Publications by authors named "Ida Casorelli"

10 Publications

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Intratumoral injection of IFN-alpha dendritic cells after dacarbazine activates anti-tumor immunity: results from a phase I trial in advanced melanoma.

J Transl Med 2015 May 2;13:139. Epub 2015 May 2.

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, 00161, Italy.

Background: Advanced melanoma patients have an extremely poor long term prognosis and are in strong need of new therapies. The recently developed targeted therapies have resulted in a marked antitumor effect, but most responses are partial and some degree of toxicity remain the major concerns. Dendritic cells play a key role in the activation of the immune system and have been typically used as ex vivo antigen-loaded cell drugs for cancer immunotherapy. Another approach consists in intratumoral injection of unloaded DCs that can exploit the uptake of a wider array of tumor-specific and individual unique antigens. However, intratumoral immunization requires DCs endowed at the same time with properties typically belonging to both immature and mature DCs (i.e. antigen uptake and T cell priming). DCs generated in presence of interferon-alpha (IFN-DCs), due to their features of partially mature DCs, capable of efficiently up-taking, processing and cross-presenting antigens to T cells, could successfully carry out this task. Combining intratumoral immunization with tumor-destructing therapies can induce antigen release in situ, facilitating the injected DCs in triggering an antitumor immune response.

Methods: We tested in a phase I clinical study in advanced melanoma a chemo-immunotherapy approach based on unloaded IFN-DCs injected intratumorally one day after administration of dacarbazine. Primary endpoint of the study was treatment safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints were immune and clinical responses of patients.

Results: Six patients were enrolled, and only three completed the treatment. The chemo-immunotherapy was well tolerated with no major side effects. Three patients showed temporary disease stabilization and two of them showed induction of T cells specific for tyrosinase, NY-ESO-1 and gp100. Of interest, one patient showing a remarkable long-term disease stabilization kept showing presence of tyrosinase specific T cells in PBMC and high infiltration of memory T cells in the tumor lesion at 21 months.

Conclusion: We tested a chemo-immunotherapeutic approach based on IFN-DCs injected intratumorally one day after DTIC in advanced melanoma. The treatment was well tolerated, and clinical and immunological responses, including development of vitiligo, were observed, therefore warranting additional clinical studies aimed at evaluating efficacy of this approach.

Trial Registration: Trial Registration Number not publicly available due to EudraCT regulations: https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/doc/EU_CTR_FAQ.pdf.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0473-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438625PMC
May 2015

MUTYH mediates the toxicity of combined DNA 6-thioguanine and UVA radiation.

Oncotarget 2015 Apr;6(10):7481-92

Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

The therapeutic thiopurines, including the immunosuppressant azathioprine (Aza) cause the accumulation of the UVA photosensitizer 6-thioguanine (6-TG) in the DNA of the patients' cells. DNA 6-TG and UVA are synergistically cytotoxic and their interaction causes oxidative damage. The MUTYH DNA glycosylase participates in the base excision repair of oxidized DNA bases. Using Mutyh-nullmouse fibroblasts (MEFs) we examined whether MUTYH provides protection against the lethal effects of combined DNA 6-TG/UVA. Surprisingly, Mutyh-null MEFs were more resistant than wild-type MEFs, despite accumulating higher levels of DNA 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoG).Their enhanced 6-TG/UVA resistance reflected the absence of the MUTYH protein and MEFs expressing enzymatically-dead human variants were as sensitive as wild-type cells. Consistent with their enhanced resistance, Mutyh-null cells sustained fewer DNA strand breaks and lower levels of chromosomal damage after 6-TG/UVA. Although 6-TG/UVA treatment caused early checkpoint activation irrespective of the MUTYH status, Mutyh-null cells failed to arrest in S-phase at late time points. MUTYH-dependent toxicity was also apparent in vivo. Mutyh-/- mice survived better than wild-type during a 12-month chronicexposure to Aza/UVA treatments that significantly increased levels of skin DNA 8-oxoG. Two squamous cell skin carcinomas arose in Aza/UVA treated Mutyh-/- mice whereas similarly treated wild-type animals remained tumor-free.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480694PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3037DOI Listing
April 2015

Cholesterol granuloma of the frontal sinus: a case report.

