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Bianchi L.,University of Siena | Bruzzese F.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Leone A.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Gagliardi A.,University of Siena | And 8 more authors.
Proteomics | Year: 2011

Several solid tumors are characterized by poor prognosis and few effective treatment options, other than palliative chemotherapy in the recurrent/metastatic setting. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been considered an important anticancer target because it is involved in the development and progression of several solid tumors; however, only a subset of patients show a clinically meaningful response to EGFR inhibition, particularly to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as gefitinib. We have recently demonstrated synergistic antitumor effect of the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat combined with gefitinib. To further characterize the interaction between these two agents, cellular extracts from Hep-2 cancer cells that were untreated or treated for 24h with either vorinostat or gefitinib alone or with a vorinostat/gefitinib combination were analyzed using 2-D DIGE. Software analysis using DeCyder was performed, and numerous differentially expressed protein spots were visualized between the four examined settings. Using MALDI-TOF MS and ESI-Ion trap MS/MS, several differentially expressed proteins were identified; some of these were validated by Western blotting. Finally, a pathway analysis of experimental data performed using MetaCore highlighted a relevant relationship between the identified proteins and additional potential effectors. In conclusion, we performed a comprehensive analysis of proteins regulated by vorinostat and gefitinib, alone and in combination, providing a useful insight into their mechanisms of action as well as their synergistic interaction. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Bruzzese F.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Leone A.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Rocco M.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Carbone C.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2011

Potentiation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors is required in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN) to improve their therapeutic index. We demonstrated that the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat in combination with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib induced synergistic inhibition of proliferation, migration, and invasion as well as induction of apoptosis in SCCHN cells, including cells resistant to gefitinib. We provided evidence suggesting that differential modulation of ErbB receptors together with reversion of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by vorinostat represent mechanistic bases for the observed synergism. We demonstrated in epithelial CAL27 cells expressing EGFR, ErbB2, and ErbB3 that vorinostat downregulated the expression and signaling of all three receptors. In gefitinib-resistant KB and Hep-2 cells, both of which had undergone EMT and expressed very low levels of ErbB3, vorinostat reverted the mesenchymal phenotype by inducing both E-cadherin and ErbB3 and downregulating vimentin as well as EGFR and ErbB2. Both transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms were involved in the modulation of ErbB receptors by vorinostat. Attenuation of all ErbB transcripts in CAL27 cells as well as induction of ErbB3 transcript in Hep-2 and KB cells was seen upon vorinostat treatment. We showed that vorinostat induced ubiquitination of EGFR and ErbB2 and targeted them predominantly to lysosome-degradation in all cell lines, while the induction of ErbB3-ubiquitination in CAL27 cells led to proteasomes-degradation. Overall, this study suggests that the vorinostat/gefitinib combination represents a promising therapeutic strategy that warrants further clinical evaluation in SCCHN, including tumors intrinsically resistant to EGFR-inhibitors. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Sandomenico C.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Costanzo R.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Carillio G.,Medical Oncology Unit | Piccirillo M.C.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 7 more authors.
Current Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2012

Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody directed against Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Evidence about its efficacy in addition to first-line chemotherapy in non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) has been produced by two large randomized phase III clinical trials (ECOG 4599 and AVAiL), conducted in a clinically selected population with non-squamous histology and without major risk factors for bleeding. In the ECOG 4599 trial, the addition of bevacizumab (15 mg/kg) to carboplatin plus paclitaxel produced a statistically significant and clinically relevant improvement in overall survival (OS), that was the primary endpoint of the trial (12.3 months vs 10.3 months, HR 0.79; p=0.003). Furthermore, patients receiving bevacizumab showed a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) and in objective response rates. Treatment with bevacizumab was well tolerated by the majority of patients, but was still associated with increased risk of clinically significant bleeding (4.4% vs 0.7%, p<0.001). In the AVAiL trial the addition of bevacizumab (at the dose of 7.5 and 15 mg/kg) to cisplatin plus gemcitabine produced a small improvement in PFS, but no differences in OS. Information from retrospective analysis and two large observational studies (SAIL and ARIES) have confirmed the safety profile of first-line bevacizumab with a wide range of chemotherapy partners, but whether its efficacy is comparable when combined with the different regimens is still unknown. The identification of predictive factors of efficacy would be relevant for the optimal use of the drug, but to date we have no conclusive data in this direction. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.


