Publications by authors named "Walter Berger"

255 Publications

Targeting fibroblast growth factor receptors to combat aggressive ependymoma.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 Aug 27;142(2):339-360. Epub 2021 May 27.

Division of Neuropathology and Neurochemistry, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Ependymomas (EPN) are central nervous system tumors comprising both aggressive and more benign molecular subtypes. However, therapy of the high-risk subtypes posterior fossa group A (PF-A) and supratentorial RELA-fusion positive (ST-RELA) is limited to gross total resection and radiotherapy, as effective systemic treatment concepts are still lacking. We have recently described fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 3 (FGFR1/FGFR3) as oncogenic drivers of EPN. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and their potential as therapeutic targets have not yet been investigated in detail. Making use of transcriptomic data across 467 EPN tissues, we found that FGFR1 and FGFR3 were both widely expressed across all molecular groups. FGFR3 mRNA levels were enriched in ST-RELA showing the highest expression among EPN as well as other brain tumors. We further identified high expression levels of fibroblast growth factor 1 and 2 (FGF1, FGF2) across all EPN subtypes while FGF9 was elevated in ST-EPN. Interrogation of our EPN single-cell RNA-sequencing data revealed that FGFR3 was further enriched in cycling and progenitor-like cell populations. Corroboratively, we found FGFR3 to be predominantly expressed in radial glia cells in both mouse embryonal and human brain datasets. Moreover, we detected alternative splicing of the FGFR1/3-IIIc variant, which is known to enhance ligand affinity and FGFR signaling. Dominant-negative interruption of FGFR1/3 activation in PF-A and ST-RELA cell models demonstrated inhibition of key oncogenic pathways leading to reduced cell growth and stem cell characteristics. To explore the feasibility of therapeutically targeting FGFR, we tested a panel of FGFR inhibitors in 12 patient-derived EPN cell models revealing sensitivity in the low-micromolar to nano-molar range. Finally, we gain the first clinical evidence for the activity of the FGFR inhibitor nintedanib in the treatment of a patient with recurrent ST-RELA. Together, these preclinical and clinical data suggest FGFR inhibition as a novel and feasible approach to combat aggressive EPN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02327-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8270873PMC
August 2021

Development of a cobalt(iii)-based ponatinib prodrug system.

Inorg Chem Front 2021 Mar 30;8(10):2468-2485. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna Waehringer Straße 42 1090 Vienna Austria.

Receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors have become a central part of modern targeted cancer therapy. However, their curative potential is distinctly limited by both rapid resistance development and severe adverse effects. Consequently, tumor-specific drug activation based on prodrug designs, exploiting tumor-specific properties such as hypoxic oxygen conditions, is a feasible strategy to widen the therapeutic window. After proof-of-principal molecular docking studies, we have synthesized two cobalt(iii) complexes using a derivative of the clinically approved Abelson (ABL) kinase and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor ponatinib. Acetylacetone (acac) or methylacetylacetone (Meacac) have been used as ancillary ligands to modulate the reduction potential. The ponatinib derivative, characterized by an ethylenediamine moiety instead of the piperazine ring, exhibited comparable cell-free target kinase inhibition potency. Hypoxia-dependent release of the ligand from the cobalt(iii) complexes was proven by changed fluorescence properties, enhanced downstream signaling inhibition and increased anticancer activity in BCR-ABL- and FGFR-driven cancer models. Respective tumor-inhibiting effects in the BCR-ABL-driven K-562 leukemia model were restricted to the cobalt(iii) complex with the higher reduction potential and confirmed in a FGFR-driven urothelial carcinoma xenograft model. Summarizing, we here present for the first time hypoxia-activatable prodrugs of the clinically approved tyrosine kinase inhibitor ponatinib and a correlation of the activity with their reduction potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1qi00211bDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8129988PMC
March 2021

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

Novel Insights into Diagnosis, Biology and Treatment of Primary Diffuse Leptomeningeal Melanomatosis.

J Pers Med 2021 Apr 12;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Primary diffuse leptomeningeal melanomatosis (PDLMM) is an extremely rare and aggressive cancer type for which best treatment strategies remain to be elucidated. Herein, we present current and prospective diagnostic strategies and treatment management of PDLMM. Against the background of an extensive literature review of published PDLMM cases and currently employed therapeutic strategies, we present an illustrative case of a pediatric patient suffering from PDLMM. We report the first case of a pediatric patient with PDLMM who received combination treatment including trametinib and everolimus, followed by intravenous nivolumab and ipilimumab with concomitant intensive intraventricular chemotherapy, resulting in temporary significant clinical improvement and overall survival of 7 months. Following this clinical experience, we performed a comprehensive literature review, identifying 26 additional cases. By these means, we provide insight into current knowledge on clinical and molecular characteristics of PDLMM. Analysis of these cases revealed that the unspecific clinical presentation, such as unrecognized increased intracranial pressure (present in 67%), is a frequent reason for the delay in diagnosis. Mortality remains substantial despite diverse therapeutic approaches with a median overall survival of 4 months from diagnosis. On the molecular level, to date, the only oncogenic driver reported so far is mutation of ( = 3), underlining a close biological relation to malignant melanoma and neurocutaneous melanosis. We further show, for the first time, that this somatic mutation can be exploited for cerebrospinal fluid liquid biopsy detection, revealing a novel potential biomarker for diagnosis and monitoring of PDLMM. Last, we use a unique patient derived PDLMM cell model to provide first insights into in vitro drug sensitivities. In summary, we provide future diagnostic and therapeutic guidance for PDLMM and first insights into the use of liquid biopsy and in vitro models for this orphan cancer type.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11040292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069125PMC
April 2021

