Jennifer R Grandis

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (250)1414.21 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cisplatin or cetuximab combined with radiotherapy (RT) each yield superior survival in locally advanced squamous cell head and neck cancer (LA-SCCHN) compared to RT alone. E3303 evaluated the triple combination.
    Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is characterized by aggressive behavior with a propensity for metastasis and recurrence. Here we report a comprehensive analysis of the molecular and clinical features of HNSCC that govern patient survival. We find that TP53 mutation is frequently accompanied by loss of chromosome 3p and that the combination of these events is associated with a surprising decrease in survival time (1.9 years versus >5 years for TP53 mutation alone). The TP53-3p interaction is specific to chromosome 3p and validates in HNSCC and pan-cancer cohorts. In human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive tumors, in which HPV inactivates TP53, 3p deletion is also common and is associated with poor outcomes. The TP53-3p event is modified by mir-548k expression, which decreases survival further, and is mutually exclusive with mutations affecting RAS signaling. Together, the identified markers underscore the molecular heterogeneity of HNSCC and enable a new multi-tiered classification of this disease.
    Nature genetics. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant activation of EGFR in human cancers promotes tumorigenesis through stimulation of AKT signaling. Here, we determined that the discoidina neuropilin-like membrane protein DCBLD2 is upregulated in clinical specimens of glioblastomas and head and neck cancers (HNCs) and is required for EGFR-stimulated tumorigenesis. In multiple cancer cell lines, EGFR activated phosphorylation of tyrosine 750 (Y750) of DCBLD2, which is located within a recently identified binding motif for TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6). Consequently, phosphorylation of DCBLD2 Y750 recruited TRAF6, leading to increased TRAF6 E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and subsequent activation of AKT, thereby enhancing EGFR-driven tumorigenesis. Moreover, evaluation of patient samples of gliomas and HNCs revealed an association among EGFR activation, DCBLD2 phosphorylation, and poor prognoses. Together, our findings uncover a pathway in which DCBLD2 functions as a signal relay for oncogenic EGFR signaling to promote tumorigenesis and suggest DCBLD2 and TRAF6 as potential therapeutic targets for human cancers that are associated with EGFR activation.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Tumor metastasis is the leading cause of death in cancer patients. However, the mechanisms that underlie metastatic progression remain unclear. We examined TMEM16A (ANO1) expression as a key factor shifting tumors between growth and metastasis. Experimental Design: We evaluated 26 pairs of primary and metastatic lymph node tissue from patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) for differential expression of TMEM16A. Additionally, we identified mechanisms by which TMEM16A expression influences tumor cell motility via proteomic screens of cell lines and in vivo mouse studies of metastasis. Results: Compared to primary tumors, TMEM16A expression decreases in metastatic lymph nodes of patients with SCCHN. Stable reduction of TMEM16A expression enhances cell motility and increases metastases while decreasing tumor proliferation in an orthotopic mouse model. Evaluation of human tumor tissues suggests an epigenetic mechanism for decreasing TMEM16A expression through promoter methylation that correlated with a transition between an epithelial and a mesenchymal phenotype. These effects of TMEM16A expression on tumor cell size and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) required the amino acid residue, serine 970 (S970); however, mutation of S970 to alanine does not disrupt the proliferative advantages of TMEM16A overexpression. Further, S970 mediates the association of TMEM16A with Radixin, an actin-scaffolding protein implicated in EMT. Conclusions: Together, our results identify TMEM16A, an eight trans-membrane domain Ca2+-activated Cl- channel, as a primary driver of the "Grow" or "Go" model for cancer progression, in which TMEM16A expression acts to balance tumor proliferation and metastasis via its promoter methylation.
    Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 06/2014;
  • Julie E Bauman, Jennifer R Grandis
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    ABSTRACT: Cetuximab is a murine-human chimeric IgG1 mAb directed against the EGFR that is approved for use in patients with colorectal and head and neck carcinomas. While some patients benefit greatly from cetuximab, many do not; therefore, strategies to increase the efficacy of this drug are of great clinical interest. In this issue of the JCI, Kohrt and colleagues report a strategy for enhancing the secondary immune response to cetuximab that involves sequential targeting with an agonist mAb against CD137 expressed on NK and T cells.
