Tagged: Cancer Research

Trending With Impact: Unconventional Method Effectively Targets NSCLC

Researchers developed a divergent strategy to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

New ideas

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) operates within two distinct protein complexes—mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and complex 2 (mTORC2). These protein complexes are not yet fully understood, as they were only recently identified in humans in 1994. What researchers do know is that mTORC1 is involved in the regulation of many cellular processes and is a key mediator of cell growth and proliferation. mTORC1 is activated by growth factor receptor signals through the PI3K–AKT and RAS–ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways.

The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway may be an efficacious target in the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This theory is based on the identification of particular gene mutations in NSCLC that are associated with the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. However, previous studies have not yet succeeded in defining an effective monotherapy or combination of therapies that targets this pathway while improving NSCLC patient outcome. 

Researchers from Institut CuriePSL UniversityXentechBioPôle AlfortHôpital Foch, and Centre Léon Bérard designed a study using a new methodology to test treatment combinations based on specific targets identified as biomarkers of resistance to PI3K-targeting treatments, and not based on the NSCLC mutations themselves. Their trending research paper was published by Oncotarget in 2021 and entitled, “High in vitro and in vivo synergistic activity between mTORC1 and PLK1 inhibition in adenocarcinoma NSCLC.”

“Our main strategy was therefore, using a panel of NSCLC PDXs, (i) to define predictive markers of response to RAD001 therapy and (ii) to identify possible combinations of treatments that may be able to reverse RAD001 resistance.”

THE STUDY

Researchers tested RAD001/Everolimus (an mTORC1 inhibitor) in vivo using NSCLC Patient-Derived Xenografts (PDXs), which demonstrated high antitumor efficacy. They next aimed to define predictive markers of response to RAD001 using real-time quantitative RT-PCR assays.

“In order to define predictive markers of response to RAD001, we used real-time quantitative RT-PCR assays to quantify the mRNA expression of a large number of selected genes.”

The team found three significantly highly expressed and targetable genes in NSCLC tumors resistant to RAD001: PLK1, CXCR4 and AXL. They then analyzed these genes for their prognostic value among NSCLC patients that were found in the publicly available database KMPLOT. This analysis revealed that of the three genes evaluated, only one high-gene expression was correlated with a negative impact on overall survival of patients with adenocarcinoma: PLK1. Given this data, the researchers next evaluated the in vivo efficacy of RAD001 combined with a PLK1 inhibitor, volasertib, in four PDX models. The RAD001 + volasertib combination demonstrated dramatic efficacy in three of the four models.

“In all tested PDXs, except LCF29, we have observed a significant, but variable, improvement of the antitumor efficacy of RAD001 + volasertib in comparison to each monotherapy (Figure 2A).”

To define this RAD001 + volasertib drug combination’s mechanism of action, the researchers conducted a pharmacodynamics (PD) study. The team then evaluated post-therapeutic proteins involved in the cell cycle, vascularization and carbonic anhydrase IX expression. These results were then validated using in vitro studies. 

CONCLUSION

“Our determination of relevant Pi3K-based therapeutic combination(s) was not supported, by the presence of actual molecular abnormalities, nor by physician therapeutic practices, but by the identification of predictive markers of resistance to Pi3K-based monotherapies.”

In summary, the researchers conclude that their study demonstrates that inhibiting both mTORC1 and PLK1 proteins induces synergistic antitumor activity in multiple models of NSCLC. In the discussion section of this paper, the authors detailed the divergent methodology they used to come to their conclusion. 

“This methodology may promote more relevant clinical trials and avoid non-efficient combinations, inacceptable toxicities, and expensive and time-consuming studies.”

Click here to read the full research paper, published by Oncotarget.

Read the press release here

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Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Captain of Team Open Access Rides Again for Cancer Research

For the past four summers, Impact Journals has sponsored Team Open Access in the Ride for Roswell. The peloton has been captained by Sergei Kurenov, who is the Director of Surgical Simulation at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — one of the leading cancer treatment and research centers in the nation. This year, Team Open Access was one of the many teams that participated to raise more than $5 million to help find a cure for cancer.

