Previously, we showed that vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) engineered to express a cDNA library from human melanoma cells (ASMEL, Altered Self Melanoma Epitope Library) was an effective systemic therapy to treat subcutaneous (s.c.) murine B16 melanomas. Here, we show that intravenous treatment with the same ASMEL VSV-cDNA library was an effective treatment for established intra-cranial (i.c.) melanoma brain tumors. The optimal combination of antigens identified from the ASMEL which treated s.c. B16 tumors (VSV-N-RAS+VSV-CYTC-C+VSV-TYRP-1) was ineffective against i.c. B16 brain tumors. In contrast, combination of VSV-expressed antigens-VSV-HIF-2?+VSV-SOX-10+VSV-C-MYC+VSV-TYRP1-from ASMEL which was highly effective against i.c. B16 brain tumors, had no efficacy against the same tumors growing subcutaneously. Correspondingly, i.c. B16 tumors expressed a HIF-2?(Hi), SOX-10(Hi), c-myc(Hi), TYRP1, N-RAS(lo)Cytc(lo) antigen profile, which differed significantly from the HIF-2?(lo), SOX-10(lo), c-myc(lo), TYRP1, N-RAS(Hi)Cytc(Hi) phenotype of s.c. B16 tumors, and was imposed upon the tumor cells by CD11b(+) cells within the local brain tumor microenvironment. Combining T-cell costimulation with systemic VSV-cDNA treatment, long-term cures of mice with established i.c. tumors were achieved in about 75% of mice. Our data show that the anatomical location of a tumor profoundly affects the profile of antigens that it expresses.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 76 variants associated with prostate cancer risk predominantly in populations of European ancestry. To identify additional susceptibility loci for this common cancer, we conducted a meta-analysis of > 10 million SNPs in 43,303 prostate cancer cases and 43,737 controls from studies in populations of European, African, Japanese and Latino ancestry. Twenty-three new susceptibility loci were identified at association P < 5 × 10(-8); 15 variants were identified among men of European ancestry, 7 were identified in multi-ancestry analyses and 1 was associated with early-onset prostate cancer. These 23 variants, in combination with known prostate cancer risk variants, explain 33% of the familial risk for this disease in European-ancestry populations. These findings provide new regions for investigation into the pathogenesis of prostate cancer and demonstrate the usefulness of combining ancestrally diverse populations to discover risk loci for disease.
Figitumumab is a human IgG2 monoclonal antibody targeting insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R), with antitumor activity in prostate cancer. This phase II trial randomized chemotherapy-naïve men with progressing castration-resistant prostate cancer to receive figitumumab every 3 weeks with docetaxel/prednisone (Arm A) or docetaxel/prednisone alone (Arm B1). At progression on Arm B1, patients could cross over to the combination (Arm B2).
Optimum clinical protocols require systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses in the presence of an intact immune system. We show that preconditioning with immune modulators, or loading virus onto carrier cells ex vivo, enhances virus-mediated antitumor activity. Our early trials of systemic reovirus delivery showed that after infusion reovirus could be recovered from blood cells--but not from plasma--suggesting that rapid association with blood cells may protect virus from neutralizing antibody. We therefore postulated that stimulation of potential carrier cells directly in vivo before intravenous viral delivery would enhance delivery of cell-associated virus to tumor. We show that mobilization of the CD11b(+) cell compartment by granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor immediately before intravenous reovirus, eliminated detectable tumor in mice with small B16 melanomas, and achieved highly significant therapy in mice bearing well-established tumors. Unexpectedly, cytokine conditioning therapy was most effective in the presence of preexisting neutralizing antibody. Consistent with this, reovirus bound by neutralizing antibody effectively accessed monocytes/macrophages and was handed off to tumor cells. Thus, preconditioning with cytokine stimulated recipient cells in vivo for enhanced viral delivery to tumors. Moreover, preexisting neutralizing antibody to an oncolytic virus may, therefore, even be exploited for systemic delivery to tumors in the clinic.
The HOX genes are a family of transcription factors that help to determine cell and tissue identity during early development, and which are also over-expressed in a number of malignancies where they have been shown to promote cell proliferation and survival. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression of HOX genes in prostate cancer and to establish whether prostate cancer cells are sensitive to killing by HXR9, an inhibitor of HOX function.
Extensive efforts to identify a clinically useful biomarker for the diagnosis of prostate cancer have resulted in important insights into the biology of the disease, but no new test has been approved by regulatory authorities. The unmet need has also shifted to identifying biomarkers that not only diagnose prostate cancer but also indicate whether the patient has significant disease. EN2 is a homeobox-containing transcription factor secreted specifically by prostate cancers into urine, where it can be detected by a simple ELISA assay. A number of studies have demonstrated the enormous potential of EN2 to address this unmet need and provide the urologist with a simple, cheap and efficient prostate cancer biomarker.
