References of "Cesi, Giulia 50001216"
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See detailKinase inhibitor library screening identifies synergistic drug combinations effective in sensitive and resistant melanoma cells
Margue, Christiane UL; Philippidou, Demetra UL; Kozar, Ines UL et al

in Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research (2019), 38(1),

Background: Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer with increasing case numbers worldwide. The development of inhibitors targeting mutated BRAF (found in around 60% of melanoma ... [more ▼]

Background: Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer with increasing case numbers worldwide. The development of inhibitors targeting mutated BRAF (found in around 60% of melanoma patients) has markedly improved overall survival of patients with late-stage tumors, even more so when combined with MEK inhibitors targeting the same signaling pathway. However, invariably patients become resistant to this targeted therapy resulting in rapid progression with treatment-refractory disease. The purpose of this study was the identification of new kinase inhibitors that do not lead to the development of resistance in combination with BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi), or that could be of clinical benefit as a 2nd line treatment for late-stage melanoma patients that have already developed resistance. Methods: We have screened a 274-compound kinase inhibitor library in 3 BRAF mutant melanoma cell lines (each one sensitive or made resistant to 2 distinct BRAFi). The screening results were validated by dose-response studies and confirmed the killing efficacies of many kinase inhibitors. Two different tools were applied to investigate and quantify potential synergistic effects of drug combinations: the Chou-Talalay method and the Synergyfinder application. In order to exclude that resistance to the new treatments might occur at later time points, synergistic combinations were administered to fluorescently labelled parental and resistant cells over a period of > 10 weeks. Results: Eight inhibitors targeting Wee1, Checkpoint kinase 1/2, Aurora kinase, MEK, Polo-like kinase, PI3K and Focal adhesion kinase killed melanoma cells synergistically when combined with a BRAFi. Additionally, combination of a Wee1 and Chk inhibitor showed synergistic killing effects not only on sensitive cell lines, but also on intrinsically BRAFi- and treatment induced-resistant melanoma cells. First in vivo studies confirmed these observations. Interestingly, continuous treatment with several of these drugs, alone or in combination, did not lead to emergence of resistance. Conclusions: Here, we have identified new, previously unexplored (in the framework of BRAFi resistance) inhibitors that have an effect not only on sensitive but also on BRAFi-resistant cells. These promising combinations together with the new immunotherapies could be an important step towards improved 1st and 2nd line treatments for late-stage melanoma patients. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular mechanisms of kinase inhibitor resistance in melanoma
Cesi, Giulia UL

Doctoral thesis (2017)

In my thesis, I elucidated several aspects of melanoma biology, all related to the influence of targeted therapies in both responding and resistant melanoma cells. To better understand the MAPK signalling ... [more ▼]

In my thesis, I elucidated several aspects of melanoma biology, all related to the influence of targeted therapies in both responding and resistant melanoma cells. To better understand the MAPK signalling pathway, the impact of BRAF inhibitors on metabolic alterations as well as the connection between BRAF inhibitors and the onset of drug resistance was investigated. This introduction is focused on four topics: i) melanoma, ii) cancer metabolism, iii) miRNAs and iv) extracellular vesicles. First, melanoma biology including incidence rates, etiology, canonical and altered signalling pathways, therapies and resistance mechanisms will be introduced. The second part of the introduction will concentrate on metabolic alterations in the context of cancer and their implication on proliferation and survival. Thirdly, miRNAs and extracellular vesicles will be illustrated providing insights into their role in cancer development and especially drug resistance [less ▲]

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See detailROS production induced by BRAF inhibitor treatment rewires metabolic processes affecting cell growth of melanoma cells
Cesi, Giulia UL; Walbrecq, Geoffroy UL; Zimmer, Andreas David UL et al

in Molecular Cancer (2017), 8(june),

Background: Most melanoma patients with BRAFV600E positive tumors respond well to a combination of BRAF kinase and MEK inhibitors. However, some patients are intrinsically resistant while the majority of ... [more ▼]

