[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent findings have elucidated that the regulation of messenger RNA (mRNA) levels is due to the synergistic and antagonist actions of transcription factors (TFs) and microRNAs (miRNAs). Mutual interactions among these molecules are easily modeled and analyzed using graphs whose nodes are molecules, and directed edges represent the associations among them. In particular, small subgraphs having three nodes also referred to as feed-forward loops (FFLs) or regulatory loops play a crucial role in many different diseases, such as cancer. Available technological platforms enable the investigation of only a single aspect of these mechanisms, e.g., the quantification of levels of mRNA or miRNA. Consequently, there exist different data sources for investigating some aspects of this problem, e.g., miRNA-mRNA or TF-mRNA associations. The comprehensive analysis is made possible only by the integration and the analysis of these data sources. Currently, the interest of researchers in this area is growing, the number of projects is increasing, and the number of challenges and issues for computer scientists is considerable. The need for an introductive survey from a computer science point of view consequently arises. This survey starts by discussing general concepts related to production of data. Then, main existing approaches of analysis are presented and discussed. Future improvements and challenges are also discussed.
EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology 12/2015; 2015(1-1):4. DOI:10.1186/s13637-015-0023-8
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: miR-21 is an oncogenic microRNA (miRNA) with an emerging role as therapeutic target in human malignancies, including multiple myeloma (MM). Here we investigated whether miR-21 is involved in MM-related bone disease (BD). We found that miR-21 expression is dramatically enhanced, while osteoprotegerin (OPG) is strongly reduced, in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) adherent to MM cells. On this basis, we validated the 3'UTR of OPG mRNA as miR-21 target. Constitutive miR-21 inhibition in lentiviral-transduced BMSCs adherent to MM cells restored OPG expression and secretion. Interestingly, miR-21 inhibition reduced RANKL production by BMSCs. Overexpression of protein inhibitor of activated STAT3 (PIAS3), which is a direct and validated target of miR-21, antagonized STAT3-mediated RANKL gene activation. Finally, we demonstrate that constitutive expression of miR-21 inhibitors in BMSCs restores RANKL/OPG balance and dramatically impairs the resorbing activity of mature osteoclasts. Taken together, our data provide proof-of-concept that miR-21 overexpression within MM-microenviroment plays a crucial role in bone resorption/apposition balance, supporting the design of innovative miR-21 inhibition-based strategies for MM-related BD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is still uncertain if targeted therapy-based regimens in advanced gastric cancer actually produce survival benefit. To shed light on this important question, we performed a systematic review and meta-analyses on each relevant targeted-pathway. By searching literature databases and proceedings of major cancer meetings in the time-frame 2005-2014, 22 randomized clinical trials exploring targeted therapy for a total of 7022 advanced gastric cancer patients were selected and included in the final analysis. Benefit was demonstrated for antiangiogenic agents in terms of overall survival (HR 0.759; 95%CI 0.655-0.880; p<0.001). Conversely no benefit was found for EGFR pathway (HR 1.077; 95%CI 0.847-1.370; p= 0.543). Meta-analysis of HER-2 pathway confirmed improvement in terms of survival outcome, already known for this class of drugs (HR 0.823; 95%CI 0.722-0.939; p= 0.004). Pooled analysis demonstrated a significant survival benefit (OS: HR 0.823; PFS: HR 0.762) with acceptable tolerability profile for targeted-based therapies as compared to conventional treatments. This finding conflicts with the outcome of most individual studies, probably due to poor trial design or patients selection. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate a significant survival benefit for targeted therapy in its whole, which can be ascribed to anti-angiogenic and anti-HER2 agents.
Cancer biology & therapy 06/2015; DOI:10.1080/15384047.2015.1056415 · 3.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thymidylate synthase (TS) poly-epitope peptide (TSPP) is a 27-mer peptide vaccine containing the amino acidic sequences of three epitopes with HLA-A2.1-binding motifs of TS, an enzyme overexpressed in cancer cells, which plays a crucial role in DNA repair and replication. Based on the results of preclinical studies, we designed a phase Ib trial (TSPP/VAC1) to investigate, in a dose escalation setting, the safety and the biological activity of TSPP vaccination alone (arm A) or in combination with GM-CSF and IL-2 (arm B) in cancer patients. Twenty-one pretreated metastatic cancer patients, with a good performance status (ECOG ≤ 1) and no severe organ failure or immunological disease, were enrolled in the study (12 in arm A, nine in arm B) between April 2011 and January 2012, with a median follow-up of 28 months. TSPP resulted safe, and its maximal tolerated dose was not achieved. No grade 4 toxicity was observed. The most common adverse events were grade 2 dermatological reactions to the vaccine injection, cough, rhinitis, fever, poly-arthralgia, gastro-enteric symptoms and, to a lesser extent, moderate hypertension and hypothyroidism. We detected a significant rise in auto-antibodies and TS-epitope-specific CTL precursors.