In pre-clinical models, the only two chemotherapy drugs which have been demonstrated to directly reduce the number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil. Here we analyze the dynamics of MDSCs, phenotyped as Lin-DR-CD11b+, in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer receiving the combination of gemcitabine and capecitabine, a 5-FU pro-drug. We found no evidence that gemcitabine and capecitabine directly reduce MDSC% in patients. Gemcitabine and capecitabine reduced MDSCs in 42 % of patients (n = 19) and MDSC% fell in only 3/9 patients with above-median baseline MDSCs. In 5/8 patients with minimal tumour volume change on treatment, the MDSC% went up: increases in MDSC% in these patients appeared to correlate with sustained cancer-related inflammatory cytokine upregulation. In a separate cohort of 21 patients treated with gemcitabine and capecitabine together with concurrently administered GV1001 vaccine with adjuvant GM-CSF, the MDSC% fell in 18/21 patients and there was a significant difference in the trajectory of MDSCs between those receiving GV1001 and GM-CSF in combination with chemotherapy and those receiving chemotherapy alone. Thus, there was no evidence that the addition of low-dose adjuvant GM-CSF increased Lin-DR-CD11b+ MDSC in patients receiving combination chemoimmunotherapy. 9/21 patients developed an immune response to GV1001 and the MDSCs fell in 8 of these 9 patients, 6 of whom had above-median pre-vaccination MDSC levels. A high pre-vaccination MDSC% does not preclude the development of immunity to a tumour-associated antigen.
Tumor recurrence represents a major clinical challenge. Our data show that emergent recurrent tumors acquire a phenotype radically different from that of their originating primary tumors. This phenotype allows them to evade a host-derived innate immune response elicited by the progression from minimal residual disease (MRD) to actively growing recurrence. Screening for this innate response predicted accurately in which mice recurrence would occur. Premature induction of recurrence resensitized MRD to the primary therapy, suggesting a possible paradigm shift for clinical treatment of dormant disease in which the current expectant approach is replaced with active attempts to uncover MRD before evolution of the escape phenotype is complete. By combining screening with second-line treatments targeting innate insensitivity, up to 100% of mice that would have otherwise relapsed were cured. These data may open new avenues for early detection and appropriately timed, highly targeted treatment of tumor recurrence irrespective of tumor type or frontline treatment.
Viruses that selectively replicate in cancer cells, leading to the death of the cell, are being studied for their potential as cancer therapies. Some of these viruses are naturally occurring but cause little if any illness in humans; others have been engineered to make them specifically able to kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells. These oncolytic viruses may be selective for cancer cells because viral receptors are over-expressed on the surface of cancer cells or because antiviral pathways are distorted in cancer cells. Additionally, when oncolytic viruses kill cancer cells, it can stimulate an antitumour immune response from the host that can enhance efficacy. Numerous early phase trials of at least six oncolytic viruses have been reported with no evidence of concerning toxicity either as single agents or in combination with chemotherapies and radiotherapy. Three oncolytic viruses have reached randomized testing in cancer patients; reolysin in head and neck cancer and JX594 in hepatocellular cancers, while results from the first-phase III trial of T-vec in metastatic melanoma are expected shortly.
Controversy surrounds the use of PSA as a biomarker for prostate cancer detection, leaving an unmet need for a novel biomarker in this setting; urinary EN2 may identify individuals with clinically relevant prostate cancer. Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers are at increased risk of clinically significant prostate cancer and may benefit from screening. Urine samples from 413 BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and controls were evaluated. Subjects underwent annual PSA screening with diagnostic biopsy triggered by PSA > 3.0?ng/ml; 21 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Urinary EN2 levels were measured by ELISA and had a sensitivity of 66.7% and specificity of 89.3% for cancer detection. There was no statistically significant difference in EN2 levels according to genetic status or Gleason score. Urinary EN2 may be useful as a non-invasive early biomarker for prostate cancer detection in genetically high-risk individuals.
In 2010, the US FDA approved the first therapeutic cancer vaccine for the treatment of castration refractory prostate cancer - sipuleucel-T. Prostate cancer is an ideal model for cancer vaccine development based on the ready demonstration of humoral and cellular immunity to a range of cancer antigens as well as often slow progression which means that patients who are otherwise well may have a radiologically evaluable minor progression, after conventional treatment and can undergo vaccine therapy over sufficient periods of time, so as to allow the generation of a robust antitumor response. The association of prostate cancer with one of the few serum cancer biomarkers in general use has also allowed assessment of response and risk stratification of patients. In this review, we will examine key aspects of the evolution of prostate cancer vaccines, which provides an accurate prototype for other cancers, and the challenges we face.
Aggressive regrowth of recurrent tumors following treatment-induced dormancy represents a major clinical challenge for treatment of malignant disease. We reported previously that recurrent prostate tumors, which underwent complete macroscopic regression followed by aggressive regrowth, could be cured with a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-expressed cDNA library derived from recurrent tumor cells. By screening the protective, recurrence-derived VSV-cDNA library, here we identify topoisomerase-II? (TOPO-II?) as a recurrence-specific tumor antigen against which tolerance can be broken. Tumor recurrences, in two different types of tumor (prostate and melanoma), which had evaded two different frontline treatments (immunotherapy or chemotherapy), significantly overexpressed TOPO-II? compared with their primary tumor counterparts, which conferred a novel sensitivity to doxorubicin (DOX) chemotherapy upon the recurrent tumors. This was exploited in vivo using combination therapies to cure mice, which would otherwise have relapsed, after suboptimal primary therapy in both models. Our data show that recurrent tumors-across histologies and primary treatments-express distinct antigens compared with the primary tumor which can be identified using the VSV-cDNA library technology. These results suggest that it may be possible to design a few common second-line therapies against a variety of tumor recurrences, in some cases using agents with no obvious activity against the primary tumor.