Prior to the 2021 Ride for Roswell (#RFR21) on August 7, we asked Sergei for his thoughts on the experience and motivation for riding. 


Please tell us how you got started in the Ride for Roswell event and what pushes you to participate each year. 

Kurenov: When I started working at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, I saw how enthusiastically people supported this event and made a lot of contributions of their time in fundraising, patient care support, and cancer research. I wanted to be a part of this community. 


This will be your fourth year as team captain and sixth year participating in the Ride for Roswell. What has been your most memorable year or moment since you’ve started?

Kurenov: My first year of the Ride is the most memorable. More than a few thousand riders performed the National Anthem. Then, all the riders cheered on the cancer survivors, reminding us of exactly why we participate.

 
During last year’s Summer of the Ride, you were a part of over 600 teams that rode to raise more than $3.6 million in the fight against cancer amid a global pandemic. Looking back, how has that specific Ride impacted your outlook on this year’s event and cancer research?

Kurenov: The pandemic has highly affected cancer research. Physicians and researchers are working very hard to minimize pandemic impact and get life back to normal for our patients.

This year, we already raised [more than] $5 million, which will be provided to the development of cancer treatments and cancer research.

Sponsored by Impact Journals, Team Open Access is once again captained by Sergei Kurenov who explains his motivation to participate in the Ride for Roswell.
(Photo Courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center)


Tell us a little bit about the 2021 Open Access team.

Kurenov: The 2021 Open Access team has grown again and now we have nine team members, ranging in ages from 13 to 65. Most of the members are scientists in the cancer research field. 


Who is the fastest team member? The longest tenured teammate of yours? And, why do you think you make the perfect captain for this team?

Kurenov: Andrei is a great rider and I believe he is the fastest team member.

Liliya and Elena are the longest-tenured teammates for the last six years. They provide a tremendous help in the fundraising and in team organizing. They are also great photographers, making memorable images during the Ride. Each year, they create special Open Access team t-shirts which we are proud to wear during the Ride.

Who, or what, will you be focusing on as team captain this time around?

Kurenov: This year, Sofia joined the Open Access team. She is 13 years old and wants to ride 10 miles. Sofia and the rest of our team will ride together. Perhaps I will join the team or will have a barbecue for the whole team to celebrate afterwards.

How do you generally celebrate following the Ride?

Kurenov: After the Ride, all team members and many of our friends from Buffalo are planning to join a barbecue party in our backyard. Everyone is very welcome to the party.

Please give us your best pitch for people to start or continue donating to cancer research.

Kurenov: Earlier this year, I lost a very close friend who had fought against cancer for the last 17 years. When he was diagnosed, doctors predicted around 10 years of his survival after the initial treatment. However, thanks to the cancer research and new treatment developments in oncology, he almost doubled the doctors’ predictions. And, until this year, he lived a full life, working on cancer research, organizing scientific conferences, traveling around the world and making great photographs. His example shows that the constant cancer research and new technologies can help oncological patients. So, please continue donating to cancer research. This certainly will help to cure cancer more efficiently and save more lives.


Just like we requested of you last year, give us your best pitch for folks to join Team Open Access in 2022.

Kurenov: I am proud to announce that our team is supported again by Impact Journals – which publishes open-source, cancer-related scientific journals OncotargetAgingGenes & Cancer and Oncoscience. These journals include high-impact research papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of cancer research. As an example, I would like to mention the studies published by Impact Journals that cycling is linked to a substantial decrease in the risk of developing and dying from cancer or heart disease. 

Join our team and help us reach our goal or donate to our efforts! No matter how you choose to support us, YOU are making a difference in the lives of the thousands of patients who turn to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for hope each year.

Click here to learn more about the Ride for Roswell.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: More Oncotarget Videos on LabTube

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

The Ride for Roswell: Rolling Around The Track August 7

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The Ride for Roswell is one of the nation’s largest cycling events—hosted by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center—with ambitious goals to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and patient care. This charity bike ride, based out of Buffalo, New York, has brought people together for 25 years to celebrate cancer survivors, pay tribute to lives that have been lost, and to work together to support research and find a cure.

