bims-meluca Biomed News
on Metabolism of non-small cell lung carcinoma
Issue of 2020‒02‒09
twenty-one papers selected by
Cristina Muñoz Pinedo
L’Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge


  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 03. pii: E1002. [Epub ahead of print]21(3):
    Kim H, Choi SY, Lim J, Lindroth AM, Park YJ.
      Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a major subtype of lung cancer. Besides genetic and environmental factors, epigenetic alterations contribute to the tumorigenesis of NSCLC. Epigenetic changes are considered key drivers of cancer initiation and progression, and altered expression and activity of epigenetic modifiers reshape the epigenetic landscape in cancer cells. Euchromatic histone-lysine N-methyltransferase 2 (EHMT2) is a histone methyltransferase and catalyzes mono- and di-methylation at histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me1 and H3K9me2, respectively), leading to gene silencing. EHMT2 overexpression has been reported in various types of cancer, including ovarian cancer and neuroblastoma, in relation to cell proliferation and metastasis. However, its role in NSCLC is not fully understood. In this study, we showed that EHMT2 gene expression was higher in NSCLC than normal lung tissue based on publicly available data. Inhibition of EHMT2 by BIX01294 (BIX) reduced cell viability of NSCLC cell lines via induction of autophagy. Through RNA sequencing analysis, we found that EHMT2 inhibition significantly affected the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. BIX treatment directly induced the expression of SREBF2, which is a master regulator of cholesterol biosynthesis, by lowering H3K9me1 and H3K9me2 at the promoter. Treatment of a cholesterol biosynthesis inhibitor, 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC), partially recovered BIX-induced cell death by attenuating autophagy. Our data demonstrated that EHMT2 inhibition effectively induced cell death in NSCLC cells through altering cholesterol metabolism-dependent autophagy.
    Keywords:  EHMT2; autophagy; cancer metabolism; cholesterol synthesis; epigenetics; lung cancer
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031002
  2. Redox Biol. 2020 Jan 23. pii: S2213-2317(19)31432-6. [Epub ahead of print]30 101440
    Torrente L, Prieto-Farigua N, Falzone A, Elkins CM, Boothman DA, Haura EB, DeNicola GM.
      Alterations in the NRF2/KEAP1 pathway result in the constitutive activation of NRF2, leading to the aberrant induction of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes, including NQO1. The NQO1 bioactivatable agent β-lapachone can target cells with high NQO1 expression but relies in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are actively scavenged in cells with NRF2/KEAP1 mutations. However, whether NRF2/KEAP1 mutations influence the response to β-lapachone treatment remains unknown. To address this question, we assessed the cytotoxicity of β-lapachone in a panel of NSCLC cell lines bearing either wild-type or mutant KEAP1. We found that, despite overexpression of NQO1, KEAP1 mutant cells were resistant to β-lapachone due to enhanced detoxification of ROS, which prevented DNA damage and cell death. To evaluate whether specific inhibition of the NRF2-regulated antioxidant enzymes could abrogate resistance to β-lapachone, we systematically inhibited the four major antioxidant cellular systems using genetic and/or pharmacologic approaches. We demonstrated that inhibition of the thioredoxin-dependent system or copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) could abrogate NRF2-mediated resistance to β-lapachone, while depletion of catalase or glutathione was ineffective. Interestingly, inhibition of SOD1 selectively sensitized KEAP1 mutant cells to β-lapachone exposure. Our results suggest that NRF2/KEAP1 mutational status might serve as a predictive biomarker for response to NQO1-bioactivatable quinones in patients. Further, our results suggest SOD1 inhibition may have potential utility in combination with other ROS inducers in patients with KEAP1/NRF2 mutations.
    Keywords:  KEAP1; Kelch-like ECH-Associated protein 1; NAD(P)H dehydrogenase [quinone] 1; NQO1; NRF2; NSCLC; Non-small cell lung cancer; Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2; ROS; Reactive oxygen species; β-Lapachone
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2020.101440
  3. Cancer Sci. 2020 Feb 03.
    Osumi H, Horiguchi H, Kadomatsu T, Tashiro K, Morinaga J, Takahashi T, Ikeda K, Ito T, Suzuki M, Endo M, Oike Y.