Non-viral gene delivery of the oncotoxic protein NS1 for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Control Release 2021 06 22;334:138-152. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is related to increasing incidence rates and poor clinical outcomes due to lack of efficient treatment options and emerging resistance mechanisms. The aim of the present study is to exploit a non-viral gene therapy enabling the expression of the parvovirus-derived oncotoxic protein NS1 in HCC. This anticancer protein interacts with different cellular kinases mediating a multimodal host-cell death. Lipoplexes (LPX) designed to deliver a DNA expression plasmid encoding NS1 are characterized using a comprehensive set of in vitro assays. The mechanisms of cell death induction are assessed and phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) is identified as a potential predictive biomarker for a NS1-LPX-based gene therapy. In an HCC xenograft mouse model, NS1-LPX therapeutic approach results in a significant reduction in tumor growth and extended survival. Data provide convincing evidence for future studies using a targeted NS1 gene therapy for PDK1 overexpressing HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2021.04.023DOI Listing
June 2021

The FAM3C locus that encodes interleukin-like EMT inducer (ILEI) is frequently co-amplified in MET-amplified cancers and contributes to invasiveness.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Feb 17;40(1):69. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University of Vienna, Borschkegasse 8a, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Gene amplification of MET, which encodes for the receptor tyrosine kinase c-MET, occurs in a variety of human cancers. High c-MET levels often correlate with poor cancer prognosis. Interleukin-like EMT inducer (ILEI) is also overexpressed in many cancers and is associated with metastasis and poor survival. The gene for ILEI, FAM3C, is located close to MET on chromosome 7q31 in an amplification "hotspot", but it is unclear whether FAMC3 amplification contributes to elevated ILEI expression in cancer. In this study we have investigated FAMC3 copy number gain in different cancers and its potential connection to MET amplifications.

Methods: FAMC3 and MET copy numbers were investigated in various cancer samples and 200 cancer cell lines. Copy numbers of the two genes were correlated with mRNA levels, with relapse-free survival in lung cancer patient samples as well as with clinicopathological parameters in primary samples from 49 advanced stage colorectal cancer patients. ILEI knock-down and c-MET inhibition effects on proliferation and invasiveness of five cancer cell lines and growth of xenograft tumors in mice were then investigated.

Results: FAMC3 was amplified in strict association with MET amplification in several human cancers and cancer cell lines. Increased FAM3C and MET copy numbers were tightly linked and correlated with increased gene expression and poor survival in human lung cancer and with extramural invasion in colorectal carcinoma. Stable ILEI shRNA knock-down did not influence proliferation or sensitivity towards c-MET-inhibitor induced proliferation arrest in cancer cells, but impaired both c-MET-independent and -dependent cancer cell invasion. c-MET inhibition reduced ILEI secretion, and shRNA mediated ILEI knock-down prevented c-MET-signaling induced elevated expression and secretion of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. Combination of ILEI knock-down and c-MET-inhibition significantly reduced the invasive outgrowth of NCI-H441 and NCI-H1993 lung tumor xenografts by inhibiting proliferation, MMP expression and E-cadherin membrane localization.

Conclusions: These novel findings suggest MET amplifications are often in reality MET-FAM3C co-amplifications with tight functional cooperation. Therefore, the clinical relevance of this frequent cancer amplification hotspot, so far dedicated purely to c-MET function, should be re-evaluated to include ILEI as a target in the therapy of c-MET-amplified human carcinomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-021-01862-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890988PMC
February 2021

Combined proteomics/miRNomics of dendritic cell immunotherapy-treated glioblastoma patients as a screening for survival-associated factors.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Jan 16;5(1). Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Activartis Biotech GmbH, Vienna, Austria.

Glioblastoma is the most prevalent and aggressive brain cancer. With a median overall survival of ~15-20 months under standard therapy, novel treatment approaches are desperately needed. A recent phase II clinical trial with a personalized immunotherapy based on tumor lysate-charged dendritic cell (DC) vaccination, however, failed to prolong survival. Here, we investigated tumor tissue from trial patients to explore glioblastoma survival-related factors. We followed an innovative approach of combining mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics (n = 36) with microRNA sequencing plus RT-qPCR (n = 38). Protein quantification identified, e.g., huntingtin interacting protein 1 (HIP1), retinol-binding protein 1 (RBP1), ferritin heavy chain (FTH1) and focal adhesion kinase 2 (FAK2) as factor candidates correlated with a dismal prognosis. MicroRNA analysis identified miR-216b, miR-216a, miR-708 and let-7i as molecules potentially associated with favorable tissue characteristics as they were enriched in patients with a comparably longer survival. To illustrate the utility of integrated miRNomics and proteomics findings, focal adhesion was studied further as one example for a pathway of potential general interest.Taken together, we here mapped possible drivers of glioblastoma outcome under immunotherapy in one of the largest DC vaccination tissue analysis cohorts so far-demonstrating usefulness and feasibility of combined proteomics/miRNomics approaches. Future research should investigate agents that sensitize glioblastoma to (immuno)therapy-potentially building on insights generated here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-019-0149-xDOI Listing
January 2020

