Napoli, Italy


Napoli, Italy
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Castellone M.D.,CNR Institute Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology Gaetano Salvatore | Castellone M.D.,University of Naples Federico II | Laukkanen M.O.,IRCCS SDN
Frontiers in Bioscience - Scholar | Year: 2017

Activation of resting fibroblasts to myofibroblasts characterizes several physiological and pathological conditions, from wound healing to aggressive metastatic cancers. In tissue damage, including wound healing, fibroblasts are activated in response to injury for a limited period of time to stimulate the healing process. Similar biological mechanisms are maintained in pathological conditions, e.g., scleroderma and cancer, where myofibroblasts persist in producing cytokines and growth factors to drive the development of fibrosis and the progression of disease. Studies characterizing the bi-directional signal transduction pathways between cancer cells and stromal cells have suggested novel druggable targets that may function in both the inhibition of fibrotic reactions in cancer stroma and in the inhibition of fibrotic diseases. In this review, we focus on transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), int/Wingless (WNT), and sonic hedgehog (SHH) signal transduction pathways and describe small molecule inhibitors that are used in phase I/II clinical trials to treat fibrosis or fibrotic cancers.

Cicatiello A.G.,University of Naples Federico II | Ambrosio R.,IRCCS SDN | Dentice M.,University of Naples Federico II
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology | Year: 2017

Tumor formation and maintenance depend on a small fraction of cancer stem cells (CSCs) that can self-renew and generate a wide variety of differentiated cells. CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, and can represent a reservoir of cancer cells that often cause relapse after treatment. Evidence suggests that CSCs also give rise to metastases. Thyroid hormone (TH) controls a variety of biological processes including the development and functioning of most adult tissues. Recent years has seen the emergence of an intimate link between TH and multiple steps of tumorigenesis. Thyroid hormone controls the balance between the proliferation and differentiation of CSCs, and may thus be a druggable anti-cancer agent. Here, we review current understanding of the effects of TH on colorectal CSCs, including the cross regulatory loops between TH and regulators of CSC stemness. Targeting TH in the tumor microenvironment may improve treatment strategies. © 2017.

Mollo M.R.,CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate | Antonini D.,IRCCS SDN | Cirillo L.,CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate | Missero C.,CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate
The Journal of investigative dermatology | Year: 2016

Xenotransplantation is a widely used technique to test the tumorigenic potential of human cells in vivo using immunodeficient mice. Here we describe basic technologies and recent advances in xenotransplantation applied to study squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the skin. SCC cells isolated from tumors can either be cultured to generate a cell line or injected directly into mice. Several immunodeficient mouse models are available for selection based on the experimental design and the type of tumorigenicity assay. Subcutaneous injection is the most widely used technique for xenotransplantation because it involves a simple procedure allowing the use of a large number of cells, although it may not mimic the original tumor environment. SCC cell injections at the epidermal-to-dermal junction or grafting of organotypic cultures containing human stroma have also been used to more closely resemble the tumor environment. Mixing of SCC cells with cancer-associated fibroblasts can allow the study of their interaction and reciprocal influence, which can be followed in real time by intradermal ear injection using conventional fluorescent microscopy. In this article, we will review recent advances in xenotransplantation technologies applied to study behavior of SCC cells and their interaction with the tumor environment in vivo. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Pace L.,University of Salerno | Nicolai E.,IRCCS SDN | Luongo A.,University of Naples Federico II | Aiello M.,IRCCS SDN | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Radiology | Year: 2014

