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Histone variants: critical determinants in tumour heterogeneity
Tao Wang, Florent Chuffart, Ekaterina Bourova-Flin, Jin Wang, Jianqing Mi, Sophie Rousseaux, Saadi Khochbin
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (3): 289-297.
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Malignant cell transformation could be considered as a series of cell reprogramming events driven by oncogenic transcription factors and upstream signalling pathways. Chromatin plasticity and dynamics are critical determinants in the control of cell reprograming. An increase in chromatin dynamics could therefore constitute an essential step in driving oncogenesis and in generating tumour cell heterogeneity, which is indispensable for the selection of aggressive properties, including the ability of cells to disseminate and acquire resistance to treatments. Histone supply and dosage, as well as histone variants, are the best-known regulators of chromatin dynamics. By facilitating cell reprogramming, histone under-dosage and histone variants should also be crucial in cell transformation and tumour metastasis. Here we summarize and discuss our knowledge of the role of histone supply and histone variants in chromatin dynamics and their ability to enhance oncogenic cell reprogramming and tumour heterogeneity.

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Combination of biomaterial transplantation and genetic enhancement of intrinsic growth capacities to promote CNS axon regeneration after spinal cord injury
Bin Yu, Xiaosong Gu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 131-137.
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The inhibitory environment that surrounds the lesion site and the lack of intrinsic regenerative capacity of the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS) impede the regrowth of injured axons and thereby the reestablishment of neural circuits required for functional recovery after spinal cord injuries (SCI). To circumvent these barriers, biomaterial scaffolds are applied to bridge the lesion gaps for the regrowing axons to follow, and, often by combining stem cell transplantation, to enable the local environment in the growth-supportive direction. Manipulations, such as the modulation of PTEN/mTOR pathways, can also enhance intrinsic CNS axon regrowth after injury. Given the complex pathophysiology of SCI, combining biomaterial scaffolds and genetic manipulation may provide synergistic effects and promote maximal axonal regrowth. Future directions will primarily focus on the translatability of these approaches and promote therapeutic avenues toward the functional rehabilitation of patients with SCIs.

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High-affinity T cell receptors redirect cytokine-activated T cells (CAT) to kill cancer cells
Synat Kang, Yanyan Li, Yifeng Bao, Yi Li
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 69-82.
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Cytokine-activated T cells (CATs) can be easily expanded and are widely applied to cancer immunotherapy. However, the good efficacy of CATs is rarely reported in clinical applications because CATs have no or very low antigen specificity. The low-efficacy problem can be resolved using T cell antigen receptor-engineered CAT (TCR-CAT). Herein, we demonstrate that NY-ESO-1157–165 HLA-A*02:01-specific high-affinity TCR (HAT)-transduced CATs can specifically kill cancer cells with good efficacy. With low micromolar range dissociation equilibrium constants, HAT-transduced CATs showed good specificity with no off-target killing. Furthermore, the high-affinity TCR-CATs delivered significantly better activation and cytotoxicity than the equivalent TCR-engineered T cells (TCR-Ts) in terms of interferon-g and granzyme B production and in vitro cancer cell killing ability. TCR-CAT may be a very good alternative to the expensive TCR-T, which is considered an effective personalized cyto-immunotherapy.

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Platelet membrane-based and tumor-associated platelet- targeted drug delivery systems for cancer therapy
Yinlong Zhang, Guangna Liu, Jingyan Wei, Guangjun Nie
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 667-677.
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Platelets have long been known to play critical roles in hemostasis by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries. Recent experimental evidence strongly indicates that platelets can also interact with tumor cells by direct binding or secreting cytokines. For example, platelets have been shown to protect circulating cancer cells in blood circulation and to promote tumor metastasis. In-depth understanding of the role of platelets in cancer progression and metastasis provides promising approaches for platelet biomimetic drug delivery systems and functional platelet-targeting strategies for effective cancer treatment. This review highlights recent progresses in platelet membrane-based drug delivery and unique strategies that target tumor-associated platelets for cancer therapy. The paper also discusses future development opportunities and challenges encountered for clinical translation.