Interaction with Ribosomal Proteins Accompanies Stress Induction of the Anticancer Metallodrug BOLD-100/KP1339 in the Endoplasmic Reticulum.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2021 03 1;60(10):5063-5068. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Waehringer Str. 38, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

The ruthenium-based anticancer agent BOLD-100/KP1339 has shown promising results in several in vitro and in vivo tumour models as well as in early clinical trials. However, its mode of action remains to be fully elucidated. Recent evidence identified stress induction in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and concomitant down-modulation of HSPA5 (GRP78) as key drug effects. By exploiting the naturally formed adduct between BOLD-100 and human serum albumin as an immobilization strategy, we were able to perform target-profiling experiments that revealed the ribosomal proteins RPL10, RPL24, and the transcription factor GTF2I as potential interactors of this ruthenium(III) anticancer agent. Integrating these findings with proteomic profiling and transcriptomic experiments supported ribosomal disturbance and concomitant induction of ER stress. The formation of polyribosomes and ER swelling of treated cancer cells revealed by TEM validated this finding. Thus, the direct interaction of BOLD-100 with ribosomal proteins seems to accompany ER stress-induction and modulation of GRP78 in cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.202015962DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7986094PMC
March 2021

Cerebrospinal Fluid Penetration and Combination Therapy of Entrectinib for Disseminated -Fusion Positive Pediatric High-Grade Glioma.

J Pers Med 2020 Dec 18;10(4). Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Targeting oncogenic fusion-genes in pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGG) with entrectinib has emerged as a highly promising therapeutic approach. Despite ongoing clinical studies, to date, no reports on the treatment of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) disseminated fusion-positive pHGG exist. Moreover, clinically important information of combination with other treatment modalities such as intrathecal therapy, radiotherapy and other targeted agents is missing. We report on our clinical experience of entrectinib therapy in two CSF disseminated -fusion-positive pHGG cases. Combination of entrectinib with radiotherapy or intrathecal chemotherapy appears to be safe and has the potential to act synergistically with entrectinib treatment. In addition, we demonstrate CSF penetrance of entrectinib for the first time in patient samples suggesting target engagement even upon CSF dissemination. Moreover, in vitro analyses of two novel cell models derived from one case with -fusion revealed that combination therapy with either a MEK (trametinib) or a CDK4/6 (abemaciclib) inhibitor synergistically enhances entrectinib anticancer effects. In summary, our comprehensive study, including clinical experience, CSF penetrance and in vitro data on entrectinib therapy of -fusion-positive pHGG, provides essential clinical and preclinical insights into the multimodal treatment of these highly aggressive tumors. Our data suggest that combined inhibition of and other therapeutic vulnerabilities enhances the antitumor effect, which should be followed-up in further preclinical and clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766483PMC
December 2020

Multicellular contractility contributes to the emergence of mesothelioma nodules.

Sci Rep 2020 11 18;10(1):20114. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Department of Biological Physics, Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) has an overall poor prognosis and unsatisfactory treatment options. MPM nodules, protruding into the pleural cavity may have growth and spreading dynamics distinct that of other solid tumors. We demonstrate that multicellular aggregates can develop spontaneously in the majority of tested MPM cell lines when cultured at high cell density. Surprisingly, the nodule-like aggregates do not arise by excessive local cell proliferation, but by myosin II-driven cell contractility. Prominent actin cables, spanning several cells, are abundant both in cultured aggregates and in MPM surgical specimens. We propose a computational model for in vitro MPM nodule development. Such a self-tensioned Maxwell fluid exhibits a pattern-forming instability that was studied by analytical tools and computer simulations. Altogether, our findings may underline a rational for targeting the actomyosin system in MPM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76641-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675981PMC
November 2020

Cancer Cell Resistance Against the Clinically Investigated Thiosemicarbazone COTI-2 Is Based on Formation of Intracellular Copper Complex Glutathione Adducts and ABCC1-Mediated Efflux.

J Med Chem 2020 11 15;63(22):13719-13732. Epub 2020 Nov 15.

Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Waehringer Strasse 42, Vienna 1090, Austria.

COTI-2 is a novel anticancer thiosemicarbazone in phase I clinical trial. However, the effects of metal complexation (a main characteristic of thiosemicarbazones) and acquired resistance mechanisms are widely unknown. Therefore, in this study, the copper and iron complexes of COTI-2 were synthesized and evaluated for their anticancer activity and impact on drug resistance in comparison to metal-free thiosemicarbazones. Investigations using Triapine-resistant SW480/Tria and newly established COTI-2-resistant SW480/Coti cells revealed distinct structure-activity relationships. SW480/Coti cells were found to overexpress ABCC1, and COTI-2 being a substrate for this efflux pump. This was unexpected, as ABCC1 has strong selectivity for glutathione adducts. The recognition by ABCC1 could be explained by the reduction kinetics of a ternary Cu-COTI-2 complex with glutathione. Thus, only thiosemicarbazones forming stable, nonreducible copper(II)-glutathione adducts are recognized and, in turn, effluxed by ABCC1. This reveals a crucial connection between copper complex chemistry, glutathione interaction, and the resistance profile of clinically relevant thiosemicarbazones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706001PMC
November 2020

p53 Loss Mediates Hypersensitivity to ETS Transcription Factor Inhibition Based on PARylation-Mediated Cell Death Induction.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 30;12(11). Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