Engrailed (En) is a member of the homeobox gene family, which encodes a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that is essential during early development. The only known site of normal adult Engrailed protein (EN) expression is in the nervous system, and it has been implicated in the development of both young-onset Parkinsons disease as well as autism. Over-expression of EN has been linked to tumour development in adults, particularly in breast, prostate, melanoma and ovarian cancers, and there is a growing interest in its role as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker. It is hoped that further work may confirm associations between En expression and therapy-resistant, poor prognosis cancers, similar to that identified with other homeobox gene profiles.
Cutaneous melanoma is the fastest increasing cancer worldwide. Although several molecular abnormalities have been associated with melanoma progression, the underlying mechanisms are still largely unknown and few targeted therapies are under evaluation. Here we show that the HOXB7/PBX2 dimer acts as a positive transcriptional regulator of the oncogenic microRNA-221 and -222. In addition, demonstrating c-FOS as a direct target of miR-221&222, we identify a HOXB7/PBX2?miR-221&222 ?c-FOS regulatory link, whereby the abrogation of functional HOXB7/PBX2 dimers leads to reduced miR-221&222 transcription and elevated c-FOS expression with consequent cell death. Taking advantage of the treatment with the peptide HXR9, an antagonist of HOX/PBX dimerization, we recognize miR-221&222 as effectors of its action, in turn confirming the HXR9 efficacy in the treatment of human melanoma malignancy, whilst sparing normal human melanocytes. Our findings, besides suggesting the potential therapeutic of HXR9 or its derivatives in malignant melanoma, suggest the disruption of the HOXB7/PBX2 complexes, miR-221&222 inhibition or even better their combination, as innovative therapeutic approaches.
Despite significant advances in our understanding of the molecular pathology of bladder cancer, it remains a significant health problem with high morbidity and mortality associated with muscle-invasive bladder cancer (stages T2+), and high costs associated with the surveillance of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC, stages Ta/T1/Tis). Moreover, current diagnostic biomarkers are suboptimal and of poor utility for low grade disease and surveillance. In this study, we show that the Engrailed-2 (EN2) transcription factor is expressed in, and secreted by, bladder cancer cell lines and patient tumour specimens, justifying an evaluation of urinary EN2 as a diagnostic biomarker in bladder cancer using archived samples from an established biospecimen collection. In patients with NMIBC, urinary EN2 was detected in most cases with an overall sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 75%. The sensitivity for stage Ta and T1 tumours was 71% and 76%, respectively, and 94% for stage T2+ tumours. This compares favourably with existing markers. The sensitivity for tumour grades 1, 2 and 3 was 69%, 78% and 87%, respectively. Thus urinary EN2 has the potential to be a more sensitive and specific protein biomarker for NMIBC than currently available tests.
The best-established function of the melanoma-suppressor p16 is mediation of cell senescence, a permanent arrest following cell proliferation or certain stresses. The importance of p16 in melanoma suggests indolence of the other major senescence pathway through p53. Little or no p53 is expressed in senescent normal human melanocytes, but p16-deficient melanocytes can undergo p53-mediated senescence. As p16 expression occurs in nevi but falls with progression toward melanoma, we here investigated whether p53-dependent senescence occurs at some stage and, if not, what defects were detectable in this pathway, using immunohistochemistry. Phosphorylated checkpoint kinase 2 (CHEK2) can mediate DNA-damage signaling, and under some conditions senescence, by phosphorylating and activating p53. Remarkably, we detected no prevalent p53-mediated senescence in any of six classes of lesions. Two separate defects in p53 signaling appeared common: in nevi, lack of p53 phosphorylation by activated CHEK2, and in melanomas, defective p21 upregulation by p53 even when phosphorylated.
Angiogenesis, one of the hallmarks of cancer, supplies nutrients to cancerous tissues to facilitate rapid growth. Targeting cancer-associated angiogenesis is an important goal in cancer therapy and there are currently many drugs that affect tumor-associated vasculature. In this article, we will focus on the antiangiogenic effects of zoledronate (ZA), a bisphosphonate drug routinely used in the treatment of cancer-associated bone disease. This article covers the known effects of ZA throughout the clinical process. It also covers the animal models of cancer that have been treated with ZA and evaluated for angiogenes is, concluding with the current clinical data pertaining to angiogenic factors after ZA treatment.
We have previously reported that a burst of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling to tumor-associated endothelium induces a proviral state, during which systemically delivered oncolytic reovirus can replicate in endothelium, thereby inducing immune-mediated vascular collapse and significant antitumor therapy. Using chimeric receptors, we show here that induction of the proviral state proceeds through VEGFR2, but not VEGFR1, signaling in endothelial cells. In contrast, innate immune activation by reovirus-exposed endothelial cells was predominantly through VEGFR1. By screening conventional chemotherapies for their ability to induce similar effects in combination with reovirus both in vitro and in vivo, we observed that the proviral state could also be induced in endothelial cells exposed to VEGF during rebound from paclitaxel-mediated inhibition of VEGF signaling. We translated these in vitro findings in vivo by careful scheduling of paclitaxel chemotherapy with systemic virotherapy, neither of which alone had therapeutic effects against B16 tumors. Systemic availability of reovirus during endothelial cell recovery from paclitaxel treatment allowed for endothelial replication of the virus, immune-mediated therapy, and tumor cures. Therefore, careful scheduling of combination viro- and chemotherapies, which preclinical testing suggests are individually ineffective against tumor cells, can lead to rational new clinical protocols for systemic treatments with oncolytic viruses.
