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Willenbacher W.,Innsbruck Medical University | Willenbacher W.,Center for Personalized Cancer Medicine | Thangavadivel S.,Tyrolean Cancer Research Institute | Greil R.,Tyrolean Cancer Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
Leukemia and Lymphoma

Beclin-1 is a key regulator of autophagy and has been suggested to be involved in the development of drug resistance in multiple myeloma (MM). We analyzed the expression of Beclin-1 in a retrospective cohort of 70 MMs. Beclin-1 expression did not influence overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with therapy-naïve MM. In patients treated with immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) lack of or low Beclin-1 expression resulted in a significantly improved OS and PFS compared to those treated with bortezomib or nonnovel agents. Beclin-1 expression was more frequently detected in relapsed MM than in therapy-naïve MM probably being a hallmark of tumor progression and therapy resistance. If validated prospectively, Beclin-1 expression might identify patients prone to profit above average from IMiDs and enable a more rational allocation of antimyeloma therapies. Furthermore, the inhibition of autophagy could be a new promising target to improve response to treatment in the relapsed/refractory setting. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Source

Rebhandl S.,Paracelsus Medical University | Rebhandl S.,Salzburg Cancer Research Institute | Geisberger R.,Paracelsus Medical University | Geisberger R.,Salzburg Cancer Research Institute
European Journal of Immunology

The activation induced deaminase (AID) catalyses the two key events underlying humoral adaptive immunity: class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation of antibody genes in B lymphocytes. AID accomplishes this task by directly deaminating cytosines within the genomic immunoglobulin locus, thereby triggering a complex mutagenic process eventually leading to improved effector function of antibodies. However, it has long been noticed that AID can be aberrantly expressed in cancer and that its activity is not absolutely restricted to antibody genes, as substantial genome-wide off-target mutations have been observed, which contribute to tumorigenesis and clonal evolution of AID-expressing malignancies. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, Montamat-Sicotte et al. [Eur. J. Immunol. 2015. 45: 2365-2376] investigate the feasibility and efficacy of in vivo inhibition of AID with HSP90 inhibitors in a mouse model of B-cell leukemia and in vitro with a human breast cancer cell line, thereby demonstrating that cancer patients may benefit from preventing noncanonical AID functions. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Source

Gnant M.,Medical University of Vienna | Pfeiler G.,Medical University of Vienna | Dubsky P.C.,Medical University of Vienna | Hubalek M.,Innsbruck Medical University | And 24 more authors.
The Lancet

Background Adjuvant endocrine therapy compromises bone health in patients with breast cancer, causing osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures. Antiresorptive treatments such as bisphosphonates prevent and counteract these side-effects. In this trial, we aimed to investigate the effects of the anti-RANK ligand antibody denosumab in postmenopausal, aromatase inhibitor-treated patients with early-stage hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Methods In this prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, postmenopausal patients with early hormone receptor-positive breast cancer receiving treatment with aromatase inhibitors were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either denosumab 60 mg or placebo administered subcutaneously every 6 months in 58 trial centres in Austria and Sweden. Patients were assigned by an interactive voice response system. The randomisation schedule used a randomly permuted block design with block sizes 2 and 4, stratified by type of hospital regarding Hologic device for DXA scans, previous aromatase inhibitor use, and baseline bone mineral density. Patients, treating physicians, investigators, data managers, and all study personnel were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was time from randomisation to first clinical fracture, analysed by intention to treat. As an additional sensitivity analysis, we also analysed the primary endpoint on the per-protocol population. Patients were treated until the prespecified number of 247 first clinical fractures was reached. This trial is ongoing (patients are in follow-up) and is registered with the European Clinical Trials Database, number 2005-005275-15, and with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00556374. Findings Between Dec 18, 2006, and July 22, 2013, 3425 eligible patients were enrolled into the trial, of whom 3420 were randomly assigned to receive denosumab 60 mg (n=1711) or placebo (n=1709) subcutaneously every 6 months. Compared with the placebo group, patients in the denosumab group had a significantly delayed time to first clinical fracture (hazard ratio [HR] 0·50 [95% CI 0·39-0·65], p<0·0001). The overall lower number of fractures in the denosumab group (92) than in the placebo group (176) was similar in all patient subgroups, including in patients with a bone mineral density T-score of -1 or higher at baseline (n=1872, HR 0·44 [95% CI 0·31-0·64], p<0·0001) and in those with a bone mineral density T-score of less than -1 already at baseline (n=1548, HR 0·57 [95% CI 0·40-0·82], p=0·002). The patient incidence of adverse events in the safety analysis set (all patients who received at least one dose of study drug) did not differ between the denosumab group (1366 events, 80%) and the placebo group (1334 events, 79%), nor did the numbers of serious adverse events (521 vs 511 [30% in each group]). The main adverse events were arthralgia and other aromatase-inhibitor related symptoms; no additional toxicity from the study drug was reported. Despite proactive adjudication of every potential osteonecrosis of the jaw by an international expert panel, no cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw were reported. 93 patients (3% of the full analysis set) died during the study, of which one death (in the denosumab group) was thought to be related to the study drug. Interpretation Adjuvant denosumab 60 mg twice per year reduces the risk of clinical fractures in postmenopausal women with breast cancer receiving aromatase inhibitors, and can be administered without added toxicity. Since a main side-effect of adjuvant breast cancer treatment can be substantially reduced by the addition of denosumab, this treatment should be considered for clinical practice. Funding Amgen. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Gampenrieder S.P.,Paracelsus Medical University | Gampenrieder S.P.,Salzburg Cancer Research Institute | Romeder F.,Paracelsus Medical University | Romeder F.,Salzburg Cancer Research Institute | And 14 more authors.
Anticancer Research

