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Cancer Statistics
Population in 2012: 0.5m
People newly diagnosed with cancer (excluding NMSC) / yr: 2,500
Age-standardised rate, incidence per 100,000 people/yr: 280.3
Risk of getting cancer before age 75:27.9%
People dying from cancer /yr: 1,000
Data from IARC GlobalCan (2012)
Luxembourg Cancer Organisations and Resources
Latest Research Publications Related to Luxembourg

Luxembourg Cancer Organisations and Resources (8 links)

Latest Research Publications Related to Luxembourg

Field AS, Raymond WA, Rickard M, et al.
The International Academy of Cytology Yokohama System for Reporting Breast Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy Cytopathology.
Acta Cytol. 2019; 63(4):257-273 [PubMed] Related Publications
The International Academy of Cytology (IAC) gathered together a group of cytopathologists expert in breast cytology who, working with clinicians expert in breast diagnostics and management, have developed the IAC Yokohama System for Reporting Breast Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB) Cytology. The project was initiated with the first cytopathology group meeting in Yokohama at the 2016 International Congress of Cytology. This IAC Yokohama System defines five categories for reporting breast cytology, each with a clear descriptive term for the category, a definition, a risk of malignancy (ROM) and a suggested management algorithm. The key diagnostic cytopathology features of each of the lesions within each category will be presented more fully in a subsequent atlas. The System emphasizes that the crucial requirements for diagnostic breast FNAB cytology are a high standard for the performance of the FNAB and for the making of direct smears, and well-trained experienced cytopathologists to interpret the material. The performance indicators of breast FNAB, including specificity and sensitivity, negative predictive value, positive predictive value and ROM stated in this article have been derived from the recent literature. The current practice of breast FNAB has evolved with the increasing use of ultrasound guidance and rapid on-site evaluation. Two recent publications have shown a range of ROM for the insufficient/inadequate category of 2.6-4.8%, benign 1.4-2.3%, atypical 13-15.7%, suspicious of malignancy 84.6-97.1%, and malignant 99.0-100%. The management algorithm in the System provides options because there are variations in the management of breast lesions using FNAB and core-needle biopsy in those countries utilizing the "triple test" of clinical, imaging, and FNAB assessment, and also variations in the availability of CNB and imaging in low- and middle-income countries. The System will stimulate further discussion and research, particularly in the cytological diagnostic features of specific lesions within each category and in management recommendations. This will lead to continuing improvements in the care of patients with breast lesions and possible modifications to the IAC Yokohama System.

Deans ZC, Butler R, Cheetham M, et al.
IQN path ASBL report from the first European cfDNA consensus meeting: expert opinion on the minimal requirements for clinical ctDNA testing.
Virchows Arch. 2019; 474(6):681-689 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Liquid biopsy testing is a new laboratory-based method that detects tumour mutations in circulating free DNA (cfDNA) derived from minimally invasive blood sampling techniques. Recognising the significance for clinical testing, in 2017, IQN Path provided external quality assessment for liquid biopsy testing. Representatives of those participating laboratories were invited to attend a workshop to discuss the findings and how to achieve quality implementation of cfDNA testing in the clinical setting, the discussion and outcomes of this consensus meeting are described below. Predictive molecular profiling using tumour tissue in order to select cancer patients eligible for targeted therapy is now routine in diagnostic pathology. If insufficient tumour tissue material is available, in some circumstances, recent European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidance recommends mutation testing with plasma cfDNA. Clinical applications of cfDNA include treatment selection based on clinically relevant mutations derived from pre-treatment samples and the detection of resistant mutations upon progression of the disease. In order to identify tumour-related mutations in amongst other nucleic acid material found in plasma samples, highly sensitive laboratory methods are needed. In the workshop, we discussed the variable approaches taken with regard to cfDNA extraction methods, the tests, and considered the impact of false-negative test results. We explored the lack of standardisation of complex testing procedures ranging from plasma collection, transport, processing and storage, cfDNA extraction, and mutation analysis, to interpretation and reporting of results. We will also address the current status of clinical validation and clinical utility, and its use in current diagnosis. This workshop revealed a need for guidelines on with standardised procedures for clinical cfDNA testing and reporting, and a requirement for cfDNA-based external quality assessment programs.

Politi A, Tsiambas E, Mastronikolis NS, et al.
Combined EGFR/ALK Expression Analysis in Laryngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
In Vivo. 2019 May-Jun; 33(3):815-819 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) acts as an oncogene in malignancies. Our aim was to examine the role of combined EGFR/ anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) expression as molecular markers in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty (n=50) tissue sections derived from twenty-five (n=25) primary LSCCs were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC).
RESULTS: EGFR overexpression was observed in 17/25 (68%) cases. Concerning ALK, 23/25 (92%) demonstrated low expression. EGFR expression was associated with grade (p=0.049), whereas ALK expression was correlated with stage (p=0.048). ALK overexpression was detected at advanced-stage EGFR-positive cases. A biphasic EGFR protein expression pattern was observed in five (n=5) LSCC cases, whereas ALK expression was stable in all cases.
CONCLUSION: EGFR overexpression is frequently observed in LSCC combined with low ALK expression. LSCC patients with EGFR/ALK protein overexpression should be eligible for targeted therapeutic strategies.