When it opened its doors in Buffalo in 1898, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was the first cancer research-focused institution in the world. Today, this institution is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the state of New York. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best cancer hospitals in the United States.

The Origin of The Ride

The Ride for Roswell started in 1989, when Mitch Flynn, owner of the advertising agency Flynn & Friends, met Katherine Gioia. Katherine was a four-year-old patient battling a rare form of cancer. After Katherine’s death, less than a year after her diagnosis, Katherine’s mother, Anne Gioia, and aunt, Donna Gioia, founded the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation in her memory to raise money for cancer research and treatment. On June 29, 1996, Mitch and Alliance Foundation staff launched the first Ride for Roswell.

In the 25 years since then, thanks to many thousands of riders and generous donations, the Ride for Roswell has raised over $60 million to fund cancer research. The event has become one of the largest single-day charity rides in the United States. 

This Year

Traditionally (excluding last year’s COVID-19 inspired “Summer of The Ride”), teams of bicyclists register to ride in a one-day event and raise money to support their participation. This summer, there are two ways to ride. Riders can join in-person at various locations (socially distanced) throughout the Western New York area on Saturday, August 7, 2021. Participants can also ride on their own throughout the month of August.

Impact Journals has been sponsoring the Ride for Roswell since 2018. The Impact Journals peloton, Team Open Access (named after the open-source online medical journals OncotargetAgingGenes & Cancer, and Oncoscience), is captained by Sergei Kurenov. Sergei (who has been riding in the event since 2016) works at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to create, develop, and implement innovative diagnostic and surgical pre-planning software used in cancer treatment.

“Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to providing a high level of care for cancer patients,” Sergei said. “By contributing to the Ride for Roswell, we are helping our patients to fight this most dangerous disease.”

Join Us!

There is still time to join Team Open Access and the Ride for Roswell this summer. You can also support the team by giving a donation of any size. Any avenue of support you may choose to donate to the Ride for Roswell will make a difference and change lives. 

“Finding a cure for cancer is something we are all incredibly passionate about, and we are so thankful and grateful for your support,” Sergei said. “Together, we can make a difference!”

Visit our team page to join or donate today.

Click here to learn more about the Ride for Roswell.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: More Oncotarget Videos on LabTube

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

2021 Ride for Roswell
2021 Ride for Roswell

Trending With Impact: Novel Biomarkers in Bladder Cancer

Researchers from the University of Houston and UT Southwestern Medical Center conducted a study which aimed to screen urine for potentially useful protein biomarkers of bladder cancer.

3D Illustration of the urinary bladder.
3D Illustration of the urinary bladder.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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Bladder cancer is four times more common among men than women, and it is the sixth most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. However, researchers have found that cystoscopy—the primary method physicians use to diagnose patients with bladder cancer—is relatively invasive, expensive, and has the potential to cause urinary tract infections. 

“In contrast, urine is a noninvasive and readily available biological fluid that can be used for diagnostic tests.” 

In 2021, researchers from the University of Houston and UT Southwestern Medical Center conducted a study which aimed to screen urine for possibly useful protein biomarkers of bladder cancer. The paper they authored was published in Oncotarget’s Volume 12, Issue 8, and entitled: “Urine protein biomarkers of bladder cancer arising from 16-plex antibody-based screens.”

“Urine biomarkers could potentially provide preliminary confirmation of low-grade BC [bladder cancer] before invasive procedures are performed and facilitate surveillance of BC, as reviewed [9].”

The Study

Patients may benefit in a number of different ways by using urine as fluid in diagnostic testing for bladder cancer. Urine is readily bioavailable, non-invasive, and it can also be collected and tested on a regular basis. Patients can even use various cost-effective point-of-care diagnostic tools, including at-home testing. First, the researchers assessed whether there were useful biomarkers of bladder cancer to be found in this fluid. The team used Luminex screening to test for both low and high levels of 16 proteins utilizing highly specific antibody-protein interactions.

“In this study, Luminex screening was used to simultaneously assay the protein abundances of 16 potential biomarkers in different stages of bladder cancer and then compared to urology clinic controls.” 

