[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melanoma is one of the clinically most important cancer types considering its high mortality rate and that it is commonly diagnosed in relatively young people. With the advent of targeted therapies and, more recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors, more treatment options are available resulting in higher patient survival rates. However, the successful application of these targeted therapies critically depends on the reliable detection of molecular aberrations. Today, massively parallel sequencing techniques enable us to analyze large sets of genes in a relatively short time. It has allowed increased knowledge of acquired somatic mutations in melanoma and has helped to identify new targets for personalized therapy, and potentially may help to predict response to immune therapies. Described here are the development of sequencing techniques, how their improvement has changed diagnosis, prognosis and management of malignant melanoma and the future perspectives of melanoma diagnostics in the routine clinical setting.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rearrangements of RET are rare oncogenic events in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While the characterization of Asian patients suggests a predominance of nonsmokers of young age in this genetically defined lung cancer subgroup, little is known about the characteristics of non-Asian patients. We present the results of an analysis of a European cohort of patients with RET rearranged NSCLC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Apoptotic signaling is one of the most important processes in the measurement of chemotherapeutic effectiveness. In apoptotic machinery, various pathways and proteins are involved (i.e., mismatch repair proteins, p53). One of the regulatory proteins is ARC, which can inhibit not only the extrinsic but also the intrinsic apoptotic signaling.
Materials and methods:
In this study, we investigated the expression levels of ARC in colorectal liver metastasis and compared them with the expression of mismatch repair proteins and p53. Furthermore, we investigated ARC expression level depending on sex, age, tumor grade, mucin production, tumor size and number of liver metastasis.
ARC expression level in colorectal cancer liver metastasis was independent from clinical data (i.e., age, gender, tumor size, tumor number or mucin production) but strongly correlated with MSH2 and MSH6 expression, which further supported the evidence for the regulatory role of MSH2 and MSH6 in apoptosis; i.e., in case of sufficient MSH2 and MSH6 expression, significantly higher ARC level is required to suppress the apoptosis. A regulatory interaction between ARC and p53 has been described, but we found no correlation between p53 expression levels and ARC levels.
Further studies are needed to define the exact role of ARC in apoptotic signaling and thus its role in chemoresistance and survival of tumor cells.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The increasing importance of molecular pathology in routine oncological diagnostics.
Current recommendations, developments and future applications of molecular pathology in the clinical course of malignant melanoma, colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Material and methods
The article is based on a literature review investigating clinically relevant aspects of molecular diagnostics in various databases, e.g. PubMed, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Results and conclusion
The translation of preclinical research and the application in clinical practice are characterized by an increasing speed. The advanced classification of malignant diseases is of high relevance in current therapeutic approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylases (HDAC) are key players in epigenetic regulation of gene expression and HDAC inhibitor (HDACi) treatment seems to be a promising anti-cancer therapy in many human tumours, including soft tissue sarcomas. HR23b has been shown to be a potential biomarker for sensitivity to HDACi therapy in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. We aimed to evaluate HR23b as a candidate biomarker for HDACi response in sarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). Therefore, HR23b expression was analysed comprehensively by Western blot in sarcoma and GIST cell lines covering all major clinically relevant subtypes. MTT assay and ApoTox-GloTM Triplex assay were performed after treatment with vorinostat, belinostat, mocetinostat and entinostat. HR23b protein expression was measured under HDACi treatment. Furthermore, HR23b expression levels were immunohistochemically determined in a large set of 523 clinical samples from sarcoma and GIST patients. Western blot analyses showed that sarcomas differ significantly in their expression of HR23b protein. All HDACi were able to regulate proliferation and apoptosis in vitro. Sensitivity to vorinostat correlated significantly with HR23b protein expression. Immunohistochemical prevalence screening in clinical samples of relevant adult-type tumours revealed that 12.5% of sarcomas (among them malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours, pleomorphic liposarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, dedifferentiated liposarcomas, synovial sarcomas and angiosarcomas) and 23.2% of GIST show high HR23b expression. Therefore, HDACi have antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in sarcomas depending on the expression level of HR23b. These findings suggest that HR23b represents a candidate biomarker for HDACi sensitivity in certain sarcoma types and in GIST. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Personalised medicine and targeted therapy have revolutionised cancer treatment. However, most patients develop drug resistance and relapse after showing an initial treatment response. Two theories have been postulated; either secondary resistance mutations develop de novo during therapy by mutagenesis or they are present in minor subclones prior to therapy. In this study, these two theories were evaluated in gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) where most patients develop secondary resistance mutations in the KIT gene during therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
We used a cohort of 33 formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) primary GISTs and their corresponding recurrent tumours with known mutational status. The primary tumours were analysed for the secondary mutations of the recurrences, which had been identified previously. The primary tumours were resected prior to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy. Three ultrasensitive, massively parallel sequencing approaches on the GS Junior (Roche, Mannheim, Germany) and the MiSeqTM (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA) were applied. Additionally, nine fresh-frozen samples resected prior to therapy were analysed for the most common secondary resistance mutations.