Sompairac N, Modamio J, Barillot E, et al.
Metabolic and signalling network maps integration: application to cross-talk studies and omics data analysis in cancer.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2019; 20(Suppl 4):140 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The interplay between metabolic processes and signalling pathways remains poorly understood. Global, detailed and comprehensive reconstructions of human metabolism and signalling pathways exist in the form of molecular maps, but they have never been integrated together. We aim at filling in this gap by integrating of both signalling and metabolic pathways allowing a visual exploration of multi-level omics data and study of cross-regulatory circuits between these processes in health and in disease.
RESULTS: We combined two comprehensive manually curated network maps. Atlas of Cancer Signalling Network (ACSN), containing mechanisms frequently implicated in cancer; and ReconMap 2.0, a comprehensive reconstruction of human metabolic network. We linked ACSN and ReconMap 2.0 maps via common players and represented the two maps as interconnected layers using the NaviCell platform for maps exploration ( https://navicell.curie.fr/pages/maps_ReconMap%202.html ). In addition, proteins catalysing metabolic reactions in ReconMap 2.0 were not previously visually represented on the map canvas. This precluded visualisation of omics data in the context of ReconMap 2.0. We suggested a solution for displaying protein nodes on the ReconMap 2.0 map in the vicinity of the corresponding reaction or process nodes. This permits multi-omics data visualisation in the context of both map layers. Exploration and shuttling between the two map layers is possible using Google Maps-like features of NaviCell. The integrated networks ACSN-ReconMap 2.0 are accessible online and allows data visualisation through various modes such as markers, heat maps, bar-plots, glyphs and map staining. The integrated networks were applied for comparison of immunoreactive and proliferative ovarian cancer subtypes using transcriptomic, copy number and mutation multi-omics data. A certain number of metabolic and signalling processes specifically deregulated in each of the ovarian cancer sub-types were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: As knowledge evolves and new omics data becomes more heterogeneous, gathering together existing domains of biology under common platforms is essential. We believe that an integrated ACSN-ReconMap 2.0 networks will help in understanding various disease mechanisms and discovery of new interactions at the intersection of cell signalling and metabolism. In addition, the successful integration of metabolic and signalling networks allows broader systems biology approach application for data interpretation and retrieval of intervention points to tackle simultaneously the key players coordinating signalling and metabolism in human diseases.

Dirkse A, Golebiewska A, Buder T, et al.
Stem cell-associated heterogeneity in Glioblastoma results from intrinsic tumor plasticity shaped by the microenvironment.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1787 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The identity and unique capacity of cancer stem cells (CSC) to drive tumor growth and resistance have been challenged in brain tumors. Here we report that cells expressing CSC-associated cell membrane markers in Glioblastoma (GBM) do not represent a clonal entity defined by distinct functional properties and transcriptomic profiles, but rather a plastic state that most cancer cells can adopt. We show that phenotypic heterogeneity arises from non-hierarchical, reversible state transitions, instructed by the microenvironment and is predictable by mathematical modeling. Although functional stem cell properties were similar in vitro, accelerated reconstitution of heterogeneity provides a growth advantage in vivo, suggesting that tumorigenic potential is linked to intrinsic plasticity rather than CSC multipotency. The capacity of any given cancer cell to reconstitute tumor heterogeneity cautions against therapies targeting CSC-associated membrane epitopes. Instead inherent cancer cell plasticity emerges as a novel relevant target for treatment.

Giuliano AR, Joura EA, Garland SM, et al.
Nine-valent HPV vaccine efficacy against related diseases and definitive therapy: comparison with historic placebo population.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 154(1):110-117 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Nine-valent human papillomavirus (9vHPV) vaccine efficacy against disease and cervical surgeries related to all nine vaccine components was assessed compared with a historic placebo population. This was not assessed in the 9vHPV vaccine efficacy trial since the trial was quadrivalent HPV (qHPV) vaccine-controlled, efficacy was measured for the five HPV types covered only by 9vHPV vaccine (HPV31/33/45/52/58), but not the four types covered by both vaccines (HPV6/11/16/18).
METHODS: Three international, randomized, double-blind studies were conducted using the same methodology. In the 9vHPV vaccine study (NCT00543543), 7106 and 7109 women received 9vHPV or qHPV vaccine, respectively. In the historic qHPV vaccine studies (FUTURE I [NCT00092521] and II [NCT00092534]), 8810 and 8812 women received qHPV vaccine or placebo, respectively, based on the same eligibility criteria. Cervical cytological testing was performed regularly. Biopsy or definitive therapy specimens were assessed for HPV DNA.
RESULTS: Among women negative for 14 HPV types prior to vaccination, incidence of high-grade cervical disease (9vHPV, n = 2 cases; placebo, n = 141 cases) and cervical surgery (9vHPV, n = 3 cases; placebo, n = 170 cases) related to the nine HPV types was reduced by 98.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.6-99.7) and 97.8% (95% CI, 93.4-99.4), respectively. The 9vHPV vaccine did not prevent disease related to vaccine HPV types detected at baseline, but significantly reduced cervical, vulvar, and vaginal diseases related to other vaccine HPV types.
CONCLUSIONS: Effective implementation of the 9vHPV vaccine may substantially reduce the burden of HPV-related diseases and related medical procedures.
TRIAL REGISTRATIONS: clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00543543, NCT00092521, NCT00092534.

