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Fonsatti E.,University of Siena | Maio M.,University of Siena | Maio M.,Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit | Altomonte M.,University of Siena | Hersey P.,Oncology and Immunology Unit
Seminars in Oncology | Year: 2010

CD40 is a costimulatory molecule widely expressed by immune cells and by neoplastic cells of different histotypes. Engagement of surface CD40 mediates different effects depending on cell type and microenvironment. In particular, CD40 expression on immune cells regulates humoral and cellular immunity, while it has apoptotic and antiproliferative activity on selected neoplastic cells. Thus, CD40 targeting may indirectly affect tumor growth through the activation of immune cells and/or directly by mediating cytotoxic effects on neoplastic cells. Preliminary findings emerging from clinical trials indicate that antibodies to CD40 can induce immune modulation and clinical responses in cancer patients. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Dolcetti R.,Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit | Carbone A.,Centro Of Riferimento Oncologico Aviano Cro
Seminars in Cancer Biology | Year: 2013

Lymphomas that develop in HIV positive patients are predominantly aggressive B-cell malignancies. The most common HIV-associated lymphomas are Burkitt lymphoma (BL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Lymphomas that occur specifically in HIV positive patients include primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and its solid variants, plasmablastic lymphoma of the oral cavity type and lymphoma associated with Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)-related multicentric Castleman disease. These lymphomas, together with BL and immunoblastic lymphoma subtypes with plasmacytoid differentiation, carry Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and display a phenotype related to plasma cells. Globally, EBV is identified in the neoplastic cells of approximately 40% of HIV-associated lymphomas, but the detection of EBV varies considerably with the site of presentation and the histological subtype. EBV infection occurs in 80-100% of primary central nervous system lymphomas and PELs, 80% of DLBCLs with immunoblastic-plasmacytoid features, and 30-50% of BL-plasmacytoid. KSHV is specifically associated with PEL, which usually occurs in a setting of profound immunosuppression. Current knowledge about HIV-associated lymphomas can be summarized as follows: (1) lymphomas specifically occurring in patients with HIV infection are closely linked to other viral diseases; (2) most of these lymphomas exhibit plasmablastic differentiation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Di Giacomo A.M.,University of Siena | Danielli R.,University of Siena | Calabro L.,University of Siena | Bertocci E.,University of Siena | And 10 more authors.
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy | Year: 2011

Aim of study: To evaluate the feasibility of ipilimumab treatment for metastatic melanoma outside the boundaries of clinical trials, in a setting similar to that of daily practice. Methods: Ipilimumab was available upon physician request in the Expanded Access Programme for patients with life-threatening, unresectable stage III/IV melanoma who failed or did not tolerate previous treatments and for whom no therapeutic option was available. Induction treatment with ipilimumab 10 mg/kg was administered intravenously every 3 weeks, for a total of 4 doses, with maintenance doses every 12 weeks based on physicians' discretion and clinical judgment. Tumors were assessed at baseline, Week 12, and every 12 weeks thereafter per mWHO response criteria, and clinical response was scored as complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD), or progressive disease. Durable disease control (DC) was defined as SD at least 24 weeks from the first dose, CR, or PR. Results: Disease control rate at 24 and 60 weeks was 29.6% and 15%, respectively. Median overall survival at a median follow-up of 8.5 months was 9 months. The 1- and 2-year survival rates were 34.8% and 23.5%, respectively. Changes in lymphocyte count slope and absolute number during ipilimumab treatment appear to correlate with clinical response and survival, respectively. Adverse events were predominantly immune related, manageable, and generally reversible. One patient died from pancytopenia, considered possibly treatment related. Conclusion: Ipilimumab was a feasible treatment for malignant melanoma in heavily pretreated, progressing patients. A sizeable proportion of patients experienced durable DC, including benefits to long-term survival. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Taghizadeh R.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Noh M.,Ajou University | Huh Y.H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Ciusani E.,Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: A fundamental problem in cancer research is identifying the cell type that is capable of sustaining neoplastic growth and its origin from normal tissue cells. Recent investigations of a variety of tumor types have shown that phenotypically identifiable and isolable subfractions of cells possess the tumor-forming ability. In the present paper, using two lineage-related human melanoma cell lines, primary melanoma line IGR39 and its metastatic derivative line IGR37, two main observations are reported. The first one is the first phenotypic evidence to support the origin of melanoma cancer stem cells (CSCs) from mutated tissue-specific stem cells; and the second one is the identification of a more aggressive subpopulation of CSCs in melanoma that are CXCR6+. Methods/Findings: We defined CXCR6 as a new biomarker for tissue-specific stem cell asymmetric self-renewal. Thus, the relationship between melanoma formation and ABCG2 and CXCR6 expression was investigated. Consistent with their nonmetastatic character, unsorted IGR39 cells formed significantly smaller tumors than unsorted IGR37 cells. In addition, ABCG2+ cells produced tumors that had a 2-fold greater mass than tumors produced by unsorted cells or ABCG2- cells. CXCR6+ cells produced more aggressive tumors. CXCR6 identifies a more discrete subpopulation of cultured human melanoma cells with a more aggressive MCSC phenotype than cells selected on the basis of the ABCG2+ phenotype alone. Conclusions/Significance: The association of a more aggressive tumor phenotype with asymmetric self-renewal phenotype reveals a previously unrecognized aspect of tumor cell physiology. Namely, the retention of some tissue-specific stem cell attributes, like the ability to asymmetrically self-renew, impacts the natural history of human tumor development. Knowledge of this new aspect of tumor development and progression may provide new targets for cancer prevention and treatment. © 2010 Taghizadeh et al.

Sigalotti L.,Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit | Fratta E.,Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit | Parisi G.,University of Siena | Coral S.,Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit | Maio M.,University of Siena
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2014

Prognostic molecular markers are urgently needed for allowing to discriminate the clinical course of disease of melanoma patients, which is highly heterogeneous and unpredictable also within a specific clinicopathological stage and substage of disease. Alterations in DNA methylation have been reported to be widely present in cutaneous melanoma, profoundly impacting its biology. In line with this notion, we have identified methylation markers as independent prognostic factors in stage IIIC melanoma patients. In this chapter we describe the measurement of the methylation of the Long Interspersed Nucleotide Element-1 sequences in laser capture microdissected tumor tissues as a prognostic tool in stage III melanoma patients, which could help in achieving a more appropriate and patient-tailored clinical management of cutaneous melanoma. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014.

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