Oncology Letters Special Issues

Tumor Microenvironment, Inflammation, and Resistance to Immunotherapies

Lead Editor:

    Professor David C Seldin
    Boston University School of Medicine
    United States

The tumor microenvironment (TME) is the complex ecosystem surrounding a tumor which includes the extracellular matrix, blood vessels, and stromal cells. It also encompasses different types of immune cells, such as neutrophils, dendritic cells, natural killer (NK) cells, T-cells and B-cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Inflammatory cells are indeed an essential component of the TME since cancer cells can hijack inflammatory mechanisms in favor of their own growth and survival. Modulating the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells is the goal of immunotherapies, but cancer cells within the TME respond differently to various types of immunotherapies, according to their underlying molecular profile. This tremendously affects the response of cancer patients to immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) therapies, targeting mainly the PD-1/PD-L1 axis and CTLA-4, but also adoptive cell transfer (ACT) or genetically-modified T-cell receptor (TCR) and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR-T) based therapies, all of which have been intensely examined and used as new immunotherapies in cancer treatment. Although there are examples of immunotherapies that have yielded impressive results in different cancer patients, the problem is that the majority of patients fail to develop durable responses. The causes of immunotherapy resistance remain largely unknown and many different molecular factors have been implicated. For instance, inhibitory immunoregulatory pathways can directly hamper cancer cell elimination by cytotoxic T cells. Further, recent evidence suggests the involvement of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), inflammation, and hypoxia, in addition to immune dysregulation within the TME and the tumor’s mutational landscape. Therefore, a better understanding of the key immunosuppressive and resistance mechanisms associated with a complex TME can provide new avenues to limit immune escape, develop new therapeutic strategies, and tailor efficient treatments. The scope of this special issue is to evaluate our current knowledge on how the interplay of cancer cells with immune cells within the TME impacts resistance of cancer cells to ICI, ACT or TCR/CAR-T based immunotherapeutic approaches, aiming to find ways to overcome this hurdle and improve patient response to immune-based interventions. We thus welcome both original research and review articles dealing with the tumor microenvironment, inflammation, and resistance of cancer patients to immunotherapies.

Submission deadline: 16 November 2023

Extracellular vesicles in three-dimensional cancer models

Lead Editor:

    University of L'Aquila

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid-bilayer enclosed vesicles released from almost all cells as means of cell-to-cell communication, in both physiological and pathological processes. The role of EVs has been widely studied in cancer diseases, mostly using the classical monolayer culture models. It is well documented, instead, that 2D (monolayer) or 3D (including spheroids, organoids, or scaffolds) culture conditions differ in terms of cell-cell interaction, morphology, proliferation, and signal transduction; although the 2D model is still the most widely used in vitro, 3D culture appears to be more suitable for mimicking tissue architecture and cell behavior in vivo. Only few information on EVs biology have been obtained from 3D models; however, being the plasma membrane widely involved in the release of EVs, it is possible that the type of cell-cell interaction in a 2D or 3D model could deeply affect their characteristics in terms of number, size, and molecular cargo. The special issue could collect studies conducted on three-dimensional culture models, included in the following, not exhaustive, list: - Tissues - Spheroids - Organoids - Neurospheres - Mammospheres - Scaffolds - Organ-on-chip

Submission deadline: 07 August 2023

COVID-19 infection and cancer - multiple impact areas

Lead Editor:

    Dr Constantin Caruntu
    "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy

The COVID-19 pandemic is considered a global health threat of unprecedented magnitude in our times. Through infectious mechanisms, massive inflammation, impaired coagulation pathways, destructive processes with abnormal regeneration that take place at systemic level, it induces an increased risk in patients with chronic diseases. Cancer patients in particular have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 infection. On the one hand, the underlying malignancy causes a weakening of these patients, and the associated treatment can have a major impact on the functioning of the immune response. On the other hand, the important inflammatory phenomena, the impaired defense system and other cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with the infection could contribute to the increased risk of cancer development and progression. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic affects the health care systems, generating a major overload. This delays the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of cancer patients. It also affects the proper development of cancer screening and prevention programs. Understanding the impact on health systems allows them to adapt quickly to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, by reorganizing and modifying work strategies, redesigning diagnosis, therapeutic and follow-up protocols, implementing modern techniques such as telemedicine, digital health and artificial intelligence technology. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic could alter the paradigms of cancer research and could have a long-term impact in cancer care. This Special Issue aims to bring together articles on these various possible areas of impact between COVID-19 infection and cancer.

Submission deadline: 21 July 2023

Non-coding RNA at the Frontier of Early Diagnosis, Prognosis Evaluation, and Cancer Treatments

Lead Editor:

    Dr Ying Liu
    Institute for Translational Medicine, Qingdao University

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), such as lncRNAs, circRNAs, miRNAs, are involved in practically all aspects of cancer progression. These ncRNAs show significant differential expression pattern in both biofluids and tissue samples of patients. The biofluids can be easily and reproducibly collected for analyses. The rapid advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatics have further helped the development of ncRNA-based therapeutic strategy and diagnostic tests used by clinicians. This special issue focuses on the clinical aspects of ncRNAs, in particular validation of novel biomarkers that may serve as signature for non-invasive early detection of cancerous cells, predict patients' prognosis and response to specific therapies.

