Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology

Milano, Italy

Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology

Milano, Italy
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Tazzari M.,Unit of Immunotherapy of Human Tumours | Tazzari M.,Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori | Palassini E.,Adult Sarcoma Medical Oncology Unit | Palassini E.,Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori | And 21 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2015

Background: Clear cell sarcoma (CCS), initially named malignant melanoma of soft parts, is an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma (STS) that, due to MITF activation, shares with melanoma the expression of melanocyte differentiation antigens. CCS is poorly sensitive to chemotherapy. Multi-kinase inhibitors have been used as therapeutic agents. In the case we report here, treatment with sunitinib induced a long-lasting clinical response that was associated with an immune activation directed against Melan-A/MART-1 antigen. Case presentation: A 28years old female patient with an advanced molecularly confirmed CCS resistant to conventional chemotherapy was started in January 2012 on sunitinib, 37.5mg/day, with evidence of radiologic and metabolic response at the primary and metastatic sites of disease. Pathologic response and loss of the Melan-A/MART-1 antigen were evidenced on residual tumor removed in April 2012. Immunological monitoring performed on patient's blood during pharmacological treatment revealed a systemic, Melan-A/MART-1 specific immunity and a low frequency of immunosuppressive cells. Sunitinib was restarted in May 2012, with a new response, and continued for 11months although with repeatedly interruptions due to toxicity. Disease progression and new responses were documented at each treatment interruption and restart. Sunitinib was definitively interrupted in April 2013 for disease progression. Conclusion: The analysis of this case proves that antigens expressed by CCS, as for melanoma, can be immunogenic in vivo and that tumor-antigen specific T cells may exert anti-tumor activity in CCS patient. Thus, manipulation of the immune response may have therapeutic potential for this STS subtype and immunotherapy approaches, can be promising therapeutic options for these patients. © 2015 Tazzari et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


Bozzi F.,Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology | Conca E.,Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology | Stacchiotti S.,Sarcoma Unit | Messina A.,Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori | And 6 more authors.
Neuro-Oncology | Year: 2014

BackgroundChordomas are rare and indolent bone tumors that arise in the skull base and mobile spine. Distant metastases occur in >20% of cases, but morbidity and mortality are mainly related to local relapses that affect the majority of patients. Standard chemotherapy has modest activity, whereas new targeted therapies (alone or in combination) have some activity in controlling disease progression. However, the scarcity of preclinical models capable of testing in vivo responses to these therapies hampers the development of new medical strategies.MethodsIn this study, 8 chordoma samples taken from 8 patients were implanted in nude mice. Four engrafted successfully and gave rise to tumor masses that were analyzed histologically, by means of fluorescence in situ hybridization and biochemical techniques. The data relating to each of the mouse tumors were compared with those obtained from the corresponding human tumor.ResultsAll 4 engraftments retained the histological, genetic and biochemical features of the human tumors they came from. In one epidermal growth factor receptor(EGFR)-positive xenograft, responsiveness to lapatinib was evaluated by comparing the pre- and posttreatment findings. The treatment induced a low-level, heterogeneous switching off of EGFR and its downstream signaling effectors.ConclusionsOverall, this model is very close to human chordoma and represents a new means of undertaking preclinical investigations and developing tailored therapies. © The Author(s) 2013.


PubMed | Adult Mesenchymal Tumor Medical Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Molecular Pharmacology Unit, Italian National Cancer Institute and Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2016

The aim of this study was to reconsider the biological characteristics of epithelioid malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (E-MpM) in the light of new concepts about epithelial mesenchymal transition and mesenchymal epithelial reverse transition (EMT/MErT) and the role of epigenetic reprogramming in this context. To this end we profiled surgical specimens and derived cells cultures by a number of complementary approaches i.e. immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, biochemistry, pluripotent stem cell arrays, treatments with cytokines, growth factors and specific inhibitors.The analyses of the surgical specimens showed that i) EZH2 is expressed throughout the spectrum of MpM, ii) that E-MpM (including the high-grade undifferentiated form) are characterised by c-MYC and miRNA 17-5p expression, and iii) that progression to sarcomatoid MpM is dictated by EMT regulators. They also showed that E-MpM expressed c-MET and are enriched in E- and P-cadherins- and VEGFR2-expressing CSCs, thus strongly supporting a role for MErT reprogramming in endowing E-MpM tumour cells with stemness and plasticity, and hence with a drug resistant phenotype. The cell culture-based experiments confirmed the stemness traits and plasticity of E-MpM, and support the view that EZH2 is a druggable target in this tumor.


PubMed | Instituto Of Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Adult Mesenchymal Tumor Medical Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics and Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2014

to investigate the events involved in the progression of myxoid liposarcoma (MLS). Gene expression profiling and immunohistochemical/biochemical analyses were applied to specimens representative of the opposite ends of the MLS spectrum: pure myxoid (ML) and pure round cell (RC) liposarcomas. The analyses revealed the involvement of both coding and non coding RNAs (SNORDs located in DLK1-DIO3 region) and support a model of stepwise progression mainly driven by epigenetic changes involving tumour vascular supply and tumoral cellular component. In this model, a switch in the vascular landscape from a normal to a pro-angiogenic signature and the silencing of DLK1-DIO3 region mark the progression from ML to RC in concert with the acquisition by the latter of the over-expression of YYI/C-MYC/HDAC2, together with over-expression of genes involved in cell proliferation and stemness: MKNK2, MSX1 and TRIM71. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that to progress from ML to RC liposarcoma the cells have to overcome the epigenetic silencing restriction point in order to reset their new stem-like differentiation signature. Our findings provide a first attempt at identifying the missing links between ML and RC liposarcomas, that may also have broader applications in other clinico-pathological settings characterised by a spectrum of progression.

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