Chlorine dioxide as a possible adjunct to metabolic treatment

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    Looked at from the genetic point-of-view cancer represents a daunting and, frankly, confusing multiplicity of diseases (at least 100) that require an equally large variety of therapeutic strategies and substances designed to treat the particular tumor. However, when analyzed phenotypically cancer is a relatively uniform disease of very conserved 'hallmark' behaviors across the entire spectrum of tissue and genetic differences [D. Hanahan, R.A. Weinberg, Hallmarks of cancer, Cell 100 (2000) 57-70]. This suggests that cancers do, indeed, share common biochemical and physiological characteristics that are independent of the varied genetic backgrounds, and that there may be a common mechanism underlying both the neoplastic transformation/progression side and the antineoplastic/therapy side of oncology. The challenge of modern oncology is to integrate all the diverse experimental data to create a physiological/metabolic/energetic paradigm that can unite our thinking in order to understand how both neoplastic progression and therapies function. This reductionist view gives the hope that, as in chemistry and physics, it will possible to identify common underlying driving forces that define a tumor and will permit, for the first time, the actual calculated manipulation of their state. That is, a rational therapeutic design. In the present review, we present evidence, obtained from a great number of studies, for a fundamental, underlying mechanism involved in the initiation and evolution of the neoplastic process. There is an ever growing body of evidence that all the important neoplastic phenotypes are driven by an alkalization of the transformed cell, a process which seems specific for transformed cells since the same alkalinization has no effect in cells that have not been transformed. Seen in that light, different fields of cancer research, from etiopathogenesis, cancer cell metabolism and neovascularization, to multiple drug resistance (MDR), selective apoptosis, modern cancer chemotherapy and the spontaneous regression of cancer (SRC) all appear to have in common a pivotal characteristic, the aberrant regulation of hydrogen ion dynamics [S. Harguindey, J.L. Pedraz, R. García Cañero, J. Pérez de Diego, E.J. Cragoe Jr., Hydrogen ion-dependent oncogenesis and parallel new avenues to cancer prevention and treatment using a H+-mediated unifying approach: pH-related and pH-unrelated mechanisms, Crit. Rev. Oncog. 6 (1) (1995) 1-33]. Cancer cells have an acid-base disturbance that is completely different than observed in normal tissues and that increases in correspondence with increasing neoplastic state: an interstitial acid microenvironment linked to an intracellular alkalosis.
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    Recent research has highlighted the fundamental role of the tumour's extracellular metabolic microenvironment in malignant invasion. This microenvironment is acidified primarily by the tumour-cell Na(+)/H(+) exchanger NHE1 and the H(+)/lactate cotransporter, which are activated in cancer cells. NHE1 also regulates formation of invadopodia - cell structures that mediate tumour cell migration and invasion. How do these alterations of the metabolic microenvironment and cell invasiveness contribute to tumour formation and progression?
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    Several infectious agents are considered to be causes of cancer in humans. The fraction of the different types of cancer, and of all cancers worldwide and in different regions, has been estimated using several methods; primarily by reviewing the evidence for the strength of the association (relative risk) and the prevalence of infection in different world areas. The estimated total of infection-attributable cancer in the year 2002 is 1.9 million cases, or 17.8% of the global cancer burden. The principal agents are the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (5.5% of all cancer), the human papilloma viruses (5.2%), the hepatitis B and C viruses (4.9%), Epstein-Barr virus (1%), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) together with the human herpes virus 8 (0.9%). Relatively less important causes of cancer are the schistosomes (0.1%), human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (0.03%) and the liver flukes (0.02%). There would be 26.3% fewer cancers in developing countries (1.5 million cases per year) and 7.7% in developed countries (390,000 cases) if these infectious diseases were prevented. The attributable fraction at the specific sites varies from 100% of cervix cancers attributable to the papilloma viruses to a tiny proportion (0.4%) of liver cancers (worldwide) caused by liver flukes.