Purpose To compare the performance of PET/MRI imaging using MR attenuation correction (MRAC) (DIXON-based 4-segment -map) in breast cancer patients with that of PET/CT using CT-based attenuation correction and to compare the quantification accuracy in lesions and in normal organ tissues. Methods A total of 36 patients underwent a whole-body PET/CT scan 1 h after injection and an average of 62 min later a second scan using a hybrid PET/MRI system. PET/MRI and PET/CT were compared visually by rating anatomic allocation and image contrast. Regional tracer uptake in lesions was quantified using volumes of interest, and maximal and mean standardized uptake values (SUVmax and SUVmean, respectively) were calculated. Metabolic tumor volume (MTV) of each lesion was computed on PET/MRI and PET/CT. Tracer uptake in normal organ tissue was assessed as SUVmax and SUVmean in liver, spleen, left ventricular myocardium, lung, and muscle. Results Overall 74 FDG positive lesions were visualized by both PET/CT and PET/MRI. No significant differences in anatomic allocation scores were found between PET/CT and PERT/MRI, while contrast score of lesions on PET/MRI was significantly higher. Both SUVmax and SUVmean of lesions were significantly higher on PET/MRI than on PET/CT, with strong correlations between PET/MRI and PET/CT data (ρ = 0.71-0.88). MTVs of all lesions were 4% lower on PET/MRI than on PET/CT, but no statistically significant difference was observed, and an excellent correlation between measurements of MTV with PET/MRI and PET/CT was found (ρ = 0.95-0.97; p < 0.0001). Both SUVmax and SUVmean were significantly lower by PET/MRI than by PET/CT for lung, liver and muscle, no significant difference was observed for spleen, while either SUVmax and SUVmean of myocardium were significantly higher by PET/MRI. High correlations were found between PET/MRI and PET/CT for both SUVmax and SUVmean of the left ventricular myocardium (ρ = 0.91; p < 0.0001), while moderate correlations were found for the other normal organ tissues (ρ = 0.36-0.61; p < 0.05). Conclusions PET/MRI showed equivalent performance in terms of qualitative lesion detection to PET/CT. Despite significant differences in tracer uptake quantification, due to either methodological and biological factors, PET/MRI and PET/CT measurements in lesions and normal organ tissues correlated well. This study demonstrates that integrated whole-body PET/MRI is feasible in a clinical setting with high quality and in a short examination time. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Castellone M.D.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Laatikainen L.E.,University of Turku | Laurila J.P.,University of Turku | Langella A.,IRCCS SDN | And 4 more authors.
Stem Cells | Year: 2013

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are able to influence the growth abilities of transformed cells. Here, we show that papillary thyroid cancer TPC1 and HEK 293T cells interact physically with human primary bone marrow-derived MSCs followed by evanescence of MSC cytoplasm. Interestingly, transformed cells were able to connect only to apoptotic MSCs that had lost their migration ability, whereas naïve MSCs avoided the direct contact. The interaction stimulated the proliferation of the cocultured transformed cells, activated mitogen and stress signaling, and increased resistance to cytotoxins. Consistent with in vitro data, the MSC interaction stimulated transformed cells had enhanced ability to grow and metastasize in vivo. The parental control cells showed mild tumorigenicity as compared to MSC interaction stimulated cells yielding measurable tumors in 31 days and 7 days, respectively. Our coculture model system describes how adjacent transformed cells absorb stromal cells thereby leading to the stroma-driven evolution of moderately carcinogenic cells to highly aggressive metastatic cells. © AlphaMed Press.

Pace L.,University of Salerno | Nicolai E.,IRCCS SDN | Aiello M.,IRCCS SDN | Catalano O.A.,IRCCS SDN | Salvatore M.,University of Naples Federico II
Clinical and Translational Imaging | Year: 2013

In oncology, diagnostic imaging plays a major role in staging, therapy assessment and in the evaluation of tumor biology. Multimodality imaging, and more specifically positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), has matured into an important imaging tool. The recent introduction of the integrated whole-body PET/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) represents the addition of a promising methodology in clinical practice. Combining the metabolic data of PET with the anatomical and functional information provided by MRI and fMRI may further improve the diagnostic value of each method alone. Although the literature is still limited, data indicate a potential advantage of PET/MRI over PET/CT in all the indications where MRI is superior to CT, as well as in the evaluation of tumor biology. Integrated PET/MRI might be performed in addition to the existing imaging modality in specific regions. Moreover, integrated PET/MRI is an alternative to PET/CT when a low radiation dose is required, i.e. in children and in repeated imaging. In the rapidly evolving field of diagnostic imaging, the role of a new modality should be accurately evaluated. Further studies are needed to test the diagnostic accuracy of PET/MRI in different oncology indications. Whether PET/MRI will replace PET/CT or be a complementary methodology and whether it represents true diagnostic progress remains to be evaluated, also taking into account economic considerations. © 2013 Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Fernandez S.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Risolino M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Mandia N.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Talotta F.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | And 5 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2015

