Tagged: Oncotarget

Trending with Impact: Nimotuzumab Improves Non-HPV Oropharynx Cancers

Researchers perform a subgroup analysis study demonstrating positive results in patients with HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancers due to the addition of nimotuzumab while receiving cisplatin and radiation treatment.

An image depicting the nasopharynx, pharynx, and the oropharynx.
An image depicting the nasopharynx, pharynx, and the oropharynx.

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.

Oral cancer in any part of the oropharynx (the back-third of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, and back and sides of the throat) is called oropharyngeal cancer. Each year, oral cancer accounts for around 53,000 new patient diagnoses in the United States. However, the highest number of cases of oral cancer in the world are found in India, and this number is increasing.

“As opposed to HPV related oropharyngeal cancer, HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers have worse prognosis.”

Researchers from Tata Memorial Hospital and Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, India, previously reported that in a phase three randomized study of an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor medication and, called cetuximab, showed a trend towards improvement when used in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancers. Compared with results in other similar studies, they believe their results were likely due to a younger cohort of patients with predominantly HPV negative diseases.

“Taking this into consideration, we decided to perform a subgroup analysis of the HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer cohort, to study the absolute improvement in 2-year outcomes with the addition of nimotuzumab. We compared 2 year progression free survival (PFS), disease free survival (DFS), locoregional control (LRC) and overall survival (OS) between both arms.”

The Study

“HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer has unsatisfactory treatment outcomes and is a candidate for escalation of treatment. We wanted to determine whether the addition of nimotuzumab to cisplatin-radiation could improve outcomes in these poor-risk tumors.”

In this study, the researchers gathered 536 patients undergoing definitive chemoradiation for locally advanced head and neck cancers, with 269 having a primary tumor located in the oropharynx. Of these patients, 187 were p16 protein negative and were divided into two treatment arms: 91 in the cisplatin-radiotherapy (CRT) treatment arm and 97 in the nimotuzumab-cisplatin-radiotherapy (NCRT) treatment arm. Nimotuzumab is an antibody that binds to epidermal growth factor receptor IgG1 and a radiosensitizer.

The cohort consisted of only 21 females, therefore the participants were primarily male, with a median age of 54.5, 90% reported tobacco use, and 80% were in disease stage IV. Patients in the CRT treatment arm were given 30mg/m2 of cisplatin weekly, in addition to radiation therapy. In the NCRT treatment arm, in addition to radiation therapy, patients received 200 mg of nimotuzumab and 30 mg/m2 cisplatin weekly. 


Researchers found that the HPV positive/negative interaction test using immunohistochemistry staining taken by each participant was a significant determinant in progression free survival, locoregional control, and overall survival, but not in disease free survival. They suggest this data shows that the addition of nimotuzumab has a differential patient impact on disease free survival with respect to HPV status.

In patients taking nimotuzumab, improvement in locoregional control was largely responsible for their improvement in progression free survival. On average, time to locoregional failure in the CRT treatment arm was 17.3 months, and in the NCRT treatment arm, it was 60.3 months. The team also found that the addition of nimotuzumab led to an 18.6% improvement in 2-year overall survival, jumping from 39.0% to 57.6%.

Figure 4: Restricted mean overall survival plots of both arms. arm = 0 represents the plot of the cisplatin radiotherapy arm while arm = 1 represents the plot of the Nimotuzumab-cisplatin radiotherapy arm.
Figure 4: Restricted mean overall survival plots of both arms. arm = 0 represents the plot of the cisplatin radiotherapy arm while arm = 1 represents the plot of the Nimotuzumab-cisplatin radiotherapy arm.

“Locoregional control, progression-free survival and overall survival were improved with the addition of nimotuzumab to cisplatin and radiation.”


“The addition of nimotuzumab to weekly cisplatin-radiation improves outcomes inclusive of OS in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers.”

“The results of the current study clarify the importance of treatment intensification in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancers.”

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 Launches New Special Collection on Breast Cancer

Listen to an audio version of this post

As you may know, Oncotarget is a scientific journal that publishes oncology-focused review and research papers every week on its open access platform — available at no cost to readers. Recently, a new Special Collections series debuted, and the first collection launched in honor of breast cancer awareness.

What makes our collections special? 

Oncotarget carefully selects the most credible and insightful studies to publish on Oncotarget.com, while also choosing papers that link different fields of oncology, cancer research, and biomedical sciences together to eliminate borders between specialties. The term “oncotarget” encompasses all molecules, pathways, cellular functions, cell types, and tissues that can be viewed as targets relevant to cancer, as well as other diseases. This journal is a resource for oncology researchers and the larger scientific community.

Before a study is published in Oncotarget, selected papers are meticulously peer-reviewed by an editorial board of award-winning scientific editors from academic universities and institutions well-known for their excellence and precision. Click here for a complete list of Oncotarget Editorial Board members.

Breast cancer research

Each year, over 40,000 women and men lose the fight against breast cancer in the United States. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. The spread of breast cancer awareness and increase in research funding has helped develop advances and discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of this proliferous cancer. 

The new Special Collections by Oncotarget are yet another tool researchers and science readers alike may use as a resource to learn more about breast cancer. The creators of these collections also hope that they may be used by scientists to discover new biomarkers, mechanisms, and therapies to improve our quality of life and better treat cancer and diseases.