The small-molecule E26 transformation-specific (ETS) factor inhibitor YK-4-279 was developed for therapy of ETS/EWS fusion-driven Ewing's sarcoma. Here we aimed to identify molecular factors underlying YK-4-279 responsiveness in ETS fusion-negative cancers. Cell viability screenings that deletion of induced hypersensitization against YK-4-279 especially in the BRAF-mutated colon cancer model RKO. This effect was comparably minor in the BRAF wild-type HCT116 colon cancer model. Out of all ETS transcription factor family members, especially ETS1 overexpression at mRNA and protein level was induced by deletion of specifically under BRAF-mutated conditions. Exposure to YK-4-279 reverted ETS1 upregulation induced by knock-out in RKO cells. Despite upregulation of p53 by YK-4-279 itself in RKOp53 wild-type cells, YK-4-279-mediated hyperphosphorylation of histone histone H2A.x was distinctly more pronounced in the knock-out background. YK-4-279-induced cell death in RKOp53-knock-out cells involved hyperPARylation of PARP1, translocation of the apoptosis-inducible factor AIF into nuclei, and induction of mitochondrial membrane depolarization, all hallmarks of parthanatos. Accordingly, pharmacological PARP as well as BRAF inhibition showed antagonistic activity with YK-4-279 especially in the knock-out background. Taken together, we identified ETS factor inhibition as a promising strategy for the treatment of notoriously therapy-resistant p53-null solid tumours with activating MAPK mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693367PMC
October 2020

Deciphering the chemical instability of sphaeropsidin A under physiological conditions - degradation studies and structural elucidation of the major metabolite.

Org Biomol Chem 2020 Oct;18(40):8147-8160

Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, 7600, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.

The fungal metabolite sphaeropsidin A (SphA) has been recognised for its promising cytotoxicity, particularly towards apoptosis- and multidrug-resistant cancers. Owing to its intriguing activity, the development of SphA as a potential anticancer agent has been pursued. However, this endeavour is compromised since SphA exhibits poor physicochemical stability under physiological conditions. Herein, SphA's instability in biological media was explored utilizing LC-MS. Notably, the degradation tendency was found to be markedly enhanced in the presence of amino acids in the cell medium utilized. Furthermore, the study investigated the presence of degradation adducts, including the identification, isolation and structural elucidation of a major degradation metabolite, (4R)-4,4',4'-trimethyl-3'-oxo-4-vinyl-4',5',6',7'-tetrahydro-3'H-spiro[cyclohexane-1,1'-isobenzofuran]-2-ene-2-carboxylic acid. Considering the reduced cytotoxic potency of aged SphA solutions, as well as that of the isolated degradation metabolite, the reported antiproliferative activity has been attributed primarily to the parent compound (SphA) and not its degradation species. The fact that SphA continues to exhibit remarkable bioactivity, despite being susceptible to degradation, motivates future research efforts to address the challenges associated with this instability impediment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0ob01586eDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7881364PMC
October 2020

Single-Cell RNA-Seq Reveals Cellular Hierarchies and Impaired Developmental Trajectories in Pediatric Ependymoma.

Cancer Cell 2020 07;38(1):44-59.e9

Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.

Ependymoma is a heterogeneous entity of central nervous system tumors with well-established molecular groups. Here, we apply single-cell RNA sequencing to analyze ependymomas across molecular groups and anatomic locations to investigate their intratumoral heterogeneity and developmental origins. Ependymomas are composed of a cellular hierarchy initiating from undifferentiated populations, which undergo impaired differentiation toward three lineages of neuronal-glial fate specification. While prognostically favorable groups of ependymoma predominantly harbor differentiated cells, aggressive groups are enriched for undifferentiated cell populations. The delineated transcriptomic signatures correlate with patient survival and define molecular dependencies for targeted treatment approaches. Taken together, our analyses reveal a developmental hierarchy underlying ependymomas relevant to biological and clinical behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.06.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7479515PMC
July 2020

I Radiolabeling of a Au -NHC Complex for In Vivo Biodistribution Studies.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2020 09 29;59(39):17130-17136. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Donostia International Physics Center, Paseo M. Lardizabal 4, 20018, Donostia, Spain.

