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Last Modified, January 17, 2021
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The TOP vector: a new high-titer lentiviral construct for delivery of sgRNAs and transgenes to primary T cells

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev

2021 Daryl Humes; Stephanie Rainwater; Julie Overbaugh

Efficient delivery of nucleic acids for the engineering of primary T cells is central to the study of the basic biology of these key immune effector cells and has clinical implications. To date, lentiviral vectors delivering guide RNAs for CRISPR-Cas9 editing are not optimal for use in primary cells. Herein, we describe the T cell optimized for packaging (TOP) vector for delivering guide RNAs and transgenes into primary T cells. The TOP vector produces high-titer virus compared to a routinely used guide RNA vector, resulting in a ~10-fold increase in transduction in T cells. Moreover, a TOP vector expressing a chimeric antigen receptor and a guide RNA targeting the T cell receptor showed an ~5- to 9-fold increased transduction efficiency with ~2- to 3-fold higher expression compared to the commonly used epHIV7 vector and was simultaneously able to mediate efficient knockout of the endogenous T cell receptor in >71% of transduced cells upon Cas9 electroporation. The increased packaging of the TOP vector genome into viral particles appears to contribute to its higher transduction efficiency. The TOP vector represents an optimal tool for tandem delivery of transgenes and guide RNAs to primary T cells for use in functional screens and immunotherapy applications.

Sustained Helicobacter pylori infection accelerates gastric dysplasia in a mouse model

Life Sci Alliance

2021 Christina Leverich; Robert Pierce; Nina Salama; Julien Dubrulle; Valerie O'Brien; Jean Campbell; Vattanak Kong; Amanda Koehne; Armando Rodriguez

More than 80% of gastric cancer is attributable to stomach infection with Helicobacter pylori (Hp). Gastric preneoplastic progression involves sequential tissue changes, including loss of parietal cells, metaplasia and dysplasia. In transgenic mice, active KRAS expression recapitulates these tissue changes in the absence of Hp infection. This model provides an experimental system to investigate additional roles of Hp in preneoplastic progression, beyond its known role in initiating inflammation. Tissue histology, gene expression, the immune cell repertoire, and metaplasia and dysplasia marker expression were assessed in KRAS+ mice +/-Hp infection. Hp+/KRAS+ mice had severe T-cell infiltration and altered macrophage polarization; a different trajectory of metaplasia; more dysplastic glands; and greater proliferation of metaplastic and dysplastic glands. Eradication of Hp with antibiotics, even after onset of metaplasia, prevented or reversed these tissue phenotypes. These results suggest that gastric preneoplastic progression differs between Hp+ and Hp- cases, and that sustained Hp infection can promote the later stages of gastric preneoplastic progression.

Outcomes of kidney injury including dialysis and kidney transplantation in pediatric oncology and hematopoietic cell transplant patients

Pediatr Nephrol

2021 Sangeeta Hingorani; Natalie Wu

Pediatric oncology and hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients are susceptible to both acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). The etiologies of AKI vary but include tumor infiltration, radiation, drug-induced toxicity, and fluid and electrolyte abnormalities including tumor lysis syndrome. HCT patients can also have additional complications such as sinusoidal obstructive syndrome, graft-versus-host disease, or thrombotic microangiopathy. For patients with severe AKI requiring dialysis, multiple modalities can be used successfully, although continuous kidney replacement therapy (CKRT) is often the principal modality for critically ill patients. While increasing numbers of pediatric cancer and HCT patients are now surviving long term, they remain at risk for a number of chronic medical conditions, including CKD. Certain high-risk patients, due to underlying risk factors or treatment-related complications, eventually develop kidney failure and may require kidney replacement therapies. Management of co-morbidities and complications associated with kidney failure, including use of erythropoietin for anemia and potential need for ongoing cancer-related treatment while on dialysis, is an additional consideration in this patient population. Kidney transplantation can be successfully performed in pediatric cancer survivors, although additional features such as specific cancer diagnosis and duration of remission should be considered.

