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Reduced mouth opening in patients with head and neck cancer treated with radiation therapy: An analysis of the Clinical Registry of Dental Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer Patients (OraRad)

Sollecito, Thomas P; Helgeson, Erika S; Lalla, Rajesh V; Treister, Nathaniel S; Schmidt, Brian L; Patton, Lauren L; Lin, Alexander; Brennan, Michael T
OBJECTIVE:Trismus/reduced mouth opening (RMO) is a common side effect of radiotherapy (RT) for head and neck cancer (HNC). The objective was to measure RMO, identify risk factors for RMO, and determine its impact on quality of life (QOL). STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:OraRad is an observational, prospective, multicenter cohort study of patients receiving curative intent RT for HNC. Interincisal mouth opening measurements (n = 565) and patient-reported outcomes were recorded before RT and every 6 months for 2 years. Linear mixed-effects models were used to evaluate change in mouth opening and assess the relationship between trismus history and change in QOL measures. RESULTS:Interincisal distance decreased from a mean (SE) of 45.1 (0.42) mm at baseline to 42.2 (0.44) at 6 months, with slight recovery at 18 months (43.3, 0.46 mm) but no additional improvement by 24 months. The odds of trismus (opening <35 mm) were significantly higher at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.30 to 3.76) and 12 months (OR = 1.87, 95% CI: 1.08 to 3.25) compared with baseline. Females were more likely to experience trismus at baseline and during follow-up (P < .01). Patients with oral cavity cancer had the highest risk for trismus at baseline and post-RT (P < .01). RMO was associated with higher RT dose to the primary site and receiving concomitant chemotherapy (P < .01). Trismus was associated with self-reported difficulty opening the mouth and dry mouth (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS:A decrease in mouth opening is a common treatment-related toxicity after RT, with some recovery by 18 months. Trismus has a significant impact on survivor QOL.
PMID: 38262773
ISSN: 2212-4411
CID: 5625602

Measurement of the Association of Pain with Clinical Characteristics in Oral Cancer Patients at Diagnosis and Prior to Cancer Treatment

Sawicki, Caroline M; Janal, Malvin N; Gonzalez, Sung Hye; Wu, Angie K; Schmidt, Brian L; Albertson, Donna G
AIM/UNASSIGNED:Oral cancer patients suffer pain at the site of the cancer, which degrades quality of life (QoL). The University of California San Francisco Oral Cancer Pain Questionnaire (UCSFOCPQ), the only validated instrument specifically designed for measuring oral cancer pain, measures the intensity and nature of pain and the level of functional restriction due to pain. PURPOSE/UNASSIGNED:The aim of this study was to compare pain reported by untreated oral cancer patients on the UCSFOCPQ with pain they reported on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), an instrument widely used to evaluate cancer and non-cancer pain. PATIENTS AND METHODS/UNASSIGNED:The correlation between pain measured by the two instruments and clinical characteristics were analyzed. Thirty newly diagnosed oral cancer patients completed the UCSFOCPQ and the BPI. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:Pain severity measurements made by the UCSFOCPQ and BPI were concordant; however, the widely used BPI average pain over 24 hours score appeared less sensitive to detect association of oral cancer pain with clinical characteristics of patients prior to treatment (nodal status, depth of invasion, DOI). A BPI average score that includes responses to questions that measure both pain severity and interference with function performs similarly to the UCSFOCPQ in detection of associations with nodal status, pathologic T stage (pT stage), stage and depth of invasion (DOI). CONCLUSION/UNASSIGNED:Pain assessment instruments that measure sensory and interference dimensions of oral cancer pain correlate with biologic features and clinical behavior.
PMID: 38328017
ISSN: 1178-7090
CID: 5634962

