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Frontiers of Medicine

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    2019, Vol.13  No.4

    Immunohistochemical staining was performed to examine LGR6 expression in colon adenocarcinoma (n=156). Low LGR6 expression predicted a short overall survival in patients with colon adenocarcinoma (log-rank test, P = 0.016). Univariate and multivariate survival analyses showed that, in addition to N and M classification, LGR6 expression served as an independent prognostic factor. Courtesy of Drs. Shigang Ding, Jun Zhan, and Hongquan Zhang [Detail] ...

    Table of Contents

, Volume 13 Issue 4

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REVIEW
Genetic and clinical markers for predicting treatment responsiveness in rheumatoid arthritis
Xin Wu, Xiaobao Sheng, Rong Sheng, Hongjuan Lu, Huji Xu
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 411-419.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0659-3
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Although many drugs and therapeutic strategies have been developed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, numerous patients with RA fail to respond to currently available agents. In this review, we provide an overview of the complexity of this autoimmune disease by showing the rapidly increasing number of genes associated with RA. We then systematically review various factors that have a predictive value (predictors) for the response to different drugs in RA treatment, especially recent advances. These predictors include but are certainly not limited to genetic variations, clinical factors, and demographic factors. However, no clinical application is currently available. This review also describes the challenges in treating patients with RA and the need for personalized medicine. At the end of this review, we discuss possible strategies to enhance the prediction of drug responsiveness in patients with RA.

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Autoimmunity in acute ischemic stroke and the role of blood--brain barrier: the dark side or the light one?
Nikolay V. Tsygan, Alexandr P. Trashkov, Igor V. Litvinenko, Viktoriya A. Yakovleva, Alexandr V. Ryabtsev, Andrey G. Vasiliev, Leonid P. Churilov
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 420-426.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-019-0688-6
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This article presents a synopsis of the current data on the mechanisms of blood--brain barrier (BBB) alteration and autoimmune response in acute ischemic stroke. Most researchers confirm the relationship between the severity of immunobiochemical changes and clinical outcome of acute ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is accompanied by aseptic inflammation, which alters the brain tissue and exposes the co-stimulatory molecules of the immune system and the neuronal antigens. To date, BBB is not considered the border between the immune system and central nervous system, and the local immune subsystems are found within and behind the BBB. BBB disruption contributes to the leakage of brain autoantigens and induction of secondary autoimmune response to neuronal antigens and long-term inflammation. Glymphatic system function is altered and jeopardized both in hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke types. The receptors of innate immunity (toll-like receptor-2 and toll-like receptor-4) are also involved in acute ischemia--reperfusion injury. Immune response is related to the key processes of blood clotting and fibrinolysis. At the same time, the stroke-induced immune activation may promote reparation phenomena in the brain. Subsequent research on the reduction of the acute ischemic brain injury through the target regulation of the immune response is promising.

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Targeted therapy of desmoid-type fibromatosis: mechanism, current situation, and future prospects
Zhen Wang, Jianhui Wu, Xiuyun Tian, Chunyi Hao
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 427-437.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0672-6
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Desmoid-type fibromatosis (DF) is a rare monoclonal fibroblastic proliferation that is characterized by locally infiltrative but rarely metastatic lesions. Tyrosine kinase and γ-secretase inhibitors are primarily used in the targeted therapy of DF. The use of these drugs, however, is mainly based on the recommendations of retrospective studies with small sample sizes. Previous studies that focused on the mechanism, efficacy, and safety of targeted therapy for DF were reviewed to provide references for clinical applications and research. The efficacy and safety of targeted therapy were compared with those of other systemic therapy options. Targeted therapy does not provide considerable advantages in efficacy and safety over other medical treatments and is usually applied after the failure of antihormonal therapies, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and chemotherapy. Further studies are required to explore the mechanism, indications, and appropriate drug dosage of the targeted therapy of DF.

