Publications by authors named "Viola Allaj"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Regenerative lineages and immune-mediated pruning in lung cancer metastasis.

Nat Med 2020 02 10;26(2):259-269. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Developmental processes underlying normal tissue regeneration have been implicated in cancer, but the degree of their enactment during tumor progression and under the selective pressures of immune surveillance, remain unknown. Here we show that human primary lung adenocarcinomas are characterized by the emergence of regenerative cell types, typically seen in response to lung injury, and by striking infidelity among transcription factors specifying most alveolar and bronchial epithelial lineages. In contrast, metastases are enriched for key endoderm and lung-specifying transcription factors, SOX2 and SOX9, and recapitulate more primitive transcriptional programs spanning stem-like to regenerative pulmonary epithelial progenitor states. This developmental continuum mirrors the progressive stages of spontaneous outbreak from metastatic dormancy in a mouse model and exhibits SOX9-dependent resistance to natural killer cells. Loss of developmental stage-specific constraint in macrometastases triggered by natural killer cell depletion suggests a dynamic interplay between developmental plasticity and immune-mediated pruning during metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0750-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021003PMC
February 2020

Peptide-based PET quantifies target engagement of PD-L1 therapeutics.

J Clin Invest 2019 02 7;129(2):616-630. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

The Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Immune checkpoint therapies have shown tremendous promise in cancer therapy. However, tools to assess their target engagement, and hence the ability to predict their efficacy, have been lacking. Here, we show that target engagement and tumor-residence kinetics of antibody therapeutics targeting programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) can be quantified noninvasively. In computational docking studies, we observed that PD-L1-targeted monoclonal antibodies (atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab) and a high-affinity PD-L1-binding peptide, WL12, have common interaction sites on PD-L1. Using the peptide radiotracer [64Cu]WL12 in vivo, we employed positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and biodistribution studies in multiple xenograft models and demonstrated that variable PD-L1 expression and its saturation by atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab can be quantified independently of biophysical properties and pharmacokinetics of antibodies. Next, we used [64Cu]WL12 to evaluate the impact of time and dose on the unoccupied fraction of tumor PD-L1 during treatment. These quantitative measures enabled, by mathematical modeling, prediction of antibody doses needed to achieve therapeutically effective occupancy (defined as >90%). Thus, we show that peptide-based PET is a promising tool for optimizing dose and therapeutic regimens employing PD-L1 checkpoint antibodies, and can be used for improving therapeutic efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI122216DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6355241PMC
February 2019

Keap1 loss promotes Kras-driven lung cancer and results in dependence on glutaminolysis.

Nat Med 2017 Nov 2;23(11):1362-1368. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Treating KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) remains a major challenge in cancer treatment given the difficulties associated with directly inhibiting the KRAS oncoprotein. One approach to addressing this challenge is to define mutations that frequently co-occur with those in KRAS, which themselves may lead to therapeutic vulnerabilities in tumors. Approximately 20% of KRAS-mutant LUAD tumors carry loss-of-function mutations in the KEAP1 gene encoding Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (refs. 2, 3, 4), a negative regulator of nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (NFE2L2; hereafter NRF2), which is the master transcriptional regulator of the endogenous antioxidant response. The high frequency of mutations in KEAP1 suggests an important role for the oxidative stress response in lung tumorigenesis. Using a CRISPR-Cas9-based approach in a mouse model of KRAS-driven LUAD, we examined the effects of Keap1 loss in lung cancer progression. We show that loss of Keap1 hyperactivates NRF2 and promotes KRAS-driven LUAD in mice. Through a combination of CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic screening and metabolomic analyses, we show that Keap1- or Nrf2-mutant cancers are dependent on increased glutaminolysis, and this property can be therapeutically exploited through the pharmacological inhibition of glutaminase. Finally, we provide a rationale for stratification of human patients with lung cancer harboring KRAS/KEAP1- or KRAS/NRF2-mutant lung tumors as likely to respond to glutaminase inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.4407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677540PMC
November 2017

Noninvasive Interrogation of DLL3 Expression in Metastatic Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Cancer Res 2017 07 9;77(14):3931-3941. Epub 2017 May 9.

Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

The Notch ligand DLL3 has emerged as a novel therapeutic target expressed in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas. Rovalpituzumab teserine (Rova-T; SC16LD6.5) is a first-in-class DLL3-targeted antibody-drug conjugate with encouraging initial safety and efficacy profiles in SCLC in the clinic. Here we demonstrate that tumor expression of DLL3, although orders of magnitude lower in surface protein expression than typical oncology targets of immunoPET, can serve as an imaging biomarker for SCLC. We developed Zr-labeled SC16 antibody as a companion diagnostic agent to facilitate selection of patients for treatment with Rova-T based on a noninvasive interrogation of the status of DLL3 expression using PET imaging. Despite low cell-surface abundance of DLL3, immunoPET imaging with Zr-labeled SC16 antibody enabled delineation of subcutaneous and orthotopic SCLC tumor xenografts as well as distant organ metastases with high sensitivity. Uptake of the radiotracer in tumors was concordant with levels of DLL3 expression and, most notably, DLL3 immunoPET yielded rank-order correlation for response to SC16LD6.5 therapy in SCLC patient-derived xenograft models. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-0299DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5534176PMC
July 2017

Quantitation of Murine Stroma and Selective Purification of the Human Tumor Component of Patient-Derived Xenografts for Genomic Analysis.

PLoS One 2016 9;11(9):e0160587. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

Molecular Pharmacology & Chemistry Program and Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, United States of America.

Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models are increasingly used for preclinical therapeutic testing of human cancer. A limitation in molecular and genetic characterization of PDX tumors is the presence of integral murine stroma. This is particularly problematic for genomic sequencing of PDX models. Rapid and dependable approaches for quantitating stromal content and purifying the malignant human component of these tumors are needed. We used a recently developed technique exploiting species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicon length (ssPAL) differences to define the fractional composition of murine and human DNA, which was proportional to the fractional composition of cells in a series of lung cancer PDX lines. We compared four methods of human cancer cell isolation: fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), an immunomagnetic mouse cell depletion (MCD) approach, and two distinct EpCAM-based immunomagnetic positive selection methods. We further analyzed DNA extracted from the resulting enriched human cancer cells by targeted sequencing using a clinically validated multi-gene panel. Stromal content varied widely among tumors of similar histology, but appeared stable over multiple serial tumor passages of an individual model. FACS and MCD were superior to either positive selection approach, especially in cases of high stromal content, and consistently allowed high quality human-specific genomic profiling. ssPAL is a dependable approach to quantitation of murine stromal content, and MCD is a simple, efficient, and high yield approach to human cancer cell isolation for genomic analysis of PDX tumors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0160587PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5017757PMC
August 2017

Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, prostaglandins, and cancer.

Cell Biosci 2013 Feb 6;3(1). Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Simmons Cancer Institute, Springfield, IL, 62794, USA.

Fatty acids are involved in multiple pathways and play a pivotal role in health. Eicosanoids, derived from arachidonic acid, have received extensive attention in the field of cancer research. Following release from the phospholipid membrane, arachidonic acid can be metabolized into different classes of eicosanoids through cyclooxygenases, lipoxygenases, or p450 epoxygenase pathways. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely consumed as analgesics to relieve minor aches and pains, as antipyretics to reduce fever, and as anti-inflammatory medications. Most NSAIDs are nonselective inhibitors of cyclooxygenases, the rate limiting enzymes in the formation of prostaglandins. Long term use of some NSAIDs has been linked with reduced incidence and mortality in many cancers. In this review, we appraise the biological activities of prostanoids and their cognate receptors in the context of cancer biology. The existing literature supports that these lipid mediators are involved to a great extent in the occurrence and progression of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2045-3701-3-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599181PMC
February 2013