Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications

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    Distinct modulation of IFN gamma-induced transcription by BET bromodomain and catalytic P300/CBP inhibition in breast cancer
    Hogg, SJ ; Motorna, O ; Kearney, CJ ; Derrick, EB ; House, IG ; Todorovski, I ; Kelly, MJ ; Zethoven, M ; Bromberg, KD ; Lai, A ; Beavis, PA ; Shortt, J ; Johnstone, RW ; Vervoort, SJ (BMC, 2022-12-01)
    BACKGROUND: Interferon gamma (IFNγ) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that directly activates the JAK/STAT pathway. However, the temporal dynamics of chromatin remodeling and transcriptional activation initiated by IFNγ have not been systematically profiled in an unbiased manner. Herein, we integrated transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling to characterize the acute epigenetic changes induced by IFNγ stimulation in a murine breast cancer model. RESULTS: We identified de novo activation of cis-regulatory elements bound by Irf1 that were characterized by increased chromatin accessibility, differential usage of pro-inflammatory enhancers, and downstream recruitment of BET proteins and RNA polymerase II. To functionally validate this hierarchical model of IFNγ-driven transcription, we applied selective antagonists of histone acetyltransferases P300/CBP or acetyl-lysine readers of the BET family. This highlighted that histone acetylation is an antecedent event in IFNγ-driven transcription, whereby targeting of P300/CBP acetyltransferase activity but not BET inhibition could curtail the epigenetic remodeling induced by IFNγ through suppression of Irf1 transactivation. CONCLUSIONS: These data highlight the ability for epigenetic therapies to reprogram pro-inflammatory gene expression, which may have therapeutic implications for anti-tumor immunity and inflammatory diseases.
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    Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy and Surgery for Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Versus Definitive Chemoradiotherapy With Salvage Surgery as Needed: The Study Protocol for the Randomized Controlled NEEDS Trial
    Nilsson, M ; Olafsdottir, H ; Alexandersson von Doebeln, G ; Villegas, F ; Gagliardi, G ; Hellstroem, M ; Wang, Q-L ; Johansson, H ; Gebski, V ; Hedberg, J ; Klevebro, F ; Markar, S ; Smyth, E ; Lagergren, P ; Al-Haidari, G ; Rekstad, LC ; Aahlin, EK ; Wallner, B ; Edholm, D ; Johansson, J ; Szabo, E ; Reynolds, JV ; Pramesh, CS ; Mummudi, N ; Joshi, A ; Ferri, L ; Wong, RKS ; O'Callaghan, C ; Lukovic, J ; Chan, KKW ; Leong, T ; Barbour, A ; Smithers, M ; Li, Y ; Kang, X ; Kong, F-M ; Chao, Y-K ; Crosby, T ; Bruns, C ; van Laarhoven, H ; van Berge Henegouwen, M ; van Hillegersberg, R ; Rosati, R ; Piessen, G ; de Manzoni, G ; Lordick, F (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-07-13)
    Background: The globally dominant treatment with curative intent for locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) with subsequent esophagectomy. This multimodal treatment leads to around 60% overall 5-year survival, yet with impaired post-surgical quality of life. Observational studies indicate that curatively intended chemoradiotherapy, so-called definitive chemoradiotherapy (dCRT) followed by surveillance of the primary tumor site and regional lymph node stations and surgery only when needed to ensure local tumor control, may lead to similar survival as nCRT with surgery, but with considerably less impairment of quality of life. This trial aims to demonstrate that dCRT, with selectively performed salvage esophagectomy only when needed to achieve locoregional tumor control, is non-inferior regarding overall survival, and superior regarding health-related quality of life (HRQOL), compared to nCRT followed by mandatory surgery, in patients with operable, locally advanced ESCC. Methods: This is a pragmatic open-label, randomized controlled phase III, multicenter trial with non-inferiority design with regard to the primary endpoint overall survival and a superiority hypothesis for the experimental intervention dCRT with regard to the main secondary endpoint global HRQOL one year after randomization. The control intervention is nCRT followed by preplanned surgery and the experimental intervention is dCRT followed by surveillance and salvage esophagectomy only when needed to secure local tumor control. A target sample size of 1200 randomized patients is planned in order to reach 462 events (deaths) during follow-up. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT04460352.
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    Hybrid-control arm construction using historical trial data for an early-phase, randomized controlled trial in metastatic colorectal cancer.
