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      Interleukin-1 blockade overcomes erlotinib resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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          Erlotinib has demonstrated poor clinical response rates for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) to date and the majority of respondents acquire resistance to erlotinib relatively quickly. To elucidate novel pathways involved in erlotinib resistance, we compared the gene expression profiles of erlotinib-resistant (ER) vs. erlotinib-sensitive (ES) HNSCC cell lines. Enrichment analysis of microarray data revealed a deregulation of the IL-1 signaling pathway in ER versus ES-HNSCC cells. Gene expression of interleukin-1 alpha (IL1A) and interleukin-1 beta (IL1B) were significantly upregulated by > 2 fold in ER-SQ20B and ER-CAL 27 cells compared to their respective ES-cells. Secretion of the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) was significantly reduced in ER-cells compared to ES-cells. Blockade of IL-1 signaling using a recombinant IL-1R antagonist (anakinra) was able to inhibit the growth of ER-SQ20B and ER-CAL 27 but not ES-SQ20B and ES-CAL 27 xenografts as a single agent and in combination with erlotinib. ER-SQ20B xenografts treated with anakinra ± erlotinib were found to be less vascularized than ER-SQ20B xenografts treated with water or erlotinib. Mice bearing ER-SQ20B xenografts had significantly lesser circulating levels of G-CSF and IL-1β when treated with anakinra ± erlotinib compared to those treated with water or erlotinib alone. Furthermore, augmented mRNA levels of IL1A or interleukin-1 receptor accessory protein (IL1RAP) were associated with shortened survival in HNSCC patients. Altogether, blockade of the IL-1 pathway using anakinra overcame erlotinib resistance in HNSCC xenografts and may represent a novel strategy to overcome EGFR inhibitor resistance for treatment of HNSCC patients.

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          Activating mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor underlying responsiveness of non-small-cell lung cancer to gefitinib.

          Most patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have no response to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib, which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, about 10 percent of patients have a rapid and often dramatic clinical response. The molecular mechanisms underlying sensitivity to gefitinib are unknown. We searched for mutations in the EGFR gene in primary tumors from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who had a response to gefitinib, those who did not have a response, and those who had not been exposed to gefitinib. The functional consequences of identified mutations were evaluated after the mutant proteins were expressed in cultured cells. Somatic mutations were identified in the tyrosine kinase domain of the EGFR gene in eight of nine patients with gefitinib-responsive lung cancer, as compared with none of the seven patients with no response (P<0.001). Mutations were either small, in-frame deletions or amino acid substitutions clustered around the ATP-binding pocket of the tyrosine kinase domain. Similar mutations were detected in tumors from 2 of 25 patients with primary non-small-cell lung cancer who had not been exposed to gefitinib (8 percent). All mutations were heterozygous, and identical mutations were observed in multiple patients, suggesting an additive specific gain of function. In vitro, EGFR mutants demonstrated enhanced tyrosine kinase activity in response to epidermal growth factor and increased sensitivity to inhibition by gefitinib. A subgroup of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have specific mutations in the EGFR gene, which correlate with clinical responsiveness to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib. These mutations lead to increased growth factor signaling and confer susceptibility to the inhibitor. Screening for such mutations in lung cancers may identify patients who will have a response to gefitinib. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Afatinib versus placebo for patients with advanced, metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer after failure of erlotinib, gefitinib, or both, and one or two lines of chemotherapy (LUX-Lung 1): a phase 2b/3 randomised trial.