      We previously revealed that tumor cell-derived angiopoietin-like protein 2 (ANGPTL2) accelerates metastatic capacity of tumors in an autocrine/paracrine manner by activating tumor cell motility and invasiveness and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, the effects of ANGPTL2 on cancer cell glycolytic metabolism, which is a hallmark of tumor cells, are unknown. Here we report evidence supporting a role for tumor cell-derived ANGPTL2 in establishing a preference for glycolytic metabolism. We report that a highly metastatic lung cancer cell subline expressing abundant ANGPTL2 showed upregulated expression of the glucose transporter GLUT3 as well as enhanced glycolytic metabolism relative to a less metastatic parental line. Most notably, ANGPTL2 overexpression in the less metastatic line activated glycolytic metabolism by increasing GLUT3 expression. Moreover, ANGPTL2 signaling via integrin α5β1 increased GLUT3 expression by increasing TGF-β signaling and expression of the downstream transcription factor ZEB1. Conversely, ANGPTL2 knockdown in the highly metastatic subline decreased TGF-β1, ZEB1, and GLUT3 expression and antagonized glycolytic metabolism. In primary tumor cells from patients with lung cancer, ANGPTL2 expression levels correlated with GLUT3 expression. Overall, this work suggests that tumor cell-derived ANGPTL2 accelerates activities associated with glycolytic metabolism in lung cancer cells by activating TGF-β-ZEB1-GLUT3 signaling.
    Keywords:  ANGPTL2; GLUT3; ZEB1; cancer metabolism; lung cancer
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/cas.14337
  4. Sci Rep. 2020 Feb 05. 10(1): 1854
    Kang HS, Kwon HY, Kim IK, Ban WH, Kim SW, Kang HH, Yeo CD, Lee SH.
      The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)-related chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) influences lung cancer progression and to elucidate the associated mechanisms in a mouse model of lung cancer. C57/BL6 mice in a CIH group were exposed to intermittent hypoxia for two weeks after tumor induction and compared with control mice (room air). Hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and metastasis-related matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) were measured. The expression levels of several hypoxia-related pathway proteins including HIF-1α, Wnt/ß-catenin, the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and mammalian target of rapamycin-ERK were measured by western blot. The number (P < 0.01) and volume (P < 0.05) of tumors were increased in the CIH group. The activity of MMP-2 was enhanced after CIH treatment. The level of VEGF was increased significantly in the CIH group (p < 0.05). ß-catenin and Nrf2 were translocated to the nucleus and the levels of downstream effectors of Wnt/ß-catenin signaling increased after IH exposure. CIH enhanced proliferative and migratory properties of tumors in a mouse model of lung cancer. ß-catenin and Nrf2 appeared to be crucial mediators of tumor growth.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58906-7
  5. Biosci Rep. 2020 Feb 07. pii: BSR20194200. [Epub ahead of print]
    Li H, Tong L, Tao H, Liu Z.
      Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) is a common type of lung cancer with high incidence and poor prognosis. Hypoxia and DNA methylation play important regulatory roles in cancer progression. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between hypoxia and DNA methylation, and to identify key genes for hypoxia-regulated LUAD progression. Hypoxia score (HS) was calculated using the GSVA algorithm. Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment and protein-protein interaction (PPI) analysis were performed using clusterProfile package, STRING database and Cytoscape software. Kaplan-Meier curves of overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were drawn using R software. Smoking status and cancer stages were significantly associated with LUAD hypoxia, and hypoxia is a poor prognostic factor for LUAD. Compared with HS-low group, 1803 aberrantly methylated DEGs were identified in HS-high group. KEGG analysis showed that the 1803 genes were enriched in the metabolic pathways associated with hypoxia stress, angiogenesis, and cancer progression. FAM20C, MYLIP and COL7A1 were identified as the hypoxia-related key genes in LUAD progression, which were regulated by DNA methylation. Hypoxia in LUAD tumor cells led to changes in DNA methylation patterns. In-depth study of the relationship between hypoxia and DNA methylation is helpful to elucidate the mechanism of tumorigenesis, and provide new ideas for LUAD treatment.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; Hypoxia; Hypoxia-related gene; Lung adenocarcinoma
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20194200
  6. Cancer Lett. 2020 Jan 31. pii: S0304-3835(20)30049-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Xiao R, Ding C, Zhu H, Liu X, Gao J, Liu Q, Lu D, Zhang N, Zhang A, Zhou H.
      Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality. Artemisinin (ART) and SOMCL-14-221 (221), a spirobicyclic analogue of ART, have been reported to inhibit the proliferation of A549 cells with unclear underlying mechanism. In the present study, we validated that both ART and 221 inhibited the proliferation and migration of NSCLC cells and the growth of A549 xenograft tumors without appreciable toxicity. The proteomic data revealed proteins upregulated in ART and 221 groups were involved in "response to endoplasmic reticulum stress" and "amino acid metabolism". Asparagine synthetase (ASNS) was identified as a key node protein in these processes. Interestingly, knockdown of ASNS improved the antitumor potency of ART and 221 in vitro and in vivo, and treatments with ART and 221 disordered the amino acid metabolism of A549 cells. Moreover, ART and 221 activated ER stress, and inhibition of ER stress abolished the anti-proliferative effects of ART and 221. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that ART and 221 suppress tumor growth by triggering ER stress, and the inhibition of ASNS enhances the antitumor activity of ART and 221, which provides new strategy for drug combination therapy.
    Keywords:  ASNS; Artemisinin; ER stress; NSCLC
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2020.01.035
  7. J Transl Med. 2020 Feb 03. 18(1): 49
    Botticelli A, Vernocchi P, Marini F, Quagliariello A, Cerbelli B, Reddel S, Del Chierico F, Di Pietro F, Giusti R, Tomassini A, Giampaoli O, Miccheli A, Zizzari IG, Nuti M, Putignani L, Marchetti P.
      BACKGROUND: Despite the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) only the 20-30% of treated patients present long term benefits. The metabolic changes occurring in the gut microbiota metabolome are herein proposed as a factor potentially influencing the response to immunotherapy.METHODS: The metabolomic profiling of gut microbiota was characterized in 11 patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with nivolumab in second-line treatment with anti-PD-1 nivolumab. The metabolomics analyses were performed by GC-MS/SPME and 1H-NMR in order to detect volatile and non-volatile metabolites. Metabolomic data were processed by statistical profiling and chemometric analyses.
    RESULTS: Four out of 11 patients (36%) presented early progression, while the remaining 7 out of 11 (64%) presented disease progression after 12 months. 2-Pentanone (ketone) and tridecane (alkane) were significantly associated with early progression, and on the contrary short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (i.e., propionate, butyrate), lysine and nicotinic acid were significantly associated with long-term beneficial effects.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary data suggest a significant role of gut microbiota metabolic pathways in affecting response to immunotherapy. The metabolic approach could be a promising strategy to contribute to the personalized management of cancer patients by the identification of microbiota-linked "indicators" of early progressor and long responder patients.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-020-02231-0
  8. Ann Oncol. 2012 Jan;pii: S0923-7534(19)39033-7. [Epub ahead of print]23(1): 78-85
    William WN, Kim JS, Liu DD, Solis L, Behrens C, Lee JJ, Lippman SM, Kim ES, Hong WK, Wistuba II, Lee HY.
      BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to investigate the prognostic role of phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK) in surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining of pAMPK was carried out on tissue microarrays containing 463 samples obtained from patients with NSCLC and correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and survival.
    RESULTS: pAMPK expression levels were significantly higher in never smokers versus former smokers versus current smokers (P=0.045). A positive pAMPK expression was associated with increased overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) (P=0.0009 and P=0.0007, respectively). OS and RFS were statistically superior in pAMPK-positive than in pAMPK-negative patients with adenocarcinoma (ADC; median OS: 5.6 and 4.2 years, respectively, P=0.0001; median RFS: 5.0 and 2.4 years, respectively, P=0.001), whereas they were similar in those patients with squamous cell carcinoma. Multivariate analysis confirmed that pAMPK positivity was associated with OS [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.574, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.418-0.789, P = 0.0006) and RFS (HR = 0.608, 95% CI 0.459-0.807, and P = 0.0006), independent of clinical covariates.
    CONCLUSIONS: High pAMPK expression levels are associated with increased survival in patients with NSCLC, especially those with ADC. Our results support further evaluation of AMP-activated protein kinase as a potential prognostic and therapeutic target for lung cancer.
    Keywords:  AMP-activated protein kinase; LKB1; non-small-cell lung cancer; tobacco smoking
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdr036
  9. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Jan 31. pii: S0006-291X(20)30213-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    Cao W, Yang Q, Yuan Z, Li H, Wang W, Xiao X, Wang Z, Liang L, Zhou P, Liu J, Hu X, Zhang B.