    Li, C ; Ferro, A ; Mhatre, SK ; Lu, D ; Lawrance, M ; Li, X ; Li, S ; Allen, S ; Desai, J ; Fakih, M ; Cecchini, M ; Pedersen, KS ; Kim, TY ; Reyes-Rivera, I ; Segal, NH ; Lenain, C (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022)
    Background: Treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer patients beyond the second line remains challenging, highlighting the need for early phase trials of combination therapies for patients who had disease progression during or following two prior lines of therapy. Leveraging hybrid control design in these trials may preserve the benefits of randomization while strengthening evidence by integrating historical trial data. Few examples have been established to assess the applicability of such design in supporting early phase metastatic colorectal cancer trials. Methods: MORPHEUS-CRC is an umbrella, multicenter, open-label, phase Ib/II, randomized, controlled trial (NCT03555149), with active experimental arms ongoing. Patients enrolled were assigned to a control arm (regorafenib, 15 patients randomized and 13 analysed) or multiple experimental arms for immunotherapy-based treatment combinations. One experimental arm (atezolizumab + isatuximab, 15 patients randomized and analysed) was completed and included in the hybrid-control study, where the hybrid-control arm was constructed by integrating data from the IMblaze370 phase 3 trial (NCT02788279). To estimate treatment efficacy, Cox and logistic regression models were used in a frequentist framework with standardized mortality ratio weighting or in a Bayesian framework with commensurate priors. The primary endpoint is objective response rate, while disease control rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival were the outcomes assessed in the hybrid-control study. Results: The experimental arm showed no efficacy signal, yet a well-tolerated safety profile in the MORPHEUS-CRC trial. Treatment effects estimated in hybrid control design were comparable to those in the MORPHEUS-CRC trial using either frequentist or Bayesian models. Conclusions: Hybrid control provides comparable treatment-effect estimates with generally improved precision, and thus can be of value to inform early-phase clinical development in metastatic colorectal cancer.
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    Clinical implications of prospective genomic profiling of metastatic breast cancer patients (vol 22, 91, 2020)
    van Geelen, CT ; Savas, P ; Teo, ZL ; Luen, SJ ; Weng, C-F ; Ko, Y-A ; Kuykhoven, KS ; Caramia, F ; Salgado, R ; Francis, PA ; Dawson, S-J ; Fox, SB ; Fellowes, A ; Loi, S (BMC, 2022-07-15)
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    MicroRNA-21 is immunosuppressive and pro-metastatic via separate mechanisms
    Chi, LH ; Cross, RSN ; Redvers, RP ; Davis, M ; Hediyeh-zadeh, S ; Mathivanan, S ; Samuel, M ; Lucas, EC ; Mouchemore, K ; Gregory, PA ; Johnstone, CN ; Anderson, RL (SPRINGERNATURE, 2022-07-11)
    MiR-21 was identified as a gene whose expression correlated with the extent of metastasis of murine mammary tumours. Since miR-21 is recognised as being associated with poor prognosis in cancer, we investigated its contribution to mammary tumour growth and metastasis in tumours with capacity for spontaneous metastasis. Unexpectedly, we found that suppression of miR-21 activity in highly metastatic tumours resulted in regression of primary tumour growth in immunocompetent mice but did not impede growth in immunocompromised mice. Analysis of the immune infiltrate of the primary tumours at the time when the tumours started to regress revealed an influx of both CD4+ and CD8+ activated T cells and a reduction in PD-L1+ infiltrating monocytes, providing an explanation for the observed tumour regression. Loss of anti-tumour immune suppression caused by decreased miR-21 activity was confirmed by transcriptomic analysis of primary tumours. This analysis also revealed reduced expression of genes associated with cell cycle progression upon loss of miR-21 activity. A second activity of miR-21 was the promotion of metastasis as shown by the loss of metastatic capacity of miR-21 knockdown tumours established in immunocompromised mice, despite no impact on primary tumour growth. A proteomic analysis of tumour cells with altered miR-21 activity revealed deregulation of proteins known to be associated with tumour progression. The development of therapies targeting miR-21, possibly via targeted delivery to tumour cells, could be an effective therapy to combat primary tumour growth and suppress the development of metastatic disease.