Au complexes with N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligands have shown remarkable potential as anticancer agents, yet their fate in vivo has not been thoroughly examined and understood. Reported herein is the synthesis of new Au -NHC complexes by direct oxidation with radioactive [ I]I as a valuable strategy to monitor the in vivo biodistribution of this class of compounds using positron emission tomography (PET). While in vitro analyses provide direct evidence for the importance of Au -to-Au reduction to achieve full anticancer activity, in vivo studies reveal that a fraction of the Au -NHC prodrug is not immediately reduced after administration but able to reach the major organs before metabolic activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.202008046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7540067PMC
September 2020

Cerebrospinal fluid penetration of targeted therapeutics in pediatric brain tumor patients.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2020 06 3;8(1):78. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Treatment with small-molecule inhibitors, guided by precision medicine has improved patient outcomes in multiple cancer types. However, these compounds are often not effective against central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The failure of precision medicine approaches for CNS tumors is frequently attributed to the inability of these compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which impedes intratumoral target engagement. This is complicated by the fact that information on CNS penetration in CNS-tumor patients is still very limited. Herein, we evaluated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drug penetration, a well-established surrogate for CNS-penetration, in pediatric brain tumor patients. We analyzed 7 different oral anti-cancer drugs and their metabolites by high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) in 42 CSF samples obtained via Ommaya reservoirs of 9 different patients. Moreover, we related the resulting data to commonly applied predictors of BBB-penetration including ABCB1 substrate-character, physicochemical properties and in silico algorithms. First, the measured CSF drug concentrations depicted good intra- and interpatient precision. Interestingly, ribociclib, vorinostat and imatinib showed high (> 10 nM), regorafenib and dasatinib moderate (1-10 nM) penetrance. In contrast, panobinostat und nintedanib were not detected. In addition, we identified active metabolites of imatinib and ribociclib. Comparison to well-established BBB-penetrance predictors confirmed low molecular weight, high proportion of free-drug and low ABCB1-mediated efflux as central factors. However, evaluation of diverse in silico algorithms showed poor correlation within our dataset. In summary, our study proves the feasibility of measuring CSF concentration via Ommaya reservoirs thus setting the ground for utilization of this method in future clinical trials. Moreover, we demonstrate CNS presence of certain small-molecule inhibitors and even active metabolites in CSF of CNS-tumor patients and provide a potential guidance for physicochemical and biological factors favoring CNS-penetration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-00953-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7268320PMC
June 2020

Interaction of FGF9 with FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc, a putative driver of growth and aggressive behaviour of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Liver Int 2020 09 17;40(9):2279-2290. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

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

Background & Aims: Recently, overexpression of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) splice variants FGFR3-IIIb and FGFR3-IIIc was found in ~50% of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we aim to identify FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligands, which drive the progression of HCC.

Methods: FACS, MTT assay and/or growth curves served to identify the FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligand being most effective to induce growth of hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cell lines, established from human HCC. The most potent FGF was characterized regarding the expression levels in epithelial and stromal cells of liver and HCC and impact on neoangiogenesis, clonogenicity and invasive growth of hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells.

Results: Among all FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligands tested, FGF9 was the most potent growth factor for hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells. Replication and/or sprouting of blood/lymphendothelial cells was stimulated as well. FGF9 occurred mainly in stromal cells of unaltered liver but in epithelial cells of HCC. Every fifth HCC exhibited overexpressed FGF9 and frequent co-upregulation of FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc. In hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells FGF9 enhanced the capability for clonogenicity and disintegration of the blood and lymphatic endothelium, being most pronounced in cells overexpressing FGFR3-IIIb or FGFR3-IIIc, respectively. Any of the FGF9 effects in hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells was blocked completely by applying the FGFR1-3-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor BGJ398 or siFGFR3, while siFGFR1/2/4 were mostly ineffective.

Conclusions: FGF9 acts via FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc to enhance growth and aggressiveness of HCC cells. Accordingly, blockade of the FGF9-FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc axis may be an efficient therapeutic option for HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14505DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496895PMC
September 2020

Magnetic Temperature-Sensitive Solid-Lipid Particles for Targeting and Killing Tumor Cells.

Front Chem 2020 9;8:205. Epub 2020 Apr 9.

Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czechia.

Magnetic and temperature-sensitive solid lipid particles (mag. SLPs) were prepared in the presence of oleic acid-coated iron oxide (IO-OA) nanoparticles with 1-tetradecanol and poly(ethylene oxide)--poly(ε-caprolactone) as lipid and stabilizing surfactant-like agents, respectively. The particles, typically ~850 nm in hydrodynamic size, showed heat dissipation under the applied alternating magnetic field. Cytotoxic activity of the mag.SLPs, non-magnetic SLPs, and iron oxide nanoparticles was compared concerning the mammalian cancer cell lines and their drug-resistant counterparts using trypan blue exclusion test and MTT assay. The mag.SLPs exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity against human leukemia cell lines growing in suspension (Jurkat and HL-60/wt), as well as the doxorubicin (Dox)- and vincristine-resistant HL-60 sublines. The mag.SLPs showed higher cytotoxicity toward drug-resistant sublines as compared to Dox. The human glioblastoma cell line U251 growing in a monolayer culture was also sensitive to mag.SLPs cytotoxicity. Staining of U251 cells with the fluorescent dyes Hoechst 33342 and propidium iodide (PI) revealed that mag.SLPs treatment resulted in an increased number of cells with condensed chromatin and/or fragmented nuclei as well as with blebbing of the plasma membranes. While the Hoechst 33342 staining of cell suggested the pro-apoptotic activity of the particles, the PI staining indicated the pro-necrotic changes in the target cells. These conclusions were confirmed by Western blot analysis of apoptosis-related proteins, study of DNA fragmentation (DNA laddering due to the inter-nucleosomal cleavage and DNA comets due to single strand breaks), as well as by FACS analysis of the patterns of cell cycle distribution (pre-G1 phase) and Annexin V/PI staining of the treated Jurkat cells. The induction of apoptosis or necrosis by the particles used to treat Jurkat cells depended on the dose of the particles. Production of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) was proposed as a potential mechanism of mag.SLPs-induced cytotoxicity. Accordingly, hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radical levels in mag.SLPs-treated Jurkat leukemic cells were increased by ~20-40 and ~70%, respectively. In contrast, the non-magnetic SLPs and neat iron oxides did not influence ROS levels significantly. Thus, the developed mag.SLPs can be used for effective killing of human tumor cells, including drug-resistant ones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fchem.2020.00205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7161697PMC
April 2020

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

Development and biological investigations of hypoxia-sensitive prodrugs of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib.