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Characterization of hidden rules linking symptoms and selection of acupoint using an artificial neural network model
Won-Mo Jung, In-Soo Park, Ye-Seul Lee, Chang-Eop Kim, Hyangsook Lee, Dae-Hyun Hahm, Hi-Joon Park, Bo-Hyoung Jang, Younbyoung Chae
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 112-120.
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Comprehension of the medical diagnoses of doctors and treatment of diseases is important to understand the underlying principle in selecting appropriate acupoints. The pattern recognition process that pertains to symptoms and diseases and informs acupuncture treatment in a clinical setting was explored. A total of 232 clinical records were collected using a Charting Language program. The relationship between symptom information and selected acupoints was trained using an artificial neural network (ANN). A total of 11 hidden nodes with the highest average precision score were selected through a tenfold cross-validation. Our ANN model could predict the selected acupoints based on symptom and disease information with an average precision score of 0.865 (precision, 0.911; recall, 0.811). This model is a useful tool for diagnostic classification or pattern recognition and for the prediction and modeling of acupuncture treatment based on clinical data obtained in a real-world setting. The relationship between symptoms and selected acupoints could be systematically characterized through knowledge discovery processes, such as pattern identification.

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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.
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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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Prospects of immunotherapy for cancer
Zhinan Chen
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 1-2.
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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.
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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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Screening responsive or resistant biomarkers of immune checkpoint inhibitors based on online databases
Zhen Xiang, Yingyan Yu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 24-31.
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Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a promising strategy in the treatment of cancer, especially advanced types. However, not all patients are responsive to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The response rate depends on the immune microenvironment, tumor mutational burden (TMB), expression level of immune checkpoint proteins, and molecular subtypes of cancers. Along with the Cancer Genome Project, various open access databases, including The Cancer Genome Atlas and Gene Expression Omnibus, provide large volumes of data, which allow researchers to explore responsive or resistant biomarkers of immune checkpoint inhibitors. In this review, we introduced some methodologies on database selection, biomarker screening, current progress of immune checkpoint blockade in solid tumor treatment, possible mechanisms of drug resistance, strategies of overcoming resistance, and indications for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

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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.
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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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Everyone has a donor: contribution of the Chinese experience to global practice of haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Meng Lv, Yingjun Chang, Xiaojun Huang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 45-56.
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Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have long been scarce in China. Haploidentical (haplo) donors are available for the vast majority of patients, but toxicity has limited this approach. Three new approaches for haplo-HSCT originated from Italy, China, and USA in 1990 and have been developed to world-renowned system up to now. The Chinese approach have been greatly improved by implementing new individualized conditioning regimens, donor selection based on non-HLA systems, risk-directed strategies for graft-versus-host disease and relapse, and infection management. Haplo-HSCT has exhibited similar efficacy to HLA-matched HSCT and has gradually become the predominant donor source and the first alternative donor choice for allo-HSCT in China. Registry-based analyses and multicenter studies adhering to international standards facilitated the transformation of the unique Chinese experience into an inspiration for the refinement of global practice. This review will focus on how the new era in which “everyone has a donor” will become a reality in China.

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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.
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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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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.
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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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Immunotherapy-based combination strategies for treatment of gastrointestinal cancers: current status and future prospects
Chenfei Zhou, Jun Zhang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 12-23.
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Strategies in comprehensive therapy for gastrointestinal (GI) cancer have been optimized in the last decades to improve patients’ outcomes. However, treatment options remain limited for late-stage or refractory diseases. The efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for treatment of refractory GI cancer has been confirmed by randomized clinical trials. In 2017, pembrolizumab was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as the first agent for treatment of metastatic solid tumors with mismatch repair deficiency, especially for colorectal cancer. Given the different mechanisms, oncologists have focused on determining whether ICIs-based combination strategies could achieve higher efficacy than conventional therapy alone in late-stage or even front-line treatment of GI cancer. This review discusses the current status of combining immune checkpoint inhibitors with molecular targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy in GI cancer in terms of mechanisms, safety, and efficacy to provide basis for future research.

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Adoptive cell transfer therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma
Renyu Zhang, Zhao Zhang, Zekun Liu, Ding Wei, Xiaodong Wu, Huijie Bian, Zhinan Chen
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 3-11.
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. This malignancy is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality. Novel approaches for prolonging the overall survival of patients with advanced HCC are urgently needed. The antitumor activities of adoptive cell transfer therapy (ACT), such as strategies based on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and cytokine-induced killer cells, are more effective than those of traditional strategies. Currently, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy has achieved numerous breakthroughs in the treatment of hematological malignancies, including relapsed or refractory lymphoblastic leukemia and refractory large B-cell lymphoma. Nevertheless, this approach only provides a modest benefit in the treatment of solid tumors. The clinical results of CAR-T immunotherapy for HCC that could be obtained at present are limited. Some published studies have demonstrated that CAR-T could inhibit tumor growth and cause severe side effects. In this review, we summarized the current application of ACT, the challenges encountered by CAR-T technology in HCC treatment, and some possible strategies for the future direction of immunotherapeutic research.