The Effectiveness of Shared Compared to Informed Decision Making for Prostate Cancer Screening in a High-Risk African American Population: A Randomized Control Trial

Cancer Invest

2021 Petros Grivas

BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer incidence and mortality in the United States in African Americans (AA) are higher than in Caucasians. Eastern Cuyahoga County in Ohio is majority AA and is considered an underserved population particularly vulnerable to healthcare disparities. There is a paucity of data about shared decision making among high-risk AA men with regard to prostate cancer screening. This study aims to examine shared versus informed decision making (SDM versus IDM) in a randomized, control trial among a large, high-risk AA population. METHODS: Patients were included in annual one-day outreach events, each held over 3years (2017-2019), and were randomized at each event into IDM (control) and SDM (investigational) groups and then were offered screening via prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE). The primary endpoints were proportion of participants over 40 who did not demonstrate decisional conflict about prostate cancer screening measured by the SURE score, as well as change of knowledge score about prostate cancer screening. RESULTS: Overall, 175 patients were enrolled in the trial; 79 in the SDM arm and 96 in the IDM arm. The investigational (SDM) arm had 3/79 (3.9%) conflict versus 6/96 (6.4%) in the control (IDM) arm (p=0.74). With regard to knowledge improvement, the SDM cohort demonstrated improvement following educational tools for 66/79 (81%) of participants versus 76/96 (79%) in the IDM cohort (p=0.85). There was no difference in the proportion (63%) of participants in either group who found the information very helpful (using a Likert scale). CONCLUSIONS: Our education-based study showed no significant difference between SDM and IDM with regard to decisional conflict about prostate cancer screening. The study also demonstrated significant improvement in knowledge about prostate cancer screening in a high-risk AA population in both groups. Our results should be interpreted with caution due to several limitations; however, the study can serve as a benchmark for future studies in this very important topic.

The origins and consequences of UPF1 variants in pancreatic adenosquamous carcinoma


2021 Jacob Polaski; Robert Bradley

Pancreatic adenosquamous carcinoma (PASC) is an aggressive cancer whose mutational origins are poorly understood. An early study reported high-frequency somatic mutations affecting UPF1, a nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) factor, in PASC, but subsequent studies did not observe these lesions. The corresponding controversy about whether UPF1 mutations are important contributors to PASC has been exacerbated by a paucity of functional studies. Here, we modeled two UPF1 mutations in human and mouse cells to find no significant effects on pancreatic cancer growth, acquisition of adenosquamous features, UPF1 splicing, UPF1 protein, or NMD efficiency. We subsequently discovered that 45% of UPF1 mutations reportedly present in PASCs are identical to standing genetic variants in the human population, suggesting that they may be non-pathogenic inherited variants rather than pathogenic mutations. Our data suggest that UPF1 is not a common functional driver of PASC and motivate further attempts to understand the genetic origins of these malignancies.

Circulating MicroRNAs in Relation to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis and Survival

Dig Dis Sci

2021 Thomas Vaughan

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Tissue miRNA can discriminate between esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) and normal epithelium. However, no studies have examined a comprehensive panel of circulating miRNAs in relation to EA diagnosis and survival. METHODS: We used all 62 EA cases from the US Multi-Center case-control study with available serum matched 1:1 to controls. Cases were followed for vital status. MiRNAs (n=2064) were assessed using the HTG EdgeSeq miRNA Whole Transcriptome Assay. Differential expression analysis of miRNAs in relation to case-control status was conducted. In cases, Cox regression models were fit to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all-cause mortality. P values were adjusted using the Benjamini-Hochberg (BH) procedure for false discovery rate control. Predictive performance was assessed using cross-validation. RESULTS: Sixty-eight distinct miRNAs were significantly upregulated between cases and controls (e.g., miR-1255b-2-3p fold change=1.74, BH-adjusted P=0.01). Assessing the predictive performance of these significantly upregulated miRNAs yielded 60% sensitivity, 65% specificity, and 0.62 AUC. miR-4253 and miR-1238-5p were associated with risk of mortality after EA diagnosis (HR=4.85, 95% CI: 2.30-10.23, BH-adjusted P=0.04 and HR=3.81, 95% CI: 2.02-7.19, BH-adjusted P=0.04, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: While they require replication, these findings suggest that circulating miRNAs may be associated with EA diagnosis and survival.

St. Jude Cloud-a Pediatric Cancer Genomic Data Sharing Ecosystem

Cancer Discov

2021 Soheil Meshinchi

Effective data sharing is key to accelerating research to improve diagnostic precision, treatment efficacy, and long-term survival of pediatric cancer and other childhood catastrophic diseases. We present St. Jude Cloud (<a href=""></a>), a cloud-based data sharing ecosystem for accessing, analyzing and visualizing genomic data from >10,000 pediatric cancer patients and long-term survivors, and >800 pediatric sickle cell patients. Harmonized genomic data totaling 1.25 petabytes are freely available, including 12,104 whole genomes, 7,697 whole exomes and 2,202 transcriptomes. The resource is expanding rapidly with regular data uploads from St. Jude's prospective clinical genomics programs. Three interconnected apps within the ecosystem-Genomics Platform, Pediatric Cancer Knowledgebase and Visualization Community-enable simultaneously performing advanced data analysis in the cloud and enhancing the pediatric cancer knowledgebase. We demonstrate the value of the ecosystem through use cases that classify 135 pediatric cancer subtypes by gene expression profiling and map mutational signatures across 35 pediatric cancer subtypes.