Click here to explore the Special Collection on breast cancer.

Thanks to Impact Journals, we know exercise helps to fight breast cancer—for free


A recent breakthrough medical study has revealed that exercise has been proven to combat breast cancer.  The paper, entitled “Anticancer effect of physical activity is mediated by modulation of extracellular microRNA in blood,” was recently published in a June 2020 issue of the free online open-access medical journal Oncotarget. It was authored by an international team of medical researchers, headed by Dr. Alessandra Pulliero of the University of Genoa in Italy, and included Doctors Ming You, Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, Barbara Marengo, Cinzia Domenicotti, Barbara Banelli, Paolo Degan, Luigi Molfetta, Fabio Gianiorio, and Alberto Izzotti.

The paper has already received widespread acclaim and coverage, reproduced online by prestigious organizations such as the National Center for Biotechnology Information (a branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and ResearchGate.


While previous medical studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, it’s been a mystery up to now exactly how this happens. Medical researchers have long suspected that this healing process is triggered by microRNAs, cellular fragments of RNA (ribonucleic acid) also known as miRNAs.

What’s RNA? Like DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA is one of the building blocks of life. It acts as a messenger transmitting instructions that control the synthesis of proteins. MicroRNAs stop a particular protein from being produced by binding to, and then destroying, the messenger RNA that would have produced this protein.

It is known that miRNAs are incredibly important when it comes to carcinogenesis (the creation of cancer) and cancer outcomes. In addition, MiRNAs regulate the creation of muscle tissueand muscle mass, and it’s been learned that structured exercise controls the creation of miRNA, especially in skeletal muscle.

The research team endeavored to test how exercise in breast cancer patients changed the production of miRNA in their bodies. To begin, 30 women from northern Italy between 54 and 78 years old walked for 45 minutes on the treadmill under identical conditions. Blood samples were taken from them both before and after the exercise sessions.


A technique known as microarray analysis revealed that structured exercise modified 14 different extracellular miRNAs related to cancer. Structured exercise caused all these miRNAs to decrease, except for a miRNA called miR-206, which increased. The researchers discovered that the most striking effects induced by exercise were changes in two miRNAs involved in breast cancer progression.

When the researchers investigated the biological effects of these two miRNAs on human breast cancer cells, they conclusively learned that working together, the changes in these two microRNAs activated by a physical exercise program suppressed breast cancer cells. Since too many miRNAs are linked to triggering inflammation and the creation of lymphocytes (white blood cells in the lymph system, which can influence breast cancer), the researchers also believe that structured exercise might reduce inflammation by modulating miRNA in the blood.

They also found that structured exercise improved blood pressure and glucose levels (cancerous tumors feed on glucose) among participants. The doctors discovered that these improvements in blood pressure and glucose levels helped regulate the miRNAs being studied, and in turn helped the miRNAs combat cancer.

This international team of researchers is confident that by testing for the levels of these miRNAs in patients’ blood, they’ve achieved a non-invasive way of establishing biomarkers (a measurable sign of whether a disease is present or how severe it is) to prevent breast cancer. This is potentially a significant breakthrough in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

As a result of this study, the medical community now knows that structured exercise fights breast cancer, and it’s been given a non-invasive way to diagnose and battle breast cancer—and possibly other forms of cancers as well.


This important study was able to be published, and noticed so quickly, because it was made available by Impact Journals’ free, open-access cancer research journal Oncotarget. Currently, over 20,000 Oncotarget papers are also searchable on PubMed, a widely used free search engine for life sciences and biomedical research. 

Because Oncotarget is open-access, it is free for everyone in the world to read. Most medical journals charge authors for publishing their work, and then in turn charge readers to access what could be all-important, life-saving information. With its revolutionary publishing model, Impact Journals, through publications like Oncotarget, makes it easy for anyone with important medical discoveries to communicate them to the public in the fastest and most effective way possible—possibly saving, prolonging, and improving many people’s lives in the process.

With the goal of a life without disease, Impact Journals allows scientists to share their exceptional discoveries, offers services that enable rapid dissemination of results, and presents vital findings from the many fields of biomedical science. It shares scientific findings through a comprehensive publication process entailing peer review, manuscript preparation, and publication promotion.

In addition, Oncotarget is well-known for publishing papers by Nobel Prize winners. The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Oncotarget Editorial Board members William G. Kaelin Jr., and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability,” which can help us understand and potentially treat a range of conditions like cancer, heart attack, stroke, and anemia. (They shared the Prize with UK physician-scientist Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe.) Both William G. Kaelin and Gregg L. Semenza are founding members of Oncotarget, where Gregg L. Semenza has published eight papers.

Another notable Oncotarget Nobel Prize winner is endocrinologist Andrew V. Schally, a member of Oncotarget’s Editorial Board who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 and who has published 12 papers in Oncotarget. Of Oncotarget’s work, he remarked: “Oncotarget is an outstanding and most important journal in the field of oncology and cancer research. Oncotarget is performing an extremely useful function for those of us working not only in cancer research, but also on other important topics in the field of medicine. Oncotarget deserves strong support from investigators working in the area of oncology as well as from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

If you would like to be first to learn about some of the most exciting new discoveries in medical science, consider investigating the groundbreaking work being published by Impact Journals, including its flagship publication, Oncotarget.