. Our results demonstrated that addition of the HER3 ligand NRG1 to cetuximab-sensitive HNC cells leads to cetuximab resistance. Further, AXL-overexpressing cells regulate NRG1 at the level of transcription, thereby promoting cetuximab resistance. Immunoblot analysis revealed that NRG1 expression was relatively high in cetuximab-resistant HNC PDXs compared to cetuximab-sensitive HNC PDXs. Finally, genetic inhibition of NRG1 resensitized AXL-overexpressing cells to cetuximab.

      CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that AXL may signal through HER3 via NRG1 to promote cetuximab resistance and that targeting of NRG1 could have significant clinical implications for HNC therapeutic approaches.

      PMID:35461210 | PMC:PMC9035247 | DOI:10.1186/s12885-022-09511-6

      View details for PubMedID 35461210
  • Prospective Study of PET/MRI Tumor Response During Chemoradiotherapy for Patients With Low-risk and Intermediate-risk p16-positive Oropharynx Cancer American journal of clinical oncology
    Witek ME, Kimple RJ, Avey GD, Burr AR, Chandereng T, Yu M, Hu R, Wieland AM, Labby ZE, Bruce JY, Brower JV, Hartig GK, Harari PM
    2022 May 1;45(5):202-207. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000910. Epub 2022 Apr 12.
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      OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine tumor response with positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during chemoradiotherapy as a predictor of outcome in patients with p16-positive oropharynx cancer.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with p16-positive oropharynx cancer were treated with chemoradiotherapy. Low-risk (LR) disease was defined as T1-T3 and N0-2b and ≤10 pack-years and intermediate-risk (IR) disease as T4 or N2c-3 or >10 pack-years. Patients underwent a PET/MRI scan pretreatment and at fraction 10. Change in value of imaging means were analyzed by analysis of variance. K-means clustering with Euclidean distance functions were used for patient clustering. Silhouette width was used to determine the optimal number of clusters. Linear regression was performed on all radiographic metrics using patient and disease characteristics.

      RESULTS: Twenty-four patients were enrolled with 7 LR and 11 IR patients available for analysis. Pretreatment imaging characteristics between LR and IR patients were similar. Patients with LR disease exhibited a larger reduction in maximum standardized uptake value (SUV) compared with IR patients (P<0.05). Cluster analysis defined 2 cohorts that exhibited a similar intratreatment response. Cluster 1 contained 7 of 7 LR patients and 8 of 11 IR patients. Cluster 2 contained 3 of 11 IR patients. Cluster 2 exhibited significant differences compared with cluster 1 in the change in primary tumor peak SUV and largest lymph node median SUV.

      CONCLUSIONS: We identified that IR p16-positive oropharynx cancers exhibit heterogeneity in their PET/MRI response to chemoradiotherapy. These data support further study of intratreatment imaging response as a potential mechanism to identify patients with IR oropharynx cancer suitable for treatment deintensification.

      PMID:35446279 | PMC:PMC9623610 | DOI:10.1097/COC.0000000000000910

      View details for PubMedID 35446279
  • Advances in Organ Preservation for Laryngeal Cancer Current treatment options in oncology
    Campbell G, Glazer TA, Kimple RJ, Bruce JY
    2022 Apr;23(4):594-608. doi: 10.1007/s11864-022-00945-5. Epub 2022 Mar 18.
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      At the University of Wisconsin, all treatment of head and neck cancer patients begins with discussion at our multi-disciplinary tumor board. Most patients with T4 disease, with existing laryngeal dysfunction, considered unlikely to complete definitive CRT or who have a high risk of persistent aspiration after non-operative management undergo total laryngectomy. A laryngeal sparing approach is attempted on most other patients. Radiotherapy is delivered over 6.5 weeks, preferably with concurrent weekly cisplatin. If the patient is hesitant of chemotherapy or has contraindications to cisplatin, concurrent cetuximab may be offered. Patients treated with RT alone are often treated to the same dose, but via an accelerated schedule by adding a 6th fraction per week. The 6th fraction is given by delivering two treatments at least 6 h apart on a weekday of the patient's choosing. We consider the following to be major risk factors for clinically significant weight loss during treatment: a 10% or greater loss of weight in the 6 months prior to starting treatment, delivery of concurrent cisplatin, and treatment of the bilateral neck with radiation. Patients who have 2-3 of these characteristics are often given gastrostomy tubes prophylactically. Patients are seen 2 weeks after completion of therapy, and then every 3 months after completion for 2 years. A CT neck and PET-CT are performed at the first 3-month visit. They are seen twice in year three, and then yearly until years 5-7. At each of these visits, we have a low threshold to present the patient at our multidisciplinary tumor board for consideration of salvage laryngectomy if there are signs of progression.

      PMID:35303749 | PMC:PMC9405127 | DOI:10.1007/s11864-022-00945-5

      View details for PubMedID 35303749
  • Marrow-Derived Autologous Stromal Cells for the Restoration of Salivary Hypofunction (MARSH): Study protocol for a phase 1 dose-escalation trial of patients with xerostomia after radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: MARSH: Marrow-Derived Autologous Stromal Cells for the Restoration of Salivary Hypofunction Cytotherapy
    Blitzer GC, Rogus-Pulia NM, Mattison RJ, Varghese T, Ganz O, Chappell R, Galipeau J, McDowell KA, Meyers RO, Glazer TA, Kimple RJ
    2022 May;24(5):534-543. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2021.11.003. Epub 2022 Feb 16.
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      BACKGROUND: Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a common side effect of head and neck radiation. Current treatment options for radiation-induced xerostomia are generally supportive in nature. Adult stem cells are the ultimate source for replenishment of salivary gland tissue. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) are a viable cell-based therapy for xerostomia. We have undertaken studies enabling U.S. Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug status, demonstrating the normal phenotype, intact functionality, and pro-growth secretome of interferon-γ (IFNγ)-stimulated BM-MSCs taken from patients with head and neck cancer who have undergone radiation ± chemotherapy. Here we present the protocol of MARSH, a first-in-human clinical trial of bone marrow-derived, IFNγ-activated BM-MSCs for the treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia.

      METHODS: This single-center phase 1 dose-escalation with expansion cohort, non-placebo-controlled study will assess the safety and tolerability of BM-MSCs for the treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia in patients who had head and neck cancer. The phase 1 dose-escalation study will be a 3 + 3 design with staggered enrollment. A total of 21 to 30 subjects (9 to 18 in phase 1 study, 12 in expansion cohort) will be enrolled. The primary endpoint is determining the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) of IFNγ-stimulated BM-MSCs to enable further studies on the efficacy of BM-MSCs. Patients' bone marrow will be aspirated, and BM-MSCs will be expanded, stimulated with IFNγ, and injected into the submandibular gland. The RP2D will be determined by dose-limiting toxicities occurring within 1 month of BM-MSC injection. Secondary outcomes of saliva amounts and composition, ultrasound of salivary glands, and quality of life surveys will be taken at 3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month visits.

      DISCUSSION: Autotransplantation of IFNγ-stimulated BM-MSCs in salivary glands after radiation therapy or chemoradiation therapy may provide an innovative remedy to treat xerostomia and restore quality of life. This is the first therapy for radiation-induced xerostomia that may be curative.

      TRIAL REGISTRATION: World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform: NCT04489732.

      PMID:35183442 | PMC:PMC9038658 | DOI:10.1016/j.jcyt.2021.11.003

      View details for PubMedID 35183442
  • Bayes optimal informer sets for early-stage drug discovery Biometrics
    Yu P, Ericksen S, Gitter A, Newton MA
    2023 Jun;79(2):642-654. doi: 10.1111/biom.13637. Epub 2022 Mar 25.
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      An important experimental design problem in early-stage drug discovery is how to prioritize available compounds for testing when very little is known about the target protein. Informer-based ranking (IBR) methods address the prioritization problem when the compounds have provided bioactivity data on other potentially relevant targets. An IBR method selects an informer set of compounds, and then prioritizes the remaining compounds on the basis of new bioactivity experiments performed with the informer set on the target. We formalize the problem as a two-stage decision problem and introduce the Bayes Optimal Informer SEt (BOISE) method for its solution. BOISE leverages a flexible model of the initial bioactivity data, a relevant loss function, and effective computational schemes to resolve the two-step design problem. We evaluate BOISE and compare it to other IBR strategies in two retrospective studies, one on protein-kinase inhibition and the other on anticancer drug sensitivity. In both empirical settings BOISE exhibits better predictive performance than available methods. It also behaves well with missing data, where methods that use matrix completion show worse predictive performance.

      PMID:35165892 | PMC:PMC9376199 | DOI:10.1111/biom.13637

      View details for PubMedID 35165892
  • Network inference with Granger causality ensembles on single-cell transcriptomics Cell reports
    Deshpande A, Chu L, Stewart R, Gitter A
    2022 Feb 8;38(6):110333. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110333.
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      Cellular gene expression changes throughout a dynamic biological process, such as differentiation. Pseudotimes estimate cells' progress along a dynamic process based on their individual gene expression states. Ordering the expression data by pseudotime provides information about the underlying regulator-gene interactions. Because the pseudotime distribution is not uniform, many standard mathematical methods are inapplicable for analyzing the ordered gene expression states. Here we present single-cell inference of networks using Granger ensembles (SINGE), an algorithm for gene regulatory network inference from ordered single-cell gene expression data. SINGE uses kernel-based Granger causality regression to smooth irregular pseudotimes and missing expression values. It aggregates predictions from an ensemble of regression analyses to compile a ranked list of candidate interactions between transcriptional regulators and target genes. In two mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation datasets, SINGE outperforms other contemporary algorithms. However, a more detailed examination reveals caveats about poor performance for individual regulators and uninformative pseudotimes.

      PMID:35139376 | PMC:PMC9093087 | DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110333

      View details for PubMedID 35139376
  • Sex and genetic background define the metabolic, physiologic, and molecular response to protein restriction Cell metabolism
    Green CL, Pak HH, Richardson NE, Flores V, Yu D, Tomasiewicz JL, Dumas SN, Kredell K, Fan JW, Kirsh C, Chaiyakul K, Murphy ME, Babygirija R, Barrett-Wilt GA, Rabinowitz J, Ong IM, Jang C, Simcox J, Lamming DW
    2022 Feb 1;34(2):209-226.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.12.018.
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      Low-protein diets promote metabolic health in humans and rodents. Despite evidence that sex and genetic background are key factors in the response to diet, most protein intake studies examine only a single strain and sex of mice. Using multiple strains and both sexes of mice, we find that improvements in metabolic health in response to reduced dietary protein strongly depend on sex and strain. While some phenotypes were conserved across strains and sexes, including increased glucose tolerance and energy expenditure, we observed high variability in adiposity, insulin sensitivity, and circulating hormones. Using a multi-omics approach, we identified mega-clusters of differentially expressed hepatic genes, metabolites, and lipids associated with each phenotype, providing molecular insight into the differential response to protein restriction. Our results highlight the importance of sex and genetic background in the response to dietary protein level, and the potential importance of a personalized medicine approach to dietary interventions.

