The anticancer activity of a novel pure 1,4-Diaryl-2-azetidinone (1), endowed with a higher solubility than the well known Combretastatin A4, is tested in mice. We previously reported that Compound (1) showed specific antiproliferative activity against duodenal and colon cancer cells, inducing activation of AMP-activated protein kinase and apoptosis. Here we estimate that the maximum tolerated dose in a mouse model is 40 mg/kg; the drug is well tolerated both in single dose and in repeated administration schedules. The drug displays a significant antitumor activity and a tumor growth delay when administered at the MTD both in single and fractionated i.v. administration in a mouse xenograft model of colorectal cancer. Arrest of tumor growth and relapse after drug suspension are parallel to modification in glucose demand as shown by PET studies with [(18)?F] FDG. These data strongly support Compound (1) as a promising molecule for in vivo treatment of colorectal cancer.
The distinction between adrenocortical tumors and pheochromocytoma can be challenging using clinical findings, diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests. Cytology might be a simple, minimally invasive method to reach a correct diagnosis.
Cancer progression involves the seeding of malignant cells in circulation and the colonization of distant organs. However, circulating neoplastic cells can also reinfiltrate the tumor of origin. This process, called "tumor-self seeding," can select more aggressive cells that may contribute to cancer progression. Here, using mouse mammary adenocarcinoma models, we observed that both tumor self-seeding and organ colonization were inhibited by chromogranin A (CgA), a protein present in variable amounts in the blood of cancer patients. Mechanism studies showed that CgA inhibited the shedding of cancer cells in circulation from primary tumors, as well as the reinfiltration of tumors and the colonization of lungs by circulating tumor cells. CgA reduced gap formation induced by tumor cell-derived factors in endothelial cells, decreased vascular leakage in tumors, and inhibited the transendothelial migration of cancer cells. Together, our findings point to a role for circulating CgA in the regulation of tumor cell trafficking from tumor-to-blood and from blood-to-tumor/normal tissues. Inhibition of the multidirectional trafficking of cancer cells in normal and neoplastic tissues may represent a novel strategy to reduce cancer progression.
Since peripheral sensory neuropathy is the major, clinically relevant side effect of sagopilone we investigated the general and peripheral neurotoxicity of sagopilone administered intravenously with different doses (1.2 and 2.4 mg/kg) and schedules in 48 Wistar rats and we performed in parallel a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) study. A trend toward a different peripheral neurotoxicity could be assessed after 2 weeks of treatment (bolus > 30-min infusion > 3-h infusion) with both doses of sagopilone. Although sagopilone concentrations in peripheral nerve tissue above 100 ng/g were associated with a reduction in nerve conduction velocity (NCV), a clear dose-dependence of this reduction on the level of systemic exposure to sagopilone was not observed. The PK/PD evaluation revealed no consistent effect of the infusion duration on serum PK parameters or the PD read-out NCV. Sagopilone concentrations in brain, sciatic nerve, liver, and kidney were higher after bolus compared to infusion, but there were no influence of infusion duration on these concentrations. No correlation between sagopilone concentrations in any organ/tissue with NCV changes was detected. This study evidences that the PD of sagopilone is not the main determinant of the onset and severity of sagopilone-induced peripheral neurotoxicity in the investigated clinically-relevant dose range, thus indicating that further investigation might identify neuronal-specific mechanisms of action able to drive a focused strategy to prevent peripheral neurotoxicity without reducing the anticancer effectiveness of the epothilones.
The angiogenic switch is a fundamental process for many diseases and for tumor growth. The main proangiogenic stimulus is hypoxia, through activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1? pathway in endothelial cells (ECs). We have previously shown that the vasostatin-1 (VS-1) fragment of chromogranin A inhibits TNF-?-induced vessel permeability and VEGF-induced EC proliferation, together with migration and matrix invasion, which are all critical steps in angiogenesis. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of VS-1 on tumor angiogenesis. We found mouse mammary adenocarcinomas (TS/A), genetically engineered to secrete VS-1 (TS/A 1B8), to be characterized by reduced vascular density and more regular vessels, compared with nontransfected tumors [TS/A wild type (WT)]. Supernatants from TS/A WT cells, but not those from TS/A 1B8, generated tip cells and promoted the permeability of primary human umbilical vein ECs, via VE-cadherin redistribution and cytoskeletal disorganization. These effects were abrogated by mAb 5A8, a VS-1-blocking antibody. Furthermore, VS-1 inhibited hypoxia-driven EC morphological changes, VE-cadherin redistribution, intercellular gap formation, tube morphogenesis, and HIF-1? nuclear translocation in vitro. Our findings highlight a previously undescribed function of VS-1 as a regulator of tumor vascularization.
