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Posts Tagged ‘Therapy’


An Intelligent DNA Nanorobot to Fight Cancer by Targeting HER2 Expression

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

HER2 is an important prognostic biomarker for 20–30% of breast cancers, which is the most common cancer in women. Overexpression of the HER2 receptor stimulates breast cells to proliferate and differentiate uncontrollably, thereby enhancing the malignancy of breast cancer and resulting in a poor prognosis for affected individuals. Current therapies to suppress the overexpression of HER2 in breast cancer mainly involve treatment with HER2-specific monoclonal antibodies. However, these monoclonal anti-HER2 antibodies have severe side effects in clinical trials, such as diarrhea, abnormal liver function, and drug resistance. Removing HER2 from the plasma membrane or inhibiting the gene expression of HER2 is a promising alternative that could limit the malignancy of HER2-positive cancer cells.

 

DNA origami is an emerging field of DNA-based nanotechnology and intelligent DNA nanorobots show great promise in working as a drug delivery system in healthcare. Different DNA-based nanorobots have been developed as affordable and facile therapeutic drugs. In particular, many studies reported that a tetrahedral framework nucleic acid (tFNA) could serve as a promising DNA nanocarrier for many antitumor drugs, owing to its high biocompatibility and biosecurity. For example, tFNA was reported to effectively deliver paclitaxel or doxorubicin to cancer cells for reversing drug resistance, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been modified into tFNA for targeted drug delivery. Moreover, the production and storage of tFNA are not complicated, and they can be quickly degraded in lysosomes by cells. Since both free HApt and tFNA can be diverted into lysosomes, so,  combining the HApt and tFNA as a novel DNA nanorobot (namely, HApt-tFNA) can be an effective strategy to improve its delivery and therapeutic efficacy in treating HER2-positive breast cancer.

 

Researchers reported that a DNA framework-based intelligent DNA nanorobot for selective lysosomal degradation of tumor-specific proteins on cancer cells. An anti-HER2 aptamer (HApt) was site-specifically anchored on a tetrahedral framework nucleic acid (tFNA). This DNA nanorobot (HApt-tFNA) could target HER2-positive breast cancer cells and specifically induce the lysosomal degradation of the membrane protein HER2. An injection of the DNA nanorobot into a mouse model revealed that the presence of tFNA enhanced the stability and prolonged the blood circulation time of HApt, and HApt-tFNA could therefore drive HER2 into lysosomal degradation with a higher efficiency. The formation of the HER2-HApt-tFNA complexes resulted in the HER2-mediated endocytosis and digestion in lysosomes, which effectively reduced the amount of HER2 on the cell surfaces. An increased HER2 digestion through HApt-tFNA further induced cell apoptosis and arrested cell growth. Hence, this novel DNA nanorobot sheds new light on targeted protein degradation for precision breast cancer therapy.

 

It was previously reported that tFNA was degraded by lysosomes and could enhance cell autophagy. Results indicated that free Cy5-HApt and Cy5-HApt-tFNA could enter the lysosomes; thus, tFNA can be regarded as an efficient nanocarrier to transmit HApt into the target organelle. The DNA nanorobot composed of HApt and tFNA showed a higher stability and a more effective performance than free HApt against HER2-positive breast cancer cells. The PI3K/AKT pathway was inhibited when membrane-bound HER2 decreased in SK-BR-3 cells under the action of HApt-tFNA. The research findings suggest that tFNA can enhance the anticancer effects of HApt on SK-BR-3 cells; while HApt-tFNA can bind to HER2 specifically, the compounded HER2-HApt-tFNA complexes can then be transferred and degraded in lysosomes. After these processes, the accumulation of HER2 in the plasma membrane would decrease, which could also influence the downstream PI3K/AKT signaling pathway that is associated with cell growth and death.

 

However, some limitations need to be noted when interpreting the findings: (i) the cytotoxicity of the nanorobot on HER2-positive cancer cells was weak, and the anticancer effects between conventional monoclonal antibodies and HApt-tFNA was not compared; (ii) the differences in delivery efficiency between tFNA and other nanocarriers need to be confirmed; and (iii) the confirmation of anticancer effects of HApt-tFNA on tumors within animals remains challenging. Despite these limitations, the present study provided novel evidence of the biological effects of tFNA when combined with HApt. Although the stability and the anticancer effects of HApt-tFNA may require further improvement before clinical application, this study initiates a promising step toward the development of nanomedicines with novel and intelligent DNA nanorobots for tumor treatment.

 

References:

 

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b01320

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27939064

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11694782

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27082923

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25365825

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840503

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29802035

 

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

RNA plays various roles in determining how the information in our genes drives cell behavior. One of its roles is to carry information encoded by our genes from the cell nucleus to the rest of the cell where it can be acted on by other cell components. Rresearchers have now defined how RNA also participates in transmitting information outside cells, known as extracellular RNA or exRNA. This new role of RNA in cell-to-cell communication has led to new discoveries of potential disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Cells using RNA to talk to each other is a significant shift in the general thought process about RNA biology.

 

Researchers explored basic exRNA biology, including how exRNA molecules and their transport packages (or carriers) were made, how they were expelled by producer cells and taken up by target cells, and what the exRNA molecules did when they got to their destination. They encountered surprising complexity both in the types of carriers that transport exRNA molecules between cells and in the different types of exRNA molecules associated with the carriers. The researchers had to be exceptionally creative in developing molecular and data-centric tools to begin making sense of the complexity, and found that the type of carrier affected how exRNA messages were sent and received.

 

As couriers of information between cells, exRNA molecules and their carriers give researchers an opportunity to intercept exRNA messages to see if they are associated with disease. If scientists could change or engineer designer exRNA messages, it may be a new way to treat disease. The researchers identified potential exRNA biomarkers for nearly 30 diseases including cardiovascular disease, diseases of the brain and central nervous system, pregnancy complications, glaucoma, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and multiple types of cancer.

 

As for example some researchers found that exRNA in urine showed promise as a biomarker of muscular dystrophy where current studies rely on markers obtained through painful muscle biopsies. Some other researchers laid the groundwork for exRNA as therapeutics with preliminary studies demonstrating how researchers might load exRNA molecules into suitable carriers and target carriers to intended recipient cells, and determining whether engineered carriers could have adverse side effects. Scientists engineered carriers with designer RNA messages to target lab-grown breast cancer cells displaying a certain protein on their surface. In an animal model of breast cancer with the cell surface protein, the researchers showed a reduction in tumor growth after engineered carriers deposited their RNA cargo.

 

Other than the above research work the scientists also created a catalog of exRNA molecules found in human biofluids like plasma, saliva and urine. They analyzed over 50,000 samples from over 2000 donors, generating exRNA profiles for 13 biofluids. This included over 1000 exRNA profiles from healthy volunteers. The researchers found that exRNA profiles varied greatly among healthy individuals depending on characteristics like age and environmental factors like exercise. This means that exRNA profiles can give important and detailed information about health and disease, but careful comparisons need to be made with exRNA data generated from people with similar characteristics.