Daubon T, Léon C, Clarke K, et al.
Deciphering the complex role of thrombospondin-1 in glioblastoma development.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1146 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We undertook a systematic study focused on the matricellular protein Thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) to uncover molecular mechanisms underlying the role of THBS1 in glioblastoma (GBM) development. THBS1 was found to be increased with glioma grades. Mechanistically, we show that the TGFβ canonical pathway transcriptionally regulates THBS1, through SMAD3 binding to the THBS1 gene promoter. THBS1 silencing inhibits tumour cell invasion and growth, alone and in combination with anti-angiogenic therapy. Specific inhibition of the THBS1/CD47 interaction using an antagonist peptide decreases cell invasion. This is confirmed by CD47 knock-down experiments. RNA sequencing of patient-derived xenograft tissue from laser capture micro-dissected peripheral and central tumour areas demonstrates that THBS1 is one of the gene with the highest connectivity at the tumour borders. All in all, these data show that TGFβ1 induces THBS1 expression via Smad3 which contributes to the invasive behaviour during GBM expansion. Furthermore, tumour cell-bound CD47 is implicated in this process.

Sjöberg E, Meyrath M, Milde L, et al.
A Novel ACKR2-Dependent Role of Fibroblast-Derived CXCL14 in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis of Breast Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 25(12):3702-3717 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Fibroblasts expressing the orphan chemokine CXCL14 have been previously shown to associate with poor breast cancer prognosis and promote cancer growth. This study explores the mechanism underlying the poor survival associations of stromal CXCL14.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Tumor cell epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion, and metastasis were studied in
RESULTS: CXCL14 fibroblasts stimulated breast cancer EMT, migration, and invasion in breast cancer cells and in a xenograft model. Furthermore, tumor cells primed by CXCL14 fibroblasts displayed enhanced lung colonization after tail-vein injection. By loss-of function experiments, the atypical G-protein-coupled receptor ACKR2 was identified to mediate CXCL14-stimulated responses. Downregulation of ACKR2, or CXCL14-induced NOS1, attenuated the pro-EMT and migratory capacity. CXCL14/ACKR2 expression correlated with EMT and survival in gene expression datasets.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the findings imply an autocrine fibroblast CXCL14/ACKR2 pathway as a clinically relevant stimulator of EMT, tumor cell invasion, and metastasis. The study also identifies ACKR2 as a novel mediator for CXCL14 function and thereby defines a pathway with drug target potential.

Krensel M, Schäfer I, Augustin M
Cost-of-illness of melanoma in Europe - a modelling approach.
J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019; 33 Suppl 2:34-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Malignant melanoma is accounting for the vast majority of skin cancer death. The treatment and productivity loss due to morbidity or premature mortality are associated with costs for society. There are few cost-of-illness (COI) studies on malignant melanoma in European countries from societal perspective and currently there is no publication analysing the COI in all European countries.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study was to comparatively estimate COI of malignant melanoma in the European countries based on an identical approach.
METHODS: Cost information was obtained from results of a systematic literature research. For countries with no available cost information, a model for imputation of cost data was developed. Country-specific costs were modelled on the national gross domestic product, health expenditures, gross national income and epidemiological data. The adjustment for purchasing power parity allowed a comparison across countries.
RESULTS: Crude national costs of malignant melanoma ranged between € 1.1 million in Iceland and € 543.8 million in Germany and resulted in € 2.7 billion for all EU/EFTA states. Estimated crude costs per patient were lowest in Bulgaria (€ 6422) and highest in Luxembourg (€ 50 734). The share of direct costs varied from 3% to 26% across countries. After adjustment for the purchasing power parity costs per patient ranged between € 14 420 in Bulgaria and € 50 961 in Cyprus. Treatment expenses and morbidity costs were markedly lower for countries that entered the EU since 2004. By contrast, mortality costs were lower in countries with a high gross domestic product per capita.
CONCLUSION: In this first estimation, malignant melanoma induces relevant COI in Europe. There was large variation in the costs per patient due to different health care systems and expenses. Beyond decreasing patient burden, early intervention and prevention of melanoma could have a relevant potential to save costs across Europe.

Krensel M, Schäfer I, Augustin M
Modelling first-year cost-of-illness of melanoma attributable to sunbed use in Europe.
J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019; 33 Suppl 2:46-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma is a life-threatening disease of the skin with an increasing incidence of approximately 87 000 new cases treated per year in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association states resulting in considerable costs for the society. Since the use of sunbeds is known to be a risk factor, which can be easily avoided, costs of malignant melanoma attributable to sunbed use are modelled in the present study.
METHODS: Costs-of-illness of melanoma were calculated and compared for all member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association states using an established modelling approach. Calculations were based on a systematic literature research. For countries with no available information on cost-of-illness the gross domestic product, health expenditures and gross national income served as a basis for extrapolation of costs. International comparison was enabled by adjusting costs by the national purchasing power parity.
RESULTS: After adjusting melanoma treatment costs for the purchasing power parity, direct costs per patient vary between € 1056 in Romania and € 10 215 in Luxembourg. Costs due to morbidity range from € 102 per patient in Sweden and € 5178 in the UK resulting in total costs of € 1751-€ 12 611 per patient. Average weighted total costs per patient amount for € 6861-€ 6967 annually. In total, in 2012 approximately 4450 new cases of melanoma have been induced by sunbed use in the 31 included countries, which corresponds to 5.1% of all incident melanoma cases. National attributable melanoma costs range from € 1570 in Malta to € 11.1 million in Germany and sum up to an amount of € 32.5-€ 33.4 million for all countries.
CONCLUSION: This article provides a first estimation on costs of melanoma in Europe. It illustrates the contribution of exposure to artificial ultraviolet light in the economic burden of malignant melanoma.

