Feb 2023, Volume 17 Issue 1

Cover illustration

  • The increased proportion of younger cervical cancer patients and earlier disease stages have increased the emphasis on preserving genital and endocrine functions and survival benefits after treatments. We conducted a prospective, randomized, multicenter clinical trial to assess the non-inferiority of adjuvant chemotherapy alone versus adjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) as an alternative strategy for patients with early-stage cervical cancer patients after surgery. T [Detail] ...

  • Select all
    Chao Xu, Zhao He, Yongfeng Song, Shanshan Shao, Guang Yang, Jiajun Zhao

    A long-held belief is that pituitary hormones bind to their cognate receptors in classical target glands to actuate their manifold functions. However, a number of studies have shown that multiple types of pituitary hormone receptors are widely expressed in non-classical target organs. Each pituitary gland-derived hormone exhibits a wide range of nonconventional biological effects in these non-classical target organs. Herein, the extra biological functions of pituitary hormones, thyroid-stimulating hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, and prolactin when they act on non-classical organs were summarized, defined by the novel concept of an “atypical pituitary hormone–target tissue axis.” This novel proposal explains the pathomechanisms of abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism, obesity, hypertension, fatty liver, and atherosclerosis while offering a more comprehensive and systematic insights into the coordinated regulation of environmental factors, genetic factors, and neuroendocrine hormones on human biological functions. The continued exploration of the physiology of the “atypical pituitary hormone–target tissue axis” could enable the identification of novel therapeutic targets for metabolic diseases.

    Jia Zhong, Hua Bai, Zhijie Wang, Jianchun Duan, Wei Zhuang, Di Wang, Rui Wan, Jiachen Xu, Kailun Fei, Zixiao Ma, Xue Zhang, Jie Wang

    With the improved understanding of driver mutations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), expanding the targeted therapeutic options improved the survival and safety. However, responses to these agents are commonly temporary and incomplete. Moreover, even patients with the same oncogenic driver gene can respond diversely to the same agent. Furthermore, the therapeutic role of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in oncogene-driven NSCLC remains unclear. Therefore, this review aimed to classify the management of NSCLC with driver mutations based on the gene subtype, concomitant mutation, and dynamic alternation. Then, we provide an overview of the resistant mechanism of target therapy occurring in targeted alternations (“target-dependent resistance”) and in the parallel and downstream pathways (“target-independent resistance”). Thirdly, we discuss the effectiveness of ICIs for NSCLC with driver mutations and the combined therapeutic approaches that might reverse the immunosuppressive tumor immune microenvironment. Finally, we listed the emerging treatment strategies for the new oncogenic alternations, and proposed the perspective of NSCLC with driver mutations. This review will guide clinicians to design tailored treatments for NSCLC with driver mutations.

    Lingyu Gao, Qianjin Lu

    Autoimmune-related skin diseases are a group of disorders with diverse etiology and pathophysiology involved in autoimmunity. Genetics and environmental factors may contribute to the development of these autoimmune disorders. Although the etiology and pathogenesis of these disorders are poorly understood, environmental variables that induce aberrant epigenetic regulations may provide some insights. Epigenetics is the study of heritable mechanisms that regulate gene expression without changing DNA sequences. The most important epigenetic mechanisms are DNA methylation, histone modification, and noncoding RNAs. In this review, we discuss the most recent findings regarding the function of epigenetic mechanisms in autoimmune-related skin disorders, including systemic lupus erythematosus, bullous skin diseases, psoriasis, and systemic sclerosis. These findings will expand our understanding and highlight the possible clinical applications of precision epigenetics approaches.

    Guohui Jiao, Shugao Ye, Ji Zhang, Bo Wu, Dong Wei, Dong Liu, Feng Liu, Chunxiao Hu, Jingyu Chen

    The current organ allocation rules prioritize elderly and urgent patients on the lung transplantation (LT) waiting list. A steady increase in the threshold at which age is taken into consideration for LT has been observed. This retrospective cohort study recruited 166 lung transplant recipients aged ≥ 65 years between January 2016 and October 2020 in the largest LT center in China. In the cohort, subgroups of patients aged 65–70 years (111 recipients, group 65–70) and ≥ 70 years (55 recipients, group ≥ 70) were included. Group D restrictive lung disease was the main indication of a lung transplant in recipients over 65 years. A significantly higher percentage of coronary artery stenosis was observed in the group ≥ 70 (30.9% vs. 14.4% in group 65–70, P = 0.014). ECMO bridging to LT was performed in 5.4% (group 65–70) and 7.3% (group ≥ 70) of patients. Kaplan–Meier estimates showed that recipients with cardiac abnormalities had a significantly increased risk of mortality. After adjusting for potential confounders, cardiac abnormality was shown to be independently associated with the increased risk of post-LT mortality (HR 6.37, P = 0.0060). Our result showed that LT can be performed in candidates with an advanced age and can provide life-extending benefits.