 

Next the researchers will develop tools to efficiently and reproducibly isolate, identify and analyze different carrier types and their exRNA cargos and allow analysis of one carrier and its cargo at a time. These tools will be shared with the research community to fill gaps in knowledge generated till now and to continue to move this field forward.

 

References:

 

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/scientists-explore-new-roles-rna

 

https://www.cell.com/consortium/exRNA

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606120230.htm

 

https://www.pasteur.fr/en/multiple-roles-rnas

 

https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/rna-functions-352

 

https://www.umassmed.edu/rti/biology/role-of-rna-in-biology/

 

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Digital Therapeutics: A Threat or Opportunity to Pharmaceuticals


Digital Therapeutics: A Threat or Opportunity to Pharmaceuticals

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Digital Therapeutics (DTx) have been defined by the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) as “delivering evidence based therapeutic interventions to patients, that are driven by software to prevent, manage or treat a medical disorder or disease”. They might come in the form of a smart phone or computer tablet app, or some form of a cloud-based service connected to a wearable device. DTx tend to fall into three groups. Firstly, developers and mental health researchers have built digital solutions which typically provide a form of software delivered Cognitive-Behaviour Therapies (CBT) that help patients change behaviours and develop coping strategies around their condition. Secondly there are the group of Digital Therapeutics which target lifestyle issues, such as diet, exercise and stress, that are associated with chronic conditions, and work by offering personalized support for goal setting and target achievement. Lastly, DTx can be designed to work in combination with existing medication or treatments, helping patients manage their therapies and focus on ensuring the therapy delivers the best outcomes possible.

 

Pharmaceutical companies are clearly trying to understand what DTx will mean for them. They want to analyze whether it will be a threat or opportunity to their business. For a long time, they have been providing additional support services to patients who take relatively expensive drugs for chronic conditions. A nurse-led service might provide visits and telephone support to diabetics for example who self-inject insulin therapies. But DTx will help broaden the scope of support services because they can be delivered cost-effectively, and importantly have the ability to capture real-world evidence on patient outcomes. They will no-longer be reserved for the most expensive drugs or therapies but could apply to a whole range of common treatments to boost their efficacy. Faced with the arrival of Digital Therapeutics either replacing drugs, or playing an important role alongside therapies, pharmaceutical firms have three options. They can either ignore DTx and focus on developing drug therapies as they have done; they can partner with a growing number of DTx companies to develop software and services complimenting their drugs; or they can start to build their own Digital Therapeutics to work with their products.

 

Digital Therapeutics will have knock-on effects in health industries, which may be as great as the introduction of therapeutic apps and services themselves. Together with connected health monitoring devices, DTx will offer a near constant stream of data about an individuals’ behavior, real world context around factors affecting their treatment in their everyday lives and emotional and physiological data such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Analysis of the resulting data will help create support services tailored to each patient. But who stores and analyses this data is an important question. Strong data governance will be paramount to maintaining trust, and the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry may not be best-placed to handle individual patient data. Meanwhile, the health sector (payers and healthcare providers) is becoming more focused on patient outcomes, and payment for value not volume. The future will say whether pharmaceutical firms enhance the effectiveness of drugs with DTx, or in some cases replace drugs with DTx.

 

Digital Therapeutics have the potential to change what the pharmaceutical industry sells: rather than a drug it will sell a package of drugs and digital services. But they will also alter who the industry sells to. Pharmaceutical firms have traditionally marketed drugs to doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals, based on the efficacy of a specific product. Soon it could be paid on the outcome of a bundle of digital therapies, medicines and services with a closer connection to both providers and patients. Apart from a notable few, most pharmaceutical firms have taken a cautious approach towards Digital Therapeutics. Now, it is to be observed that how the pharmaceutical companies use DTx to their benefit as well as for the benefit of the general population.

 

References:

 

https://eloqua.eyeforpharma.com/LP=23674?utm_campaign=EFP%2007MAR19%20EFP%20Database&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&elqTrackId=73e21ae550de49ccabbf65fce72faea0&elq=818d76a54d894491b031fa8d1cc8d05c&elqaid=43259&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=24564

 

https://www.s3connectedhealth.com/resources/white-papers/digital-therapeutics-pharmas-threat-or-opportunity/

 

http://www.pharmatimes.com/web_exclusives/digital_therapeutics_will_transform_pharma_and_healthcare_industries_in_2019._heres_how._1273671

 

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/exploring-the-potential-of-digital-therapeutics

 

https://player.fm/series/digital-health-today-2404448/s9-081-scaling-digital-therapeutics-the-opportunities-and-challenges

 

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Immunotherapy may help in glioblastoma survival


Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults and is associated with poor survival. But, in a glimmer of hope, a recent study found that a drug designed to unleash the immune system helped some patients live longer. Glioblastoma powerfully suppresses the immune system, both at the site of the cancer and throughout the body, which has made it difficult to find effective treatments. Such tumors are complex and differ widely in their behavior and characteristics.

 

A small randomized, multi-institution clinical trial was conducted and led by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles involved patients who had a recurrence of glioblastoma, the most common central nervous system cancer. The aim was to evaluate immune responses and survival following neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab (checkpoint inhibitor) in 35 patients with recurrent, surgically resectable glioblastoma. Patients who were randomized to receive neoadjuvant pembrolizumab, with continued adjuvant therapy following surgery, had significantly extended overall survival compared to patients that were randomized to receive adjuvant, post-surgical programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) blockade alone.

 

Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade was associated with upregulation of T cell– and interferon-γ-related gene expression, but downregulation of cell-cycle-related gene expression within the tumor, which was not seen in patients that received adjuvant therapy alone. Focal induction of programmed death-ligand 1 in the tumor microenvironment, enhanced clonal expansion of T cells, decreased PD-1 expression on peripheral blood T cells and a decreasing monocytic population was observed more frequently in the neoadjuvant group than in patients treated only in the adjuvant setting. These findings suggest that the neoadjuvant administration of PD-1 blockade enhanced both the local and systemic antitumor immune response and may represent a more efficacious approach to the treatment of this uniformly lethal brain tumor.

 

Immunotherapy has not proved to be effective against glioblastoma. This small clinical trial explored the effect of PD-1 blockade on recurrent glioblastoma in relation to the timing of administration. A total of 35 patients undergoing resection of recurrent disease were randomized to either neoadjuvant or adjuvant pembrolizumab, and surgical specimens were compared between the two groups. Interestingly, the tumoral gene expression signature varied between the two groups, such that those who received neoadjuvant pembrolizumab displayed an INF-γ gene signature suggestive of T-cell activation as well as suppression of cell-cycle signaling, possibly consistent with growth arrest. Although the study was not powered for efficacy, the group found an increase in overall survival in patients receiving neoadjuvant pembrolizumab compared with adjuvant pembrolizumab of 13.7 months versus 7.5 months, respectively.