Background: Most melanoma patients with BRAFV600E positive tumors respond well to a combination of BRAF kinase and MEK inhibitors. However, some patients are intrinsically resistant while the majority of patients eventually develop drug resistance to the treatment. For patients insufficiently responding to BRAF and MEK inhibitors, there is an ongoing need for new treatment targets. Cellular metabolism is such a promising new target line: mutant BRAFV600E has been shown to affect the metabolism. Methods: Time course experiments and a series of western blots were performed in a panel of BRAFV600E and BRAFWT/ NRASmut human melanoma cells, which were incubated with BRAF and MEK1 kinase inhibitors. siRNA approaches were used to investigate the metabolic players involved. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by confocal microscopy and AZD7545, an inhibitor targeting PDKs (pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase) was tested. Results: We show that inhibition of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway induces phosphorylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase PDH-E1α subunit in BRAFV600E and in BRAFWT/NRASmut harboring cells. Inhibition of BRAF, MEK1 and siRNA knock-down of ERK1/2 mediated phosphorylation of PDH. siRNA-mediated knock-down of all PDKs or the use of DCA (a pan-PDK inhibitor) abolished PDH-E1α phosphorylation. BRAF inhibitor treatment also induced the upregulation of ROS, concomitantly with the induction of PDH phosphorylation. Suppression of ROS by MitoQ suppressed PDH-E1α phosphorylation, strongly suggesting that ROS mediate the activation of PDKs. Interestingly, the inhibition of PDK1 with AZD7545 specifically suppressed growth of BRAF-mutant and BRAF inhibitor resistant melanoma cells. Conclusions: In BRAFV600E and BRAFWT/NRASmut melanoma cells, the increased production of ROS upon inhibition of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway, is responsible for activating PDKs, which in turn phosphorylate and inactivate PDH. As part of a possible salvage pathway, the tricarboxylic acid cycle is inhibited leading to reduced oxidative metabolism and reduced ROS levels. We show that inhibition of PDKs by AZD7545 leads to growth suppression of BRAF-mutated and -inhibitor resistant melanoma cells. Thus small molecule PDK inhibitors such as AZD7545, might be promising drugs for combination treatment in melanoma patients with activating RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway mutations (50% BRAF, 25% NRASmut, 11.9% NF1mut). [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of BRAF kinase inhibitors on the miRNomes and transcriptomes of melanoma cells
Kreis, Stephanie UL; Kozar, Ines UL; Cesi, Giulia UL et al

in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2017)

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See detailTransferring intercellular signals and traits between cancer cells: extracellular vesicles as "homing pigeons"
Cesi, Giulia UL; Walbrecq, Geoffroy UL; Margue, Christiane UL et al

in Cell Communication and Signaling (2016), 14(1), 13

Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived vesicles, which can transport various cargos out of cells. From their cell of origin, the content molecules (proteins, non-coding RNAs including miRNAs, DNA and ... [more ▼]

Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived vesicles, which can transport various cargos out of cells. From their cell of origin, the content molecules (proteins, non-coding RNAs including miRNAs, DNA and others) can be delivered to neighboring or distant cells and as such extracellular vesicles can be regarded as vehicles of intercellular communication or "homing pigeons". Extracellular vesicle shuttling is able to actively modulate the tumor microenvironment and can partake in tumor dissemination. In various diseases, including cancer, levels of extracellular vesicle secretion are altered resulting in different amounts and/or profiles of detectable vesicular cargo molecules and these distinct content profiles are currently being evaluated as biomarkers. Apart from their potential as blood-derived containers of specific biomarkers, the transfer of extracellular vesicles to surrounding cells also appears to be involved in the propagation of phenotypic traits. These interesting properties have put extracellular vesicles into the focus of many recent studies.Here we review findings on the involvement of extracellular vesicles in transferring traits of cancer cells to their surroundings and briefly discuss new data on oncosomes, a larger type of vesicle. A pressing issue in cancer treatment is rapidly evolving resistance to many initially efficient drug therapies. Studies investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in this phenomenon together with a summary of the technical challenges that this field is still facing, are also presented. Finally, emerging areas of research such as the analysis of the lipid composition on extracellular vesicles and cutting-edge techniques to visualise the trafficking of extracellular vesicles are discussed. [less ▲]

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