Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that results in the orderly and efficient removal of damaged cells, such as those resulting from DNA damage or during development. Apoptosis can be triggered by signals from within the cell, such as genotoxic stress, or by extrinsic signals, such as the binding of ligands to cell surface death receptors. Deregulation in apoptotic cell death machinery is an hallmark of cancer. Apoptosis alteration is responsible not only for tumor development and progression but also for tumor resistance to therapies. Most anticancer drugs currently used in clinical oncology exploit the intact apoptotic signaling pathways to trigger cancer cell death. Thus, defects in the death pathways may result in drug resistance so limiting the efficacy of therapies. Therefore, a better understanding of the apoptotic cell death signaling pathways may improve the efficacy of cancer therapy and bypass resistance. This review will highlight the role of the fundamental regulators of apoptosis and how their deregulation, including activation of anti-apoptotic factors (i.e., Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, etc) or inactivation of pro-apoptotic factors (i.e., p53 pathway) ends up in cancer cell resistance to therapies. In addition, therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating apoptotic activity are briefly discussed.
Ellagic acid (EA) is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound endowed with strong antioxidant and anticancer properties that is present in high quantity in a variety of berries, pomegranates, and dried fruits. The antitumor activity of EA has been mostly attributed to direct antiproliferative and apoptotic effects. Moreover, EA can inhibit tumour cell migration, extra-cellular matrix invasion and angiogenesis, all processes that are crucial for tumour infiltrative behaviour and the metastatic process. In addition, EA may increase tumour sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The aim of this review is to summarize the in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence supporting the anticancer activity of pure EA, its metabolites, and EA-containing fruit juice or extracts in a variety of solid tumour models. The EA oral administration as supportive therapy to standard chemotherapy has been recently evaluated in small clinical studies with colorectal or prostate cancer patients. Novel formulations with improved solubility and bioavailability are expected to fully develop the therapeutic potential of EA derivatives in the near future.
The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family members, VEGF-A, placenta growth factor (PlGF), and to a lesser extent VEGF-B, play an essential role in tumor-associated angiogenesis, tissue infiltration, and metastasis formation. Although VEGF-A can activate both VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 membrane receptors, PlGF and VEGF-B exclusively interact with VEGFR-1. Differently from VEGFR-2, which is involved both in physiological and pathological angiogenesis, in the adult VEGFR-1 is required only for pathological angiogenesis. Besides this role in tumor endothelium, ligand-mediated stimulation of VEGFR-1 expressed in tumor cells may directly induce cell chemotaxis and extracellular matrix invasion. Furthermore, VEGFR-1 activation in myeloid progenitors and tumor-associated macrophages favors cancer immune escape through the release of immunosuppressive cytokines. These properties have prompted a number of preclinical and clinical studies to analyze VEGFR-1 involvement in the metastatic process. The aim of the present review is to highlight the contribution of VEGFs/VEGFR-1 signaling in the progression of different tumor types and to provide an overview of the therapeutic approaches targeting VEGFR-1 currently under investigation.
Ellagic acid (EA) is a polyphenolic compound that can be found as a naturally occurring hydrolysis product of ellagitannins in pomegranates, berries, grapes, green tea and nuts. Previous studies have reported the antitumor properties of EA mainly using in vitro models. No data are available about EA influence on bladder cancer cell invasion of the extracellular matrix triggered by vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), an angiogenic factor associated with disease progression and recurrence, and tumor growth in vivo. In this study, we have investigated EA activity against four different human bladder cancer cell lines (i.e., T24, UM-UC-3, 5637 and HT-1376) by in vitro proliferation tests (measuring metabolic and foci forming activity), invasion and chemotactic assays in response to VEGF-A and in vivo preclinical models in nude mice. Results indicate that EA exerts anti-proliferative effects as a single agent and enhances the antitumor activity of mitomycin C, which is commonly used for the treatment of bladder cancer. EA also inhibits tumor invasion and chemotaxis, specifically induced by VEGF-A, and reduces VEGFR-2 expression. Moreover, EA down-regulates the expression of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), an immune checkpoint involved in immune escape. EA in vitro activity was confirmed by the results of in vivo studies showing a significant reduction of the growth rate, infiltrative behavior and tumor-associated angiogenesis of human bladder cancer xenografts. In conclusion, these results suggest that EA may have a potential role as an adjunct therapy for bladder cancer.