Di Gennaro E.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Piro G.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | Chianese M.I.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Franco R.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 9 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2010

Background: Potentiation of anticancer activity of capecitabine is required to improve its therapeutic index. In colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, we evaluated whether the histone deacetylase-inhibitor vorinostat may induce synergistic antitumour effects in combination with capecitabine by modulating the expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), a key enzyme in the conversion of capecitabine to 5-florouracil (5-FU), and thymidylate synthase (TS), the target of 5-FU. Methods: Expression of TP and TS was measured by real-time PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Knockdown of TP was performed by specific small interfering RNA. Antitumour activity of vorinostat was assessed in vitro in combination with the capecitabine active metabolite deoxy-5-fluorouridine (5′-DFUR) according to the Chou and Talay method and by evaluating apoptosis as well as in xenografts-bearing nude mice in combination with capecitabine. Results : Vorinostat induced both in vitro and in vivo upregulation of TP as well as downregulation of TS in cancer cells, but not in ex vivo treated peripheral blood lymphocytes. Combined treatment with vorinostat and 5′-DFUR resulted in a synergistic antiproliferative effect and increased apoptotic cell death in vitro. This latter effect was impaired in cells where TP was knocked. In vivo, vorinostat plus capecitabine potently inhibited tumour growth, increased apoptosis and prolonged survival compared with control or single-agent treatments. Conclusions : Overall, this study suggests that the combination of vorinostat and capecitabine is an innovative antitumour strategy and warrants further clinical evaluation for the treatment of CRC. © 2010 Cancer Research UK.


Milone M.R.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | Pucci B.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | Bruzzese F.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Carbone C.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 10 more authors.
Cell Death and Disease | Year: 2013

The nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BP) zoledronic acid (ZOL) inhibits osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, and it is used to prevent skeletal complications from bone metastases. ZOL has also demonstrated anticancer activities in preclinical models and, recently, in cancer patients, highlighting the interest in determining eventual mechanisms of resistance against this agent. In our study, we selected and characterised a resistant subline of prostate cancer (PCa) cells to better understand the mechanisms, by which tumour cells can escape the antitumour effect of ZOL. DU145R80-resistant cells were selected in about 5 months using stepwise increasing concentrations of ZOL from DU145 parental cells. DU145R80 cells showed a resistance index value of 5.5 and cross-resistance to another N-BP, pamidronate, but not to the non-nitrogen containing BP clodronate. Notably, compared with DU145 parental cells, DU145R80 developed resistance to apoptosis and anoikis, as well as overexpressed the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and oncoprotein c-Myc. Moreover, DU145R80 cells underwent epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and showed increased expression of the metalloproteases MMP-2/9, as well as increased invading capability. Interestingly, compared with DU145, DU145R80 cells also increased the gene expression and protein secretion of VEGF and the cytokines Eotaxin-1 and IL-12. At the molecular level, DU145R80 cells showed strong activation of the p38-MAPK-dependent survival pathway compared with parental sensitive cells. Moreover, using the p38-inhibitor SB203580, we completely reversed the resistance to ZOL, as well as EMT marker expression and invasion. Furthermore, SB203580 treatment reduced the expression of VEGF, Eotaxin-1, IL-12, MMP-9, Bcl-2 and c-Myc. Thus, for the first time, we demonstrate that the p38-MAPK pathway can be activated under continuous extensive exposure to ZOL in PCa cells and that the p38-MAPK pathway has a critical role in the induction of resistance, as well as in the acquisition of a more aggressive and invasive phenotype. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


De Luca A.,Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit | Lamura L.,Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit | Strizzi L.,Northwestern University | Roma C.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | And 9 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2011

Background: CRIPTO-1 (CR-1) is involved in the pathogenesis and progression of human carcinoma of different histological origin. In this study we addressed the expression and the functional role of CR-1 in cutaneous melanoma. Methods: Expression of CR-1 protein in melanomas and melanoma cell lines was assessed by immunohistochemistry, western blotting and/or flow cytometry. Levels of mRNA were evaluated by real-time PCR. Invasion assays were performed in Matrigel-coated modified Boyden chambers. Results: Expression of CR-1 protein and/or mRNA was found in 16 out of 37 primary human cutaneous melanomas and in 12 out of 21 melanoma cell lines. Recombinant CR-1 protein activated in melanoma cells c-Src and, at lesser extent, Smad signalling. In addition, CR-1 significantly increased the invasive ability of melanoma cells that was prevented by treatment with either the ALK4 inhibitor SB-431542 or the c-Src inhibitor saracatinib (AZD0530). Anti-CR-1 siRNAs produced a significant inhibition of the growth and the invasive ability of melanoma cells. Finally, a close correlation was found in melanoma cells between the levels of expression of CR-1 and the effects of saracatinib on cell growth. Conclusion: These data indicate that a significant fraction of cutaneous melanoma expresses CR-1 and that this growth factor is involved in the invasion and proliferation of melanoma cells. © 2011 Cancer Research UK All rights reserved.