Kozar I, Margue C, Rothengatter S, et al.
Many ways to resistance: How melanoma cells evade targeted therapies.
Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2019; 1871(2):313-322 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melanoma is an aggressive malignancy originating from pigment-producing melanocytes. The development of targeted therapies (MAPK pathway inhibitors) and immunotherapies (immune checkpoint inhibitors) led to a substantial improvement in overall survival of patients. However, the long-term efficacy of such treatments is limited by side effects, lack of clinical effects and the rapidly emerging resistance to treatment. A number of molecular mechanisms underlying this resistant phenotype have already been elucidated. In this review, we summarise currently available treatment options for metastatic melanoma and the known resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies. A focus will be placed on "phenotype switching" as a mechanism and driver of drug resistance, together with an overview of novel approaches to circumvent resistance. A large body of recent data and literature suggests that tumour progression and phenotype switching could be better controlled and development of resistance prevented or at least delayed, by combining drugs targeting fast- and slow-proliferating cells.

Margue C, Philippidou D, Kozar I, et al.
Kinase inhibitor library screening identifies synergistic drug combinations effective in sensitive and resistant melanoma cells.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer with increasing case numbers worldwide. The development of inhibitors targeting mutated BRAF (found in around 60% of melanoma patients) has markedly improved overall survival of patients with late-stage tumors, even more so when combined with MEK inhibitors targeting the same signaling pathway. However, invariably patients become resistant to this targeted therapy resulting in rapid progression with treatment-refractory disease. The purpose of this study was the identification of new kinase inhibitors that do not lead to the development of resistance in combination with BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi), or that could be of clinical benefit as a 2nd line treatment for late-stage melanoma patients that have already developed resistance.
METHODS: We have screened a 274-compound kinase inhibitor library in 3 BRAF mutant melanoma cell lines (each one sensitive or made resistant to 2 distinct BRAFi). The screening results were validated by dose-response studies and confirmed the killing efficacies of many kinase inhibitors. Two different tools were applied to investigate and quantify potential synergistic effects of drug combinations: the Chou-Talalay method and the Synergyfinder application. In order to exclude that resistance to the new treatments might occur at later time points, synergistic combinations were administered to fluorescently labelled parental and resistant cells over a period of > 10 weeks.
RESULTS: Eight inhibitors targeting Wee1, Checkpoint kinase 1/2, Aurora kinase, MEK, Polo-like kinase, PI3K and Focal adhesion kinase killed melanoma cells synergistically when combined with a BRAFi. Additionally, combination of a Wee1 and Chk inhibitor showed synergistic killing effects not only on sensitive cell lines, but also on intrinsically BRAFi- and treatment induced-resistant melanoma cells. First in vivo studies confirmed these observations. Interestingly, continuous treatment with several of these drugs, alone or in combination, did not lead to emergence of resistance.
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we have identified new, previously unexplored (in the framework of BRAFi resistance) inhibitors that have an effect not only on sensitive but also on BRAFi-resistant cells. These promising combinations together with the new immunotherapies could be an important step towards improved 1st and 2nd line treatments for late-stage melanoma patients.

Mastrella G, Hou M, Li M, et al.
Targeting APLN/APLNR Improves Antiangiogenic Efficiency and Blunts Proinvasive Side Effects of VEGFA/VEGFR2 Blockade in Glioblastoma.
Cancer Res. 2019; 79(9):2298-2313 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antiangiogenic therapy of glioblastoma (GBM) with bevacizumab, a VEGFA-blocking antibody, may accelerate tumor cell invasion and induce alternative angiogenic pathways. Here we investigate the roles of the proangiogenic apelin receptor APLNR and its cognate ligand apelin in VEGFA/VEGFR2 antiangiogenic therapy against distinct subtypes of GBM. In proneural GBM, apelin levels were downregulated by VEGFA or VEGFR2 blockade. A central role for apelin/APLNR in controlling GBM vascularization was corroborated in a serial implantation model of the angiogenic switch that occurs in human GBM. Apelin and APLNR are broadly expressed in human GBM, and knockdown or knockout of

Fabbro M, Moore KN, Dørum A, et al.
Efficacy and safety of niraparib as maintenance treatment in older patients (≥ 70 years) with recurrent ovarian cancer: Results from the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 152(3):560-567 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the safety and efficacy of niraparib in patients aged ≥70 years with recurrent ovarian cancer in the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial.
METHODS: The trial enrolled 2 independent cohorts with histologically diagnosed recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer who responded to platinum rechallenge, on the basis of germline breast cancer susceptibility gene mutation (gBRCAmut) status. Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive niraparib (300 mg) or placebo once daily until disease progression. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) by blinded independent central review. Adverse events (AEs) of special interest were based on the known safety profile of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors.
RESULTS: Patients aged ≥70 years in the gBRCAmut cohort receiving niraparib (n = 14) had not yet reached a median PFS compared with a median PFS of 3.7 months for the same age group in the placebo arm (hazard ratio [HR], 0.09 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01 to 0.73]). Non-gBRCAmut patients aged ≥70 years receiving niraparib (n = 47) had a median PFS of 11.3 months compared with 3.8 months in the placebo arm (HR, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.18 to 0.71]). Median duration of follow-up in the niraparib arm was 17.3 months in patients ≥70 years and 17.2 months in patients <70 years. Frequency, severity of AEs, and dose reductions in the niraparib arm were similar in patients aged <70 and ≥ 70 years population. The most common grade ≥ 3 AEs in patients ≥70 years were hematologic: thrombocytopenia event (34.4%), anemia event (13.1%), and neutropenia event (16.4%).
CONCLUSIONS: For patients ≥70 years of age receiving niraparib as maintenance treatment in the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial, PFS benefits and incidence of any grade or serious treatment-emergent AEs were comparable to results in the younger population. Use of niraparib should be considered in this population.