BackgroundGlioblastoma (GBM) is a highly migratory, invasive, and angiogenic brain tumor. Like vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), placental growth factor (PlGF) promotes GBM angiogenesis. VEGF-A is a ligand for both VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) and VEGFR-2, while PlGF interacts exclusively with VEGFR-1. We recently generated the novel anti-VEGFR-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) D16F7 that diminishes VEGFR-1 homodimerization/activation without affecting VEGF-A and PlGF binding.MethodsIn the present study, we evaluated the expression of VEGFR-1 in human GBM tissue samples (n = 42) by immunohistochemistry, in cell lines (n = 6) and GBM stem cells (GSCs) (n = 18) by qRT-PCR and/or western blot analysis. In VEGFR-1 positive GBM or GSCs we also analyzed the ability of D16F7 to inhibit GBM invasiveness in response to VEGF-A and PlGF.ResultsMost of GBM specimens stained positively for VEGFR-1 and all but one GBM cell lines expressed VEGFR-1. On the other hand, in GSCs the expression of the receptor was heterogeneous. D16F7 reduced migration and invasion of VEGFR-1 positive GBM cell lines and patient-derived GSCs in response to VEGF-A and PlGF. Interestingly, this effect was also observed in VEGFR-1 positive GSCs transfected to over-express wild-type EGFR (EGFRwt+) or mutant EGFR (ligand binding domain-deficient EGFRvIII+). Furthermore, D16F7 suppressed intracellular signal transduction in VEGFR-1 over-expressing GBM cells by reducing receptor auto-phosphorylation at tyrosine 1213 and downstream Erk1/2 activation induced by receptor ligands.ConclusionThe results from this study suggest that VEGFR-1 is a relevant target for GBM therapy and that D16F7-derived humanized mAbs warrant further investigation.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13046-017-0577-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) is a tyrosine kinase receptor that does not play a relevant role in physiologic angiogenesis in adults, whereas it is important in tumor angiogenesis. In high-grade glioma VEGFR-1 expression by tumor endothelium and neoplastic cells contributes to the aggressive phenotype. We recently generated an anti-VEGFR-1 monoclonal antibody (D16F7 mAb) characterized by a novel mechanism of action, since it hampers receptor activation without interfering with ligand binding. The mAb is able to inhibit chemotaxis and extracellular matrix invasion of glioma cells in vitro stimulated by VEGF-A and by the VEGFR-1-selective ligand placental growth factor (PlGF). In this study, we have investigated the influence of D16F7 on glioma growth and angiogenesis in vivo using C6 glioma cells transfected with the human VEGFR-1. D16F7 was able to inhibit receptor activation and migration and extracellular matrix invasion of C6 cells overexpressing the receptor in response to PlGF and VEGF-A. In nude mice, treatment with 10 and 20 mg/kg D16F7 as a single agent was well tolerated and significantly inhibited glioma growth ( < 0.001). Strikingly, in an intracranial orthotopic model, mice dosed with 20 mg/kg D16F7 demonstrated a 65% increase in median survival time compared with vehicle-treated controls ( < 0.001) with a high percentage of long-term survivors (46%). These effects were associated with glioma cell apoptosis and decreased tumor-associated vessel formation. Overall, these results highlight the therapeutic potential of D16F7 in glioma treatment, deserving further investigation after a humanization process as single agent or in combination therapies.
Strategies to improve ellagic acid bioavailability: from natural or semisynthetic derivatives to nanotechnological approaches based on innovative carriers To cite this article: Claudia Ceci et al 2020 Nanotechnology 31 382001 View the article online for updates and enhancements. Recent citations Rifabutin-Loaded Nanostructured Lipid Carriers as a Tool in Oral Anti-Mycobacterial Treatment of Crohn's Disease Helena Rouco et al
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