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PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in cervical cancer: current studies and perspectives
Yumeng Wang, Guiling Li
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 438-450.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0674-4
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Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed female malignancy and a leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, especially in developing countries. Despite the use of advanced screening and preventive vaccines, more than half of all CC cases are diagnosed at advanced stages, when therapeutic options are extremely limited and side effects are severe. Given these circumstances, new and effective treatments are needed. In recent years, exciting progress has been made in immunotherapies, including the rapid development of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Checkpoint blockades targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis have achieved effective clinical responses with acceptable toxicity by suppressing tumor progression and improving survival in several tumor types. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway, including the expression patterns of PD-1/PD-L1 and potential PD-1/PD-L1-related therapeutic strategies for CC.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Structural shifts in the intestinal microbiota of rats treated with cyclosporine A after orthotropic liver transplantation
Junjun Jia, Xinyao Tian, Jianwen Jiang, Zhigang Ren, Haifeng Lu, Ning He, Haiyang Xie, Lin Zhou, Shusen Zheng
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 451-460.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0675-3
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Understanding the effect of immunosuppressive agents on intestinal microbiota is important to reduce the mortality and morbidity from orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). We investigated the relationship between the commonly used immunosuppressive agent cyclosporine A (CSA) and the intestinal microbial variation in an OLT model. The rat samples were divided as follows: (1) N group (normal control); (2) I group (isograft LT, Brown Norway [BN] rat to BN); (3) R group (allograft LT, Lewis to BN rat); and (4) CSA group (R group treated with CSA). The intestinal microbiota was assayed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles and by using real-time polymerase chain reaction. The liver histopathology and the alanine/aspartate aminotransferase ratio after LT were both ameliorated by CSA. In the CSA group, the numbers of rDNA gene copies of Clostridium cluster I, Clostridium cluster XIV, and Enterobacteriaceae decreased, whereas those of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii increased compared with the R group. Cluster analysis indicated that the samples from the N, I, and CSA groups were clustered, whereas the other clusters contained the samples from the R group. Hence, CSA ameliorates hepatic graft injury and partially restores gut microbiota following LT, and these may benefit hepatic graft rejection.

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Altered intestinal microbiota associated with colorectal cancer
Hong Zhang, Ying Chang, Qingqing Zheng, Rong Zhang, Cheng Hu, Weiping Jia
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 461-470.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-019-0695-7
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The gut microbiota plays an important role in the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). To learn more about the dysbiosis of carcinogenesis, we assessed alterations in gut microbiota in patients with CRC. A total of 23 subjects were enrolled in this study: 9 had CRC (CRC group) and 14 had normal colons (normal group). The microbiome of the mucosal--luminal interface of each subject was sampled and analyzed using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We also used Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) to predict microbial functional profiles. The microbial composition of the mucosal lumen differed between the groups, and the presence of specific bacteria may serve as a potential biomarker for colorectal carcinogenesis. We identified a significant reduction in Eubacterium, which is a butyrate-producing genera of bacteria, and a significant increase in Devosia in the gut microbiota of CRC patients. Different levels of gut microflora in healthy and CRC samples were identified. The observed abundance of bacterial species belonging to Eubacterium and Devosia may serve as a promising biomarker for the early detection of CRC.

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Antibiotics-mediated intestinal microbiome perturbation aggravates tacrolimus-induced glucose disorders in mice
Yuqiu Han, Xiangyang Jiang, Qi Ling, Li Wu, Pin Wu, Ruiqi Tang, Xiaowei Xu, Meifang Yang, Lijiang Zhang, Weiwei Zhu, Baohong Wang, Lanjuan Li
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 471-481.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-019-0686-8
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Both immunosuppressants and antibiotics (ABX) are indispensable for transplant patients. However, the former increases the risk of new-onset diabetes, whereas the latter impacts intestinal microbiota (IM). It is still unclear whether and how the interaction between immunosuppressants and ABX alters the IM and thus leads to glucose metabolism disorders. This study examined the alterations of glucose and lipid metabolism and IM in mice exposed to tacrolimus (TAC) with or without ABX. We found that ABX further aggravated TAC-induced glucose tolerance and increased insulin secretion. Combined treatment resulted in exacerbated lipid accumulation in the liver. TAC-altered microbial community was further amplified by ABX administration, as characterized by reductions in phylum Firmicutes, family Lachnospiraceae, and genus Coprococcus. Analyses based on the metagenomic profiles revealed that ABX augmented the effect of TAC on microbial metabolic function mostly related to lipid metabolism. The altered components of gut microbiome and predicted microbial functional profiles showed significant correlation with hepatic lipid accumulation and glucose disorders. In conclusion, ABX aggravated the effect of TAC on the microbiome and its metabolic capacities, which might contribute to hepatic lipid accumulation and glucose disorders. These findings suggest that the ABX-altered microbiome can amplify the diabetogenic effect of TAC and could be a novel therapeutic target for patients.