 

In this small pilot study, neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade followed by surgical resection was associated with intratumoral T-cell activation and inhibition of tumor growth as well as longer survival. How the drug works in glioblastoma has not been totally established. The researchers speculated that giving the drug before surgery prompted T-cells within the tumor, which had been impaired, to attack the cancer and extend lives. The drug didn’t spur such anti-cancer activity after the surgery because those T-cells were removed along with the tumor. The results are very important and very promising but would need to be validated in much larger trials.

 

References:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/02/11/immunotherapy-may-help-patients-with-kind-cancer-that-killed-john-mccain/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e1b2e6fffccc

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30742122

 

https://www.practiceupdate.com/content/neoadjuvant-anti-pd-1-immunotherapy-promotes-immune-responses-in-recurrent-gbm/79742/37/12/1

 

https://www.esmo.org/Oncology-News/Neoadjuvant-PD-1-Blockade-in-Glioblastoma

 

https://neurosciencenews.com/immunotherapy-glioblastoma-cancer-10722/

 

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Tumor Organoids Used to Speed Cancer Treatment

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Collecting cancer cells from patients and growing them into 3-D mini tumors could make it possible to quickly screen large numbers of potential drugs for ultra-rare cancers. Preliminary success with a new high-speed, high-volume approach is already guiding treatment decisions for some patients with recurring hard-to-treat cancers.

A London-based team labelled how a “tumor-in-a-dish” approach positively forecasted drug responses in cancer patients who previously took part in clinical trials. That study was a major development in a new research area focused on “organoids” — tiny 3-D versions of the brain, gut, lung and other organs grown in the lab to probe basic biology or test drugs.

UCLA cancer biologist Alice Soragni and her colleagues developed a high-volume, automated method to rapidly study drug responses in tumor organoids grown from patient cells. By studying mini tumors grown on a plate with 96 tiny test tubes, her team can screen hundreds of compounds at once and classify promising candidates within a time frame that is therapeutically actionable. According to Dr. Soragni, the method seemed to work for various kinds of ovarian cancer. It was shown that the lab-grown organoids mimicked how tumors in the body look and behave. And even in cases when mini tumors had a hard time growing in a dish, scientists still acknowledged potential drug candidates.
Up to now, the UCLA team has produced organoids from 35 to 40 people with various types of sarcoma which will allow them to classify tumors that won’t respond to conventional therapy. This proves useful for people with recurrent metastases, where it’s not clear if we’re doing anything for their overall survival or giving them more toxicity.

Source

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/tumor-organoids-may-speed-cancer-treatment

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Renal (Kidney) Cancer: Connections in Metabolism at Krebs cycle  and Histone Modulation

Curator: Demet Sag, PhD, CRA, GCP

Through Histone Modulation

Renal cell carcinoma accounts for only 3% of total human malignancies but it is still the most common type of urological cancer with a high prevalence in elderly men (>60 years of age).

ICD10 C64
ICD9-CM 189.0
ICD-O M8312/3
OMIM 144700 605074
DiseasesDB 11245
MedlinePlus 000516
eMedicine med/2002

Most kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas (RCC). RCC lacks early warning signs and 70 % of patients with RCC develop metastases. Among them, 50 % of patients having skeletal metastases developed a dismal survival of less than 10 % at 5 years.

There are three main histopathological entities:

  1. Clear cell RCC (ccRCC), dominant in histology (65%)
  2. Papillary (15-20%) and
  3. Chromophobe RCC (5%).

There are very rare forms of RCC shown in collecting duct, mucinous tubular, spindle cell, renal medullary, and MiTF-TFE translocation carcinomas.

Subtypes of clear cell and papillary RCC, and a new subtype, clear cell papillary http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f6.jpg

Different subtypes of clear cell RCC can be defined by HIF patterns as well as by transcriptomic expression as defined by ccA and ccB subtypes. Papillary RCC also demonstrates distinct histological subtypes. A recently described variant denoted as clear cell papillary RCC is VHL wildtype (VHL WT), while other clear cell tumors are characterized by VHL mutation, loss, or inactivation (VHL MT).

KEY POINTS

  • Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney.
  • Smoking and misuse of certain pain medicines can affect the risk of renal cell cancer.
  • Signs of renal cell cancer include
  • Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola colored
  • A lump in the abdomen.
  • Back pain just below the ribs that doesn’t go away
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Intermittent fever

 

Factors that can increase the risk of kidney cancer include:

  • Older age.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Treatment for kidney failure.(long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure)
  • Certain inherited syndromes.
  • von Hippel-Lindau disease

Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to detect (find) and diagnose renal cell cancer.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

There are 3 treatment approaches for Renal Cancer:

Stages of Renal Cancer:

Stage I Tumour of a diameter of 7 cm (approx. 23⁄4 inches) or smaller, and limited to the kidney. No lymph node involvement or metastases to distant organs.
Stage II Tumour larger than 7.0 cm but still limited to the kidney. No lymph node involvement or metastases to distant organs.
Stage III
any of the following
Tumor of any size with involvement of a nearby lymph node but no metastases to distant organs. Tumour of this stage may be with or without spread to fatty tissue around the kidney, with or without spread into the large veins leading from the kidney to the heart.
Tumour with spread to fatty tissue around the kidney and/or spread into the large veins leading from the kidney to the heart, but without spread to any lymph nodes or other organs.
Stage IV
any of the following
Tumour that has spread directly through the fatty tissue and the fascia ligament-like tissue that surrounds the kidney.
Involvement of more than one lymph node near the kidney
Involvement of any lymph node not near the kidney
Distant metastases, such as in the lungs, bone, or brain.
Grade Level Nuclear Characteristics
Grade I Nuclei appear round and uniform, 10 μm; nucleoli are inconspicuous or absent.
Grade II Nuclei have an irregular appearance with signs of lobe formation, 15 μm; nucleoli are evident.
Grade III Nuclei appear very irregular, 20 μm; nucleoli are large and prominent.
Grade IV Nuclei appear bizarre and multilobated, 20 μm or more; nucleoli are prominent

 

GENETICS:

90% or more of kidney cancers are believed to be of epithelial cell origin, and are referred to as renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which are further subdivided based on histology into clear-cell RCC (75%), papillary RCC (15%),

chromophobe tumor (5%), and oncocytoma (5%).

Nephrectomy continues to be the cornerstone of treatment for localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Research is still underway to developed targeted agents against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) molecule and related pathways as well as inhibitors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR),

clear cell RCC (ccRCC) doesn’t respond well to radiation chemotherapy due to high radiation resistancy.  The hallmark genetic features of solid tumors such as KRAS or TP53 mutations are also absent. However, there is a well-designed association presented between ccRCC and mutations in the VHL gene

Hereditary RCC, accounts for around 4% of cases, has been a relatively dominant area of RCC genetics.

