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Journal: Cancers


Several molecular imaging modalities have been evaluated in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare and aggressive tumor with a high tendency to metastasize. Continuous progress in the field of molecular imaging might improve management in these patients. The authors review the current modalities and their impact on MCC in this brief review article.

Concepts: Cancer, The Current, Merkel cell cancer, Merkel cell


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most challenging subtype to treat due to the lack of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 expression, which excludes the usage of directed targeted therapy against them. Promising therapeutic targets are the hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which expression is frequently elevated in TNBC. Inhibitors of these receptors used as monotherapy are often ineffective. Due to that, we studied the efficacy of combined therapy targeting MET and EGFR simultaneously. Two TNBC cell lines were treated with lapatinib (a dual EGFR and HER2 inhibitor), foretinib (a MET inhibitor), or a combination of the two. After the inhibitors treatment, we verified the cell viability (XTT assay), distribution of the cell cycle phases, the activation of signaling pathways (Western blotting), distribution of invadopodia, fluorescent gelatin digestion (immunofluorescence), and the invasion capacity of cells. A combination of foretinib and lapatinib effectively reduced the viability of examined cells, led to G2/M arrest and reduction of pAKT. There was also a decreasein number of invadopodia formed by cells, their ability to digest gelatin and reduction of cells migration/invasion capacity. Therapy targeting of both EGFR and MET receptors was much more effective against tested cells than monotherapy. We selected a combination of drugs that could be successfully used against this breast cancer subtype.


Background: Oral cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. Despite that the oral cavity is easily accessible for clinical examinations, oral cancers are often not promptly diagnosed. Furthermore, to date no effective biomarkers are available for oral cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify novel biomarkers able to improve both diagnostic and prognostic strategies. In this context, the development of innovative high-throughput technologies for molecular and epigenetics analyses has generated a huge amount of data that may be used for the identification of new cancer biomarkers. Methods: In the present study, GEO DataSets and TCGA miRNA profiling datasets were analyzed in order to identify miRNAs with diagnostic and prognostic significance. Furthermore, several computational approaches were adopted to establish the functional roles of these miRNAs. Results: The analysis of datasets allowed for the identification of 11 miRNAs with a potential diagnostic role for oral cancer. Additionally, eight miRNAs associated with patients' prognosis were also identified; six miRNAs predictive of patients' overall survival (OS) and one, hsa-miR-let.7i-3p, associated with tumor recurrence. Conclusion: The integrated analysis of different miRNA expression datasets allows for the identification of a set of miRNAs that, after validation, may be used for the early detection of oral cancers.


The question of whether anesthetic, analgesic or other perioperative intervention during cancer resection surgery might influence long-term oncologic outcomes has generated much attention over the past 13 years. A wealth of experimental and observational clinical data have been published, but the results of prospective, randomized clinical trials are awaited. The European Union supports a pan-European network of researchers, clinicians and industry partners engaged in this question (COST Action 15204: Euro-Periscope). In this narrative review, members of the Euro-Periscope network briefly summarize the current state of evidence pertaining to the potential effects of the most commonly deployed anesthetic and analgesic techniques and other non-surgical interventions during cancer resection surgery on tumor recurrence or metastasis.


Chemokines are chemotactic cytokines that mediate immune cell chemotaxis and lymphoid tissue development. Recent advances have indicated that chemokines and their cognate receptors play critical roles in cancer-related inflammation and cancer progression. On the basis of these findings, the chemokine system has become a new potential drug target for cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we summarize the essential roles of the complex network of chemokines and their receptors in cancer progression. Furthermore, we discuss the potential value of the chemokine system as a cancer prognostic marker. The chemokine system regulates the infiltration of immune cells into the tumor microenvironment, which induces both pro- and anti-immunity and promotes or suppresses tumor growth and proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Increasing evidence indicates the promising prognostic value of the chemokine system in cancer patients. While CCL2, CXCL10, and CX3CL1/CX3CR1 can serve as favorable or unfavorable prognostic factors depending on the cancer types, CCL14 and XCL1 possess good prognostic value. Other chemokines such as CXCL1, CXCL8, and CXCL12 are poor prognostic markers. Despite vast advances in our understanding of the complex nature of the chemokine system in tumor biology, knowledge about the multifaceted roles of the chemokine system in different types of cancers is still limited. Further studies are necessary to decipher distinct roles within the chemokine system in terms of cancer progression and to validate their potential value in cancer prognosis.


