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Articles from this Volume

Myra F Barginear, Veena John, and Daniel R Budman

Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody targeted against the HER2 tyrosine kinase receptor. Although trastuzumab is a very active agent in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer, the majority of patients with metastatic HER2-overexpressing breast cancer who initially respond to trastuzumab develop resistance within 1 year of initiation of treatment and, in the adjuvant setting, progress despite trastuzumab-based therapy. The antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) was designed to combine the biological activity of trastuzumab with the targeted delivery of a highly potent antimicrotubule agent, DM1 (N-methyl-N-[3- mercapto-1-oxopropyl]-L-alanine ester of maytansinol), a maytansine derivative, to HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. T-DM1 is the first antibody-drug conjugate with a nonreducible thioether linker in clinical trials. Phase I and II clinical trials of T-DM1 as a single agent and in combination with paclitaxel, docetaxel and pertuzumab have shown clinical activity and a favorable safety profile in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Two randomized phase III trials of T-DM1 are awaiting final results; the EMILIA trial is evaluating T-DM1 compared with lapatinib plus capecitabine, and early positive results have been reported. The MARIANNE trial is evaluating T-DM1 plus placebo versus T-DM1 plus pertuzumab versus trastuzumab plus a taxane. Here, we summarize evidence from clinical studies and discuss the potential clinical implications of T-DM1.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 29, 2013 1:12 PM CST
Virginia Pérez-Andreu, Raúl Teruel, Javier Corral, Vanessa Roldán, Nuria García-Barberá, Salam Salloum-Asfar, María José Gómez-Lechón, Stephane Bourgeois, Panos Deloukas, Mia Wadelius, Vicente Vicente, Rocío González-Conejero, and Constantino Martínez

Regulation of key proteins by microRNAs (miRNAs) is an emergent field in biomedicine. Vitamin K 2,3-epoxide reductase complex subunit 1 (VKORC1) is a relevant molecule for cardiovascular diseases, since it is the target of oral anticoagulant drugs and plays a role in soft tissue calcification. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of miRNAs on the expression of VKORC1. Potential miRNAs targeting VKORC1 mRNA were searched by using online algorithms. Validation studies were carried out in HepG2 cells by using miRNA precursors; direct miRNA interaction was investigated with reporter assays. In silico studies identified two putative conserved binding sites for miR-133a and miR-137 on VKORC1 mRNA. Ex vivo studies showed that only miR-133a was expressed in liver; transfection of miRNA precursors of miR-133a in HepG2 cells reduced VKORC1 mRNA expression in a dosedependent manner, as assessed by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) as well as protein expression. Reporter assays in HEK293T cells showed that miR-133a interacts with the 3′UTR of VKORC1. Additionally, miR-133a levels correlated inversely with VKORC1 mRNA levels in 23 liver samples from healthy subjects. In conclusion, miR-133a appears to have a direct regulatory effect on expression of VKORC1 in humans; this regulation may have potential importance for anticoagulant therapy or aortic calcification.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 11, 2013 12:04 PM CST
Svetozar S Damjanovic, Jadranka A Antic, Bojana B Ilic, Bojana Beleslin Cokic, Miomira Ivovic, Sanja I Ognjanovic, Tatjana V Isailovic, Bojana M Popovic, Ivana B Bozic, Svetislav Tatic, Gordana Matic, Vera N Todorovic, and Ivan Paunovic

Glucocorticoid (GC) sensitivity depends on glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and heat shock proteins (Hsps). We investigated whether common GR genes (ER22/23EK, N363S, Bcl I, and 9β ) and adrenocorticotropin receptor promoter polymorphisms influence susceptibility for unilateral adrenal incidentaloma (AI), plus GR and Hsp expression in tumorous (n = 19), peritumorous (n = 13) and normal adrenocortical (n = 11) tissues. Patients (n = 112), population-matched controls (n = 100) and tumor tissues (n = 32) were genotyped for these polymorphisms. Postdexamethasone serum cortisol was higher in patients (p < 0.001). GR gene variants, larger allele of Bcl I (odds ratio [OR] 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–5.1; p < 0.001] and minor allele of 9β (OR 3.0; 95% CI 1.6–5.7; p < 0.001) were independent predictors of AI. In patients, the first allele is linked with larger tumors (p = 0.002) and the latter with higher postdexamethasone cortisol levels (p = 0.025). Both allele carriers had lesser waist circumference (p = 0.02), similar adrenocorticotropin and higher basal (p = 0.024) and postdexamethasone cortisol concentrations (p < 0.001). Tumorous and constitutional genotypes were similar. GR-D is the major receptor isoform in normal adrenal cortex by Western blotting. Loss of other receptor isoforms, decrease in immunostaining for GR (p < 0.0001), underexpression of chaperones (p ≤ 0.01) and the presence of inducible Hsp70 were found in adenomas. In conclusion, GR gene variants, C allele of Bcl I and minor allele of 9β, are associated with AIs. Their concurrent presence in patients reduces GC sensitivity. Normal adrenal cortex preferentially expresses GR-D. In adenomas, the lack of other GR isoforms and underexpression of heat shock proteins perhaps permanently impair GC signaling, which could promote dysregulated cortisol production and tumor growth. The innate GC sensitivity probably modifies these effects.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 11, 2013 12:02 PM CST
Yoram Vodovotz, John Prelich, Claudio Lagoa, Derek Barclay, Ruben Zamora, Noriko Murase,and Chandrashekhar R Gandhi