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    Extracellular pH (pH(e)) is lower in many tumors than in the corresponding normal tissue. The significance of acidic pH(e) in the development of metastatic disease was investigated in the present work. Human melanoma cells (A-07, D-12, and T-22) were cultured in vitro at pH(e) 6.8 or 7.4 (control) before being inoculated into the tail vein of BALB/c nu/nu mice for formation of experimental pulmonary metastases. Cell invasiveness was studied in vitro by using Matrigel invasion chambers and angiogenesis was studied in vivo by using an intradermal assay. Protein secretion was measured by ELISA and immunocapture assays. Cells cultured at acidic pH(e) showed increased secretion of proteinases and proangiogenic factors, enhanced invasive and angiogenic potential, and enhanced potential to develop experimental metastases. Acidity-induced metastasis was inhibited by treatment with the general matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor GM6001, the general cysteine proteinase inhibitor E-64, or blocking antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) or interleukin-8 (IL-8). Our study indicates that acidic pH(e) promotes experimental pulmonary metastasis in A-07, D-12, and T-22 human melanoma cells by a common mechanism involving acidity-induced up-regulation of the proteolytic enzymes MMP-2, MMP-9, cathepsin B, and cathepsin L and acidity-induced up-regulation of the proangiogenic factors VEGF-A and IL-8. One consequence of this observation is that treatment strategies involving deliberate tumor acidification to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, and hyperthermia should be avoided. Moreover, the possibility that the pH(e) of the primary tumor may be an important prognostic parameter for melanoma patients merits clinical investigation.
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    Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), an Akt pathway inhibitor, is considered to be activated by methylation of its catalytic subunit. Also PP2A downregulation was proposed to take part in carcinogenesis. Recently, PP2A activation was shown to be activated in response to DNA damage. To obtain further information on the role of PP2A in tumors and response to DNA damage, we investigated the relationship between PP2A methylation and activity, cell proliferation, Akt activation, c-Myc expression and PTEN activity in B16 melanoma cells untreated and after chloroethylnitrosourea (CENU) treatment. In untreated cells, okadaic acid, an antagonist of PP2A methylation, inhibited PP2A activity, stimulated cell proliferation, increased Akt activation and c-Myc expression. Xylulose-5-phosphate, an agonist of PP2A methylation, increased PP2A activity, decreased cell proliferation, Akt activation and c-Myc expression. However, both PP2A methylation modulators increased PTEN activity. During the response to CENU treatment, PP2A methylation and activity were strongly increased, Akt activation and c-Myc expression were decreased. However PTEN activity was increased. After tumor cell growth recovery, these modifications were moderately decreased. PP2A methylation was quantified and correlated positively with PP2A activity, and negatively with criteria for cell aggressiveness (cell proliferation, Akt activation, c-Myc expression). Based on these data, PP2A methylation status controls PP2A activity and oncoproteins expression and PP2A is strongly activated after CENU treatment thus partly explaining the growth inhibition in response to this agent. It follows that PP2A promethylating agents are potential candidates for anticancer drugs.
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    Over 350 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and a significant number of chronically infected individuals develop primary liver cancer. HBV encodes seven viral proteins, including the nonstructural X (HBx) protein. The results of studies with immortalized or transformed cells and with HBx-transgenic mice demonstrated that HBx can interact with mitochondria. However, no studies with normal hepatocytes have characterized the precise mitochondrial localization of HBx or the effect of HBx on mitochondrial physiology. We have used cultured primary rat hepatocytes as a model system to characterize the mitochondrial localization of HBx and the effect of HBx expression on mitochondrial physiology. We now show that a fraction of HBx colocalizes with density-gradient-purified mitochondria and associates with the outer mitochondrial membrane. We also demonstrate that HBx regulates mitochondrial membrane potential in hepatocytes and that this function of HBx varies depending on the status of NF-kappaB activity. In primary rat hepatocytes, HBx activation of NF-kappaB prevented mitochondrial membrane depolarization; however, when NF-kappaB activity was inhibited, HBx induced membrane depolarization through modulation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Collectively, these results define potential pathways through which HBx may act in order to modulate mitochondrial physiology, thereby altering many cellular activities and ultimately contributing to the development of HBV-associated liver cancer.