      Cisplatin is a main chemotherapeutic drug used to treat non-small-cell lung cancer patients. However, these patients commonly face cisplatin resistance. The roles and underlying mechanisms of gemcitabine, irinotecan, pemetrexed and docetaxel used as single agents or combined with cisplatin for overcoming cisplatin-resistant non-small-cell lung cancer were explored in this study. MTT assays showed that gemcitabine alone exhibited stronger cytotoxicity on cisplatin-resistant A549 cells than irinotecan, pemetrexed and docetaxel. Meanwhile, gemcitabine combined with cisplatin showed a synergistic inhibitory effect on cisplatin-resistant cells. RNA sequencing and Gene Ontology/Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analysis showed that cell cycle signaling pathways and trx-interacting protein were factors in the efficacy of the cotreatment. Flow cytometry and Western blot results showed that when cisplatin-resistant A549 cells were cotreated with gemcitabine and cisplatin, G0/G1 phase arrest occurred, and trx-interacting protein was upregulated. Silencing trx-interacting protein attenuated the response of the resistant cells to the drug combination. A trx-interacting protein agonist together with cisplatin showed an additive cytotoxic effect on the resistant cells compared with cisplatin alone. The gemcitabine and cisplatin combination, compared to gemcitabine or PBS alone, markedly suppressed the growth of cisplatin-resistant A549 tumors in vivo, accompanied by an increase in trx-interacting protein and a decrease in Ki67 expression. Therefore, we concluded that gemcitabine and cisplatin, as an FDA-approved combination, is a viable therapy for cisplatin-resistant non-small-cell lung cancer ex vivo and in vivo.
    Keywords:  Cell cycle; Cisplatin resistance; Gemcitabine; Non-small-cell lung cancer; Trx-interacting protein
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.01.130
  10. Anticancer Res. 2020 Feb;40(2): 1007-1014
    Nakano T, Go T, Nakashima N, Liu D, Yokomise H.
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL-1) is a member of the B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family of proteins, which regulate the intrinsic (mitochondrial) apoptotic cascade. MCL-1 inhibits apoptosis, which may be associated with resistance to cancer therapy. Therefore, in this study, the clinical role of MCL-1 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was explored.PATIENTS AND METHODS: This retrospective study included 80 patients with stage 1-3A NSCLC, who underwent surgery without preoperative treatment between 2010 and 2011. MCL-1 expression and Ki-67 index were determined via immunohistochemical staining. Apoptotic index (AI) was determined via terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling.
    RESULTS: The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis (area under curve=0.6785) revealed that MCL-1 expression in 30.0% of the NSCLC tumor cells was a significant cut-off for predicting prognosis. Tumors were considered MCL-1-positive if staining was observed in >30% of the cells. Thirty-six tumors (45.0%) were MCL-1-positive. However, there were no significant differences between MCL-1 expression and clinical variables. AI was lower in MCL-1-positive (2.2±3.6%) than in MCL-1-negative (5.2±7.9%) tumors, although the difference was not significant (p=0.1080). The Ki-67 index was significantly higher in MCL-1-positive than in MCL-1-negative tumors (18.0% vs. 3.0%; p<0.001). Five-year survival rate was significantly worse in patients with MCL-1-positive tumors (68.3%) than in those with MCL-1-negative tumors (93.1%, p=0.0057). Univariate [hazard ratio (HR)=5.041, p=0.0013], and multivariate analyses revealed that MCL-1 expression was a significant prognostic factor (HR=3.983, p=0.0411).
    CONCLUSION: MCL-1 expression in NSCLC cells correlated inversely with AI and positively with Ki-67 index. MCL-1 may serve as a potential prognostic biomarker and a novel therapeutic target in NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; myeloid cell leukemia-1; non-small cell lung cancer; prognosis; survival
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.21873/anticanres.14035
  11. Anticancer Res. 2020 Feb;40(2): 901-913
    Ioannidis G, Papadaki C, Lagoudaki E, Tzardi M, Trypaki M, Stathopoulos E, Mavroudis D, Georgoulias V, Souglakos J.