ELISA validation was then used to determine which proteins were significantly elevated in bladder cancer. They found that levels of three urine proteins were capable of distinguishing between control and bladder cancer urine. One protein was also found to be capable of discriminating between high- and low-grade disease, and the successive clinical stages of bladder cancer.

“Upon ELISA validation, urine IL-1α, IL-1ra, and IL-8 were able to distinguish control urine from urine drawn from various bladder cancer stages, with IL-8 being the best discriminator.”

Conclusion

“These studies indicate that urine IL-1α, IL-1ra, and IL-8 are potential biomarkers of BC, two of which re-affirm previous reports.”

The researchers note that these newer urine biomarkers must be analyzed in larger cohorts, in specific clinical contexts, and compared to the performance of current diagnostic tools, such as the Bladderchek and UroVysion FISH assay.

“Looking forward, systematic studies in larger patient cohorts are warranted to establish the specific clinical contexts in which these markers may be used, including the following: (i) for initial diagnosis of BC, (ii) for surveillance of tumor recurrence, and/or (ii) for assessing treatment response following BCG therapy or other therapeutic modalities.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published by Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Composite Score May Further Classify HCC

In this trending study, the association between IGF/CTP composite scores, overall survival, and progression-free survival of hepatocellular carcinoma patients treated with sorafenib was investigated.

Human liver tissue under the microscope view.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

Listen to an audio version of this article

Sorafenib was the first systemic therapy approved to treat Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) class A patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, there are no biomarkers known to predict survival, treatment outcomes, or to guide this HCC systemic therapy. The insulin-like growth factor 1 Child-Turcotte-Pugh (IGF-1/CTP) composite score has emerged as a hepatic reserve assessment tool—and potential prognostic biomarker.

“Accurate assessment of the functional hepatic reserve is important to the prognostic and treatment prediction for patients with liver disease [12].”

Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterMassachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School conducted a study to assess the association of the IGF/CTP score with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) of HCC patients treated with sorafenib. Their paper was published in Oncotarget’s Volume 12, Issue 8 and entitled, “Insulin-like growth factor 1/Child-Turcotte-Pugh composite score as a predictor of treatment outcomes in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma treated with sorafenib.”

The Study

The majority of circulating insulin–like growth factor (IGF) is synthesized and secreted by the liver, and levels of IGF dramatically decrease in chronic liver disease and HCC. IGF can be a helpful tool to determine the prognosis of patients with advanced HCC while undergoing treatment with sorafenib. Researchers also use the Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) qualitative scoring system to assess severity of liver cirrhosis, hepatic reserve, guide treatment decisions, and to stratify patients with HCC into three groups (A, B, and C). CTP class A has a better prognosis compared to classes B and C.

“Assessing liver reserve in HCC is of a great value as a tool for stratification of patients in clinical trials as well as to predict HCC outcome and guide therapy decisions in routine practice [28].”

In the researchers’ prospective study, 171 patients with HCC from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center were screened and included in this study. Of the patients, 116 were classified in CTP group A. Patient IGF/CTP scores were calculated and the researchers used the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test to estimate and compare the time-to-event outcomes between patient subgroups. Based on CTP and the IGF/CTP scores, researchers reclassified group A patients into AA and AB risk groups, which differed significantly in terms of OS and PFS. The researchers followed up with all patients in the study until disease progression or death. Unfortunately, during the follow-up period, 100 patients passed away.

“After IGF/CTP scoring, 87 of 116 CTP class A patients were reclassified as IGF/CTP-A (AA) and 29 patients were reclassified as IGF/CTP-B (AB) (Supplementary Table 1).”

Results & Conclusion

“Our study is the first prospective validation of the IGF/CTP scoring system association with the outcomes among patients with HCC treated with sorafenib.”

This study supported the researchers’ hypothesis that the IGF/CTP score is capable of further distinguishing and refining CTP class A patients. However, for CTP class A patients, due to limited power of the study, researchers were unable to meet the threshold for statistical significance for the OS and PFS durations of the reclassified groups AA and AB.