Causative genes have been identified in several familial cancer syndromes that predispose to RCC including

  • VHLmutations in von Hippel-Lindau disease that predispose to ccRCC and VHL is somatically mutated in up to 80% of ccRCC
  • METmutations in familial papillary renal cancer,
  • dominantly activating kinase domainMET mutation reported in 4–10% of sporadic papillary RCC[2].
  • FH (fumarate hydratase) mutations in hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer that predispose to papillary RCC
  • FLCN(folliculin) mutations in Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome that predispose to primarily chromophobe RCC.

In addition, there are germline mutations:

  • in theTSC1/2 genes predispose to tuberous sclerosis complex where approximately 3% of cases develop ccRCC,
  • in the SDHB(succinate dehydrogenase type B) in patients with paraganglioma syndrome shows elevated risk to develop multiple types of RCC.

GWAS in almost 6000 RCC cases demonstrated that loci on 2p21 and 11q13.3 play a role in RCC. Although EPAS1 gene encoding a transcription factor operative in hypoxia-regulated responses in  2p21 , 11q13.3 has no known coding genes.

There has been, however, comparatively less progress in the elaboration of the somatic genetics of sporadic RCC.

Absent mutations in sporadic RCC:

  • somaticFH mutations
  • somatic mutations ofTSC12 and SDHB

Present mutations in sporadic ccRCC (chromophobe RCC) are

  • TSC1mutations occur in 5% of ccRCCs and
  • somatic mutations inFLCN  rare
  • may predict for extraordinary sensitivity to mTORC1 inhibitors clinically.

The COSMIC database reports somatic point mutations in TP53 in 10% of cases, KRAS/HRAS/NRAS combined ≤1%, CDKN2A 10%, PTEN 3%, RB1 3%, STK11/LKB1 ≤1%, PIK3Ca ≤1%, EGFR1% and BRAF ≤1% in all histological samples. Further information can be found at (http://www.sanger.ac.uk/ genetics/CGP/cosmic/) for the  RCC somatic genetics.

HIF- and hypoxia-mediated epigenetic regulation work together due to histone modification because HIF activate several chromatin demethylases, including JMJD1A (KDM3A), JMJD2B (KDM4B), JMJD2C (KDM4C) and JARID1B (KDM5B), all of which are directly targeted by HIF.

Overview of Histone 3 modifications implicated in RCC genetics http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f1.jpg

A number of histone modifying genes are mutated in renal cell carcinoma. These include the H3K36 trimethylase SETD2, the H3K27 demethylase UTX/KDM6A, the H3K4 demethylase JARID1C/KDM5C and the SWI/SNF complex compenent PBRM1, shown in this cartoon to represent their relative activities on Histone H3.

Hyper-methylation is observed on RASSF1 highly (50% f RCC) yet less on VHL and CDKN2A, yet there is a methylation and silencing observed on TIMP3 and secreted frizzled-related protein 2.

RCC is ONE OF THE “CILIOPATHIES” among Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and VHL Syndrome. The main display of cysts is dysfunctional primary cilia.

Mol Cancer Res. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jan 1.

Mol Cancer Res. 2012 Jul; 10(7): 859–880. Published online 2012 May 25. doi:  10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-12-0117

pVHL mutants are categorized as Class A, B and C depending on the affected step in pVHL protein quality control http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f2.jpg

VHL proteostasis involves the chaperone mediated translocation of nascent VHL peptide from the ribosome to the TRiC/CCT chaperonin, where folding occurs in an ATP dependent process. The VBC complex is formed while VHL is bound to TRiC, and the mature complex is then released. Three different classes of mutation exist: Class A mutations prevent binding of VHL to TRiC, and abrogate folding into a mature complex. Class B mutations prevent association of Elongins C and B to VHL. Class C mutations inhibit interaction between VHL and HIF1 a.

# 193300. VON HIPPEL-LINDAU SYNDROME; VHL ICD+, Links
VON HIPPEL-LINDAU SYNDROME, MODIFIERS OF, INCLUDED
Cytogenetic locations: 3p25.3 , 11q13.3
Matching terms: lindau, disease, von, hippellindau, hippel
  • Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome,
# 135150. BIRT-HOGG-DUBE SYNDROME; BHD ICD+, Links
Cytogenetic location: 17p11.2 
Matching terms: birthoggdube, syndrome, birt, hogg, dube
  • tuberous sclerosis
# 191100. TUBEROUS SCLEROSIS 1; TSC1 ICD+, Links
Cytogenetic location: 9q34.13 
Matching terms: tuber, sclerosi, tuberous
  • familial papillary renal cell carcinoma.
# 144700. RENAL CELL CARCINOMA, NONPAPILLARY; RCC ICD+, Links
NONPAPILLARY RENAL CARCINOMA 1 LOCUS, INCLUDED
Cytogenetic locations: 3p25.3 3p25.3 3q21.1 8q24.13 12q24.31 17p11.2 17q12 
Matching terms: renal, familial, papillary, carcinoma, cell

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4358399/bin/467fig3.jpg

Model for the control of the fate of nephron progenitor cells. Eya1 lies genetically upstream of Six2. Six2 labels the nephron progenitor cells, which can either maintain a progenitor state and self-renew or differentiate via the Wnt4-mediated MET. Wnt4 expression is under the direct control of Wt1. β-Catenin is involved in both progenitor cell fates through activation of different transcriptional programs. Active nuclear phosphorylated Yap/Taz shifts the progenitor balance toward the self-renewal fate. Eya1 and Six2 interact directly with Mycn, leading to dephosphorylation of Mycn pT58, stabilization of the protein, increased proliferation, and potentially a shift of the nephron progenitor toward self-renewal. Genes activated in Wilms’ tumors are depicted in green, and inactivated genes are in blue. Deregulation of Yap/Taz in Wilms’ tumors results in phosphorylated Yap not being retained in the cytoplasm as it should, but it translocates to the nucleus and thus shifts the progenitor cell balance toward self-renewal. This model is likely a simplification, as it presumes that all Wilms’ tumors, regardless of causative mutation, are caused by the same mechanism.

Epigenetic aberrations associated with Wilms’ tumor

Chinese Case Study: PMCID: PMC4471788

They u8ndertook this study based on association of low circulating adiponectin concentrations with a higher risk of several cancers, including renal cell carcinoma. Thus they demonstrated that by case–control study that ADIPOQ rs182052 is significantly associated with ccRCC risk.

They investigated the frequency of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs182052G>A, rs266729C>G, rs3774262G>A, in the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ).  1004 registered patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) compared with 1108 healthy subjects (= 1108).

The first table presents the characteristics of 1004 patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma and 1108 cancer-free controls from a Chinese Han population. The Second and third table shows the SNP results.

Table 1: The characteristics of the examined population.