From a therapeutic perspective, the bourgeoning literature on Th17 cells should allow us to decide whether to rationally pursue the manipulation of Th17 cells in cancer. The purpose of this review is to attempt a synthesis of a number of contradictory conclusions as to the role that these cells are playing in the process of tumourigenesis in order to provide guidance as to whether our current understanding is sufficient to safely pursue Th17-targeted therapy in cancer at this time. Th17 cells are a highly plastic population and the cytokine drivers for Th17 cell generation and skewing will vary between various cancers and importantly between different sites of tumour involvement in any individual patient. The net impact of the pro-angiogenic IL-17 produced not only by Th17 cells but by other cells particularly macrophages and the anti-tumour effects of Th1/Th17 cells will in turn be determined by the complex interplay of diverse chemokines and cytokines in any tumour microenvironment. Th17 cells that fail to home to tumours may be immunosuppressive. The complexity of IL-17 and Th17 dynamics makes easy prediction of the effects of either enhancing or suppressing Th17 cell differentiation in cancer problematic.
The HOX genes are a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine cellular identity during development. Here we review a number of recent studies showing that HOX genes are strongly expressed in ovarian cancer, and that in some cases the expression of specific HOX genes is sufficient to confer a particular identity and phenotype upon cancer cells. We also review the recent advances in elucidating the different functions of HOX genes in ovarian cancer. A literature search was performed using the search terms HOX genes (including specific HOX genes), ovarian cancer and oncogenesis. Articles were accessed through searches performed in ISI Web of Knowledge, PubMed and ScienceDirect. Taken together, these studies have shown that HOX genes play a role in the oncogenesis of ovarian cancer and function in the inhibition of apoptosis, DNA repair and enhanced cell motility. The function of HOX genes in ovarian cancer oncogenesis supports their potential role as prognostic and diagnostic markers, and as therapeutic targets in this disease.
Reovirus type 3 Dearing (T3D) has demonstrated oncolytic activity in vitro, in in vivo murine models and in early clinical trials. However the true potential of oncolytic viruses may only be realized fully in combination with other modalities such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiotherapy. In this study, we examine the oncolytic activity of reovirus T3D and chemotherapeutic agents against human prostate cancer cell lines, with particular focus on the highly metastatic cell line PC3 and the chemotherapeutic agent docetaxel. Docetaxel is the standard of care for metastatic prostate cancer and acts by disrupting the normal process of microtubule assembly and disassembly. Reoviruses have been shown to associate with microtubules and may require this association for efficient viral replication.
The HOX genes are a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine cellular identity during development and which are subsequently re-expressed in many types of cancer. Some recent studies have shown that HOX genes may have key roles both in pancreatic development and in adult diseases of the pancreas, including cancer. In this review we consider recent advances in elucidating the role of HOX genes in these processes, how they may connect early developmental events to subsequent adult disease, and their potential both as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets.
We undertook a comprehensive analysis of circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and T regulatory cells (Tregs) in pancreatic, esophageal and gastric cancer patients and investigated whether MDSCs are an independent prognostic factor for survival. We evaluated a series of plasma cytokines and in particular re-evaluated the Th2 cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13). Peripheral blood was collected from 131 cancer patients (46 pancreatic, 60 esophageal and 25 gastric) and 54 healthy controls. PBMC were harvested with subsequent flow cytometric analysis of MDSC (HLADR(-) Lin1(low/-) CD33(+) CD11b(+)) and Treg (CD4(+) CD25(+) CD127(low/-) FoxP3(+)) percentages. Plasma IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12 (p70), IL-13, IL-17, G-CSF, IFN-?, TNF-? and VEGF levels were analyzed by the Bio-Plex cytokine assay. Plasma arginase I levels were analyzed by ELISA. MDSCs and Tregs were statistically significantly elevated in pancreatic, esophageal and gastric cancer compared with controls, and MDSC numbers correlated with Treg levels. Increasing MDSC percentage was associated with increased risk of death, and in a multivariate analysis, MDSC level was an independent prognostic factor for survival. A unit increase in MDSC percentage was associated with a 22% increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.06-1.41). Arginase I levels were also statistically significantly elevated in upper gastrointestinal cancer patients compared with controls. There was Th2 skewing for cytokine production in all three diseases, and importantly there were significant elevations of the pivotal Th2 cytokine interleukin-13, an increase that correlated with MDSC levels.
Dendritic cells (DC) may be the most effective way of delivering oncolytic viruses to patients. Reovirus, a naturally occurring oncolytic virus, is currently undergoing early clinical trials; however, intravenous delivery of the virus is hampered by pre-existing antiviral immunity. Systemic delivery via cell carriage is a novel approach currently under investigation and initial studies have indicated its feasibility by using a variety of cell types and viruses. This study addressed the efficacy of human DC to transport virus in the presence of human neutralizing serum.
Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most common cause of cancer related death in men. A number of key limitations with prostate specific antigen (PSA), currently the standard detection test, has justified evaluation of new biomarkers. We have assessed the diagnostic potential of Engrailed-2 (EN2) protein, a homeodomain-containing transcription factor expressed in PC cell lines and secreted into the urine by PC in men.