Sharma AB, Dimitrov S, Hamiche A, Van Dyck E
Centromeric and ectopic assembly of CENP-A chromatin in health and cancer: old marks and new tracks.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2019; 47(3):1051-1069 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The histone H3 variant CENP-A confers epigenetic identity to the centromere and plays crucial roles in the assembly and function of the kinetochore, thus ensuring proper segregation of our chromosomes. CENP-A containing nucleosomes exhibit unique structural specificities and lack the complex profile of gene expression-associated histone posttranslational modifications found in canonical histone H3 and the H3.3 variant. CENP-A mislocalization into noncentromeric regions resulting from its overexpression leads to chromosomal segregation aberrations and genome instability. Overexpression of CENP-A is a feature of many cancers and is associated with malignant progression and poor outcome. The recent years have seen impressive progress in our understanding of the mechanisms that orchestrate CENP-A deposition at native centromeres and ectopic loci. They have witnessed the description of novel, heterotypic CENP-A/H3.3 nucleosome particles and the exploration of the phenotypes associated with the deregulation of CENP-A and its chaperones in tumor cells. Here, we review the structural specificities of CENP-A nucleosomes, the epigenetic features that characterize the centrochromatin and the mechanisms and factors that orchestrate CENP-A deposition at centromeres. We then review our knowledge of CENP-A ectopic distribution, highlighting experimental strategies that have enabled key discoveries. Finally, we discuss the implications of deregulated CENP-A in cancer.

Florean C, Kim KR, Schnekenburger M, et al.
Synergistic AML Cell Death Induction by Marine Cytotoxin (+)-1(
Mar Drugs. 2018; 16(12) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients is still hindered by resistance and relapse, resulting in an overall poor survival rate. Recently, combining specific B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 inhibitors with compounds downregulating myeloid cell leukemia (Mcl)-1 has been proposed as a new effective strategy to eradicate resistant AML cells. We show here that 1(

Causse SZ, Marcion G, Chanteloup G, et al.
HSP110 translocates to the nucleus upon genotoxic chemotherapy and promotes DNA repair in colorectal cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(15):2767-2777 [PubMed] Related Publications
A multicenter clinical study demonstrated the presence of a loss-of-function HSP110 mutation in about 15% of colorectal cancers, which resulted from an alternative splicing and was produced at the detriment of wild-type HSP110. Patients expressing low levels of wild-type HSP110 had excellent outcomes (i.e. response to an oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy). Here, we show in vitro, in vivo, and in patients' biopsies that HSP110 co-localizes with DNA damage (γ-H2AX). In colorectal cancer cells, HSP110 translocates into the nucleus upon treatment with genotoxic chemotherapy such as oxaliplatin. Furthermore, we show that HSP110 interacts with the Ku70/Ku80 heterodimer, an essential element of the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair machinery. We also demonstrate by evaluating the resolved 53BP1 foci that depletion in HSP110 impairs repair steps of the NHEJ pathway, which is associated with an increase in DNA double-strand breaks and in the cells' sensitivity to oxaliplatin. HSP110-depleted cells sensitization to oxaliplatin-induced DNA damage is abolished upon re-expression of HSP110. Confirming a role for HSP110 in DNA non-homologous repair, SCR7 and NU7026, two inhibitors of the NHEJ pathway, circumvents HSP110-induced resistance to chemotherapy. In conclusion, HSP110 through its interaction with the Ku70/80 heterodimer may participate in DNA repair, thereby inducing a protection against genotoxic therapy.

Wierz M, Pierson S, Gargiulo E, et al.
Purification of Leukemia-Derived Exosomes to Study Microenvironment Modulation.
Methods Mol Biol. 2019; 1884:231-245 [PubMed] Related Publications
Exosomes are membrane-enclosed vesicles released by different cell types into the extracellular space. As mediators of intercellular communication, they are involved in multiple physiological processes, but they are also associated with the pathogenesis of human malignancies including leukemia. Isolation of exosomes enables the characterization of their role in microenvironment modulation as well as their participation in disease pathology. A variety of strategies and techniques exists to purify exosomes from many biological fluids (e.g., blood, urine, and saliva). Here, we describe the efficient production of large quantities of exosomes from leukemic cell lines by using CELLine bioreactors based on two-compartment technology, as well as their isolation and purification by combining differential centrifugation and ultracentrifugation through a density gradient (17% OptiPrep

Rich A, Baldwin D, Alfageme I, et al.
Achieving Thoracic Oncology data collection in Europe: a precursor study in 35 Countries.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1144 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A minority of European countries have participated in international comparisons with high level data on lung cancer. However, the nature and extent of data collection across the continent is simply unknown, and without accurate data collection it is not possible to compare practice and set benchmarks to which lung cancer services can aspire.
METHODS: Using an established network of lung cancer specialists in 37 European countries, a survey was distributed in December 2014. The results relate to current practice in each country at the time, early 2015. The results were compiled and then verified with co-authors over the following months.
RESULTS: Thirty-five completed surveys were received which describe a range of current practice for lung cancer data collection. Thirty countries have data collection at the national level, but this is not so in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Data collection varied from paper records with no survival analysis, to well-established electronic databases with links to census data and survival analyses.
CONCLUSION: Using a network of committed clinicians, we have gathered validated comparative data reporting an observed difference in data collection mechanisms across Europe. We have identified the need to develop a well-designed dataset, whilst acknowledging what is feasible within each country, and aspiring to collect high quality data for clinical research.