Furthermore, TSPP showed antitumor activity in this group of pretreated patients; indeed, we recorded one partial response and seven disease stabilizations (SD) in arm A, and three SD in arm B. Taken together, our findings provide the framework for the evaluation of the TSPP anti-tumor activity in further disease-oriented clinical trials.
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00262-015-1711-7 · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a malignancy characterized by the hyperdiploid (HD-MM) and the non-hyperdiploid (nHD-MM) subtypes. To shed light within the molecular architecture of these subtypes, we used a novel integromics approach. By annotated MM patient mRNA/microRNA (miRNA) datasets, we investigated mRNAs and miRNAs profiles with relation to changes in transcriptional regulators expression. We found that HD-MM displays specific gene and miRNA expression profiles, involving the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT)3 pathway as well as the Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGFβ) and the transcription regulator Nuclear Protein-1 (NUPR1). Our data define specific molecular features of HD-MM that may translate in the identification of novel relevant druggable targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B cell malignancies frequently colonize the bone marrow. The mechanisms responsible for this preferential homing are incompletely understood. Here we studied multiple myeloma (MM) as a model of a terminally differentiated B cell malignancy that selectively colonizes the bone marrow. We found that extracellular CyPA (eCyPA), secreted by bone marrow endothelial cells (BMECs), promoted the colonization and proliferation of MM cells in an in vivo scaffold system via binding to its receptor, CD147, on MM cells. The expression and secretion of eCyPA by BMECs was enhanced by BCL9, a Wnt-β-catenin transcriptional coactivator that is selectively expressed by these cells. eCyPA levels were higher in bone marrow serum than in peripheral blood in individuals with MM, and eCyPA-CD147 blockade suppressed MM colonization and tumor growth in the in vivo scaffold system. eCyPA also promoted the migration of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma cells, two other B cell malignancies that colonize the bone marrow and express CD147. These findings suggest that eCyPA-CD147 signaling promotes the bone marrow homing of B cell malignancies and offer a compelling rationale for exploring this axis as a therapeutic target for these malignancies.
Nature medicine 05/2015; 21(6). DOI:10.1038/nm.3867 · 28.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is an attractive therapeutic target in multiple myeloma (MM). We here report that expression of IRF4 mRNA inversely correlates with microRNA (miR)-125b in MM patients. Moreover, we provide evidence that miR-125b is downregulated in TC2/3 molecular MM subgroups and in established cell lines. Importantly, constitutive expression of miR-125b-5p by lentiviral vectors or transfection with synthetic mimics impaired growth and survival of MM cells and overcame the protective role of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in vitro. Apoptotic and autophagy-associated cell death were triggered in MM cells upon miR-125b-5p ectopic expression. Importantly, we found that the anti-MM activity of miR-125b-5p was mediated via direct downregulation of IRF4 and its downstream effector BLIMP-1. Moreover, inhibition of IRF4 translated into downregulation of c-Myc, caspase-10 and cFlip, relevant IRF4-downstream effectors. Finally, in vivo intra-tumor or systemic delivery of formulated miR-125b-5p mimics against human MM xenografts in SCID/NOD mice induced significant anti-tumor activity and prolonged survival. Taken together, our findings provide evidence that miR-125b, differently from other hematologic malignancies, has tumor suppressor activity in MM. Furthermore, our data provide proof-of-concept that synthetic miR-125b-5p mimics are promising anti-MM agents to be validated in early clinical trials.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 19 May 2015. doi:10.1038/leu.2015.124.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 05/2015; DOI:10.1038/leu.2015.124 · 9.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non coding RNAs that regulate the gene expression and play a relevant role in physiopathological mechanisms such as development, proliferation, death, and differentiation of normal and cancer cells. Recently, abnormal expression of miRNAs has been reported in most of solid or hematopoietic malignancies, including multiple myeloma (MM), where miRNAs have been found deeply dysregulated and act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Presently, the most recognized approach for definition of miRNA portraits is based on microarray profiling analysis. We here describe a workflow based on the identification of dysregulated miRNAs in plasma cells from MM patients based on Affymetrix technology. We describe how it is possible to search miRNA putative targets performing whole gene expression profile on MM cell lines transfected with miRNA mimics or inhibitors followed by luciferase reporter assay to analyze the specific targeting of the 3'untranslated region (UTR) sequence of a mRNA by selected miRNAs. These technological approaches are suitable strategies for the identification of relevant druggable targets in MM.