SPORE Supported Publications

  • 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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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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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  • 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

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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

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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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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