Variable Cases, n (%) Controls, n (%) P-value
1004 (100) 1108 (100)
Age, years
 ≤44 195 (19.4) 230 (20.8) 0.559
 45–64 580 (57.8) 644 (58.1)
 ≥65 229 (22.8) 234 (21.1)
Sex
 Male 711 (70.8) 815 (73.6) 0.160
 Female 293 (29.2) 293 (26.4)
BMI, kg/m2
 <25 480 (47.8) 589 (53.2) 0.014
 ≥25 524 (52.2) 519 (46.8)
Smoking status
 Never 455 (45.3) 529 (47.7) 0.265
 Ever/current 549 (54.7) 579 (52.3)
Hypertension
 No 639 (63.6) 780 (70.4) 0.001
 Yes 365 (36.4) 328 (29.6)
Fuhrman grade
 I 40 (4.0)
 II 380 (37.8)
 III 347 (34.6)
 IV 175 (17.4)
 Missing 62 (6.2)
Stage at diagnosis
 I 738 (73.5)
 II 71 (7.1)
 III 19 (1.9)
 IV 176 (17.5)

Pearson’s χ2-test.

Table 2:

Association between ADIPOQ single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and clear cell renal cell carcinoma risk

SNP HWE Cases, n(%) Controls, n(%) Crude OR (95% CI) P-value Adjusted OR (95% CI) P-value
rs182052
 GG 0.636 249 (24.8) 315 (28.4) 1.00 1.00
 AG 485 (48.3) 544 (49.1) 1.13 (0.92–1.39) 0.253 1.11 (0.90–1.37) 0.331
 AA 270 (26.9) 249 (22.5) 1.37 (1.08–1.75) 0.010 1.36 (1.07–1.74) 0.013
 AG/AA versusGG 1.20 (0.99–1.46) 0.060 1.19 (0.98–1.45) 0.086
 AA versusGG/AG 1.28 (1.04–1.57) 0.019 1.27 (1.04–1.56) 0.019
rs266729
 CC 0.143 502 (50.0) 572 (51.6) 1.00 1.00
 CG 398 (39.6) 434 (39.2) 1.05 (0.88–1.25) 0.635 1.05 (0.87–1.26) 0.633
 GG 104 (10.4) 102 (9.2) 1.16 (0.86–1.57) 0.324 1.17 (0.86–1.58) 0.307
 CG/GG versusCC 1.07 (0.91–1.29) 0.456 1.07 (0.90–1.27) 0.445
 GG versus CC/CG 1.19 (0.83–1.59) 0.377 1.15 (0.86–1.54) 0.353
rs3774262
 GG 0.106 482 (48.0) 523 (47.2) 1.00 1.00
 AG 420 (41.8) 459 (41.4) 0.99 (0.83–1.20) 0.938 0.99 (0.82–1.19) 0.905
 AA 102 (10.2) 126 (11.4) 0.88 (0.66–1.17) 0.381 0.90 (0.67–1.20) 0.463
 AG/AA versusGG 0.98 (0.80–1.16) 0.711 0.97 (0.82–1.15) 0.722
 AA versusGG/AG 0.88 (0.67–1.18) 0.372 0.90 (0.68–1.19) 0.465

Bold values indicate significance.

Adjusted for age, sex, BMI, smoking status, and hypertension. CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio; HWE, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium.

Table 3:

Association between ADIPOQ single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and clear cell renal cell carcinoma risk

SNP HWE Cases, n(%) Controls, n(%) Crude OR (95% CI) P-value Adjusted OR (95% CI) P-value
rs182052
 GG 0.636 249 (24.8) 315 (28.4) 1.00 1.00
 AG 485 (48.3) 544 (49.1) 1.13 (0.92–1.39) 0.253 1.11 (0.90–1.37) 0.331
 AA 270 (26.9) 249 (22.5) 1.37 (1.08–1.75) 0.010 1.36 (1.07–1.74) 0.013
 AG/AA versusGG 1.20 (0.99–1.46) 0.060 1.19 (0.98–1.45) 0.086
 AA versusGG/AG 1.28 (1.04–1.57) 0.019 1.27 (1.04–1.56) 0.019
rs266729
 CC 0.143 502 (50.0) 572 (51.6) 1.00 1.00
 CG 398 (39.6) 434 (39.2) 1.05 (0.88–1.25) 0.635 1.05 (0.87–1.26) 0.633
 GG 104 (10.4) 102 (9.2) 1.16 (0.86–1.57) 0.324 1.17 (0.86–1.58) 0.307
 CG/GG versusCC 1.07 (0.91–1.29) 0.456 1.07 (0.90–1.27) 0.445
 GG versus CC/CG 1.19 (0.83–1.59) 0.377 1.15 (0.86–1.54) 0.353
rs3774262
 GG 0.106 482 (48.0) 523 (47.2) 1.00 1.00
 AG 420 (41.8) 459 (41.4) 0.99 (0.83–1.20) 0.938 0.99 (0.82–1.19) 0.905
 AA 102 (10.2) 126 (11.4) 0.88 (0.66–1.17) 0.381 0.90 (0.67–1.20) 0.463
 AG/AA versusGG 0.98 (0.80–1.16) 0.711 0.97 (0.82–1.15) 0.722
 AA versusGG/AG 0.88 (0.67–1.18) 0.372 0.90 (0.68–1.19) 0.465

Bold values indicate significance.

Adjusted for age, sex, BMI, smoking status, and hypertension. CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio; HWE, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium.

Molecular Genetics Level for Physiology (Function):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503866/bin/10585_2015_9731_Fig6_HTML.jpg

a The protein–protein interaction for the identified 8 proteins in STRING (10 necessary proteins/genes were added into the network so as to find the potential strong connection among them. The red dotted lines circled three main pathways. b The ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) for all these 18 genes showing that oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondria dysfunction and granzyme A are the significantly activated pathways (fold change over 1.5, P < 0.05). c The possible mechanism related mitochondria functions: unspecific condition like inflammation, carcinogens, radiation (ionizing or ultraviolet), intermittent hypoxia, viral infections which is carcinogenesis in our study that damages a cell’s oxidative phosphorylation. Any of these conditions can damage the structure and function of mitochondria thus activating a respiratory chain changes (Complex I, II, III, IV) and also cytochrome c release. When the mitochondrial dysfunction persists, it produces genome instability (mtDNA mutation), and further lead to malignant transformation (metastasis) via increased ROS and apoptotic resistance. (Color figure online)

RENAL CELL CARCINOMA AND METABOLISM goes hand to hand in genes encoding enzymes of the Krebs cycle suppress tumor formation in kidney cells. This includes Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), Fumarate hydratase (FH).  As a result of accumulation of succinate or fumarate causes the inhibition of a family of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygeneases.

The FH and SDH genes function as two-hit tumor suppressor genes.