“Although our study was not powered to determine the predictive value of the IGF/CTP score in regard to median OS and PFS durations in CTP class A patients treated with sorafenib, our subset analyses of OS and PFS at different timepoints were statistically significant and, if independently validated, could change the standard approach to assessing hepatic reserve in patients with HCC.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published by Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

Oncotarget is a proud participant of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021 #AACR21
Oncotarget is a proud participant of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021 #AACR21

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Midostaurin Response

Researchers examined midostaurin resistance or sensitivity in a cohort of patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Figure 2: Differential gene expression for midostaurin sensitive vs. resistant samples identifies a unique signature.
Figure 2: Differential gene expression for midostaurin sensitive vs. resistant samples identifies a unique signature.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous malignancy that most commonly affects older adults, 60 years of age and older. NPM1, DNMT3A, and FLT3 are the most common genomic alterations found within this disease. In about 30% of AML patients, FLT3 is mutated. Midostaurin was the first FDA approved FLT3 inhibitor for AML. While Midostaurin has a successful overall survival benefit, both primary and secondary resistance remains common.

“A subtype of AML, classified by the presence of a FLT3-Internal Tandem Duplication (ITD) mutation, tends to have a worse prognosis with early relapse and death [5].”

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute conducted a study to identify features that may predict response to midostaurin in FLT3 mutant and wild-type samples. They performed an ex vivo drug sensitivity screen on primary and relapsed AML samples, with corresponding targeted sequencing and RNA sequencing. The paper was entitled: “Genomic markers of midostaurin drug sensitivity in FLT3 mutated and FLT3 wild-type acute myeloid leukemia patients.”

The Study

In order to understand the impact that different genomic alterations have on midostaurin response, 214 patients were functionally assessed with midostaurin and their FLT3 status was annotated. Of these patients, the researcher identified 193 primary and 21 relapse AML samples from the Beat AML publicly available dataset. Risk groups within the cohort were as follows: 73 samples were favorable risk, 59 samples were intermediate, and 68 were adverse. The median age of patients in the cohort was 61, with 52% male and 48% female.

“We hypothesized that there are additional genomic alterations and gene expression changes outside of FLT3-ITD mutations that can influence AML sample resistance or sensitivity to midostaurin and aimed to further characterize these factors.”

Drug sensitivity screening, RNA sequencing/expression analysis, custom gene panel (GeneTrails) sequencing and variant detection, exome sequencing and variant detection, internal FLT3-ITD and NPM1 mutation detection, derivation of FLT3-ITD and NPM1 consensus calls, ex vivo functional drug screens, and statistical analysis were the methods used to observe the impact of genomic alterations on midostaurin response.

“Our research explored the multi-targeted nature of midostaurin and suggested a number of molecular mutational patterns that correlated with midostaurin drug sensitivity and resistance in both FLT3-ITD mutated and FLT3-ITD wild-type AML patient samples.”

Results

The researchers observed specific point mutations and gene expression patterns that they believe explain why there is a range of responses to midostaurin treatment. In the FLT3-ITD positive cohort, increased expression of the oncogene RGL4 (and regulator of the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK cascade) correlated with poorer midostaurin response. In the FLT3-ITD negative cohort, KRAS mutations correlated with a poorer midostaurin response.

“We also observed that 16 / 34 of the most sensitive samples did not harbor a FLT3 mutation and a majority of differentially expressed genes were independent of FLT3 status.”

Conclusion

The authors point out that additional research studies will be needed given that their sample cohort was relatively small. They also note that since there are multiple FLT3 inhibitors available, it is important to understand the sensitivity mechanisms of each intervention in order to better personalize therapy for chemo-refractory or relapsed AML patients. 

“Overall, we identify genomic alterations that correlate with midostaurin response independent of FLT3-ITD status, propose that Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK inhibition in combination therapy could limit resistance to midostaurin, and suggest that within the overall AML population there may be therapeutic benefit of midostaurin in patients with certain expression profiles.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Oncotarget is a proud participant of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021 #AACR21
Oncotarget is a proud participant of the AACR Annual Meeting 2021 #AACR21

Trending with Impact: The Vitamin D Binding Protein in Thyroid Cancer


Researchers compared vitamin D binding protein expression in papillary thyroid cancer tissues among Filipino American and European American patients.