Effective cancer immunotherapy requires the release of a broad spectrum of tumor antigens in the context of potent immune activation. We show here that a cDNA library of normal tissue, expressed from a highly immunogenic viral platform, cures established tumors of the same histological type from which the cDNA library was derived. Immune escape occurred with suboptimal vaccination, but tumor cells that escaped the immune pressure were readily treated by second-line virus-based immunotherapy. This approach has several major advantages. Use of the cDNA library leads to presentation of a broad repertoire of (undefined) tumor-associated antigens, which reduces emergence of treatment-resistant variants and also permits rational, combined-modality approaches in the clinic. Finally, the viral vectors can be delivered systemically, without the need for tumor targeting, and are amenable to clinical-grade production. Therefore, virus-expressed cDNA libraries represent a novel paradigm for cancer treatment addressing many of the key issues that have undermined the efficacy of immuno- and virotherapy to date.
REOLYSIN (Oncolytics Biotech) consists of a wild-type oncolytic reovirus, which has selective cytotoxicity for tumor cells while sparing normal cells. In a phase I study as a single agent, repeated infusions of reovirus were safe with evidence of antitumor activity. Preclinical studies indicate potential for synergy between reovirus and chemotherapeutic agents. A multicenter, phase I dose escalation study was designed to assess the safety of combining reovirus with docetaxel chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancer.
The potential for increased sensitivity of tumor cells to oncolytic reovirus by altering the normal cell cycle using clinically available pharmacological agents was investigated. B16.F10 mouse melanoma cells were partially synchronized with hydroxyurea, thymidine, or by mitotic shake-off. Cell survival was determined using MTS [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)- 2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium)] survival assay and virus yield in tumors by plaque assay. An enhanced sensitivity to reovirus was observed following the removal of either hydroxyurea or thymidine from the culture medium (P < 0.0001). The greatest survival difference compared to normal cycling cells was noted when the majority of cells were in S and G2/M phases, and was associated with increased viral replication. Cells collected by mitotic shake-off were nearly devoid of cells in S phase and were less susceptible to reovirus-induced cell kill than their nonsynchronized counterparts (P < 0.0001). In vivo combination of hydroxyurea followed by intratumoral reovirus resulted in reduced tumor growth and increased survival compared to monotherapy (P = 0.0041) at 15 days. Increased amounts of virus were retrieved from tumors from mice treated with sequential hydroxyurea/reovirus compared to concomitant treatment or reovirus monotherapy. These data justify clinical evaluation of this approach supported by the extensive experience, low cost, simple administration, and availability of hydroxyurea.
Delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) to tumours remains a major obstacle for the development of RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutics. Following the promising pre-clinical and clinical results with the oncolytic herpes simplex virus (HSV) OncoVEX GM-CSF, we aimed to express RNAi triggers from oncolytic HSV, which although has the potential to improve treatment by silencing tumour-related genes, was not considered possible due to the highly oncolytic properties of HSV.
Adenoviral (AdV) transfer of sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene has translational potential, but relatively low levels of transduction and subsequent radioisotope uptake limit the efficacy of the approach. In previous studies, we showed that combining NIS gene delivery with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and DNA damage repair inhibitors increased viral gene expression and radioiodide uptake. Here, we report the therapeutic efficacy of this strategy. An adenovirus expressing NIS from a telomerase promoter (Ad-hTR-NIS) was cytotoxic combined with relatively high-dose (50 microCi) (131)I therapy and enhanced the efficacy of EBRT combined with low-dose (10 and 25 microCi) (131)I therapy in colorectal and head and neck cancer cells. Combining this approach with ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) or DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) inhibition caused maintenance of double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) at 24 hours and increased cytotoxicity on clonogenic assay. When the triplet of NIS-mediated (131)I therapy, EBRT, and DNA-PKi was used in vivo, 90% of mice were tumor-free at 5 weeks. Acute radiation toxicity in the EBRT field was not exacerbated. In contrast, DNA-PKi did not enhance the therapeutic efficacy of EBRT plus adenovirus-mediated HSVtk/ganciclovir (GCV). Therefore, combining NIS gene therapy and EBRT represents an ideal strategy to exploit the therapeutic benefits of novel radiosensitizers.
Tumour cryotherapy has been described as both immunostimulatory and immunoinhibitory in previous studies. However, previous studies have not accurately reproduced the precise conditions of current clinical cryotherapy. The objective of this study is to assess the immunological effects of cryotreated whole tumour cells on dendritic cells (DC) maturation and function using an in vitro model. Prostate cancer cells were cooled using Endocare cryo-system to mimic temperatures achieved during clinical cryotherapy. Human DC were prepared from cluster of differentiation (CD) 14 monocytes and matured with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Cryotreated cancer cells were added to DC on day 3. On day 7, DC were harvested and phenotyped. Cytokine gene expression was assessed using real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Functional activity of DC was assessed in allogenic mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) and the molecular changes using gene microarray technology. There was statistically significant upregulation of costimulatory molecules and maturation markers (CD86, CD83, CD80 and CL II) in DC loaded with cryotreated whole tumour cells compared to both control DC and DC matured with LPS (P < 0.001). There was a significant increase in stimulatory cytokines gene expression (IL-2, IL-12, IL-15, IL-18 and IFN-?). However, IL-10 and TGF-? expression reduced significantly. The effect of different freezing temperature was equal. cDNA microarray analysis showed upregulation of interleukin 1 (IL-1) and cycline dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A (p21) and downregulation of Caspase 8 and BCL2. Overall, our findings suggest that the effect of cryotherapy is generally stimulatory to DC which may enhance anti-tumour effects. Therefore, the combination of cryotherapy and DC vaccine may represent a novel method to increase the efficacy of cryotherapy especially at the peripheral zones of the prostate where cells are exposed to sub-lethal temperature.