      PMID:35108511 | PMC:PMC8865085 | DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2021.12.018

      View details for PubMedID 35108511
  • On-tissue amidation of sialic acid with aniline for sensitive imaging of sialylated N-glycans from FFPE tissue sections via MALDI mass spectrometry Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry
    Zhang H, Shi X, Liu Y, Wang B, Xu M, Welham NV, Li L
    2022 Jul;414(18):5263-5274. doi: 10.1007/s00216-022-03894-y. Epub 2022 Jan 24.
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      Spatial visualization of glycans within clinical tissue samples is critical for discovery of disease-relevant glycan dysregulations. Herein, we develop an on-tissue derivatization strategy for sensitive spatial visualization of N-glycans from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections, based on amidation of sialic acid residues with aniline. The sialylated N-glycans were stabilized and given enhanced signal intensity owing to selective capping of a phenyl group to the sialic acid residue after aniline labeling. Proof-of-concept experiments, including determinations of sialylglycopeptide and N-glycans enzymatically released from glycoproteins, were performed. Further, mass spectrometry (MS) imaging of N-glycans on human laryngeal cancer FFPE tissue sections was conducted via matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI), based on our strategy for on-tissue amidation of sialylated N-glycans. We obtained higher sialylated N-glycan coverages for both the glycoproteins and cancer tissue samples, demonstrating that the detection sensitivity for sialylated N-glycans is notably improved by amidation derivatization. We also characterized N-glycan heterogeneity across the human laryngeal cancer tissue section, showing N-glycan dysregulation in the tumor region.

      PMID:35072748 | PMC:PMC9381140 | DOI:10.1007/s00216-022-03894-y

      View details for PubMedID 35072748
  • Branched, dendritic, and hyperbranched polymers in liquid biopsy device design Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology
    Poellmann MJ, Rawding P, Kim D, Bu J, Kim Y, Hong S
    2022 May;14(3):e1770. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1770. Epub 2022 Jan 4.
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      The development of minimally invasive tests for cancer diagnosis and prognosis will aid in the research of new treatments and improve survival rates. Liquid biopsies seek to derive actionable information from tumor material found in routine blood samples. The relative scarcity of tumor material in this complex mixture makes isolating and detecting cancerous material such as proteins, circulating tumor DNA, exosomes, and whole circulating tumor cells a challenge for device engineers. This review describes the chemistry and applications of branched and hyperbranched to improve the performance of liquid biopsy devices. These polymers can improve the performance of a liquid biopsy through several mechanisms. For example, polymers designed to increase the affinity of capture enhance device sensitivity. On the other hand, polymers designed to increase binding avidity or repel nonspecific adsorption enhance device specificity. Branched and hyperbranched polymers can also be used to amplify the signal from small amounts of detected material. The further development of hyperbranched polymers in liquid biopsy applications will enhance device capabilities and help these critical technologies reach the oncology clinic where they are sorely needed. This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing Diagnostic Tools > Diagnostic Nanodevices.

      PMID:34984833 | PMC:PMC9480505 | DOI:10.1002/wnan.1770

      View details for PubMedID 34984833
  • Hierarchically Multivalent Peptide-Nanoparticle Architectures: A Systematic Approach to Engineer Surface Adhesion Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)
    Jeong W, Bu J, Jafari R, Rehak P, Kubiatowicz LJ, Drelich AJ, Owen RH, Nair A, Rawding PA, Poellmann MJ, Hopkins CM, Král P, Hong S
    2022 Feb;9(4):e2103098. doi: 10.1002/advs.202103098. Epub 2021 Dec 11.
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      The multivalent binding effect has been the subject of extensive studies to modulate adhesion behaviors of various biological and engineered systems. However, precise control over the strong avidity-based binding remains a significant challenge. Here, a set of engineering strategies are developed and tested to systematically enhance the multivalent binding of peptides in a stepwise manner. Poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers are employed to increase local peptide densities on a substrate, resulting in hierarchically multivalent architectures (HMAs) that display multivalent dendrimer-peptide conjugates (DPCs) with various configurations. To control binding behaviors, effects of the three major components of the HMAs are investigated: i) poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) linkers as spacers between conjugated peptides; ii) multiple peptides on the DPCs; and iii) various surface arrangements of HMAs (i.e., a mixture of DPCs each containing different peptides vs DPCs cofunctionalized with multiple peptides). The optimized HMA configuration enables significantly enhanced target cell binding with high selectivity compared to the control surfaces directly conjugated with peptides. The engineering approaches presented herein can be applied individually or in combination, providing guidelines for the effective utilization of biomolecular multivalent interactions using DPC-based HMAs.

      PMID:34894089 | PMC:PMC8811846 | DOI:10.1002/advs.202103098

      View details for PubMedID 34894089
  • Radiation Augments the Local Anti-Tumor Effect of <em>In Situ</em> Vaccine With CpG-Oligodeoxynucleotides and Anti-OX40 in Immunologically Cold Tumor Models Frontiers in immunology
    Pieper AA, Zangl LM, Speigelman DV, Feils AS, Hoefges A, Jagodinsky JC, Felder MA, Tsarovsky NW, Arthur IS, Brown RJ, Birstler J, Le T, Carlson PM, Bates AM, Hank JA, Rakhmilevich AL, Erbe AK, Sondel PM, Patel RB, Morris ZS
    2021 Nov 15;12:763888. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.763888. eCollection 2021.
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      INTRODUCTION: Combining CpG oligodeoxynucleotides with anti-OX40 agonist antibody (CpG+OX40) is able to generate an effective in situ vaccine in some tumor models, including the A20 lymphoma model. Immunologically "cold" tumors, which are typically less responsive to immunotherapy, are characterized by few tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), low mutation burden, and limited neoantigen expression. Radiation therapy (RT) can change the tumor microenvironment (TME) of an immunologically "cold" tumor. This study investigated the effect of combining RT with the in situ vaccine CpG+OX40 in immunologically "cold" tumor models.

      METHODS: Mice bearing flank tumors (A20 lymphoma, B78 melanoma or 4T1 breast cancer) were treated with combinations of local RT, CpG, and/or OX40, and response to treatment was monitored. Flow cytometry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) experiments were conducted to study differences in the TME, secondary lymphoid organs, and immune activation after treatment.

      RESULTS: An in situ vaccine regimen of CpG+OX40, which was effective in the A20 model, did not significantly improve tumor response or survival in the "cold" B78 and 4T1 models, as tested here. In both models, treatment with RT prior to CpG+OX40 enabled a local response to this in situ vaccine, significantly improving the anti-tumor response and survival compared to RT alone or CpG+OX40 alone. RT increased OX40 expression on tumor infiltrating CD4+ non-regulatory T cells. RT+CpG+OX40 increased the ratio of tumor-infiltrating effector T cells to T regulatory cells and significantly increased CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation in the tumor draining lymph node (TDLN) and spleen.

      CONCLUSION: RT significantly improves the local anti-tumor effect of the in situ vaccine CpG+OX40 in immunologically "cold", solid, murine tumor models where RT or CpG+OX40 alone fail to stimulate tumor regression.

      PMID:34868010 | PMC:PMC8634717 | DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2021.763888

      View details for PubMedID 34868010
  • Autophagy awakens-the myriad roles of autophagy in head and neck cancer development and therapeutic response Molecular carcinogenesis
    Bradley ST, Lee Y, Gurel Z, Kimple RJ
    2022 Feb;61(2):243-253. doi: 10.1002/mc.23372. Epub 2021 Nov 15.
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      Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved cell survival mechanism that degrades damaged proteins and organelles to generate cellular energy during times of stress. Recycling of these cellular components occurs in a series of sequential steps with multiple regulatory points. Mechanistic dysfunction can lead to a variety of human diseases and cancers due to the complexity of autophagy and its ability to regulate vital cellular functions. The role that autophagy plays in both the development and treatment of cancer is highly complex, especially given the fact that most cancer therapies modulate autophagy. This review aims to discuss the balance of autophagy in the development, progression, and treatment of head and neck cancer, as well as highlighting the need for a deeper understanding of what is still unknown about autophagy.

      PMID:34780672 | PMC:PMC8799495 | DOI:10.1002/mc.23372

      View details for PubMedID 34780672
  • Syndecans and Their Synstatins: Targeting an Organizer of Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Signaling at the Cell-Matrix Interface Frontiers in oncology
    Rapraeger AC
    2021 Oct 27;11:775349. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.775349. eCollection 2021.
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      Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and integrin matrix receptors have well-established roles in tumor cell proliferation, invasion and survival, often functioning in a coordinated fashion at sites of cell-matrix adhesion. Central to this coordination are syndecans, another class of matrix receptor, that organize RTKs and integrins into functional units, relying on docking motifs in the syndecan extracellular domains to capture and localize RTKs (e.g., EGFR, IGF-1R, VEGFR2, HER2) and integrins (e.g., αvβ3, αvβ5, α4β1, α3β1, α6β4) to sites of adhesion. Peptide mimetics of the docking motifs in the syndecans, called "synstatins", prevent assembly of these receptor complexes, block their signaling activities and are highly effective against tumor cell invasion and survival and angiogenesis. This review describes our current understanding of these four syndecan-coupled mechanisms and their inhibitory synstatins (SSTNIGF1R, SSTNVEGFR2, SSTNVLA-4, SSTNEGFR and SSTNHER2).

      PMID:34778093 | PMC:PMC8578902 | DOI:10.3389/fonc.2021.775349

      View details for PubMedID 34778093
  • Defining high-risk elective contralateral neck radiation volumes for oropharynx cancer Head & neck
    Witek ME, Woody NM, Musunuru HB, Hill PM, Yadav P, Burr AR, Ko HC, Ross RB, Kimple RJ, Harari PM
    2022 Feb;44(2):317-324. doi: 10.1002/hed.26924. Epub 2021 Nov 11.
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      BACKGROUND: To define the location of the initial contralateral lymph node (LN) metastasis in patients with oropharynx cancer.

