Maria Napolitano

Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Meldola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (63)274.75 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most frequent primary liver cancer and represents the third and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide in men and women, respectively. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronic infections account for pathogenesis of more than 80 % of primary HCC. HCC prognosis greatly varies according to stage at beginning of treatment, but the overall 5-year survival rate is approximately 5-6 %. Given the limited number of effective therapeutic strategies available, immunotherapies and therapeutic cancer vaccines may help in improving the clinical outcome for HCC patients. However, the few clinical trials conducted to date have shown contrasting results, indicating the need for improvements. In the present study, a novel combinatorial strategy, based on metronomic chemotherapy plus vaccine, is evaluated in a mouse model. The chemotherapy is a multi-drug cocktail including taxanes and alkylating agents, which is administered in a metronomic-like fashion. The vaccine is a multi-peptide cocktail including HCV as well as universal tumor antigen TERT epitopes. The combinatorial strategy designed and evaluated in the present study induces an enhanced specific T cell response, when compared to vaccine alone, which correlates to a reduced Treg frequency. Such results are highly promising and may pave way to relevant improvements in immunotherapeutic strategies for HCC and beyond.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00262-015-1698-0 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    Nitric Oxide 05/2015; 47:S40-S41. DOI:10.1016/j.niox.2015.02.099 · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Short-course preoperative radiotherapy (SC-RT) followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) is one therapeutic option for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) patients. Since radio-induced DNA damage may affect tumor immunogenicity, Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and T regulatory cells (Tregs) were evaluated in 13 patients undergoing SC-RT and TME for LARC. Peripheral Granulocytic-MDSCs (G-MDSC) [LIN-/HLA-DR-/CD11b+/CD14-/CD15+/CD33+], Monocytic (M-MDSC) [CD14+/HLA-DR-/lowCD11b+/CD33+] and Tregs [CD4+/CD25hi+/FOXP3+- CTLA-4/PD1] basal value was significantly higher in LARC patients compared to healthy donors (HD). Peripheral MDSC and Tregs were evaluated at time 0 (T0), after 2 and 5 weeks (T2-T5) from radiotherapy; before surgery (T8) and 6-12 months after surgery (T9, T10). G-MDSC decreased at T5 and further at T8 while M-MDSC cells decreased at T5; Tregs reached the lowest value at T5. LARC poor responder patients displayed a major decrease in M-MDSC after SC-RT and an increase of Treg-PD-1. In this pilot study MDSCs and Tregs decrease during the SC-RT treatment could represent a biomarker of response in LARC patients. Further studies are needed to confirm that the deepest M-MDSC reduction and increase in Treg-PD1 cells within 5-8 weeks from the beginning of treatment could discriminate LARC patients poor responding to SC-RT.
    Oncotarget 01/2015; · 6.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Short-course preoperative radiotherapy (SC-RT) followed by total mesorectal excision (TME) is one therapeutic option for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) patients. Since radio-induced DNA damage may affect tumor immunogenicity, Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and T regulatory cells (Tregs) were evaluated in 13 patients undergoing SC-RT and TME for LARC. Peripheral Granulocytic-MDSCs (G-MDSC) [LIN-/HLA-DR-/CD11b+/CD14-/CD15+/CD33+], Monocytic (M-MDSC) [CD14+/HLA-DR-/lowCD11b+/CD33+] and Tregs [CD4+/CD25hi+/FOXP3+- CTLA-4/PD1] basal value was significantly higher in LARC patients compared to healthy donors (HD). Peripheral MDSC and Tregs were evaluated at time 0 (T0), after 2 and 5 weeks (T2-T5) from radiotherapy; before surgery (T8) and 6-12 months after surgery (T9, T10). G-MDSC decreased at T5 and further at T8 while M-MDSC cells decreased at T5; Tregs reached the lowest value at T5. LARC poor responder patients displayed a major decrease in M-MDSC after SC-RT and an increase of Treg-PD-1. In this pilot study MDSCs and Tregs decrease during the SC-RT treatment could represent a biomarker of response in LARC patients. Further studies are needed to confirm that the deepest M-MDSC reduction and increase in Treg-PD1 cells within 5-8 weeks from the beginning of treatment could discriminate LARC patients poor responding to SC-RT.
