Getting to Know Cancer

Truro, Canada

Getting to Know Cancer

Truro, Canada
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Miller M.F.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Goodson W.H.,California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute | Manjili M.H.,Virginia Commonwealth University | Kleinstreuer N.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2017

Background: The current single-chemical-as-carcinogen risk assessment paradigm might underestimate or miss the cumulative effects of exposure to chemical mixtures, as highlighted in recent work from the Halifax Project. This is particularly important for chemical exposures in the low-dose range that may be affecting crucial cancer hallmark mechanisms that serve to enable carcinogenesis. Objective: Could ongoing low-dose exposures to a mixture of commonly encountered environmental chemicals produce effects in concert that lead to carcinogenesis? A workshop held at the NIEHS in August 2015 evaluated the scientific support for the low-dose mixture hypothesis of carcinogenesis and developed a research agenda. Here we describe the science that supports this novel theory, identify knowledge gaps, recommend future methodologies, and explore preventative risk assessment and policy decision-making that incorporates cancer biology, environmental health science, translational toxicology, and clinical epidemiology. Discussion and Conclusions: The theoretical merits of the low-dose carcinogenesis hypothesis are well founded with clear biological relevance, and therefore, the premise warrants further investigation. Expert recommendations include the need for better insights into the ways in which noncarcinogenic constituents might combine to uniquely affect the process of cellular transformation (in vitro) and environmental carcinogenesis (in vivo), including investigations of the role of key defense mechanisms in maintaining transformed cells in a dormant state. The scientific community will need to acknowledge limitations of animal-based models in predicting human responses; evaluate biological events leading to carcinogenesis both spatially and temporally; examine the overlap between measurable cancer hallmarks and characteristics of carcinogens; incorporate epigenetic biomarkers, in silico modelling, high-performance computing and high-resolution imaging, microbiome, metabolomics, and transcriptomics into future research efforts; and build molecular annotations of network perturbations. The restructuring of many existing regulatory frameworks will require adequate testing of relevant environmental mixtures to build a critical mass of evidence on which to base policy decisions. © 2017, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved.


Mohammad R.M.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Mohammad R.M.,Hamad Medical Corporation | Muqbil I.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Lowe L.,Getting to Know Cancer | And 37 more authors.
Seminars in Cancer Biology | Year: 2015

Apoptosis or programmed cell death is natural way of removing aged cells from the body. Most of the anti-cancer therapies trigger apoptosis induction and related cell death networks to eliminate malignant cells. However, in cancer, de-regulated apoptotic signaling, particularly the activation of an anti-apoptotic systems, allows cancer cells to escape this program leading to uncontrolled proliferation resulting in tumor survival, therapeutic resistance and recurrence of cancer. This resistance is a complicated phenomenon that emanates from the interactions of various molecules and signaling pathways. In this comprehensive review we discuss the various factors contributing to apoptosis resistance in cancers. The key resistance targets that are discussed include (1) Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 proteins; (2) autophagy processes; (3) necrosis and necroptosis; (4) heat shock protein signaling; (5) the proteasome pathway; (6) epigenetic mechanisms; and (7) aberrant nuclear export signaling. The shortcomings of current therapeutic modalities are highlighted and a broad spectrum strategy using approaches including (a) gossypol; (b) epigallocatechin-3-gallate; (c) UMI-77 (d) triptolide and (e) selinexor that can be used to overcome cell death resistance is presented. This review provides a roadmap for the design of successful anti-cancer strategies that overcome resistance to apoptosis for better therapeutic outcome in patients with cancer. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | University of Southern Maine, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Getting to Know Cancer, Dalhousie University and 112 more.
Type: | Journal: Carcinogenesis | Year: 2015

Lifestyle factors are responsible for a considerable portion of cancer incidence worldwide, but credible estimates from the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggest that the fraction of cancers attributable to toxic environmental exposures is between 7% and 19%. To explore the hypothesis that low-dose exposures to mixtures of chemicals in the environment may be combining to contribute to environmental carcinogenesis, we reviewed 11 hallmark phenotypes of cancer, multiple priority target sites for disruption in each area and prototypical chemical disruptors for all targets, this included dose-response characterizations, evidence of low-dose effects and cross-hallmark effects for all targets and chemicals. In total, 85 examples of chemicals were reviewed for actions on key pathways/mechanisms related to carcinogenesis. Only 15% (13/85) were found to have evidence of a dose-response threshold, whereas 59% (50/85) exerted low-dose effects. No dose-response information was found for the remaining 26% (22/85). Our analysis suggests that the cumulative effects of individual (non-carcinogenic) chemicals acting on different pathways, and a variety of related systems, organs, tissues and cells could plausibly conspire to produce carcinogenic synergies. Additional basic research on carcinogenesis and research focused on low-dose effects of chemical mixtures needs to be rigorously pursued before the merits of this hypothesis can be further advanced. However, the structure of the World Health Organization International Programme on Chemical Safety Mode of Action framework should be revisited as it has inherent weaknesses that are not fully aligned with our current understanding of cancer biology.