    The Journal of clinical investigation. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known regarding molecular markers in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) that predict responsiveness to different therapeutic regimens or predict HNSCC progression. Mutations in procaspase-8 occur in 9% of HNSCC primary tumors, but the functional consequences of these mutations are poorly understood. In this study, we examined the impact of four, representative, HNSCC-associated procaspase-8 mutations on activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway, as well as cellular migration and invasion, and in vivo tumor growth. All four mutant proteins acted to potently inhibit activation of apoptosis following treatment with TRAIL or agonistic anti-Fas. In contrast to wild-type procaspase-8, the mutant proteins were not recruited to FADD following treatment with TRAIL or anti-Fas, but may be constitutively bound by FADD. Three of the four procaspase-8 mutants promoted enhanced cellular migration and invasion through matrigel, relative to that seen with the wild-type procaspase-8 protein. Procaspase-8 mutation also stimulated the growth of HNSCC xenograft tumors. These findings indicate that HNSCC-associated procaspase-8 mutations inhibit activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway and are likely to represent markers for resistance to therapeutic regimens incorporating death receptor activators. Moreover, procaspase-8 mutations may serve as markers of HNSCC tumor progression, as exemplified by enhanced migration, invasion, and tumor growth.
    Molecular oncology 04/2014; · 6.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathways are upregulated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Preclinical models indicate synergistic anti-tumor activity from dual blockade. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled window trial of erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor; erlotinib plus sulindac, a non-selective COX inhibitor, vs. placebo. Patients with untreated, operable Stage II-IVb HNSCC were randomized 5:5:3 to erlotinib, erlotinib-sulindac, or placebo. Tumor specimens were collected before and after 7-14 days of treatment. The primary endpoint was change in Ki-67 proliferation index. We hypothesized an ordering effect in Ki-67 reduction: erlotinib-sulindac > erlotinib > placebo. We evaluated tissue microarrays by immunohistochemistry for pharmacodynamic modulation of EGFR and COX-2 signaling intermediates. From 2005-2009, 47 patients were randomized for the target 39 evaluable patients. Thirty-four tumor pairs were of sufficient quality to assess biomarker modulation. Ki-67 was significantly decreased by erlotinib or erlotinib-sulindac (omnibus comparison, two-sided Kruskal-Wallis, p=0.04). Wilcoxon pairwise contrasts confirmed greater Ki-67 effect in both erlotinib groups (erlotinib-sulindac vs. placebo p=0.043; erlobinib vs. placebo, p=0.027). There was a significant trend in ordering of Ki-67 reduction: erlotinib-sulindac > erlotinib > placebo (two-sided exact Jonckheere-Terpstra, p =0.0185). Low baseline pSrc correlated with greater Ki-67 reduction (R2 = .312, p = 0.024). Brief treatment with erlotinib significantly decreased proliferation in HNSCC, with additive effect from sulindac. Efficacy studies of dual EGFR-COX inhibition are justified. pSrc is a potential resistance biomarker for anti-EGFR therapy, and warrants investigation as a molecular target.