With a sensitivity level of down to 0.02%, no pre-existing resistant subclones with secondary KIT mutations were detected in primary GISTs. The sensitivity level varied for individual secondary mutations and was limited by sequencing artefacts on both systems. Artificial T > C substitutions at the position of the exon 13 p.V654A mutation, in particular, led to a lower sensitivity, independent from the source of the material. Fresh-frozen samples showed the same range of artificially mutated allele frequencies as the FFPE material.
Although we achieved a sufficiently high level of sensitivity, neither in the primary FFPE nor in the fresh-frozen GISTs we were able to detect pre-existing resistant subclones of the corresponding known secondary resistance mutations of the recurrent tumours. This supports the theory that secondary KIT resistance mutations develop under treatment by “de novo” mutagenesis. Alternatively, the detection limit of two mutated clones in 10,000 wild-type clones might not have been high enough or heterogeneous tissue samples, per se, might not be suitable for the detection of very small subpopulations of mutated cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Remarkable efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibition has been reported for several types of solid tumors and early studies in gastric adenocarcinoma are promising. A detailed knowledge about the natural biology of immune checkpoints in gastric adenocarcinoma is essential for clinical and translational evaluation of these drugs. This study is a comprehensive analysis of cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated molecule 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in gastric adenocarcinoma. PD-L1 and CTLA-4 were stained on tumor sections of 127 Caucasian patients with gastric adenocarcinoma by immunohistochemistry and somatic mutation profiling was performed using targeted next-generation sequencing. Expression of PD-L1 and CTLA-4 on lymphocytes in tumor sections, tumor-draining lymph nodes and peripheral blood were studied by flow-cytometry and immune-fluorescence microscopy in an additional cohort. PD-L1 and CTLA-4 were expressed in 44.9% (57/127) and 86.6% (110/127) of the analyzed gastric adenocarcinoma samples, respectively. Positive tumor cell staining for PD-L1 or CTLA-4 was associated with inferior overall survival. Somatic mutational analysis did not reveal a correlation to expression of PD-L1 or CTLA-4 on tumor cells. Expression of PD-1 (52.2%), PD-L1 (42.2%) and CTLA-4 (1.6%) on tumor infiltrating T cells was significantly elevated compared to peripheral blood. Of note PD-1 and PD-L1 were expressed far higher by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes than CTLA-4. In conclusion specific immune checkpoint-inhibitors should be evaluated in this disease and the combination with molecular targeted therapies might be of benefit. An extensive immune monitoring should accompany these studies to better understand their mode of action in the tumor microenvironment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is the most aggressive entity of lung cancer. Rapid cancer progression and early formation of systemic metastases drive the deadly outcome of SCLC. Recent advances in identifying oncogenes by cancer whole genome sequencing improved the understanding of SCLC carcinogenesis. However, tumor material is often limited in the clinic. Thus, it is a compulsive issue to improve SCLC diagnostics by combining established immunohistochemistry and next generation sequencing. We implemented amplicon-based next generation deep sequencing in our routine diagnostics pipeline to analyze RB1, TP53, EP300 and CREBBP, frequently mutated in SCLC. Thereby, our pipeline combined routine SCLC histology and identification of somatic mutations. We comprehensively analyzed fifty randomly collected SCLC metastases isolated from trachea and lymph nodes in comparison to specimens derived from primary SCLC. SCLC lymph node metastases showed enhanced proliferation and frequently a collapsed keratin cytoskeleton compared to SCLC metastases isolated from trachea. We identified characteristic synchronous mutations in RB1 and TP53 and non-synchronous CREBBP and EP300 mutations. Our data showed the benefit of implementing deep sequencing into routine diagnostics. We here identify oncogenic drivers and simultaneously gain further insights into SCLC tumor biology.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Experimental and Molecular Pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor initiation in the intestine can rapidly occur from Lgr5(+) crypt columnar stem cells. Dclk1 is a marker of differentiated Tuft cells and, when coexpressed with Lgr5, also marks intestinal cancer stem cells. Here, we show that Elp3, the catalytic subunit of the Elongator complex, is required for Wnt-driven intestinal tumor initiation and radiation-induced regeneration by maintaining a subpool of Lgr5(+)/Dclk1(+)/Sox9(+) cells. Elp3 deficiency dramatically delayed tumor appearance in Apc-mutated intestinal epithelia and greatly prolonged mice survival without affecting the normal epithelium. Specific ablation of Elp3 in Lgr5(+) cells resulted in marked reduction of polyp formation upon Apc inactivation, in part due to a decreased number of Lgr5(+)/Dclk1(+)/Sox9(+) cells. Mechanistically, Elp3 is induced by Wnt signaling and promotes Sox9 translation, which is needed to maintain the subpool of Lgr5(+)/Dclk1(+) cancer stem cells. Consequently, Elp3 or Sox9 depletion led to similar defects in Dclk1(+) cancer stem cells in ex vivo organoids. Finally, Elp3 deficiency strongly impaired radiation-induced intestinal regeneration, in part because of decreased Sox9 protein levels. Together, our data demonstrate the crucial role of Elp3 in maintaining a subpopulation of Lgr5-derived and Sox9-expressing cells needed to trigger Wnt-driven tumor initiation in the intestine.