Case Rep Otolaryngol 2012 24;2012:515986. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Otorhinolaryngology Department, S. Giovanni di Dio Hospital, Via Foggia, 85025 Melfi, Italy.

Cholesterol granulomas are common in the mastoid antrum and air cells of the temporal bone. In the paranasal sinuses, especially in the frontal sinus, they have occasionally been mentioned in the literature. The pathogenesis is unknown, but the majority of the authors support the concept of airway obstruction in the cells well pneumatised of temporal bone and paranasal sinuses. The authors report a case of cholesterol granuloma of the frontal sinus treated with radical surgical techniques, and they also recommend an endoscopic approach to frontal sinus to restore or enlarge the nose-frontal canal and promote drainage and ventilation of the frontal sinus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/515986DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3488387PMC
November 2012

DNA damage and repair in human cancer: molecular mechanisms and contribution to therapy-related leukemias.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2012 08 27;9(8):2636-57. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Azienda Ospedaliera Sant'Andrea, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, Rome, Italy.

Most antitumour therapies damage tumour cell DNA either directly or indirectly. Without repair, damage can result in genetic instability and eventually cancer. The strong association between the lack of DNA damage repair, mutations and cancer is dramatically demonstrated by a number of cancer-prone human syndromes, such as xeroderma pigmentosum, ataxia-telangiectasia and Fanconi anemia. Notably, DNA damage responses, and particularly DNA repair, influence the outcome of therapy. Because DNA repair normally excises lethal DNA lesions, it is intuitive that efficient repair will contribute to intrinsic drug resistance. Unexpectedly, a paradoxical relationship between DNA mismatch repair and drug sensitivity has been revealed by model studies in cell lines. This suggests that connections between DNA repair mechanism efficiency and tumour therapy might be more complex. Here, we review the evidence for the contribution of carcinogenic properties of several drugs as well as of alterations in specific mechanisms involved in drug-induced DNA damage response and repair in the pathogenesis of therapy-related cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph9082636DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447578PMC
August 2012

The Mutyh base excision repair gene influences the inflammatory response in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis.

PLoS One 2010 Aug 10;5(8):e12070. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Background: The Mutyh DNA glycosylase is involved in the repair of oxidized DNA bases. Mutations in the human MUTYH gene are responsible for colorectal cancer in familial adenomatous polyposis. Since defective DNA repair genes might contribute to the increased cancer risk associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, we compared the inflammatory response of wild-type and Mutyh(-/-) mice to oxidative stress.

Methodology/principal Findings: The severity of colitis, changes in expression of genes involved in DNA repair and inflammation, DNA 8-oxoguanine levels and microsatellite instability were analysed in colon of mice treated with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). The Mutyh(-/-) phenotype was associated with a significant accumulation of 8-oxoguanine in colon DNA of treated mice. A single DSS cycle induced severe acute ulcerative colitis in wild-type mice, whereas lesions were modest in Mutyh(-/-) mice, and this was associated with moderate variations in the expression of several cytokines. Eight DSS cycles caused chronic colitis in both wild-type and Mutyh(-/-) mice. Lymphoid hyperplasia and a significant reduction in Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells were observed only in Mutyh(-/-) mice.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that, in this model of ulcerative colitis, Mutyh plays a major role in maintaining intestinal integrity by affecting the inflammatory response.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0012070PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2919403PMC
August 2010

Role of MUTYH and MSH2 in the control of oxidative DNA damage, genetic instability, and tumorigenesis.

Cancer Res 2009 May 12;69(10):4372-9. Epub 2009 May 12.

Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Mismatch repair is the major pathway controlling genetic stability by removing mispairs caused by faulty replication and/or mismatches containing oxidized bases. Thus, inactivation of the Msh2 mismatch repair gene is associated with a mutator phenotype and increased cancer susceptibility. The base excision repair gene Mutyh is also involved in the maintenance of genomic integrity by repairing premutagenic lesions induced by oxidative DNA damage. Because evidence in bacteria suggested that Msh2 and Mutyh repair factors might have some overlapping functions, we investigated the biological consequences of their single and double inactivation in vitro and in vivo. Msh2(-/-) mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) showed a strong mutator phenotype at the hprt gene, whereas Mutyh inactivation was associated with a milder phenotype (2.9 x 10(-6) and 3.3 x 10(-7) mutation/cell/generation, respectively). The value of 2.7 x 10(-6) mutation/cell/generation in Msh2(-/-)Mutyh(-/-) MEFs did not differ significantly from Msh2(-/-) cells. When steady-state levels of DNA 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoG) were measured in MEFs of different genotypes, single gene inactivation resulted in increases similar to those observed in doubly defective cells. In contrast, a synergistic accumulation of 8-oxoG was observed in several organs of Msh2(-/-)Mutyh(-/-) animals, suggesting that in vivo Msh2 and Mutyh provide separate repair functions and contribute independently to the control of oxidative DNA damage. Finally, a strong delay in lymphomagenesis was observed in Msh2(-/-)Mutyh(-/-) when compared with Msh2(-/-) animals. The immunophenotype of these tumors indicate that both genotypes develop B-cell lymphoblastic lymphomas displaying microsatellite instability. This suggests that a large fraction of the cancer-prone phenotype of Msh2(-/-) mice depends on Mutyh activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3292DOI Listing
May 2009

Role of mismatch repair and MGMT in response to anticancer therapies.

Anticancer Agents Med Chem 2008 May;8(4):368-80

Section of Experimental Carcinogenesis, Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, Italy.

Tumor resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs and their toxicity to normal cells are major clinical obstacles to anticancer therapy effectiveness. Alterations in various DNA repair pathways play a key role in the development of both mechanisms of drug resistance and toxicity. Since deregulation of the DNA damage response and alterations in DNA repair pathways are relatively common in human cancer, the knowledge of these alterations in cancer cells would be an important predictive factor for the clinical response to chemotherapy and a useful guide in designing an appropriate therapeutic strategy. This review is focused on the mismatch repair (MMR) pathway and the O(6)-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) repair protein. In particular, we examine how inactivation of these DNA repair mechanisms might affect the response of tumor cells to chemotherapy, with a special emphasis on agents inducing methylation and oxidative DNA damage and interstrand DNA cross-links (ICLs). In addition, we provide novel experimental evidence indicating that MMR is required for efficient repair of ICLs via stabilization of RAD51 containing repair intermediates. Finally, we discuss possible emerging therapeutical strategies for treating MMR-defective tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/187152008784220276DOI Listing
May 2008

Methylation damage response in hematopoietic progenitor cells.

DNA Repair (Amst) 2007 Aug 15;6(8):1170-8. Epub 2007 May 15.

Section of Experimental Carcinogenesis, Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