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) control cell cycle progression by targeting the transcripts encoding for cyclins, CDKs and CDK inhibitors, such as p27 KIP1 (p27). p27 expression is controlled by multiple transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms, including translational inhibition by miR-221/222 and posttranslational regulation by the SCF SKP2 complex. The oncosuppressor activity of miR-340 has been recently characterized in breast, colorectal and osteosarcoma tumor cells. However, the mechanisms underlying miR-340-induced cell growth arrest have not been elucidated. Here, we describe miR-340 as a novel tumor suppressor in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Starting from the observation that the growth-inhibitory and proapoptotic effects of miR-340 correlate with the accumulation of p27 in lung adenocarcinoma and glioblastoma cells, we have analyzed the functional relationship between miR-340 and p27 expression. miR-340 targets three key negative regulators of p27. The miR-340-mediated inhibition of both Pumilio family RNA-binding proteins (PUM1 and PUM2), required for the miR-221/222 interaction with the p27 3′-UTR, antagonizes the miRNA-dependent downregulation of p27. At the same time, miR-340 induces the stabilization of p27 by targeting SKP2, the key posttranslational regulator of p27. Therefore, miR-340 controls p27 at both translational and posttranslational levels. Accordingly, the inhibition of either PUM1 or SKP2 partially recapitulates the miR-340 effect on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition to the effect on tumor cell proliferation, miR-340 also inhibits intercellular adhesion and motility in lung cancer cells. These changes correlate with the miR-340-mediated inhibition of previously validated (MET and ROCK1) and potentially novel (RHOA and CDH1) miR-340 target transcripts. Finally, we show that in a small cohort of NSCLC patients (n=23), representative of all four stages of lung cancer, miR-340 expression inversely correlates with clinical staging, thus suggesting that miR-340 downregulation contributes to the disease progression. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Di Taranto M.D.,IRCCS SDN | D'Agostino M.N.,University of Naples Federico II | Fortunato G.,University of Naples Federico II
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases | Year: 2015

Aims: Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) is one of the most frequent dyslipidemias, the autosomal dominant form of which is primarily caused by mutations in the LDL receptor (LDLR), apolipoprotein B (APOB), and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) genes, although in around 20% of patients the genetic cause remains unidentified. Genetic testing has notably improved the identification of patients suffering from FH, the most frequent cause of which is the presence of mutations in the LDLR gene. Although more than 1200 different mutations have been identified in this gene, about 80% are recognized to be pathogenic. We aim to overview the current methods used to perform the functional characterization of mutations causing FH and to highlight the conditions requiring a functional characterization of the variant in order to obtain a diagnostic report. Data synthesis: In the current review, we summarize the different types of functional assays - including their advantages and disadvantages - performed to characterize mutations in the LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 genes helping to better define their pathogenic role. We describe the evaluation of splicing alterations and two major procedures for functional characterization: 1. ex vivo methods, using cells from FH patients; 2. in vitro methods using cell lines. Conclusions: Functional characterization of the LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 mutant genes associated with FH can be considered a necessary integration of its genetic diagnosis. © 2015 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University.

Savastano S.,University of Naples Federico II | Di Somma C.,IRCCS SDN | Barrea L.,IOS and Coleman | Colao A.,University of Naples Federico II
Growth Hormone and IGF Research | Year: 2014

Despite the considerable body of evidence pointing to a possible relationship between the state of the adipose tissue depots and regulation of the somatotropic axis, to date the relationship between obesity and low growth hormone (GH) status remains incompletely understood. The low GH status in obesity is mainly considered as a functional condition, largely reversible after a sustained weight loss. Moreover, due to the effects of the adiposity on the regulation of the somatotropic axis, the application of GH stimulation tests in obesity may also lead to an incorrect diagnosis of GH deficieny (GHD). On the other hand, similar to patients with GHD unrelated to obesity, the reduced GH response to stimulation testing in obese individuals is associated with increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and detrimental alterations of body composition, which contribute to worsening their cardio-metabolic risk profile. In addition, the reduced GH secretion may result in reduced serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 levels, and the concordance of low peak GH and low IGF-1 identifies a subset of obese individuals with high cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, after weight loss, the normalization of the GH response and IGF-1 levels may or may not occur, and in patients undergoing bariatric surgery the persistence of a low GH status may affect the post-operative outcomes. In this review, we will provide an overview on some clinically relevant aspects of the relationship between obesity axis and the somatotropic axis in the light of the recently published research. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Laukkanen M.O.,IRCCS SDN
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity | Year: 2016

Extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) gene transfer to tissue damage results in increased healing, increased cell proliferation, decreased apoptosis, and decreased inflammatory cell infiltration. At molecular level, in vivo SOD3 overexpression reduces superoxide anion (O 2 -) concentration and increases mitogen kinase activation suggesting that SOD3 could have life-supporting characteristics. The hypothesis is further strengthened by the observations showing significantly increased mortality in conditional knockout mice. However, in cancer SOD3 has been shown to either increase or decrease cell proliferation and survival depending on the model system used, indicating that SOD3-derived growth mechanisms are not completely understood. In this paper, the author reviews the main discoveries in SOD3-dependent growth regulation and signal transduction. © 2016 Mikko O. Laukkanen.

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