• Acquisition of biologically relevant gene expression data by Affymetrix microarray analysis of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumours.

      Linton, Kim M; Hey, Yvonne; Saunders, Emma K; Jeziorska, M; Denton, J; Wilson, Claire L; Swindell, Ric; Dibben, Sian; Miller, Crispin J; Pepper, Stuart D; et al. (2008-04-22)
      Robust protocols for microarray gene expression profiling of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPET) are needed to facilitate research when availability of fresh-frozen tissue is limited. Recent reports attest to the feasibility of this approach, but the clinical value of these data is poorly understood. We employed state-of-the-art RNA extraction and Affymetrix microarray technology to examine 34 archival FFPET primary extremity soft tissue sarcomas. Nineteen arrays met stringent QC criteria and were used to model prognostic signatures for metastatic recurrence. Arrays from two paired frozen and FFPET samples were compared: although FFPET sensitivity was low ( approximately 50%), high specificity (95%) and positive predictive value (92%) suggest that transcript detection is reliable. Good agreement between arrays and real time (RT)-PCR was confirmed, especially for abundant transcripts, and RT-PCR validated the regulation pattern for 19 of 24 candidate genes (overall R(2)=0.4662). RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry on independent cases validated prognostic significance for several genes including RECQL4, FRRS1, CFH and MET - whose combined expression carried greater prognostic value than tumour grade - and cmet and TRKB proteins. These molecules warrant further evaluation in larger series. Reliable clinically relevant data can be obtained from archival FFPET, but protocol amendments are needed to improve the sensitivity and broad application of this approach.
    • Biomarkers of angiogenesis and their role in the development of VEGF inhibitors.

      Murukesh, N; Dive, Caroline; Jayson, Gordon C; Department of Medical Oncology, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2010-01-05)
      Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been confirmed as an important therapeutic target in randomised clinical trials in multiple disease settings. However, the extent to which individual patients benefit from VEGF inhibitors is unclear. If we are to optimise the use of these drugs or develop combination regimens that build on this efficacy, it is critical to identify those patients who are likely to benefit, particularly as these agents can be toxic and are expensive. To this end, biomarkers have been evaluated in tissue, in circulation and by imaging. Consistent drug-induced increases in plasma VEGF-A and blood pressure, as well as reductions in soluble VEGF-R2 and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI parameters have been reported. In some clinical trials, biomarker changes were statistically significant and associated with clinical end points, but there is considerable heterogeneity between studies that are to some extent attributable to methodological issues. On the basis of observations with these biomarkers, it is now appropriate to conduct detailed prospective studies to define a suite of predictive, pharmacodynamic and surrogate response biomarkers that identify those patients most likely to benefit from and monitor their response to this novel class of drugs.
    • Caveolin-1 and mitochondrial SOD2 (MnSOD) function as tumor suppressors in the stromal microenvironment: a new genetically tractable model for human cancer associated fibroblasts.