            Afatinib, an irreversible ErbB-family blocker, has shown preclinical activity when tested in EGFR mutant models with mutations that confer resistance to EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. We aimed to assess its efficacy in patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma with previous treatment failure on EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. In this phase 2b/3 trial, we enrolled patients with stage IIIB or IV adenocarcinoma and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance (ECOG) performance score of 0-2 who had received one or two previous chemotherapy regimens and had disease progression after at least 12 weeks of treatment with erlotinib or gefitinib. We used a computer-generated sequence to randomly allocate patients (2:1) to either afatinib (50 mg per day) or placebo; all patients received best supportive care. Randomisation was done in blocks of three and was stratified by sex and baseline ECOG performance status (0-1 vs 2). Investigators, patients, and the trial sponsor were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was overall survival (from date of randomisation to death), analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. This study is registered with, number NCT00656136. Between May 26, 2008, and Sept 21, 2009, we identified 697 patients, 585 of whom were randomly allocated to treatment (390 to afatinib, 195 to placebo). Median overall survival was 10·8 months (95% CI 10·0-12·0) in the afatinib group and 12·0 months (10·2-14·3) in the placebo group (hazard ratio 1·08, 95% CI 0·86-1·35; p=0·74). Median progression-free survival was longer in the afatinib group (3·3 months, 95% CI 2·79-4·40) than it was in the placebo group (1·1 months, 0·95-1·68; hazard ratio 0·38, 95% CI 0·31-0·48; p<0·0001). No complete responses to treatment were noted; 29 (7%) patients had a partial response in the afatinib group, as did one patient in the placebo group. Subsequent cancer treatment was given to 257 (68%) patients in the afatinib group and 153 (79%) patients in the placebo group. The most common adverse events in the afatinib group were diarrhoea (339 [87%] of 390 patients; 66 [17%] were grade 3) and rash or acne (305 [78%] patients; 56 [14%] were grade 3). These events occurred less often in the placebo group (18 [9%] of 195 patients had diarrhoea; 31 [16%] had rash or acne), all being grade 1 or 2. Drug-related serious adverse events occurred in 39 (10%) patients in the afatinib group and one (<1%) patient in the placebo group. We recorded two possibly treatment-related deaths in the afatinib group. Although we recorded no benefit in terms of overall survival with afatinib (which might have been affected by cancer treatments given after progression in both groups), our findings for progression-free survival and response to treatment suggest that afatinib could be of some benefit to patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma who have failed at least 12 weeks of previous EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitor treatment. Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              IL-1 is required for tumor invasiveness and angiogenesis.

              Here, we describe that microenvironmental IL-1 beta and, to a lesser extent, IL-1 alpha are required for in vivo angiogenesis and invasiveness of different tumor cells. In IL-1 beta knockout (KO) mice, local tumor or lung metastases of B16 melanoma cells were not observed compared with WT mice. Angiogenesis was assessed by the recruitment of blood vessel networks into Matrigel plugs containing B16 melanoma cells; vascularization of the plugs was present in WT mice, but was absent in IL-1 beta KO mice. The addition of exogenous IL-1 into B16-containing Matrigel plugs in IL-1 beta KO mice partially restored the angiogenic response. Moreover, the incorporation of IL-1 receptor antagonist to B16-containing plugs in WT mice inhibited the ingrowth of blood vessel networks into Matrigel plugs. In IL-1 alpha KO mice, local tumor development and induction of an angiogenic response in Matrigel plugs was less pronounced than in WT mice, but significantly higher than in IL-1 beta KO mice. These effects of host-derived IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta were not restricted to the melanoma model, but were also observed in DA/3 mammary and prostate cancer cell models. In addition to the in vivo findings, IL-1 contributed to the production of vascular endothelial cell growth factor and tumor necrosis factor in cocultures of peritoneal macrophages and tumor cells. Host-derived IL-1 seems to control tumor angiogenesis and invasiveness. Furthermore, the anti-angiogenic effects of IL-1 receptor antagonist, shown here, suggest a possible therapeutic role in cancer, in addition to its current use in rheumatoid arthritis.

                Author and article information

                Impact Journals LLC
                15 November 2016
                12 October 2016
                : 7
                : 46
                : 76087-76100
                1 Interdisciplinary Human Toxicology Program, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
                2 Department of Pathology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
                3 Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lincoln, PA, USA
                4 Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa City, IA, USA
                5 Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
                6 Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Andrean L. Simons, andrean-simons@
                Copyright: © 2016 Stanam et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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