3D rendered medically accurate illustration of thyroid cancer.
3D rendered medically accurate illustration of thyroid cancer.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

On the basis of ethnicity, different gene variants of the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) are expressed among different populations of people around the world. Little is known about this highly polymorphic protein, though, researchers do know that DBP functions dependently and independently of vitamin D. Many previous research studies have examined the vitamin D-dependent correlation between DBP and cancer, however, few studies have examined DBP’s functionality independent of vitamin D, especially regarding the role of DBP expression in thyroid cancer.

“A systemic review demonstrated that a large number of chronic diseases, including cancers, have been associated with DBP variants [29].” 

Filipino Americans are disproportionately affected by thyroid cancer, and researchers from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and Riverside University Health System conducted a study published in Oncotarget’s Volume 12, Issue #7, entitled, “Differential expression of Vitamin D binding protein in thyroid cancer health disparities.” The researchers compared the expression of DBP in thyroid cancer in Filipino and European Americans. The goal of this research was to further elucidate the functional implications of DBP in different stages of thyroid cancer across ethnicities.

“Although DBP is an essential protein with multifunctional properties, [28, 4147], very few studies are available on its contribution to thyroid cancer oncogenesis.”

The Study

“Thyroid cancer incidence, recurrence, and death rates are higher among Filipino Americans than European Americans.” 

To determine the correlation between differential DBP expression in tumor tissues and cancer staging among Filipino Americans and European Americans, the researchers gathered 200 archival papillary thyroid tissues; 100 from Filipino Americans and 100 from European Americans. They used immunohistochemistry to assay DBP expression in each sample and then analyzed the data with confocal microscopy. 

“Since DBP gene variants showed differential expression across ethnicities [25, 40, 48, 49], DBP level in the tumor microenvironment may implicate the difference in TC [thyroid cancer] prognosis between Filipino and European Americans.” 

First, the team evaluated whether or not there was any relationship between their DBP staining results and age, gender, or body mass index of the patients. They found no correlation between DBP levels and any of these variables, in either ethnicity. The researchers then analyzed the immunohistochemistry DBP staining results by ethnicity. They found moderate to strong intensity DBP staining across the European American cancer tissues and significantly low to no DBP staining in the Filipino American cancer tissues. The researchers also determined an inverse relationship between DBP expression and cancer stage—the lower the DBP expression, the poorer the prognosis. 

“These data implied that DBP’s presence might play protective roles in cancer progression in European Americans compared to Filipino Americans, supporting the aggressive phenotype observed in Filipino Americans.” 

Next, to observe the effects on cell migration and proliferation, DBP knockdown and overexpression (almost 90%) was achieved in the papillary thyroid tumor cells. The researchers demonstrated increased cancer cell proliferation and migration after the knockdown of the DBP gene. When the researchers overexpressed DBP, they observed a significant reduction in papillary thyroid cancer cell proliferation and migration.

Conclusion

“In conclusion, we demonstrate that the presence or absence of DBP inversely correlates to thyroid cancer staging in two ethnicities.”

The researchers note that while this study demonstrated low vitamin D binding protein expression in the advanced thyroid tumors of Filipino Americans, they acknowledge the need to determine the progressive loss of DBP throughout the stages of thyroid cancer.

“A future study is underway to determine the DBP regulation and its downstream pathways to elucidate strategies to eliminate the observed thyroid cancer health disparities.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Oncotarget Participating in Virtual AACR 2021 Annual Meeting

Oncotarget, exhibited by its publisher Impact Journals, will be participating virtually at the AACR Annual Meeting this year, from April 10-15 and May 17-21, 2021.

Oncotarget participating in the Annual AACR Meeting 2021 #AACR
Oncotarget participating in the Annual AACR Meeting 2021 #AACR
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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) organizes an annual meeting program covering some of the most recent discoveries in cancer research. The conference aims to highlight work from the best minds in research and medicine from institutions all over the world. Oncotarget, exhibited by its publisher Impact Journals, will be participating virtually at the AACR Annual Meeting this year. 