      Trimmer, C; Sotgia, F; Whitaker-Menezes, D; Balliet, Renee M; Eaton, Gregory; Martinez-Outschoorn, Ubaldo E; Pavlides, Stephanos; Howell, Anthony; Iozzo, Renato V; Pestell, Richard G; et al. (2011-02-15)
      We have recently proposed a new model for understanding tumor metabolism, termed: "The Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer Metabolism". In this new paradigm, catabolism (autophagy) in the tumor stroma fuels the anabolic growth of aggressive cancer cells. Mechanistically, tumor cells induce autophagy in adjacent cancer-associated fibroblasts via the loss of caveolin-1 (Cav-1), which is sufficient to promote oxidative stress in stromal fibroblasts. To further test this hypothesis, here we created human Cav-1 deficient immortalized fibroblasts using a targeted sh-RNA knock-down approach. Relative to control fibroblasts, Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts dramatically promoted tumor growth in xenograft assays employing an aggressive human breast cancer cell line, namely MDA-MB-231 cells. Co-injection of Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts, with MDA-MB-231 cells, increased both tumor mass and tumor volume by ~4-fold. Immuno-staining with CD31 indicated that this paracrine tumor promoting effect was clearly independent of angiogenesis. Mechanistically, proteomic analysis of these human Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts identified > 40 protein biomarkers that were upregulated, most of which were associated with i) myofibroblast differentiation, or ii) oxidative stress/hypoxia. In direct support of these findings, the tumor promoting effects of Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts could be functionally suppressed (nearly 2-fold) by the recombinant over-expression of SOD2 (superoxide dismutase 2), a known mitochondrial enzyme that de-activates superoxide, thereby reducing mitochondrial oxidative stress. In contrast, cytoplasmic soluble SOD1 had no effect, further highlighting a specific role for mitochondrial oxidative stress in this process. In summary, here we provide new evidence directly supporting a key role for a loss of stromal Cav-1 expression and oxidative stress in cancer-associated fibroblasts, in promoting tumor growth, which is consistent with "The Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer". The human Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts that we have generated are a new genetically tractable model system for identifying other suppressors of the cancer-associated fibroblast phenotype, via a genetic "complementation" approach. This has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of triple negative and basal breasts cancers, as well as tamoxifen-resistance in ER+ breast cancers, which are all associated with a Cav-1 deficient "lethal" tumor micro-environment, driving poor clinical outcome.
    • Cytokine production and inflammation drive autophagy in the tumor microenvironment: role of stromal caveolin-1 as a key regulator.

      Martinez-Outschoorn, U E; Whitaker-Menezes, D; Lin, Z; Flomenberg, N; Howell, Anthony; Pestell, R G; Lisanti, M P; Sotgia, F; Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. (2011-06-01)
      Recently, we proposed a new paradigm for understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment in breast cancer onset and progression. In this model, cancer cells induce oxidative stress in adjacent fibroblasts. This, in turn, results in the onset of stromal autophagy, which produces recycled nutrients to "feed" anabolic cancer cells. However, it remains unknown how autophagy in the tumor microenvironment relates to inflammation, another key driver of tumorigenesis. To address this issue, here we employed a well-characterized co-culture system in which cancer cells induce autophagy in adjacent fibroblasts via oxidative stress and NFκB-activation. We show, using this co-culture system, that the same experimental conditions that result in an autophagic microenvironment, also drive in the production of numerous inflammatory mediators (including IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, MIP1a, IFNg, RANTES (CCL5) and GMCSF). Furthermore, we demonstrate that most of these inflammatory mediators are individually sufficient to directly induce the onset of autophagy in fibroblasts. To further validate the in vivo relevance of these findings, we assessed the inflammatory status of Cav-1 (-/-) null mammary fat pads, which are a model of a bonafide autophagic microenvironment. Notably, we show that Cav-1 (-/-) mammary fat pads undergo infiltration with numerous inflammatory cell types, including lymphocytes, T-cells, macrophages and mast cells. Taken together, our results suggest that cytokine production and inflammation are key drivers of autophagy in the tumor microenvironment. These results may explain why a loss of stromal Cav-1 is a powerful predictor of poor clinical outcome in breast cancer patients, as it is a marker of both (1) autophagy and (2) inflammation in the tumor microenvironment. Lastly, hypoxia in fibroblasts was not sufficient to induce the full-blown inflammatory response that we observed during the co-culture of fibroblasts with cancer cells, indicating that key reciprocal interactions between cancer cells and fibroblasts may be required.
    • Development of an advanced database for clinical trials integrated with an electronic patient record system.