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Rdh13 deficiency weakens carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury by regulating Spot14 and Cyp2e1 expression levels
Xiaofang Cui, Benting Ma, Yan Wang, Yan Chen, Chunling Shen, Ying Kuang, Jian Fei, Lungen Lu, Zhugang Wang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 104-111.
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Mitochondrion-localized retinol dehydrogenase 13 (Rdh13) is a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase involved in vitamin A metabolism in both humans and mice. We previously generated Rdh13 knockout mice and showed that Rdh13 deficiency causes severe acute retinal light damage. In this study, considering that Rdh13 is highly expressed in mouse liver, we further evaluated the potential effect of Rdh13 on liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Although Rdh13 deficiency showed no significant effect on liver histology and physiological functions under regular culture, the Rdh13−/− mice displayed an attenuated response to CCl4-induced liver injury. Their livers also exhibited less histological changes and contained lower levels of liver-related metabolism enzymes compared with the livers of wild-type (WT) mice. Furthermore, the Rdh13−/− mice had Rdh13 deficiency and thus their liver cells were protected from apoptosis, and the quantity of their proliferative cells became lower than that in WT after CCl4 exposure. The ablation of Rdh13 gene decreased the expression levels of thyroid hormone-inducible nuclear protein 14 (Spot14) and cytochrome P450 (Cyp2e1) in the liver, especially after CCl4 treatment for 48 h. These data suggested that the alleviated liver damage induced by CCl4 in Rdh13−/− mice was caused by Cyp2e1 enzymes, which promoted reductive CCl4 metabolism by altering the status of thyroxine metabolism. This result further implicated Rdh13 as a potential drug target in preventing chemically induced liver injury.

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Chimeric antigen receptor T cell targeting EGFRvIII for metastatic lung cancer therapy
Zhao Zhang, Jun Jiang, Xiaodong Wu, Mengyao Zhang, Dan Luo, Renyu Zhang, Shiyou Li, Youwen He, Huijie Bian, Zhinan Chen
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 57-68.
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Lung cancer is the most common incident cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. In recent years, the development of tumor immunotherapy especially chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell has shown a promising future. Epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) is a tumor-specific mutation expressed in various types of tumors and has been detected in non-small cell lung cancer with a mutation rate of 10%. Thus, EGFRvIII is a potential antigen for targeted lung cancer therapy. In this study, CAR vectors were constructed and transfected into virus-packaging cells. Then, activated T cells were infected with retrovirus harvested from stable virus-producing single clone cell lines. CAR expression on the surfaces of the T cells was detected by flow cytometry and Western blot. The function of CAR-T targeting EGFRvIII was then evaluated. The EGFRvIII-CAR vector was successfully constructed and confirmed by DNA sequencing. A stable virus-producing cell line was produced from a single clone by limited dilution. The culture conditions for the cell line, including cell density, temperature, and culture medium were optimized. After infection with retrovirus, CAR was expressed on more than 90% of the T cells. The proliferation of CAR-T cells were induced by cytokine and specific antigen in vitro. More importantly, EGFRvIII-CART specifically and efficiently recognized and killed A549-EGFRvIII cells with an effector/target ratio of 10:1 by expressing and releasing cytokines, including perforin, granzyme B, IFN-g, and TNF-α. The in vivo study indicated that the metastasis of A549-EGFRvIII cells in mice were inhibited by EGFRvIII-CART cells, and the survival of the mice was significantly prolonged with no serious side effects. EGFRvIII-CART showed significantly efficient antitumor activity against lung cancer cells expressing EGFRvIII in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, CAR-T targeting EGFRvIII is a potential therapeutic strategy in preventing recurrence and metastasis of lung cancer after surgery.

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Monitoring checkpoint inhibitors: predictive biomarkers in immunotherapy
Min Zhang, Jingwen Yang, Wenjing Hua, Zhong Li, Zenghui Xu, Qijun Qian
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 32-44.
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Immunotherapy has become the fourth cancer therapy after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. In particular, immune checkpoint inhibitors are proved to be unprecedentedly in increasing the overall survival rates of patients with refractory cancers, such as advanced melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and renal cell carcinoma. However, inhibitor therapies are only effective in a small proportion of patients with problems, such as side effects and high costs. Therefore, doctors urgently need reliable predictive biomarkers for checkpoint inhibitor therapies to choose the optimal therapies. Here, we review the biomarkers that can serve as potential predictors of the outcomes of immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment, including tumor-specific profiles and tumor microenvironment evaluation and other factors.