    Oncotarget 01/2015; 2015 Jan 21.. · 6.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) has been shown to be involved in the asthmatic disease as well in preclinical mouse experimental models. The aim of this study was to understand the mechanism(s) underlying S1P effects on the lung. BALB/c, mast cell-deficient and Nude mice were injected with S1P subcutaneously on day 0 and 7. Functional, molecular and cellular studies were performed. S1P administration to BALB/c mice increased airway smooth muscle reactivity , mucus production, PGD2 , IgE, IL-4 and IL-13 release. These features were associated to a higher recruitment of mast cells to the lung. Mast cell-deficient Kit (W-sh/W-sh) mice injected with S1P did not display airway smooth muscle hyper-reactivity. However, lung inflammation and IgE production were still present. Treatment in vivo with the anti- CD23 antibody B3B4, that blocks IgE production, inhibited both S1P-induced airway smooth muscle reactivity in vitro and lung inflammation. S1P administration to Nude mice did not elicit airway smooth muscle hyper-reactivity and lung inflammation. Naïve (non-treated) mice subjected to the adoptive transfer of CD4+ T cells harvested from S1P-treated mice presented all the features elicited by S1P in the lung. S1P triggers a cascade of events that sequentially involves T cells, IgE and mast cells reproducing several asthma-like features. This model may represent a useful tool to define the role of S1P in the mechanism of action of drugs currently used as well as in order to define new therapeutic approaches in asthma like diseases. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 12/2014; 172(7). DOI:10.1111/bph.13033 · 4.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a heterogeneous disease with a poor prognosis and limited markers for predicting patient survival. Because chemokines and chemokine receptors play numerous and integral roles in HCC disease progression, the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis was studied in HCC patients. CXCR4 and CXCR7 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 86 HCC patients (training cohort) and validated in 42 unrelated HCC patients (validation cohort). CXCR4 levels were low in 22.1% of patients, intermediate in 30.2%, and high in 47.7%, whereas CXCR7 levels were low in 9.3% of patients, intermediate in 44.2% and high in 46.5% of the patients in the training cohort. When correlated to patient outcome, only CXCR4 affected overall survival (P=0.03). CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 mRNA levels were examined in 33/86 patients. Interestingly, the common CXCR4-CXCR7 ligand CXCL12 was expressed at significantly lower levels in tumor tissues compared to adjacent normal liver (P=0.032). The expression and function of CXCR4 and CXCR7 was also analyzed in several human HCC cell lines. CXCR4 was expressed in Huh7, Hep3B, SNU398, SNU449 and SNU475 cells, whereas CXCR7 was expressed in HepG2, Huh7, SNU449 and SNU475 cells. Huh7, SNU449 and SNU475 cells migrated toward CXCL12, and this migration was inhibited by AMD3100/anti-CXCR4 and by CCX771/anti-CXCR7. Moreover, SNU449 and Huh7 cells exhibited matrix invasion in the presence of CXCL12 and CXCL11, a ligand exclusive to CXCR7. In conclusion, CXCR4 affects the prognosis of HCC patients but CXCR7 does not. Therefore, the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis plays a role in the interaction of HCC with the surrounding normal tissue and represents a suitable therapeutic target.Cellular & Molecular Immunology advance online publication, 3 November 2014; doi:10.1038/cmi.2014.102.
