• Circulating tumor cells as a window on metastasis biology in lung cancer.

      Hou, Jian-Mei; Krebs, Matthew G; Ward, Timothy H; Sloane, Robert; Priest, Lynsey; Hughes, Andrew; Clack, Glen; Ranson, Malcolm R; Blackhall, Fiona H; Dive, Caroline; et al. (2011-03)
      Circulating tumor cell (CTC) number in metastatic cancer patients yields prognostic information consistent with enhanced cell migration and invasion via loss of adhesion, a feature of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Tumor cells also invade via collective migration with maintained cell-cell contacts and consistent with this is the circulating tumor microemboli (CTM; contiguous groups of tumor cells) that are observed in metastatic cancer patients. Using a blood filtration approach, we examined markers of EMT (cytokeratins, E-cadherin, vimentin, neural cadherin) and prevalence of apoptosis in CTCs and CTM to explore likely mechanism(s) of invasion in lung cancer patients and address the hypothesis that cells within CTM have a survival advantage. Intra-patient and inter-patient heterogeneity was observed for EMT markers in CTCs and CTM. Vimentin was only expressed in some CTCs, but in the majority of cells within CTM; E-cadherin expression was lost, cytoplasmic or nuclear, and rarely expressed at the surface of the cells within CTM. A subpopulation of CTCs was apoptotic, but apoptosis was absent within CTM. This pilot study suggests that EMT is not prosecuted homogeneously in tumor cells within the circulation of lung cancer patients and that collective migration and enhanced survival of cells within CTM might contribute to lung cancer metastasis. Multiplex analysis and further detailed exploration of metastatic potential and EMT in CTCs/CTM is now warranted in a larger patient cohort.
    • Clinical and immunological responses in metastatic melanoma patients vaccinated with a high-dose poly-epitope vaccine.

      Dangoor, A; Lorigan, Paul C; Keilholz, U; Schadendorf, D; Harris, A; Ottensmeier, C; Smyth, J; Hoffmann, K; Anderson, R; Cripps, M; et al. (2010-06)
      BACKGROUND: Safety and cellular immunogenicity of rising doses and varying regimens of a poly-epitope vaccine were evaluated in advanced metastatic melanoma. The vaccine comprised plasmid DNA and recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) both expressing a string (Mel3) of seven HLA.A2/A1 epitopes from five melanoma antigens. METHODS: Forty-one HLA-A2 positive patients with stage III/IV melanoma were enrolled. Patient groups received one or two doses of DNA.Mel3 followed by escalating doses of MVA.Mel3. Immunisations then continued eight weekly in the absence of disease progression. Epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses were evaluated using ex-vivo tetramer and IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays. Safety and clinical responses were monitored. RESULTS: Prime-boost DNA/MVA induced Melan-A-specific CD8+ T cell responses in 22/31 (71%) patients detected by tetramer assay. ELISPOT detected a response to at least one epitope in 10/31 (32%) patients. T cell responder rates were <50% with low-dose DNA/MVA, or MVA alone, rising to 91% with high-dose DNA/MVA. Among eight patients showing evidence of clinical benefit-one PR (24 months+), five SD (5 months+) and two mixed responses-seven had associated immune responses. Melan-A-tetramer+ immunity was associated with a median 8-week increase in time-to-progression (P = 0.037) and 71 week increase in survival (P = 0.0002) compared to non-immunity. High-dose vaccine was well tolerated. The only significant toxicities were flu-like symptoms and injection-site reactions. CONCLUSIONS: DNA.Mel3 and MVA.Mel3 in a prime-boost protocol generated high rates of immune response to melanoma antigen epitopes. The treatment was well tolerated and the correlation of immune responses with patient outcomes encourages further investigation.
    • Hydrogen peroxide fuels aging, inflammation, cancer metabolism and metastasis: the seed and soil also needs "fertilizer".

      Lisanti, Michael P; Martinez-Outschoorn, U E; Lin, Z; Pavlides, S; Whitaker-Menezes, D; Pestell, R G; Howell, Anthony; Sotgia, F; The Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. (2011-08-01)
      In 1889, Dr. Stephen Paget proposed the "seed and soil" hypothesis, which states that cancer cells (the seeds) need the proper microenvironment (the soil) for them to grow, spread and metastasize systemically. In this hypothesis, Dr. Paget rightfully recognized that the tumor microenvironment has an important role to play in cancer progression and metastasis. In this regard, a series of recent studies have elegantly shown that the production of hydrogen peroxide, by both cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts, may provide the necessary "fertilizer," by driving accelerated aging, DNA damage, inflammation and cancer metabolism, in the tumor microenvironment. By secreting hydrogen peroxide, cancer cells and fibroblasts are mimicking the behavior of immune cells (macrophages/neutrophils), driving local and systemic inflammation, via the innate immune response (NFκB). Thus, we should consider using various therapeutic strategies (such as catalase and/or other anti-oxidants) to neutralize the production of cancer-associated hydrogen peroxide, thereby preventing tumor-stroma co-evolution and metastasis. The implications of these findings for overcoming chemo-resistance in cancer cells are also discussed in the context of hydrogen peroxide production and cancer metabolism.
    • Ketones and lactate increase cancer cell "stemness," driving recurrence, metastasis and poor clinical outcome in breast cancer: achieving personalized medicine via Metabolo-Genomics.