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Presence of multiple abnormal immunologic markers is an independent prognostic factor of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
Yiwen Cao, Zhenhua Liu, Wen Wu, Ying Qian, Qin Shi, Rong Shen, Binshen Ouyang, Pengpeng Xu, Shu Cheng, Jin Ye, Yiming Lu, Chaofu Wang, Chengde Yang, Li Wang, Weili Zhao
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 94-103.
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Autoimmune diseases (ADs) increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and contribute to poor prognosis of patients. However, the association between immunologic markers and clinical outcome has rarely been investigated. This study aims to analyze the prognostic value of pretreatment immunologic markers in newly diagnosed patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We retrospectively reviewed the data on 502 patients with DLBCL treated in our institution from January 2013 to March 2018. Survival functions were estimated using Kaplan–Meier method and Cox regression model. The 3-year progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 70.2% and 80.9%, respectively, and the complete remission (CR) rate was 78.1%. Among the patients, those with multiple (≥3) abnormal immunologic markers had significantly shorter 3-year PFS (52.7% vs. 77.3%, P<0.001) and OS (68.5% vs. 85.8%, P=0.001) than those without multiple abnormal immunologic markers. Multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of multiple abnormal immunologic markers and the elevated serum levels of lactate dehydrogenase were the independent adverse prognostic factors for PFS (P=0.008, P<0.001) and OS (P=0.003, P<0.001). Meanwhile, advanced Ann Arbor stage was an independent adverse prognostic factor for PFS (P=0.001) and age>60 years for OS (P=0.014). In conclusion, the immunologic status was closely related to lymphoma progression, and this study provides new insights into the risk stratification of patients with DLBCL.

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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.
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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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Growth suppression of colorectal cancer expressing S492R EGFR by monoclonal antibody CH12
Qiongna Dong, Bizhi Shi, Min Zhou, Huiping Gao, Xiaoying Luo, Zonghai Li, Hua Jiang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 83-93.
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignant tumor in the digestive tract, and 30%–85% of CRCs express epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs). Recently, treatments using cetuximab, also named C225, an anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody, for CRC have been demonstrated to cause an S492R mutation in EGFR. However, little is known about the biological function of S492R EGFR. Therefore, we attempted to elucidate its biological function in CRC cells and explore new treatment strategies for this mutant form. Our study indicated that EGFR and S492R EGFR accelerate the growth of CRC cells in vitro and in vivo and monoclonal antibody CH12, which specifically recognizes an EGFR tumor-specific epitope, can bind efficiently to S492R EGFR. Furthermore, mAb CH12 showed significantly stronger growth suppression activities and induced a more potent antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity effect on CRC cells bearing S492R EGFR than mAb C225. mAb CH12 obviously suppressed the growth of CRC xenografts with S492R EGFR mutations in vivo. Thus, mAb CH12 may be a promising therapeutic agent in treating patients with CRC bearing an S492R EGFR mutation.

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Effect of antitubercular treatment on the pregnancy outcomes and prognoses of patients with genital tuberculosis
Jing Yue, Bo Zhang, Mingyue Wang, Junning Yao, Yifan Zhou, Ding Ma, Lei Jin
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 121-125.
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This retrospective study aims to demonstrate the effect of antitubercular treatment (ATT) on the pregnancy outcomes and prognoses of patients with genital tuberculosis (GTB) who had received laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy. This study included 78 patients with infertility and who were diagnosed with GTB through laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy over the period of November 2005 to October 2015. The recruited patients were divided into ATT and nonATT groups on the basis of ATT duration. The GTB recurrence rates, menstrual patterns, and pregnancy outcomes of the patients were determined at follow-up. Among the 78 patients, 46 received ATT and 32 did not receive ATT. The menstrual volumes of patients in the ATT group significantly decreased relative to those of patients in the nonATT group. GTB did not recur among all patients regardless of treatment. A total of 11 pregnancies (36.7%) in the ATT group and 19 pregnancies (63.3%) in the nonATT group were observed. Pregnancy rates significantly differed (P = 0.002) between the two groups. ATT may decrease the menstrual volume and pregnancy rates of patients who were diagnosed with GTB through laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy. In addition, ATT did not improve the prognosis of patients with chronic GTB.

