Publications by authors named "Agnes Bilecz"

6 Publications

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Prognostic impact of PD-1 and PD-L1 expression in malignant pleural mesothelioma: an international multicenter study.

Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021 Apr;10(4):1594-1607

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Programmed cell death 1/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) immune-checkpoint blockade is a promising new therapeutic strategy in cancer. However, expression patterns and prognostic significance of PD-L1 and PD-1 are still controversial in human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor samples from 203 MPM patients receiving standard treatment without immunotherapy were collected from 5 European centers. PD-L1 and PD-1 expression of tumor cells (TCs) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) were measured by immunohistochemistry and correlated with clinical parameters and long-term outcome.

Results: High (>10%) PD-L1 TC and PD-1 TILs expressions were found in 18 (8%) and 39 (24%) patients, respectively. PD-L1 was rarely expressed by TILs [≥1%, n=13 (8%); >10%, n=1]. No significant associations were found between the PD-L1 or PD-1 expression of TCs or TILs and clinicopathological parameters such as stage or histological subtype. Notably, patients with high (>10%) TC-specific PD-L1 expression exhibited significantly worse median overall survival (OS) (6.3 15.1 months of those with low TC PD-L1 expression; HR: 2.51, P<0.001). In multivariate cox regression analysis adjusted for clinical parameters, high TC PD-L1 expression (>10%) proved to be an independent negative prognostic factor for OS (HR: 2.486, P=0.005). There was no significant correlation between PD-L1 or PD-1 expression of TILs and OS.

Conclusions: In this multicenter cohort study, we demonstrate that high (>10%) PD-L1 expression of TCs independently predicts worse OS in MPM. Further studies are warranted to investigate the value of PD-L1/PD-1 expression as a marker for treatment response in MPM patients receiving immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/tlcr-20-1114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107750PMC
April 2021

Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Promoter Mutations Identify a Genomically Defined and Highly Aggressive Human Pleural Mesothelioma Subgroup.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 21;26(14):3819-3830. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Institute of Cancer Research and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Purpose: Human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is characterized by dismal prognosis. Consequently, dissection of molecular mechanisms driving malignancy is of key importance. Here we investigate whether activating mutations in the telomerase reverse transcriptase () gene promoter are present in MPM and associated with disease progression, cell immortalization, and genomic alteration patterns.

Experimental Design: promoters were sequenced in 182 MPM samples and compared with clinicopathologic characteristics. Surgical specimens from 45 patients with MPM were tested for immortalization. The respective MPM cell models ( = 22) were analyzed by array comparative genomic hybridization, gene expression profiling, exome sequencing as well as TRAP, telomere length, and luciferase promoter assays.

Results: promoter mutations were detected in 19 of 182 (10.4%) MPM cases and significantly associated with advanced disease and nonepithelioid histology. Mutations independently predicted shorter overall survival in both histologic MPM subtypes. Moreover, 9 of 9 (100%) mutated but only 13 of 36 (36.1%) wild-type samples formed immortalized cell lines promoter mutations were associated with enforced promoter activity and mRNA expression, while neither telomerase activity nor telomere lengths were significantly altered. promoter-mutated MPM cases exhibited distinctly reduced chromosomal alterations and specific mutation patterns. While mutations/deletions were exclusive with promoter mutations, homozygous deletions at the and the loci were clearly enriched in mutated cases.

Conclusions: promoter mutations independently predict a dismal course of disease in human MPM. The altered genomic aberration pattern indicates that promoter mutations identify a novel, highly aggressive MPM subtype presumably based on a specific malignant transformation process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3573DOI Listing
July 2020

Comparative analysis of prognostic histopathologic parameters in subtypes of epithelioid pleural mesothelioma.

Histopathology 2020 Jul 25;77(1):55-66. Epub 2020 May 25.

2nd Institute of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Aims: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare malignancy with a dismal prognosis. While the epithelioid type is associated with a more favourable outcome, additional factors are needed to further stratify prognosis and to identify patients who can benefit from multimodal treatment. As epithelioid MPM shows remarkable morphological variability, the prognostic role of the five defined morphologies, the impact of the nuclear grading system and the mitosis-necrosis score were investigated in this study.

Methods And Results: Tumour specimens of 192 patients with epithelioid MPM from five European centres were histologically subtyped. Nuclear grading and mitosis-necrosis score were determined and correlated with clinicopathological parameters and overall survival (OS). Digital slides of 55 independent cases from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database were evaluated for external validation. Histological subtypes were collapsed into three groups based on their overlapping survival curves. The tubulopapillary/microcystic group had a significantly longer OS than the solid/trabecular group (732 days versus 397 days, P = 0.0013). Pleomorphic tumours had the shortest OS (173 days). The solid/trabecular variants showed a significant association with high nuclear grade and mitosis-necrosis score. The mitosis-necrosis score was a robust and independent prognostic factor in our patient cohort. The prognostic significance of all three parameters was externally validated in the TCGA cohort. Patients with tubulopapillary or microcystic tumours showed a greater improvement in OS after receiving multimodal therapy than those with solid or trabecular tumours.

Conclusions: Histological subtypes of epithelioid MPM have a prognostic impact, and might help to select patients for intensive multimodal treatment approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/his.14105DOI Listing
July 2020

DNA damage predicts prognosis and treatment response in colorectal liver metastases superior to immunogenic cell death and T cells.

Theranostics 2018 10;8(12):3198-3213. Epub 2018 May 10.

Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

Preclinical models indicate that DNA damage induces type I interferon (IFN), which is crucial for the induction of an anti-tumor immune response. In human cancers, however, the association between DNA damage and an immunogenic cell death (ICD), including the release and sensing of danger signals, the subsequent ER stress response and a functional IFN system, is less clear. Neoadjuvant-treated colorectal liver metastases (CLM) patients, undergoing liver resection in with a curative intent, were retrospectively enrolled in this study (n=33). DNA damage (γH2AX), RNA and DNA sensors (RIG-I, DDX41, cGAS, STING), ER stress response (p-PKR, p-eIF2α, CALR), type I and type II IFN- induced proteins (MxA, GBP1), mature dendritic cells (CD208), and cytotoxic and memory T cells (CD3, CD8, CD45RO) were investigated by an immunohistochemistry whole-slide tissue scanning approach and further correlated with recurrence-free survival (RFS), overall survival (OS), radiographic and pathologic therapy response. γH2AX is a negative prognostic marker for RFS (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.04-1.69, p=0.023) and OS (HR 1.61, 95% CI 1.23-2.11, p<0.001). A model comprising of DDX41, STING and p-PKR predicts radiographic therapy response (AUC=0.785, p=0.002). γH2AX predicts prognosis superior to the prognostic value of CD8. CALR positively correlates with GBP1, CD8 and cGAS. A model consisting of γH2AX, p-eIF2α, DDX41, cGAS, CD208 and CD45RO predicts pathological therapy response (AUC=0.944, p<0.001). In contrast to preclinical models, DNA damage inversely correlated with ICD and its associated T cell infiltrate and potentially serves as a therapeutic target in CLM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/thno.24699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010984PMC
August 2019

Vessel co-option is common in human lung metastases and mediates resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in preclinical lung metastasis models.

J Pathol 2017 Feb 29;241(3):362-374. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Tumour Biology Team, The Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Anti-angiogenic therapies have shown limited efficacy in the clinical management of metastatic disease, including lung metastases. Moreover, the mechanisms via which tumours resist anti-angiogenic therapies are poorly understood. Importantly, rather than utilizing angiogenesis, some metastases may instead incorporate pre-existing vessels from surrounding tissue (vessel co-option). As anti-angiogenic therapies were designed to target only new blood vessel growth, vessel co-option has been proposed as a mechanism that could drive resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy. However, vessel co-option has not been extensively studied in lung metastases, and its potential to mediate resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in lung metastases is not established. Here, we examined the mechanism of tumour vascularization in 164 human lung metastasis specimens (composed of breast, colorectal and renal cancer lung metastasis cases). We identified four distinct histopathological growth patterns (HGPs) of lung metastasis (alveolar, interstitial, perivascular cuffing, and pushing), each of which vascularized via a different mechanism. In the alveolar HGP, cancer cells invaded the alveolar air spaces, facilitating the co-option of alveolar capillaries. In the interstitial HGP, cancer cells invaded the alveolar walls to co-opt alveolar capillaries. In the perivascular cuffing HGP, cancer cells grew by co-opting larger vessels of the lung. Only in the pushing HGP did the tumours vascularize by angiogenesis. Importantly, vessel co-option occurred with high frequency, being present in >80% of the cases examined. Moreover, we provide evidence that vessel co-option mediates resistance to the anti-angiogenic drug sunitinib in preclinical lung metastasis models. Assuming that our interpretation of the data is correct, we conclude that vessel co-option in lung metastases occurs through at least three distinct mechanisms, that vessel co-option occurs frequently in lung metastases, and that vessel co-option could mediate resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in lung metastases. Novel therapies designed to target both angiogenesis and vessel co-option are therefore warranted. © 2016 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.4845DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5248628PMC
February 2017

The plasma membrane Ca pump PMCA4b inhibits the migratory and metastatic activity of BRAF mutant melanoma cells.

Int J Cancer 2017 06 17;140(12):2758-2770. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Oncogenic mutations of BRAF lead to constitutive ERK activity that supports melanoma cell growth and survival. While Ca signaling is a well-known regulator of tumor progression, the crosstalk between Ca signaling and the Ras-BRAF-MEK-ERK pathway is much less explored. Here we show that in BRAF mutant melanoma cells the abundance of the plasma membrane Ca ATPase isoform 4b (PMCA4b, ATP2B4) is low at baseline but markedly elevated by treatment with the mutant BRAF specific inhibitor vemurafenib. In line with these findings gene expression microarray data also shows decreased PMCA4b expression in cutaneous melanoma when compared to benign nevi. The MEK inhibitor selumetinib-similarly to that of the BRAF-specific inhibitor-also increases PMCA4b levels in both BRAF and NRAS mutant melanoma cells suggesting that the MAPK pathway is involved in the regulation of PMCA4b expression. The increased abundance of PMCA4b in the plasma membrane enhances [Ca ] clearance from cells after Ca entry. Moreover we show that both vemurafenib treatment and PMCA4b overexpression induce marked inhibition of migration of BRAF mutant melanoma cells. Importantly, reduced migration of PMCA4b expressing BRAF mutant cells is associated with a marked decrease in their metastatic potential in vivo. Taken together, our data reveal an important crosstalk between Ca signaling and the MAPK pathway through the regulation of PMCA4b expression and suggest that PMCA4b is a previously unrecognized metastasis suppressor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.30503DOI Listing
June 2017
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