44 research outputs found

    Biological and Exploitable Crossroads for the Immune Response in Cancer and COVID-19

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    The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has exacted a disproportionate toll on cancer patients. The effects of anticancer treatments and cancer patients’ characteristics shared significant responsibilities for this dismal outcome; however, the underlying immunopathological mechanisms are far from being completely understood. Indeed, despite their different etiologies, SARS-CoV-2 infection and cancer unexpectedly share relevant immunobiological connections. In the pathogenesis and natural history of both conditions, there emerges the centrality of the immune response, orchestrating the timed appearance, functional and dysfunctional roles of multiple effectors in acute and chronic phases. A significant number (more than 600) of observational and interventional studies have explored the interconnections between COVID-19 and cancer, focusing on aspects as diverse as psychological implications and prognostic factors, with more than 4000 manuscripts published so far. In this review, we reported and discussed the dynamic behavior of the main cytokines and immune system signaling pathways involved in acute vs. early, and chronic vs. advanced stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection and cancer. We highlighted the biological similarities and active connections within these dynamic disease scenarios, exploring and speculating on possible therapeutic crossroads from one setting to the other

    Adoptive immunotherapy against ovarian cancer

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    The standard front-line therapy for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is combination of debulking surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. Nevertheless, the majority of patients experience disease recurrence. Although extensive efforts to find new therapeutic options, cancer cells invariably develop drug resistance and disease progression. New therapeutic strategies are needed to improve prognosis of patients with advanced EOC. Recently, several preclinical and clinical studies investigated feasibility and activity of adoptive immunotherapy in EOC. Our aim is to highlight prospective of adoptive immunotherapy in EOC, focusing on HLA-restricted Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs), and MHC-independent immune effectors such as natural killer (NK), and cytokine-induced killer (CIK). Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has shown activity in several pre-clinical models. Available preclinical and clinical data suggest that adoptive cell therapy may provide the best benefit in settings of low tumor burden, minimal residual disease, or maintenance therapy. Further studies are needed to better define the optimal clinical setting

    The combination of sorafenib and everolimus shows antitumor activity in preclinical models of malignant pleural mesothelioma

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    BACKGROUND: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor arising from mesothelial cells lining the pleural cavities characterized by resistance to standard therapies. Most of the molecular steps responsible for pleural transformation remain unclear; however, several growth factor signaling cascades are known to be altered during MPM onset and progression. Transducers of these pathways, such as PIK3CA-mTOR-AKT, MAPK, and ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) could therefore be exploited as possible targets for pharmacological intervention. This study aimed to identify ‘druggable’ pathways in MPM and to formulate a targeted approach based on the use of commercially available molecules, such as the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib and the mTOR inhibitor everolimus. METHODS: We planned a triple approach based on: i) analysis of immunophenotypes and mutational profiles in a cohort of thoracoscopic MPM samples, ii) in vitro pharmacological assays, ii) in vivo therapeutic approaches on MPM xenografts. No mutations were found in ‘hot spot’ regions of the mTOR upstream genes (e.g. EGFR, KRAS and PIK3CA). RESULTS: Phosphorylated mTOR and ERM were specifically overexpressed in the analyzed MPM samples. Sorafenib and everolimus combination was effective in mTOR and ERM blockade; exerted synergistic effects on the inhibition of MPM cell proliferation; triggered ROS production and consequent AMPK-p38 mediated-apoptosis. The antitumor activity was displayed when orally administered to MPM-bearing NOD/SCID mice. CONCLUSIONS: ERM and mTOR pathways are activated in MPM and ‘druggable’ by a combination of sorafenib and everolimus. Combination therapy is a promising therapeutic strategy against MPM. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1363-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users