      Newsham, A C; Johnston, C; Hall, G; Leahy, Michael G; Smith, A B; Vikram, A; Donnelly, A M; Velikova, G; Selby, P J; Fisher, S E; et al. (2011-08)
      Secondary use of patient databases is essential in healthcare if clinical trials are to progress efficiently to planned time and target and imperative if the planned UK expansion of research and development (R&D) at point of care is to be achieved. Integration of effective databases primarily designed to facilitate patient care with R&D requirements is needed but represents a complex challenge. We present a system that achieves an integrated approach with online management of complex datasets for clinical trials within care records using a specific study as an example to show functionality in practice; illustrating how this system provides an ideal resource to meet the needs of both clinicians and researchers.
    • Hypoxic human cancer cells are sensitized to BH-3 mimetic–induced apoptosis via downregulation of the Bcl-2 protein Mcl-1.

      Harrison, Luke R; Micha, Dimitra; Brandenburg, Martin; Simpson, Kathryn L; Morrow, Christopher J; Denneny, Olive; Hodgkinson, Cassandra L; Yunus, Zaira; Dempsey, Clare E; Roberts, Darren L; et al. (2011-03-01)
      Solid tumors contain hypoxic regions in which cancer cells are often resistant to chemotherapy-induced apoptotic cell death. Therapeutic strategies that specifically target hypoxic cells and promote apoptosis are particularly appealing, as few normal tissues experience hypoxia. We have found that the compound ABT-737, a Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH-3) mimetic, promotes apoptotic cell death in human colorectal carcinoma and small cell lung cancer cell lines exposed to hypoxia. This hypoxic induction of apoptosis was mediated through downregulation of myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1), a Bcl-2 family protein that serves as a biomarker for ABT-737 resistance. Downregulation of Mcl-1 in hypoxia was independent of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) activity and was consistent with decreased global protein translation. In addition, ABT-737 induced apoptosis deep within tumor spheroids, consistent with an optimal hypoxic oxygen tension being necessary to promote ABT-737–induced cell death. Tumor xenografts in ABT-737–treated mice also displayed significantly more apoptotic cells within hypoxic regions relative to normoxic regions. Synergies between ABT-737 and other cytotoxic drugs were maintained in hypoxia, suggesting that this drug may be useful in combination with chemotherapeutic agents. Taken together, these findings suggest that Mcl-1–sparing BH-3 mimetics may induce apoptosis in hypoxic tumor cells that are resistant to other chemotherapeutic agents and may have a role in combinatorial chemotherapeutic regimens for treatment of solid tumors.
    • Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics: a clinical reality.

      Ferraldeschi, Roberta; Newman, W G; Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2011-09)
      Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics strive to explain the interindividual variability in response to drugs due to genetic variation. For certain drugs, genetic tests can reduce adverse drug reactions and improve treatment efficacy. In this review, we will briefly consider some successful tests introduced into clinical practice and potential future developments.
    • Phase I pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study of the bioreductive drug RH1.

      Danson, Sarah; Johnson, P; Ward, Timothy H; Dawson, M; Denneny, Olive; Dickinson, G; Aarons, Leon; Watson, A; Jowle, Debra; Cummings, Jeffrey; et al. (2011-07)
      This trial describes a first-in-man evaluation of RH1, a novel bioreductive drug activated by DT-diaphorase (DTD), an enzyme overexpressed in many tumours.
    • A phase I study of the safety and pharmacokinetics of the combination of pertuzumab (rhuMab 2C4) and capecitabine in patients with advanced solid tumors.