To determine the safety and feasibility of combining intratumoral reovirus and radiotherapy in patients with advanced cancer and to assess viral biodistribution, reoviral replication in tumors, and antiviral immune responses.
Anti-angiogenic agents targeting tumour vasculature have an established place in clinical practice, and new data are constantly emerging. However, despite rapid clinical uptake, a very large number of questions regarding these agents remain unanswered. One of the main hurdles in clinical practice is lack of accurate and feasible ways of assessing response to drug beyond tumour reduction on conventional imaging. This review summarises recent developments in the field of biomarkers of response to anti-VEGF drugs.
The potential utility of dendritic cells (DC) as cancer vaccines has been established in early trials in human cancers. The concomitant administration of cytotoxic agents and DC vaccines has been previously avoided due to potential immune suppression by chemotherapeutics. Recent studies show that common chemotherapy agents positively influence adaptive and innate anti-tumour immune responses.
Ovarian cancer still has a relatively poor prognosis due to the frequent occurrence of drug resistance, making the identification of new therapeutic targets an important goal. We have studied the role of HOX genes in the survival and proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. These are a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine cell and tissue identity in the early embryo, and have an anti-apoptotic role in a number of malignancies including lung and renal cancer.
Live attenuated bacterial vectors, such as Salmonella typhimurium, have shown promise as delivery vehicles for DNA. We have examined two new strains of S. typhimurium and their impact on dendritic cell maturation (CD12-sifA/aroC mutant and WT05-ssaV/aroC, both in TML background). Strain WT05 matured dendritic cells in a more efficient way; caused higher release of cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-12, IL-1beta; and was efficient for gene transfer. These findings suggest that the genetic background of the attenuation can influence the pattern of inflammatory immune response to Salmonella infection.
The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) is responsible for thyroidal, salivary, gastric, intestinal and mammary iodide uptake. It was first cloned from the rat in 1996 and shortly thereafter from human and mouse tissue. In the intervening years, we have learned a great deal about the biology of NIS. Detailed knowledge of its genomic structure, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation and pharmacological modulation has underpinned the selection of NIS as an exciting approach for targeted gene delivery. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the potential of using NIS gene therapy as a means of delivering highly conformal radiation doses selectively to tumours. This strategy is particularly attractive because it can be used with both diagnostic (99mTc, 125I, 124I)) and therapeutic (131I, 186Re, 188Re, 211At) radioisotopes and it lends itself to incorporation with standard treatment modalities, such as radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. In this article, we review the biology of NIS and discuss its development for gene therapy.
Clinical trials of oncolytic virotherapy have shown low toxicity and encouraging signs of efficacy. However, it remains critically important to develop methods for systemic viral delivery if such therapies are to be clinically implemented to treat established tumors. In this respect, much effort is being focused on combining oncolytic viruses with standard treatment modalities such as inhibitors of VEGF165 (an alternatively spliced isoform of VEGF-A) signaling, which are widely used to treat several different cancers. Here, we have demonstrated that combining VEGF165 inhibitors with systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses leads to substantial regression and cure of established tumors in immunocompetent mice. We have shown that manipulating VEGF165-mediated signaling by administering VEGF165 to mice harboring mouse melanoma cells that do not express VEGF165 and by administering a VEGF inhibitor and then withdrawing treatment to allow VEGF levels to rebound in mice harboring mouse melanoma cells expressing VEGF165 allows tumor-associated endothelial cells transiently to support viral replication. This approach led to direct tumor cell lysis and triggered innate immune-mediated attack on the tumor vasculature. It also resulted in long-term antitumor effects, even against tumors in which viral replication is poorly supported. Since this combinatorial approach targets the tumor endothelium, we believe these data have direct, wide-ranging, and immediate clinical applicability across a broad range of tumor types.
To test combination treatment schedules of reovirus and cisplatin chemotherapy in human and murine melanoma cell lines and murine models of melanoma and to investigate the possible mechanisms of synergistic antitumor effects.
Oncolytic virotherapy may mediate antitumor effects via direct oncolysis or immune-mediated tumor regression. Although the ability of oncolytic viruses to generate adaptive antitumor immunity has been characterized, their interactions with the innate immune system are relatively unclear. Using a human in vitro system, this study investigates the innate immunological consequences of reovirus therapy and its potential to activate NK cell-mediated antitumor activity. Dendritic cells (DC) loaded with reovirus-infected human melanoma Mel888 cells (DC-MelReo), but not reovirus-infected tumor cells alone, induced IFN-gamma production within the NK cell population upon coculture with PBMC, in a cell-to-cell contact-dependent manner. DC-MelReo secreted the chemokines CCL2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and CXCL10; these culture supernatants induced NK cell chemotaxis. Coculture of DC-MelReo with purified NK cells induced reciprocal contact-dependent phenotypic DC maturation, while DC-MelReo elicited up-regulation of the activation marker CD69 on NK cells, in a partially contact and partially IL-12 dependent manner. Significantly, DC-MelReo induced NK cell cytotoxicity toward tumor cells by a type I IFN dependent mechanism. These data demonstrate that tumor infection by reovirus can act via DC to induce NK cell recruitment, activation, and cytotoxicity, along with reciprocal DC maturation. These findings suggest that reciprocal DC-NK cell interactions, following reovirus therapy, may play an important role in altering the immune milieu of the tumor microenvironment and mediating tumor regression.