SDH has a complex of 4 different polypeptides (SDHA-D) function in electron transfer, catalyzes the conversion of succinate to fumarate. Furthermore, heterozygous germline mutations in SDHsubunits predispose to pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. FH function to convert fumarate to malate.  When its mutations presented as heterozygous germline, it predisposes hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC). Among them about 20–50% of HLRCC families are typically papillary-type 2 (pRCC-2) and overwhelmingly aggressive.RCC is increasingly being recognized as a metabolic disease, and key lesions in nutrient sensing and processing have been detected.

Regulation of Prolyl Hydroxylases and Keap1 by Krebs cycle http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f4.jpg

Regulation of Prolyl Hydroxylases by Tricarboxylic Acid (TCA) Cycle Intermediates. Prolyl hydroxylases use TCA cycle intermediates to help catalyze the oxygen, iron and ascorbate dependent- addition of a hydroxyl side chain to a Pro402 and Pro564 of HIF alpha subunits, leading to VHL binding and degradation. Defects in either fumarate hydratase or succinate dehydrogenase will drive up levels of fumarate and succinate, which competitively bind prolyl hydroxylases, and prevent HIF prolyl hydroxylation. This results in higher intracellular HIF levels.

Regulation of mTORC1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f5.jpg

HIF regulation and mTOR pathway connections. Hypoxia blocks HIF expression in a TSC1/2 and REDD dependent pathway [155]. HIF1α appears to be both TORC1 and TORC2 dependent, whereas HIF2α is only TORC2 dependent [275]. Signaling via TORC2 appears to upregulate HIF2α in an AKT dependent manner [69].

TREATMENT:

Based on the types of renal cancers the treatment method may vary but the general scheme is:

 

Drugs Approved for Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs for kidney (renal cell) cancer. Some of the drug names link to NCI’s Cancer Drug Information summaries.

T cell regulation in RCC http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399969/bin/nihms380694f7.jpg

Immune regulation of renal tumor cells. A: When an antigen presenting cell (APC) engages a T-cell via a cognate T-cell receptor (TCR) and CD28, T-cell cell activation occurs. B: Early and late T-cell inhibitory signals are mediated via CTLA-4 and PD-1 receptors, and this occurs via engagement of the APC via B7 and PD-L1, respectively. C: Inhibitory antibodies against CTLA-4 and PD-1 can overcome T-cell downregulation and once again allow cytokine production.

Phase III Trials of Targeted Therapy in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Trial Number
of
patients
Clinical setting RR (%) PFS (months) OS (months)
VEGF-Targeted Therapy
*AVOREN

Bevacizumab +
IFNa
vs.IFNa[270]

649 First-line 31 vs. 12 10.2 vs. 5.5
(p<0.001)
23.3 vs. 21.3
(p=0.129)
*CALBG 90206

Bevacizumab +
IFNa
vs.IFNa[271]

732 First-line 25.5 vs. 13 8.4 vs. 4.9
(p<0.001)
18.3 vs. 17.4
(p=0.069)
Sunitinib vs.
IFNa[248]
750 First-line 47 vs. 12 11 vs. 5
(p=0.0001)
26.4 vs. 21.8
(p=0.051)
*TARGET

Sorafenib vs.
Placebo[272]

903 Second-line

(post-cytokine)

10 vs. 2 5.5 vs. 2.8
(p<0.01)
17.8vs.15.2
(p=0.88)
Pazopanib vs.
placebo[273]
435 First line/second line

(post-cytokine)

30 vs. 3 9.2 vs. 4.2
(p<0.0001)
22.9 vs. 20.5
(p=0.224)
*AXIS

Axitinib vs.
sorafenib [269]

723 Second line

(post-sunitinib, cytokine,
bevacizumab or
temsirolimus)

19 vs. 9
(p=0.0001)
6.7 vs. 4.7
(p<0.0001)
Not reported
mTOR-Targeted Therapy
*ARCC
Temsirolimus
vs. Tem + IFNa
vs. IFNa[249]
624 First line, ≥ 3 poor risk
featuresa
9 vs. 5 3.8 vs. 1.9 for
IFNa
monotherapy
(p=0.0001)
10.9 vs. 7.3 for
IFNa(p=0.008)
*RECORD-1
Everolimus vs.
placebo [274]
410 Second line
(post sunitinib and/or
sorafenib)
2 vs. 0 4.9 vs. 1.9

(p<0.0001)

14.8 vs. 14.5

RCC renal cell carcinoma, RR response rate, OS overall survival, PFS progression free survival, VEGFvascular endothelial growth factor, IFNa interferon alphamTOR mammalian target of rapamycin. AVORENAVastin fOr RENal cell cancer, CALBG Cancer and Leukemia Group B. TARGET Treatment Approaches in Renal Cancer Global Evaluation Trial. AXIS Axitinib in Second Line. ARCC Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma. RECORD-1 REnal Cell cancer treatment withOral RAD001 given Daily.

aIncluding serum lactate dehydrogenase level of more than 1.5 times the upper limit of the normal range, a hemoglobin level below the lower limit of the normal range; a corrected serum calcium level of more than 10 mg per deciliter (2.5 mmol per liter), a time from initial diagnosis of renal-cell carcinoma to randomization of less than 1 year, a Karnofsky performance score of 60 or 70, or metastases in multiple organs.

PMC full text: Open Access J Urol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 8.

Open Access J Urol. 2010 Aug; 2010(2): 125–141. doi:  10.2147/RRU.S7242

Table: RCC-Associated Antigens (RCCAA) Recognized by T Cells.

Antigen Antigen
Category
Frequency of
Expression
Among RCC
Tumors (%)
CD8+ T cell
recognition:
Patients with
HLA Class I
Allele(s)
CD4+ T cell
recognition:
Patients with
HLA Class II
Allele(s)
References found in Open Access J Urol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 8.
Survivina ML 100 Multiple Multiple 114
OFA-iLR OF 100 A2 NR 115116
IGFBP3ab ML 97 NR Multiple 117118
EphA2a ML > 90 A2 DR4 1744119
RU2AS Antisense
transcript
> 90 B7 NR 120
G250
(CA-IX) ab
RCC 90 A2, A24 Multiple 4751
EGFRab ML 85 A2 NR 121122
HIFPH3a ML 85 A24 NR 123
c-Meta ML > 80 A2 NR 124
WT-1a ML 80 A2, A24 NR 125128
MUC1ab ML 76 A2 DR3 46129130
5T4 ML 75 A2, Cw7 DR4 54131133
iCE aORF 75 B7 NR 134
MMP7a ML 75 A3 Multiple 117135136
Cyclin D1a ML 75 A2 Multiple 117137138
HAGE b CT 75 A2 DR4 139
hTERT ab ML > 70 Mutliple Multiple 140142
FGF-5 Protein splice variant > 60 A3 NR 143
mutVHLab ML > 60 NR NR 144
MAGE-A3 b CT 60 Multiple Multiple 145
SART-3 ML 57 Mulitple NR 146149
SART-2 ML 56 A24 NR 150
PRAME b CT 40 Multiple NR 151154
p53ab Mutant/WT
ML
32 Mutliple Multiple 155156
MAGE-A9b CT >30 A2 NR 157
MAGE-A6b CT 30 Mutliple DR4 18158
MAGE-D4b CT 30 A25 NR 159
Her2/neua ML 1030 Multiple Multiple 45160164
SART-1a ML 25 Multiple NR 165167
RAGE-1 CT (ORF2/5) 21 Mutliple Multiple 151157168169
TRP-1/ gp75 ML 11 A31 DR4 151170172

A summary is provided for RCCAA that have been defined at the molecular level. RCCAA are characterized with regard to their antigen category, their prevalence of (over)expression among total RCC specimens evaluated, whether RCCAA expression is modulated by hypoxia or tumor DNA methylation status, and which HLA class I and class II alleles have been reported to serve as presenting molecules for T cell recognition of peptides derived from a given RCCAA.