The liver is a central organ involved in inflammatory processes, including the elaboration of acute-phase proteins. Augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR) protein, expressed and secreted by hepatocytes, promotes liver regeneration and maintains viability of hepatocytes. ALR also stimulates secretion of inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α and interleukin [IL]-6) and nitric oxide from Kupffer cells. We hypothesized that ALR may be involved in modulating inflammation induced by various stimuli. We found that hepatic ALR levels are elevated at 24 h, before or about the same time as an increase in the mRNA expression of TNF-α and IL-6, after portacaval shunt surgery in rats. Serum ALR also increased, but significantly only on d 4 when pathological changes in the liver become apparent. In rats, serum ALR was elevated after intraperitoneal administration of lipopolysaccharide alone and in a model of gram-negative sepsis. Serum ALR increased before alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in endotoxemia and in the same general time frame as TNF-α and IL-6 in the bacterial sepsis model. Furthermore, mathematical prediction of tissue damage correlated strongly with alterations in serum ALR in a mouse model of hemorrhagic shock. In vitro, monomethyl sulfonate, TNF-α, actinomycin D and lipopolysaccharide all caused increased release of ALR from rat hepatocytes, which preceded the loss of cell viability and/or inhibition of DNA synthesis. ALR may thus serve as a potential diagnostic marker of hepatocellular stress and/or acute inflammatory conditions.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 8, 2013 12:50 PM CST
Lara Heij, Marieke Niesters, Maarten Swartjes, Elske Hoitsma, Marjolein Drent, Ann Dunne, Jan C Grutters, Oscar Vogels, Michael Brines, Anthony Cerami, and Albert Dahan

ARA 290 (a peptide designed to activate the innate repair receptor that arrests injury and initiates cytoprotection, antiinflammation and healing) reduces allodynia in preclinical neuropathy models. We studied the safety and efficacy of ARA 290 to reduce symptoms of small fiber neuropathy (SFN) in patients with sarcoidosis. A total of 22 patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis and symptoms of SFN were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory trial consisting of three times weekly intravenous dosing of ARA 290 (2 mg; n = 12) or placebo (n = 10) for 4 wks. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of neuropathy and a spontaneous pain score of ≥5 (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]). Endpoints assessed were changes in pain intensity and the small fiber neuropathy screening list (SFNSL) score, quality of life (SF-36), depressive symptoms (Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology [IDS]) and fatigue (Fatigue Assessment Scale [FAS]). No safety concerns were raised by clinical or laboratory assessments. The ARA 290 group showed significant (p < 0.05) improvement at wk 4 in SFNSL score compared with placebo (Δ –11.5 ± 3.04 versus Δ –2.9 ± 3.34 [standard error of the mean]). Additionally, the ARA 290 group showed a significant change from baseline in the pain and physical functioning dimensions of the SF-36 (Δ –23.4 ± 5.5 and Δ –14.6 ± 3.9, respectively). The mean BPI and FAS scores improved significantly but equivalently in both patient groups. No change was observed in the IDS. ARA 290 appears to be safe in patients with sarcoidosis and can reduce neuropathic symptoms.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 8, 2013 12:48 PM CST
Chan-Ho Lee, Seong-Jin Yoon, and Sun-Mee Lee

Sepsis is a complex, multifactorial, rapidly progressive disease characterized by an overwhelming activation of the immune system and the countervailing antiinflammatory response. In the current study in murine peritoneal macrophages, chlorogenic acid suppressed endotoxin-induced high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release in a concentration-dependent manner. Administration of chlorogenic acid also attenuated systemic HMGB1 accumulation in vivo and prevented mortality induced by endotoxemia and polymicrobial sepsis. The mechanisms of action of chlorogenic acid included attenuation of the increase in toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 expression and suppression of sepsis-induced signaling pathways, such as c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 mitogenactivated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB, which are critical for cytokine release. The protection conferred by chlorogenic acid was achieved through modulation of cytokine and chemokine release, suppression of immune cell apoptosis and augmentation of bacterial elimination. Chlorogenic acid warrants further evaluation as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of sepsis and other potentially fatal systemic inflammatory disorders.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 8, 2013 12:46 PM CST
Agus Rizal A H Hamid, Minja J Pfeiffer, Gerald W Verhaegh, Ewout Schaafsma, Andre Brandt, Fred C G J Sweep, John P M Sedelaar, and Jack A Schalken

Current endocrine treatment for advanced prostate cancer does not result in a complete ablation of adrenal androgens. Adrenal androgens can be metabolized by prostate cancer cells, which is one of the mechanisms associated with progression to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 (AKR1C3) is a steroidogenic enzyme that plays a crucial role in the conversion of adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) into high-affinity ligands for the androgen receptor (testosterone [T] and dihydrotestosterone [DHT]). The aim of this study was to examine whether AKR1C3 could be used as a marker and therapeutic target for CRPC. AKR1C3 mRNA and protein levels were upregulated in CRPC tissue, compared with benign prostate and primary prostate cancer tissue. High AKR1C3 levels were found only in a subset of CRPC patients. AKR1C3 can be used as a biomarker for active intratumoral steroidogenesis and can be measured in biopsy or transurethral resection of the prostate specimens. DuCaP (a CRPC cell line that has high AKR1C3 expression levels) used and converted DHEA under hormone-depleted conditions into T and DHT. The DHEA-induced growth of DuCaP could be antagonized by indomethacine, an inhibitor of AKR1C3. This study indicates that AKR1C3 can be considered a therapeutic target in a subgroup of patients with high AKR1C3 expression.

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Supplementary data PDF

Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 8, 2013 12:43 PM CST