    Cheng Li, Xiaojing Ma, Jingyi Lu, Rui Tao, Xia Yu, Yifei Mo, Wei Lu, Yuqian Bao, Jian Zhou, Weiping Jia

    Most information used to evaluate diabetic statuses is collected at a special time-point, such as taking fasting plasma glucose test and providing a limited view of individual’s health and disease risk. As a new parameter for continuously evaluating personal clinical statuses, the newly developed technique “continuous glucose monitoring” (CGM) can characterize glucose dynamics. By calculating the complexity of glucose time series index (CGI) with refined composite multi-scale entropy analysis of the CGM data, the study showed for the first time that the complexity of glucose time series in subjects decreased gradually from normal glucose tolerance to impaired glucose regulation and then to type 2 diabetes (P for trend < 0.01). Furthermore, CGI was significantly associated with various parameters such as insulin sensitivity/secretion (all P < 0.01), and multiple linear stepwise regression showed that the disposition index, which reflects β-cell function after adjusting for insulin sensitivity, was the only independent factor correlated with CGI (P < 0.01). Our findings indicate that the CGI derived from the CGM data may serve as a novel marker to evaluate glucose homeostasis.

    Sanna Uskela, Antti Eranti, Jussi M. Kärkkäinen, Tuomas T. Rissanen

    This retrospective single-center registry study included all consecutive patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for a de novo left main coronary artery lesion using drug coated-balloon (DCB)-only strategy between August 2011 and December 2018. To best of our knowledge, no previous studies of DCB-only strategy of treating de novo left main coronary artery disease, exist. The primary endpoint was major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) including cardiac death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and target lesion revascularization (TLR). The cohort was divided into two groups depending on weather the lesion preparation was done according to the international consensus group guidelines. Sixty-six patients (mean age 75±8.6, 72% male), 52% of whom had acute coronary syndrome, underwent left main PCI with the DCB-only strategy. No procedural mortality and no acute closures of the treated left main occurred. At 12 months, MACE and TLR occurred in 24% and 6% of the whole cohort, respectively. If the lesion preparation was done according to the guidelines, the MACE and TLR rates were 21.2% and 1.9%. Left main PCI with the DCB only-strategy is safe leading to acceptable MACE and low TLR rates at one year, if the lesion preparation is done according to the guidelines.

    Jun Feng, Li Zhang, Zhigui Xia, Shuisen Zhou, Ning Xiao, Xiao-Nong Zhou

    In 2017, China achieved the target of zero indigenous malaria case for the first time, and has been certified as malaria free by World Health Organization in 2021. To further summarize the historical achievements and technical experiences of the elimination program, a project on the Roadmap Analysis and Verification for Malaria Elimination in China was carried out. Results of the project were compiled and published as the Atlas of Malaria Transmission in China (The Atlas). The Atlas using modern digital information technologies, has been supported by various data from 24 malaria endemic provinces of China since 1950, to assess the changes in malaria epidemic patterns from 1950 to 2019 at national and provincial levels. The Atlas is designed as two volumes, including a total of 1850 thematic maps and more than 130 charts, consisting of introductory maps, thematic maps of malaria epidemic and control at national and provincial levels. It objectively and directly shows the epidemic history, evolution process, and great achievements of the national malaria control and elimination program in China. The Atlas has important reference value for summing up historical experience in the national malaria elimination program of China, and malaria control and elimination in other endemic countries in the world.

