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  • LETTER TO FRONTIERS OF MEDICINE
    Julia Prinz, Nicola Maffulli, Matthias Fuest, Peter Walter, Frank Hildebrand, Filippo Migliorini

    The effectiveness of using acupuncture for dry eye disease (DED) is controversial. Thus, this systematic review investigated the effectiveness and feasibility of using acupuncture for DED in accordance with the 2020 PRISMA statement. The outcomes of interests were (1) to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in improving the ocular surface disease index (OSDI), Schirmer I test score, and tear breakup time from baseline to the last follow-up; (2) to determine possible complications of using acupuncture; and (3) to investigate the superiority of acupuncture over other commonly used treatments for DED. Data from 394 patients were collected. Results showed that acupuncture significantly prolonged the tear breakup time (P < 0.0001), significantly increased the Schirmer I test score ( P < 0.0001), and significantly reduced the OSDI ( P < 0.0001) from baseline to the last follow-up. Compared with the control group, the acupuncture group had significantly greater Schirmer I test score ( P < 0.0001), significantly longer tear breakup time ( P = 0.0004), and significantly lower OSDI (P = 0.002). These results suggest that acupuncture is effective and feasible in improving symptoms and signs of DED. No severe adverse effects of acupuncture were observed.

  • REVIEW
    Shi-Yong Sun

    A significant clinical challenge in lung cancer treatment is management of the inevitable acquired resistance to third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), such as osimertinib, which have shown remarkable success in the treatment of advanced NSCLC with EGFR activating mutations, in order to achieve maximal response duration or treatment remission. Apoptosis is a major type of programmed cell death tightly associated with cancer development and treatment. Evasion of apoptosis is considered a key hallmark of cancer and acquisition of apoptosis resistance is accordingly a key mechanism of drug acquired resistance in cancer therapy. It has been clearly shown that effective induction of apoptosis is a key mechanism for third generation EGFR-TKIs, particularly osimertinib, to exert their therapeutic efficacies and the development of resistance to apoptosis is tightly associated with the emergence of acquired resistance. Hence, restoration of cell sensitivity to undergo apoptosis using various means promises an effective strategy for the management of acquired resistance to third generation EGFR-TKIs.

  • LETTER TO FRONTIERS OF MEDICINE
    Chuansong Quan, Zhenjie Zhang, Guoyong Ding, Fengwei Sun, Hengxia Zhao, Qinghua Liu, Chuanmin Ma, Jing Wang, Liang Wang, Wenbo Zhao, Jinjie He, Yu Wang, Qian He, Michael J. Carr, Dayan Wang, Qiang Xiao, Weifeng Shi

    Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have been commonly deployed to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), resulting in a worldwide decline in influenza prevalence. However, the influenza risk in China warrants cautious assessment. We conducted a cross-sectional, sero-epidemiological study in Shandong Province, Northern China in mid-2021. Hemagglutination inhibition was performed to test antibodies against four influenza vaccine strains. A combination of descriptive and meta-analyses was adopted to compare the seroprevalence of influenza antibodies before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall seroprevalence values against A/H1N1pdm09, A/H3N2, B/Victoria, and B/Yamagata were 17.8% (95% CI 16.2%–19.5%), 23.5% (95% CI 21.7%–25.4%), 7.6% (95% CI 6.6%–8.7%), and 15.0 (95% CI 13.5%–16.5%), respectively, in the study period. The overall vaccination rate was extremely low (2.6%). Our results revealed that antibody titers in vaccinated participants were significantly higher than those in unvaccinated individuals (P < 0.001). Notably, the meta-analysis showed that antibodies against A/H1N1pdm09 and A/H3N2 were significantly low in adults after the COVID-19 pandemic ( P < 0.01). Increasing vaccination rates and maintaining NPIs are recommended to prevent an elevated influenza risk in China.