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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.
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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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Mesenchymal stem cells and immune disorders: from basic science to clinical transition
Shihua Wang, Rongjia Zhu, Hongling Li, Jing Li, Qin Han, Robert Chunhua Zhao
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 138-151.
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As a promising candidate seed cell type in regenerative medicine, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted considerable attention. The unique capacity of MSCs to exert a regulatory effect on immunity in an autologous/allergenic manner makes them an attractive therapeutic cell type for immune disorders. In this review, we discussed the current knowledge of and advances in MSCs, including its basic biological properties, i.e., multilineage differentiation, secretome, and immunomodulation. Specifically, on the basis of our previous work, we proposed three new concepts of MSCs, i.e., “subtotipotent stem cell” hypothesis, MSC system, and “Yin and Yang” balance of MSC regulation, which may bring new insights into our understanding of MSCs. Furthermore, we analyzed data from the Clinical Trials database ( on registered clinical trials using MSCs to treat a variety of immune diseases, such as graft-versus-host disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis. In addition, we highlighted MSC clinical trials in China and discussed the challenges and future directions in the field of MSC clinical application.

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Mechanistic and therapeutic advances in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by targeting the gut microbiota
Ruiting Han, Junli Ma, Houkai Li
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 645-657.
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common metabolic diseases currently in the context of obesity worldwide, which contains a spectrum of chronic liver diseases, including hepatic steatosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and hepatic carcinoma. In addition to the classical “Two-hit” theory, NAFLD has been recognized as a typical gut microbiota-related disease because of the intricate role of gut microbiota in maintaining human health and disease formation. Moreover, gut microbiota is even regarded as a “metabolic organ” that play complementary roles to that of liver in many aspects. The mechanisms underlying gut microbiota-mediated development of NAFLD include modulation of host energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and bile acid and choline metabolism. As a result, gut microbiota have been emerging as a novel therapeutic target for NAFLD by manipulating it in various ways, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, antibiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation, and herbal components. In this review, we summarized the most recent advances in gut microbiota-mediated mechanisms, as well as gut microbiota-targeted therapies on NAFLD.

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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.
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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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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.
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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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DNA methylation-based subclassification of psoriasis in the Chinese Han population
Fusheng Zhou, Changbing Shen, Yi-Hsiang Hsu, Jing Gao, Jinfa Dou, Randy Ko, Xiaodong Zheng, Liangdan Sun, Yong Cui, Xuejun Zhang
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 717-725.
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Psoriasis (Ps) is an inflammatory skin disease caused by genetic and environmental factors. Previous studies on DNA methylation (DNAm) found genetic markers that are closely associated with Ps, and evidence has shown that DNAm mediates genetic risk in Ps. In this study, Consensus Clustering was used to analyze DNAm data, and 114 Ps patients were divided into three subclassifications. Investigation of the clinical characteristics and copy number variations (CNVs) of DEFB4, IL22, and LCE3C in the three subclassifications revealed no significant differences in gender ratio and in Ps area and severity index (PASI) score. The proportion of late-onset (≥40 years) Ps patients was significantly higher in type I than in types II and III (P = 0.035). Type III contained the smallest proportion of smokers and the largest proportion of non-smoking Ps patients (P = 0.086). The CNVs of DEFB4 and LCE3C showed no significant differences but the CNV of IL22 significantly differed among the three subclassifications (P = 0.044). This study is the first to profile Ps subclassifications based on DNAm data in the Chinese Han population. These results are useful in the treatment and management of Ps from the molecular and genetic perspectives.

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Mutation profiling of 16 candidate genes in de novo acute myeloid leukemia patients
Yang Zhang, Fang Wang, Xue Chen, Wenjing Liu, Jiancheng Fang, Mingyu Wang, Wen Teng, Panxiang Cao, Hongxing Liu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 229-237.
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This retrospective analysis aimed to investigate the mutation profile of 16 common mutated genes in de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. A total of 259 patients who were diagnosed of de novo AML were enrolled in this study. Mutation profiling of 16 candidate genes were performed in bone marrow samples by using Sanger sequencing. We identified at least 1 mutation in 199 of the 259 samples (76.8%), and 2 or more mutations in 31.7% of samples. FLT3-ITD was the most common mutated gene (16.2%, 42/259), followed by CEBPA (15.1%, 39/259), NRAS (14.7%, 38/259), and NPM1 (13.5%, 35/259). Concurrence was observed in 97.1% of the NPM1 mutated cases and in 29.6% of the double mutated CEBPA cases. Distinct patterns of co-occurrence were observed for different hotspot mutations within the IDH2 gene: R140 mutations were associated with NPM1 and/or FLT3-ITD mutations, whereas R172 mutations co-occurred with DNMT3A mutations only. Concurrence was also observed in 86.6% of epigenetic regulation genes, most of which co-occurred with NPM1 mutations. The results showed certain rules in the mutation profiling and concurrence of AML patients, which was related to the function classification of genes. Defining the mutation spectrum and mutation pattern of AML will contribute to the comprehensive assessment of patients and identification of new therapeutic targets.

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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.
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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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