The three-way interaction between oncolytic viruses, the tumor microenvironment, and the immune system is critical to the outcome of antitumor therapy. Classically, the immune system is thought to limit the efficacy of therapy, leading to viral clearance. However, preclinical and clinical data suggest that in some cases virotherapy may in fact act as cancer immunotherapy. In this review we discuss the ability of oncolytic viruses to alter the immunogenic milieu of the tumor microenvironment, and the role of innate and adaptive immunity in both restricting and augmenting therapy. Strategies to improve virotherapy by immunomodulation, including suppression or enhancement of the innate and adaptive responses, are discussed.
The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic implications of the pretreatment level of Th17 cells compared with regulatory T-cell status in prostate cancer patients receiving active whole cell immunotherapy. Ten-color flow cytometry was used to analyze IL-17-producing CD4(+) T-cells in the peripheral blood of hormone-resistant non-bone metastatic prostate cancer patients prior to immunotherapy with an allogeneic whole-cell vaccine. Surface expression of the chemokine receptors CCR4 and CCR6 was used to further subdivide IL-17-producing cells into subsets with distinct homing properties. The frequency of circulating regulatory T-cells (Tregs), defined as CD3(+)CD4(+)CD127(lo)Foxp3(+)CD25(+) was compared in the same patients. The frequency of CCR4(-)IL-17(+)CD4(+) T-cells prevaccination inversely correlated with time to disease progression (TTP) in 23 prostate cancer patients. Furthermore, responder (R) patients with statistically significant reductions in PSA velocity (PSAV) in response to the immunotherapy (n = 9), showed a Th17 profile similar to healthy male controls and significantly different from non-responder (NR) patients (n = 14) (i.e., those without any significant reduction in PSAV). In contrast, the frequency of Tregs in peripheral blood in PSA-R (n = 11) and -NR (n = 14) patients was similar (but in both cases, significantly higher than in age-matched healthy men). Accordingly, there was no significant correlation between frequency of Tregs and TTP in these late-stage prostate cancer patients undergoing active immunotherapy. These data imply an important role for IL-17-producing helper T-cells in cancer immunology and highlight their potential use as a pretreatment screen to ensure appropriate treatment is offered to hormone-resistant prostate cancer patients.
Reovirus is a naturally occurring oncolytic virus in clinical trials. Although tumor infection by reovirus can generate adaptive antitumor immunity, its therapeutic importance versus direct viral oncolysis is undefined. This study addresses the requirement for viral oncolysis and replication, and the relative importance of antitumor immunity and direct oncolysis in therapy.
To report the results of a programme aimed at determining the feasibility of autologous renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tissue collection and vaccine preparation within the setting of a UK National Health Service Cancer Centre.
Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer. Complete ablation of cancer tissue some times fails and results in disease recurrence. In this study we investigate the effect of TRAIL as a sensitising agent to enhance the effects of cryotherapy on prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer cells were cooled using Endocare cryo-system to mimic temperatures achieved during clinical cryotherapy. The effects of TRAIL, cryotherapy or combination of both treatment on DU-145 and PC-3 were evaluated. Viability and mode of cell death was assessed following treatment. Cryotherapy did not result in complete cell death at temperature -40 degrees C. Cells died by both necrosis and apoptosis. Cells which survived freeze-thaw cycle became more sensitive to a second freezing injury. TRAIL resulted in minimal cell death. Concomitant treatment of the tumour cells with TRAIL and cryotherapy resulted in complete loss of viability at -10 and -20 degrees C. Cell death was mainly due to marked increase in necrosis. Our finding demonstrates that combined treatment of TRAIL and cryotherapy represent a novel approach to increase the sensitivity to cryotherapy. This combined approach may be feasible for locally advanced prostate cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma of the prostate (BCP) is a neoplasm composed of prostatic basal cells. There are only a few publications outlining the diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and outcome for BCP. Traditionally surgery has been used but these tumors also respond to concomitant chemo-radiotherapy. Using a BCP case report treated with radical chemo-radiotherapy from a chemotherapy regimen used in anal cancers, we propose an alternative management to the traditional options of radical surgery and radical radiotherapy.
Reovirus is a promising oncolytic virus, acting by both direct and immune-mediated mechanisms, although its potential may be limited by inactivation after systemic delivery. Our study addressed whether systemically delivered reovirus might be shielded from neutralising antibodies by cell carriage and whether virus-loaded blood or hepatic innate immune effector cells become activated to kill colorectal cancer cells metastatic to the liver in human systems. We found that reovirus was directly cytotoxic against tumour cells but not against fresh hepatocytes. Although direct tumour cell killing by neat virus was significantly reduced in the presence of neutralising serum, reovirus was protected when loaded onto peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which may carry virus after intravenous administration in patients. As well as handing off virus for direct oncolytic killing, natural killer (NK) cells within reovirus-treated blood mononuclear cells were stimulated to kill tumour targets, but not normal hepatocytes, in a Type I interferon-dependent manner. Similarly, NK cells within liver mononuclear cells became selectively cytotoxic towards tumour cells when activated by reovirus. Hence, intravenous reovirus may evade neutralisation by serum via binding to circulating mononuclear cells, and this blood cell carriage has the potential to investigate both direct and innate immune-mediated therapy against human colorectal or other cancers metastatic to the liver.