  • CONSENSUS
    Suning Chen, Weili Zhao, Jianyong Li, Depei Wu, on behalf of Lymphoid Disease Group, Chinese Society of Hematology, Chinese Medical Association

    Oral drugs such as ibrutinib play an important role in the treatment of mature B-cell lymphoma (BCL) due to their reliable efficacy, manageable safety, high accessibility, and convenience for use. Still, no guidelines or consensus focusing on oral drug therapies for BCL is available. To provide a reference of oral agent-based treatment for mature BCL, a panel of experts from the Lymphocyte Disease Group, Chinese Society of Hematology, Chinese Medical Association conducted an extensive discussion and reached a consensus on oral drugs for Chinese BCL patients on the basis of the current application status of oral drugs in China, combined with the latest authoritative guidelines in the world and current research reports. This consensus reviewed the application of oral drugs in the treatment of BCL and the latest research and provided appropriate recommendations on the use of oral drugs for indolent or aggressive BCL patients. With the deepening of research and the development of standardized clinical applications, oral medications will bring better treatment to BCL patients, enabling more patients to benefit from them.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Feifei Bao, Mengjie Liu, Wenhua Gai, Yuwei Hua, Jing Li, Chao Han, Ziyu Zai, Jiahuang Li, Zichun Hua

    Tumor growth is an angiogenesis-dependent process and accompanied by the formation of hypoxic areas. Tumstatin is a tumor-specific angiogenesis inhibitor that suppresses the proliferation and induces the apoptosis of tumorous vascular endothelial cells. VNP20009, an attenuated Salmonella typhimurium strain, preferentially accumulates in the hypoxic areas of solid tumors. In this study, a novel Salmonella-mediated targeted expression system of tumstatin (VNP-Tum5) was developed under the control of the hypoxia-induced J23100 promoter to obtain anti-tumor efficacy in mice. Treatment with VNP-Tum5 effectively suppressed tumor growth and prolonged survival in the mouse model of B16F10 melanoma. VNP-Tum5 exhibited a higher efficacy in inhibiting the proliferation and inducing the necrosis and apoptosis of B16F10 cells in vitro and in vivo compared with VNP (control). VNP-Tum5 significantly inhibited the proliferation and migration of mouse umbilical vascular endothelial cells to impede angiogenesis. VNP-Tum5 downregulated the expression of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor A, platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, phosphorylated phosphoinositide 3 kinase, and phosphorylated protein kinase B and upregulated the expression of cleaved-caspase 3 in tumor tissues. This study is the first to use tumstatin-transformed VNP20009 as a tumor-targeted system for treatment of melanoma by combining anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Fangyi Dong, Li Chen, Chaoxian Zhao, Xiaoyang Li, Yun Tan, Huan Song, Wen Jin, Hongming Zhu, Yunxiang Zhang, Kai Xue, Junmin Li, Kankan Wang

    In patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), if not identified promptly, could be fatal. It is the leading cause of failure of induction and early death. Thus, biomarkers that could promptly predict severe complications are critical. Here, cytokine differences between patients with APL with and without ICH were investigated to develop predictive models for this complication. The initial cytokine profiling using plasma samples from 39 patients and 18 healthy donors found a series of cytokines that were remarkedly different between patients with APL and healthy controls. The APL patients were subsequently divided into high and low white blood cell count groups. Results showed that tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin 8 (IL-8) were vital in distinguishing patients with APL who did or did not develop ICH. In addition, verification in 81 patients with APL demonstrated that the two cytokines were positively correlated with the cumulative incidence of ICH. Finally, in-vitro and in-vivo experimental evidence were provided to show that IL-8 influenced the migration of APL-derived NB4 cells and impaired the blood–brain barrier in PML/RARα positive blast-transplanted FVB/NJ mice. These assessments may facilitate the early warning of ICH and reduce future mortality levels in APL.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ran Li, Kai Xue, Junmin Li

    Fibroblast growth factor 13 (FGF13) is aberrantly expressed in multiple cancer types, suggesting its essential role in tumorigenesis. Hence, we aimed to explore its definite role in the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and emphasize its associations with bone marrow niches. Results showed that FGF13 was lowly expressed in patients with AML and that its elevated expression was related to prolonged overall survival (OS). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses identified FGF13 as an independent prognostic factor. A prognostic nomogram integrating FGF13 and clinicopathologic variables was constructed to predict 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS. Gene mutation and functional analyses indicated that FGF13 was not associated with AML driver mutations but was related to bone marrow niches. As for immunity, FGF13 was remarkably associated with T cell count, immune checkpoint genes, and cytokines. In addition, FGF13 overexpression substantially inhibited the growth and significantly induced the early apoptosis of AML cells. The xenograft study indicated that FGF13 overexpression prolonged the survival of recipient mice. Overall, FGF13 could serve as an independent prognostic factor for AML, and it was closely related to the bone marrow microenvironment.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yan Zhang, Baoyuan Zhang, Yongyun Li, Yuting Dai, Jiaoyang Li, Donghe Li, Zhizhou Xia, Jianming Zhang, Ping Liu, Ming Chen, Bo Jiao, Ruibao Ren