      Martinez-Outschoorn, U E; Prisco, M; Ertel, A; Tsirigos, A; Lin, Z; Pavlides, S; Wang, C; Flomenberg, N; Knudsen, E S; Howell, Anthony; et al. (2011-04-15)
      Previously, we showed that high-energy metabolites (lactate and ketones) "fuel" tumor growth and experimental metastasis in an in vivo xenograft model, most likely by driving oxidative mitochondrial metabolism in breast cancer cells. To mechanistically understand how these metabolites affect tumor cell behavior, here we used genome-wide transcriptional profiling. Briefly, human breast cancer cells (MCF7) were cultured with lactate or ketones, and then subjected to transcriptional analysis (exon-array). Interestingly, our results show that treatment with these high-energy metabolites increases the transcriptional expression of gene profiles normally associated with "stemness," including genes upregulated in embryonic stem (ES) cells. Similarly, we observe that lactate and ketones promote the growth of bonafide ES cells, providing functional validation. The lactate- and ketone-induced "gene signatures" were able to predict poor clinical outcome (including recurrence and metastasis) in a cohort of human breast cancer patients. Taken together, our results are consistent with the idea that lactate and ketone utilization in cancer cells promotes the "cancer stem cell" phenotype, resulting in significant decreases in patient survival. One possible mechanism by which these high-energy metabolites might induce stemness is by increasing the pool of Acetyl-CoA, leading to increased histone acetylation, and elevated gene expression. Thus, our results mechanistically imply that clinical outcome in breast cancer could simply be determined by epigenetics and energy metabolism, rather than by the accumulation of specific "classical" gene mutations. We also suggest that high-risk cancer patients (identified by the lactate/ketone gene signatures) could be treated with new therapeutics that target oxidative mitochondrial metabolism, such as the anti-oxidant and "mitochondrial poison" metformin. Finally, we propose that this new approach to personalized cancer medicine be termed "Metabolo-Genomics," which incorporates features of both 1) cell metabolism and 2) gene transcriptional profiling. Importantly, this powerful new approach directly links cancer cell metabolism with clinical outcome, and new therapeutic strategies for inhibiting the TCA cycle and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in cancer cells.
    • A phase I dose-escalation and bioavailability study of oral and intravenous formulations of erlotinib (Tarceva, OSI-774) in patients with advanced solid tumors of epithelial origin.

      Ranson, Malcolm R; Shaw, H; Wolf, J; Hamilton, M; McCarthy, S; Dean, Emma J; Reid, A; Judson, I; Department of Medical Oncology, University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. malcolm.ranson@manchester.ac.uk (2010-05)
      PURPOSE: An intravenous (IV) erlotinib formulation has not been characterized in cancer patients but may be useful in those with gastrointestinal abnormalities that impact on the ability to take oral medication. This study sought to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of erlotinib administered as a single 30-min infusion in patients with advanced solid tumors and absolute bioavailability of erlotinib tablets at matched doses. METHODS: This was a two-center, open label, Phase I, dose-escalation and bioavailability study of single dose IV and oral erlotinib. RESULTS: The highest escalated IV erlotinib dose achieved was 100 mg, with only mild adverse events reported. The MTD for IV erlotinib was not reached as a predetermined erlotinib plasma concentration cap of 4 microg/mL was exceeded in 3/6 patients. No dose-limiting toxicity was observed. Median bioavailability of erlotinib tablets was 76%. CONCLUSIONS: A 100 mg single IV dose of erlotinib, given as a 30-min infusion, was well tolerated with only minor adverse events and the high level of bioavailability of oral erlotinib was confirmed.
    • A phase I study to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a dual VEGFR and FGFR inhibitor, brivanib, in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors.