Calcitonin Related Polypeptide Alpha Mediates Oral Cancer Pain

Tu, Nguyen Huu; Inoue, Kenji; Lewis, Parker K; Khan, Ammar; Hwang, Jun Hyeong; Chokshi, Varun; Dabovic, Branka Brukner; Selvaraj, Shanmugapriya; Bhattacharya, Aditi; Dubeykovskaya, Zinaida; Pinkerton, Nathalie M; Bunnett, Nigel W; Loomis, Cynthia A; Albertson, Donna G; Schmidt, Brian L
Oral cancer patients suffer pain at the site of the cancer. Calcitonin gene related polypeptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide expressed by a subset of primary afferent neurons, promotes oral cancer growth. CGRP also mediates trigeminal pain (migraine) and neurogenic inflammation. The contribution of CGRP to oral cancer pain is investigated in the present study. The findings demonstrate that CGRP-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons and neurites innervate orthotopic oral cancer xenograft tumors in mice. Cancer increases anterograde transport of CGRP in axons innervating the tumor, supporting neurogenic secretion as the source of CGRP in the oral cancer microenvironment. CGRP antagonism reverses oral cancer nociception in preclinical oral cancer pain models. Single-cell RNA-sequencing is used to identify cell types in the cancer microenvironment expressing the CGRP receptor components, receptor activity modifying protein 1 Ramp1 and calcitonin receptor like receptor (CLR, encoded by Calcrl). Ramp1 and Calcrl transcripts are detected in cells expressing marker genes for Schwann cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and immune cells. Ramp1 and Calcrl transcripts are more frequently detected in cells expressing fibroblast and immune cell markers. This work identifies CGRP as mediator of oral cancer pain and suggests the antagonism of CGRP to alleviate oral cancer pain.
PMID: 37443709
ISSN: 2073-4409
CID: 5535282

The contribution of endocytosis to sensitization of nociceptors and synaptic transmission in nociceptive circuits

Tonello, Raquel; Anderson, Wayne B; Davidson, Steve; Escriou, Virginie; Yang, Lei; Schmidt, Brian L; Imlach, Wendy L; Bunnett, Nigel W
Chronic pain involves sensitization of nociceptors and synaptic transmission of painful signals in nociceptive circuits in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. We investigated the contribution of clathrin-dependent endocytosis to sensitization of nociceptors by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and to synaptic transmission in spinal nociceptive circuits. We determined whether therapeutic targeting of endocytosis could ameliorate pain. mRNA encoding dynamin (Dnm) 1-3 and adaptor-associated protein kinase 1 (AAK1), which mediate clathrin-dependent endocytosis, were localized to primary sensory neurons of dorsal root ganglia of mouse and human and to spinal neurons in the dorsal horn of the mouse spinal cord by RNAScope®. When injected intrathecally to mice, Dnm and AAK1 siRNA or shRNA knocked-down Dnm and AAK1 mRNA in dorsal root ganglia neurons, reversed mechanical and thermal allodynia and hyperalgesia, and normalized non-evoked behavior in preclinical models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Intrathecally administered inhibiters of clathrin, Dnm and AAK1 also reversed allodynia and hyperalgesia. Disruption of clathrin, Dnm and AAK1 did not affect normal motor functions of behaviors. Patch clamp recordings of dorsal horn neurons revealed that Dnm1 and AAK1 disruption inhibited synaptic transmission between primary sensory neurons and neurons in lamina I/II of the spinal cord dorsal horn by suppressing release of synaptic vesicles from presynaptic primary afferent neurons. Patch clamp recordings from dorsal root ganglion nociceptors indicated that Dnm siRNA prevented sustained GPCR-mediated sensitization of nociceptors. By disrupting synaptic transmission in the spinal cord and blunting sensitization of nociceptors, endocytosis inhibitors offer a therapeutic approach for pain treatment.
PMID: 36378744
ISSN: 1872-6623
CID: 5374402

Therapeutic antagonism of the neurokinin 1 receptor in endosomes provides sustained pain relief

Hegron, Alan; Peach, Chloe J; Tonello, Raquel; Seemann, Philipp; Teng, Shavonne; Latorre, Rocco; Huebner, Harald; Weikert, Dorothee; Rientjes, Jeanette; Veldhuis, Nicholas A; Poole, Daniel P; Jensen, Dane D; Thomsen, Alex R B; Schmidt, Brian L; Imlach, Wendy L; Gmeiner, Peter; Bunnett, Nigel W
The hypothesis that sustained G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling from endosomes mediates pain is based on studies with endocytosis inhibitors and lipid-conjugated or nanoparticle-encapsulated antagonists targeted to endosomes. GPCR antagonists that reverse sustained endosomal signaling and nociception are needed. However, the criteria for rational design of such compounds are ill-defined. Moreover, the role of natural GPCR variants, which exhibit aberrant signaling and endosomal trafficking, in maintaining pain is unknown. Herein, substance P (SP) was found to evoke clathrin-mediated assembly of endosomal signaling complexes comprising neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R), Gαq/i, and βarrestin-2. Whereas the FDA-approved NK1R antagonist aprepitant induced a transient disruption of endosomal signals, analogs of netupitant designed to penetrate membranes and persist in acidic endosomes through altered lipophilicity and pKa caused sustained inhibition of endosomal signals. When injected intrathecally to target spinal NK1R+ve neurons in knockin mice expressing human NK1R, aprepitant transiently inhibited nociceptive responses to intraplantar injection of capsaicin. Conversely, netupitant analogs had more potent, efficacious, and sustained antinociceptive effects. Mice expressing C-terminally truncated human NK1R, corresponding to a natural variant with aberrant signaling and trafficking, displayed attenuated SP-evoked excitation of spinal neurons and blunted nociceptive responses to SP. Thus, sustained antagonism of the NK1R in endosomes correlates with long-lasting antinociception, and domains within the C-terminus of the NK1R are necessary for the full pronociceptive actions of SP. The results support the hypothesis that endosomal signaling of GPCRs mediates nociception and provides insight into strategies for antagonizing GPCRs in intracellular locations for the treatment of diverse diseases.
PMID: 37216510
ISSN: 1091-6490
CID: 5503732

