Publications by authors named "Tetsuhiro Chiba"

144 Publications

Effect of Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Harboring Mutation in Early Clinical Experience.

J Cancer 2022 16;13(8):2656-2661. Epub 2022 May 16.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchi-Kamicho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.

Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (ATZ/BV) treatment is a combined immunotherapy consisting of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor monoclonal antibody, which has brought a major paradigm shift in the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Gain-of-function mutation of contributes to resistance of ICI monotherapy through the framework of non-T-cell-inflamed tumor microenvironment. However, whether mutation renders resistance to ATZ/BV similar to ICI monotherapy remains to be elucidated. In this study, a liquid biopsy sample in plasma of 33 patients with HCC treated with ATZ/BV was subjected to droplet digital PCR for detecting hotspot mutations at the exon 3 of locus. A total of eight patients (24.2%) exhibited at least one mutation. The objective response rate (ORR) in patients with wild-type (WT) and mutant (MT) was 8.0% and 12.5%, respectively, and the disease control rate (DCR) was 68.0% and 87.5%, respectively. No significant difference in both ORR and DCR has been observed between the two groups. The median progression-free survival in patients with WT and MT was 6.6 and 7.6 months, respectively (not statistically significant). Similarly, no significant difference in overall survival has been observed between patients with WT and MT (13.6 vs. 12.3 months). In conclusion, the treatment effect of ATZ/BV in patients with HCC with MT was comparable to those patients with WT . These results implicate that BV added to ATZ might improve immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment caused by mutation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.71494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9174847PMC
May 2022

Liver biopsy technique in the era of genomic cancer therapies: a single-center retrospective analysis.

Int J Clin Oncol 2022 Jun 15. Epub 2022 Jun 15.

Department of Medical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: With the evolution of personalized medicine in the field of oncology, which includes optimal treatment selection using next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostic systems and tumor-agnostic treatments according to common biomarkers, a liver tumor biopsy technique that can obtain a sufficient specimen volume must be established. The current study aimed to evaluate the safety and availability of a liver tumor biopsy technique with multiple puncture sites made using a coaxial introducer needle and embolization with gelatin sponge particles.

Methods: Patients with primary or metastatic liver cancer who underwent liver tumor biopsies with puncture tract embolization using gelatin sponge (Spongel) from October 2019 to September 2020 were included in the study. The complication and diagnostic rates were evaluated, and whether the specimen volume was sufficient for Foundation CDx was investigated.

Results: In total, 96 patients were enrolled in this analysis. The median total number of puncture times per patient was 3 (range 1-8). The pathological diagnostic rate was 79.2%. Using the FoundationOne CDx, specimens with a sufficient volume required for genomic medicine were collected in 84.9% of patients. The incidence rate of bleeding was 4.2% (n = 4), and only one patient presented with major bleeding requiring transfusion.

Conclusions: Liver biopsy with puncture tract embolization using a gelatin sponge may be safe and effective for collecting specimens with a volume sufficient for modern cancer treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10147-022-02195-9DOI Listing
June 2022

A diet-induced murine model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with obesity and insulin resistance that rapidly develops steatohepatitis and fibrosis.

Lab Invest 2022 May 28. Epub 2022 May 28.

Department of Gastroenterology, Chiba University, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba, 260-8677, Japan.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Patients with NAFLD often suffer steatohepatitis, which can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The presence of visceral obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major risk factor and potential therapeutic target for NAFLD. The establishment of animal models with these metabolic comorbidities and with the rapid progression of the disease is needed for developing treatments for NAFLD but remains to be archived. In the present study, KK-A mice, widely used as T2DM models, or C57BL6 mice were fed a high-fat, high-fructose, and high-cholesterol diet supplemented with cholic acid (NAFLD diet). The KK-A mice fed a NAFLD diet exhibited remarkable obesity and insulin resistance. A prominent accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver was observed at 4 weeks. These mice developed steatohepatitis at 4 weeks and fibrosis at 12 weeks. In contrast, C57BL6 mice fed a NAFLD diet remained lean, although they still developed steatohepatitis and fibrosis. In summary, we established a diet-induced murine NAFLD model with the rapid development of steatohepatitis and fibrosis, bearing obesity and insulin resistance. This model could be useful as preclinical models for drug development of NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41374-022-00807-6DOI Listing
May 2022

Durvalumab with or without tremelimumab combined with particle therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with macrovascular invasion: protocol for the DEPARTURE phase Ib trial.

BMJ Open 2022 04 8;12(4):e059779. Epub 2022 Apr 8.

National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Chiba, Japan.

Introduction: Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with macrovascular invasion (MVI) has the worst prognosis among all phenotypes. This trial aims to evaluate whether treatment with durvalumab, alone or in combination with tremelimumab, plus particle therapy is a safe and synergistically effective treatment in patients with advanced HCC and MVI.

Methods And Analysis: This phase Ib, multicentre (two sites in Japan), open-label, single-arm, investigator-initiated clinical trial will assess durvalumab monotherapy in combination with particle therapy (cohort A) and that of durvalumab plus tremelimumab in combination with particle therapy (cohort B) for patients with advanced HCC with MVI. Cohort A will receive 1500 mg durvalumab every 4 weeks. Cohort B will receive 1500 mg durvalumab every 4 weeks in principle and 300 mg tremelimumab only on day 1 of the first cycle. Carbon-ion radiotherapy will be administered after day 8 of the first cycle. The primary endpoints are rates of any and severe adverse events, including dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs); secondary endpoints are overall survival, 6-month survival, objective response, 6-month progression-free survival and time to progression. Patients are initially enrolled into cohort A. If cohort A treatment is confirmed to be tolerated (ie, no DLT in three patients or one DLT in six patients), the trial proceeds to enrol more patients into cohort B. Similarly, if cohort B treatment is confirmed to be tolerated (ie, no DLT in three patients or one DLT in six patients), a total of 15 patients will be enrolled into cohort B.