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A wealth of studies has highlighted the biological complexity of hematologic malignancies and the role of dysregulated signal transduction pathways. Along with the crucial role of genetic abnormalities, epigenetic aberrations are nowadays emerging as relevant players in cancer development, and significant research efforts are currently focusing on mechanisms by which histone post-translational modifications, DNA methylation and noncoding RNAs contribute to the pathobiology of cancer. As a consequence, these studies have provided the rationale for the development of epigenetic drugs, such as histone deacetylase inhibitors and demethylating compounds, some of which are currently in advanced phase of pre-clinical investigation or in clinical trials. In addition, a more recent body of evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) might target effectors of the epigenetic machinery, which are aberrantly expressed or active in cancers, thus reverting those epigenetic abnormalities driving tumor initiation and progression. This review will focus on the broad epigenetic activity triggered by members of the miR-29 family, which underlines the potential of miR-29s as candidate epi-therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone disease is the most frequent complication in multiple myeloma (MM) resulting in osteolytic lesions, bone pain, hypercalcemia and renal failure. In MM bone disease the perfect balance between bone-resorbing osteoclasts (OCs) and bone-forming osteoblasts (OBs) activity is lost in favour of OCs, thus resulting in skeletal disorders. Since exosomes have been described for their functional role in cancer progression, we here investigate whether MM cell-derived exosomes may be involved in OCs differentiation. We show that MM cells produce exosomes which are actively internalized by Raw264.7 cell line, a cellular model of osteoclast formation. MM cell-derived exosomes positively modulate pre-osteoclast migration, through the increasing of CXCR4 expression and trigger a survival pathway. MM cell-derived exosomes play a significant pro-differentiative role in murine Raw264.7 cells and human primary osteoclasts, inducing the expression of osteoclast markers such as Cathepsin K (CTSK), Matrix Metalloproteinases 9 (MMP9) and Tartrate-resistant Acid Phosphatase (TRAP). Pre-osteoclast treated with MM cell-derived exosomes differentiate in multinuclear OCs able to excavate authentic resorption lacunae. Similar results were obtained with exosomes derived from MM patient’s sera. Our data indicate that MM-exosomes modulate OCs function and differentiation. Further studies are needed to identify the OCs activating factors transported by MM cell-derived exosomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we investigated specific biological and clinical features associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients carrying stereotyped BCR subset #4 (IGHV4-34) among a prospective cohort of 462 CLL/MBL patients in early stage (Binet A). All subset #4 patients (n=16) were characterized by the IGHV mutated gene configuration, and absence of unfavorable cytogenetic lesions, NOTCH1 or SF3B1 mutations. Gene and miRNA expression profiling evidenced that the leukemic cells of subset #4 cases showed significant downregulation of WDFY4, MF2A and upregulation of PDGFA, FGFR1 and TFEC gene transcripts, as well as the upregulation of miR-497 and miR-29c. The transfection of miR-497 mimic in primary leukemic CLL cells induced a downregulation of BCL2, a known validated target of this miRNA. Our data identify biological characteristics associated with subset #4 patients, providing further evidence for the putative role of BCR in shaping the features of the tumor cells in CLL.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunosuppressive cells have been reported to play an important role in tumor-progression mainly because of their capability to promote immune-escape, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Among them, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been recently identified as immature myeloid cells, induced by tumor-associated inflammation, able to impair both innate and adaptive immunity. While murine MDSCs are usually identified by the expression of CD11b and Gr1, human MDSCs represent a more heterogeneous population characterized by the expression of CD33 and CD11b, low or no HLA-DR, and variable CD14 and CD15. In particular, the last two may alternatively identify monocyte-like or granulocyte-like MDSC subsets with different immunosuppressive properties. Recently, a substantial increase of MDSCs has been found in peripheral blood and bone marrow (BM) of multiple myeloma (MM) patients with a role in disease progression and/or drug resistance. Pre-clinical models recapitulating the complexity of the MM-related BM microenvironment (BMM) are major tools for the study of the interactions between MM cells and cells of the BMM (including MDSCs) and for the development of new agents targeting MM-associated immune-suppressive cells. This review will focus on current strategies for human MDSCs generation and investigation of their immunosuppressive function in vitro and in vivo, taking into account the relevant relationship occurring within the MM-BMM. We will then provide trends in MDSC-associated research and suggest potential application for the treatment of MM.