Giordano P.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Manzo A.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Montanino A.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Costanzo R.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | And 10 more authors.
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2016

Afatinib is an oral, irreversible, tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) of EGFR, HER2 and HER4. According to phase I studies, the recommended dose of afatinib was 50. mg daily. Rash, acne, diarrhea and stomatitis were the most common adverse events. Afatinib failed to demonstrate an improvement in overall survival in unselected heavily pretreated NSCLC patients (Lux-Lung-1). On the contrary, the Lux-Lung-3 and -6 trials met the primary end point, demonstrating a significant increase in terms of PFS with afatinib compared with chemotherapy in the first line treatment of EGFR mutant patients. Moreover, in both studies, afatinib improved overall survival in patients with exon 19 EGFR deletion (31.7 vs 20.7 months; HR: 0.59, p= 0.0001). The results of ongoing randomized trials should further clarify the efficacy of afatinib compared with first-generation TKIs in advanced NSCLC, its activity in the adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings, as well as its efficacy in other tumors. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Morabito A.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Carillio G.,Azienda Ospedaliera Pugliese Ciaccio | Daniele G.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Piccirillo M.C.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori | And 9 more authors.
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2014

Treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) remains a significant challenge for the oncologists. Attempts to improve the results of first-line treatment have all failed so far and no real progress has been made in last years, emphasizing the need for novel strategies of treatment and the development of validated biomarkers. Patients with limited disease and good performance status should be considered for concomitant chemoradiotherapy, followed by prophylactic cranial irradiation. Patients with extensive disease should be treated with a platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin or carboplatin); chest radiotherapy can be considered in patients achieving extra-thoracic complete response and prophylactic cranial irradiation is recommended for patients responsive to initial chemotherapy. A large number of molecular-targeted drugs and immunomodulators are currently in clinical development: however, only a better understanding of molecular biology of SCLC and the identification of molecular markers predictive of response to targeted agents will lead to advances in the treatment of SCLC. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Normanno N.,Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit | Rachiglio A.M.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | Roma C.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | Fenizia F.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry | Year: 2013

Increasing evidence demonstrates that target-based agents are active only in molecularly selected populations of patients. Therefore, the identification of predictive biomarkers has become mandatory to improve the clinical development of these novel drugs. Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or rearrangements of the ALK gene in non-small-cell lung cancer, and BRAF mutations in melanoma are clear examples of driver mutations and predictive biomarkers of response to treatment with specific inhibitors. Predictive biomarkers might also identify subgroups of patients that are not likely to respond to specific drugs, as shown for KRAS mutations and anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies in colorectal carcinoma. The discovery of novel driver molecular alterations and the availability of drugs capable to selectively block such oncogenic mechanisms are leading to a rapid increase in the number of putative biomarkers that need to be assessed in each single patient. In this respect, two different approaches are being developed to introduce a comprehensive molecular characterization in clinical practice: high throughput genotyping platforms, which allow the detection of recognized genetic aberrations in clinical samples, and next generation sequencing that can provide information on all the different types of cancer-causing alterations. The introduction of these techniques in clinical practice will increase the possibility to identify molecular targets in each individual patient, and will also allow to follow the molecular evolution of the disease during the treatment. By using these approaches, the development of personalized medicine for patients with cancer will finally become possible. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 514-524, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Naviglio S.,The Second University of Naples | Di Gesto D.,The Second University of Naples | Illiano F.,The Second University of Naples | Illiano F.,Centro Of Ricerche Oncologiche Of Mercogliano Crom | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2010

Previously, we have shown that leptin potentiates the antiproliferative action of cAMP elevating agents in breast cancer cells and that the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor KT-5720 prevented the antiproliferative effects induced by the leptin plus cAMP elevation. The present experiments were designed to gain a better understanding about the PKA role in the antitumor interaction between leptin and cAMP elevating agents and on the underlying signaling pathways. Here we show that exposure of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells to leptin resulted in a strong phosphorylation of both ERK1/2 and STAT3. Interestingly, intracellular cAMP elevation upon forskolin pretreatment completely abrogated both ERK1/2 and STAT3 phosphorylation in response to leptin and was accompanied by a consistent CREB phosphorylation. Notably, leptin plus forskolin cotreatments resulted in a strong decrease of both PKA regulatory RIα and catalytic subunits protein levels. Importantly, pretreatment with the PKA inhibitor KT-5720 blocked the forskolin-induced CREB phosphorylation and prevented both the inhibition by forskolin of leptin-induced ERK1/2 and STAT3 phosphorylation and the PKA subunits down-regulation induced by the combination of leptin and forskolin. Altogether, our results indicate that leptin-dependent signaling pathways are influenced by cAMP elevation and identify PKA as relevantly involved in the pharmacological antitumor interaction between leptin and cAMP elevating drugs in MDA-MB-231 cells. We propose a molecular model by which PKA confers its effects. Potential therapeutic applications by our data will be discussed. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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