Ethics And Dissemination: This study was approved by the ethics committees of the two participating institutions (Chiba University Hospital and National Institutes for Quantum (approval number: 2020040) and Radiological Science and Technology, QST Hospital (approval number: C20-001)). Participants will be required to provide written informed consent. Trial results will be reported in a peer-reviewed journal publication.

Trial Registration Number: jRCT2031210046.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8995959PMC
April 2022

Evolution of Survival Impact of Molecular Target Agents in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2022 Jan 6;11(1):48-60. Epub 2021 Dec 6.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background And Aims: The prognosis of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is expected to improve as multiple molecular target agents (MTAs) are now available. However, the impact of the availability of sequential MTAs has not been fully verified yet.

Approach And Results: We retrospectively collected the data on the whole clinical course of 877 patients who received any MTAs as first-line systemic therapy for advanced HCC between June 2009 and March 2019. The study population was divided into 3 groups according to the date of first-line MTA administration (period 1: 2009-2012, = 267; period 2: 2013-2016, = 352; period 3: 2017-2019, = 258). Then, we compared the number of MTAs used, overall survival (OS), and MTA treatment duration among the 3 groups. Analysis was also performed separately for advanced-stage and nonadvanced-stage HCC. The proportion of patients who received multiple MTAs was remarkably increased over time (1.1%, 10.2%, and 42.6% in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively, < 0.001). The median OS times were prolonged to 10.4, 11.3, and 15.2 months in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively ( = 0.016). Similarly, the MTA treatment durations were extended (2.7, 3.2, and 6.6 months in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively; < 0.001). We confirmed that the correlation between OS and MTA treatment duration was strengthened (period 1: 0.395, period 2: 0.505, and period 3: 0.667). All these trends were pronounced in the patients with advanced-stage HCC but limited in the patients with nonadvanced-stage HCC.

Conclusions: The availability of multiple MTAs had steadily improved the prognosis of patients with advanced HCC patients, particularly advanced-stage HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000519868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8820147PMC
January 2022

Impact of acute decompensation on the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

PLoS One 2022 27;17(1):e0261619. Epub 2022 Jan 27.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background/aims: Organ failure in patients with acute decompensation (AD) is a defining characteristic of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). However, the clinical features of AD during the long-term clinical course of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are still poorly understood. This study aimed to clarify features and impact of AD/ACLF on the prognosis of patients after treatment for HCC.

Methods: This retrospective study enrolled 556 consecutive patients who were initially diagnosed with HCC, and analyses were conducted taking into account HCC treatment type, HCC stage, and presence or absence of cirrhosis.

Results: During follow-up, 299 patients with AD were hospitalized. AD occurrence is closely related to prognosis, regardless of the presence or absence of cirrhosis and HCC stage, and early-onset AD (within 90 days after HCC treatment) has negative impact on prognosis. In the intermediate-advanced-stage group, surgical resection had a positive impact on AD incidence post-treatment. After systemic therapy for HCC, renal impairment was the predictive factors for AD development. The 28/90-day mortality rate was higher among 41 cases (13.7%) with AD who exhibited ACLF as compared with cases without ACLF. AD without cirrhosis had similar ACLF incidence and short-term mortality, compared to AD with cirrhosis. The prognostic model using a decision-tree-based approach, which includes ACLF, bilirubin level, HCC progression, and MELD score is useful for predicting 90- or 28-day mortality after AD diagnosis.

Conclusions: Careful management of patients with HCC who are hospitalized with AD is necessary, considering ACLF, HCC progression, and liver function.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0261619PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8794202PMC
February 2022

Exploring microsatellite instability in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and its tumor microenvironment.

JGH Open 2021 Nov 1;5(11):1266-1274. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine Chiba University Chiba Japan.

Background And Aim: Immune checkpoint inhibitors and their combination with other agents have recently been available in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hence, a thorough understanding of the tumor microenvironment based on tumor samples is yet to be achieved. This study aimed to explore the tumor microenvironment in advanced HCC in terms of microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) by using tumor samples from advanced HCC patients eligible for systemic therapy.

Methods: MSI-H was assessed by polymerase chain reaction, and the expression of mismatch repair proteins, PD-L1, CD8, VEGF, and HLA-class1 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Whole-exome sequencing was performed for MSI-H tumor samples.

Results: Of 50 patients, one (2.0%) was confirmed with MSI-H. In the MSI-H advanced HCC tumor, a high tumor mutation burden, infiltration of CD8 lymphocytes, and low expression of VEGF were identified. Although PD-L1 expression was negative, there was shrinkage of tumor following pembrolizumab. However, another tumor nonresponsive to pembrolizumab was present simultaneously. Checking the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we found a similar case to this patient. The TCGA case had unique gene features of miR-21 and miR-155 overexpression and hypermethylation of the gene.

Conclusion: We identified a very small number of MSI-H cases in HCC using one tumor biopsy sample for each patient with advanced HCC. In addition, epigenetic aberrations possibly lead to MSI-H in HCC patients. Since different HCC clones might coexist in the liver, sampling from multiple tumors should be considered to clarify the true proportion of MSI-H in HCC and to analyze tumor microenvironments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgh3.12660DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8593775PMC
November 2021

Changes in therapeutic options for hepatocellular carcinoma in Asia.