PubMed | Purdue University, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Getting to Know Cancer, Tzu Chi University and 23 more.
Type: | Journal: Seminars in cancer biology | Year: 2015

Apoptosis or programmed cell death is natural way of removing aged cells from the body. Most of the anti-cancer therapies trigger apoptosis induction and related cell death networks to eliminate malignant cells. However, in cancer, de-regulated apoptotic signaling, particularly the activation of an anti-apoptotic systems, allows cancer cells to escape this program leading to uncontrolled proliferation resulting in tumor survival, therapeutic resistance and recurrence of cancer. This resistance is a complicated phenomenon that emanates from the interactions of various molecules and signaling pathways. In this comprehensive review we discuss the various factors contributing to apoptosis resistance in cancers. The key resistance targets that are discussed include (1) Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 proteins; (2) autophagy processes; (3) necrosis and necroptosis; (4) heat shock protein signaling; (5) the proteasome pathway; (6) epigenetic mechanisms; and (7) aberrant nuclear export signaling. The shortcomings of current therapeutic modalities are highlighted and a broad spectrum strategy using approaches including (a) gossypol; (b) epigallocatechin-3-gallate; (c) UMI-77 (d) triptolide and (e) selinexor that can be used to overcome cell death resistance is presented. This review provides a roadmap for the design of successful anti-cancer strategies that overcome resistance to apoptosis for better therapeutic outcome in patients with cancer.


PubMed | University Putra Malaysia, Getting to Know Cancer, National Research Council Italy, Mahidol University and 24 more.
Type: | Journal: Carcinogenesis | Year: 2015

Cell death is a process of dying within biological cells that are ceasing to function. This process is essential in regulating organism development, tissue homeostasis, and to eliminate cells in the body that are irreparably damaged. In general, dysfunction in normal cellular death is tightly linked to cancer progression. Specifically, the up-regulation of pro-survival factors, including oncogenic factors and antiapoptotic signaling pathways, and the down-regulation of pro-apoptotic factors, including tumor suppressive factors, confers resistance to cell death in tumor cells, which supports the emergence of a fully immortalized cellular phenotype. This review considers the potential relevance of ubiquitous environmental chemical exposures that have been shown to disrupt key pathways and mechanisms associated with this sort of dysfunction. Specifically, bisphenol A, chlorothalonil, dibutyl phthalate, dichlorvos, lindane, linuron, methoxychlor and oxyfluorfen are discussed as prototypical chemical disruptors; as their effects relate to resistance to cell death, as constituents within environmental mixtures and as potential contributors to environmental carcinogenesis.


PubMed | Karolinska Institutet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Getting to Know Cancer and 114 more.
Type: | Journal: Seminars in cancer biology | Year: 2015

Targeted therapies and the consequent adoption of personalized oncology have achieved notable successes in some cancers; however, significant problems remain with this approach. Many targeted therapies are highly toxic, costs are extremely high, and most patients experience relapse after a few disease-free months. Relapses arise from genetic heterogeneity in tumors, which harbor therapy-resistant immortalized cells that have adopted alternate and compensatory pathways (i.e., pathways that are not reliant upon the same mechanisms as those which have been targeted). To address these limitations, an international task force of 180 scientists was assembled to explore the concept of a low-toxicity broad-spectrum therapeutic approach that could simultaneously target many key pathways and mechanisms. Using cancer hallmark phenotypes and the tumor microenvironment to account for the various aspects of relevant cancer biology, interdisciplinary teams reviewed each hallmark area and nominated a wide range of high-priority targets (74 in total) that could be modified to improve patient outcomes. For these targets, corresponding low-toxicity therapeutic approaches were then suggested, many of which were phytochemicals. Proposed actions on each target and all of the approaches were further reviewed for known effects on other hallmark areas and the tumor microenvironment. Potential contrary or procarcinogenic effects were found for 3.9% of the relationships between targets and hallmarks, and mixed evidence of complementary and contrary relationships was found for 7.1%. Approximately 67% of the relationships revealed potentially complementary effects, and the remainder had no known relationship. Among the approaches, 1.1% had contrary, 2.8% had mixed and 62.1% had complementary relationships. These results suggest that a broad-spectrum approach should be feasible from a safety standpoint. This novel approach has potential to be relatively inexpensive, it should help us address stages and types of cancer that lack conventional treatment, and it may reduce relapse risks. A proposed agenda for future research is offered.