The HOX genes are a family of closely related transcription factors that help to define the identity of cells and tissues during embryonic development and which are also frequently deregulated in a number of malignancies, including breast cancer. While relatively little is known about the roles that individual HOX genes play in cancer, it is however clear that these roles can be both contradictory, with some members acting as oncogenes and some as tumor suppressors, and also redundant, with several genes essentially having the same function. Here, we have attempted to address this complexity using the HXR9 peptide to target the interaction between HOX proteins and PBX, a second transcription factor that serves as a common co-factor for many HOX proteins. We show that HXR9 causes apoptosis in a number of breast cancer-derived cell lines and that sensitivity to HXR9 is directly related to the averaged expression of HOX genes HOXB1 through to HOXB9, providing a potential biomarker to predict the sensitivity of breast tumors to HXR9 or its derivatives. Measuring the expression of HOX genes HOXB1-HOXB9 in primary tumors revealed that a subset of tumors show highly elevated expression indicating that these might be potentially very sensitive to killing by HXR9. Furthermore, we show that while HXR9 blocks the oncogenic activity of HOX genes, it does not affect the known tumor-suppressor properties of a subset of HOX genes in breast cancer.
Reovirus exploits aberrant signalling downstream of Ras to mediate tumor-specific oncolysis. Since ~90% squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN) over-express EGFR and SCCHN cell lines are sensitive to oncolytic reovirus, we conducted a detailed analysis of the effects of reovirus in 15 head and neck cancer cell lines. Both pre- and post-entry events were studied in an attempt to define biomarkers predictive of sensitivity/resistance to reovirus. In particular, we analysed the role of EGFR/Ras signalling in determining virus-mediated cytotoxicity in SCCHN.
Oncolytic viruses, which preferentially lyse cancer cells and stimulate an antitumor immune response, represent a promising approach to the treatment of cancer. However, how they evade the antiviral immune response and their selective delivery to, and replication in, tumor over normal tissue has not been investigated in humans. Here, we treated patients with a single cycle of intravenous reovirus before planned surgery to resect colorectal cancer metastases in the liver. Tracking the viral genome in the circulation showed that reovirus could be detected in plasma and blood mononuclear, granulocyte, and platelet cell compartments after infusion. Despite the presence of neutralizing antibodies before viral infusion in all patients, replication-competent reovirus that retained cytotoxicity was recovered from blood cells but not plasma, suggesting that transport by cells could protect virus for potential delivery to tumors. Analysis of surgical specimens demonstrated greater, preferential expression of reovirus protein in malignant cells compared to either tumor stroma or surrounding normal liver tissue. There was evidence of viral factories within tumor, and recovery of replicating virus from tumor (but not normal liver) was achieved in all four patients from whom fresh tissue was available. Hence, reovirus could be protected from neutralizing antibodies after systemic administration by immune cell carriage, which delivered reovirus to tumor. These findings suggest new preclinical and clinical scheduling and treatment combination strategies to enhance in vivo immune evasion and effective intravenous delivery of oncolytic viruses to patients in vivo.
Whats known on the subject? and What does the study add? There are a lot of potential prostate cancer biomarkers being evaluated. All aim to improve on the sensitivity and specificity of PSA. EN2 was recently shown by our group to have better sensitivity and specificity than PSA. EN2 is a simple ELISA test and is not dependent on other parameters, even PSA, unlike all the other current biomarkers under evaluation. To date, no marker correlates with the amount of cancer present - the present study shows this positive correlation with EN2 in men undergoing prostatectomy. The potential utility of this work is that by knowing that the level of EN2 corresponds to the amount of cancer present, irrelevant of tumour grade and number of cancer foci, we can define an EN2 level corresponding to small cancers, which can then undergo surveillance. We are conducting a further study that is aimed at determining whether the levels of EN2 in urine can indicate significant vs non-significant cancer using the threshold of 0.5 mL cancer (after Epsteins work).
Multiple intravenous injections of a cDNA library, derived from human melanoma cell lines and expressed using the highly immunogenic vector vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), cured mice with established melanoma tumors. Successful tumor eradication was associated with the ability of mouse lymphoid cells to mount a tumor-specific CD4(+) interleukin (IL)-17 recall response in vitro. We used this characteristic IL-17 response to screen the VSV-cDNA library and identified three different VSV-cDNA virus clones that, when used in combination but not alone, achieved the same efficacy against tumors as the complete parental virus library. VSV-expressed cDNA libraries can therefore be used to identify tumor rejection antigens that can cooperate to induce anti-tumor responses. This technology should be applicable to antigen discovery for other cancers, as well as for other diseases in which immune reactivity against more than one target antigen contributes to disease pathology.
Reovirus type 3 Dearing (RT3D) replicates preferentially in Ras-activated cancers. RT3D shows synergistic in vitro cytotoxicity in combination with platins and taxanes. The purpose of this phase I/II study was to assess RT3D combined with carboplatin/paclitaxel in patients with advanced cancers.
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