Liver Int 2021 Nov 15. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

The incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is expected to increase, with most cases occurring in Asia. In some parts of Asia, the occurrence of HCC developing from metabolic-related liver disease has markedly increased in recent years, whereas the occurrence of HCC developing from viral-hepatitis-related liver disease has decreased. Advancements in the treatment of HCC over the past few decades has been remarkable, with most treatment strategies to remove or control liver tumours (hepatic resection, local ablation, radiation therapy, transarterial chemoembolisation, hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy) primarily developing in Asia. In addition, recent progress in systemic therapies has prolonged the prognosis of advanced HCC. Nowadays, six regimens of systemic therapies have become available in most countries, according to phase III trials (atezolizumab plus bevacizumab, sorafenib, lenvatinib, regorafenib, cabozantinib and ramucirumab). In a global randomised phase III trial (IMbrave 150 trial), the most effective of the latest drug designs was newly emerged combination immunotherapy (atezolizumab plus bevacizumab), which has shown significantly prolonged overall survival compared with sorafenib, which was the first-line systemic therapy for more than a decade. Now, the treatment dynamics for HCC are undergoing a major transition as a result of two important changes: the replacement of viral-related HCC by metabolic-related HCC and the emergence of combination immune therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.15101DOI Listing
November 2021

Contrasting functions of the epithelial‑stromal interaction 1 gene, in human oral and lung squamous cell cancers.

Oncol Rep 2022 Jan 5;47(1). Epub 2021 Nov 5.

Department of Medical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba 260‑8670, Japan.

The epithelial‑stromal interaction 1 gene () is known to play multiple roles in the malignant progression of breast cancer and also in some aspects of the immune responses to the tumor. However, the relevance of the gene in the onset/progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) is not yet known. The present study was aimed at revealing the roles of in conferring malignant characteristics to OSCC and LSCC, and the underlying mechanisms. Quantitative real‑time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and western blot analyses demonstrated significant upregulation of in all four OSCC cell lines (HSC2, HSC3, HSC3‑M3 and HSC4), and significant downregulation of in all three LSCC cell lines (LK‑2, EBC‑1 and H226) used in the present study, as compared to the expression levels in the corresponding control cell lines. Both knockdown of in OSCC and overexpression of the gene in LSCC suppressed cell proliferation, and induced cell‑cycle arrest in the G1 phase, with upregulation of and downregulation of and cyclin D1. Furthermore, these alterations of gene expression in the OSCC and LSCC cell lines suppressed the cell migration ability and reversed the EMT phenotype of the tumor cells. Collectively, while appears to have oncogenic roles in OSCC, it appears to exert tumor‑suppressive roles in LSCC. PCR array analyses revealed some genes whose expression levels were altered along with the modified expression in both the OSCC and LSCC cell lines. These findings suggest that may be a therapeutic target for both OSCC and LSCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/or.2021.8216DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8600417PMC
January 2022

EZH1/2 inhibition augments the anti-tumor effects of sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Sci Rep 2021 11 1;11(1):21396. Epub 2021 Nov 1.

Department of General Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Both EZH2 and its homolog EZH1 function as histone H3 Lysine 27 (H3K27) methyltransferases and repress the transcription of target genes. Dysregulation of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) plays an important role in the development and progression of cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study investigated the relationship between the expression of EZH1/2 and the level of H3K27me3 in HCC. Additionally, the role of EZH1/2 in cell growth, tumorigenicity, and resistance to sorafenib were also analyzed. Both the lentiviral knockdown and the pharmacological inhibition of EZH1/2 (UNC1999) diminished the level of H3K27me3 and suppressed cell growth in liver cancer cells, compared with EZH1 or EZH2 single knockdown. Although a significant association was observed between EZH2 expression and H3K27me3 levels in HCC samples, overexpression of EZH1 appeared to contribute to enhanced H3K27me3 levels in some EZH2H3K27me3 cases. Akt suppression following sorafenib treatment resulted in an increase of the H3K27me3 levels through a decrease in EZH2 phosphorylation at serine 21. The combined use of sorafenib and UNC1999 exhibited synergistic antitumor effects in vitro and in vivo. Combination treatment canceled the sorafenib-induced enhancement in H3K27me3 levels, indicating that activation of EZH2 function is one of the mechanisms of sorafenib-resistance in HCC. In conclusion, sorafenib plus EZH1/2 inhibitors may comprise a novel therapeutic approach in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00889-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8560765PMC
November 2021

Posttreatment after Lenvatinib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2021 Sep 20;10(5):473-484. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: There is no standard posttreatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in whom lenvatinib therapy has failed. This study aimed to investigate rates of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib and to explore candidates for second-line agents in the patients with failed lenvatinib therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with advanced HCC who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent in 7 institutions.

Results: Overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS) of 178 patients who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent were 13.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.5-15.2) and 6.7 months (95% CI, 5.6-7.8), respectively. Sixty-nine of 151 patients (45.7%) who discontinued lenvatinib moved on to posttreatment. The migration rates from lenvatinib to the second-line agent and from the second-line agent to the third-line agent were 41.7 and 44.4%, respectively. Based on multivariate analysis, response to lenvatinib (complete or partial response according to modified RECIST) and discontinuation of lenvatinib due to radiological progression, as well as male were associated with a significantly higher probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. On the other hand, alpha-fetoprotein levels of 400 ng/mL or higher was correlated with a significantly lower probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. Of 63 patients who received second-line systemic therapy, 53 (84.2%) were administered sorafenib. PFS, objective response rate (ORR), and disease control rate (DCR) for sorafenib treatment were 1.8 months (95% CI, 0.6-3.0), 1.8%, and 20.8%, respectively. According to the Cox regression hazard model, Child-Pugh class B significantly contributed to shorter PFS. PFS, ORR, and DCR of 22 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in any lines were 3.2 months (range, 1.5-4.9 months), 13.6%, and 36.3%, respectively. Similarly, PFS, ORR, and DCR of 17 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in the third-line (after sorafenib) were 3.8 months (range, 1.1-6.5 months), 17.6%, and 41.2%, respectively.

Conclusion: Sorafenib may not be a candidate for use as a posttreatment agent after lenvatinib, according to the results of the present study. Regorafenib has the potential to become an appropriate posttreatment agent after lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8527907PMC
September 2021

Human hepatocyte-derived extracellular vesicles attenuate the carbon tetrachloride-induced acute liver injury in mice.

