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PURPOSE - Merkel cell carcinoma is highly sensitive to both radiation and immunotherapy. Moreover, concurrent radioimmunotherapy may capitalize on anti-tumor immune activity and improve Merkel cell treatment response, although an enhanced immune system may cross-react with native tissues and lead to significant sequelae.
METHODS - Here we present a case study of a patient with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma treated with radiotherapy concurrent with pembrolizumab.
RESULTS - After radioimmunotherapy, the patient developed sensory neuropathy, visual hallucinations, and mixed motor neuron findings. Neurologic dysfunction progressed to profound gastrointestinal dysmotility necessitating parenteral nutrition and intubation with eventual expiration.
CONCLUSION - This case represents a unique autoimmune paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome, likely specific to neuroendocrine tumors and motivated by concurrent radioimmunotherapy. Recognition of the potential role of radioimmunotherapy may provide an advantage in anticipating these severe sequelae.
INTRODUCTION - Primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (PCALCL) is a rare T-cell malignancy typically presenting as a solitary lesion treated with radiotherapy. Diffuse PCALCL is rare, and treatment paradigms of diffuse PCALCL are poorly defined.
CASE AND OUTCOMES - In this report, a 69-year-old male presented with progressive extensive truncal PCALCL resistant to brentuximab. The truncal lesions were treated with 36 Gy in 18 fractions by a novel approach using rotational electron beam radiation therapy with custom-made shielding. The treatment was well tolerated with expected dermatologic side effects managed supportively. All lesions achieved an initial complete response, and two sites within the treatment field recurred five months after treatment.
DISCUSSION - This case adds to the limited literature on diffuse PCALCL and demonstrates an uncommon treatment approach to multifocal PCALCL using rotational electron beam radiation therapy with personalized shielding techniques. The treatment approach here was well tolerated by the patient with initial complete response at all sites. Maximal sparing was especially critical in this patient because of a history of previous head and neck irradiation. Shielded areas were validated by optically stimulated luminescent dosimeters showing dose reduction, confirming the utility of this method.
CONCLUSION - Rotational total skin electron beam with personalized shielding may be generalizable to cutaneous malignancies including PCALCL presenting with diffuse skin involvement. Further investigation of diffuse PCALCL is merited to optimize treatment strategies.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and presents a significant health care burden in many countries. In addition to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, the main causal factor for melanoma, genetic factors also play an important role in melanoma susceptibility. Although genome-wide association studies have identified many single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with melanoma, little is known about the proportion of disease risk attributable to these loci and their distribution throughout the genome. Here, we investigated the genetic architecture of melanoma in 1,888 cases and 990 controls of European non-Hispanic ancestry. We estimated the overall narrow-sense heritability of melanoma to be 0.18 (P < 0.03), indicating that genetics contributes significantly to the risk of sporadically-occurring melanoma. We then demonstrated that only a small proportion of this risk is attributable to known risk variants, suggesting that much remains unknown of the role of genetics in melanoma. To investigate further the genetic architecture of melanoma, we partitioned the heritability by chromosome, minor allele frequency, and functional annotations. We showed that common genetic variation contributes significantly to melanoma risk, with a risk model defined by a handful of genomic regions rather than many risk loci distributed throughout the genome. We also demonstrated that variants affecting gene expression in skin account for a significant proportion of the heritability, and are enriched among melanoma risk loci. Finally, by incorporating skin color into our analyses, we observed both a shift in significance for melanoma-associated loci and an enrichment of expression quantitative trait loci among melanoma susceptibility variants. These findings suggest that skin color may be an important modifier of melanoma risk. We speculate that incorporating skin color and other non-genetic factors into genetic studies may allow for an improved understanding of melanoma susceptibility and guide future investigations to identify melanoma risk genes.