      METHODS: The location of the LN centroids from patients with oropharynx cancer and a single radiographically positive contralateral LN was defined. A clinical target volume (CTV) inclusive of all LN centroids was created, and its impact on dose to organs at risk was assessed.

      RESULTS: We identified 55 patients of which 49/55 had a single contralateral LN in level IIA, 4/55 in level III, 1/55 in level IIB, and 1/55 in the retropharynx. Mean radiation dose to the contralateral parotid gland was 15.1 and 21.0 Gy, (p <0.001) using the modeled high-risk elective CTV and a consensus CTV, respectively.

      CONCLUSIONS: We present a systematic approach for identifying the contralateral nodal regions at highest risk of harboring subclinical disease in patients with oropharynx cancer that warrants prospective clinical study.

      PMID:34761832 | PMC:PMC9723806 | DOI:10.1002/hed.26924

      View details for PubMedID 34761832
  • The Mus musculus Papillomavirus Type 1 E7 Protein Binds to the Retinoblastoma Tumor Suppressor: Implications for Viral Pathogenesis mBio
    Wei T, Grace M, Uberoi A, Romero-Masters JC, Lee D, Lambert PF, Munger K
    2021 Aug 31;12(4):e0227721. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02277-21. Epub 2021 Aug 31.
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      The species specificity of papillomaviruses has been a significant roadblock for performing in vivo pathogenesis studies in common model organisms. The Mus musculus papillomavirus type 1 (MmuPV1) causes cutaneous papillomas that can progress to squamous cell carcinomas in laboratory mice. The papillomavirus E6 and E7 genes encode proteins that establish and maintain a cellular milieu that allows for viral genome synthesis and viral progeny synthesis in growth-arrested, terminally differentiated keratinocytes. The E6 and E7 proteins provide this activity by binding to and functionally reprogramming key cellular regulatory proteins. The MmuPV1 E7 protein lacks the canonical LXCXE motif that mediates the binding of multiple viral oncoproteins to the cellular retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein, RB1. Our proteomic experiments, however, revealed that MmuPV1 E7 still interacts with RB1. We show that MmuPV1 E7 interacts through its C terminus with the C-terminal domain of RB1. Binding of MmuPV1 E7 to RB1 did not cause significant activation of E2F-regulated cellular genes. MmuPV1 E7 expression was shown to be essential for papilloma formation. Experimental infection of mice with MmuPV1 expressing an E7 mutant that is defective for binding to RB1 caused delayed onset, lower incidence, and smaller sizes of papillomas. Our results demonstrate that the MmuPV1 E7 gene is essential and that targeting noncanonical activities of RB1, which are independent of RB1's ability to modulate the expression of E2F-regulated genes, contribute to papillomavirus-mediated pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Papillomavirus infections cause a variety of epithelial hyperplastic lesions, or warts. While most warts are benign, some papillomaviruses cause lesions that can progress to squamous cell carcinomas, and approximately 5% of all human cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. The papillomavirus E6 and E7 proteins are thought to function to reprogram host epithelial cells to enable viral genome replication in terminally differentiated, normally growth-arrested cells. E6 and E7 lack enzymatic activities and function by interacting and functionally altering host cell regulatory proteins. Many cellular proteins that can interact with E6 and E7 have been identified, but the biological relevance of these interactions for viral pathogenesis has not been determined. This is because papillomaviruses are species specific and do not infect heterologous hosts. Here, we use a recently established mouse papillomavirus (MmuPV1) model to investigate the role of the E7 protein in viral pathogenesis. We show that MmuPV1 E7 is necessary for papilloma formation. The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (RB1) is targeted by many papillomaviral E7 proteins, including cancer-associated HPVs. We show that MmuPV1 E7 can bind RB1 and that infection with a mutant MmuPV1 virus that expresses an RB1 binding-defective E7 mutant caused smaller and fewer papillomas that arise with delayed kinetics.

      PMID:34465025 | PMC:PMC8406179 | DOI:10.1128/mBio.02277-21

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  • Tri-modal liquid biopsy: Combinational analysis of circulating tumor cells, exosomes, and cell-free DNA using machine learning algorithm Clinical and translational medicine
    Bu J, Lee TH, Poellmann MJ, Rawding PA, Jeong W, Hong RS, Hyun SH, Eun HS, Hong S
    2021 Aug;11(8):e499. doi: 10.1002/ctm2.499.
  • Biology of HPV Mediated Carcinogenesis and Tumor Progression Seminars in radiation oncology
    Cosper PF, Bradley S, Luo L, Kimple RJ
    2021 Oct;31(4):265-273. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2021.02.006.
    • More

      Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a ubiquitous DNA virus that infects squamous epithelia. Though HPV only encodes 8 genes, it is capable of causing cellular transformation and ultimately cancer in host cells. In this article we review the classification of HPV viruses, their genetic structure and life cycle, viral gene biology, and provide an overview of the role of HPV in cancer. We explain how the viral life cycle can lead to integration of viral DNA into the host genome leading to increased cell cycle progression, decreased apoptosis, altered DNA repair, and chromosomal instability. We describe the multifaceted roles of the canonical oncogenes E6 and E7 in promoting tumorigenesis and the important role of other viral genes in regulating cancer development. We also review how the virus actively suppresses innate and adaptive immunity to evade immune detection and promote a pro-tumorigenic microenvironment. The biology presented here will serve as a foundation to the other chapters in this edition and we hope it will incite enthusiasm for continued research on this fascinating virus that causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.

      PMID:34455982 | PMC:PMC8409095 | DOI:10.1016/j.semradonc.2021.02.006

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  • Role of IQGAP1 in Carcinogenesis Cancers
    Wei T, Lambert PF
    2021 Aug 4;13(16):3940. doi: 10.3390/cancers13163940.
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      Scaffolding proteins can play important roles in cell signaling transduction. IQ motif-containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) influences many cellular activities by scaffolding multiple key signaling pathways, including ones involved in carcinogenesis. Two decades of studies provide evidence that IQGAP1 plays an essential role in promoting cancer development. IQGAP1 is overexpressed in many types of cancer, and its overexpression in cancer is associated with lower survival of the cancer patient. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the oncogenic roles of IQGAP1. We start by describing the major cancer-related signaling pathways scaffolded by IQGAP1 and their associated cellular activities. We then describe clinical and molecular evidence for the contribution of IQGAP1 in different types of cancers. In the end, we review recent evidence implicating IQGAP1 in tumor-related immune responses. Given the critical role of IQGAP1 in carcinoma development, anti-tumor therapies targeting IQGAP1 or its associated signaling pathways could be beneficial for patients with many types of cancer.

      PMID:34439095 | PMC:PMC8391515 | DOI:10.3390/cancers13163940

      View details for PubMedID 34439095
  • Dendrimers for cancer immunotherapy: Avidity-based drug delivery vehicles for effective anti-tumor immune response Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology
    Rawding PA, Bu J, Wang J, Kim DW, Drelich AJ, Kim Y, Hong S
    2022 Mar;14(2):e1752. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1752. Epub 2021 Aug 19.
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      Cancer immunotherapy, or the utilization of a patient's own immune system to treat cancer, has shifted the paradigm of cancer treatment. Despite meaningful responses being observed in multiple studies, currently available immunotherapy platforms have only proven effective to a small subset of patients. To address this, nanoparticles have been utilized as a novel carrier for immunotherapeutic drugs, achieving robust anti-tumor effects with increased adaptive and durable responses. Specifically, dendrimer nanoparticles have attracted a great deal of scientific interest due to their versatility in various therapeutic applications, resulting from their unique physicochemical properties and chemically well-defined architecture. This review offers a comprehensive overview of dendrimer-based immunotherapy technologies, including their formulations, biological functionalities, and therapeutic applications. Common formulations include: (1) modulators of cytokine secretion of immune cells (adjuvants); (2) facilitators of the recognition of tumorous antigens (vaccines); (3) stimulators of immune effectors to selectively attack cells expressing specific antigens (antibodies); and (4) inhibitors of immune-suppressive responses (immune checkpoint inhibitors). On-going works and prospects of dendrimer-based immunotherapies are also discussed. Overall, this review provides a critical overview on rapidly growing dendrimer-based immunotherapy technologies and serves as a guideline for researchers and clinicians who are interested in this field. This article is categorized under: Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies.

      PMID:34414690 | PMC:PMC9485970 | DOI:10.1002/wnan.1752

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  • Multiomic analysis reveals decidual-specific transcriptional programing of MAIT cells American journal of reproductive immunology (New York, N.Y. : 1989)
    Vazquez J, Chavarria M, Chasman DA, Schwartz RW, Tyler CT, Lopez G, Fisher RC, Ong IM, Stanic AK
    2021 Dec;86(6):e13495. doi: 10.1111/aji.13495. Epub 2021 Oct 27.
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      PROBLEM: Mucosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells have been recently identified at the maternal-fetal interface. However, transcriptional programming of decidual MAIT cells in pregnancy remains poorly understood.

      METHOD OF STUDY: We employed a multiomic approach to address this question. Mononuclear cells from the decidua basalis and parietalis, and control PBMCs, were analyzed via flow cytometry to investigate MAIT cells in the decidua and assess their transcription factor expression. In a separate study, both decidual and matched peripheral MAIT cells were analyzed using Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by Sequencing (CITE-seq) coupled with gene expression analysis. Lastly, decidual MAIT cells were stimulated with E.coli and expression of MR1 by antigen presenting cells was measured to evaluate decidual MAIT cell function.

      RESULTS: First, we identified MAIT cells in both the decidua basalis and parietalis. CITE-seq, coupled with scRNA-seq gene expression analysis, highlighted transcriptional programming differences between decidual and matched peripheral MAIT cells at a single cell resolution. Transcription factor expression analysis further highlighted transcriptional differences between decidual MAIT cells and non-matched peripheral MAIT cells. Functionally, MAIT cells are skewed towards IFNγ and TNFα production upon stimulation, with E.coli leading to IFNγ production. Lastly, we demonstrate that MR1, the antigen presenting molecule restricting MAIT cells, is expressed by decidual APCs.

      CONCLUSION: MAIT cells are present in the decidua basalis and obtain a unique gene expression profile. The presence of MR1 on APCs coupled with in vitro activation by E.coli suggests that MAIT cells might be involved in tissue-repair mechanisms at the maternal-fetal interface.

