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Targeting the Nerve-Cancer Circuit

Ye, Yi; Xie, Tongxin; Amit, Moran
The tumor microenvironment is innervated by sensory, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nerves that actively stimulate cancer growth and dissemination. The cross-talk among the peripheral nerves, cancer cells, and stromal cells is mediated by a diverse set of bioactive ligands and their corresponding receptors. Dissecting the specific neuronal subtypes and molecular signals that drive cancer-nerve interaction holds the hope of developing targeted therapies for cancer. A recent study by Restaino and colleagues demonstrated that regardless of tumor type, origin, or anatomic location, tumors are densely innervated, predominantly by transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 positive (TRPV1+) sensory fibers. The intratumoral fibers likely have functional connectivity and contribute to increased electrical activity in the tumor bed. Importantly, the neuropeptide substance P produced by intratumoral fibers stimulates its neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) expressed on tumor cells to drive tumor proliferation and migration. The findings raised the intriguing possibility of a generalizable molecular pathway that mediates cancer-nerve interaction that can be targeted to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis across different tumor types.
PMID: 37470842
ISSN: 1538-7445
CID: 5559802

A pilot study to improve pain phenotyping in head and neck cancer patients

Ye, Yi; Cardoso, Diovana de Melo; Kayahara, Giseli Mitsuy; Bernabé, Daniel Galera
Pain associated with head and neck cancer (HNC) is difficult to manage and reduces quality of life. It has been increasingly recognized that HNC patients exhibit a wide range of pain symptoms. Here we developed an orofacial pain assessment questionnaire and conducted a pilot study to improve pain phenotyping in HNC patients at the diagnosis. The questionnaire captures the following pain characteristics: pain intensity, location, quality, duration, and frequency; the impact of pain on daily activities; changes in smell and food sensitivities. Twenty-five HNC patients completed the questionnaire. 88% patients reported pain at the site of tumor; 36% reported multiple pain sites. All patients with pain reported at least one neuropathic pain (NP) descriptor, 54.5% reported at least two NP descriptors. The most common descriptors were "burning" and "pins and needles". Most patients reported increased pain to sour or hot/spicy food/drinks, and to food with coarse/hard textures. Patients exhibited impaired oral function, especially chewing, talking, mouth/jaw opening, and eating. Tumor progression has a significant impact on pain. Nodal metastasis is linked to pain at multiple body sites. Patients with advanced tumor staging experience greater pain at the primary tumor site, when exposed to hot or spicy food/drinks or food with hard/coarse texture, or when eating or chewing. We conclude that HNC patients experience a wide range of pain symptoms with altered mechanical, chemical, and temperature sensation. Improved phenotyping and stratification of pain in HNC patients will help address the underlying etiology, which may enable personalized therapeutic approaches in the future.
ISSN: 2673-561x
CID: 5549892

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist ELB00824 suppresses oxaliplatin-induced pain, neuronal hypersensitivity, and oxidative stress

Zhang, Morgan; Hu, Min; Alles, Sascha R A; Montera, Marena A; Adams, Ian; Santi, Maria D; Inoue, Kenji; Tu, Nguyen Huu; Westlund, Karin N; Ye, Yi
Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain (CINP) is a debilitating and difficult-to-treat side effect of chemotherapeutic drugs. CINP is marked with oxidative stress and neuronal hypersensitivities. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is a transcription factor that regulates genes involved in oxidative stress and inflammation. We hypothesize that PPARγ agonists are protective against CIPN by reducing oxidative stress and inhibiting neuronal hypersensitivities. To test our hypothesis, acute or chronic CIPN was introduced by short or long-term treatment of oxaliplatin in BALB/c mice. CIPN mice were treated with either a novel blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetrable PPARγ agonist ELB00824, or a BBB non-penetrable PPARγ agonist pioglitazone, or vehicle. Cold allodynia, mechanical allodynia, motor coordination, sedation and addiction were measured with dry ice, von Frey filaments, beam-walking tests, and conditioned place preference, respectively. Oxidative stress was accessed by measuring byproducts of protein oxidation (carbonyl and 3-Nitrotyrosine) and lipid peroxidation [Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS)], as wells as gene expression of Cat, Sod2, Ppargc1a. The effects of ELB00824 on nociceptor excitability were measured using whole-cell electrophysiology of isolated dorsal root ganglion neurons. Preemptive ELB00824, but not pioglitazone, reduced oxaliplatin-induced cold and mechanical allodynia and oxidative stress. ELB0824 suppressed oxaliplatin-induced firing in IB4- neurons. ELB00824 did not cause motor discoordination or sedation/addiction or reduce the antineoplastic activity of oxaliplatin (measured with an MTS-based cell proliferation assay) in a human colon cancer cell line (HCT116) and a human oral cancer cell line (HSC-3). Our results demonstrated that ELB00824 prevents oxaliplatin-induced pain, likely via inhibiting neuronal hypersensitivities and oxidative stress.
PMID: 36007855
ISSN: 1873-7064
CID: 5331752