Cell Death Dis 2021 10 27;12(11):1010. Epub 2021 Oct 27.

Department of Innovative Medical Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, 259-1193, Japan.

Acute liver injury (ALI) induced by chemicals or viruses can progress rapidly to acute liver failure (ALF), often resulting in death of patients without liver transplantation. Since liver transplantation is limited due to a paucity of donors, expensive surgical costs, and severe immune rejection, novel therapies are required to treat liver injury. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are used for cellular communication, carrying RNAs, proteins, and lipids and delivering them intercellularly after being endocytosed by target cells. Recently, it was reported that EVs secreted from human hepatocytes have an ability to modulate the immune responses; however, these roles of EVs secreted from human hepatocytes were studied only with in vitro experiments. In the present study, we evidenced that EVs secreted from human hepatocytes attenuated the CCL-induced ALI by inhibiting the recruitment of monocytes through downregulation of chemokine receptor in the bone marrow and recruitment of neutrophils through the reduction of C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 1 (CXCL1) and CXCL2 expression levels in the liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-04204-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8551237PMC
October 2021

Genetic profiles of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma in Japanese patients.

Sci Rep 2021 09 3;11(1):17671. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

The genetic characteristics of Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) in the Japanese population is unclear. This study aims to investigate the genetic characteristics from nondysplastic BE (NDBE) to early EAC in Japan. Clinical information was collected. Moreover, the genetic profile of NDBE without concurrent dysplasia, early EAC, and surrounding BE were also investigated using endoscopic biopsy samples and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens from Japanese patients by targeted next-generation sequencing. Immunohistochemical staining for p53 was also performed for EAC lesions. Targeted NGS was performed for 33 cases with 77 specimens. No significant difference exists in the NDBE group between the number of putative drivers per lesion in the short-segment Barrett's esophagus (SSBE) and long-segment Barrett's esophagus (LSBE) [0 (range, 0-1) vs. 0 (range, 0-1). p = 1.00]. TP53 putative drivers were found in two patients (16.7%) with nondysplastic SSBE. TP53 was the majority of putative drivers in both BE adjacent to EAC and EAC, accounting for 66.7% and 66.7%, respectively. More putative drivers per lesion were found in the EAC than in the NDBE group [1 (range, 0-3) vs. 0 (range, 0-1). p < 0.01]. The genetic variants of TP53 in the Japanese early EAC were similar to those in western countries. However, TP53 putative drivers were detected even in Japanese patients with nondysplastic SSBE. This is significant because such nondysplastic SSBE might have higher risk of progressing to high-grade dysplasia or EAC. The risks of progression may not be underestimated and appropriate follow-ups may be necessary even in patients with SSBE.Trial registration: This study was registered at the University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN000034247).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97249-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417273PMC
September 2021

Diagnostic value of IMP3 and p53 immunohistochemical staining in EUS-guided fine-needle aspiration for solid pancreatic tumors.

Sci Rep 2021 08 26;11(1):17257. Epub 2021 Aug 26.

Department of Gastroenterology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

We previously identified insulin-like growth factor-II messenger ribonucleic acid-binding protein 3 (IMP3) as a valuable marker to distinguish malignant from benign lesions in pancreatic solid masses. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the usefulness of IMP3 and p53 immunohistochemical staining in endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) samples for pancreatic solid masses. The study recruited 90 consecutive patients with pancreatic masses, including 62 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs), 11 benign tumors, and 17 other tumors, who underwent EUS-FNA, and conducted IMP3 and p53 immunohistochemical staining. The main outcome measurement was improved diagnostic utility using IMP3 and p53 immunohistochemical staining. IMP3 and p53 expressions were detected in 60.8% and 49.4% of malignant lesions, 69.4% and 58.1% of PDACs, and 0% of benign lesions, respectively. In PDAC and benign tumors, the use of IMP3 and/or p53 immunostaining increased the sensitivity of cytohistological analysis from 88.7 to 93.5%, although the difference was not statistically significant. The sensitivity of histological analysis combined with that of IMP3 staining was 91.9%, which was significantly greater than that of histology alone (80.6%). The use of IMP3 and p53 immunohistochemical staining did not significantly improve the sensitivity of cytohistological analysis; however, IMP3 staining may be helpful for the histological analysis of malignant pancreatic tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-96492-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8390649PMC
August 2021

Skeletal Muscle Volume Is an Independent Predictor of Survival after Sorafenib Treatment Failure for Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 7;13(9). Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Yamaguchi 755-8505, Japan.

Few studies exist on the relationship between post-progression survival (PPS) and skeletal muscle volume in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients receiving sorafenib. This study aimed to analyze the effects of muscle volume on clinical outcomes. We retrospectively enrolled 356 HCC patients. Various clinical parameters, including skeletal muscle index, were analyzed as predictors of overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and PPS. Patients with high muscle volume showed longer survival or PPS than those with low muscle volume (median survival time: 12.8 vs. 9.5 months, = 0.005; median PPS: 8.2 vs. 6.3 months, = 0.015); however, no differences in PFS were found. Multivariate analysis indicated that muscle volume was an independent predictor of PPS and OS. Skeletal muscle volume was a PPS predictor in HCC patients receiving sorafenib. Therefore, survival can be prolonged by the upregulation of skeletal muscle volume, especially in HCC patients with skeletal muscle depletion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8124673PMC
May 2021

Comprehensive mutational analysis of background mucosa in patients with Lugol-voiding lesions.