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Tumoural transcriptional levels of RRM1, RRM2, CDA, dCK and hENT1 genes are potential biomarkers for gemcitabine's efficacy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analysed each gene's relative mRNA expression by quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction in microdissected, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded primary-tumour specimens from 219 chemonaïve patients with advanced-stage NSCLC, treated with gemcitabine-based regimens within clinical trials. The five genes' transcriptional patterns were integrated into an ordinal, five-level gemcitabine-susceptibility classifier (5L-GSC).
    RESULTS: Treatment efficacy increased progressively across the five susceptibility levels, with the very-high chemosensitivity cases obtaining the most clinical benefit. 5L-GSC emerged as an independent prognosticator for overall response and disease control rates, time to progression and overall survival at p-values of 0.03, 0.004, <0.001 and <0.001, respectively, with results remaining significant after bootstrapping. Penalised, optimally-scaled, categorical-regression modelling of overall response identified 5L-GSC as the most stable predictor.
    CONCLUSION: The proposed composite biomarker is promising for customising front-line chemotherapy in NSCLC.
    Keywords:  CDA; Non-small cell lung carcinoma; RRM1; RRM2; dCK; gemcitabine; hENT1; messenger RNA; pharmacogenomics
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.21873/anticanres.14023
  12. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2020 Feb 05.
    Takada K, Yoneshima Y, Tanaka K, Okamoto I, Shimokawa M, Wakasu S, Takamori S, Toyokawa G, Oba T, Osoegawa A, Tagawa T, Oda Y, Nakanishi Y, Mori M.
      PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to elucidate the clinical impact of skeletal muscle area (SMA) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitors.METHODS: Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed on data of 103 patients with advanced or recurrent NSCLC treated with anti-PD-1 inhibitors. The SMA was measured at the level of the third lumbar vertebral (L3) on computed tomography images using OsiriX software (32-bit, version 5.8; OsiriX, Geneva, Switzerland). The L3 muscle index (cm2/m2) was defined as the SMA (cm2) at the L3 level divided by the height (m) squared.
    RESULTS: L3 muscle index Low was an independent predictor of both progression-free (P = 0.0399) and overall survival (P = 0.0155). Moreover, the disease control rate was significantly lower in the L3 muscle index Low group (49.0% [25/51]) than in the L3 muscle index High group (73.1% [38/52]; P = 0.0117). However, there was no significant difference between the response rates of the L3 muscle index Low group (21.6% [11/51]) and L3 muscle index High group (32.7% [17/52]; P = 0.2031).
    CONCLUSIONS: L3 muscle index Low is an independent predictor of worse outcomes in NSCLC patients treated with anti-PD-1 inhibitors.
    Keywords:  Nivolumab; Non-small cell lung cancer; Pembrolizumab; Predictive factor; Prognostic factor; Sarcopenia
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-020-03146-5
  13. Amino Acids. 2020 Feb 07.
    Torricelli P, Antonelli F, Ferorelli P, Borromeo I, Shevchenko A, Lenzi S, De Martino A.
      Weight loss in patients with cancer is caused by cancer cachexia and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Recent developments in antiemetic drugs have substantially improved nausea and vomiting, but this intervention did not reduce weight loss and other more severe side effects of chemotherapy, like anorexia, weakness, cough, dyspnea, hemoptysis, and pain. This study aimed to investigate the effects of nutrition intervention with a food supplement, during chemotherapy in patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients received individualized nutrition counseling by a registered dietitian and were provided with oral supplements of Texidrofolico® for 90 days. Bodyweight and the mentioned other side effects were evaluated at baseline and after 90 days of intervention. To assess the effects of this dietary supplement, a total of 30 patients were retrospectively enrolled as controls, and the bodyweight and change in side effects of chemotherapy were compared with those observed in 30 Texidrofolico®-treated patients. After 90-day intervention, by oral supplement of Texidrofolico®, the patients, during the course of cytotoxic chemotherapy, showed an improved quality of life and not significant weight and BMI loss respect the control group. Furthermore, the number of patients, treated with Texidrofolico® who maintained or increased their body weight, after 90 days of treatment was significantly higher than in the control group. The effects of treatment with the food supplement have also been studied from a metabolic point of view. It was possible to find that one of the known markers of tumor growth, plasma polyamines, was reduced after the treatment. A possible relationship between these biogenic amines and the folate cycle is discussed. In conclusion, early intensive nutrition intervention with oral supplements of Texidrofolico® during chemotherapy of NSCLC patients prevents weight loss and it is beneficial for their quality of life.