The cellular response to methylation DNA damage was compared in multipotent CD34(+) hematopoietic stem cells and mature CD34(-) cells isolated from cord blood of the same donor. Cytofluorimetric analysis of freshly isolated cord blood cells indicated that both cell types were in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. Quantitative RT-PCR identified a general trend towards high expression of several DNA repair genes in CD34(+) cells compared to their terminally differentiated CD34(-) counterparts. The overexpressed genes included members of the mismatch repair (MMR) (MSH2, MSH6, MLH1, PMS2), base excision repair (AAG, APEX), DNA damage reversal (O(6)-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase) (MGMT), and DNA double strand breaks repair pathways. These differences in gene expression were not apparent in CD34(+) and CD34(-) cells obtained following expansion of CD34(+) cells in a medium containing early acting cytokines. Early progenitor CD34(+) and early precursor CD34(-) cells form the two populations isolated under these experimental conditions, and both contain a significant proportion of cycling cells. The methylating agent N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) induced similar levels of apoptosis in these cycling CD34(+) and CD34(-) cells. Cytotoxicity required the presence of the MGMT inhibitor O(6)-benzylguanine and the timing of MNU cell death (48 and 72h) was similar in CD34(+) and CD34(-) cells. These data indicate that cycling CD34(+) and CD34(-) cells are equally sensitive to methylation damage. MGMT provides significant protection against MNU toxicity and MGMT and MMR play the expected roles in the MNU sensitivity of these cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dnarep.2007.03.024DOI Listing
August 2007

Repeated sequences in CASPASE-5 and FANCD2 but not NF1 are targets for mutation in microsatellite-unstable acute leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome.

Mol Cancer Res 2005 May;3(5):251-60

Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, Mammalian DNA Repair Laboratory, Clare Hall Laboratories, South Mimms, Herts, United Kingdom EN6 3LD.

Microsatellite instability (MSI) in tumors is diagnostic for inactive DNA mismatch repair. It is widespread among some tumor types, such as colorectal or endometrial carcinoma, but is rarely found in leukemia. Therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome (tAML/MDS) is an exception, and MSI is frequent in tAML/MDS following cancer chemotherapy or organ transplantation. The development of MSI+ tumors is associated with an accumulation of insertion/deletion mutations in repetitive sequences. These events can cause inactivating frameshifts or loss of expression of key growth control proteins. We examined established MSI+ cell lines and tAML/MDS cases for frameshift-like mutations of repetitive sequences in several genes that have known, or suspected, relevance to leukemia. CASPASE-5, an acknowledged frameshift target in MSI+ gastrointestinal tract tumors, was frequently mutated in MSI+ cell lines (67%) and in tAML/MDS (29%). Frameshift-like mutations were also observed in the NF1 and FANCD2 genes that are associated with genetic conditions conferring a predisposition to leukemia. Both genes were frequent targets for mutation in MSI+ cell lines and colorectal carcinomas. FANCD2 mutations were also common in MSI+ tAML/MDS, although NF1 mutations were not observed. A novel FANCD2 polymorphism was also identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-04-0182DOI Listing
May 2005

Drug treatment in the development of mismatch repair defective acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.

DNA Repair (Amst) 2003 May;2(5):547-59

Istituto Superiore di Sanita', Laboratorio di Tossicologia Comparata, Rome, Italy.

DNA from therapy-related acute leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome cases (tAL/MDS) from the GIMEMA [Gruppo Italiano Malattie Ematologiche Maligne dell'Adulto] Archive was examined for the microsatellite instability (MSI(+)) phenotype that is diagnostic for defective DNA mismatch repair. More than 60% (16/25) of tAL/MDS cases were MSI(+) in contrast to <4% (0/28) of de novo cases. hMLH1 gene silencing was rare and evidence of promoter methylation was found in less than one-third of the MSI(+) cases. Among the GIMEMA patients who had been treated for breast cancer there was an apparent trend towards early onset primary breast disease. This suggests that there might be common predisposing factors for breast cancer and tAL/MDS. There were also three examples of mutations in the MRE11 gene among the 25 tAL/MDS cases suggesting that defective recombinational DNA repair may promote the development of secondary malignancy. MSI(+) tAL/MDS was significantly associated with previous chemotherapy and the frequency of MSI(+) among radiotherapy patients was considerably lower. In view of the established relationship between drug resistance and mismatch repair defects, we suggest that selection for therapeutic drug resistance may contribute to the incidence of MSI(+) tAL/MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1568-7864(03)00020-xDOI Listing
May 2003