Cancer Med 2021 06 2;10(11):3545-3555. Epub 2021 May 2.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Somatic mutations including the background mucosa in patients with Lugol-voiding lesions (LVLs) are still not well known. The aim of this study was to evaluate the somatic mutations of the background mucosa in patients with LVLs (Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), intraepithelial neoplasia (IN), and hyperplasia). Twenty-five patients with LVLs (9 with SCC, 6 with IN, and 10 with hyperplasia) were included. A targeted sequence was performed for LVLs and background mucosa using an esophageal cancer panel. Each mutation was checked whether it was oncogenic or not concerning OncoKB. In LVLs, TP53 was the most dominant mutation (80%). Furthermore, 72% of TP53 mutations was putative drivers. In background mucosa, NOTCH1 was the most dominant mutation (88%) and TP53 was the second most dominant mutation (48%). Furthermore, 73% of TP53 mutations and 8% of NOTCH1 mutations were putative drivers. Putative driver mutations of TP53 had significantly higher allele frequency (AF) in SCC than in IN and hyperplasia. Conversely, putative driver mutations of NOTCH1 did not have a significant accumulation of AF in the progression of carcinogenesis. Furthermore, in SCC, AF of TP53 mutations was significantly higher in LVLs than in background mucosa, but not in IN and hyperplasia. Regarding NOTCH1, a significant difference was not observed between LVLs and background mucosa in each group. The background mucosa in patients with LVLs already had putative driver mutations such as TP53 and NOTCH1. Of these two genes, TP53 mutation could be the main target gene of carcinogenesis in esophageal SCC. Clinical Trials registry: UMIN000034247.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3905DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8178505PMC
June 2021

Analysis of circulating cell-free DNA after endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Pancreatology 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background/objectives: Recently, increase in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) concentration or newly detected KRAS mutation after endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) biopsy were reported to be related to the occurrence of new distant metastasis. In this study, we investigated whether cfDNA concentration increased with the release of tumor components into the blood after EUS-FNA and whether its increase was related to prognosis.

Methods: Sixty-eight patients underwent EUS-FNA and were pathologically confirmed as having pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We measured plasma cfDNA concentration and the copy number of KRAS mutation in 68 patients and circulating tumor cells in 8 before and after EUS-FNA.

Results: The average cfDNA concentration after EUS-FNA (672.5 ± 919.6 ng/mL) was significantly higher than that before EUS-FNA (527.7 ± 827.3 ng/mL) (P < 0.001). KRAS mutation in plasma was detected in 8 patients (11.8%), however a significant increase in cfDNA concentration after EUS-FNA was not related to the change in KRAS-mutant copy number. Minimal increase in circulating tumor cells was observed in 3 of 8 patients. New distant metastasis was observed within 286 days to initial metastasis detection in 6 of 12 patients with ≥2-fold increase in cfDNA concentration and 26 of 56 patients with <2-fold increase within 185 days. In 32 patients who underwent surgery, ≥2-fold increase in cfDNA did not affect early recurrence.

Conclusions: The increase in cfDNA concentration after EUS-FNA was not caused by tumor cell components released into blood vessels. Hence, the risk of seeding via the blood stream after EUS-FNA may need not be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pan.2021.04.001DOI Listing
April 2021

Serum Angiopoietin 2 acts as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Cancer 2021 5;12(9):2694-2701. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is typically accompanied by abundant arterial blood flow. Although angiogenic growth factors such as Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) play a central role in tumor angiogenesis in HCC, the role of serum Ang2 as a biomarker in HCC remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential of Ang2 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in HCC using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The median Ang2 levels in controls (n=20), chronic liver disease patients (n=98), and HCC patients (n=275) were 1.58, 2.33, and 3.53 ng/mL, respectively. The optimal cut-off value of Ang2 was determined as 3.5 ng/mL by receiver operating curve analysis. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of Ang2 for HCC detection were 50.9, 83.7, and 59.5%, respectively. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient analysis demonstrated only a weak correlation between Ang2 serum levels and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) or des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) serum levels. The diagnostic value of Ang2 was comparable to those of other existing markers. In addition, 24 out of 73 patients with normal AFP and DCP levels (32.9%) demonstrated abnormally high Ang2 levels (≥3.5 ng/mL). Although no significant difference in overall survival was found between Ang2 and Ang2 patients with curative ablation therapy, recurrence-free survival (RFS) in Ang2 patients was observed to be significantly shorter than those in Ang2 patients. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that high serum Ang2 levels (≥3.5 ng/mL) and the presence of multiple tumors were poor prognostic factors. In conclusion, our findings indicate that serum Ang2 is a potential novel biomarker for both diagnosis and prognosis in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.56436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040723PMC
March 2021

Percutaneous Two-Dimensional Shear Wave Elastography for Diagnosis of Pancreatic Tumor.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2021 Mar 11;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Gastroenterology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohan, Chuo-ku Chiba City 260-8670, Japan.

Background: To investigate the efficacy of two-dimensional shear wave elastography (2D-SWE) for the diagnosis of pancreatic mass lesions.

Methods: This ethics committee-approved cross-sectional study included 52 patients with histologically-proven pancreatic tumors (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), 36; tumor-forming pancreatitis (TFP), 15; neuroendocrine tumor, 1) and 33 control subjects. The 2D-SWE was performed for the tumor/non-tumor tissues, and SWE-mapping patterns and propagation quality were assessed.

Results: Three mapping patterns were detected based on the size and distribution of the coloring areas. Pattern A (whole coloring) was detected in all non-tumor tissues and TFP, whereas pattern C (multiple small coloring spots) was detected in PDAC only. Pattern B (partial coloring with smaller spots) was detected in other lesions. The specificity and positive predictive value of pattern A for non-PDAC and those of pattern C for PDAC were 100%. The SWE value was higher in tumor lesions than in the non-tumor tissues (38.1 vs. 9.8 kPa; < 0.001) in patients with PDAC. The SWE value in the non-tumor lesion was higher in patients with PDAC than in control (9.8 vs. 7.5 kPa; < 0.001).