    Keywords:  Chemotherapy; NSCLC; Nutritional supplement; Polyamines; Quality of life
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-020-02822-7
  14. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2019 Dec;8(6): 847-853
    Katayama Y, Yamada T, Shimamoto T, Iwasaku M, Kaneko Y, Uchino J, Takayama K.
      Background: Cancer immunotherapy is being developed as a promising alternative for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, novel biomarkers are required to select patients that will benefit from treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for a long period of time. The gut microbiome is expected to be a promising biomarker of ICI response owing to the regulation of the immune status within the host.Methods: In this retrospective study, we included 17 Japanese patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with ICIs for >3 months in our hospital. Fecal samples obtained from the patients during ICI treatment were analyzed by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. We examined the correlation between the diversity of the gut microbiome and treatment with ICIs.
    Results: Several bacterial species were more abundant in ICI responders than in non-responders. Patients with abundant Lactobacillus and Clostridium tended to have a longer time to treatment failure (TTF) after receiving ICI than those with a lower abundance.
    Conclusions: In conclusion, the composition of the gut microbiome is associated with better clinical benefits from ICI treatment in Japanese patients with NSCLC. A further large-scale study is warranted to validate the composition of the gut microbiome as a novel clinical factor influencing the response to ICIs for an extended time in NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; gut microbiome; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); retrospective analysis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.21037/tlcr.2019.10.23
  15. Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Feb 04. pii: S0891-5849(19)32348-2. [Epub ahead of print]
    Falls-Hubert KC, Butler AL, Gui K, Anderson M, Li M, Stolwijk JM, Rodman SN, Solst SR, Tomanek-Chalkley A, Searby CC, Sheffield VC, Sandfort V, Schmidt H, McCormick M, Wels BR, Allen BG, Buettner GR, Schultz MK, Spitz DR.
      Therapies for lung cancer patients initially illicit desirable responses, but the presence of hypoxia and drug resistant cells within tumors ultimately lead to treatment failure. Disulfiram (DSF) is an FDA approved, copper chelating agent that can target oxidative metabolic frailties in cancer vs. normal cells and be repurposed as an adjuvant to cancer therapy. Clonogenic survival assays showed that DSF (50-150 nM) combined with physiological levels of Cu (15 μM CuSO4) was selectively toxic to H292 NSCLC cells versus normal human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC). Furthermore, cancer cell toxicity was exacerbated at 1% O2, relative to 4 or 21% O2. This selective toxicity of DSF/Cu was associated with differential Cu ionophore capabilities. DSF/Cu treatment caused a >20-fold increase in cellular Cu in NSCLCs, with nearly two-fold higher Cu present in NSCLCs vs. HBECs and in cancer cells at 1% O2vs. 21% O2. DSF toxicity was shown to be dependent on the retention of Cu as well as oxidative stress mechanisms, including the production of superoxide, peroxide, lipid peroxidation, and mitochondrial damage. DSF was also shown to selectively (relative to HBECs) enhance radiation and chemotherapy-induced NSCLC killing and reduce radiation and chemotherapy resistance in hypoxia. Finally, DSF decreased xenograft tumor growth in vivo when combined with radiation and carboplatin. These results support the hypothesis that DSF could be a promising adjuvant to enhance cancer therapy based on its apparent ability to selectively target fundamental differences in cancer cell oxidative metabolism.
    Keywords:  ATP7B; Disulfiram; Hypoxia; Metabolic oxidative stress; Radiation oncology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.01.186
  16. Anticancer Drugs. 2020 Jan 31.
    Hu T, Shen H, Huang H, Yang Z, Zhou Y, Zhao G.
      Therapeutic agents that target both tumor cell and vascular endothelial cell may achieve additional anti-tumor efficacy, particularly in lung cancer due to the critical roles of angiogenesis during lung cancer progression and metastasis. In this work, we showed that pitavastatin, a novel cholesterol-lowering drug, potently inhibited lung cancer cells and angiogenesis. This was achieved by the induction of apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation of lung cancer cells and human lung tumor-associated endothelial cell. Pitavastatin was not only effective to chemo-sensitive but also chemo-resistant lung cancer cells. This was also consistent with the finding that pitavastatin significantly enhanced cisplatin's efficacy in lung cancer xenograft model without causing toxicity in mice. We further showed that pitavastatin inhibited lung tumor angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo through suppressing human lung tumor-associated endothelial cell migration and morphogenesis without affecting adhesion. Mechanistically, we showed that pitavastatin acted on lung cancer cells and human lung tumor-associated endothelial cell through suppressing prenylation-dependent Ras/Raf/MEK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. Our work is the first to demonstrate the inhibitory effects of pitavastatin on Ras-mediated signaling. Our findings provide pre-clinical evidence to repurpose pitavastatin for the treatment of lung cancer.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000885
  17. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 29. pii: E876. [Epub ahead of print]21(3):
    Qi W, Lu C, Huang H, Zhang W, Song S, Liu B.
      Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) has a poor prognosis, in part due to poor therapeutic response and limited therapeutic alternatives. Lichens are symbiotic organisms, producing a variety of substances with multiple biological activities. (+)-Usnic acid, an important biologically active metabolite of lichens, has been shown to have high anti-cancer activity at low doses. However, there have been no reports regarding the effect of (+)-usnic acid on LUSC cells. This study found that (+)-usnic acid reduced viability and induced apoptosis in LUSC cells by reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. (+)-Usnic acid induced mitochondria-derived ROS production via inhibition of complex I and complex III of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC). Interestingly, the elimination of mitochondrial ROS by Mito-TEMPOL only partially reversed the effect of (+)-usnic acid on cellular ROS production. Further study showed that (+)-usnic acid also induced ROS production via reducing Nrf2 stability through disruption of the PI3K/Akt pathway. The in vitro and in vivo xenograft studies showed that combined treatment of (+)-usnic acid and paclitaxel synergistically suppressed LUSC cells. In conclusion, this study indicates that (+)-usnic acid induces apoptosis of LUSC cells through ROS accumulation, probably via disrupting the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) and the PI3K/Akt/Nrf2 pathway. Therefore, although clinical use of (+)-usnic acid will be limited due to toxicity issues, derivatives thereof may turn out as promising anticancer candidates for adjuvant treatment of LUSC.
    Keywords:  (+)-usnic acid; lung squamous cell carcinoma; paclitaxel; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030876
  18. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 31. pii: E937. [Epub ahead of print]21(3):
    Giacomini I, Ragazzi E, Pasut G, Montopoli M.
      Cisplatin is the first-line treatment for different types of solid tumors, such as ovarian, testicular, bladder, cervical, head and neck, lung, and esophageal cancers. The main problem related to its clinical use is the onset of drug resistance. In the last decades, among the studied molecular mechanisms of cisplatin resistance, metabolic reprogramming has emerged as a possible one. This review focuses on the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) playing a pivotal role in maintaining the high cell proliferation rate and representing an advantage for cancer cells. In particular, the oxidative branch of PPP plays a role in oxidative stress and seems to be involved in cisplatin resistance. In light of these considerations, it has been demonstrated that overexpression and higher enzymatic activity of different enzymes of both oxidative and non-oxidative branches (such as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, and transketolase) increase cisplatin resistance, and their silencing or combined treatment with cisplatin could restore cisplatin sensitivity. Moreover, drug delivery systems loaded with both PPP inhibitors and cisplatin give the possibility of reaching cancer cells selectively. In conclusion, targeting PPP is becoming a strategy to overcome cisplatin resistance; however, further studies are required to better understand the mechanisms.
    Keywords:  cancer; cisplatin; drug delivery systems; pentose phosphate pathway; resistance
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030937
  19. PLoS One. 2020 ;15(2): e0227768
    Lu J, Zang H, Zheng H, Zhan Y, Yang Y, Zhang Y, Liu S, Feng J, Wen Q, Long M, Fan S.