Abbreviations: CT = Cancer-Testis Antigens; ML = Multi-lineage Antigens; NR = Not Reported; OF = Oncofetal Antigen; aORF = altered open reading frame; ORF = open reading frame; RCC = Renal cell carcinoma; WT = Wild-Type;

aHypoxia-Induced;

bHypomethylation-Induced.

PMC full text: Open Access J Urol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 8.

Open Access J Urol. 2010 Aug; 2010(2): 125–141. doi:  10.2147/RRU.S7242

Expected Impact on Teff versus Suppressor Cells
Co-Therapeutic Agent Teff
priming
Teff
function
Teff
survival
Teff
(TME)
Treg/
MDSC
References found in Open Access J Urol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 8.
Cytokines
IL-2 +/− ↑ (Treg) 173175
IL-7 ↑ (Treg) 176178
IL-12 – (Treg), ↓ (MDSC) 179181
IL-15 ↑ (Treg)* 182183
IL-18 ↓ (Treg) 184186
IL-21 ? +/− (Treg) 187190
IFN-α +/− (Treg) 175191194
IFN-γ -? ? ↑ ↑ (Treg); ↑ ?(MDSC) 195197
GM-CSF ? ↑ (Treg); ↑(MDSC) 198202
Coinhibitory Antagonist
CTLA-4 ? ↓ (Treg) 203204
PD1/PD1L ↓ (Treg) 205207
Costimulatory Agonist
CD40/CD40L ↑ (Treg); ↑(MDSC) 208211
GITR/GITRL ↓ (Treg); ↓ (MDSC) 212213
OX40/OX86 ↑↓ (Treg); ↓ (MDSC) 214219
4-1BB/4-1BBL ↑ (Treg) 220224
TLR Agonists
Imiquimod (TLR7) ? 225227
Resiquimod (TLR8) ? ? 228229
CpG (TLR9) ↓ (Treg) 230232
Anti-Angiogenic
VEGF-Trap ? ? 233
Sunitinib ? ↓ (Treg/MDSC) 98100234
Sorafenib ? ↓ (MDSC) 235
Bevacizumab ? ? ↓ (MDSC) 236237
Gefitinib (IRESSA) ? ? ? ? ? 238239
Cetuximab ? ? ? ? 240
mTOR Inhibitors
Temsirolimus/Everolimus ? ↓ (Treg) 241
Treg/MDSC Inhibitors
Iplimumab (CTLA-4) ? ↓ (Treg) 242243
ONTAK (CD25) +/− +/− ? ? ↓ (Treg) 244
Anti-TGFβ/TGFβR ↓ (Treg) 245247
Anti-IL10/IL10R +/− ↓ (Treg) 248249
Anti-IL35/IL35R ↑? ↑? ↑? ↑? ↓ (Treg) 250
1-methyl trytophan ? ? ↓ (MDSC) 251
ATRA ? ? ↑ (Treg), ↓ (MDSC) 9093

Agents that are currently or soon-to-be in clinical trials are summarized with regard to their anticipated impact(s) on Type-1 anti-tumor T cell (Te) activation, function, survival and recruitment into the TME. Additional anticipated effects of drugs on suppressor cells (Treg and MDSC) are also summarized. Key: ↑, agent is expected to increase parameter; ↓, agent is expected to inhibit parameter; +/−, minimal increase or decrease is expected in parameter as a consequence of treatment with agent; ?, unknown effect of agent on parameter.

Abbreviations: ATRA, all-trans retinoic acid; CTLA-4, cytotoxic T Lymphocyte antigen 4; GITR(L), glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor (ligand); GM-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor; IFN, interferon; IL, interleukin; MDSC, myeloid-derived suppressor cell; PD1/PD1L, programmed cell death 1 (ligand); TGF-β(R), tumor necrosis factor-β(receptor); TLR, Toll-like receptor; TME, tumor microenvironment; Treg, regulatory T cell; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Cancer:

  • Art therapy
  • Dance or movement therapy
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Music therapy
  • Relaxation exercises

Mol Cancer Res. 2012 Jul; 10(7): 859–880. Published online 2012 May 25. doi:  10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-12-0117 PMCID: PMC3399969 NIHMSID: NIHMS380694

State-of-the-science: An update on renal cell carcinoma

Eric Jonasch,1 Andrew Futreal,1 Ian Davis,2 Sean Bailey,2 William Y. Kim,2 James Brugarolas,3 Amato Giaccia,4 Ghada Kurban,5 Armin Pause,6 Judith Frydman,4 Amado Zurita,1 Brian I. Rini,7 Pam Sharma,8Michael Atkins,9 Cheryl Walker,8,* and W. Kimryn Rathmell2,*

Go to:

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[Discovery Medicine; ISSN: 1539-6509; Discov Med 18(101):341-350, December 2014.Copyright © Discovery Medicine. All rights reserved.]

 

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Imaging-guided cancer treatment


Imaging-guided cancer treatment

Writer & reporter: Dror Nir, PhD

It is estimated that the medical imaging market will exceed $30 billion in 2014 (FierceMedicalImaging). To put this amount in perspective; the global pharmaceutical market size for the same year is expected to be ~$1 trillion (IMS) while the global health care spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will average 10.5% globally in 2014 (Deloitte); it will reach ~$3 trillion in the USA.

Recent technology-advances, mainly miniaturization and improvement in electronic-processing components is driving increased introduction of innovative medical-imaging devices into critical nodes of major-diseases’ management pathways. Consequently, in contrast to it’s very small contribution to global health costs, medical imaging bears outstanding potential to reduce the future growth in spending on major segments in this market mainly: Drugs development and regulation (e.g. companion diagnostics and imaging surrogate markers); Disease management (e.g. non-invasive diagnosis, guided treatment and non-invasive follow-ups); and Monitoring aging-population (e.g. Imaging-based domestic sensors).