As of June 2020, Scopus released their latest 2019 Journal Rankings on Oncology. Oncotarget is among their highest rated (Q1) journals and ranked number one in total citations in oncology. The journal has published outstanding papers and reviews by authors including Bert Vogelstein, Peter K. Vogt, Pier Paolo Pandolfi, Arnold J. Levine, Brian Druker, and Carol Prives. Founding Oncotarget Editorial Board members include Nobel Laureates Andrew V. Schally and Gregg L. Semenza; Lasker Award recipients Alexander Varshavsky, Brian J. Druker, and Gregg L. Semenza; and 16 members of the US National Academy of Sciences. Oncotarget is indexed and archived in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, EMBASE, and META (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) .

The 2021 AACR conference, a two-week online event, will take place from April 10-15 and May 17-21, 2021. Topics include population science and prevention, cancer biology, translational and clinical studies, survivorship, and advocacy. 

In 2019, Oncotarget participated in the AACR Annual Meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and “AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics,” at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The total registration count from the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting was over 21,000—nearly 16,000 of which were scientific attendees from all over the world. Click here to view photos from Oncotarget’s participation in the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting.

Follow the Oncotarget Twitter account (@Oncotarget) for live updates about the conference using the #AACR21 hashtag.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Hepatocellular Carcinoma in The Andes Mountains

Young people living in the Andes Mountains are disproportionately affected by hepatocellular carcinoma compared to other youth around the world. Researchers conducted a study to better understand the cause.

Peru. View of the Urubamba River through the Aguascalientes Village.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

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Andean people live in sparsely populated regions in the Andes Mountains of South America. It is the longest mountain range in the world; spanning seven countries from southern Peru to southern Argentina. Due to the high elevations (averaging 13,000 feet; peaking at 22,834 feet), these areas are known for such low oxygen levels that Andean people have adapted physiologically to the extreme conditions.

Around the world, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the main form of primary liver cancer and commonly affects older patients after they have had prolonged liver disease. However, among Andean people, half of the total patients who develop HCC are adolescents and young adults. Researchers—from Sorbonne Université, Institut Pasteur, Université de Rennes, and Université de Toulouse in France, and the Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplásicas in Peru—conducted a study to better understand HCC in Andean people.

“To deepen our understanding of the molecular determinants of the disease in this population, we conducted an integrative analysis of gene expression and DNA methylation in HCC developed by 74 Peruvian patients, including 39 adolescents and young adults.”

The Study

“The 74 Peruvian patients with HCC included in the present study carried mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes of the four ancestral lineages (A–D) shared by Indigenous American populations (Figure 1A and Table 1) [23].”

The researchers retrospectively conducted transcriptome profiling of patient samples from 74 Peruvian patients with HCC. They compared gene expression data (after batch-effect removal) and found that Peruvian HCC is characterized as a distinct molecular subtype. This, now referred to as the “Amerind signature,” identifies Peruvian HCC as a distinct phenotypic cluster.

“A 961 gene signature was defined (hereinafter referred to as “Amerind signature”), of which 806 were upregulated and 155 downregulated in Peruvian HCC (Figure 3A and Supplementary Table 4).”

Methylome profiling was also conducted by the researchers to show the dynamics of DNA methylation marks, which revealed that Peruvian HCC is associated with a genome-wide hypermethylation pattern. They explain that DNA hydroxymethylation also represents a relevant epigenetic mark in Peruvian HCC. In addition, the researchers found evidence that Peruvian HCC tumor cells have a weaker retinoid signaling signature, which opens the door to potential therapeutic targets.

“The genomic analysis of Peruvian HCC evidenced a weaker retinoid signaling signature in tumor cells, which could pinpoint novel targets and drugs for anticancer targeted therapy (Figure 1C and Supplementary Table 1) [45]. We hypothesized that this weaker retinoid signaling could be responsible for the increased proliferation; hence, the pharmacological response to RA should antagonize this process.”