    Clinical Cancer Research 04/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    Yu Lei, Vivian W Y Lui, Jennifer R Grandis, Ann Marie Egloff
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    ABSTRACT: Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) encompasses malignancies that arise in the mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract. Recent high throughput DNA sequencing revealed HNSCC genes mutations that contribute to several cancer cell characteristics, including dysregulation of cell proliferation and death, intracellular proinflammatory signaling, and autophagy. The PYRIN-domain containing NLR (Nucleotide-binding domain, Leucine rich Repeats - containing) proteins have recently emerged as pivotal modulators of cell death, autophagy, inflammation, and metabolism. Their close physiologic association with cancer development prompted us to determine whether mutations within the NLRP (PYRIN-containing NLR) gene family were associated with HNSCC genome instability and their clinicopathologic correlations. Catastrophic mutational events underlie cancer cell genome instability and mark a point-of-no-return in cancer cell development and generation of heterogeneity. The mutation profiles of 62 patients with primary conventional type HNSCC excluding other histologic variants were analyzed. Associations were tested using Fisher's Exact test or Mann-Whitney U test. Mutations in NLRP were associated with elevated genome instability as characterized by higher mutation rates. Clinically, NLRP mutations were more frequently found in HNSCC arising in the floor of mouth (50.0%) in comparison with HNSCC at other head and neck locations (14.8%). These mutations were clustered at the leucine rich repeats region of NLRP proteins, and affected NLRP genes were mostly localized at chromosomes 11p15.4 and 19q13.42-19q13.43. Twenty novel NLRP mutations were identified in HNSCC, and mutations in this group of genes were correlated with increased cancer cell genome mutation rates, and such features could be a potential molecular biomarker of HNSCC genome instability.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e85619. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common type of cancer worldwide. The increasing amount of genomic information on human tumors and cell lines provides more biological data to design preclinical studies. We and others previously reported whole exome sequencing data of 106 HNSCC primary tumors. In 2012, high throughput genomic data and pharmacological profiling of anticancer drugs of hundreds of cancer cell lines were reported. Here we compared the genomic data of 39 HNSCC cell lines with the genomic findings in 106 HNSCC tumors. Amplification of eight genes (PIK3CA, EGFR, CCND2, KDM5A, ERBB2, PMS1, FGFR1 and WHSCIL1) and deletion of five genes (CDKN2A, SMAD4, NOTCH2, NRAS and TRIM33) were found in both HNSCC cell lines and tumors. Seventeen genes were only mutated in HNSCC cell lines (>10%) suggesting that these mutations may arise through immortalization in tissue culture. Conversely, 11 genes were only mutated in >10% of human HNSCC tumors. Several mutant genes in the EGFR pathway are shared both in cell lines and in tumors. Pharmacological profiling of eight anticancer agents in six HNSCC cell lines suggested that PIK3CA mutation may serve as a predictive biomarker for the drugs targeting the EGFR/PI3K pathway. These findings suggest that a correlation of gene mutations between HNSCC cell lines and human tumors may be used to guide the selection of preclinical models for translational research. Implications: Findings provide novel insight on preclinical model selection for mutation-driven head and neck cancer studies.
    Molecular Cancer Research 01/2014; · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The underpinnings of STAT3 hyperphosphorylation resulting in enhanced signaling and cancer progression are incompletely understood. Loss-of-function mutations of enzymes that dephosphorylate STAT3, such as receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases, which are encoded by the PTPR gene family, represent a plausible mechanism of STAT3 hyperactivation. We analyzed whole exome sequencing (n = 374) and reverse-phase protein array data (n = 212) from head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). PTPR mutations are most common and are associated with significantly increased phospho-STAT3 expression in HNSCC tumors. Expression of receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase T (PTPRT) mutant proteins induces STAT3 phosphorylation and cell survival, consistent with a "driver" phenotype. Computational modeling reveals functional consequences of PTPRT mutations on phospho-tyrosine-substrate interactions. A high mutation rate (30%) of PTPRs was found in HNSCC and 14 other solid tumors, suggesting that PTPR alterations, in particular PTPRT mutations, may define a subset of patients where STAT3 pathway inhibitors hold particular promise as effective therapeutic agents.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2014; · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity may increase the likelihood of treatment failure due to the presence of a subset of resistant tumor cells. Using a head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) xenograft model and a real-time fluorescence imaging approach, we tested the hypothesis that tumors are metabolically heterogeneous, and that tumor hypoxia alters patterns of glucose uptake within the tumor.