In; The Role of Medical Imaging in Personalized Medicine I discussed in length the role medical imaging assumes in drugs development.  Integrating imaging into drug development processes, specifically at the early stages of drug discovery, as well as for monitoring drug delivery and the response of targeted processes to the therapy is a growing trend. A nice (and short) review highlighting the processes, opportunities, and challenges of medical imaging in new drug development is: Medical imaging in new drug clinical development.

The following is dedicated to the role of imaging in guiding treatment.

Precise treatment is a major pillar of modern medicine. An important aspect to enable accurate administration of treatment is complementing the accurate identification of the organ location that needs to be treated with a system and methods that ensure application of treatment only, or mainly to, that location. Imaging is off-course, a major component in such composite systems. Amongst the available solution, functional-imaging modalities are gaining traction. Specifically, molecular imaging (e.g. PET, MRS) allows the visual representation, characterization, and quantification of biological processes at the cellular and subcellular levels within intact living organisms. In oncology, it can be used to depict the abnormal molecules as well as the aberrant interactions of altered molecules on which cancers depend. Being able to detect such fundamental finger-prints of cancer is key to improved matching between drugs-based treatment and disease. Moreover, imaging-based quantified monitoring of changes in tumor metabolism and its microenvironment could provide real-time non-invasive tool to predict the evolution and progression of primary tumors, as well as the development of tumor metastases.

A recent review-paper: Image-guided interventional therapy for cancer with radiotherapeutic nanoparticles nicely illustrates the role of imaging in treatment guidance through a comprehensive discussion of; Image-guided radiotherapeutic using intravenous nanoparticles for the delivery of localized radiation to solid cancer tumors.

 Graphical abstract

 Abstract

One of the major limitations of current cancer therapy is the inability to deliver tumoricidal agents throughout the entire tumor mass using traditional intravenous administration. Nanoparticles carrying beta-emitting therapeutic radionuclides [DN: radioactive isotops that emits electrons as part of the decay process a list of β-emitting radionuclides used in radiotherapeutic nanoparticle preparation is given in table1 of this paper.) that are delivered using advanced image-guidance have significant potential to improve solid tumor therapy. The use of image-guidance in combination with nanoparticle carriers can improve the delivery of localized radiation to tumors. Nanoparticles labeled with certain beta-emitting radionuclides are intrinsically theranostic agents that can provide information regarding distribution and regional dosimetry within the tumor and the body. Image-guided thermal therapy results in increased uptake of intravenous nanoparticles within tumors, improving therapy. In addition, nanoparticles are ideal carriers for direct intratumoral infusion of beta-emitting radionuclides by convection enhanced delivery, permitting the delivery of localized therapeutic radiation without the requirement of the radionuclide exiting from the nanoparticle. With this approach, very high doses of radiation can be delivered to solid tumors while sparing normal organs. Recent technological developments in image-guidance, convection enhanced delivery and newly developed nanoparticles carrying beta-emitting radionuclides will be reviewed. Examples will be shown describing how this new approach has promise for the treatment of brain, head and neck, and other types of solid tumors.

The challenges this review discusses

  • intravenously administered drugs are inhibited in their intratumoral penetration by high interstitial pressures which prevent diffusion of drugs from the blood circulation into the tumor tissue [1–5].
  • relatively rapid clearance of intravenously administered drugs from the blood circulation by kidneys and liver.
  • drugs that do reach the solid tumor by diffusion are inhomogeneously distributed at the micro-scale – This cannot be overcome by simply administering larger systemic doses as toxicity to normal organs is generally the dose limiting factor.
  • even nanoparticulate drugs have poor penetration from the vascular compartment into the tumor and the nanoparticles that do penetrate are most often heterogeneously distributed

How imaging could mitigate the above mentioned challenges

  • The inclusion of an imaging probe during drug development can aid in determining the clearance kinetics and tissue distribution of the drug non-invasively. Such probe can also be used to determine the likelihood of the drug reaching the tumor and to what extent.

Note: Drugs that have increased accumulation within the targeted site are likely to be more effective as compared with others. In that respect, Nanoparticle-based drugs have an additional advantage over free drugs with their potential to be multifunctional carriers capable of carrying both therapeutic and diagnostic imaging probes (theranostic) in the same nanocarrier. These multifunctional nanoparticles can serve as theranostic agents and facilitate personalized treatment planning.

  • Imaging can also be used for localization of the tumor to improve the placement of a catheter or external device within tumors to cause cell death through thermal ablation or oxidative stress secondary to reactive oxygen species.

See the example of Vintfolide in The Role of Medical Imaging in Personalized Medicine

vinta

Note: Image guided thermal ablation methods include radiofrequency (RF) ablation, microwave ablation or high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Photodynamic therapy methods using external light devices to activate photosensitizing agents can also be used to treat superficial tumors or deeper tumors when used with endoscopic catheters.

  • Quality control during and post treatment

For example: The use of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) combined with nanoparticle therapeutics: HIFU is applied to improve drug delivery and to trigger drug release from nanoparticles. Gas-bubbles are playing the role of the drug’s nano-carrier. These are used both to increase the drug transport into the cell and as ultrasound-imaging contrast material. The ultrasound is also used for processes of drug-release and ablation.

 HIFU

Additional example; Multifunctional nanoparticles for tracking CED (convection enhanced delivery)  distribution within tumors: Nanoparticle that could serve as a carrier not only for the therapeutic radionuclides but simultaneously also for a therapeutic drug and 4 different types of imaging contrast agents including an MRI contrast agent, PET and SPECT nuclear diagnostic imaging agents and optical contrast agents as shown below. The ability to perform multiple types of imaging on the same nanoparticles will allow studies investigating the distribution and retention of nanoparticles initially in vivo using non-invasive imaging and later at the histological level using optical imaging.

 multi

Conclusions

Image-guided radiotherapeutic nanoparticles have significant potential for solid tumor cancer therapy. The current success of this therapy in animals is most likely due to the improved accumulation, retention and dispersion of nanoparticles within solid tumor following image-guided therapies as well as the micro-field of the β-particle which reduces the requirement of perfectly homogeneous tumor coverage. It is also possible that the intratumoral distribution of nanoparticles may benefit from their uptake by intratumoral macrophages although more research is required to determine the importance of this aspect of intratumoral radionuclide nanoparticle therapy. This new approach to cancer therapy is a fertile ground for many new technological developments as well as for new understandings in the basic biology of cancer therapy. The clinical success of this approach will depend on progress in many areas of interdisciplinary research including imaging technology, nanoparticle technology, computer and robot assisted image-guided application of therapies, radiation physics and oncology. Close collaboration of a wide variety of scientists and physicians including chemists, nanotechnologists, drug delivery experts, radiation physicists, robotics and software experts, toxicologists, surgeons, imaging physicians, and oncologists will best facilitate the implementation of this novel approach to the treatment of cancer in the clinical environment. Image-guided nanoparticle therapies including those with β-emission radionuclide nanoparticles have excellent promise to significantly impact clinical cancer therapy and advance the field of drug delivery.

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