Conclusion

After comparing this sample of patients with Peruvian HCC with other HCC tumors from other countries around the world, molecular divergence in Peruvian HCC was demonstrated by showing “hierarchical clustering relying on a large and meaningful gene expression signature.” The researchers do not yet know if these differences are due to external/geographic or genomic factors.

“Whether this molecular phenotype is due to anthropological specificities embedded in genome architecture, to extrinsic etiological cues, or to subtle interplays between both components remains to be ascertained.” 

With this being said, the researchers believe that this study stresses the need to carefully consider the potentially prominent roles of human genomic architecture and biogeography when it comes to cancer and underreported minorities and Indigenous patients, especially in low- and middle-income countries. They are forthcoming about limitations in their study and mention having analyzed a fairly small sized cohort. Importantly, the findings from this study create a case for developing therapeutics that are tailored to this new molecular subtype of HCC.

 “The present study establishes a foundation for the dissection of the functional importance of RA-mediated epigenetic control in HCC and therapeutics tailored to patients with Indigenous American ancestry.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

Trending with Impact: Murine Model of Cancer-derived Myocardial Damage

Researchers in this study employed one of the few available murine cachexia models and validated its ability to be used in future studies of cancer-derived myocardial damage.

Part of Figure 2: Alterations in the myocardium of CT26-inoculated BALB/c mice.
Part of Figure 2: Alterations in the myocardium of CT26-inoculated BALB/c mice.

The Trending with Impact series highlights Oncotarget publications attracting higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news and articles about the latest trending publications here, and at Oncotarget.com.

Listen to an audio version of this article

Cachexia, a complex metabolic syndrome characterized in part by the loss of muscle mass, can account for up to 30% of all cancer-related deaths. Myocardial atrophy, or cardiac remodeling/degradation, is a phenotype of cachexia and a common cause of death.  

“The causes of cancer-derived myocardial impairment might be the effects of cancer itself, background heart disease, and influence of cancer treatments; however, they have not been given much clinical importance, and specific treatment efforts are delayed [8].”

Researchers from Nara Medical University, Hanna Central Hospital, and Hoshida Minami Hospital in Nara and Osaka, Japan, and Nantong University in Jiangsu Province, China, note that while myocardial damage in cancer patients is known to be a cause of death, there are few murine cachexia models available to evaluate cancer-derived heart disorders. Thus, there is a need for further studies that may allow researchers to establish an intervention to prevent myocardial damage in cancer patients.

“In this study, we used the mouse cancer cachexia model that we previously established [14] to examine the status of cancer-derived myocardial impairment reported in literature, and validate our model for studying cancer-derived myocardial impairment.”

The Study

Some causes of cancer-derived myocardial impairment have been reported as cancer-induced cytokines, oxidative stress, depletion of antioxidants, and protein catabolism as a result of AKT/mTOR inhibition.

“Despite these advances in our understanding, the multifactorial mechanisms underlying cancer-derived myocardial impairment remain incompletely understood, necessitating further investigations to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and prevent myocardial damage in cancer patients.”

The researchers previously established a mouse cancer cachexia model. In this study, they aimed to validate their model by employing it in the examination of cancer-derived myocardial impairment that has been reported in previous literature. Their study enlisted the mouse model, CT26 colon cancer cell cultures, protein extraction, histological analysis, immunoblot analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), mitochondrial stress tests (Seahorse assay), glycolytic stress tests, and statistical analysis. 

Conclusion

“In summary, our established mouse cachexia model showed various myocardial changes associated with cancer cachexia such as oxidative stress in the myocardium, energy metabolism, autophagy, and inflammatory cytokines.”

Results obtained by the researchers in this study using their mouse cachexia model are congruent with previously reported results about cancerous myocardial damage, and therefore provide reasonable evidence that it may be used in future studies.

“The established mouse cachexia model can therefore be considered useful for analyzing cancer-derived myocardial damage.”

Click here to read the full scientific study, published in Oncotarget.

Oncotarget is a unique platform designed to house scientific studies in a journal format that is available for anyone to read—without a paywall making access more difficult. This means information that has the potential to benefit our societies from the inside out can be shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and other researchers, far and wide.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.