Quantitative assessment of key proteins that control the tumor-immune interface is one of the most formidable analytical challenges in immunotherapeutics. We developed a targeted MS platform to quantify programmed cell death-1 (PD-1), programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1), and programmed cell death 1 ligand 2 (PD-L2) at fmol/microgram protein levels in formalin fixed, paraffin-embedded sections from 22 human melanomas. PD-L1 abundance ranged 50-fold, from ∼0.03 to 1.5 fmol/microgram protein and the parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) data were largely concordant with total PD-L1-positive cell content, as analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) with the E1L3N antibody. PD-1 was measured at levels up to 20-fold lower than PD-L1, but the abundances were not significantly correlated (r = 0.062, = 0.264). PD-1 abundance was weakly correlated (r = 0.3057, = 0.009) with the fraction of lymphocytes and histiocytes in sections. PD-L2 was measured from 0.03 to 1.90 fmol/microgram protein and the ratio of PD-L2 to PD-L1 abundance ranged from 0.03 to 2.58. In 10 samples, PD-L2 was present at more than half the level of PD-L1, which suggests that PD-L2, a higher affinity PD-1 ligand, is sufficiently abundant to contribute to T-cell downregulation. We also identified five branched mannose and N-acetylglucosamine glycans at PD-L1 position N192 in all 22 samples. Extent of PD-L1 glycan modification varied by ∼10-fold and the melanoma with the highest PD-L1 protein abundance and most abundant glycan modification yielded a very low PD-L1 IHC estimate, thus suggesting that N-glycosylation may affect IHC measurement and PD-L1 function. Additional PRM analyses quantified immune checkpoint/co-regulator proteins LAG3, IDO1, TIM-3, VISTA, and CD40, which all displayed distinct expression independent of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2. Targeted MS can provide a next-generation analysis platform to advance cancer immuno-therapeutic research and diagnostics.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Emerging evidence indicates that even subtle changes in the expression of key genes of signalling pathways can have profound effects. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are masters of subtlety and generally have only mild effects on their target genes. The microRNA miR-31 is one of the major microRNAs in many cutaneous conditions associated with activated keratinocytes, such as the hyperproliferative diseases psoriasis, non-melanoma skin cancer and hair follicle growth. miR-31 is a marker of the hair growth phase, and in our miR-31 transgenic mouse model it impairs the function of keratinocytes. This leads to aberrant proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation that results in altered hair growth, while the loss of miR-31 leads to increased hair growth. Through in vitro and in vivo studies, we have defined a set of conserved miR-31 target genes, including LATS2 and STK40, which serve as new players in the regulation of keratinocyte growth and hair follicle biology. LATS2 can regulate growth of keratinocytes and we have identified a function of STK40 that can promote the expression of key hair follicle programme regulators such as HR, DLX3 and HOXC13.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Histopathological interpretation of proliferative nodules occurring in association with congenital melanocytic nevi can be very challenging due to their similarities with congenital malignant melanoma and malignant melanoma arising in association with congenital nevi. We hereby report a diagnostically challenging case of congenital melanocytic nevus with proliferative nodules and ulcerations, which was originally misdiagnosed as congenital malignant melanoma. Subsequent histopathological examination in consultation by one of the authors (R.L.) and mass spectrometry imaging analysis rendered a diagnosis of congenital melanocytic nevus with proliferative nodules. In this case, mass spectrometry imaging, a novel method capable of distinguishing benign from malignant melanocytic lesions on a proteomic level, was instrumental in making the diagnosis of a benign nevus. We emphasize the importance of this method as an ancillary tool in the diagnosis of difficult melanocytic lesions.
BACKGROUND - Previously, using imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), we discovered proteomic differences between Spitz nevi and Spitzoid melanomas.
OBJECTIVE - We sought to determine whether IMS can assist in the classification of diagnostically challenging atypical Spitzoid neoplasms (ASN), to compare and correlate the IMS and histopathological diagnoses with clinical behavior.
METHODS - We conducted a retrospective collaborative study involving centers from 11 countries and 11 US institutions analyzing 102 ASNs by IMS. Patients were divided into clinical groups 1 to 4 representing best to worst clinical behavior. The association among IMS findings, histopathological diagnoses, and clinical groups was assessed.
RESULTS - There was a strong association between a diagnosis of Spitzoid melanoma by IMS and lesions categorized as clinical groups 2, 3, and 4 (recurrence of disease, metastases, or death) compared with clinical group 1 (no recurrence or metastasis beyond a sentinel node) (P < .0001). Older age and greater tumor thickness were strongly associated with poorer outcome (P = .01).
CONCLUSIONS - IMS diagnosis of ASN better predicted clinical outcome than histopathology. Diagnosis of Spitzoid melanoma by IMS was strongly associated with aggressive clinical behavior. IMS analysis using a proteomic signature may improve the diagnosis and prediction of outcome/risk stratification for patients with ASN.
Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Tumor cell senescence is a common outcome of anticancer therapy. Here we investigated how therapy-induced senescence (TIS) affects tumor-infiltrating leukocytes (TILs) and the efficacy of immunotherapy in melanoma.
METHODS - Tumor senescence was induced by AURKA or CDK4/6 inhibitors (AURKAi, CDK4/6i). Transcriptomes of six mouse tumors with differential response to AURKAi were analyzed by RNA sequencing, and TILs were characterized by flow cytometry. Chemokine RNA and protein expression were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Therapeutic response was queried in immunodeficient mice, in mice with CCL5-deficient tumors, and in mice cotreated with CD137 agonist to activate TILs. CCL5 expression in reference to TIS and markers of TILs was studied in human melanoma tumors using patient-derived xenografts (n = 3 patients, n = 3 mice each), in AURKAi clinical trial samples (n = 3 patients, before/after therapy), and in The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 278). All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS - AURKAi response was associated with induction of the immune transcriptome (P = 3.5 x 10-29) while resistance inversely correlated with TIL numbers (Spearman r = -0.87, P < .001). AURKAi and CDK4/6i promoted the recruitment of TILs by inducing CCL5 secretion in melanoma cells (P ≤ .005) in an NF-κB-dependent manner. Therapeutic response to AURKAi was impaired in immunodeficient compared with immunocompetent mice (0% vs 67% tumors regressed, P = .01) and in mice bearing CCL5-deficient vs control tumors (P = .61 vs P = .02); however, AURKAi response was greatly enhanced in mice also receiving T-cell-activating immunotherapy (P < .001). In human tumors, CCL5 expression was also induced by AURKAi (P ≤ .02) and CDK4/6i (P = .01) and was associated with increased immune marker expression (P = 1.40 x 10-93).
CONCLUSIONS - Senescent melanoma cells secret CCL5, which promotes recruitment of TILs. Combining TIS with immunotherapy that enhances tumor cell killing by TILs is a promising novel approach to improve melanoma outcomes.
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