PubMed | S. Orsola Malpighi University Hospital, McGill University, University Putra Malaysia, Colorado State University and 16 more.
Type: | Journal: Carcinogenesis | Year: 2015

An emerging area in environmental toxicology is the role that chemicals and chemical mixtures have on the cells of the human immune system. This is an important area of research that has been most widely pursued in relation to autoimmune diseases and allergy/asthma as opposed to cancer causation. This is despite the well-recognized role that innate and adaptive immunity play as essential factors in tumorigenesis. Here, we review the role that the innate immune cells of inflammatory responses play in tumorigenesis. Focus is placed on the molecules and pathways that have been mechanistically linked with tumor-associated inflammation. Within the context of chemically induced disturbances in immune function as co-factors in carcinogenesis, the evidence linking environmental toxicant exposures with perturbation in the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory responses is reviewed. Reported effects of bisphenol A, atrazine, phthalates and other common toxicants on molecular and cellular targets involved in tumor-associated inflammation (e.g. cyclooxygenase/prostaglandin E2, nuclear factor kappa B, nitric oxide synthesis, cytokines and chemokines) are presented as example chemically mediated target molecule perturbations relevant to cancer. Commentary on areas of additional research including the need for innovation and integration of systems biology approaches to the study of environmental exposures and cancer causation are presented.


PubMed | University Putra Malaysia, Regulatory Toxicology Research Division, University of Strasbourg, Getting to Know Cancer and 18 more.
Type: | Journal: Carcinogenesis | Year: 2015

One of the important hallmarks of cancer is angiogenesis, which is the process of formation of new blood vessels that are necessary for tumor expansion, invasion and metastasis. Under normal physiological conditions, angiogenesis is well balanced and controlled by endogenous proangiogenic factors and antiangiogenic factors. However, factors produced by cancer cells, cancer stem cells and other cell types in the tumor stroma can disrupt the balance so that the tumor microenvironment favors tumor angiogenesis. These factors include vascular endothelial growth factor, endothelial tissue factor and other membrane bound receptors that mediate multiple intracellular signaling pathways that contribute to tumor angiogenesis. Though environmental exposures to certain chemicals have been found to initiate and promote tumor development, the role of these exposures (particularly to low doses of multiple substances), is largely unknown in relation to tumor angiogenesis. This review summarizes the evidence of the role of environmental chemical bioactivity and exposure in tumor angiogenesis and carcinogenesis. We identify a number of ubiquitous (prototypical) chemicals with disruptive potential that may warrant further investigation given their selectivity for high-throughput screening assay targets associated with proangiogenic pathways. We also consider the cross-hallmark relationships of a number of important angiogenic pathway targets with other cancer hallmarks and we make recommendations for future research. Understanding of the role of low-dose exposure of chemicals with disruptive potential could help us refine our approach to cancer risk assessment, and may ultimately aid in preventing cancer by reducing or eliminating exposures to synergistic mixtures of chemicals with carcinogenic potential.


PubMed | Virginia Commonwealth University, Public Health England, Baylor College of Medicine, Kuwait University and 15 more.
Type: | Journal: Carcinogenesis | Year: 2015

An increasing number of studies suggest an important role of host immunity as a barrier to tumor formation and progression. Complex mechanisms and multiple pathways are involved in evading innate and adaptive immune responses, with a broad spectrum of chemicals displaying the potential to adversely influence immunosurveillance. The evaluation of the cumulative effects of low-dose exposures from the occupational and natural environment, especially if multiple chemicals target the same gene(s) or pathway(s), is a challenge. We reviewed common environmental chemicals and discussed their potential effects on immunosurveillance. Our overarching objective was to review related signaling pathways influencing immune surveillance such as the pathways involving PI3K/Akt, chemokines, TGF-, FAK, IGF-1, HIF-1, IL-6, IL-1, CTLA-4 and PD-1/PDL-1 could individually or collectively impact immunosurveillance. A number of chemicals that are common in the anthropogenic environment such as fungicides (maneb, fluoxastrobin and pyroclostrobin), herbicides (atrazine), insecticides (pyridaben and azamethiphos), the components of personal care products (triclosan and bisphenol A) and diethylhexylphthalate with pathways critical to tumor immunosurveillance. At this time, these chemicals are not recognized as human carcinogens; however, it is known that they these chemicalscan simultaneously persist in the environment and appear to have some potential interfere with the host immune response, therefore potentially contributing to promotion interacting with of immune evasion mechanisms, and promoting subsequent tumor growth and progression.

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