      The Akt (protein kinase B)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, which is dysregulated in various cancers, controls the assembly of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4E) complex. However, whether aberrant expression of phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt), phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR) and phosphorylated eIF4E (p-eIF4E) is associated with clinicopathological characteristics in surgically resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been rarely reported. Here, we investigated expression of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E proteins in NSCLC by immunohistochemistry and evaluated their correlation with clinicopathological characteristics and prognostic significance. The results showed that the positive percentage of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E was higher in NSCLC. Additionally, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E was dramatically higher in lung adenocarcinoma (both P<0.05). Most importantly, NSCLC patients with lymph node metastasis had significantly elevated expression of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E (all P<0.05). Positive expression of p-Akt, and any positive expression of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E proteins were positively correlated with clinical stages (both P<0.05). Spearman's rank correlation test revealed that expression of p-Akt was correlated with p-eIF4E and p-mTOR (r = 0.107, P = 0.047; r = 0.287, P<0.001, respectively). Also, p-eIF4E had positive correlation with p-mTOR (r = 0.265, P<0.001). Furthermore, NSCLC patients with increased expression of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E, and any positive expression of above three proteins had lower overall survival rates (all P<0.05). Multivariate Cox regression analysis further indicated thatp-eIF4E was an independent prognostic factor for NSCLC patients (P = 0.046). Taken together, overexpression of p-Akt, p-mTOR and p-eIF4E proteins is associated with metastasis and poor prognosis of NSCLC patients after surgical resection, and positive expression of p-eIF4E protein may act as an independent unfavorable prognostic biomarker for overall survival of NSCLC patients.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227768
  20. Cell Prolif. 2020 Feb 05. e12777
    Lu L, Li H, Wu X, Rao J, Zhou J, Fan S, Shen Q.
      OBJECTIVES: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is constitutively activated and overexpressed in many cancers, including non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We recently developed HJC0152 as an orally active STAT3 inhibitor. This study focused on investigating HJC0152's effect and mechanism of action in NSCLC.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analysed cell proliferation by MTT assays, cell migration by wound healing and transwell assays, protein levels by Western blot, and apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) level by flow cytometry. A nude mouse tumorigenesis model was established for in vivo experiment. UHPLC-QTOF/MS was used for untargeted metabolomic relative quantitation analysis.
    RESULTS: We found that HJC0152 exhibited activity against human NSCLC cells in vitro and NSCLC xenograft tumours in vivo via regulating STAT3 signalling and metabolism. HJC0152 efficiently reduced NSCLC cell proliferation, promoted ROS generation, induced apoptosis, triggered DNA damage and reduced motility in A549 and H460 NSCLC cells. Moreover, HJC0152 significantly inhibited the growth of A549 xenograft tumours in vivo. HJC0152 also affected metabolism, significantly decreasing and perturbating levels of several metabolites in the purine, glutathione and pyrimidine metabolism pathways.
    CONCLUSIONS: HJC0152 reduces cellular capacity to scavenge free radicals, leading to ROS generation and accumulation and apoptosis. This study provides a rationale for further developing HJC0152 as a potential therapy for NSCLC and provides insights into the mechanisms by which HJC0152 exerts its anti-cancer effects.
    Keywords:  HJC0152; STAT3; lung cancer; metabolism; reactive oxygen species
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/cpr.12777
  21. Mol Med Rep. 2020 Jan 16.
    Lang N, Wang C, Zhao J, Shi F, Wu T, Cao H.
      Cancer cells use aerobic glycolysis to sustain their proliferation. Long non‑coding RNA brain cytoplasmic RNA 1 (BCYRN1) has been reported to act as an oncogene in non‑small‑cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The present study investigated the role of BCYRN1 in NSCLC glycolysis. BCYRN1 expression was detected in NSCLC cells and tissues using reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR. The effect of BCYRN1 on aerobic glycolysis was examined by measuring NSCLC cell glucose catabolism and lactate synthesis. The relationships between BCYRN1 and microRNA (miR)‑149, and between miR‑149 and pyruvate kinase M1/2 (PKM2) were measured using a dual‑luciferase reporter assay. Cell proliferation and invasion were analyzed by the Cell Counting kit‑8 assay and the Matrigel invasion assay, respectively. High BCYRN1 expression was observed in NSCLC tissues and cells compared with the corresponding controls. BCYRN1 induced glycolysis and upregulated the expression levels of PKM2 in NSCLC cells. In addition, BCYRN1 regulated miR‑149 expression levels, and miR‑149 inhibitor rescued the effects of si‑BCYRN1 on glucose consumption and lactate production. miR‑149 knockdown significantly enhanced the expression of PKM2. Furthermore, PKM2 inhibition significantly reversed the effects of miR‑149 inhibitor on glucose catabolism and lactate synthesis. Furthermore, PKM2 was involved in NSCLC cell proliferation and invasion, and BCYRN1 knockdown and miR‑149 overexpression inhibited both processes. The present study suggested that BCYRN1 was involved in cell glycolysis, proliferation and invasion during NSCLC via regulating miR‑149 and PKM2.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2020.10944