Distinct immune signature predicts progression of vestibular schwannoma and unveils a possible viral etiology

Amit, Moran; Xie, Tongxin; Gleber-Netto, Frederico O; Hunt, Patrick J; Mehta, Gautam U; Bell, Diana; Silverman, Deborah A; Yaman, Ismail; Ye, Yi; Burks, Jared K; Fuller, Gregory N; Gidley, Paul W; Nader, Marc-Elie; Raza, Shaan M; DeMonte, Franco
BACKGROUND:The management of sub-totally resected sporadic vestibular schwannoma (VS) may include observation, re-resection or irradiation. Identifying the optimal choice can be difficult due to the disease's variable progression rate. We aimed to define an immune signature and associated transcriptomic fingerprint characteristic of rapidly-progressing VS to elucidate the underpinnings of rapidly progressing VS and identify a prognostic model for determining rate of progression. METHODS:We used multiplex immunofluorescence to characterize the immune microenvironment in 17 patients with sporadic VS treated with subtotal surgical resection alone. Transcriptomic analysis revealed differentially-expressed genes and dysregulated pathways when comparing rapidly-progressing VS to slowly or non-progressing VS. RESULTS:immune cells. RNA data indicated the upregulation of anti-viral innate immune response and T-cell senescence. K - Top Scoring Pair analysis identified 6 pairs of immunosenescence-related genes (CD38-KDR, CD22-STAT5A, APCS-CXCR6, MADCAM1-MPL, IL6-NFATC3, and CXCL2-TLR6) that had high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (78%) for identifying rapid VS progression. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Rapid progression of residual vestibular schwannoma following subtotal surgical resection has an underlying immune etiology that may be virally originating; and despite an abundant adaptive immune response, T-cell immunosenescence may be associated with rapid progression of VS. These findings provide a rationale for clinical trials evaluating immunotherapy in patients with rapidly progressing VS.
PMID: 36195959
ISSN: 1756-9966
CID: 5351562

Neurotrophin Pathway Receptors NGFR and TrkA Control Perineural Invasion, Metastasis, and Pain in Oral Cancer

Doan, Coleen; Aouizerat, Bradley E; Ye, Yi; Dang, Dongmin; Asam, Kesava; Bhattacharya, Aditi; Howard, Timothy; Patel, Yogin K; Viet, Dan T; Figueroa, Johnny D; Zhong, Jiang F; Thomas, Carissa M; Morlandt, Anthony B; Yu, Gary; Callahan, Nicholas F; Allen, Clint T; Grandhi, Anupama; Herford, Alan S; Walker, Paul C; Nguyen, Khanh; Kidd, Stephanie C; Lee, Steve C; Inman, Jared C; Slater, Jason M; Viet, Chi T
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients suffer from poor survival due to metastasis or locoregional recurrence, processes that are both facilitated by perineural invasion (PNI). OSCC has higher rates of PNI than other cancer subtypes, with PNI present in 80% of tumors. Despite the impact of PNI on oral cancer prognosis and pain, little is known about the genes that drive PNI, which in turn drive pain, invasion, and metastasis. In this study, clinical data, preclinical, and in vitro models are leveraged to elucidate the role of neurotrophins in OSCC metastasis, PNI, and pain. The expression data in OSCC patients with metastasis, PNI, or pain demonstrate dysregulation of neurotrophin genes. TrkA and nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) are focused, two receptors that are activated by NGF, a neurotrophin expressed at high levels in OSCC. It is demonstrated that targeted knockdown of these two receptors inhibits proliferation and invasion in an in vitro and preclinical model of OSCC, and metastasis, PNI, and pain. It is further determined that TrkA knockdown alone inhibits thermal hyperalgesia, whereas NGFR knockdown alone inhibits mechanical allodynia. Collectively the results highlight the ability of OSCC to co-opt different components of the neurotrophin pathway in metastasis, PNI, and pain.
PMID: 35925599
ISSN: 2701-0198
CID: 5289882