      PMID:34411378 | PMC:PMC8720468 | DOI:10.1111/aji.13495

      View details for PubMedID 34411378
  • Mouse papillomavirus type 1 (MmuPV1) DNA is frequently integrated in benign tumors by microhomology-mediated end-joining PLoS pathogens
    Yu L, Majerciak V, Xue X, Uberoi A, Lobanov A, Chen X, Cam M, Hughes SH, Lambert PF, Zheng Z
    2021 Aug 3;17(8):e1009812. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009812. eCollection 2021 Aug.
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      MmuPV1 is a useful model for studying papillomavirus-induced tumorigenesis. We used RNA-seq to look for chimeric RNAs that map to both MmuPV1 and host genomes. In tumor tissues, a higher proportion of total viral reads were virus-host chimeric junction reads (CJRs) (1.9‰ - 7‰) than in tumor-free tissues (0.6‰ - 1.3‰): most CJRs mapped to the viral E2/E4 region. Although most of the MmuPV1 integration sites were mapped to intergenic regions and introns throughout the mouse genome, integrations were seen more than once in several genes: Malat1, Krt1, Krt10, Fabp5, Pard3, and Grip1; these data were confirmed by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE)-Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT)-seq or targeted DNA-seq. Microhomology sequences were frequently seen at host-virus DNA junctions. MmuPV1 infection and integration affected the expression of host genes. We found that factors for DNA double-stranded break repair and microhomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ), such as H2ax, Fen1, DNA polymerase Polθ, Cdk1, and Plk1, exhibited a step-wise increase and Mdc1 a decrease in expression in MmuPV1-infected tissues and MmuPV1 tumors relative to normal tissues. Increased expression of mitotic kinases CDK1 and PLK1 appears to be correlated with CtIP phosphorylation in MmuPV1 tumors, suggesting a role for MMEJ-mediated DNA joining in the MmuPV1 integration events that are associated with MmuPV1-induced progression of tumors.

      PMID:34343212 | PMC:PMC8362953 | DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1009812

      View details for PubMedID 34343212
  • Size-Dependent Drug Loading, Gene Complexation, Cell Uptake, and Transfection of a Novel Dendron-Lipid Nanoparticle for Drug/Gene Co-delivery Biomacromolecules
    Nair A, Bu J, Bugno J, Rawding PA, Kubiatowicz LJ, Jeong W, Hong S
    2021 Sep 13;22(9):3746-3755. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c00541. Epub 2021 Jul 28.
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      Dendron micelles have shown promising results as a multifunctional delivery system, owing to their unique molecular architecture. Herein, we have prepared a novel poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendron-lipid hybrid nanoparticle (DLNP) as a nanocarrier for drug/gene co-delivery and examined how the dendron generation of DLNPs impacts their cargo-carrying capabilities. DLNPs, formed by a thin-layer hydration method, were internally loaded with chemo-drugs and externally complexed with plasmids. Compared to generation 2 dendron DLNP (D2LNPs), D3LNPs demonstrated a higher drug encapsulation efficiency (31% vs 87%) and better gene complexation (minimal N/P ratio of 20:1 vs 5:1 for complexation) due to their smaller micellar aggregation number and higher charge density, respectively. Furthermore, D3LNPs were able to avoid endocytosis and subsequent lysosomal degradation and demonstrated a higher cellular uptake than D2LNPs. As a result, D3LNPs exhibited significantly enhanced antitumor and gene transfection efficacy in comparison to D2LNPs. These findings provide design cues for engineering multifunctional dendron-based nanotherapeutic systems for effective combination cancer treatment.

      PMID:34319087 | PMC:PMC8604000 | DOI:10.1021/acs.biomac.1c00541

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  • A Novel Model for Papillomavirus-Mediated Anal Disease and Cancer Using the Mouse Papillomavirus mBio
    Blaine-Sauer S, Shin M, Matkowskyj KA, Ward-Shaw E, Lambert PF
    2021 Aug 31;12(4):e0161121. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01611-21. Epub 2021 Jul 20.
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      Up to 95% of all anal cancers are associated with infection by human papillomavirus (HPV); however, no established preclinical model exists for high-grade anal disease and cancer mediated by a natural papillomavirus infection. To establish an infection-mediated model, we infected both immunocompromised NSG and immunocompetent FVB/NJ mice with the recently discovered murine papillomavirus MmuPV1, with and without the additional cofactors of UV B radiation (UVB) and/or the chemical carcinogen 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA). Infections were tracked via lavages and swabs for MmuPV1 DNA, and pathology was assessed at the endpoint. Tissues were analyzed for biomarkers of viral infection and papillomavirus-mediated disease, and the localization of viral infection was investigated using biomarkers to characterize the anal microanatomical zones. IMPORTANCE We show, for the first time, that MmuPV1 infection is sufficient to efficiently mediate high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions in the anal tract of mice using the NSG immunocompromised strain and that MmuPV1, in combination with the chemical carcinogen DMBA, has carcinogenic potential. We further show that MmuPV1 is able to persist for up to 6 months in the anal tract of FVB/NJ mice irradiated with UVB and contributes to high-grade disease and cancer in an immunocompetent strain. We demonstrate that MmuPV1 preferentially localizes to the anal transition zone and that this localization is not an artifact of infection methodology. This study presents a valuable new preclinical model for studying papillomavirus-mediated anal disease driven by a natural infection.

      PMID:34281391 | PMC:PMC8406235 | DOI:10.1128/mBio.01611-21

      View details for PubMedID 34281391
  • Low-dose targeted radionuclide therapy renders immunologically cold tumors responsive to immune checkpoint blockade Science translational medicine
    Patel RB, Hernandez R, Carlson P, Grudzinski J, Bates AM, Jagodinsky JC, Erbe A, Marsh IR, Arthur I, Aluicio-Sarduy E, Sriramaneni RN, Jin WJ, Massey C, Rakhmilevich AL, Vail D, Engle JW, Le T, Kim K, Bednarz B, Sondel PM, Weichert J, Morris ZS
    2021 Jul 14;13(602):eabb3631. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb3631.
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      Molecular and cellular effects of radiotherapy on tumor microenvironment (TME) can help prime and propagate antitumor immunity. We hypothesized that delivering radiation to all tumor sites could augment response to immunotherapies. We tested an approach to enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) by using targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) to deliver radiation semiselectively to tumors. NM600, an alkylphosphocholine analog that preferentially accumulates in most tumor types, chelates a radioisotope and semiselectively delivers it to the TME for therapeutic or diagnostic applications. Using serial 86Y-NM600 positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, we estimated the dosimetry of 90Y-NM600 in immunologically cold syngeneic murine models that do not respond to ICIs alone. We observed strong therapeutic efficacy and reported optimal dose (2.5 to 5 gray) and sequence for 90Y-NM600 in combination with ICIs. After combined treatment, 45 to 66% of mice exhibited complete response and tumor-specific T cell memory, compared to 0% with 90Y-NM600 or ICI alone. This required expression of STING in tumor cells. Combined TRT and ICI activated production of proinflammatory cytokines in the TME, promoted tumor infiltration by and clonal expansion of CD8+ T cells, and reduced metastases. In mice bearing multiple tumors, combining TRT with moderate-dose (12 gray) external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) targeting a single tumor augmented response to ICIs compared to combination of ICIs with either TRT or EBRT alone. The safety of TRT was confirmed in a companion canine study. Low-dose TRT represents a translatable approach to promote response to ICIs for many tumor types, regardless of location.

      PMID:34261797 | PMC:PMC8449934 | DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.abb3631

      View details for PubMedID 34261797
  • Quantification and molecular imaging of fatty acid isomers from complex biological samples by mass spectrometry Chemical science
    Zhang H, Xu M, Shi X, Liu Y, Li Z, Jagodinsky JC, Ma M, Welham NV, Morris ZS, Li L
    2021 May 4;12(23):8115-8122. doi: 10.1039/d1sc01614h.
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      Elucidating the isomeric structure of free fatty acids (FAs) in biological samples is essential to comprehend their biological functions in various physiological and pathological processes. Herein, we report a novel approach of using peracetic acid (PAA) induced epoxidation coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) for localization of the C[double bond, length as m-dash]C bond in unsaturated FAs, which enables both quantification and spatial visualization of FA isomers from biological samples. Abundant diagnostic fragment ions indicative of the C[double bond, length as m-dash]C positions were produced upon fragmentation of the FA epoxides derived from either in-solution or on-tissue PAA epoxidation of free FAs. The performance of the proposed approach was evaluated by analysis of FAs in human cell lines as well as mapping the FA isomers from cancer tissue samples with MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS. Merits of the newly developed method include high sensitivity, simplicity, high reaction efficiency, and capability of spatial characterization of FA isomers in tissue samples.

      PMID:34194701 | PMC:PMC8208125 | DOI:10.1039/d1sc01614h

      View details for PubMedID 34194701
  • Combination of radiation therapy, bempegaldesleukin, and checkpoint blockade eradicates advanced solid tumors and metastases in mice Journal for immunotherapy of cancer
    Pieper AA, Rakhmilevich AL, Spiegelman DV, Patel RB, Birstler J, Jin WJ, Carlson PM, Charych DH, Hank JA, Erbe AK, Overwijk WW, Morris ZS, Sondel PM
    2021 Jun;9(6):e002715. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-002715.
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      BACKGROUND: Current clinical trials are using radiation therapy (RT) to enhance an antitumor response elicited by high-dose interleukin (IL)-2 therapy or immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). Bempegaldesleukin (BEMPEG) is an investigational CD122-preferential IL-2 pathway agonist with prolonged in vivo half-life and preferential intratumoral expansion of T effector cells over T regulatory cells. BEMPEG has shown encouraging safety and efficacy in clinical trials when used in combination with PD-1 checkpoint blockade. In this study, we investigated the antitumor effect of local RT combined with BEMPEG in multiple immunologically 'cold' tumor models. Additionally, we asked if ICB could further enhance the local and distant antitumor effect of RT+BEMPEG in the setting of advanced solid tumors or metastatic disease.

      METHODS: Mice bearing flank tumors (B78 melanoma, 4T1 breast cancer, or MOC2 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) were treated with combinations of RT and immunotherapy (including BEMPEG, high-dose IL-2, anti(α)-CTLA-4, and α-PD-L1). Mice bearing B78 flank tumors were injected intravenously with B16 melanoma cells to mimic metastatic disease and were subsequently treated with RT and/or immunotherapy. Tumor growth and survival were monitored. Peripheral T cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were assessed via flow cytometry.