      Albanell, Joan; Montagut, Clara; Jones, Eileen T; Pronk, Linda; Mellado, Begoña; Beech, Janette; Gascon, Pere; Zugmaier, Gerhard; Brewster, Michael; Saunders, Mark P; et al. (2008-05-01)
      PURPOSE: To study the safety, pharmacokinetics, and recommended dose of the combination of pertuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody HER2-dimerization inhibitor, and capecitabine in patients with advanced malignancies. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients that had progressed to standard treatment were treated with pertuzumab at a fixed dose of 1,050 mg given i.v. on day 1 plus capecitabine at doses of 825-1,000-1,250 mg/m(2), twice daily orally on days 1 to 14 of each 21-day treatment cycle, in three sequential cohorts. The pharmacokinetics of capecitabine and pertuzumab were studied. Patients received a single dose of capecitabine in a pretreatment phase (day -7) followed by serum sampling for capecitabine and its metabolites. RESULTS: Nineteen patients were accrued and 18 were assessable. The combination of capecitabine and pertuzumab was well tolerated at all dose levels and no dose-limiting toxicities were observed. The most frequent adverse event was asthenia, which was grade 3 in two patients. One asymptomatic pulmonary embolism occurred. No other grade 3 or 4 adverse events or cardiac or left ventricular ejection fraction events were reported. There was no apparent change in the pharmacokinetics of capecitabine and its metabolites when combined with pertuzumab. The pharmacokinetics of pertuzumab was apparently not modified when administered with capecitabine. Disease stabilization was observed in 11 patients. CONCLUSIONS: Pertuzumab and capecitabine were well tolerated at all dose levels. Escalation beyond the highest dose level tested was not planned, as this included the recommended doses of monotherapy for both drugs. In conclusion, this combination is ready for phase II testing.
    • A phase I study of the safety and tolerability of olaparib (AZD2281, KU0059436) and dacarbazine in patients with advanced solid tumours.

      Khan, O A; Gore, M; Lorigan, Paul C; Stone, J; Greystoke, Alastair; Burke, W; Carmichael, J; Watson, Amanda J; McGown, Gail; Thorncroft, Mary R; et al. (2011-03-01)
      Poly adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribose polymerase (PARP) is essential in cellular processing of DNA damage via the base excision repair pathway (BER). The PARP inhibition can be directly cytotoxic to tumour cells and augments the anti-tumour effects of DNA-damaging agents. This study evaluated the optimally tolerated dose of olaparib (4-(3--4-fluorophenyl) methyl-1(2H)-one; AZD2281, KU0059436), a potent PARP inhibitor, with dacarbazine and assessed safety, toxicity, clinical pharmacokinetics and efficacy of combination treatment.
    • 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.
    • A prospective observational study of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in routine practice in a UK cancer centre.

      Molassiotis, Alexander; Saunders, Mark P; Valle, Juan W; Wilson, Gregory; Lorigan, Paul C; Wardley, Andrew M; Levine, Edward; Cowan, Richard A; Loncaster, Juliette A; Rittenberg, C; et al. (2008-02)
      OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess levels of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in routine practice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was an observational prospective evaluation using patient self-reports. One hundred and two patients with cancer in a single cancer centre in UK receiving their first chemotherapy treatment participated in the study and were followed up over four cycles, providing a total of 272 assessments of nausea and vomiting. Data was collected with the use of the MASCC Antiemesis Tool (MAT), which is an eight-item short clinical scale assessing acute and delayed nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy. RESULTS: Results indicated that acute vomiting was experienced by 15.7% of the patients in cycle 1 and delayed vomiting by 14.7%, while acute nausea was present in 37.3% of the patients and delayed nausea in 47.1%, increasing over the subsequent cycles. Moderately emetogenic and highly emetogenic chemotherapy had the highest incidence of CINV, whereas patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy showed significant levels of delayed nausea. Acute symptoms were more easily controlled than delayed symptoms. DISCUSSION: The data suggest that, while vomiting is well controlled, nausea remains a significant problem in practice, and optimal management of CINV is yet to be achieved. Understanding more clearly the biological basis of nausea will assist in managing this complex symptom more effectively in practice.
    • A two-part phase II study of cediranib in patients with advanced solid tumours: the effect of food on single-dose pharmacokinetics and an evaluation of safety, efficacy and imaging pharmacodynamics.

      Mitchell, Claire L; O'Connor, James P B; Roberts, C; Watson, Y; Jackson, A; Cheung, S; Evans, J; Spicer, J; Harris, A; Kelly, C; et al. (2011-09)
      Cediranib (RECENTIN™) is an oral, highly potent VEGF inhibitor. This study evaluated the effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of cediranib and compared the administration of continual cediranib via two dosing strategies using this as a platform to investigate pharmacodynamic imaging biomarkers.