Oral health-related quality of life after radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: the OraRad study

Patton, Lauren L; Helgeson, Erika S; Brennan, Michael T; Treister, Nathaniel S; Sollecito, Thomas P; Schmidt, Brian L; Lin, Alexander; Chera, Bhishamjit S; Lalla, Rajesh V
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:Head and neck cancer (HNC) treatment results in morbidity impacting quality of life (QOL) in survivorship. This analysis evaluated changes in oral health-related QOL (OH-QOL) up to 2 years after curative intent radiation therapy (RT) for HNC patients and factors associated with these changes. METHODS:572 HNC patients participated in a multicenter, prospective observational study (OraRad). Data collected included sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment variables. Ten single-item questions and 2 composite scales of swallowing problems and senses problems (taste and smell) from a standard QOL instrument were assessed before RT and at 6-month intervals after RT. RESULTS:The most persistently impacted OH-QOL variables at 24 months included: dry mouth; sticky saliva, and senses problems. These measures were most elevated at the 6-month visit. Aspects of swallowing were most impacted by oropharyngeal tumor site, chemotherapy, and non-Hispanic ethnicity. Problems with senses and dry mouth were worse with older age. Dry mouth and sticky saliva increased more among men and those with oropharyngeal cancer, nodal involvement, and use of chemotherapy. Problems with mouth opening were increased by chemotherapy and were more common among non-White and Hispanic individuals. A 1000 cGy increase in RT dose was associated with a clinically meaningful change in difficulty swallowing solid food, dry mouth, sticky saliva, sense of taste, and senses problems. CONCLUSIONS:Demographic, tumor, and treatment variables impacted OH-QOL for HNC patients up to 2 years after RT. Dry mouth is the most intense and sustained toxicity of RT that negatively impacts OH-QOL of HNC survivors. GOV IDENTIFIER/UNASSIGNED:NCT02057510; first posted February 7, 2014.
PMID: 37079106
ISSN: 1433-7339
CID: 5464562

Sympathetic modulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced nociception in the presence of oral squamous cell carcinoma

Atherton, Megan; Park, Stella; Horan, Nicole L; Nicholson, Samuel; Dolan, John C; Schmidt, Brian L; Scheff, Nicole N
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) causes more severe pain and psychological stress than other types of cancer. Despite clinical evidence linking pain, stress, and cancer progression, the underlying relationship between pain and sympathetic neurotransmission in oral cancer is unknown. We found that human HNSCC tumors and mouse tumor tissue are innervated by peripheral sympathetic and sensory nerves. Moreover, [beta]-adrenergic 1 and 2 receptors ([beta]-AR) are overexpressed in human oral cancer cell lines, and norepinephrine treatment increased [beta]-AR2 protein expression as well as cancer cell proliferation in vitro. We have recently demonstrated that inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF[alpha]) signaling reduces oral cancer-induced nociceptive behavior. Norepinephrine-treated cancer cell lines secrete more TNF[alpha] which, when applied to tongue-innervating trigeminal neurons, evoked a larger Ca2+ transient; TNF-TNFR inhibitor blocked the increase in the evoked Ca2+ transient. Using an orthotopic xenograft oral cancer model, we found that mice demonstrated significantly less orofacial cancer-induced nociceptive behavior during systemic [beta]-adrenergic inhibitory treatment with propranolol. Furthermore, chemical sympathectomy via guanethidine led to a significant reduction in tumor size and nociceptive behavior. We infer from these results that sympathetic signaling modulates oral cancer pain via TNF[alpha] secretion and tumorigenesis. Further investigation of the role of neuro-cancer communication in cancer progression and pain is warranted.
PMID: 35714327
ISSN: 1872-6623
CID: 5249912