      RESULTS: A cooperative antitumor effect was observed in all models when RT was combined with BEMPEG, and RT increased IL-2 receptor expression on peripheral T cells. This cooperative interaction was associated with increased IL-2 receptor expression on peripheral T cells following RT. In the B78 melanoma model, RT+BEMPEG resulted in complete tumor regression in the majority of mice with a single ~400 mm3 tumor. This antitumor response was T-cell dependent and supported by long-lasting immune memory. Adding ICB to RT+BEMPEG strengthened the antitumor response and cured the majority of mice with a single ~1000 mm3 B78 tumor. In models with disseminated metastasis (B78 primary with B16 metastasis, 4T1, and MOC2), the triple combination of RT, BEMPEG, and ICB significantly improved primary tumor response and survival.

      CONCLUSION: The combination of local RT, BEMPEG, and ICB cured mice with advanced, immunologically cold tumors and distant metastasis in a T cell-dependent manner, suggesting this triple combination warrants clinical testing.

      PMID:34172518 | PMC:PMC8237721 | DOI:10.1136/jitc-2021-002715

      View details for PubMedID 34172518
  • Respiratory-swallow coordination in a rat model of chemoradiation Head & neck
    Rowe LM, Connor NP, Russell JA
    2021 Oct;43(10):2954-2966. doi: 10.1002/hed.26782. Epub 2021 Jun 23.
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      BACKGROUND: Chemoradiation treatment (CRT) for head and neck cancer (HNC) is associated with postswallow inhale events that elevate the risk of penetration/aspiration. The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of a rat model for investigating the effect of CRT on respiratory-swallow coordination.

      METHODS: Videofluoroscopic swallow study was performed on 10 Sprague-Dawley rats 3 months post-CRT (3 mg/kg Cisplatin, 10 fractions of 4.5 Gy/day radiotherapy to tongue base), and 10 naïve controls. We examined the effect of CRT on swallow apnea duration, diaphragm movement, and bolus kinematics.

      RESULTS: CRT rats had a significant increase in postswallow inhale (p = 0.008), which was associated with significantly longer swallow apnea durations, lower diaphragm displacement at swallow onset, and faster pharyngoesophageal bolus speed.

      CONCLUSION: The rat CRT model is valid for the study of respiratory-swallow coordination due to the consistency of findings in this study with those reported in clinical CRT studies in HNC.

      PMID:34160109 | PMC:PMC8628815 | DOI:10.1002/hed.26782

      View details for PubMedID 34160109
  • Role of IQGAP1 in Papillomavirus-Associated Head and Neck Tumorigenesis Cancers
    Wei T, Choi S, Buehler D, Lee D, Ward-Shaw E, Anderson RA, Lambert PF
    2021 May 10;13(9):2276. doi: 10.3390/cancers13092276.
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      Approximately 25% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. In these cancers as well as in HPV-associated anogenital cancers, PI3K signaling is highly activated. We previously showed that IQ motif-containing GTPase activating protein 1 (IQGAP1), a PI3K pathway scaffolding protein, is overexpressed in and contributes to HNSCC and that blocking IQGAP1-mediated PI3K signaling reduces HPV-positive HNSCC cell survival and migration. In this study, we tested whether IQGAP1 promotes papillomavirus (PV)-associated HNSCCs. IQGAP1 was necessary for optimal PI3K signaling induced by HPV16 oncoproteins in transgenic mice and MmuPV1 infection, a mouse papillomavirus that causes HNSCC in mice. Furthermore, we found that, at 6 months post-infection, MmuPV1-infected Iqgap1-/- mice developed significantly less severe tumor phenotypes than MmuPV1-infected Iqgap1+/+ mice, indicating a role of IQGAP1 in MmuPV1-associated HNSCC. The tumors resulting from MmuPV1 infection showed features consistent with HPV infection and HPV-associated cancer. However, such IQGAP1-dependent effects on disease severity were not observed in an HPV16 transgenic mouse model for HNC. This may reflect that IQGAP1 plays a role in earlier stages of viral pathogenesis, or other activities of HPV16 oncogenes are more dominant in driving carcinogenesis than their influence on PI3K signaling.

      PMID:34068608 | PMC:PMC8126105 | DOI:10.3390/cancers13092276

      View details for PubMedID 34068608
  • High-resolution magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry imaging of the human larynx Journal of anatomy
    Kishimoto AO, Kishimoto Y, Shi X, Hutchinson EB, Zhang H, Shi Y, Oliveira G, Li L, Welham NV, Rowland IJ
    2021 Sep;239(3):545-556. doi: 10.1111/joa.13451. Epub 2021 May 25.
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      High-resolution, noninvasive and nondestructive imaging of the subepithelial structures of the larynx would enhance microanatomic tissue assessment and clinical decision making; similarly, in situ molecular profiling of laryngeal tissue would enhance biomarker discovery and pathology readout. Towards these goals, we assessed the capabilities of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation-mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) imaging of rarely reported paediatric and adult cadaveric larynges that contained pathologies. The donors were a 13-month-old male, a 10-year-old female with an infraglottic mucus retention cyst and a 74-year-old female with advanced polypoid degeneration and a mucus retention cyst. MR and molecular imaging data were corroborated using whole-organ histology. Our MR protocols imaged the larynges at 45-117 μm2 in-plane resolution and capably resolved microanatomic structures that have not been previously reported radiographically-such as the vocal fold superficial lamina propria, vocal ligament and macula flavae; age-related tissue features-such as intramuscular fat deposition and cartilage ossification; and the lesions. Diffusion tensor imaging characterised differences in water diffusivity, primary tissue fibre orientation, and fractional anisotropy between the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, mucosae and lesions. MALDI-MS imaging revealed peptide signatures and putative protein assignments for the polypoid degeneration lesion and the N-glycan constituents of one mucus retention cyst. These imaging approaches have immediate application in experimental research and, with ongoing technology development, potential for future clinical application.

      PMID:34032275 | PMC:PMC8349453 | DOI:10.1111/joa.13451

      View details for PubMedID 34032275
  • Temporal analysis of type 1 interferon activation in tumor cells following external beam radiotherapy or targeted radionuclide therapy Theranostics
    Jagodinsky JC, Jin WJ, Bates AM, Hernandez R, Grudzinski JJ, Marsh IR, Chakravarty I, Arthur IS, Zangl LM, Brown RJ, Nystuen EJ, Emma SE, Kerr C, Carlson PM, Sriramaneni RN, Engle JW, Aluicio-Sarduy E, Barnhart TE, Le T, Kim K, Bednarz BP, Weichert JP, Patel RB, Morris ZS
    2021 Apr 15;11(13):6120-6137. doi: 10.7150/thno.54881. eCollection 2021.
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      Rationale: Clinical interest in combining targeted radionuclide therapies (TRT) with immunotherapies is growing. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) activates a type 1 interferon (IFN1) response mediated via stimulator of interferon genes (STING), and this is critical to its therapeutic interaction with immune checkpoint blockade. However, little is known about the time course of IFN1 activation after EBRT or whether this may be induced by decay of a TRT source. Methods: We examined the IFN1 response and expression of immune susceptibility markers in B78 and B16 melanomas and MOC2 head and neck cancer murine models using qPCR and western blot. For TRT, we used 90Y chelated to NM600, an alkylphosphocholine analog that exhibits selective uptake and retention in tumor cells including B78 and MOC2. Results: We observed significant IFN1 activation in all cell lines, with peak activation in B78, B16, and MOC2 cell lines occurring 7, 7, and 1 days, respectively, following RT for all doses. This effect was STING-dependent. Select IFN response genes remained upregulated at 14 days following RT. IFN1 activation following STING agonist treatment in vitro was identical to RT suggesting time course differences between cell lines were mediated by STING pathway kinetics and not DNA damage susceptibility. In vivo delivery of EBRT and TRT to B78 and MOC2 tumors resulted in a comparable time course and magnitude of IFN1 activation. In the MOC2 model, the combination of 90Y-NM600 and dual checkpoint blockade therapy reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival compared to single agent therapy and cumulative dose equivalent combination EBRT and dual checkpoint blockade therapy. Conclusions: We report the time course of the STING-dependent IFN1 response following radiation in multiple murine tumor models. We show the potential of TRT to stimulate IFN1 activation that is comparable to that observed with EBRT and this may be critical to the therapeutic integration of TRT with immunotherapies.

      PMID:33995649 | PMC:PMC8120207 | DOI:10.7150/thno.54881

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  • Impact of immediate cryopreservation on the establishment of patient derived xenografts from head and neck cancer patients Journal of translational medicine
    Abel L, Durmaz A, Hu R, Longhurst C, Baschnagel AM, Wheeler D, Scott JG, Kimple RJ
    2021 Apr 28;19(1):180. doi: 10.1186/s12967-021-02850-1.
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      BACKGROUND: Patient-derived xenografts established from human cancers are important tools for investigating novel anti-cancer therapies. Establishing PDXs requires a significant investment and many PDXs may be used infrequently due to their similarity to existing models, their growth rate, or the lack of relevant mutations. We performed this study to determine whether we could efficiently establish PDXs after cryopreservation to allow molecular profiling to be completed prior to implanting the human cancer.

      METHODS: Fresh tumor was split with half used to establish a PDX immediately and half cryopreserved for later implantation. Resulting tumors were assessed histologically and tumors established from fresh or cryopreserved tissues compared as to the growth rate, extent of tumor necrosis, mitotic activity, keratinization, and grade. All PDXs were subjected to short tandem repeat testing to confirm identity and assess similarity between methods.

      RESULTS: Tumor growth was seen in 70% of implanted cases. No growth in either condition was seen in 30% of tumors. One developed a SCC from the immediate implant but a lymphoproliferative mass without SCC from the cryopreserved specimen. No difference in growth rate was seen. No difference between histologic parameters was seen between the two approaches.

      CONCLUSIONS: Fresh human cancer tissue can be immediately cryopreserved and later thawed and implanted to establish PDXs. This resource saving approach allows for tumor profiling prior to implantation into animals thus maximizing the probability that the tumor will be utilized for future research.