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is a malignant paediatric tumour of the sympathetic nervous system. Roughly half of these tumours regress spontaneously or are cured by limited therapy. By contrast, high-risk neuroblastomas have an unfavourable clinical course despite intensive multimodal treatment, and their molecular basis has remained largely elusive. Here we have performed whole-genome sequencing of 56 neuroblastomas (high-risk, n = 39; low-risk, n = 17) and discovered recurrent genomic rearrangements affecting a chromosomal region at 5p15.33 proximal of the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERT). These rearrangements occurred only in high-risk neuroblastomas (12/39, 31%) in a mutually exclusive fashion with MYCN amplifications and ATRX mutations, which are known genetic events in this tumour type. In an extended case series (n = 217), TERT rearrangements defined a subgroup of high-risk tumours with particularly poor outcome. Despite a large structural diversity of these rearrangements, they all induced massive transcriptional upregulation of TERT. In the remaining high-risk tumours, TERT expression was also elevated in MYCN-amplified tumours, whereas alternative lengthening of telomeres was present in neuroblastomas without TERT or MYCN alterations, suggesting that telomere lengthening represents a central mechanism defining this subtype. The 5p15.33 rearrangements juxtapose the TERT coding sequence to strong enhancer elements, resulting in massive chromatin remodelling and DNA methylation of the affected region. Supporting a functional role of TERT, neuroblastoma cell lines bearing rearrangements or amplified MYCN exhibited both upregulated TERT expression and enzymatic telomerase activity. In summary, our findings show that remodelling of the genomic context abrogates transcriptional silencing of TERT in high-risk neuroblastoma and places telomerase activation in the centre of transformation in a large fraction of these tumours.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathogenesis of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (MI/R) involves an inflammatory response in the myocardium undergoing reperfusion. Modulation of this response by splenectomy constitutes an option to protect the heart from MI/R. To mimic the effect of splenectomy in a pharmacological approach, the sphingosine-1-phosphate agonist FTY720 was applied at the onset of reperfusion. In a closed chest model of MI/R, infarct size was assessed by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining after 1 h of ischemia and 24 h of reperfusion, and by Masson trichrome staining 21 d after reperfusion in splenectomised mice, mice post-conditioned with FTY720 i.p. (1 mg kg(-1) ) and controls. In addition, hemodynamic parameters were recorded after 24 h and 21 d by catheterization. Infarct size, and immune cell invasion of phagocytic monocytes investigated by FACS after 24 h of reperfusion were significantly reduced by both splenectomy, and FTY720 treatment. Evaluation after 21 d of reperfusion revealed that FTY720 treated animals had an improved hemodynamic outcome compared to placebo treated as well as splenectomised animals. FTY720 treatment reduced cell injury as effectively as splenectomy by lowering the number of phagocytic monocytes invading the myocardium and ameliorated hemodynamic outcome within the first 21 d. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have sequenced the genomes of 110 small cell lung cancers (SCLC), one of the deadliest human cancers. In nearly all the tumours analysed we found bi-allelic inactivation of TP53 and RB1, sometimes by complex genomic rearrangements. Two tumours with wild-type RB1 had evidence of chromothripsis leading to overexpression of cyclin D1 (encoded by the CCND1 gene), revealing an alternative mechanism of Rb1 deregulation. Thus, loss of the tumour suppressors TP53 and RB1 is obligatory in SCLC. We discovered somatic genomic rearrangements of TP73 that create an oncogenic version of this gene, TP73Δex2/3. In rare cases, SCLC tumours exhibited kinase gene mutations, providing a possible therapeutic opportunity for individual patients. Finally, we observed inactivating mutations in NOTCH family genes in 25% of human SCLC. Accordingly, activation of Notch signalling in a pre-clinical SCLC mouse model strikingly reduced the number of tumours and extended the survival of the mutant mice. Furthermore, neuroendocrine gene expression was abrogated by Notch activity in SCLC cells. This first comprehensive study of somatic genome alterations in SCLC uncovers several key biological processes and identifies candidate therapeutic targets in this highly lethal form of cancer.