    Cellular & molecular immunology 11/2014; DOI:10.1038/cmi.2014.102 · 4.19 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 10/2014; 74(19 Supplement):1656-1656. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-1656 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In human two main metabolic enzymes synthesize hydrogen sulfide (H2S): cystathionine γ lyase (CSE) and cystathionine β synthase (CBS). A third enzyme 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MST) synthesize H2S in the presence of the substrate 3-mercaptopyruvate (3-MP). The immunohistochemistry analysis performed on human melanoma samples demonstrated that CSE expression was highest in primary tumors, decreased in the metastatic lesions and was almost silent in non lymph node metastases. The primary role played by CSE was confirmed by the finding that the over-expression of CSE induced spontaneous apoptosis of human melanoma cells. The same effect was achieved by using different H2S donors and, among them, the most active resulted to be diallyl trisulfide (DATS). The main pro-apoptotic mechanisms involved were suppression of nuclear factor-κB activity and inhibition of AKT and extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathways. A proof of concept was obtained in vivo by using a murine melanoma model. In fact, either L-cysteine, the CSE substrate, or DATS inhibited tumor growth in mice. In conclusion, we have defined that the L-cysteine/CSE/H2S pathway is involved in melanoma progression.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 09/2014; 28(1). DOI:10.1111/pcmr.12312 · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the optimization of the local treatment of advanced rectal cancer (LARC), combination of preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and surgery, approximately one third of patients will develop distant metastases. Since the chemokine receptor CXCR4 has been implicated in metastasis development and prognosis in colorectal cancer, the role of the entire axis CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 was evaluated to identify high relapse risk rectal cancer patients. Tumor specimens of 68 LARC patients undergoing surgery after neoadjuvant-CRT were evaluated for CXCR4, CXCR7 and CXCL12 expression through immunohistochemistry. Multivariable prognostic model was developed using classical prognostic factors along with chemokine receptor expression profiles. High CXCR4 correlated with a shorter relapse free survival (RFS) (p=0.0006) and cancer specific survival (CSS) (p=0.0004). Concomitant highCXCR4-negative/lowCXCR7 or highCXCR4-negative/lowCXCL12 significantly impaired RFS (p=0.0003 and p=0.0043) and CSS (p=0.0485 and p=0.0026). High CXCR4/N+ identified the worst prognostic category for RFS (p<0.0001) and CSS (p=0,0003). The optimal multivariable predictive model for RFS was a five-variable model consisting of gender, pT stage, N status, CXCR4, and CXCR7 (AUC=0.92, 95%CI 0.77-0.98). The model is informative and supportive for adjuvant treatment and identifies CXCR4 as a new therapeutic target in rectal cancer. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 07/2014; 135(2). DOI:10.1002/ijc.28689 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) has improved significantly with the advent of agents targeting the mTOR pathway, such as temsirolimus and everolimus. However, their efficacy is thought to be limited by feedback loops and crosstalk with other pathways leading to the development of drug resistance. As CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis has been described to have a crucial role in renal cancer; the crosstalk between the mTOR pathway and the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 chemokine receptor axis has been investigated in human renal cancer cells. In SN12C and A498, the common CXCR4-CXCR7 ligand, CXCL12, and the exclusive CXCR7 ligand, CXCL11, activated mTOR through P70S6K and 4EBP1 targets. The mTOR activation was specifically inhibited by CXCR4 antagonists (AMD3100, anti-CXCR4-12G5 and Peptide R, a newly developed CXCR4 antagonist) and CXCR7 antagonists (anti-CXCR7-12G8 and CCX771, CXCR7 inhibitor). To investigate the functional role of CXCR4, CXCR7 and mTOR in human renal cancer cells, both migration and wound healing were evaluated. SN12C and A498 cells migrated toward CXCL12 and CXCL11; CXCR4 and CXCR7 inhibitors impaired migration and treatment with mTOR inhibitor, RAD001, further inhibited it. Moreover, CXCL12 and CXCL11 induced wound healing while was impaired by AMD3100, the anti CXCR7 and RAD001. In SN12C and A498 cells, CXCL12 and CXCL11 promoted actin reorganization characterized by thin spikes at the cell periphery, whereas AMD3100 and anti-CXCR7 impaired CXCL12/CXCL11-induced actin polymerization, and RAD001 treatment further reduced it. In addition, when cell growth was evaluated in the presence of CXCL12, CXCL11 and mTOR inhibitors, an additive effect was demonstrated with the CXCR4, CXCR7 antagonists and RAD001. RAD001-resistant SN12C and A498 cells recovered RAD001 sensitivity in the presence of CXCR4 and CXCR7 antagonists. In conclusion, the entire axis CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 regulates mTOR signaling in renal cancer cells offering new therapeutic opportunities and targets to overcome resistance to mTOR inhibitors.