Xiao M, Noman MZ, Menard L, et al.
Driving Cytotoxic Natural Killer Cells into Melanoma: If CCL5 Plays the Music, Autophagy Calls the Shots.
Crit Rev Oncog. 2018; 23(5-6):321-332 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy is a quality control process executed at the basal level in almost all cell types. However, in cancer cells, autophagy is activated by several stimuli, including hypoxia. Depending on tumor type, stage, and genetic context, autophagy is a double-edged sword. Autophagy promotes regression in newly established tumors; however, it supports tumor progression in well-established tumors by maintaining cancer cell survival under stress conditions. These data, in addition to the emerging role of autophagy in impairing antitumor immunity, have attracted significant interest in developing autophagy inhibitors as a new approach to cancer treatment. The enthusiasm for developing selective drugs inhibiting autophagy has been seriously challenged by the discovery that most autophagy-related proteins display nonautophagic functions. Autophagy inhibitors chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are currently being investigated in several clinical trials in combination with standard anticancer therapies. Here, we provide a brief overview on the nonautophagic function of autophagy-related proteins and summarize the major mechanisms whereby autophagy modulation could positively or negatively impact cancer therapies. We also focus on the emerging role of targeting autophagy in the improvement of NK-mediated antitumor immunity through the regulation of CCL5 and its receptors' expression in melanoma, and we provide some clues revealing how autophagy modulators could be exploited to improve cancer immunotherapies.

Cesi G, Philippidou D, Kozar I, et al.
A new ALK isoform transported by extracellular vesicles confers drug resistance to melanoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2018; 17(1):145 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Drug resistance remains an unsolved clinical issue in oncology. Despite promising initial responses obtained with BRAF and MEK kinase inhibitors, resistance to treatment develops within months in virtually all melanoma patients.
METHODS: Microarray analyses were performed in BRAF inhibitor-sensitive and resistant cell lines to identify changes in the transcriptome that might play a role in resistance. siRNA approaches and kinase inhibitors were used to assess the involvement of the identified Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) in drug resistance. The capability of extracellular vesicles (EVs) to transfer drug resistant properties was investigated in co-culture assays.
RESULTS: Here, we report a new mechanism of acquired drug resistance involving the activation of a novel truncated form of ALK. Knock down or inhibition of ALK re-sensitised resistant cells to BRAF inhibition and induced apoptosis. Interestingly, truncated ALK was also secreted into EVs and we show that EVs were the vehicle for transferring drug resistance.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the functional involvement of EVs in melanoma drug resistance by transporting a truncated but functional form of ALK, able to activate the MAPK signalling pathway in target cells. Combined inhibition of ALK and BRAF dramatically reduced tumour growth in vivo. These findings make ALK a promising clinical target in melanoma patients.

Johannessen TC, Hasan-Olive MM, Zhu H, et al.
Thioridazine inhibits autophagy and sensitizes glioblastoma cells to temozolomide.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(7):1735-1745 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has a poor prognosis with an overall survival of 14-15 months after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy using temozolomide (TMZ). A major problem is that the tumors acquire resistance to therapy. In an effort to improve the therapeutic efficacy of TMZ, we performed a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) synthetic lethality screen to establish a functional gene signature for TMZ sensitivity in human GBM cells. We then queried the Connectivity Map database to search for drugs that would induce corresponding changes in gene expression. By this approach we identified several potential pharmacological sensitizers to TMZ, where the most potent drug was the established antipsychotic agent Thioridazine, which significantly improved TMZ sensitivity while not demonstrating any significant toxicity alone. Mechanistically, we show that the specific chemosensitizing effect of Thioridazine is mediated by impairing autophagy, thereby preventing adaptive metabolic alterations associated with TMZ resistance. Moreover, we demonstrate that Thioridazine inhibits late-stage autophagy by impairing fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes. Finally, Thioridazine in combination with TMZ significantly inhibits brain tumor growth in vivo, demonstrating the potential clinical benefits of compounds targeting the autophagy-lysosome pathway. Our study emphasizes the feasibility of exploiting drug repurposing for the design of novel therapeutic strategies for GBM.

Collignon O, Han J, An H, et al.
Comparison of the modified unbounded penalty and the LASSO to select predictive genes of response to chemotherapy in breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(10):e0204897 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Covariate selection is a fundamental step when building sparse prediction models in order to avoid overfitting and to gain a better interpretation of the classifier without losing its predictive accuracy. In practice the LASSO regression of Tibshirani, which penalizes the likelihood of the model by the L1 norm of the regression coefficients, has become the gold-standard to reach these objectives. Recently Lee and Oh developed a novel random-effect covariate selection method called the modified unbounded penalty (MUB) regression, whose penalization function can equal minus infinity at 0 in order to produce very sparse models. We sought to compare the predictive accuracy and the number of covariates selected by these two methods in several high-dimensional datasets, consisting in genes expressions measured to predict response to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. These comparisons were performed by building the Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curves of the classifiers obtained with the selected genes and by comparing their area under the ROC curve (AUC) corrected for optimism using several variants of bootstrap internal validation and cross-validation. We found consistently in all datasets that the MUB penalization selected a remarkably smaller number of covariates than the LASSO while offering a similar-and encouraging-predictive accuracy. The models selected by the MUB were actually nested in the ones obtained with the LASSO. Similar findings were observed when comparing these results to those obtained in their first publication by other authors or when using the area under the Precision-Recall curve (AUCPR) as another measure of predictive performance. In conclusion, the MUB penalization seems therefore to be one of the best options when sparsity is required in high-dimension. Further investigation in other datasets is however required to validate these findings.