Frontiers in Oncology 12/2014; 4:348. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2014.00348
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microRNA(miRNA)-34a is a key regulator of tumor suppression. It controls the expression of a plethora of target proteins involved in cell cycle, differentiation and apoptosis, and antagonizes processes that are necessary for basic cancer cell viability as well as cancer stemness, metastasis, and chemoresistance. In this review, we focus on the molecular mechanisms of miR-34a-mediated tumor suppression, giving emphasis on the main miR-34a targets, as well as on the principal regulators involved in the modulation of this miRNA. Moreover, we shed light on the miR-34a role in modulating responsiveness to chemotherapy and on the phytonutrients-mediated regulation of miR-34a expression and activity in cancer cells. Given the broad anti-oncogenic activity of miR-34a, we also discuss the substantial benefits of a new therapeutic concept based on nanotechnology delivery of miRNA mimics. In fact, the replacement of oncosuppressor miRNAs provides an effective strategy against tumor heterogeneity and the selective RNA-based delivery systems seems to be an excellent platform for a safe and effective targeting of the tumor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose: Despite its indolent nature, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remains an incurable disease. To establish the potential pathogenic role of microRNAs (miRNAs), the identification of deregulated miRNAs in CLL is crucial. Experimental Design: We analyzed the expression of 723 mature miRNAs in 217 early stage CLL cases and in various different normal B-cell subpopulations from tonsils and peripheral blood. Results: Our analyses indicated that CLL cells exhibited a miRNA expression pattern that was most similar to the subsets of antigen-experienced and marginal zone-like B-cells. These normal subpopulations were used as reference to identify differentially expressed miRNAs in comparison with CLL. Differences related to the expression of 25 miRNAs were found to be independent from IGHV mutation status or cytogenetic aberrations. These differences, confirmed in an independent validation set, led to a novel comprehensive description of miRNAs potentially involved in CLL. We also identified miRNAs whose expression was distinctive of cases with mutated versus unmutated IGHV genes or cases with 13q, 11q, and 17p deletions and trisomy 12. Finally, analysis of clinical data in relation to miRNA expression revealed that miR-26a, miR-532-3p, miR-146-5p and miR-29c* were strongly associated with progression free survival. Conclusion: This study provides novel information on miRNAs expressed by CLL and normal B-cell subtypes, with implication on the cell of origin of CLL. In addition, our findings indicate a number of deregulated miRNAs in CLL which may play a pathogenic role and promote disease progression. Collectively, this information can be utilized for developing miRNA-based therapeutic strategies in CLL.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2014; 20(15). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2497 · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) is due to the proliferation in the bone marrow (BM) of malignant plasmacells (PCs) and it accounts for about 10% of all hematological tumors. MM is the natural evolution of a monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance. Although the introduction of novel biological agents in the clinical practice has changed the natural history of the disease, MM remains incurable. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that control cell functions through mRNA targeting. In the cancer setting, miRNAs have shown prognostic and predictive potentials. Several preclinical findings demonstrate their broad anticancer activities in various types of cancer, including MM. In this article, we provide an overview of the biology of miRNAs together with the scenario of miRNA deregulation in MM. These findings shine light on the use of miRNAs as anti-MM agents. We also discuss the recent findings on miRNA therapeutics of MM.
Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 05/2014; 15(5). DOI:10.2174/1389201015666140519104743 · 2.51 Impact Factor