      PMID:33910584 | PMC:PMC8082827 | DOI:10.1186/s12967-021-02850-1

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  • A multipurpose brachytherapy catheter to enable intratumoral injection Brachytherapy
    Jagodinsky JC, Medeiros G, Raj HH, Razuan A, Locsin A, Dempsey TG, Tang B, Chakravarty I, Clark PA, Sriramaneni RN, Jin WJ, Lan K, Das RK, Miller JR, Suarez-Gonzalez D, Morris ZS
    2021 Jul-Aug;20(4):900-910. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2020.10.012. Epub 2021 Mar 27.
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      PURPOSE: To create and test a multipurpose brachytherapy catheter prototype enabling intratumoral injection and brachytherapy after a single catheter insertion.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: The design of the prototype consists of an outer tube and an inner syringe tube that can be filled with injectable agent. The outer sheath and inner syringe tube were constructed using polytetrafluoroethylene tubing, and the other components were 3D printed using dental resin and polylactic acid material. To demonstrate functionality, we injected in vitro phantoms with dyed saline. For proof of concept, we demonstrated the potential for the prototype to deliver cell therapy, enhance tumor delineation, deliver tattoo ink for pathology marking, avoid toxicity through local delivery of chemotherapy, and facilitate combination brachytherapy and immunotherapy.

      RESULTS: The prototype enables accurate injection in vitro and in vivo without altering dosimetry. To illustrate the potential for delivery of cell therapies, we injected luciferase-expressing splenocytes and confirmed their delivery with bioluminescence imaging. To demonstrate feasibility of radiographically visualizing injected material, we delivered iohexol contrast intratumorally and confirmed tumor retention using Faxitron x-ray imaging. In addition, we show the potential of intratumoral administration to reduce toxicity associated with cyclophosphamide compared with systemic administration. To demonstrate feasibility, we treated tumor-bearing mice with brachytherapy (192Ir source, 2 Gy to 5 mm) in combination with intratumoral injection of 375,000 U of interleukin 2 and observed no increased toxicity.

      CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that a prototype multipurpose brachytherapy catheter enables accurate intratumoral injection and support the feasibility of combining intratumoral injection with brachytherapy.

      PMID:33785280 | PMC:PMC8323107 | DOI:10.1016/j.brachy.2020.10.012

      View details for PubMedID 33785280
  • Structure-preserving integrated analysis for risk stratification with application to cancer staging Biostatistics (Oxford, England)
    Wang T, Chen R, Liu W, Yu M
    2022 Jul 18;23(3):990-1006. doi: 10.1093/biostatistics/kxab005.
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      To provide appropriate and practical level of health care, it is critical to group patients into relatively few strata that have distinct prognosis. Such grouping or stratification is typically based on well-established risk factors and clinical outcomes. A well-known example is the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging for cancer that uses tumor size, node involvement, and metastasis status. We consider a statistical method for such grouping based on individual patient data from multiple studies. The method encourages a common grouping structure as a basis for borrowing information, but acknowledges data heterogeneity including unbalanced data structures across multiple studies. We build on the "lasso-tree" method that is more versatile than the well-known classification and regression tree method in generating possible grouping patterns. In addition, the parametrization of the lasso-tree method makes it very natural to incorporate the underlying order information in the risk factors. In this article, we also strengthen the lasso-tree method by establishing its theoretical properties for which Lin and others (2013. Lasso tree for cancer staging with survival data. Biostatistics 14, 327-339) did not pursue. We evaluate our method in extensive simulation studies and an analysis of multiple breast cancer data sets.

      PMID:33738474 | PMC:PMC9608615 | DOI:10.1093/biostatistics/kxab005

      View details for PubMedID 33738474
  • MixTwice: large-scale hypothesis testing for peptide arrays by variance mixing Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)
    Zheng Z, Mergaert AM, Ong IM, Shelef MA, Newton MA
    2021 Sep 9;37(17):2637-2643. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btab162.
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      SUMMARY: Peptide microarrays have emerged as a powerful technology in immunoproteomics as they provide a tool to measure the abundance of different antibodies in patient serum samples. The high dimensionality and small sample size of many experiments challenge conventional statistical approaches, including those aiming to control the false discovery rate (FDR). Motivated by limitations in reproducibility and power of current methods, we advance an empirical Bayesian tool that computes local FDR statistics and local false sign rate statistics when provided with data on estimated effects and estimated standard errors from all the measured peptides. As the name suggests, the MixTwice tool involves the estimation of two mixing distributions, one on underlying effects and one on underlying variance parameters. Constrained optimization techniques provide for model fitting of mixing distributions under weak shape constraints (unimodality of the effect distribution). Numerical experiments show that MixTwice can accurately estimate generative parameters and powerfully identify non-null peptides. In a peptide array study of rheumatoid arthritis, MixTwice recovers meaningful peptide markers in one case where the signal is weak, and has strong reproducibility properties in one case where the signal is strong.

      AVAILABILITYAND IMPLEMENTATION: MixTwice is available as an R software package https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/MixTwice/.

      SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

      PMID:33693483 | PMC:PMC8428605 | DOI:10.1093/bioinformatics/btab162

      View details for PubMedID 33693483
  • Toward improved <em>in vitro</em> models of human cancer APL bioengineering
    Ayuso JM, Park K, Virumbrales-Muñoz M, Beebe DJ
    2021 Jan 21;5(1):010902. doi: 10.1063/5.0026857. eCollection 2021 Mar.
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      Cancer is a leading cause of death across the world and continues to increase in incidence. Despite years of research, multiple tumors (e.g., glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer) still have limited treatment options in the clinic. Additionally, the attrition rate and cost of drug development have continued to increase. This trend is partly explained by the poor predictive power of traditional in vitro tools and animal models. Moreover, multiple studies have highlighted that cell culture in traditional Petri dishes commonly fail to predict drug sensitivity. Conversely, animal models present differences in tumor biology compared with human pathologies, explaining why promising therapies tested in animal models often fail when tested in humans. The surging complexity of patient management with the advent of cancer vaccines, immunotherapy, and precision medicine demands more robust and patient-specific tools to better inform our understanding and treatment of human cancer. Advances in stem cell biology, microfluidics, and cell culture have led to the development of sophisticated bioengineered microscale organotypic models (BMOMs) that could fill this gap. In this Perspective, we discuss the advantages and limitations of patient-specific BMOMs to improve our understanding of cancer and how these tools can help to confer insight into predicting patient response to therapy.

      PMID:33532672 | PMC:PMC7822630 | DOI:10.1063/5.0026857

      View details for PubMedID 33532672
  • Immunotherapy in Head and Neck Cancer-Ready for Prime Time or More Research Needed? International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Karam SD, Anderson CM, Ma D, Chua LK, Kimple RJ
    2021 Mar 1;109(3):647-650. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.022.
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      PMID:33516431 | PMC:PMC8597385 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.022

      View details for PubMedID 33516431
  • A Novel In Vitro Culture Model System to Study Merkel Cell Polyomavirus-Associated MCC Using Three-Dimensional Organotypic Raft Equivalents of Human Skin Viruses
    Loke SW, Longley BJ, Lambert PF, Spurgeon ME
    2021 Jan 19;13(1):138. doi: 10.3390/v13010138.
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      Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is a human polyomavirus causally linked to the development of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), an aggressive malignancy that largely arises within the dermis of the skin. In this study, we recapitulate the histopathology of human MCC tumors in vitro using an organotypic (raft) culture system that is traditionally used to recapitulate the dermal and epidermal equivalents of skin in three dimensions (3D). In the optimal culture condition, MCPyV+ MCC cells were embedded in collagen between the epidermal equivalent comprising human keratinocytes and a dermal equivalent containing fibroblasts, resulting in MCC-like lesions arising within the dermal equivalent. The presence and organization of MCC cells within these dermal lesions were characterized through biomarker analyses. Interestingly, co-culture of MCPyV+ MCC together with keratinocytes specifically within the epidermal equivalent of the raft did not reproduce human MCC morphology, nor were any keratinocytes necessary for MCC-like lesions to develop in the dermal equivalent. This 3D tissue culture system provides a novel in vitro platform for studying the role of MCPyV T antigens in MCC oncogenesis, identifying additional factors involved in this process, and for screening potential MCPyV+ MCC therapeutic strategies.

      PMID:33478104 | PMC:PMC7835998 | DOI:10.3390/v13010138

      View details for PubMedID 33478104
  • The Merkel Cell Polyomavirus T Antigens Function as Tumor Promoters in Murine Skin Cancers
    Spurgeon ME, Liem A, Buehler D, Cheng J, DeCaprio JA, Lambert PF
    2021 Jan 9;13(2):222. doi: 10.3390/cancers13020222.
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      Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) causes the majority of human Merkel cell carcinomas (MCC), a rare but highly aggressive form of skin cancer. We recently reported that constitutive expression of MCC tumor-derived MCPyV tumor (T) antigens in the skin of transgenic mice leads to hyperplasia, increased proliferation, and spontaneous epithelial tumor development. We sought to evaluate how the MCPyV T antigens contribute to tumor formation in vivo using a classical, multi-stage model for squamous cell carcinoma development. In this model, two chemical carcinogens, DMBA and TPA, contribute to two distinct phases of carcinogenesis-initiation and promotion, respectively-that are required for tumors to develop. By treating the MCPyV transgenic mice with each chemical carcinogen, we determined how the viral oncogenes contributed to carcinogenesis. We observed that the MCPyV T antigens synergized with the tumor initiator DMBA, but not with the tumor promoter TPA, cause tumors. Therefore, the MCPyV tumor antigens function primarily as tumor promoters, similar to that seen with human papillomavirus (HPV) oncoproteins. These studies provide insight into the role of MCPyV T antigen expression in tumor formation in vivo and contribute to our understanding of how MCPyV may function as a human DNA tumor virus.

