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This Week in Clinical Cancer Research : May 19, 2011

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In Clinical Cancer Research this week, a team of scientists in Taiwan investigates the therapeutic and predictive effects of connective tissue growth factor in peritoneal carcinomatosis of colorectal cancer. By studying a cohort of 136 colorectal cancer patients, the researchers found an inverse correlation between the expression of connective tissue growth factor and the prevalence of peritoneal carcinomatosis. Lower levels of the growth factor were associated with higher peritoneal recurrence after surgery, the authors write. "CTGF acts as a molecular predictor of peritoneal carcinomatosis and could be a potential therapeutic target for the chemoprevention and treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis in colorectal cancer patients," they add.

Also in Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers in the US and the Netherlands present findings from a study of T-cell-mediated anti-tumor response as a possible angiostatic adjuvant to cancer immunotherapy. Tumor-released pro-angiogenic factors suppress endothelial adhesion molecule expression and prevent leukocyte extravasation into the tumor, the authors write, which is one reason why immunotherapy has not been very successful in the clinic. However, overcoming this suppression with angiogenesis inhibitors could increase leukocyte extravasation and make cellular immunotherapy more effective. "We report that while endothelial adhesion molecule levels and T-cell infiltration are highly attenuated early on in tumor growth, angiostatic therapy modulates these effects. In tumor models with normal and T-cell–deficient mice, we show the active involvement of the adaptive immune system in cancer and differentiate antiangiogenic effects from antiangiogenic mediated enhancement of immunoextravasation," the researchers write. "Our results suggest that adjuvant therapy with angiogenesis inhibitors holds promise for cellular immunotherapy in the clinic."

Finally in Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers at Duke University Medical Center say MHC class I–presented tumor antigens in ovarian cancer could be targets for T-cell responses against breast and ovarian cancer. The researchers used mixtures of human leukocyte antigen A2-binding peptides associated with ovarian cancer to activate naïve T-cells in order to generate antigen-specific T-cells that could recognize ovarian and breast cancer cells in vitro. They found that T-cells specific to individual peptides could be generated in vitro and that the recognized malignant ovarian and breast cancers. "Mixtures of specific peptides identified as naturally presented on cancer cells and capable of activating tumor-specific T cells in vitro also initiate or augment immune responses toward solid tumors in cancer patients," the authors write.