Nwosu ZC, Battello N, Rothley M, et al.
Liver cancer cell lines distinctly mimic the metabolic gene expression pattern of the corresponding human tumours.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):211 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although metabolism is profoundly altered in human liver cancer, the extent to which experimental models, e.g. cell lines, mimic those alterations is unresolved. Here, we aimed to determine the resemblance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines to human liver tumours, specifically in the expression of deregulated metabolic targets in clinical tissue samples.
METHODS: We compared the overall gene expression profile of poorly-differentiated (HLE, HLF, SNU-449) to well-differentiated (HUH7, HEPG2, HEP3B) HCC cell lines in three publicly available microarray datasets. Three thousand and eighty-five differentially expressed genes in ≥2 datasets (P < 0.05) were used for pathway enrichment and gene ontology (GO) analyses. Further, we compared the topmost gene expression, pathways, and GO from poorly differentiated cell lines to the pattern from four human HCC datasets (623 tumour tissues). In well- versus poorly differentiated cell lines, and in representative models HLE and HUH7 cells, we specifically assessed the expression pattern of 634 consistently deregulated metabolic genes in human HCC. These data were complemented by quantitative PCR, proteomics, metabolomics and assessment of response to thirteen metabolism-targeting compounds in HLE versus HUH7 cells.
RESULTS: We found that poorly-differentiated HCC cells display upregulated MAPK/RAS/NFkB signaling, focal adhesion, and downregulated complement/coagulation cascade, PPAR-signaling, among pathway alterations seen in clinical tumour datasets. In HLE cells, 148 downregulated metabolic genes in liver tumours also showed low gene/protein expression - notably in fatty acid β-oxidation (e.g. ACAA1/2, ACADSB, HADH), urea cycle (e.g. CPS1, ARG1, ASL), molecule transport (e.g. SLC2A2, SLC7A1, SLC25A15/20), and amino acid metabolism (e.g. PHGDH, PSAT1, GOT1, GLUD1). In contrast, HUH7 cells showed a higher expression of 98 metabolic targets upregulated in tumours (e.g. HK2, PKM, PSPH, GLUL, ASNS, and fatty acid synthesis enzymes ACLY, FASN). Metabolomics revealed that the genomic portrait of HLE cells co-exist with profound reliance on glutamine to fuel tricarboxylic acid cycle, whereas HUH7 cells use both glucose and glutamine. Targeting glutamine pathway selectively suppressed the proliferation of HLE cells.
CONCLUSIONS: We report a yet unappreciated distinct expression pattern of clinically-relevant metabolic genes in HCC cell lines, which could enable the identification and therapeutic targeting of metabolic vulnerabilities at various liver cancer stages.

Raulf N, Lucarelli P, Thavaraj S, et al.
Annexin A1 regulates EGFR activity and alters EGFR-containing tumour-derived exosomes in head and neck cancers.
Eur J Cancer. 2018; 102:52-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the 6th most common cancer with approximately half a million cases diagnosed each year worldwide. HNSCC has a poor survival rate which has not improved for over 30 years. The molecular pathogenesis of HNSCCs remains largely unresolved; there is high prevalence of p53 mutations and EGFR overexpression; however, the contribution of these molecular changes to disease development and/or progression remains unknown. We have recently identified microRNA miR-196a to be highly overexpressed in HNSCC with poor prognosis. Oncogenic miR-196a directly targets Annexin A1 (ANXA1). Although increased ANXA1 expression levels have been associated with breast cancer development, its role in HNSCC is debatable and its functional contribution to HNSCC development remains unclear.
METHODS: ANXA1 mRNA and protein expression levels were determined by RNA Seq analysis and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Gain- and loss-of-function studies were performed to analyse the effects of ANXA1 modulation on cell proliferation, mechanism of activation of EGFR signalling as well as on exosome production and exosomal phospho-EGFR.
RESULTS: ANXA1 was found to be downregulated in head and neck cancer tissues, both at mRNA and protein level. Its anti-proliferative effects were mediated through the intracellular form of the protein. Importantly, ANXA1 downregulation resulted in increased phosphorylation and activity of EGFR and its downstream PI3K-AKT signalling. Additionally, ANXA1 modulation affected exosome production and influenced the release of exosomal phospho-EGFR.
CONCLUSIONS: ANXA1 acts as a tumour suppressor in HNSCC. It is involved in the regulation of EGFR activity and exosomal phospho-EGFR release and could be an important prognostic biomarker.