Protease-Activated Receptors in Health and Disease

Peach, Chloe J; Edgington-Mitchell, Laura E; Bunnett, Nigel W; Schmidt, Brian L
Although generally regarded as degradatory enzymes, certain proteases are also signaling molecules that specifically control cellular functions by cleaving protease-activated receptors (PARs). The four known PARs are members of the large family of G protein-coupled receptors. These transmembrane receptors control most physiological and pathological processes and are the target of a large proportion of therapeutic drugs. Signaling proteases include enzymes from the circulation, from immune, inflammatory epithelial and cancer cells, as well as from commensal and pathogenic bacteria. Advances in our understanding of the structure and function of PARs provide insights into how diverse proteases activate these receptors to regulate physiological and pathological processes in most tissues and organ systems. The realization that proteases and PARs are key mediators of disease, coupled with advances in understanding the atomic level structure of PARs and their mechanisms of signaling in subcellular microdomains, has spurred the development of antagonists, some of which have advanced to the clinic. Herein we review the discovery, structure and function of this receptor system, highlight the contribution of PARs to homeostatic control, and discuss the potential of PAR antagonists for the treatment of major diseases.
PMID: 35901239
ISSN: 1522-1210
CID: 5276782

Oral cancer patients experience mechanical and chemical sensitivity at the site of the cancer

Sawicki, Caroline M; Janal, Malvin N; Nicholson, Samuel J; Wu, Angie K; Schmidt, Brian L; Albertson, Donna G
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Oral cancer patients suffer severe chronic and mechanically-induced pain at the site of the cancer. Our clinical experience is that oral cancer patients report new sensitivity to spicy foods. We hypothesized that in cancer patients, mechanical and chemical sensitivity would be greater when measured at the cancer site compared to a contralateral matched normal site. METHODS:We determined mechanical pain thresholds (MPT) on the right and left sides of the tongue of 11 healthy subjects, and at the cancer and contralateral matched normal site in 11 oral cancer patients in response to von Frey filaments in the range of 0.008 to 300 g (normally not reported as painful). We evaluated chemical sensitivity in 13 healthy subjects and seven cancer patients, who rated spiciness/pain on a visual analog scale in response to exposure to six paper strips impregnated with capsaicin (0-10 mM). RESULTS:Mechanical detection thresholds (MDT) were recorded for healthy subjects, but not MPTs. By contrast, MPTs were measured at the site of the cancer in oral cancer patients (7/11 patients). No MPTs were measured at the cancer patients' contralateral matched normal sites. Measured MPTs were correlated with patients' responses to the University of California Oral Cancer Pain Questionnaire. Capsaicin sensitivity at the site of the cancer was evident in cancer patients by a leftward shift of the cancer site capsaicin dose-response curve compared to that of the patient's contralateral matched normal site. We detected no difference in capsaicin sensitivity on the right and left sides of tongues of healthy subjects. CONCLUSIONS:Mechanical and chemical sensitivity testing was well tolerated by the majority of oral cancer patients. Sensitivity is greater at the site of the cancer than at a contralateral matched normal site.
PMID: 36368973
ISSN: 1471-2407
CID: 5365382

Oral Cancer Cells Release Vesicles that Cause Pain

Dubeykovskaya, Zinaida A; Tu, Nguyen Huu; Garcia, Paulina D Ramírez; Schmidt, Brian L; Albertson, Donna G
Oral cancer pain is attributed to the release from cancers of mediators that sensitize and activate sensory neurons. Intraplantar injection of conditioned media (CM) from human tongue cancer cell line HSC-3 or OSC-20 evokes nociceptive behavior. By contrast, CM from noncancer cell lines, DOK, and HaCaT are non-nociceptive. Pain mediators are carried by extracellular vesicles (EVs) released from cancer cells. Depletion of EVs from cancer cell line CM reverses mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. CM from non-nociceptive cell lines become nociceptive when reconstituted with HSC-3 EVs. Two miRNAs (hsa-miR-21-5p and hsa-miR-221-3p) are identified that are present in increased abundance in EVs from HSC-3 and OSC-20 CM compared to HaCaT CM. The miRNA target genes suggest potential involvement in oral cancer pain of the toll like receptor 7 (TLR7) and 8 (TLR8) pathways, as well as signaling through interleukin 6 cytokine family signal transducer receptor (gp130, encoded by IL6ST) and colony stimulating factor receptor (G-CSFR, encoded by CSF3R), Janus kinase and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (JAK/STAT3). These studies confirm the recent discovery of the role of cancer EVs in pain and add to the repertoire of algesic and analgesic cancer pain mediators and pathways that contribute to oral cancer pain.
PMID: 35802912
ISSN: 2701-0198
CID: 5280822