Bioorg Chem 2020 06 20;99:103778. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Waehringer Strasse 42, 1090 Vienna, Austria; Research Cluster ''Translational Cancer Therapy Research'', Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Despite the huge success of tyrosine kinase inhibitors as anticancer agents, severe side effects are a major problem. In order to overcome this drawback, the first hypoxia-activatable 2-nitroimidazole-based prodrugs of the clinically approved ALK and c-MET inhibitor crizotinib were developed. The 2-aminopyridine functionality of crizotinib (essential for target kinase binding) was considered as ideal position for prodrug derivatization. Consequently, two different prodrugs were synthesized with the nitroimidazole unit attached to crizotinib either via carbamoylation (A) or alkylation (B) of the 2-aminopyridine moiety. The successful prodrug design could be proven by docking studies and a dramatically reduced ALK and c-MET kinase-inhibitory potential. Furthermore, the prodrugs showed high stability in serum and release of crizotinib in an enzymatic nitroreductase-based cleavage assay was observed for prodrug A. The in vitro activity of both prodrugs was investigated against ALK- and c-MET-dependent or -overexpressing cells, revealing a distinct hypoxia-dependent activation for prodrug A. Finally, inhibition of c-MET phosphorylation and cell proliferation could also be proven in vivo. In summary of the theoretical, chemical and biological studies, prodrug derivatization of the 2-aminopyridine position can be considered as a promising strategy to reduce the side effects and improve the anticancer activity of crizotinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bioorg.2020.103778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611434PMC
June 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

Lipid droplet-mediated scavenging as novel intrinsic and adaptive resistance factor against the multikinase inhibitor ponatinib.

Int J Cancer 2020 09 2;147(6):1680-1693. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

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

Ponatinib is a small molecule multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor clinically approved for anticancer therapy. Molecular mechanisms by which cancer cells develop resistance against ponatinib are currently poorly understood. Likewise, intracellular drug dynamics, as well as potential microenvironmental factors affecting the activity of this compound are unknown. Cell/molecular biological and analytical chemistry methods were applied to investigate uptake kinetics/subcellular distribution, the role of lipid droplets (LDs) and lipoid microenvironment compartments in responsiveness of FGFR1-driven lung cancer cells toward ponatinib. Selection of lung cancer cells for acquired ponatinib resistance resulted in elevated intracellular lipid levels. Uncovering intrinsic ponatinib fluorescence enabled dissection of drug uptake/retention kinetics in vitro as well as in mouse tissue cryosections, and revealed selective drug accumulation in LDs of cancer cells. Pharmacological LD upmodulation or downmodulation indicated that the extent of LD formation and consequent ponatinib incorporation negatively correlated with anticancer drug efficacy. Co-culturing with adipocytes decreased ponatinib levels and fostered survival of cancer cells. Ponatinib-selected cancer cells exhibited increased LD levels and enhanced ponatinib deposition into this organelle. Our findings demonstrate intracellular deposition of the clinically approved anticancer compound ponatinib into LDs. Furthermore, increased LD biogenesis was identified as adaptive cancer cell-defense mechanism via direct drug scavenging. Together, this suggests that LDs represent an underestimated organelle influencing intracellular pharmacokinetics and activity of anticancer tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Targeting LD integrity might constitute a strategy to enhance the activity not only of ponatinib, but also other clinically approved, lipophilic anticancer therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32924DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497038PMC
September 2020

Combined proteomics/miRNomics of dendritic cell immunotherapy-treated glioblastoma patients as a screening for survival-associated factors.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 16;5. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Activartis Biotech GmbH, Vienna, Austria.

Glioblastoma is the most prevalent and aggressive brain cancer. With a median overall survival of ~15-20 months under standard therapy, novel treatment approaches are desperately needed. A recent phase II clinical trial with a personalized immunotherapy based on tumor lysate-charged dendritic cell (DC) vaccination, however, failed to prolong survival. Here, we investigated tumor tissue from trial patients to explore glioblastoma survival-related factors. We followed an innovative approach of combining mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics ( = 36) with microRNA sequencing plus RT-qPCR ( = 38). Protein quantification identified, e.g., huntingtin interacting protein 1 (HIP1), retinol-binding protein 1 (RBP1), ferritin heavy chain (FTH1) and focal adhesion kinase 2 (FAK2) as factor candidates correlated with a dismal prognosis. MicroRNA analysis identified miR-216b, miR-216a, miR-708 and let-7i as molecules potentially associated with favorable tissue characteristics as they were enriched in patients with a comparably longer survival. To illustrate the utility of integrated miRNomics and proteomics findings, focal adhesion was studied further as one example for a pathway of potential general interest. Taken together, we here mapped possible drivers of glioblastoma outcome under immunotherapy in one of the largest DC vaccination tissue analysis cohorts so far-demonstrating usefulness and feasibility of combined proteomics/miRNomics approaches. Future research should investigate agents that sensitize glioblastoma to (immuno)therapy-potentially building on insights generated here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-019-0149-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6965118PMC
January 2020

Combined MEK and PI3K/p110β Inhibition as a Novel Targeted Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma Displaying Sarcomatoid Features.

