115 research outputs found

    Seeing beyond the smoke: Selecting waterpipe wastewater chemicals for risk assessments

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    Background: Increasing use prevalence of waterpipe tobacco products raises concerns about environmental impacts from waterpipe waste disposal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is required to assess the environmental impact of its tobacco regulatory actions per the National Environmental Policy Act. This study builds on FDA’s efforts characterizing the aquatic toxicity of waterpipe wastewater chemicals. Methods: We compiled a comprehensive list of waterpipe wastewater chemical concentrations from literature. We then selected chemicals for risk assessment by estimating persistence, bioaccumulation, and aquatic toxicity (PBT) characteristics (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), and hazardous concentration values (concentration affecting specific proportion of species). Results: Of 38 chemicals in waterpipe wastewater with concentration data, 20 are listed as harmful or potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in tobacco smoke and tobacco products by FDA, and 15 are hazardous waste per U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Among metals, six (cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel and selenium) are included in both HPHC and hazardous waste lists and were selected for future risk assessments. Among non-metals, nicotine, and 4-methylnitrosamino-1-(3-pyridyl)− 1-butanone (NNK) were shortlisted, as they are classified as persistent and toxic. Further, N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), with a low hazardous concentration value (HC50; concentration affecting 50 % of aquatic species) for chronic aquatic toxicity, had high aquatic toxicity concern and is selected. Conclusions: The presence of multiple hazardous compounds in waterpipe wastewater highlights the importance of awareness on the proper disposal of waterpipe wastewater in residential and retail settings. Future studies can build on the hazard characterization provided in this study through fate and transport modeling, exposure characterization and risk assessments of waterpipe wastewater chemicals

    Management of oral and maxillofacial trauma during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom

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    We assess the effect of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on UK oral and maxillofacial (OMF) trauma services and patient treatment during the first wave of the pandemic. From 1 April 2020 until 31 July 2020, OMF surgery units in the UK were invited to prospectively record all patients presenting with OMF trauma. Information included clinical presentation, mechanism of injury, how it was managed, and whether or not treatment included surgery. Participants were also asked to compare the patient’s care with the treatment that would normally have been given before the crisis. Twenty-nine units across the UK contributed with 2,229 entries. The most common aetiology was mechanical fall (39%). The most common injuries were soft tissue wounds (52%) and, for hard tissues, mandibular fractures (13%). Of 876 facial fractures, 79 patients’ treatment differed from what would have been normal pre-COVID, and 33 had their treatment deferred. Therefore the care of 112 (14%) patients was at variance with normal practice because of COVID restrictions. The pattern of OMFS injuries changed during the first COVID-19 lockdown. For the majority, best practice and delivery of quality trauma care continued despite the on-going operational challenges, and only a small proportion of patients had changes to their treatment. The lessons learnt from the first wave, combined with adequate resources and preoperative testing of patients, should allow those facial injuries in the second wave to receive best-practice care

    3,4-Difluorobenzocurcumin Inhibits Vegfc-Vegfr3-Erk Signalling to Block Developmental Lymphangiogenesis in Zebrafish

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    Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of new lymphatic vessels from pre-existing vasculature, plays critical roles in disease, including in cancer metastasis and chronic inflammation. Preclinical and recent clinical studies have now demonstrated therapeutic utility for several anti-lymphangiogenic agents, but optimal agents and efficacy in different settings remain to be determined. We tested the anti-lymphangiogenic property of 3,4-Difluorobenzocurcumin (CDF), which has previously been implicated as an anti-cancer agent, using zebrafish embryos and cultured vascular endothelial cells. We used transgenic zebrafish labelling the lymphatic system and found that CDF potently inhibits lymphangiogenesis during embryonic development. We also found that the parent compound, Curcumin, does not inhibit lymphangiogenesis. CDF blocked lymphatic and venous sprouting, and lymphatic migration in the head and trunk of the embryo. Mechanistically, CDF impaired VEGFC-VEGFR3-ERK signalling in vitro and in vivo. In an in vivo pathological model of Vegfc-overexpression, treatment with CDF rescued endothelial cell hyperplasia. CDF did not inhibit the kinase activity of VEGFR3 yet displayed more prolonged activity in vivo than previously reported kinase inhibitors. These findings warrant further assessment of CDF and its mode of action as a candidate for use in metastasis and diseases of aberrant lymphangiogenesis