    More than 85% of patients with uveal melanoma (UM) carry a GNAQ or GNA11 mutation at a hotspot codon (Q209) that encodes G protein α subunit q/11 polypeptides (Gαq/11). GNAQ/11 relies on palmitoylation for membrane association and signal transduction. Despite the palmitoylation of GNAQ/11 was discovered long before, its implication in UM remains unclear. Here, results of palmitoylation-targeted mutagenesis and chemical interference approaches revealed that the loss of GNAQ/11 palmitoylation substantially affected tumor cell proliferation and survival in UM cells. Palmitoylation inhibition through the mutation of palmitoylation sites suppressed GNAQ/11Q209L-induced malignant transformation in NIH3T3 cells. Importantly, the palmitoylation-deficient oncogenic GNAQ/11 failed to rescue the cell death initiated by the knock down of endogenous GNAQ/11 oncogenes in UM cells, which are much more dependent on Gαq/11 signaling for cell survival and proliferation than other melanoma cells without GNAQ/11 mutations. Furthermore, the palmitoylation inhibitor, 2-bromopalmitate, also specifically disrupted Gαq/11 downstream signaling by interfering with the MAPK pathway and BCL2 survival pathway in GNAQ/11-mutant UM cells and showed a notable synergistic effect when applied in combination with the BCL2 inhibitor, ABT-199, in vitro. The findings validate that GNAQ/11 palmitoylation plays a critical role in UM and may serve as a promising therapeutic target for GNAQ/11-driven UM.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jianhua Shi, Ying Cheng, Qiming Wang, Kai Li, Lin Wu, Baohui Han, Gongyan Chen, Jianxing He, Jie Wang, Haifeng Qin, Xiaoling Li

    Patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) relapse within months after completing previous therapies. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of anlotinib as third- or further-line therapy in patients with short-term relapsed SCLC from ALTER1202. Patients with short-term relapsed SCLC (disease progression within 3 months after completing ≥ two lines of chemotherapy) in the anlotinib (n = 67) and placebo (n = 34) groups were analyzed. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS). The secondary endpoints included overall survival, objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate, and safety. Anlotinib significantly improved median PFS/OS (4.0 vs. 0.7 months, P < 0.0001)/(7.3 vs. 4.4 months, P = 0.006) compared with placebo. The ORR was 4.5%/2.9% in the anlotinib/placebo group (P = 1.000). The DCR in the anlotinib group was higher than that in the placebo group (73.1% vs. 11.8%, P < 0.001). The most common adverse events (AEs) were hypertension (38.8%), loss of appetite (28.4%), and fatigue (22.4%) in the anlotinib group and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase elevation (20.6%) in the placebo group. No grade 5 AEs occurred. For patients with short-term relapsed SCLC, third- or further-line anlotinib treatment was associated with improved survival benefit. Further studies are warranted in this regard.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Kaili Yang, Jiarui Li, Lin Zhao, Zhao Sun, Chunmei Bai

    The total number of cancer patients who are eligible for and will benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in China has not been quantified. This cross-sectional study was conducted to estimate the number of Chinese cancer patients with eligibility and response to ICIs based on the 2015 Chinese cancer statistics and the immune checkpoint inhibitor clinical practice guideline of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology. A total of 11 ICIs were recommended for 17 cancer types. The estimated number of eligible patients annually was 1 290 156 (55.18%), which included 888 738 males (60.05%) and 400 468 females (46.67%). The estimated number of responders annually was 448 972 (19.20%), which included 309 023 males (20.88%) and 139 764 females (16.29%). Gastric cancer (n=291 000, 12.45%), non-small-cell lung cancer (n=289 629, 12.39%), and hepatocellular carcinoma (n=277 100, 11.85%) were the top three cancer types with the highest number of eligible patients. Non-small-cell lung cancer (n=180 022, 7.70%), hepatocellular carcinoma (n=75 648, 3.24%), and small-cell lung cancer (n=64 362, 2.75%) were the top three cancer types with the highest number of responders. In conclusion, ICIs provide considerable benefit in Chinese cancer patients under optimal estimation.