      PMID:33435392 | PMC:PMC7827793 | DOI:10.3390/cancers13020222

      View details for PubMedID 33435392
  • Tumor-Specific Antibody, Cetuximab, Enhances the <em>In Situ</em> Vaccine Effect of Radiation in Immunologically Cold Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Frontiers in immunology
    Jin WJ, Erbe AK, Schwarz CN, Jaquish AA, Anderson BR, Sriramaneni RN, Jagodinsky JC, Bates AM, Clark PA, Le T, Lan K, Chen Y, Kim K, Morris ZS
    2020 Nov 12;11:591139. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.591139. eCollection 2020.
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      In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tumors that over-expresses huEGFR, the anti-EGFR antibody, cetuximab, antagonizes tumor cell viability and sensitizes to radiation therapy. However, the immunologic interactions between cetuximab and radiation therapy are not well understood. We transduced two syngeneic murine HNSCC tumor cell lines to express human EGFR (MOC1- and MOC2-huEGFR) in order to facilitate evaluation of the immunologic interactions between radiation and cetuximab. Cetuximab was capable of inducing antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) in MOC1- and MOC2-huEGFR cells but showed no effect on the viability or radiosensitivity of these tumor cells, which also express muEGFR that is not targeted by cetuximab. Radiation enhanced the susceptibility of MOC1- and MOC2-huEGFR to ADCC, eliciting a type I interferon response and increasing expression of NKG2D ligands on these tumor cells. Co-culture of splenocytes with cetuximab and MOC2-huEGFR cells resulted in increased expression of IFNγ in not only NK cells but also in CD8+ T cells, and this was dependent upon splenocyte expression of FcγR. In MOC2-huEGFR tumors, combining radiation and cetuximab induced tumor growth delay that required NK cells, EGFR expression, and FcγR on host immune cells. Combination of radiation and cetuximab increased tumor infiltration with NK and CD8+ T cells but not regulatory T cells. Expression of PD-L1 was increased in MOC2-huEGFR tumors following treatment with radiation and cetuximab. Delivering anti-PD-L1 antibody with radiation and cetuximab improved survival and resulted in durable tumor regression in some mice. Notably, these cured mice showed evidence of an adaptive memory response that was not specifically directed against huEGFR. These findings suggest an opportunity to improve the treatment of HNSCC by combining radiation and cetuximab to engage an innate anti-tumor immune response that may prime an effective adaptive immune response when combined with immune checkpoint blockade. It is possible that this approach could be extended to any immunologically cold tumor that does not respond to immune checkpoint blockade alone and for which a tumor-specific antibody exists or could be developed.

      PMID:33281820 | PMC:PMC7689006 | DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2020.591139

      View details for PubMedID 33281820
  • Enhanced detection of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) enables its use as a reliable biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of gastric cancer PloS one
    Bu J, Lee TH, Jeong W, Poellmann MJ, Mudd K, Eun HS, Liu EW, Hong S, Hyun SH
    2020 Dec 2;15(12):e0242145. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242145. eCollection 2020.
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      Although circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is a promising biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of various tumors, clinical correlation of cfDNA with gastric cancer has not been fully understood. To address this, we developed a highly sensitive cfDNA capture system by integrating polydopamine (PDA) and silica. PDA-silica hybrids incorporated different molecular interactions to a single system, enhancing cfDNA capture by 1.34-fold compared to the conventional silica-based approach (p = 0.001), which was confirmed using cell culture supernatants. A clinical study using human plasma samples revealed that the diagnostic accuracy of the new system to be superior than the commercially available cfDNA kit, as well as other serum antigen tests. Among the cancer patients, plasma cfDNA levels exhibited a good correlation with the size of a tumor. cfDNA was also predicative of distant metastasis, as the median cfDNA levels of metastatic cancer patients were ~60-fold higher than those without metastasis (p = 0.008). Furthermore, high concordance between tissue biopsy and cfDNA genomic analysis was found, as HER2 expression in cfDNA demonstrated an area under ROC curve (AUC) of 0.976 (p <0.001) for detecting patients with HER2-positive tumors. The new system also revealed high prognostic capability of cfDNA, as the concentration of cfDNA was highly associated with the survival outcomes. Our novel technology demonstrates the potential to achieve efficient detection of cfDNA that may serve as a reliable biomarker for gastric tumor.

      PMID:33264292 | PMC:PMC7710035 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0242145

      View details for PubMedID 33264292
  • Activation of EPHA2-ROBO1 Heterodimer by SLIT2 Attenuates Non-canonical Signaling and Proliferation in Squamous Cell Carcinomas iScience
    Srivastava S, Pang KM, Iida M, Nelson MS, Liu J, Nam A, Wang J, Mambetsariev I, Pillai R, Mohanty A, McDaniel N, Behal A, Kulkarni P, Wheeler DL, Salgia R
    2020 Oct 16;23(11):101692. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101692. eCollection 2020 Nov 20.
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      The tyrosine kinase receptor ephrin receptor A2 (EPHA2) is overexpressed in lung (LSCC) and head and neck (HNSCC) squamous cell carcinomas. Although EPHA2 can inhibit tumorigenesis in a ligand-dependent fashion via phosphorylation of Y588 and Y772, it can promote tumorigenesis in a ligand-independent manner via phosphorylation of S897. Here, we show that EPHA2 and Roundabout Guidance Receptor 1 (ROBO1) interact to form a functional heterodimer. Furthermore, we show that the ROBO1 ligand Slit Guidance Ligand 2 (SLIT2) and ensartinib, an inhibitor of EPHA2, can attenuate growth of HNSCC cells and act synergistically in LSCC cells. Our results suggest that patients with LSCC and HNSCC may be stratified and treated based on their EPHA2 and ROBO1 expression patterns. Although ~73% of patients with LSCC could benefit from SLIT2+ensartinib treatment, ~41% of patients with HNSCC could be treated with either SLIT2 or ensartinib. Thus, EPHA2 and ROBO1 represent potential LSCC and HNSCC theranostics.

      PMID:33196021 | PMC:PMC7644594 | DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2020.101692

      View details for PubMedID 33196021
  • A highway to carcinogenesis: the role of IQGAP1, a signaling scaffolding protein, in head and neck cancer development Oncoscience
    Wei T, Lambert PF
    2020 Jun 7;7(7-8):49-51. doi: 10.18632/oncoscience.511. eCollection 2020 Jul.
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      Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most frequent cancer worldwide. One of the most critical signaling pathways in HNSCC is the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor/ Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (EGFR/PI3K) pathway. IQ motif-containing GTPase- activating protein 1 (IQGAP1), a protein upregulated in multiple types of cancer, acts as a scaffold for this pathway and others implicated in cancer. IQGAP1 is overexpressed in HNSCCs, and its overexpression correlates with poorer prognosis in HNSCC patients, indicating that IQGAP1 might be important in HNSCC development. Here, we summarized our recent demonstrating a role of IQGAP1 in promoting HNSCC, at least in part, by scaffolding the EGFR/PI3K signaling pathway.

      PMID:32923516 | PMC:PMC7458336 | DOI:10.18632/oncoscience.511

      View details for PubMedID 32923516
  • Life Beyond COVID: Pay Attention to Viruses International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Harari PM, Lambert PF
    2020 Oct 1;108(2):348-350. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.07.001.
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      PMID:32890509 | PMC:PMC7462873 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.07.001

      View details for PubMedID 32890509
  • On-Tissue Derivatization with Girard's Reagent P Enhances N-Glycan Signals for Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded Tissue Sections in MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging Analytical chemistry
    Zhang H, Shi X, Vu NQ, Li G, Li Z, Shi Y, Li M, Wang B, Welham NV, Patankar MS, Weisman P, Li L
    2020 Oct 6;92(19):13361-13368. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02704. Epub 2020 Sep 26.
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      Glycosylation is a major protein post-translational modification whose dysregulation has been associated with many diseases. Herein, an on-tissue chemical derivatization strategy based on positively charged hydrazine reagent (Girard's reagent P) coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) was developed for analysis of N-glycans from FFPE treated tissue sections. The performance of the proposed approach was evaluated by analysis of monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, N-glycans released from glycoproteins, as well as MS imaging of N-glycans from human cancer tissue sections. The results demonstrated that the signal-to-noise ratios for target saccharides were notably improved after chemical derivatization, in which signals were enhanced by 230-fold for glucose and over 28-fold for maltooctaose. Improved glycome coverage was obtained for N-glycans derived from glycoproteins and tissue samples after chemical derivatization. Furthermore, on-tissue derivatization was applied for MALDI-MSI of N-glycans from human laryngeal cancer and ovarian cancer tissues. Differentially expressed N-glycans among the tumor region, adjacent normal tissue region, and tumor proximal collagen stroma region were imaged, revealing that high-mannose type N-glycans were predominantly expressed in the tumor region. Overall, our results indicate that the on-tissue labeling strategy coupled with MALDI-MSI shows great potential to spatially characterize N-glycan expression within heterogeneous tissue samples with enhanced sensitivity. This study provides a promising approach to better understand the pathogenesis of cancer related aberrant glycosylation, which is beneficial to the design of improved clinical diagnosis and therapeutic strategies.

      PMID:32865977 | PMC:PMC7544651 | DOI:10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02704

      View details for PubMedID 32865977
  • Microfluidic lumen-based systems for advancing tubular organ modeling Chemical Society reviews
    Virumbrales-Muñoz M, Ayuso JM, Gong MM, Humayun M, Livingston MK, Lugo-Cintrón KM, McMinn P, Álvarez-García YR, Beebe DJ
    2020 Sep 1;49(17):6402-6442. doi: 10.1039/d0cs00705f.
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      Microfluidic lumen-based systems are microscale models that recapitulate the anatomy and physiology of tubular organs. These technologies can mimic human pathophysiology and predict drug response, having profound implications for drug discovery and development. Herein, we review progress in the development of microfluidic lumen-based models from the 2000s to the present. The core of the review discusses models for mimicking blood vessels, the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, renal tubules, and liver sinusoids, and their application to modeling organ-specific diseases. We also highlight emerging application areas, such as the lymphatic system, and close the review discussing potential future directions.

      PMID:32760967 | PMC:PMC7521761 | DOI:10.1039/d0cs00705f

      View details for PubMedID 32760967
  • An Avidity-Based PD-L1 Antagonist Using Nanoparticle-Antibody Conjugates for Enhanced Immunotherapy Nano letters
    Bu J, Nair A, Iida M, Jeong W, Poellmann MJ, Mudd K, Kubiatowicz LJ, Liu EW, Wheeler DL, Hong S
    2020 Jul 8;20(7):4901-4909. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c00953. Epub 2020 Jun 11.
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      Upregulation of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) allows cancer cells to evade antitumor immunity. Despite tremendous efforts in developing PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), clinical trials using such ICIs have shown inconsistent benefits. Here, we hypothesized that the ICI efficacy would be dictated by the binding strength of the inhibitor to the target proteins. To assess this, hyperbranched, multivalent poly(amidoamine) dendrimers were employed to prepare dendrimer-ICI conjugates (G7-aPD-L1). Binding kinetics measurements using SPR, BLI, and AFM revealed that G7-aPD-L1 exhibits significantly enhanced binding strength to PD-L1 proteins, compared to free aPD-L1. The binding avidity of G7-aPD-L1 was translated into in vitro efficiency and in vivo selectivity, as the conjugates improved the PD-L1 blockade effect and enhanced accumulation in tumor sites. Our results demonstrate that the dendrimer-mediated multivalent interaction substantially increases the binding avidity of the ICIs and thereby improves the antagonist effect, providing a novel platform for cancer immunotherapy.