    Synergistic Growth Inhibition by Afatinib and Trametinib in Preclinical Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Models

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    Background: Given that aberrant activation of epidermal growth factor receptor family receptors (ErbB) is a common event in oral squamous cell carcinoma, and that high expression of these receptor proteins is often associated with poor prognosis, this rationalizes the approach of targeting ErbB signaling pathways to improve the survival of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. However, monotherapy with the ErbB blocker afatinib has shown limited survival benefits. Objectives: This study was performed to identify mechanisms of afatinib resistance and to explore potential afatinib-based combination treatments with other targeted inhibitors in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: We determined the anti-proliferative effects of afatinib on a panel of oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines using a crystal violet-growth inhibition assay, click-iT 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine staining, and cell-cycle analysis. Biochemical assays were performed to study the underlying mechanism of drug treatment as a single agent or in combination with the MEK inhibitor trametinib. We further evaluated and compared the anti-tumor effects of single agent and combined treatment by using oral squamous cell carcinoma xenograft models. Results: In this study, we showed that afatinib inhibited oral squamous cell carcinoma cell proliferation via cell-cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase, and inhibited tumor growth in xenograft mouse models. Interestingly, we demonstrated reactivation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK1/2) pathway in vitro, which possibly reduced the effects of ErbB inhibition. Concomitant treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma cells with afatinib and trametinib synergized the anti-tumor effects in oral squamous cell carcinoma-bearing mouse models. Conclusions: Our findings provide insight into the molecular mechanism of resistance to afatinib and support further clinical evaluation into the combination of afatinib and MEK inhibition in the treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma. © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG

    The 4717C > G polymorphism in periplakin modulates sensitivity to EGFR inhibitors

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    Abstract The use of EGFR inhibitors on oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) as monotherapy yielded modest clinical outcomes and therefore would benefit from biomarkers that could predict which patient subsets are likely to respond. Here, we determined the efficacy of erlotinib in OSCC cell lines, and by comparing sensitive and resistant lines to identify potential biomarkers. We focused on the 4717C > G polymorphism in periplakin (PPL) where the CC genotype was associated with erlotinib resistance. To validate this, erlotinib-resistant cell lines harbouring CC genotype were engineered to overexpress the GG genotype and vice versa. Isogenic cell lines were then studied for their response to erlotinib treatment. We demonstrated that overexpression of the GG genotype in erlotinib-resistant lines sensitized them to erlotinib and inhibition of AKT phosphorylation. Similarly, the expression of the CC genotype conferred resistance to erlotinib with a concomitant increase in AKT phosphorylation. We also demonstrated that cell lines with the CC genotype generally are more resistant to other EGFR inhibitors than those with the GG genotype. Overall, we showed that a specific polymorphism in the PPL gene could confer resistance to erlotinib and other EGFR inhibitors and further work to evaluate these as biomarkers of response is warranted

    In vitro evaluation of dual-antigenic PV1 peptide vaccine in head and neck cancer patients

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    Peptide vaccines derived from tumour-associated antigens have been used as an immunotherapeutic approach to induce specific cytotoxic immune response against tumour. We previously identified that MAGED4B and FJX1 proteins are overexpressed in HNSCC patients; and further demonstrated that two HLA-A2-restricted 9–11 amino acid peptides derived from these proteins were able to induce anti-tumour immune responses in vitro independently using PBMCs isolated from these patients. In this study, we evaluated the immunogenicity and efficacy of a dual-antigenic peptide vaccine (PV1), comprised of MAGED4B and FJX1 peptides in HNSCC patients. We first demonstrated that 94.8% of HNSCC patients expressed MAGED4B and/or FJX1 by immunohistochemistry, suggesting that PV1 could benefit the majority of HNSCC patients. The presence of pre-existing MAGED4B and FJX1-specific T-cells was detected using a HLA-A2 dimer assay and efficacy of PV1 to induce T-cell to secrete cytotoxic cytokine was evaluated using ELISPOT assay. Pre-existing PV1-specific T-cells were detected in all patients. Notably, we demonstrated that patients’ T-cells were able to secrete cytotoxic cytokines upon exposure to target cells expressing the respective antigen post PV1 stimulation. Furthermore, patients with high expression of MAGED4B and FJX1 in their tumours were more responsive to PV1 stimulation, demonstrating the specificity of the PV1 peptide vaccine. Additionally, we also demonstrated the expression of MAGED4B and FJX1 in breast, lung, colon, prostate and rectal cancer suggesting the potential use of PV1 in these cancers. In summary, PV1 could be a good vaccine candidate for the treatment of HNSCC patients and other cancers expressing these antigens