Clinical criteria/Family history-based BRCA testing misses a large proportion of BRCA carriers who can benefit from screening/prevention. We estimate the cost-effectiveness of population-based BRCA testing in general population women across different countries/health systems. A Markov model comparing the lifetime costs and effects of BRCA1/BRCA2 testing all general population women ≥30 years compared with clinical criteria/FH-based testing. Separate analyses are undertaken for the UK/USA/Netherlands (high-income countries/HIC), China/Brazil (upper-middle income countries/UMIC) and India (low-middle income countries/LMIC) using both health system/payer and societal perspectives. BRCA carriers undergo appropriate screening/prevention interventions to reduce breast cancer (BC) and ovarian cancer (OC) risk. Outcomes include OC, BC, and additional heart disease deaths and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER)/quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Probabilistic/one-way sensitivity analyses evaluate model uncertainty. For the base case, from a societal perspective, we found that population-based BRCA testing is cost-saving in HIC (UK-ICER = $-5639/QALY; USA-ICER = $-4018/QALY; Netherlands-ICER = $-11,433/QALY), and it appears cost-effective in UMIC (China-ICER = $18,066/QALY; Brazil-ICER = $13,579/QALY), but it is not cost-effective in LMIC (India-ICER = $23,031/QALY). From a payer perspective, population-based BRCA testing is highly cost-effective in HIC (UK-ICER = $21,191/QALY, USA-ICER = $16,552/QALY, Netherlands-ICER = $25,215/QALY), and it is cost-effective in UMIC (China-ICER = $23,485/QALY, Brazil-ICER = $20,995/QALY), but it is not cost-effective in LMIC (India-ICER = $32,217/QALY). BRCA testing costs below $172/test (ICER = $19,685/QALY), which makes it cost-effective (from a societal perspective) for LMIC/India. Population-based BRCA testing can prevent an additional 2319 to 2666 BC and 327 to 449 OC cases per million women than the current clinical strategy. Findings suggest that population-based BRCA testing for countries evaluated is extremely cost-effective across HIC/UMIC health systems, is cost-saving for HIC health systems from a societal perspective, and can prevent tens of thousands more BC/OC cases.


High stage and recurrent ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCC) are associated with poor prognosis and resistance to chemotherapy. A distinguishing histological feature of OCC is abundant cytoplasmic stores of glucose, in the form of glycogen, that can be mobilized for cellular metabolism. Here, we report the effect on preclinical models of OCC of disrupting glycogen utilization using the glucose analogue 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG). At concentrations significantly lower than previously reported for other cancers, 2DG markedly improves the efficacy in vitro of carboplatin chemotherapy against chemo-sensitive TOV21G and chemo-resistant OVTOKO OCC cell lines, and this is accompanied by the depletion of glycogen. Of note, 2DG doses-of more than 10-fold lower than previously reported for other cancers-significantly improve the efficacy of carboplatin against cell line and patient-derived xenograft models in mice that mimic the chemo-responsiveness of OCC. These findings are encouraging, in that 2DG doses, which are substantially lower than previously reported to cause adverse events in cancer patients, can safely and significantly improve the efficacy of carboplatin against OCC. Our results thus justify clinical trials to evaluate whether low dose 2DG improves the efficacy of carboplatin in OCC patients.


The possible treatments options for metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC) have dramatically increased during the last years. The old backbone, which androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) is the exclusive approach for hormone-naïve patients, has been disrupted. Despite the fact that several high-quality, randomized, controlled phase 3 trials have been conducted in this setting, no direct comparison is currently available among the different strategies. Inadequate power, absence of preplanning and small sample size frequently affect the subgroup analyses according to disease volume or patient’s risk. The choice between ADT alone and ADT combined with docetaxel, abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, apalutamide or radiotherapy to the primary tumor remains challenging. Factors that are related to the tumor, patient or drug side effects, currently guide these clinical decisions. This comprehensive review aims to indirectly compare the phase 3 trials in the mHSPC setting, in order to extrapolate data useful for treatment selection, providing also perspectives on future biomarkers.


Even though more than 350,000 men die from prostate cancer every year, broad-based screening for the disease remains a controversial topic. Guidelines demand that the only commonly accepted screening tool, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, must be followed by prostate biopsy if results are elevated. Due to the procedure’s low positive predictive value (PPV), however, over 80% of biopsies are performed on healthy men or men with clinically insignificant cancer-prompting calls for new ways of vetting equivocal PSA readings prior to the procedure. Responding to the challenge, the present study investigated the diagnostic potential of tumour-associated circulating endothelial cells (tCECs), which have previously been described as a novel, blood-based biomarker for clinically significant cancers. Specifically, the objective was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of a tCEC-based blood test to detect clinically significant prostate cancer (defined as Gleason score ≥ 3 + 4) in high-risk patients. Performed in a blinded, prospective, single-centre set-up, it compared a novel tCEC index test with transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy biopsy as a reference on a total of 170 patients and found that a tCEC add-on test will almost double the PPV of a standalone PSA test (32% vs. 17%; p = 0.0012), while retaining a negative predictive value above 90%.


Metastatic cancer is a medical challenge that has been historically resistant to treatments. One area of leverage in cancer care is the development of molecularly-driven combination therapies, offering the possibility to overcome resistance. The selection of optimized treatments based on the complex molecular features of a patient’s tumor may be rendered easier by using a computer-assisted program. We used the PreciGENE® platform that uses multi-pathway molecular analysis to identify personalized therapeutic options. These options are ranked using a predictive score reflecting the degree to which a therapy or combination of therapies matches the patient’s biomarker profile. We searched PubMed from February 2010 to June 2017 for all patients described as exceptional responders who also had molecular data available. Altogether, 70 patients with cancer who had received 202 different treatment lines and who had responded (stable disease ≥12 months/partial or complete remission) to ≥1 regimen were curated. We demonstrate that an algorithm reflecting the degree to which patients were matched to the drugs administered correctly ranked the response to the regimens with a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 77%. The difference in matching score between successful and unsuccessful treatment lines was significant (median, 65% versus 0%, p-value <0.0001).