Conclusions: 2D-SWE may play a role as a novel diagnostic tool for PDAC to detect a specific mapping pattern with quantitative assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001884PMC
March 2021

Acquisition of mesenchymal-like phenotypes and overproduction of angiogenic factors in lenvatinib-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2021 04 3;549:171-178. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Lenvatinib is one of the first-line drugs for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and widely used around the world. However, the mechanisms underlying resistance to lenvatinib remain unclear. In this study, we conducted characteristic analyses of lenvatinib-resistant HCC cells. Lenvatinib-resistant HCC cell lines were established by exposure to serially escalated doses of lenvatinib over 2 months. The biological characteristics of these cells were examined by in vitro assays. To investigate the cytokine profile of lenvatinib-resistant HCC cells, the supernatant derived from lenvatinib-resistant Huh7 cells was subjected to nitrocellulose membrane-based sandwich immunoassay. Both activation of the MAPK/MEK/ERK signaling pathway and upregulation of epithelial mesenchymal transition markers were observed in lenvatinib-resistant cells. Concordant with these findings, proliferation and invasion abilities were enhanced in these cells compared with control cells. Screening of a cytokine array spotted with 105 different antibodies to human cytokines enabled us to identify 16 upregulated cytokines in lenvatinib-resistant cells. Among them, 3 angiogenic cytokines: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA), and angiogenin, were increased significantly. Conditioned medium from lenvatinib-resistant cells accelerated tube formation of human umbilical vein cells. In conclusion, lenvatinib-resistant HCC cells were characterized by enhanced proliferation and invasion abilities. These findings might contribute to the establishment of new combination therapies with lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.02.097DOI Listing
April 2021

The impact of FGF19/FGFR4 signaling inhibition in antitumor activity of multi-kinase inhibitors in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Sci Rep 2021 03 5;11(1):5303. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Division of Stem Cell and Molecular Medicine, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8639, Japan.

FGF19/FGFR4 autocrine signaling is one of the main targets for multi-kinase inhibitors (MKIs). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying FGF19/FGFR4 signaling in the antitumor effects to MKIs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear. In this study, the impact of FGFR4/ERK signaling inhibition on HCC following MKI treatment was analyzed in vitro and in vivo assays. Serum FGF19 in HCC patients treated using MKIs, such as sorafenib (n = 173) and lenvatinib (n = 40), was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Lenvatinib strongly inhibited the phosphorylation of FRS2 and ERK, the downstream signaling molecules of FGFR4, compared with sorafenib and regorafenib. Additional use of a selective FGFR4 inhibitor with sorafenib further suppressed FGFR4/ERK signaling and synergistically inhibited HCC cell growth in culture and xenograft subcutaneous tumors. Although serum FGF19 (n = 68) patients treated using sorafenib exhibited a significantly shorter progression-free survival and overall survival than FGF19 (n = 105) patients, there were no significant differences between FGF19 (n = 21) and FGF19 (n = 19) patients treated using lenvatinib. In conclusion, robust inhibition of FGF19/FGFR4 is of importance for the exertion of antitumor effects of MKIs. Serum FGF19 levels may function as a predictive marker for drug response and survival in HCC patients treated using sorafenib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84117-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7935880PMC
March 2021

Propofol midazolam for sedation during radiofrequency ablation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

JGH Open 2021 Feb 22;5(2):273-279. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Departmetn of Anesthesiology, Graduate School of Medicine Chiba University Chiba Japan.

Background And Aim: Standardization of the sedation protocol during radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is needed. This randomized, single-blind, investigator-initiated trial compared clinical outcomes during and after RFA using propofol and midazolam, respectively, in patients with HCC.

Methods: Few- and small-nodule HCC patients (≤3 nodules and ≤3 cm) were randomly assigned to either propofol or midazolam. Patient satisfaction was assessed using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) (1 mm = not at all satisfied, 100 mm = completely satisfied). Sedation recovery rates 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after RFA were evaluated based on Modified Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation (MOAA/S) scores; full recovery was defined as a MOAA/S score of 5.

Results: Between July 2013 and September 2017, 143 patients with HCC were enrolled, and 135 patients were randomly assigned to the treatment group. Compared with midazolam, propofol exhibited similar median procedural satisfaction (propofol: 73.1 mm, midazolam: 76.9 mm, = 0.574). Recovery rates 1 and 2 h after RFA were higher in the propofol group than in the midazolam group. Meanwhile, recovery rates observed 3 and 4 h after RFA were similar in the two groups. The safety profiles during and after RFA were almost identical in the two groups.

Conclusion: Patient satisfaction was almost identical in patients receiving propofol and midazolam sedation during RFA. Propofol sedation resulted in reduced recovery time compared with midazolam sedation in patients with HCC. The safety profiles of both propofol and midazolam sedation during and after RFA were acceptable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgh3.12483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857294PMC
February 2021

The combination of the tubulin binding small molecule PTC596 and proteasome inhibitors suppresses the growth of myeloma cells.

Sci Rep 2021 01 22;11(1):2074. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Hematology, Chiba University Hospital, Chiba, Japan.

The novel small molecule PTC596 inhibits microtubule polymerization and its clinical development has been initiated for some solid cancers. We herein investigated the preclinical efficacy of PTC596 alone and in combination with proteasome inhibitors in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). PTC596 inhibited the proliferation of MM cell lines as well as primary MM samples in vitro, and this was confirmed with MM cell lines in vivo. PTC596 synergized with bortezomib or carfilzomib to inhibit the growth of MM cells in vitro. The combination treatment of PTC596 with bortezomib exerted synergistic effects in a xenograft model of human MM cell lines in immunodeficient mice and exhibited acceptable tolerability. Mechanistically, treatment with PTC596 induced cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase followed by apoptotic cell death, associated with the inhibition of microtubule polymerization. RNA sequence analysis also revealed that PTC596 and the combination with bortezomib affected the cell cycle and apoptosis in MM cells. Importantly, endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by bortezomib was enhanced by PTC596, providing an underlying mechanism of action of the combination therapy. Our results indicate that PTC596 alone and in combination with proteasome inhibition are potential novel therapeutic options to improve outcomes in patients with MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81577-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7822878PMC
January 2021

Analyses of Intermediate-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients Receiving Transarterial Chemoembolization prior to Designing Clinical Trials.