    Effects of palbociclib in oral squamous cell carcinoma and the role of PIK3CA in conferring resistance

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    Objective: Lack of effective therapies remains a problem in the treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), especially in patients with advanced tumors. OSCC development is driven by multiple aberrancies within the cell cycle pathway, including amplification of cyclin D1 and loss of p16. Hence, cell cycle inhibitors of the CDK4/6-cyclin D axis are appealing targets for OSCC treatment. Here, we determined the potency of palbociclib and identified genetic features that are associated with the response of palbociclib in OSCC. Methods: The effect of palbociclib was evaluated in a panel of well-characterized OSCC cell lines by cell proliferation assays and further confirmed by in vivo evaluation in xenograft models. PIK3CA-mutant isogenic cell lines were used to investigate the effect of PIK3CA mutation towards palbociclib response. Results: We demonstrated that 80% of OSCC cell lines are sensitive to palbociclib at sub-micromolar concentrations. Consistently, palbociclib was effective in controlling tumor growth in mice. We identified that palbociclib-resistant cells harbored mutations in PIK3CA. Using isogenic cell lines, we showed that PIK3CA mutant cells are less responsive to palbociclib as compared to wild-type cells with concurrent upregulation of CDK2 and cyclin El protein levels. We further demonstrated that the combination of a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor (PF-04691502) and palbociclib completely controlled tumor growth in mice. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the potency of palbociclib in OSCC models and provides a rationale for the inclusion of PIK3CA testing in the clinical evaluation of CDK4/6 inhibitors and suggests combination approaches for further clinical studies

    Novel 2-benzoyl-6-(2,3- dimethoxybenzylidene)-cyclohexenol confers selectivity toward human MLH1 defective cancer cells through synthetic lethality

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    DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, and confers resistance in conventional chemotherapy. In addition to the lack of treatment options that work efficaciously on these MMR-deficient cancer patients, there is a great need to discover new drug leads for this purpose. In this study, we screened through a library of commercial and semisynthetic natural compounds to identify potential synthetic lethal drugs that may selectively target MLH1 mutants using MLH1 isogenic colorectal cancer cell lines and various cancer cell lines with known MLH1 status. We identified a novel diarylpentanoid analogue, 2-benzoyl-6-(2,3-dimethoxybenzylidene)-cyclohexenol, coded as AS13, that demonstrated selective toxicity toward MLH1-deficient cancer cells. Subsequent analysis suggested AS13 induced elevated levels of oxidative stress, resulting in DNA damage where only the proficient MLH1 cells were able to be repaired and hence escaping cellular death. While AS13 is modest in potency and selectivity, this discovery has the potential to lead to further drug development that may offer better treatment options for cancer patients with MLH1 deficiency

    Ultrasensitive detection of cancer biomarkers in the clinic by use of a nanostructured microfluidic array

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    Multiplexed biomarker protein detection holds unrealized promise for clinical cancer diagnostics due to lack of suitable measurement devices and lack of rigorously validated protein panels. Here we report an ultrasensitive electrochemical microfluidic array optimized to measure a four-protein panel of biomarker proteins, and we validate the protein panel for accurate oral cancer diagnostics. Unprecedented ultralow detection into the 5-50 fg.mL(-1) range was achieved for simultaneous measurement of proteins interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-8, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and VEGF-C in diluted serum. The immunoarray achieves high sensitivity in 50 min assays by using off-line protein capture by magnetic beads carrying 400 000 enzyme labels and similar to 100 000 antibodies. After capture of the proteins and washing to inhibit nonspecific binding, the beads are magnetically separated and injected into the array for selective capture by antibodies on eight nanostructured sensors. Good correlations with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for protein determinations in conditioned cancer cell media confirmed the accuracy of this approach. Normalized means of the four protein levels in 78 oral cancer patient serum samples and 49 controls gave clinical sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 98% for oral cancer detection, demonstrating high diagnostic utility. The low-cost, easily fabricated immunoarray provides a rapid Serum test for diagnosis and personalized therapy of oral cancer. The device is readily adaptable to clinical diagnostics of other cancers
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