    Cell Death & Disease 07/2014; 5(7):e1310. DOI:10.1038/cddis.2014.269 · 5.18 Impact Factor
  • 04/2014; DOI:10.1530/endoabs.35.OC7.3
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    ABSTRACT: The immune response plays an unsettled role in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the contribution of inflammation being controversial as well. Emerging novel T cell sub-populations including regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg) and interleukin (IL)-17 secreting T helper cells (Th17) may exert antithetical actions in this scenario. Phenotype and frequency of circulating immune cell subsets were assessed by multi-parametric flow cytometry in 29 clinically stable IPF patients and 17 healthy controls. The interplay between Treg lymphocytes expressing transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and Th17 cells was also investigated. Proportion and absolute number of natural killer (NK) cells were significantly reduced in IPF patients in comparison with controls (p<0.001). Conversely, the proportion and absolute number of CD3(+)CD4(+)CD25(high)Foxp-3(+) cells were significantly increased in IPF patients (p=0.000). As in controls, almost the totality of cells (>90%) expressed TGF-β upon stimulation. Interestingly, the frequency of Th17 cells was significantly compromised in IPF patients (p=0.000) leading to an increased TGF-β/IL-17 ratio (4.2±2.3 vs 0.5±0.3 in controls, p=0.000). Depletion of NK and Th17 cells along with a not compromised Treg compartment delineate the existence of an "immune profile" that argue against the recent hypothesis of IPF as an autoimmune disease. Our findings along with the imbalance of the Treg/Th17 axis more closely suggest these immune perturbations to be similar to those observed in cancer. Clinical relevance, limitations and perspectives for future research are discussed.
    Cytokine 01/2014; 66(2). DOI:10.1016/j.cyto.2013.12.003 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CXCR4/CXCL12 axis plays a role in cancer metastases, stem cell mobilization and chemosensitization. Proof of concept for efficient CXCR4 inhibition has been demonstrated in stem cell mobilization prior to autologous transplantation in hematological malignancies. Nevertheless CXCR4 inhibitors suitable for prolonged use as required for anticancer therapy are not available. To develop new CXCR4 antagonists a rational, ligand-based approach was taken, distinct from the more commonly used development strategy. A three amino acid motif (Ar-Ar-X) in CXCL12, also found in the reverse orientation (X-Ar-Ar) in the vMIP-II inhibitory chemokine formed the core of nineteen cyclic peptides evaluated for inhibition of CXCR4-dependent migration, binding, P-ERK1/2-induction and calcium efflux. Peptides R, S and I were chosen for evaluation in in vivo models of lung metastases (B16-CXCR4 and KTM2 murine osteosarcoma cells) and growth of a renal cells xenograft. Peptides R, S, and T significantly reduced the association of the 12G5-CXCR4 antibody to the receptor and inhibited CXCL12-induced calcium efflux. The four peptides efficiently inhibited CXCL12-dependent migration at concentrations as low as 10 nM and delayed CXCL12-mediated wound healing in PES43 human melanoma cells. Intraperitoneal treatment with peptides R, I or S drastically reduced the number of B16-CXCR4-derived lung metastases in C57/BL mice. KTM2 osteosarcoma lung metastases were also reduced in Balb/C mice following CXCR4 inhibition. All three peptides significantly inhibited subcutaneous growth of SN12C-EGFP renal cancer cells. A novel class of CXCR4 inhibitory peptides was discovered. Three peptides, R, I and S inhibited lung metastases and primary tumor growth and will be evaluated as anticancer agents.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74548. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0074548 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 08/2013; 73(8 Supplement):2393-2393. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-2393 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify a phenotype that could be informative and prognostic in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) peripheral blood was evaluated for TH1, TH2, regulatory T cells (Tregs), natural killer (NK) and NKT cells and for cytokines/chemokines. Peripheral blood from 77 patients with RCC and 40 healthy controls was evaluated by flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies against CD4, CD25, FoxP3, CD45RA, CD45RO, CD152, CD184, CD279, CD3, CD16, CD56, CD161, CD158a, CD4, CD26, CD30, CD183 and CD184. A concomitant evaluation of 38 molecules was conducted in patients' serum using a multiplex biometric ELISA-based immunoassay. The number of NK cells CD3(-)/CD16(+), CD3(-)/CD16(+)/CD161(+) (NK) and CD3(-)/CD16(+)/CD161(+)/CD158a(+) (NK- Kir 2+) was greater in the patients with RCC (P < 0.05); and the number of Treg cells CD4(+)/CD25(high+)/FOXP3(+) and the subset CD4(+)/CD25(high+)/FOXP3(+)/CD45RA(+) (naive) and CD45R0(+)(memory) cells, were greater in the patients with RCC (P < 0.001). An increase in the following was observed in the serum of patients with RCC compared with healthy controls: interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, G-CSF, CXCL10, CXCL11, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). According to Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), CXCL10, IL-6, IL-8, epidermal growth factor (EGF), HGF and VEGF were associated with a network that controls cellular movement, tissue development and cellular growth. Kaplan-Meier analysis for disease-free survival showed that high numbers of CD4(+)/CD25(high+)/FOXP3(+)/CD45RA(+) (Treg naive) and low numbers of CD3(-)/CD16(+)/CD161(+)/CD158a(+) (NK-Kir+) cells predict short disease-free survival in patients with RCC. Concomitant evaluation of Treg (CD4(+)/CD25(high+)/FOXP3(+) and CD4(+)/CD25(high+)/FOXP3(+)/CD45RA(+)) and of six soluble factors (IL-6, IL-8 ,VEGF, CXCL10, CXCL11, EGF, HGF) might be a surrogate marker of host immunity in patients with RCC.