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G protein-coupled receptor LGR6 is an independent risk factor for colon adenocarcinoma
Wenjing Wang, Shigang Ding, Hejun Zhang, Jun Li, Jun Zhan, Hongquan Zhang
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 482-491.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0633-0
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LGR6 is a member of the G protein-coupled receptor family that plays a tumor-suppressive role in colon cancer. However, the relationship between LGR6 expression in patients and clinicopathological factors remains unclear. This study aimed to clarify whether the expression level of LGR6 is correlated with colon adenocarcinoma progression. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect LGR6 expression in colon adenoma tissues (n = 21), colon adenocarcinoma tissues (n = 156), and adjacent normal tissues (n = 124). The expression levels of LGR6 in colon adenoma and adenocarcinoma were significantly higher than those in normal colon epithelial tissues (P<0.001). Low LGR6 expression predicted a short overall survival in patients with colon adenocarcinoma (log-rank test, P = 0.016). Univariate and multivariate survival analyses showed that, in addition to N and M classification, LGR6 expression served as an independent prognostic factor. Thus, low expression of LGR6 can be used as an independent prognostic parameter in patients with colon adenocarcinoma.

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Positive stool culture could predict the clinical outcomes of haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Lijuan Hu, Qi Wang, Xiaohui Zhang, Lanping Xu, Yu Wang, Chenhua Yan, Huan Chen, Yuhong Chen, Kaiyan Liu, Hui Wang, Xiaojun Huang, Xiaodong Mo
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 492-503.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-019-0681-0
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We aimed to identify the effect of positive stool cultures (PSCs) on the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (haplo-HSCT) (n = 332). PSCs were observed in 61 patients (PSC group, 18.4%). Enterobacteriaceae in stool specimens was associated with a higher risk of bloodstream infection, and Candida in stool specimens was related to a higher risk of platelet engraftment failure. The cumulative incidence of infection-related mortality 1 year after haplo-HSCT in the PSC group was higher than that of the patients who showed persistently negative stool cultures (NSC group; 19.2% vs. 8.9%, P = 0.017). The probabilities of overall survival (71.4% vs. 83.8%, P = 0.031) and disease-free survival (69.6% vs. 81.0%, P = 0.048) 1 year after haplo-HSCT for the PSC group were significantly lower than those for the NSC group, particularly for patients who had Candida in their stool specimens. In multivariate analysis, Candida in stool specimens significantly increased the risk of mortality and was associated with poorer survival. Our results showed that PSC influenced the clinical outcomes after haplo-HSCT, particularly those who had Candida in their stool specimens.

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Changes in public trust in physicians: empirical evidence from China
Dahai Zhao, Zhiruo Zhang
Front. Med.. 2019, 13 (4): 504-510.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0666-4
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Studies examining the trends in public trust in physicians have provided a considerable amount of valuable policy implications for policymakers compared with cross-sectional studies on this topic in many countries. This study investigated changes in public trust in physicians in China based on two cross-sectional national surveys conducted in 2011 and 2016 and identified the determinants of these changes. The results indicated 83.4% of respondents in 2011 reported trust or strong trust in physicians in China, which decreased to 64.2% by 2016. The results of ordinal logistic regression demonstrated that public trust in physicians in China had decreased significantly from 2011 to 2016 (P<0.001) after adjusting for other independent variables. Self-reported health status, self-rated happiness, and self-identified social class were all associated positively with public trust in physicians in China. The results also confirmed that decreasing public satisfaction with the most recent treatment experience was the major determinant of decreasing public trust in physicians in China. The findings of this study suggest that decreasing public trust in physicians deserves considerable attention from national policymakers and that improving satisfaction with treatment experiences would be the most effective strategy for enhancing public trust in physicians in China.

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