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e102452. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the greatest challenges in biomedical research, drug discovery and diagnostics is understanding how seemingly identical cells can respond differently to perturbagens including drugs for disease treatment. Although heterogeneity has become an accepted characteristic of a population of cells, in drug discovery it is not routinely evaluated or reported. The standard practice for cell-based, high content assays has been to assume a normal distribution and to report a well-to-well average value with a standard deviation. To address this important issue we sought to define a method that could be readily implemented to identify, quantify and characterize heterogeneity in cellular and small organism assays to guide decisions during drug discovery and experimental cell/tissue profiling. Our study revealed that heterogeneity can be effectively identified and quantified with three indices that indicate diversity, non-normality and percent outliers. The indices were evaluated using the induction and inhibition of STAT3 activation in five cell lines where the systems response including sample preparation and instrument performance were well characterized and controlled. These heterogeneity indices provide a standardized method that can easily be integrated into small and large scale screening or profiling projects to guide interpretation of the biology, as well as the development of therapeutics and diagnostics. Understanding the heterogeneity in the response to perturbagens will become a critical factor in designing strategies for the development of therapeutics including targeted polypharmacology.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(7):e102678. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has shown to play a critical role in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and we have recently completed clinical trials of STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide in patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC. However, there is limited understanding of the role of STAT3 in modulating other aspects of tumorigenesis such as angiogenesis. In this study, we aimed to examine the effects of STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide on tumor angiogenesis. A STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide and small interfering RNA (siRNA) were used to inhibit STAT3 in endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. The biochemical effects of STAT3 inhibition were examined in conjunction with the consequences on proliferation, migration, apoptotic staining, and tubule formation. Additionally, we assessed the effects of STAT3 inhibition on tumor angiogenesis using murine xenograft models. STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide decreased proliferation, induces apoptosis, decreased migration, and decreased tubule formation of endothelial cells in vitro. The STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide also inhibited tumor angiogenesis in murine tumor xenografts. Lastly, our data suggest that the antiangiogenic effects of STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide were mediatedthrough the inhibition of both STAT3 and STAT1. The STAT3 decoy oligonucleotidewas found to be an effective antiangiogenic agent, which is likely to contribute to the overall antitumor effects of this agent in solid tumors.Taken together with the previously demonstrated antitumor activity of this agent, STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide represents a promising single agent approach to targeting both the tumor and vascular compartments in various malignancies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e81819. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known regarding molecular markers in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) that predict responsiveness to different therapeutic regimens or predict HNSCC progression. Mutations in procaspase-8 occur in 9% of HNSCC primary tumors, but the functional consequences of these mutations are poorly understood. In this study, we examined the impact of four, representative, HNSCC-associated procaspase-8 mutations on activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway, as well as cellular migration and invasion, and in vivo tumor growth. All four mutant proteins acted to potently inhibit activation of apoptosis following treatment with TRAIL or agonistic anti-Fas. In contrast to wild-type procaspase-8, the mutant proteins were not recruited to FADD following treatment with TRAIL or anti-Fas, but may be constitutively bound by FADD. Three of the four procaspase-8 mutants promoted enhanced cellular migration and invasion through matrigel, relative to that seen with the wild-type procaspase-8 protein. Procaspase-8 mutation also stimulated the growth of HNSCC xenograft tumors. These findings indicate that HNSCC-associated procaspase-8 mutations inhibit activation of the extrinsic apoptosis pathway and are likely to represent markers for resistance to therapeutic regimens incorporating death receptor activators. Moreover, procaspase-8 mutations may serve as markers of HNSCC tumor progression, as exemplified by enhanced migration, invasion, and tumor growth.