    BJU International 03/2013; 112(5). DOI:10.1111/bju.12068 · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies have shown efficacy in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). One of the mechanism is the antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in which Fc region of the antibody binds to the Fc gamma receptors (FcγR) expressed by immune cells. The present study investigated the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms of FcγRIIa and FcγRIIIa and clinical outcome in mCRC treated with anti-EGFR antibodies. Methods Seventy-four consecutive patients with mCRC were analyzed. The genotypes for FcγRIIa-131 histidine (H)/arginine (R), FcγRIIIa-158 valine (V)/phenylanaline (F) polymorphisms were evaluated by directly sequencing. Multiplex allele-specific polymerase chain reaction was performed for FcγRIIIa-158 valine (V)/phenylanaline (F). Correlations between FcγR polymorphisms, baseline patient and tumor features were studied by contingency tables and the chi-square test. The Kaplan-Meier product limit method was applied to the progression-free survival (PFS) curves. Univariate analysis was performed with the log-rank test. Cox proportional-hazards regression was used to analyze the effect of multiple risk factors on PFS. Results FcγRIIIa polymorphisms were significantly associated with response to anti-EGFR-based therapy in 49 patients with kras wt tumors (p=0.035). There was not association with response for FcγRIIa polymorphisms. Furthermore, obtained results suggested that prognosis is particularly unfavorable for patients carrying the FcγRIIIa-158F/F genotype (median PFS V/V, V/F, F/F: 18.2 vs 17.3 vs 9.4 months). No prognostic ability was identified for FcγRIIa polymorphisms. Conclusions In mCRC patients the presence of FcγRIIIa-F can predict resistance to anti-EGFR therapy and unfavorable prognosis.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 11/2012; 10(1):232. DOI:10.1186/1479-5876-10-232 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory studies have suggested that ibuprofen, a commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, inhibits the promotion and proliferation of certain tumors. Recently, we demonstrated the antiproliferative effects of ibuprofen on the human gastric cancer cell line MKN-45. However, high doses of ibuprofen were required to elicit these antiproliferative effects in vitro. The present research compared the antiproliferative effects of ibuprofen delivered freely and released by poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) in MKN-45 cells. MKN-45 human gastric adenocarcinoma cells were treated with ibuprofen-loaded PLGA NPs. The proliferation of MKN-45 cells was then assessed by cell counting. The uptake of NPs was imaged by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The release of ibuprofen from ibuprofen-loaded PLGA NPs in the cells was evaluated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Dramatic inhibition of cellular proliferation was observed in cells treated with ibuprofen-loaded PLGA NPs versus those treated with free ibuprofen at the same concentration. The localization of NPs was cytoplasmic. The initiation of ibuprofen release was rapid, commencing within 2 hours, and then increased slowly over time, reaching a maximum concentration at 24 hours. The inhibition of proliferation was confirmed to be due to the intracellular release of ibuprofen from the NPs. Using PLGA NPs as carriers, ibuprofen exerted an antiproliferative activity at concentrations > 100 times less than free ibuprofen, suggesting greater efficiency and less cellular toxicity. In addition, when carried by PLGA NPs, ibuprofen more quickly induced the expression of transcripts involved in proliferation and invasiveness processes. Ibuprofen exerted an antiproliferative effect on MKN-45 cells at low concentrations. This effect was achieved using PLGA NPs as carriers of low doses of ibuprofen.