Schwann Cells Induce Phenotypic Changes in Oral Cancer Cells

Santi, Maria Daniela; Zhang, Morgan; Salvo, Elizabeth; Asam, Kesava; Viet, Chi T; Xie, Tongxin; Amit, Moran; Aouizerat, Bradley; Ye, Yi
Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the seventh most common cancer worldwide, the majority being oral squamous cell carcinoma. Despite advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment, the survival rate of patients with HNC remains stagnant. The cancer-nerve interaction has been recognized as an important driver of cancer progression. Schwann cells, a type of peripheral glia, have been implicated in promoting cancer cell growth, migration, dispersion, and invasion into the nerve in many cancers. Here, it is demonstrated that the presence of Schwann cells makes oral cancer cells more aggressive by promoting their proliferation, extracellular matrix breakdown, and altering cell metabolism. Furthermore, oral cancer cells became larger, more circular, with more projections and nuclei following co-culturing with Schwann cells. RNA-sequencing analysis in oral cancer cells following exposure to Schwann cells shows corresponding changes in genes involved in the hallmarks of cancer and cell metabolism; the enriched KEGG pathways are spliceosome, RNA transport, cell cycle, axon guidance, signaling pathways regulating pluripotency of stem cells, cAMP signaling, WNT signaling, proteoglycans in cancer and PI3K-Akt signaling. Taken together, these results suggest a significant role for Schwann cells in facilitating oral cancer progression, highlighting their potential as a target to treat oral cancer progression.
PMID: 35925609
ISSN: 2701-0198
CID: 5289892

Advances in understanding cancer-associated neurogenesis and its implications on the neuroimmune axis in cancer

Yaman, Ismail; Çobanoğlu, Didem Ağaç; Xie, Tongxin; Ye, Yi; Amit, Moran
Nerves and immunologic mediators play pivotal roles in body homeostasis by interacting with each other through diverse mechanisms. The spread of nerves in the tumor microenvironment increases tumor cell proliferation and disease progression, and this correlates with poor patient outcomes. The effects of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves on cancer regulation are being investigated. Recent findings demonstrate the possibility of developing therapeutic strategies that target the tumor microenvironment and its components such as immune cells, neurotransmitters, and extracellular vesicles. Therefore, examining and understanding the mechanisms and pathways associated with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, neurotransmitters, cancer-derived mediators and their interactions with the immune system in the tumor microenvironment may lead to the development of new cancer treatments. This review discusses the effects of nerve cells, immune cells, and cancer cells have on each other that regulate neurogenesis, cancer progression, and dissemination.
PMID: 35490859
ISSN: 1879-016x
CID: 5216632

Advances in Head and Neck Cancer Pain

Ye, Y; Jensen, D D; Viet, C T; Pan, H L; Campana, W M; Amit, M; Boada, M D
Head and neck cancer (HNC) affects over 890,000 people annually worldwide and has a mortality rate of 50%. Aside from poor survival, HNC pain impairs eating, drinking, and talking in patients, severely reducing quality of life. Different pain phenotype in patients (allodynia, hyperalgesia, and spontaneous pain) results from a combination of anatomical, histopathological, and molecular differences between cancers. Poor pathologic features (e.g., perineural invasion, lymph node metastasis) are associated with increased pain. The use of syngeneic/immunocompetent animal models, as well as a new mouse model of perineural invasion, provides novel insights into the pathobiology of HNC pain. Glial and immune modulation of the tumor microenvironment affect not only cancer progression but also pain signaling. For example, Schwann cells promote cancer cell proliferation, migration, and secretion of nociceptive mediators, whereas neutrophils are implicated in sex differences in pain in animal models of HNC. Emerging evidence supports the existence of a functional loop of cross-activation between the tumor microenvironment and peripheral nerves, mediated by a molecular exchange of bioactive contents (pronociceptive and protumorigenic) via paracrine and autocrine signaling. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tumor necrosis factor α, legumain, cathepsin S, and A disintegrin and metalloprotease 17 expressed in the HNC microenvironment have recently been shown to promote HNC pain, further highlighting the importance of proinflammatory cytokines, neurotrophic factors, and proteases in mediating HNC-associated pain. Pronociceptive mediators, together with nerve injury, cause nociceptor hypersensitivity. Oncogenic, pronociceptive mediators packaged in cancer cell-derived exosomes also induce nociception in mice. In addition to increased production of pronociceptive mediators, HNC is accompanied by a dampened endogenous antinociception system (e.g., downregulation of resolvins and µ-opioid receptor expression). Resolvin treatment or gene delivery of µ-opioid receptors provides pain relief in preclinical HNC models. Collectively, recent studies suggest that pain and HNC progression share converging mechanisms that can be targeted for cancer treatment and pain management.
PMID: 35416080
ISSN: 1544-0591
CID: 5207072