    Molecular Oncology 01/2014; · 6.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperactivation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has been linked to tumorigenesis in most malignancies, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Intravenous delivery of a chemically modified cyclic STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide with improved serum and thermal stability demonstrated antitumor efficacy in conjunction with downmodulation of STAT3 target gene expression such as cyclin D1 and Bcl-XL in a mouse model of HNSCC. The purpose of the present study was to determine the toxicity and dose-dependent antitumor efficacy of the cyclic STAT3 decoy after multiple intravenous doses in Foxn1 nu mice in anticipation of clinical translation. The two doses (5 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg) of cyclic STAT3 decoy demonstrated a significant decrease in tumor volume compared to the control groups (mutant cyclic STAT3 decoy or saline) in conjunction with downmodulation of STAT3 target gene expression. There was no dose-dependent effect of cyclic STAT3 decoy on tumor volume or STAT3 target gene expression. There were no significant changes in body weights between the groups during the dosing period, after the dosing interval, or on the day of euthanasia. No hematology or clinical chemistry parameters suggested toxicity of the cyclic STAT3 decoy compared to saline control. No gross or histologic pathologic abnormalities were noted at necropsy in any of the animals. These findings suggest a lack of toxicity of intravenous administration of a cyclic STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide. In addition, comparable antitumor effects indicate a lack of dose response at the two dose levels investigated.
    Molecular Medicine 12/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent genomic evidence suggests frequent phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway activation in human papillomavirus (HPV) positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Mutations/amplification of the gene encoding p110alpha catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PIK3CA), loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and HRAS mutations are known to activate PI3K pathway.Methods and results: PIK3CA mutations were identified by Sanger sequencing in 23 of 75 (31%) HPV-positive oropharyngeal carcinomas, including exon 9 (p.E545K [n = 10] and p.E542K [n = 5]) or exon 20 (p.H1047Y, n = 2) mutations. Five rare and one novel (p.R537Q) PIK3CA mutations were identified. HRAS mutation (p.Q61L) was detected in 1 of 62 tested cases. PIK3CA amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was identified in 4 cases (4/21, 20%), while PTEN loss was seen in 7 (7/21, 33%) cases (chromosome 10 monosomy [n = 4], homozygous deletion [n = 3]). Overall, genetic alterations that likely lead to PI3K pathway activation were identified in 34 of 75 cases (45%) and did not correlate with disease specific survival. These findings offer a molecular rationale for therapeutic targeting of PI3K pathway in patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma.
    BMC Cancer 12/2013; 13(1):602. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-infected individuals have a higher incidence of head and neck cancer. Case series of 94 HIV-infected head and neck cancer patients (HIV-HNC) at six tertiary care referral centers in the US between 1991-2011. Clinical and risk factor data were abstracted from the medical record. Risk factors for survival were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and p16 testing was performed in 46 tumors. Findings were compared with SEER HNC (US-HNC) data. This study represents the largest HIV-HNC series reported to date. HIV-HNC cases were more likely than US-HNC to be male (91% vs. 68%), younger (median 50 vs. 62 years), non-White (49% vs.18%), and current smokers (61% vs. 18%). Median HIV-HNC survival was not appreciably lower than US-HNC survival (63 vs. 61 months). At diagnosis, most cases were currently on HAART (77%), but had detectable HIV viremia (99%) and median CD4 was 300 cells/µL (IQR=167-500). HPV was detected in 30% of HIV-HNC and 64% of HIV-oropharyngeal cases. Median survival was significantly lower among those with CD4 counts ≤200 than >200 cells/µL at diagnosis (16.1 vs. 72.8 months, p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, poorer survival was associated with CD4 <100 cells/µL (aHR=3.09, 95%CI=1.15-8.30), larynx/hypopharynx site (aHR=3.54, 95%CI=1.34-9.35), and current tobacco use (aHR=2.54, 95%CI=0.96-6.76). Risk factors for the development of HNC in patients with HIV infection are similar to the general population, including both HPV-related and tobacco/alcohol-related HNC.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 12/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Yu Du, Noah D Peyser, Jennifer R Grandis