      PMID:32510959 | PMC:PMC7737517 | DOI:10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c00953

      View details for PubMedID 32510959
  • AXL Mediates Cetuximab and Radiation Resistance Through Tyrosine 821 and the c-ABL Kinase Pathway in Head and Neck Cancer Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
    McDaniel NK, Iida M, Nickel KP, Longhurst CA, Fischbach SR, Rodems TS, Kranjac CA, Bo AY, Luo Q, Gallagher MM, Welke NB, Mitchell KR, Schulz AE, Eckers JC, Hu R, Salgia R, Hong S, Bruce JY, Kimple RJ, Wheeler DL
    2020 Aug 15;26(16):4349-4359. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3142. Epub 2020 May 21.
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      PURPOSE: Radiation and cetuximab are therapeutics used in management of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Despite clinical success with these modalities, development of both intrinsic and acquired resistance is an emerging problem in the management of this disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate signaling of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL in resistance to radiation and cetuximab treatment.

      EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To study AXL signaling in the context of treatment-resistant HNSCC, we used patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) implanted into mice and evaluated the tumor response to AXL inhibition in combination with cetuximab or radiation treatment. To identify molecular mechanisms of how AXL signaling leads to resistance, three tyrosine residues of AXL (Y779, Y821, Y866) were mutated and examined for their sensitivity to cetuximab and/or radiation. Furthermore, reverse phase protein array (RPPA) was employed to analyze the proteomic architecture of signaling pathways in these genetically altered cell lines.

      RESULTS: Treatment of cetuximab- and radiation-resistant PDXs with AXL inhibitor R428 was sufficient to overcome resistance. RPPA analysis revealed that such resistance emanates from signaling of tyrosine 821 of AXL via the tyrosine kinase c-ABL. In addition, inhibition of c-ABL signaling resensitized cells and tumors to cetuximab or radiotherapy even leading to complete tumor regression without recurrence in head and neck cancer models.

      CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the studies presented herein suggest that tyrosine 821 of AXL mediates resistance to cetuximab by activation of c-ABL kinase in HNSCC and that targeting of both EGFR and c-ABL leads to a robust antitumor response.

      PMID:32439698 | PMC:PMC7442604 | DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3142

      View details for PubMedID 32439698
  • Follow-Up and Management of Patients With Head and Neck Cancer During the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Disease Pandemic Advances in radiation oncology
    Chua LK, Ma DJ, Anderson CM, Karam SD, Margalit DN, Kimple RJ
    2020 May 15;5(4):631-636. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2020.04.031. eCollection 2020 Jul-Aug.
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      PMID:32426556 | PMC:PMC7227497 | DOI:10.1016/j.adro.2020.04.031

      View details for PubMedID 32426556
  • An Infection-Based Murine Model for Papillomavirus-Associated Head and Neck Cancer mBio
    Wei T, Buehler D, Ward-Shaw E, Lambert PF
    2020 May 12;11(3):e00908-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00908-20.
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      Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted pathogen, and high-risk HPVs contribute to 5% of human cancers, including 25% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). Despite the significant role played by HPVs in HNSCC, there is currently no available in vivo system to model the process from papillomavirus infection to virus-induced HNSCC. In this paper, we describe an infection-based HNSCC model, utilizing a mouse papillomavirus (MmuPV1), which naturally infects laboratory mice. Infections of the tongue epithelium of two immunodeficient strains with MmuPV1 caused high-grade squamous dysplasia with early signs of invasive carcinoma over the course of 4 months. When combined with the oral carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO), MmuPV1 caused invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) on the tongue of both immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice. These tumors expressed markers of papillomavirus infection and HPV-associated carcinogenesis. This novel preclinical model provides a valuable new means to study how natural papillomavirus infections contribute to HNSCC.IMPORTANCE The species specificity of papillomavirus has limited the development of an infection-based animal model to study HPV-associated head and neck carcinogenesis. Our study presents a novel in vivo model using the mouse papillomavirus MmuPV1 to study papillomavirus-associated head and neck cancer. In our model, MmuPV1 infects and causes lesions in both immunodeficient and genetically immunocompetent strains of mice. These virally induced lesions carry features associated with both HPV infections and HPV-associated carcinogenesis. Combined with previously identified cancer cofactors, MmuPV1 causes invasive squamous cell carcinomas in mice. This model provides opportunities for basic and translational studies of papillomavirus infection-based head and neck disease.

      PMID:32398315 | PMC:PMC7218285 | DOI:10.1128/mBio.00908-20

      View details for PubMedID 32398315
  • Surface engineering for efficient capture of circulating tumor cells in renal cell carcinoma: From nanoscale analysis to clinical application Biosensors & bioelectronics
    Bu J, Nair A, Kubiatowicz LJ, Poellmann MJ, Jeong W, Reyes-Martinez M, Armstrong AJ, George DJ, Wang AZ, Zhang T, Hong S
    2020 Aug 15;162:112250. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2020.112250. Epub 2020 May 1.
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      Sensitive detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from patients' peripheral blood facilitates on-demand monitoring of tumor progression. However, clinically significant capture of renal cell carcinoma CTCs (RCC-CTCs) remains elusive due to their heterogenous surface receptor expression. Herein, a novel capture platform is developed to detect RCC-CTCs through integration of dendrimer-mediated multivalent binding, a mixture of antibodies, and biomimetic cell rolling. The nanoscale binding kinetics measured using atomic force microscopy reveal that dendrimer-coated surfaces exhibit an order of magnitude enhancement in off-rate kinetics compared to surface without dendrimers, which translated into cell capture improvements by ~60%. Selectin-induced cell rolling facilitates surface recruitment of cancer cells, further improving cancer cell capture by up to 1.7-fold. Lastly, an antibody cocktail targeting four RCC-CTC surface receptors, which included epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), carbonic anhydrase IX (CA9), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met), improves the capture of RCC cells by up to 80%. The optimal surface configuration outperforms the conventional assay solely relying on EpCAM, as demonstrated by detecting significantly more CTCs in patients' samples (9.8 ± 5.1 vs. 1.8 ± 2.0 CTCs mL-1). These results demonstrate that the newly engineered capture platform effectively detects RCC-CTCs for their potential use as tumor biomarkers.

      PMID:32392161 | PMC:PMC10510655 | DOI:10.1016/j.bios.2020.112250

      View details for PubMedID 32392161
  • Priming and Propagating Anti-tumor Immunity: Focal Hypofractionated Radiation for in Situ Vaccination and Systemic Targeted Radionuclide Theranostics for Immunomodulation of Tumor Microenvironments Seminars in radiation oncology
    Jagodinsky JC, Morris ZS
    2020 Apr;30(2):181-186. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2019.12.008.
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      Recent preclinical and clinical studies have elucidated mechanisms whereby radiation therapy influences the anti-tumor immune response. Immunogenic cell death and phenotypic changes in tumor cells surviving radiation may underlie this effect and contribute to the capacity of radiation to elicit an in situ tumor vaccine effect. In situ vaccination is a therapeutic strategy that seeks to convert a patient's own tumor into a source of enhanced antigen recognition for the purpose of augmenting a systemic anti-tumor immune response. Capitalizing on the in situ vaccine effect of radiation, several groups have demonstrated anti-tumor efficacy in preclinical models by combining radiation with immune checkpoint blockade. Local delivery of immune adjuvants and/or immune stimulatory cytokines via direct injection into the radiated tumor microenvironment may further increase the in situ vaccine capacity of radiation therapy. However, recent studies suggest that in some contexts this effect is antagonized by the presence of distant untreated sites of disease that may dampen the systemic immune response generated by in situ vaccination through a phenomenon termed concomitant immune tolerance. Concomitant immune tolerance may be overcome by delivering radiation to all sites of metastatic disease, however this is often not possible to safely achieve using external beam radiation therapy without considerable risk of lymphopenia that would negate the immune effects of in situ vaccination. For patients with widespread metastatic disease, alternative strategies may include systemic treatment with targeted radionuclide therapies alone or in combination with an external beam radiation therapy-based in situ vaccine approach.

      PMID:32381297 | PMC:PMC7286051 | DOI:10.1016/j.semradonc.2019.12.008

      View details for PubMedID 32381297
  • FGFR Inhibition Enhances Sensitivity to Radiation in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Molecular cancer therapeutics
    SenthilKumar G, Fisher MM, Skiba JH, Miller MC, Brennan SR, Kaushik S, Bradley ST, Longhurst CA, Buehler D, Nickel KP, Iyer G, Kimple RJ, Baschnagel AM
    2020 Jun;19(6):1255-1265. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0931. Epub 2020 May 5.
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      FGFRs are commonly altered in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). FGFRs activate multiple pathways including RAS/RAF/MAPK, PI3K/AKT, and STAT, which may play a role in the cellular response to radiation. We investigated the effects of combining the selective FGFR 1-3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor AZD4547 with radiation in cell line and xenograft models of NSCLC. NSCLC cell lines were assessed with proliferation, clonogenic survival, apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle, and DNA damage signaling and repair assays. In vivo xenografts and IHC were used to confirm in vitro results. NSCLC cell lines demonstrated varying degrees of FGFR protein and mRNA expression. In vitro clonogenic survival assays showed radiosensitization with AZD4547 in two NSCLC cell lines. In these two cell lines, an increase in apoptosis and autophagy was observed with combined radiation and AZD4547. The addition of AZD4547 to radiation did not significantly affect γH2AX foci formation. Enhanced xenograft tumor growth delay was observed with the combination of radiation and AZD4547 compared with radiation or drug alone. IHC results revealed inhibition of pMAPK and pS6 and demonstrated an increase in apoptosis in the radiation plus AZD4547 group. This study demonstrates that FGFR inhibition by AZD4547 enhances the response of radiation in FGFR-expressing NSCLC in vitro and in vivo model systems. These results support further investigation of combining FGFR inhibition with radiation as a clinical therapeutic strategy.

      PMID:32371583 | PMC:PMC7272291 | DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0931

      View details for PubMedID 32371583