Submission deadline: 07 July 2023

Clinical and Molecular Insights on Urothelial Carcinoma

Lead Editor:

    Dr Chien-feng Li
    Chi-Mei Medical Center

Urothelial carcinomas (UCs) are one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide, they arise from the upper urinary tracts and lower urinary tracts. Urinary bladder urothelial carcinoma (UBUC) is the most prevalent among the UCs (90%-95%). Upper tract urothelial carcinomas (UTUCs) are relatively rare compared with UBUCs and only account for 5-10% of UCs in Western countries but demonstrate an unusual high prevalence in some regions. At molecular level, UCs are driven by two different genetic pathways that form noninvasive low-grade papillary carcinoma and high-grade non-invasive/invasive carcinomasm respectively. The mutation of FGFR3, HRAS and PIK3CA involved in the MAPK and PI3K pathways are associated with the growth of non-invasive low-grade papillary urothelial carcinomas. While Deficiency of TP53 and retinoblastoma 1 (RB) related to cell cycle regulation at the G1/S checkpoint usually occurs in high-grade in situ and invasive carcinomas. Although some genetic hallmarks have been disclosed for urothelial carcinogenesis, the underlying mechanism responsible for urothelial carcinoma initiation and progression remains largely unknown. Moreover, there are relatively limited therapeutics for UCs. In spite of the development of immunotherapy and fibroblast growth factor receptors-2 and -3 targeted therapy, surgery remains to be the mainstay of early-stage UCs; chemotherapy and experimental therapies remain the therapeutic cornerstone in unresectable and metastatic UCs. Accordingly, it is mandatory to collect more molecular, translational, and clinical insights on UCs for further theranostic adjuncts.

Submission deadline: 06 July 2023

Management of prostate cancer in 2022

Lead Editor:

    Dr Carole Hélissey
    Department of medical oncology HIA Bégin

From emerging new hormonotherapy, PARP inhibitors, to metabolic therapy. The development of these treatments initially in monotherapy and later in combination therapy has clearly improved the survival of patients at first in the metastatic stage and today in the localized stage. However, which treatment for each patient? When to introduce it? How to monitor the effectiveness, beyond the PSA, which imaging? Theranostic should now be developed for patients with prostate cancer. More than 85% of patients will be alive 5 years after their diagnosis, all stages combined, so the quality of life of these patients is important. In this Special Issue, we invite research that highlights further advances in prostate cancer diagnostic, therapies, patient care.

Submission deadline: 29 December 2023

Update on gynecologic surgery in benign and oncologic disease

Lead Editor:

    Dr Stefano Cianci
    University of Messina

Gynecologic surgery is in continuous development. New technologies and new techniques are actually available from endoscopy to robotic both in oncology and benign pathology. The applications are different allowing to obtain better surgical dexterity, imaging and invasiveness reduction. This focused issue is aimed to give an overview and an update on novelties in gynecologic surgery

Submission deadline: 29 December 2023

Molecular target and action mechanism of anti-cancer agents

Lead Editor:

    Professor Seok-Geun Lee
    Kyung Hee University
    Republic of Korea

Recent advances in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics are changing the way physicians and scientists approach the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Increased knowledge of cancer diagnosis with more detailed stratification based on patient omics data helps to move the field of precision oncology forward. In addition, developing new anti-cancer drugs targeting genetic changes is another important part of precision oncology. In this context, this Special Issue aims to cover molecular-mechanism-based research for anticancer therapy. It welcomes original research, and review articles on the discovery of molecular targets or/and molecular mechanisms of any anti-cancer agents, including conventional chemotherapy, novel potential anti-cancer drug candidates, and their combinations with any other anti-cancer modalities.

Submission deadline: 28 December 2023

The management of brain metastasis: recent treatment and future directions

Lead Editor:

    Dr Atsuto Katano
    University of Tokyo Hospital

Brain metastasis causes neurological symptoms depending on the localization of the lesion and the degree of surrounding edema and might be a detriment to the quality of life of the patients. Even if the patient is asymptomatic, neurological symptoms may appear in a short period of time. Although brain metastasis occurs of patients with advanced-stage cancer, the prognosis of cancer patients has been improved in recent years due to advances in systemic therapy, especially molecular targeted agents and immune checkpoint inhibitors. On the other hand, the frequency of asymptomatic brain metastasis is gradually increasing due to the development of diagnostic imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging, and the management of brain metastasis has become one of the most important issues in cancer treatment in order to proceed with treatment without decreasing the quality of life of patients as much as possible. This review focused on the appropriate management of brain metastasis in cancer treatment.

Submission deadline: 22 December 2023

Role of Wnt signaling pathway in lung cancer

Lead Editor:

    Dr Noriaki Sunaga
    Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine

The Wnt signaling pathway is classified into β-catenin-dependent (canonical) and -independent (non-canonical) pathways, both of which play pivotal roles in embryonic development and the regulation of many cellular functions. A close link between cancer and the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway has long been studied and growing evidence indicates that constitutive activation of the Wnt signaling by altered component of its pathway implicates in tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis, chromosome instability, cancer stemness, epithelial to mesenchymal transformation and immunomodulation of tumor microenvironment. Moreover, the Wnt pathway affects acquisition of resistance to molecular targeted drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors. This special issue focuses on the role of Wnt signaling pathway in the tumorigenesis and therapeutic resistance in lung cancer.

Submission deadline: 22 December 2023

Journal Cover

Volume 25 Issue 6

Print ISSN: 1792-1074
Online ISSN: 1792-1082

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