      Jonker, D J; Rosen, L S; Sawyer, M B; de Braud, F; Wilding, G; Sweeney, C J; Jayson, Gordon C; McArthur, G A; Rustin, G; Goss, G; et al. (2011-06)
      This study was designed to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of brivanib in patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors.
    • Sorafenib and dacarbazine as first-line therapy for advanced melanoma: phase I and open-label phase II studies.

      Eisen, T; Marais, R; Affolter, A; Lorigan, Paul C; Robert, C; Corrie, P; Ottensmeier, C; Chevreau, C; Chao, D; Nathan, P D; et al. (2011-07-26)
      The safety of oral sorafenib up to a maximum protocol-specified dose combined with dacarbazine in patients with metastatic, histologically confirmed melanoma was investigated in a phase I dose-escalation study and the activity of the combination was explored in an open-label phase II study.
    • Sorafenib and dacarbazine as first-line therapy for advanced melanoma: phase I and open-label phase II studies.

      Eisen, T; Marais, R; Affolter, A; Lorigan, Paul C; Robert, C; Corrie, P; Ottensmeier, C; Chevreau, C; Chao, D; Nathan, P D; et al. (2011-07-26)
      The safety of oral sorafenib up to a maximum protocol-specified dose combined with dacarbazine in patients with metastatic, histologically confirmed melanoma was investigated in a phase I dose-escalation study and the activity of the combination was explored in an open-label phase II study.
    • T cell-based immunotherapy of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: modest success and future perspective.

      Shablak, Alaaeldin; Hawkins, Robert E; Rothwell, Dominic G; Elkord, Eyad; Department of Medical Oncology, School of Cancer, Enabling Sciences and Technology, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. (2009-11-01)
      Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (MRCC) remains a challenging malignancy to treat. Cancer immunotherapies have been extensively explored in melanoma and RCC as they poorly respond to conventional cytotoxic agents but show responses to a variety of immunologic agents. The recent considerable success of T cell-based immunotherapy in melanoma warrants further efforts to apply this treatment to other cancers including MRCC. Although RCC is an immunosensitive cancer, similar attempts in MRCC have shown a very limited success. In this review, we summarize the clinical data on T cell-based immunotherapies for MRCC showing the modest success that has been achieved to date. More importantly, we discuss potential strategies for improving its efficacy for the treatment of MRCC in light of the important achievements for treating metastatic melanoma. In particular, the growing evidence of success by combining expanded tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes with lymphodepletion merits investigation in MRCC. Identifying new RCC-associated antigens, optimized methods, and conditions for detection, isolation, and/or modification and expansion of tumor-specific T cells are all important strategies to be pursued for improving T cell-based immunotherapy of MRCC.
    • Trastuzumab plus anastrozole versus anastrozole alone for the treatment of postmenopausal women with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive, hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer: results from the randomized phase III TAnDEM study.

      Kaufman, Bella; Mackey, John R; Clemens, Michael R; Bapsy, Poonamalle P; Vaid, Ashok; Wardley, Andrew M; Tjulandin, Sergei; Jahn, Michaela; Lehle, Michaela; Feyereislova, Andrea; et al. (2009-11-20)
      PURPOSE: TAnDEM is the first randomized phase III study to combine a hormonal agent and trastuzumab without chemotherapy as treatment for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/hormone receptor-copositive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Postmenopausal women with HER2/hormone receptor-copositive MBC were randomly assigned to anastrozole (1 mg/d orally) with or without trastuzumab (4 mg/kg intravenous infusion on day 1, then 2 mg/kg every week) until progression. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS) in the intent-to-treat population. Results Overall, 103 patients received trastuzumab plus anastrozole; 104 received anastrozole alone. Patients in the trastuzumab plus anastrozole arm experienced significant improvements in PFS compared with patients receiving anastrozole alone (hazard ratio = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.84; median PFS, 4.8 v 2.4 months; log-rank P = .0016). In patients with centrally confirmed hormone receptor positivity (n = 150), median PFS was 5.6 and 3.8 months in the trastuzumab plus anastrozole and anastrozole alone arms, respectively (log-rank P = .006). Overall survival in the overall and centrally confirmed hormone receptor-positive populations showed no statistically significant treatment difference; however, 70% of patients in the anastrozole alone arm crossed over to receive trastuzumab after progression on anastrozole alone. Incidence of grade 3 and 4 adverse events was 23% and 5%, respectively, in the trastuzumab plus anastrozole arm, and 15% and 1%, respectively, in the anastrozole alone arm; one patient in the combination arm experienced New York Heart Association class II congestive heart failure. CONCLUSION: Trastuzumab plus anastrozole improves outcomes for patients with HER2/hormone receptor-copositive MBC compared with anastrozole alone, although adverse events and serious adverse events were more frequent with the combination.