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    The Clinical and Psychosocial Outcomes for Women Who Received Unexpected Clinically Actionable Germline Information Identified through Research: An Exploratory Sequential Mixed-Methods Comparative Study
    Forrest, LE ; Shepherd, RF ; Tutty, E ; Pearce, A ; Campbell, I ; Devereux, L ; Trainer, AH ; James, PA ; Young, M-A (MDPI, 2022-07-01)
    Background Research identifying and returning clinically actionable germline variants offer a new avenue of access to genetic information. The psychosocial and clinical outcomes for women who have received this 'genome-first care' delivering hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk information outside of clinical genetics services are unknown. METHODS: An exploratory sequential mixed-methods case-control study compared outcomes between women who did (cases; group 1) and did not (controls; group 2) receive clinically actionable genetic information from a research cohort in Victoria, Australia. Participants completed an online survey examining cancer risk perception and worry, and group 1 also completed distress and adaptation measures. Group 1 participants subsequently completed a semi structured interview. RESULTS: Forty-five participants (group 1) and 96 (group 2) completed the online survey, and 31 group 1 participants were interviewed. There were no demographic differences between groups 1 and 2, although more of group 1 participants had children (p = 0.03). Group 1 reported significantly higher breast cancer risk perception (p < 0.001) compared to group 2, and higher cancer worry than group 2 (p < 0.001). Some group 1 participants described how receiving their genetic information heightened their cancer risk perception and exacerbated their cancer worry while waiting for risk-reducing surgery. Group 1 participants reported a MICRA mean score of 27.4 (SD 11.8, range 9-56; possible range 0-95), and an adaptation score of 2.9 (SD = 1.1). CONCLUSION: There were no adverse psychological outcomes amongst women who received clinically actionable germline information through a model of 'genome-first' care compared to those who did not. These findings support the return of clinically actionable research results to research participants.
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    NKG7 Enhances CD8+T Cell Synapse Efficiency to Limit Inflammation
    Lelliott, EJ ; Ramsbottom, KM ; Dowling, MR ; Shembrey, C ; Noori, T ; Kearney, CJ ; Michie, J ; Parish, IA ; Jordan, MA ; Baxter, AG ; Young, ND ; Brennan, AJ ; Oliaro, J (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-07-06)
    Cytotoxic lymphocytes are essential for anti-tumor immunity, and for effective responses to cancer immunotherapy. Natural killer cell granule protein 7 (NKG7) is expressed at high levels in cytotoxic lymphocytes infiltrating tumors from patients treated with immunotherapy, but until recently, the role of this protein in cytotoxic lymphocyte function was largely unknown. Unexpectedly, we found that highly CD8+ T cell-immunogenic murine colon carcinoma (MC38-OVA) tumors grew at an equal rate in Nkg7+/+ and Nkg7-/- littermate mice, suggesting NKG7 may not be necessary for effective CD8+ T cell anti-tumor activity. Mechanistically, we found that deletion of NKG7 reduces the ability of CD8+ T cells to degranulate and kill target cells in vitro. However, as a result of inefficient cytotoxic activity, NKG7 deficient T cells form a prolonged immune synapse with tumor cells, resulting in increased secretion of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF). By deleting the TNF receptor, TNFR1, from MC38-OVA tumors, we demonstrate that this hyper-secretion of TNF compensates for reduced synapse-mediated cytotoxic activity against MC38-OVA tumors in vivo, via increased TNF-mediated tumor cell death. Taken together, our results demonstrate that NKG7 enhances CD8+ T cell immune synapse efficiency, which may serve as a mechanism to accelerate direct cytotoxicity and limit potentially harmful inflammatory responses.
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    Effect of Surgical Humidification on Inflammation and Peritoneal Trauma in Colorectal Cancer Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial
    Sampurno, S ; Chittleborough, T ; Dean, M ; Flood, M ; Carpinteri, S ; Roth, S ; Millen, RM ; Cain, H ; Kong, JCH ; MacKay, J ; Warrier, SK ; McCormick, J ; Hiller, JG ; Heriot, AG ; Ramsay, RG ; Lynch, AC (SPRINGER, 2022-07-06)
    BACKGROUND: Pre-clinical studies indicate that dry-cold-carbon-dioxide (DC-CO2) insufflation leads to more peritoneal damage, inflammation and hypothermia compared with humidified-warm-CO2 (HW-CO2). Peritoneum and core temperature in patients undergoing colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery were compared. METHODS: Sixty-six patients were randomized into laparoscopic groups; those insufflated with DC-CO2 or HW-CO2. A separate group of nineteen patients undergoing laparotomy were randomised to conventional surgery or with the insertion of a device delivering HW-CO2. Temperatures were monitored and peritoneal biopsies and bloods were taken at the start of surgery, at 1 and 3 h. Further bloods were taken depending upon hospital length-of-stay (LOS). Peritoneal samples were subjected to scanning electron microscopy to evaluate mesothelial damage. RESULTS: Laparoscopic cases experienced a temperature drop despite Bair-HuggerTM use. HW-CO2 restored normothermia (≥ 36.5 °C) by 3 h, DC-CO2 did not. LOS was shorter for colon compared with rectal cancer cases and if insufflated with HW-CO2 compared with DC-CO2; 5.0 vs 7.2 days, colon and 11.6 vs 15.4 days rectum, respectively. Unexpectedly, one third of patients had pre-existing damage. Damage increased at 1 and 3 h to a greater extent in the DC-CO2 compared with the HW-CO2 laparoscopic cohort. C-reactive protein levels were higher in open than laparoscopic cases and lower in both matched HW-CO2 groups. CONCLUSIONS: This prospective RCT is in accord with animal studies while highlighting pre-existing damage in some patients. Peritoneal mesothelium protection, reduced inflammation and restoration of core-body temperature data suggest benefit with the use of HW-CO2 in patients undergoing CRC surgery.