Altered Prevalence of Pulp Diagnoses in Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Retrospective Study

Gonzalez Marrero, Yandy; Kobayashi, Yoshifumi; Ihsan, Mohammad Saqib; Pilch, Lisa A; Chen, Liyaa; Jiang, Shuying; Ye, Yi; Fine, Daniel H; Falcon, Carla Y; Falcon, Paul A; Hirschberg, Craig S; Shimizu, Emi
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a complex multisystemic disorder that affects an estimated 21 million Americans. No studies have evaluated the association of DM with the prevalence of each pulpal diagnosis. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of each pulp diagnosis including symptomatic irreversible pulpitis (SIP), asymptomatic irreversible pulpitis, reversible pulpitis, normal pulp, and pulp necrosis (PN) in DM patients against a nondiabetic control group. METHODS:A retrospective chart review was approved by Rutgers University Institutional Review Board. The prevalence of the diagnoses SIP, asymptomatic irreversible pulpitis, reversible pulpitis, normal pulp, and PN was calculated from AxiUm (Exan software, Las Vegas, NV) electronic health records at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. The chi-square test was used to see the relationship between the 2 categoric variables. Second, binary logistic regression analyses were performed for each group. RESULTS:A total of 2979 teeth were diagnosed with a pulp condition between April 2013 and November 2018. The total tooth number of DM patients was 682, whereas the tooth number of nondiabetic patients was 2297. In the subgroup of patients younger than 40 years old, SIP was notably more prevalent in DM patients. In addition, the prevalence of PN in elderly DM patients (60-69 years old) was significantly higher than in the control group. CONCLUSIONS:The prevalence of SIP in DM patients was significantly higher compared with the control group (<40 years old), suggesting the possibility that DM could hypersensitize the subgroup of patients younger than 40 years old to pulpitis pain.
PMID: 34780805
ISSN: 1878-3554
CID: 5147642

Remote Eradication of Bacteria on Orthopedic Implants via Delayed Delivery of Polycaprolactone Stabilized Polyvinylpyrrolidone Iodine

Wang, Y; Teng, W; Zhang, Z; Ma, S; Jin, Z; Zhou, X; Ye, Y; Zhang, C; Gou, Z; Yu, X; Ye, Z; Ren, Y
Bacteria-associated late infection of the orthopedic devices would further lead to the failure of the implantation. However, present ordinary antimicrobial strategies usually deal with early infection but fail to combat the late infection of the implants due to the burst release of the antibiotics. Thus, to fabricate long-term antimicrobial (early antibacterial, late antibacterial) orthopedic implants is essential to address this issue. Herein, we developed a sophisticated MAO-I2-PCLx coating system incorporating an underlying iodine layer and an upper layer of polycaprolactone (PCL)-controlled coating, which could effectively eradicate the late bacterial infection throughout the implantation. Firstly, micro-arc oxidation was used to form a microarray tubular structure on the surface of the implants, laying the foundation for iodine loading and PCL bonding. Secondly, electrophoresis was applied to load iodine in the tubular structure as an efficient bactericidal agent. Finally, the surface-bonded PCL coating acts as a controller to regulate the release of iodine. The hybrid coatings displayed great stability and control release capacity. Excellent antibacterial ability was validated at 30 days post-implantation via in vitro experiments and in vivo rat osteomyelitis model. Expectedly, it can become a promising bench-to-bedside strategy for current infection challenges in the orthopedic field.
ISSN: 2079-4983
CID: 5510252