    International Journal of Nanomedicine 11/2012; 7:5683-91. DOI:10.2147/IJN.S34723 · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been identified as one of the major risk factors for type II mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC), during the clinical evolution of chronic hepatitis, which may lead to development of B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). We have previously shown that the candidate idiotype vaccine, based on the IGKV3-20 light chain protein, is able to induce activation and maturation of circulating antigen presenting cells (APCs) in both HCV-positive and HCV-negative healthy control subjects, with production of Th2-type cytokines. Here, the effect of the recombinant IGKV3-20 protein on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from HCV-positive subjects, with known blood levels of cryoglobulins, is shown via gene expression profiling analysis combined to multiparameter flow cytometry and multiplex analyses of cytokines.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44870. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0044870 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The need for new drugs in melanoma treatment is of great relevance. Indeed, current therapies for the treatment of metastatic melanoma offer a limited clinical benefit and only in recent years there has been an advancement due to the identification of new molecular targets [1]. Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is endogenously produced by the action of three enzymes CBS, CSE and the newly discovered 3-MST [2]. While H2S is cytoprotective at physiological concentrations, it seems to have pro-apoptotic actions in cancer cells [3]. However, to date there are not definitive reports on the role played by H2S in cancer development. Aim of this study was to determine the possible involvement of H2S in human melanoma. Methods The study has been performed by using some relevant human melanoma cell lines such as A375, WM115 and SK-Mel-28. HaCat, a normal human fibroblast cell line, has been used as control. Cellular proliferation was evaluated by the MTT assay. Apoptosis was assayed by flow cytometry analysis by double staining with Annexin V and propidium iodide (PI). NF-kB/DNA-binding activity was evaluated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Expression of CBS, CSE, 3-MST was assayed by quantitative real time RT-PCR, expression of Bcl-2, XIAP, c-FLIP, caspase 3, PARP, IKBa and Akt/p-Akt was determined by western blotting. Levels of H2S in the supernatant and in total cellular extracts were assayed by colorimetric assay. Results Diallyl trisulfide (DATS) is a garlic-derived polysulfide able to release H2S [4]. Our results demonstrate that DATS greatly suppressed, in a time and concentration-dependent manner, proliferation of the three human melanoma cell lines used. The most striking effect was obtained on the A375 cell line whose proliferation was inhibited, following incubation with DATS (10–30–100 μM, 72 h) by 30%, 70%, and 78% respectively (p < 0.001). This effect well correlated with the significant increase in H2S levels found in both supernatants and cellular lysates. Conversely, DATS up to 300 μM did not affect proliferation of HaCat. DATS-induced inhibition of A375 proliferation (10–100 μM, 72 h) was almost completely reversed by haemoglobin (10 μM; p < 0.001) a scavenger of H2S. Moreover, DATS-induced inhibition of A375 proliferation was due to the induction of apoptosis as demonstrated by FACS analysis with Annexin V/PI staining and further confirmed by the inhibition of Bcl-2, XIAP, FLIP, as well as by the cleavage and consequent activation of caspase-3 and inactivation of poly (ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP-1). Constitutive NF-kB and activated Akt expression have been described in melanoma[5]. We also demonstrated that H2S released by DATS suppressed both constitutive NF-kB/DNA-binding activity and Akt phosphorylation suggesting that the apoptotic effect observed following exposure to H2S was consistent with the signal transduction pathways activated. Conclusion In conclusion, we demonstrate that H2S triggers, in relevant human melanoma cell lines, an apoptotic effect. This effect, in turn, activates downstream a signal pattern that candidates H2S as a possible novel therapeutic/target or diagnostic tool.
    Nitric Oxide 09/2012; 27:S28–S29. DOI:10.1016/j.niox.2012.08.038 · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(8 Supplement):4645-4645. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-4645 · 9.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

754 Citations
274.75 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2015
    • Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori
      Meldola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Department of Medicine
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2014
    • CROM: Centro Ricerche Oncologiche
      Mercogliano, Campania, Italy
  • 2005–2013
    • Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale"
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
  • 2007
    • Second University of Naples
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
  • 2006
    • University of Naples Federico II
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
  • 1992–2005
    • CRO Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano
      Aviano, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2003
    • Università degli Studi di Sassari
      Sassari, Sardinia, Italy