Liver Cancer 2020 Sep 22;9(5):596-612. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: Intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a high frequency of recurrence and progression to advanced stage after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), particularly in patients with high tumor burden. Promising new results from immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and ICI-based therapies are expected to replace TACE, especially in HCC patients with high tumor burden.

Aims: The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of TACE with a view to design clinical trials comparing TACE and ICIs.

Methods: We retrospectively identified intermediate-stage HCC patients undergoing TACE from our database and subdivided patients into low- and high-burden groups based on three subclassification models using the diameter of the maximum tumor and the number of tumors. Clinical outcomes were compared between low- and high-burden intermediate-stage HCC.

Results: Of 1,161 newly diagnosed HCC patients, 316 were diagnosed with intermediate-stage disease and underwent TACE. The median overall survival from high-burden intermediate-stage disease was not significantly different by clinical course, reaching high tumor burden in all subclassification models. The prognosis of high-burden patients after initial TACE was poor compared with low-burden patients for two models (except for the up-to-seven criteria). In all three models, high-burden patients showed a poor durable response rate (DRR) both ≥3 months and ≥6 months and poor prognosis after TACE. Moreover, patients with confirmed durable response ≥3 months and ≥6 months showed better survival outcomes for high-burden intermediate-stage HCC.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the basis for selecting a population that would not benefit from TACE and setting DRR ≥3 months or ≥6 months as alternative endpoints when designing clinical trials comparing TACE and ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000508809DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7548915PMC
September 2020

The Efficacy of Linked Color Imaging in the Endoscopic Diagnosis of Barrett's Esophagus and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma.

Gastroenterol Res Pract 2020 29;2020:9604345. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University Chiba, Japan.

Background: The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of linked color imaging (LCI) in diagnosing Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC).

Methods: A total of 112 and 12 consecutive patients with BE and EAC were analyzed. The visibility scores of BE and EAC ranging from 4 (excellent visibility) to 0 (not detectable) were evaluated by three trainees and three experts using white light imaging (WLI), LCI mode, and blue laser imaging bright (BLI-b) mode. In addition, L∗a∗b∗ color values and color differences (ΔE∗) were evaluated using the CIELAB color space system.

Results: The visibility score of the BE in LCI mode (2.94 ± 1.32) was significantly higher than those in WLI (2.46 ± 1.48) and BLI-b mode (2.35 ± 1.46) ( < 0.01). The color difference (ΔE∗) from the adjacent gastric mucosa in LCI mode (17.11 ± 8.53) was significantly higher than those in other modes (12.52 ± 9.37 in WLI and 11.96 ± 6.59 in BLI-b mode, < 0.01). The visibility scores of EAC in LCI mode (2.56 ± 1.47) and BLI-b mode (2.51 ± 1.28) were significantly higher than that in WLI (1.64 ± 1.46) ( < 0.01). The color difference (ΔE∗) from the adjacent normal Barrett's mucosa in LCI mode (19.96 ± 7.97) was significantly higher than that in WLI (12.95 ± 11.86) ( = 0.03).

Conclusion: The present findings suggest that LCI increases the visibility of BE and EAC and contributes to the improvement of the detection of these lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/9604345DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7542478PMC
September 2020

Potential of Lenvatinib for an Expanded Indication from the REFLECT Trial in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2020 Aug 5;9(4):382-396. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: The present study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of lenvatinib and verify the possibility of lenvatinib for the expanded indication from the REFLECT trial in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in real-world practice, primarily focusing on the population that was excluded in the REFLECT trial.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with advanced HCC who were administered lenvatinib in 7 institutions in Japan.

Results: Of 152 advanced HCC patients, 95 and 57 patients received lenvatinib in first-line and second- or later-line systemic therapies, respectively. The median progression-free survival in Child-Pugh class A patients was nearly equal between first- and second- or later-line therapies (5.2 months; 95% CI 3.7-6.9 for first line, 4.8 months; 95% CI 3.8-5.9 for second or later line, = 0.933). According to the modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, the objective response rate of 27 patients (18%) who showed a high burden of intrahepatic lesions (i.e., main portal vein and/or bile duct invasion or 50% or higher liver occupation) at baseline radiological assessment was 41% and similar with that of other population. The present study included 20 patients (13%) with Child-Pugh class B. These patients observed high frequency rates of liver function-related adverse events due to lenvatinib. The 8-week dose intensity of lenvatinib had a strong correlation with liver function according to both the Child-Pugh and albumin - bilirubin scores.

Conclusion: Lenvatinib had potential benefits for patients with advanced HCC with second- or later-line therapies and a high burden of intrahepatic lesions. Dose modification should be paid increased attention among patients with poor liver function, such as Child-Pugh class B patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000507022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7506220PMC
August 2020

Interferon-γ induced PD-L1 expression and soluble PD-L1 production in gastric cancer.