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    Molecular characterization of low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma identifies genomic aberrations according to hormone receptor expression
    Cheasley, D ; Fernandez, ML ; Kobel, M ; Kim, H ; Dawson, A ; Hoenisch, J ; Bittner, M ; Chiu, DS ; Talhouk, A ; Gilks, CB ; Jayawardana, MW ; Pishas, K ; Mes-Masson, A-M ; Provencher, D ; Nigam, A ; Hacker, NF ; Gorringe, KL ; Campbell, IG ; Carey, MS (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2022-06-29)
    Hormone receptor expression is a characteristic of low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (LGSOC). Studies investigating estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) expression levels suggest its prognostic and predictive significance, although their associations with key molecular aberrations are not well understood. As such, we sought to describe the specific genomic profiles associated with different ER/PR expression patterns and survival outcomes in a cohort of patients with advanced disease. The study comprised fifty-five advanced-staged (III/IV) LGSOCs from the Canadian Ovarian Experimental Unified Resource (COEUR) for which targeted mutation sequencing, copy-number aberration, clinical and follow-up data were available. ER, PR, and p16 expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Tumors were divided into low and high ER/PR expression groups based on Allred scoring. Copy number analysis revealed that PR-low tumors (Allred score <2) had a higher fraction of the genome altered by copy number changes compared to PR-high tumors (p = 0.001), with cancer genes affected within specific loci linked to altered peptidyl-tyrosine kinase, MAP-kinase, and PI3-kinase signaling. Cox regression analysis showed that ER-high (p = 0.02), PR-high (p = 0.03), stage III disease (p = 0.02), low residual disease burden (p = 0.01) and normal p16 expression (p<0.001) were all significantly associated with improved overall survival. This study provides evidence that genomic aberrations are linked to ER/PR expression in primary LGSOC.
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    Tumor immune microenvironment of primary prostate cancer with and without germline mutations in homologous recombination repair genes
    Trigos, AS ; Pasam, A ; Banks, P ; Wallace, R ; Guo, C ; Keam, S ; Thorne, H ; Mitchell, C ; Lade, S ; Clouston, D ; Hakansson, A ; Liu, Y ; Blyth, B ; Murphy, D ; Lawrentschuk, N ; Bolton, D ; Moon, D ; Darcy, P ; Haupt, Y ; Williams, SG ; Castro, E ; Olmos, D ; Goode, D ; Neeson, P ; Sandhu, S (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Aberrations in homologous recombination repair (HRR) genes are emerging as important biomarkers for personalized treatment in prostate cancer (PCa). HRR deficiency (HRD) could affect the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME), potentially contributing to differential responses to poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Spatial distribution of immune cells in a range of cancers identifies novel disease subtypes and is related to prognosis. In this study we aimed to determine the differences in the TIME of PCa with and without germline (g) HRR mutations. METHODS: We performed gene expression analysis, multiplex immunohistochemistry of T and B cells and quantitative spatial analysis of PCa samples from 36 patients with gHRD and 26 patients with sporadic PCa. Samples were archival tumor tissue from radical prostatectomies with the exception of one biopsy. Results were validated in several independent cohorts. RESULTS: Although the composition of the T cell and B cells was similar in the tumor areas of gHRD-mutated and sporadic tumors, the spatial profiles differed between these cohorts. We describe two T-cell spatial profiles across primary PCa, a clustered immune spatial (CIS) profile characterized by dense clusters of CD4+ T cells closely interacting with PD-L1+ cells, and a free immune spatial (FIS) profile of CD8+ cells in close proximity to tumor cells. gHRD tumors had a more T-cell inflamed microenvironment than sporadic tumors. The CIS profile was mainly observed in sporadic tumors, whereas a FIS profile was enriched in gHRD tumors. A FIS profile was associated with lower Gleason scores, smaller tumors and longer time to biochemical recurrence and metastasis. CONCLUSIONS: gHRD-mutated tumors have a distinct immune microenvironment compared with sporadic tumors. Spatial profiling of T-cells provides additional information beyond T-cell density and is associated with time to biochemical recurrence, time to metastasis, tumor size and Gleason scores.