Background: Several phase-III studies have shown improvements in terms of progression-free survival (PFS) with bevacizumab when added to chemotherapy in advanced breast cancer. However, the extent of improvement varied and none of the trials showed benefit in terms of overall survival (OS). Patients and Methods: All patients with metastatic breast cancer treated with bevacizumab at our Institution between 2005 and 2011 were retrospectively analyzed. A control group was matched according to the following variables: receptor status, treatment line, type of chemotherapy, presence of visceral disease and age. Results: All 212 patients were evaluable for toxicity, and 198 for response; 430 controls allowed a complete matching for 85 bevacizumab-treated patients. The addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy significantly prolonged PFS (9.3 vs. 7.6 months, hazard ratio [HR]=0.70, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.51-0.97, p=0.031) and OS (28.9 vs. 22.6 months, HR=0.67, 95% CI=0.45-0.99, p=0.043). Clinical benefit rate (overall response rate + stable disease for at least six months) was significantly better in the bevacizumab group (75% vs. 59%, p=0.002), while ORR did not differ significantly (48% vs. 35%, p=0.21). Patients developing hypertension during treatment had a more favourable outcome (PFS 13.7 vs. 6.6 months, HR=0.34, 95% CI=0.23-0.49 p<0.001; 2-year OS 78% vs. 30%, HR=0.20, 95% CI=0.12-0.35, p<0.001). Conclusion: Bevacizumab in addition to chemotherapy prolonged PFS and OS in a non-selected, partly intensively pre-treated breast cancer population. Hypertension induced by bevacizumab predicted therapy efficacy. © 2014, International Institute of Anticancer Research. All rights reserved. Source

Kern D.,University of Salzburg | Regl G.,University of Salzburg | Hofbauer S.W.,Paracelsus Medical University | Hofbauer S.W.,Salzburg Cancer Research Institute | And 11 more authors.

The initiation and maintenance of a malignant phenotype requires complex and synergistic interactions of multiple oncogenic signals. The Hedgehog (HH)/GLI pathway has been implicated in a variety of cancer entities and targeted pathway inhibition is of therapeutic relevance. Signal cross-talk with other cancer pathways including PI3K/AKT modulates HH/GLI signal strength and its oncogenicity. In this study, we addressed the role of HH/GLI and its putative interaction with the PI3K/AKT cascade in the initiation and maintenance of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Using transgenic mouse models, we show that B-cell-specific constitutive activation of HH/GLI signaling either at the level of the HH effector and drug target Smoothened or at the level of the GLI transcription factors does not suffice to initiate a CLL-like phenotype characterized by the accumulation of CD5 + B cells in the lymphatic system and peripheral blood. Furthermore, Hh/Gli activation in Pten-deficient B cells with activated Pi3K/Akt signaling failed to enhance the expansion of leukemic CD5 + B cells, suggesting that genetic or epigenetic alterations leading to aberrant HH/GLI signaling in B cells do not suffice to elicit a CLL-like phenotype in mice. By contrast, we identify a critical role of GLI and PI3K signaling for the survival of human primary CLL cells. We show that combined targeting of GLI and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling can have a synergistic therapeutic effect in cells from a subgroup of CLL patients, thereby providing a basis for the evaluation of future combination therapies targeting HH/GLI and PI3K signaling in this common hematopoietic malignancy. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

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