Ronellenfitsch MW, Zeiner PS, Mittelbronn M, et al.
Akt and mTORC1 signaling as predictive biomarkers for the EGFR antibody nimotuzumab in glioblastoma.
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2018; 6(1):81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GB) is the most frequent primary brain tumor in adults with a dismal prognosis despite aggressive treatment including surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy with the alkylating agent temozolomide. Thus far, the successful implementation of the concept of targeted therapy where a drug targets a selective alteration in cancer cells was mainly limited to model diseases with identified genetic drivers. One of the most commonly altered oncogenic drivers of GB and therefore plausible therapeutic target is the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Trials targeting this signaling cascade, however, have been negative, including the phase III OSAG 101-BSA-05 trial. This highlights the need for further patient selection to identify subgroups of GB with true EGFR-dependency. In this retrospective analysis of treatment-naïve samples of the OSAG 101-BSA-05 trial cohort, we identify the EGFR signaling activity markers phosphorylated PRAS40 and phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 as predictive markers for treatment efficacy of the EGFR-blocking antibody nimotuzumab in MGMT promoter unmethylated GBs. Considering the total trial population irrespective of MGMT status, a clear trend towards a survival benefit from nimotuzumab was already detectable when tumors had above median levels of phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6. These results could constitute a basis for further investigations of nimotuzumab or other EGFR- and downstream signaling inhibitors in selected patient cohorts using the reported criteria as candidate predictive biomarkers.

Keppens C, Dequeker EMC, Patton SJ, et al.
International pilot external quality assessment scheme for analysis and reporting of circulating tumour DNA.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):804 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular analysis of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is becoming increasingly important in clinical treatment decisions. A pilot External Quality Assessment (EQA) scheme for ctDNA analysis was organized by four European EQA providers under the umbrella organization IQN Path, in order to investigate the feasibility of delivering an EQA to assess the detection of clinically relevant variants in plasma circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and to analyze reporting formats.
METHODS: Thirty-two experienced laboratories received 5 samples for EGFR mutation analysis and/or 5 samples for KRAS and NRAS mutation analysis. Samples were artificially manufactured to contain 3 mL of human plasma with 20 ng/mL of fragmented ctDNA and variants at allelic frequencies of 1 and 5%.
RESULTS: The scheme error rate was 20.1%. Higher error rates were observed for RAS testing when compared to EGFR analysis, for allelic frequencies of 1% compared to 5%, and for cases including 2 different variants. The reports over-interpreted wild-type results and frequently failed to comment on the amount of cfDNA extracted.
CONCLUSIONS: The pilot scheme demonstrated the feasibility of delivering a ctDNA EQA scheme and the need for such a scheme due to high error rates in detecting low frequency clinically relevant variants. Recommendations to improve reporting of cfDNA are provided.

Willems E, Dedobbeleer M, Digregorio M, et al.
Aurora A plays a dual role in migration and survival of human glioblastoma cells according to the CXCL12 concentration.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(1):73-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary glioblastoma is the most frequent human brain tumor in adults and is generally fatal due to tumor recurrence. We previously demonstrated that glioblastoma-initiating cells invade the subventricular zones and promote their radio-resistance in response to the local release of the CXCL12 chemokine. In this work, we show that the mitotic Aurora A kinase (AurA) is activated through the CXCL12-CXCR4 pathway in an ERK1/2-dependent manner. Moreover, the CXCL12-ERK1/2 signaling induces the expression of Ajuba, the main cofactor of AurA, which allows the auto-phosphorylation of AurA.We show that AurA contributes to glioblastoma cell survival, radio-resistance, self-renewal, and proliferation regardless of the exogenous stimulation with CXCL12. On the other hand, AurA triggers the CXCL12-mediated migration of glioblastoma cells in vitro as well as the invasion of the subventricular zone in xenograft experiments. Moreover, AurA regulates cytoskeletal proteins (i.e., Actin and Vimentin) and favors the pro-migratory activity of the Rho-GTPase CDC42 in response to CXCL12. Altogether, these results show that AurA, a well-known kinase of the mitotic machinery, may play alternative roles in human glioblastoma according to the CXCL12 concentration.

El-Khoury V, Béland M, Schritz A, et al.
Identification of beta-arrestin-1 as a diagnostic biomarker in lung cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2018; 119(5):580-590 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Distinguishing lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has a tremendous therapeutic implication. Sometimes, the commonly used immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers fail to discriminate between them, urging for the identification of new diagnostic biomarkers.
METHODS: We performed IHC on tissue microarrays from two cohorts of lung cancer patients to analyse the expression of beta-arrestin-1, beta-arrestin-2 and clinically used diagnostic markers in ADC and SCC samples. Logistic regression models were applied for tumour subtype prediction. Parallel reaction monitoring (PRM)-based mass spectrometry was used to quantify beta-arrestin-1 in plasma from cancer patients and healthy donors.
RESULTS: Beta-arrestin-1 expression was significantly higher in ADC versus SCC samples. Beta-arrestin-1 displayed high sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive value. Its usefulness in an IHC panel was also shown. Plasma beta-arrestin-1 levels were considerably higher in lung cancer patients than in healthy donors and were higher in patients who later experienced a progressive disease than in patients showing complete/partial response following EGFR inhibitor therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data identify beta-arrestin-1 as a diagnostic marker to differentiate ADC from SCC and indicate its potential as a plasma biomarker for non-invasive diagnosis of lung cancer. Its utility to predict response to EGFR inhibitors is yet to be confirmed.

Dudvarski Stanković N, Bicker F, Keller S, et al.
EGFL7 enhances surface expression of integrin α
EMBO Mol Med. 2018; 10(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is a typically lethal type of brain tumor with a median survival of 15 months postdiagnosis. This negative prognosis prompted the exploration of alternative treatment options. In particular, the reliance of GBM on angiogenesis triggered the development of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) blocking antibodies such as bevacizumab. Although its application in human GBM only increased progression-free periods but did not improve overall survival, physicians and researchers still utilize this treatment option due to the lack of adequate alternatives. In an attempt to improve the efficacy of anti-VEGF treatment, we explored the role of the

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