NCCN Guidelines Insights: Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Version 2.2021

J Natl Compr Canc Netw

2021 Fred Appelbaum; Mary-Elizabeth Percival

The NCCN Guidelines for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) provide recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of adults with AML based on clinical trials that have led to significant improvements in treatment, or have yielded new information regarding factors with prognostic importance, and are intended to aid physicians with clinical decision-making. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on recent select updates to the NCCN Guidelines, including familial genetic alterations in AML, postinduction or postremission treatment strategies in low-risk acute promyelocytic leukemia or favorable-risk AML, principles surrounding the use of venetoclax-based therapies, and considerations for patients who prefer not to receive blood transfusions during treatment.

Impact of Axillary Dissection Among Patients With Sentinel Node-Positive Breast Cancer Undergoing Mastectomy

J Natl Compr Canc Netw

2021 William Fulp

BACKGROUND: Results of the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) Z0011 trial supports omission of completion axillary lymph node dissection (CLND) after breast-conservation surgery with a positive sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). We hypothesized that CLND also does not impact outcomes in women with clinically node-negative (cN0), pathologically node-positive breast cancer undergoing mastectomy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A single-institution retrospective review was performed of patients with SLN-positive breast cancer treated from July 1999 through May 2018. Clinicopathologic and outcome data were collected. Patients with SLNBs were compared with those receiving SLNB and CLND. The Kruskal-Wallis, chi-square, and Fisher exact tests were used to assess for differences between continuous and categorical variables. The log-rank test was used for time-to-event analyses, and Cox proportional hazards models were fit for locoregional and distant recurrence and overall survival (OS). RESULTS: Of 329 patients with SLN-positive breast cancer undergoing mastectomy, 60% had CLND (n=201). Median age at diagnosis was 53 years (interquartile range [IQR], 46-62 years). The median number of SLNs sampled was 3 (IQR, 2-4), and the median number of positive SLNs was 1 (IQR, 1-2). Patients receiving CLND had higher tumor grades (P=.02) and a higher proportion of hormone receptor negativity (estrogen receptor, 19%; progesterone receptor, 27%; both P=.007). A total of 44 patients (22%) had increased N stage after CLND. Median follow-up was 51 months (IQR, 29-83 months). No association was found between CLND and change in OS and locoregional or distant recurrence. Completion of postmastectomy radiotherapy was associated with improved OS (P=.04). CONCLUSIONS: CLND is not significantly correlated with reduced recurrence or improved OS among patients who have cN0, SLN-positive breast cancer treated with mastectomy. CLND was significantly correlated with receipt of adjuvant systemic therapy. Completion of postmastectomy radiotherapy was associated with improved OS.

A prospective study of endometriosis and risk of type 2 diabetes


2021 Holly Harris

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The objective of this study was to investigate the association between laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis and risk of type 2 diabetes. METHODS: We used data from the Nurses' Health Study II, a prospective cohort of female nurses followed for >25years (N=112,037). We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the HRs and 95% CIs of incident, confirmed type 2 diabetes (n=8496 participants) adjusted a priori for confounding factors. We additionally investigated differences in the relationship between endometriosis and type 2 diabetes by age (<50 or 50years), BMI (<30 or 30kg/m2), infertility history, menopausal status and history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM; restricted to parous women). RESULTS: We saw no association between laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis and risk of type 2 diabetes in multivariable confounder-adjusted models (HR 1.06 [95% CI 0.98, 1.13]) or models accounting for potential mediating factors (HR 0.94 [95% CI 0.87, 1.00]). However, we observed modest differences in the association between endometriosis and type 2 diabetes by BMI group, history of infertility and history of GDM. Among non-obese women (HR 1.17 [95% CI 1.02, 1.35]), women who never experienced infertility (HR 1.14 [95% CI 1.04, 1.25]) and women who never experienced GDM (HR 1.11 [95% CI 1.01, 1.22]), endometriosis was associated with greater risk of type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Overall, women with endometriosis were not at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. However, among subgroups at low risk for type 2 diabetes (i.e. non-obese women and women with no prior history of infertility or GDM), endometriosis was associated with a modest increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Last Modified, February 20, 2020