Cancer Res 2020 02 7;80(4):843-856. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Epithelial Carcinogenesis Group, Spanish National Cancer Centre-CNIO, Madrid, Spain.

Among malignant mesotheliomas (MM), the sarcomatoid subtype is associated with higher chemoresistance and worst survival. Due to its low incidence, there has been little progress in the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms associated with sarcomatoid MM, which might help to define novel therapeutic targets. In this work, we show that loss of PTEN expression is frequent in human sarcomatoid MM and PTEN expression levels are lower in sarcomatoid MM than in the biphasic and epithelioid subtypes. Combined and deletion in mouse mesothelium led to nonepithelioid MM development. In -null mice developing MM, the Gαi2-coupled receptor subunit activated MEK/ERK and PI3K, resulting in aggressive, immune-suppressed tumors. Combined inhibition of MEK and p110β/PI3K reduced mouse tumor cell growth . Therapeutic inhibition of MEK and p110β/PI3K using selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) and AZD8186, two drugs that are currently in clinical trials, increased the survival of ;-null mice without major toxicity. This drug combination effectively reduced the proliferation of primary cultures of human pleural (Pl) MM, implicating nonepithelioid histology and high vimentin, AKT1/2, and Gαi2 expression levels as predictive markers of response to combined MEK and p110β/PI3K inhibition. Our findings provide a rationale for the use of selumetinib and AZD8186 in patients with MM with sarcomatoid features. This constitutes a novel targeted therapy for a poor prognosis and frequently chemoresistant group of patients with MM, for whom therapeutic options are currently lacking. SIGNIFICANCE: Mesothelioma is highly aggressive; its sarcomatoid variants have worse prognosis. Building on a genetic mouse model, a novel combination therapy is uncovered that is relevant to human tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1633DOI Listing
February 2020

The First Anticancer Tris(pyrazolyl)borate Molybdenum(IV) Complexes: Tested in Vitro and in Vivo-A Comparison of O,O-, S,O-, and N,N-Chelate Effects.

Chemistry 2020 Feb 19;26(10):2211-2221. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Waehringer Straße 42, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

The synthesis, characterization and biological activity of molybdenum(IV) complexes containing Trofimenko's scorpionato ligand, hydrotris(3-isopropylpyrazolyl)borate (Tp ), in addition to varying biologically active as well as other conventional ligands is described. Ligands employed include (O,O-) (S,O-) (N,N-) donors that have been successfully coordinated to the molybdenum center by means of oxygen-atom transfer (OAT) reactions from the known Mo starting material, Tp MoO Cl. The synthesized complexes were characterized by standard analytical methods and where possible by X-ray diffraction analysis. The aqueous stability of the compounds was studied by means of UV/Vis spectroscopy and the impact of the attached ligand scaffolds on the oxidation potentials (Mo to Mo ) was studied by cyclic voltammetry. Utilizing polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as a solubilizing agent, adequate aqueous solubility for biological tests was obtained. Anticancer activity tests and preliminary mode of action studies have been performed in vitro and in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201903605DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7064950PMC
February 2020

Correction: Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 induced resistance to radiation therapy in colorectal cancer.

Oncotarget 2019 Sep 3;10(51):5385-5386. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

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

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.12099.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6731104PMC
September 2019

Expression of FGFR1-4 in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Tissue and Corresponding Cell Lines and its Relationship to Patient Survival and FGFR Inhibitor Sensitivity.

Cells 2019 09 16;8(9). Epub 2019 Sep 16.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a devastating malignancy with limited therapeutic options. Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR) and their ligands were shown to contribute to MPM aggressiveness and it was suggested that subgroups of MPM patients could benefit from FGFR-targeted inhibitors. In the current investigation, we determined the expression of all four FGFRs (FGFR1-FGFR4) by immunohistochemistry in tissue samples from 94 MPM patients. From 13 of these patients, we were able to establish stable cell lines, which were subjected to FGFR1-4 staining, transcript analysis by quantitative RT-PCR, and treatment with the FGFR inhibitor infigratinib. While FGFR1 and FGFR2 were widely expressed in MPM tissue and cell lines, FGFR3 and FGFR4 showed more restricted expression. FGFR1 and FGFR2 showed no correlation with clinicopathologic data or patient survival, but presence of FGFR3 in 42% and of FGFR4 in 7% of patients correlated with shorter overall survival. Immunostaining in cell lines was more homogenous than in the corresponding tissue samples. Neither transcript nor protein expression of FGFR1-4 correlated with response to infigratinib treatment in MPM cell lines. We conclude that FGFR3 and FGFR4, but not FGFR1 or FGFR2, have prognostic significance in MPM and that FGFR expression is not sufficient to predict FGFR inhibitor response in MPM cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8091091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769772PMC
September 2019

Long-Term Vemurafenib Exposure Induced Alterations of Cell Phenotypes in Melanoma: Increased Cell Migration and Its Association with EGFR Expression.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Sep 11;20(18). Epub 2019 Sep 11.