Oncol Lett 2020 Sep 19;20(3):2161-2168. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) plays an essential role in tumor cell escape from anti-tumor immunity in various types of cancer, including gastric cancer (GC). The present study investigated the intracellular and membrane-bound expression of PD-L1 in the GC cell lines MKN1, MKN74, KATO III and OCUM-1. Furthermore, soluble PD-L1 (sPD-L1) level in the supernatant of GC cells and the serum of patients with GC and healthy controls was determined by ELISA. Interferon (IFN)-γ treatment of cells resulted in increased cytoplasmic expression of PD-L1 in GC cells in a dose-dependent manner, except for MKN74 cells; however, there was no association between tumor necrosis factor-α treatment and enhanced PD-L1 expression. Concordant with these findings, results from flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that membrane-bound PD-L1 expression was also increased following GC cell treatment with IFN-γ in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, significant sPD-L1 overproduction was observed only in the culture supernatant of OCUM-1 cells. Serum level of sPD-L1 was significantly increased in patients with GC, in particular in stage IV patients, compared with healthy controls. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that IFN-γ treatment increased the intracellular and membrane-bound PD-L1 expression in GC cells. In addition, sPD-L1 was detected not only in the supernatant of GC cells but also in the serum of patients with GC. Further investigation on the underlying mechanism of regulation of PD-L1 expression and sPD-L1 production is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400993PMC
September 2020

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study of tivantinib in Japanese patients with MET-high hepatocellular carcinoma.

Cancer Sci 2020 Oct 26;111(10):3759-3769. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Department of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyorin University, Tokyo, Japan.

A previous randomized phase 2 study of hepatocellular carcinoma revealed that the c-Met inhibitor tivantinib as second-line treatment significantly prolonged progression-free survival in a subpopulation whose tumor samples highly expressed c-Met (MET-high). Accordingly, this phase 3 study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of tivantinib as a second-line treatment for Japanese patients with MET-high hepatocellular carcinoma. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted at 60 centers in Japan. Hepatocellular carcinoma patients with one prior sorafenib treatment and those with MET-high tumor samples were eligible for inclusion. Registered patients were randomly assigned to either the tivantinib or placebo group at a 2:1 ratio and were treated with twice-a-day oral tivantinib (120 mg bid) or placebo until the discontinuation criteria were met. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival while the secondary endpoints included overall survival and safety. Between January 2014 and June 2016, 386 patients provided consent, and 195 patients were randomized to the tivantinib (n = 134) or placebo (n = 61) group. Median progression-free survival was 2.8 (95% confidence interval: 2.7-2.9) and 2.3 (1.5-2.8) mo in the tivantinib and placebo groups, respectively (hazard ratio = 0.74, 95% confidence interval: 0.52-1.04, P = .082). Median overall survival was 10.3 (95% confidence interval: 8.1-11.6) and 8.5 (6.2-11.4) mo in the tivantinib and placebo group, respectively (hazard ratio = 0.82, 95% confidence interval: 0.58-1.15). The most common tivantinib-related grade ≥3 adverse events were neutropenia (31.6%), leukocytopenia (24.8%), and anemia (12.0%). This study did not confirm the significant efficacy of tivantinib as a second-line treatment for Japanese patients with MET-high hepatocellular carcinoma. (NCT02029157).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cas.14582DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7541009PMC
October 2020

Long-term administration of Tolvaptan to patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

Int J Med Sci 2020 15;17(7):874-880. Epub 2020 Mar 15.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

: Tolvaptan, an oral vasopressin-2 antagonist, sometimes improves hepatic edema including ascites in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. In this study, we examined the effectiveness and survival advantage in patients with the long-term administration of tolvaptan. : A total of 115 patients with refractory ascites who were treated with tolvaptan were retrospectively analyzed based on their clinical records. Patients with a decrease in body weight of ≥1.5 kg from the baseline on day 7 were determined as responders. Re-exacerbation was defined as a return to the baseline BW, dose escalation of conventional diuretics, or abdominal drainage. : Of the 115 patients, 84 were included in this analysis. Response to tolvaptan treatment was observed in 55 out of the 84 patients (65.5%), with a mean weight reduction of 2.52 kg. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that body mass index (≥24) and urinary specific gravity (≥1.018) were significant predictors of the response to tolvaptan. However, cumulative re-exacerbation rates in responders at 6 and 12 months were 42.4 and 60.1%, respectively. Child-Pugh (classification C), HCC complication, and serum sodium levels (≥133 mEq/L) were determined as independent prognostic factors impacting overall survival (OS). Although there were no significant differences in OS between tolvaptan responders and non-responders, the responders without re-exacerbation within 3 months showed significantly longer OS than those with re-exacerbation within 3 months. : A persistent therapeutic response, but not early response to tolvaptan, was associated with favorable survival of decompensated cirrhotic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.41454DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7163362PMC
February 2021

PD-L1 is induced on the hepatocyte surface via CKLF-like MARVEL transmembrane domain-containing protein 6 up-regulation by the anti-HBV drug Entecavir.

Int Immunol 2020 07;32(8):519-531

Division of Hematological Malignancy, Institute of Medical Sciences, Tokai University, Isehara, Japan.

Chronic hepatitis B is now controllable when treated with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which inhibit hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication. However, once the NRTIs are discontinued, most patients relapse, necessitating lifelong NRTIs treatment. HBV infection relapse is assumed to be caused by the persistent existence of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in the nuclei of infected hepatocytes. The mechanism by which cccDNA-positive hepatocytes escape immune surveillance during NRTIs treatment remains elusive. Entecavir (ETV), a commonly used NRTI, post-transcriptionally up-regulates programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), an immune checkpoint molecule, on the cell surface of hepatocytes regardless of HBV infection. Up-regulation by ETV depends on up-regulation of CKLF-like MARVEL transmembrane domain-containing 6, a newly identified potent regulator of PD-L1 expression on the cell surface. ETV-treated hepatic cells suppressed the activity of primary CD3 T cells and programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)-over-expressed Jurkat cells. Finally, ETV induces PD-L1 in primary hepatocytes infected by HBV. These results provide evidence that ETV considerably up-regulates PD-L1 on the cell surface of infected hepatocytes, which may be one of the mechanisms by which infected hepatocytes subvert immune surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/intimm/dxaa018DOI Listing
July 2020
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