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 600,000 new cases of head and neck cancer arise worldwide each year. Of these, a large majority are head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). Conventional treatments, including surgical excision followed by radiation and/or chemoradiotherapy have limited efficacy and are associated with substantial toxitiy. To date, key targets for molecular targeted therapy in HNSCC are epidermal growth factor receptors and angiogenesis-related factors. Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and it is the only targeted therapy approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HNSCC. Cetuximab in combination with radiotherapy represents a standard approach for newly diagnosed patients who are unable to tolerate platinum chemotherapy. Despite efficacy in preclinical HNSCC models, cetuximab is only effective in a subset of HNSCC patients, most likely due to the high heterogeneity of this cancer. Additional targets under active investigation include the PI3K/Akt pathway, the Ras-MAPK-ERK pathway and the JAK/STAT pathway, among others. Combining molecular targeted therapies and radiation may allow for deintensification of radiotherapy thereby reducing radiation toxicities and improving treatment outcomes. Here we review the preclinical and clinical data in support of treatment strategies that combined targeted therapy with radiation in HNSCC.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 11/2013; · 7.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Although it is well established that the extracellular matrix affects tumour progression, not much is known about the various components and their effect on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) progression. Levels of collagen type XI α1 (colXIα1), a minor fibrillar collagen, have been shown to be increased in tumour compared with normal tissue in several cancers, including colorectal, breast, and non-small cell lung cancer. Currently, the functional significance of colXIα1 is not understood.Methods:We examined the expression levels of colXIα1 mRNA and elucidated the functional role of colXIα1 in HNSCC. Cell proliferation, invasion, and migration were examined with and without colXIα1 knockdown with siRNA in HNSCC cells.Results:Our data demonstrate that colXIα1 expression is increased in tumour samples compared with levels in normal adjacent tissue in 16/23 HNSCC patients. In addition, colα11 is increased in HNSCC cell lines compared with normal immortalised epithelial cells and is increased in tumour-derived fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts. Using an siRNA approach, we demonstrate that colXIα1 contributes to proliferation, migration, and invasion of HNSCC.Conclusion:Our cumulative findings suggest that colXIα1 contributes to HNSCC tumorigenesis and may serve as a potential therapeutic target.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 14 November 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.624 www.bjcancer.com.
    British Journal of Cancer 11/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than half of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients are initially treated with curative intent, but will relapse over the course of their disease and have poor prognosis with a median survival of approximately 6months. Novel therapeutic approaches are in desperate need for this patient population. The anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins such as BCL-2, BCL-XL, and MCL-1 are involved in oncogenesis and chemoresistance and are overexpressed in HNSCC. Obatoclax is a small-molecule antagonist of the BH3-binding groove of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family. We evaluated the activity of obatoclax against 4 HNSCC cell lines (UMSCC-1, Cal33, 1483, UMSCC-22A). Cell viability was determined by MTT assay, cell cycle status by propidium iodide staining, and apoptosis by Annexin-V staining and immunoblotting. Autophagy was assessed by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting. All four HNSCC cell lines were highly sensitive to single-agent obatoclax with IC50's ranging from 46 to 177nM. Obatoclax induced apoptosis in all four HNSCC cell lines as evidenced by increases in sub-G1 DNA content, Annexin-V staining, and PARP cleavage. In addition, obatoclax induced autophagy in all 4 cell lines, and the addition of the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine enhanced obatoclax cytotoxicity. Our findings demonstrate potent monotherapeutic activity of obatoclax against HNSCC cells, and enhancement of this activity in the presence of chloroquine. This preclinical study suggests that obatoclax might have therapeutic value in the treatment of HNSCC, either alone or in combination with inhibitors of autophagy.
    Oral Oncology 11/2013; · 2.70 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

8k Citations
1,414.21 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1970–2014
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Otolaryngology
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2013
    • Tsinghua University
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2012
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2011
    • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
      • Department of Otolaryngology
      Boston, MA, United States
    • Brown University
      Providence, Rhode Island, United States
  • 2010
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      • Department of Urology
      Boston, MA, United States
    • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
      • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (EPID, BIOS)
      Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • University of Chicago
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Department of Human Oncology
      Madison, MS, United States
  • 2007
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Clinical Oncology
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2006
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2005
    • Universität Mannheim
      Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2004
    • Emory University
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    • University of Bonn
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2002–2003
    • Universität Heidelberg
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1998
    • Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States