2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, H-1091 Budapest, Hungary.

Acquired resistance during BRAF inhibitor therapy remains a major challenge for melanoma treatment. Accordingly, we evaluated the phenotypical and molecular changes of isogeneic human V600E BRAF-mutant melanoma cell line pairs pre- and post-treatment with vemurafenib. Three treatment naïve lines were subjected to in vitro long-term vemurafenib treatment while three pairs were pre- and post-treatment patient-derived lines. Molecular and phenotypical changes were assessed by Sulforhodamine-B (SRB) assay, quantitative RT-PCR (q-RT-PCR), immunoblot, and time-lapse microscopy. We found that five out of six post-treatment cells had higher migration activity than pretreatment cells. However, no unequivocal correlation between increased migration and classic epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers could be identified. In fast migrating cells, the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mRNA levels were considerably lower and significantly higher, respectively. Interestingly, high EGFR expression was associated with elevated migration but not with proliferation. Cells with high EGFR expression showed significantly decreased sensitivity to vemurafenib treatment, and had higher Erk activation and FRA-1 expression. Importantly, melanoma cells with higher EGFR expression were more resistant to the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib treatment than cells with lower expression, with respect to both proliferation and migration inhibition. Finally, EGFR-high melanoma cells were characterized by higher PD-L1 expression, which might in turn indicate that immunotherapy may be an effective approach in these cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770060PMC
September 2019

Preclinical studies on metal based anticancer drugs as enabled by integrated metallomics and metabolomics.

Metallomics 2019 10;11(10):1716-1728

Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Waehringer Strasse 38, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Resistance development is a major obstacle for platinum-based chemotherapy, with the anticancer drug oxaliplatin being no exception. Acquired resistance is often associated with altered drug accumulation. In this work we introduce a novel -omics workflow enabling the parallel study of platinum drug uptake and its distribution between nucleus/protein and small molecule fraction along with metabolic changes after different treatment time points. This integrated metallomics/metabolomics approach is facilitated by a tailored sample preparation workflow suitable for preclinical studies on adherent cancer cell models. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry monitors the platinum drug, while the metabolomics tool-set is provided by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography combined with high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry. The implemented method covers biochemical key pathways of cancer cell metabolism as shown by a panel of >130 metabolite standards. Furthermore, the addition of yeast-based 13C-enriched internal standards upon extraction enabled a novel targeted/untargeted analysis strategy. In this study we used our method to compare an oxaliplatin sensitive human colon cancer cell line (HCT116) and its corresponding resistant model. In the acquired oxaliplatin resistant cells distinct differences in oxaliplatin accumulation correlated with differences in metabolomic rearrangements. Using this multi-omics approach for platinum-treated samples facilitates the generation of novel hypotheses regarding the susceptibility and resistance towards oxaliplatin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c9mt00141gDOI Listing
October 2019

Interim analysis of a real-world precision medicine platform for molecular profiling of metastatic or advanced cancers: MONDTI.

ESMO Open 2019 17;4(4):e000538. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Department of Medicine I, Division of Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.

Background: High-throughput genomic profiling of tumour specimens facilitates the identification of individual actionable mutations which could be used for individualised targeted therapy. This approach is becoming increasingly more common in the clinic; however, the interpretation of results from molecular profiling tests and efficient guiding of molecular therapies to patients with advanced cancer offer a significant challenge to the oncology community.

Experimental Design: MONDTI is a precision medicine platform for molecular characterisation of metastatic solid tumours to identify actionable genomic alterations. From 2013 to 2016, comprehensive molecular profiles derived from real-time biopsy specimens and archived tumour tissue samples of 295 patients were performed. Results and treatment suggestions were discussed within multidisciplinary tumour board meetings.

Results: The mutational profile was obtained from 293 (99%) patients and a complete immunohistochemical (IHC) and cytogenetic profile was obtained in 181 (61%) and 188 (64%) patients. The most frequent cancer types were colorectal cancer (12%), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (9.8%) and head and neck cancers (7.8%). The most commonly detected mutations were (39%), (19%) and (9.5%), whereas ≥1 mutation were identified in 217 (74%) samples. Regarding the results for IHC testing, samples were positive for phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin (phospho-mTOR) (71%), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (68%), mesenchymal epithelial transition (MET) (56%) and/or platelet-derived growth factor alpha (PDGFRα)-expression (48%). Of the 288 tumour samples with one or more genetic alteration detected, 160 (55.6%) targeted therapy recommendations through 67 multidisciplinary tumour board meetings were made; in 69 (24%) cases, an individual treatment concept was initiated.

Conclusions: The results reveal that the open concept for all solid tumours characterised for molecular profile and immunotherapy could not only match individualised treatment concepts at a high rate but also underscores the challenges encountered when offering molecularly matched therapies to a patient population with an advanced stage cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2019-000538DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677998PMC
July 2019
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