The caudal nerve is often used for investigating alterations in nerve conduction velocity (NCV) to determine the presence of peripheral neuropathy in animal models. In the present study, the rat caudal nerve of two outbred strains (Wistar Hannover and Sprague-Dawley) and one inbred strain (Fischer-344) was analyzed with regard to morphologic, morphometric, and physiologic features. In all three strains, we calculated the myelinated fiber diameter, myelinated axon diameter, and g-ratio in the proximal caudal nerve and correlated these results with NCV in the distal caudal nerve. Although the caudal nerves were morphologically similar in the three rat strains, a significant difference was present morphometrically: there was a statistically significant increase in the g-ratio associated with a reduction in myelinated fiber diameter in Fischer-344 rats vs. Wistar Hannover and Sprague-Dawley animals (p < 0.01). However, there was no significant difference in NCV results in the distal caudal nerve. The present study adds morphologic and morphometric information on the rat caudal nerve that might be useful for a better interpretation of studies involving this nerve and its pathological changes in experimental models of peripheral neuropathies.
We have characterised for the first time the general and neurological side effects experienced when using a series of chronic non-lethal cisplatin + paclitaxel schedules in Wistar rats, selected according to our previous experience and the animals maximum tolerated dose. At the pathological level, the use of combination schedules was definitely more toxic at the kidney and sternal bone marrow level than the single-agent schedules. At the neurophysiological examination based on the assessment of the nerve conduction velocity measurement in the tail nerve, we identified only one combination schedule that was more neurotoxic than the similar schedules based on single-agent administration. This observation was confirmed by the neuropathological examination performed on the sciatic nerve, dorsal root ganglia, ventral and dorsal roots. Our study supports the hypothesis that the general and, to a lesser extent, neurological effects of a combination of cisplatin and paclitaxel are different from those of the administration of both drugs as single agents. We believe that these models may be useful for testing neuroprotective strategies.
Bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor showing strong antitumor activity against many tumors, primarily multiple myeloma. Bortezomib-induced neuropathic pain is the main side effect and the dose-limiting factor of the drug in clinical practice. In order to obtain a pre-clinical model to reproduce the characteristic pain symptoms in bortezomib-treated patients, we developed an animal model of bortezomib-induced nociceptive sensory neuropathy. In this study, bortezomib (0.15 or 0.20mg/kg) was administered to Wistar rats three times/week for 8 weeks, followed by a 4 week follow-up period. At the end of the treatment period a significant decrease in weight gain was observed in the treated groups vs. controls, and hematological and histopathological parameters were evaluated. After the treatment period, both doses of bortezomib induced a severe reduction in nerve conduction velocity and demonstrated a dose-cumulative effect of the drug. The sensory behavioral assessment showed the onset of mechanical allodynia, while no effect on thermal perception was observed. Sciatic nerves and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were collected at the end of the 8-week treatment and at the end of the follow-up period. The pathological examination revealed a dose-dependent axonopathy of the unmyelinated fibers in nerves of treated animals. No pathological alteration in most of DRG satellite cells and neurons was observed. Therefore, this animal model may be useful for studying the neurotoxicity and pain onset mechanisms related to bortezomib treatment.
Angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature, is regulated by a complex interplay of anti and proangiogenic factors. We found that physiologic levels of circulating chromogranin A (CgA), a protein secreted by the neuroendocrine system, can inhibit angiogenesis in various in vitro and in vivo experimental models. Structure-activity studies showed that a functional anti-angiogenic site is located in the C-terminal region, whereas a latent anti-angiogenic site, activated by cleavage of Q76-K77 bond, is present in the N-terminal domain. Cleavage of CgA by thrombin abrogated its anti-angiogenic activity and generated fragments (lacking the C-terminal region) endowed of potent proangiogenic activity. Hematologic studies showed that biologically relevant levels of forms of full-length CgA and CgA1-76 (anti-angiogenic) and lower levels of fragments lacking the C-terminal region (proangiogenic) are present in circulation in healthy subjects. Blood coagulation caused, in a thrombin-dependent manner, almost complete conversion of CgA into fragments lacking the C-terminal region. These results suggest that the CgA-related circulating polypeptides form a balance of anti and proangiogenic factors tightly regulated by proteolysis. Thrombin-induced alteration of this balance could provide a novel mechanism for triggering angiogenesis in pathophysiologic conditions characterized by prothrombin activation.
Chromogranin A (CGA) is released in the plasma during life-threatening illnesses. Its N-terminal 1-76 peptide, vasostatin-I (VS-I), has never been assessed in critically ill patients. Our aim was to examine whether the admission VS-I concentration has prognostic significance without having to specify a primary diagnosis.
Proteolytic fragments of chromogranin A (CgA) including the CgA 1-76 fragment (called vasostatin-I [VS-I]) could be a useful biomarker of sepsis, but there is no available immunoassay.
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