    Danhui Weng, Huihua Xiong, Changkun Zhu, Xiaoyun Wan, Yaxia Chen, Xinyu Wang, Youzhong Zhang, Jie Jiang, Xi Zhang, Qinglei Gao, Gang Chen, Hui Xing, Changyu Wang, Kezhen Li, Yaheng Chen, Yuyan Mao, Dongxiao Hu, Zimin Pan, Qingqin Chen, Baoxia Cui, Kun Song, Cunjian Yi, Guangcai Peng, Xiaobing Han, Ruifang An, Liangsheng Fan, Wei Wang, Tingchuan Xiong, Yile Chen, Zhenzi Tang, Lin Li, Xingsheng Yang, Xiaodong Cheng, Weiguo Lu, Hui Wang, Beihua Kong, Xing Xie, Ding Ma

    We conducted a prospective study to assess the non-inferiority of adjuvant chemotherapy alone versus adjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) as an alternative strategy for patients with early-stage (FIGO 2009 stage IB–IIA) cervical cancer having risk factors after surgery. The condition was assessed in terms of prognosis, adverse effects, and quality of life. This randomized trial involved nine centers across China. Eligible patients were randomized to receive adjuvant chemotherapy or CCRT after surgery. The primary end-point was progression-free survival (PFS). From December 2012 to December 2014, 337 patients were subjected to randomization. Final analysis included 329 patients, including 165 in the adjuvant chemotherapy group and 164 in the adjuvant CCRT group. The median follow-up was 72.1 months. The three-year PFS rates were both 91.9%, and the five-year OS was 90.6% versus 90.0% in adjuvant chemotherapy and CCRT groups, respectively. No significant differences were observed in the PFS or OS between groups. The adjusted HR for PFS was 0.854 (95% confidence interval 0.415–1.757; P = 0.667) favoring adjuvant chemotherapy, excluding the predefined non-inferiority boundary of 1.9. The chemotherapy group showed a tendency toward good quality of life. In comparison with post-operative adjuvant CCRT, adjuvant chemotherapy treatment showed non-inferior efficacy in patients with early-stage cervical cancer having pathological risk factors. Adjuvant chemotherapy alone is a favorable alternative post-operative treatment.

    Wei-Bang Yu, Yu-Chi Chen, Can-Yu Huang, Zi-Han Ye, Wei Shi, Hong Zhu, Jia-Jie Shi, Jun Chen, Jin-Jian Lu

    The third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor osimertinib (OSI) has been approved as the first-line treatment for EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study aims to explore a rational combination strategy for enhancing the OSI efficacy. In this study, OSI induced higher CD47 expression, an important anti-phagocytic immune checkpoint, via the NF-κB pathway in EGFR-mutant NSCLC HCC827 and NCI-H1975 cells. The combination treatment of OSI and the anti-CD47 antibody exhibited dramatically increasing phagocytosis in HCC827 and NCI-H1975 cells, which highly relied on the antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis effect. Consistently, the enhanced phagocytosis index from combination treatment was reversed in CD47 knockout HCC827 cells. Meanwhile, combining the anti-CD47 antibody significantly augmented the anticancer effect of OSI in HCC827 xenograft mice model. Notably, OSI induced the surface exposure of “eat me” signal calreticulin and reduced the expression of immune-inhibitory receptor PD-L1 in cancer cells, which might contribute to the increased phagocytosis on cancer cells pretreated with OSI. In summary, these findings suggest the multidimensional regulation by OSI and encourage the further exploration of combining anti-CD47 antibody with OSI as a new strategy to enhance the anticancer efficacy in EGFR-mutant NSCLC with CD47 activation induced by OSI.

    Yingxi Du, Yarui Ma, Qing Zhu, Yong Fu, Yutong Li, Ying Zhang, Mo Li, Feiyue Feng, Peng Yuan, Xiaobing Wang

    Treating patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is challenging due to the high chemoresistance. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is crucial in the development of various types of tumors and negatively related to the prognosis of ESCC patients according to our previous research. In this study, the link between GDF15 and chemotherapy resistance in ESCC was further explored. The relationship between GDF15 and the chemotherapy response was investigated through in vitro and in vivo studies. ESCC patients with high levels of GDF15 expression showed an inferior chemotherapeutic response. GDF15 improved the tolerance of ESCC cell lines to low-dose cisplatin by regulating AKT phosphorylation via TGFBR2. Through an in vivo study, we further validated that the anti-GDF15 antibody improved the tumor inhibition effect of cisplatin. Metabolomics showed that GDF15 could alter cellular metabolism and enhance the expression of UGT1A. AKT and TGFBR2 inhibition resulted in the reversal of the GDF15-induced expression of UGT1A, indicating that TGFBR2-AKT pathway-dependent metabolic pathways were involved in the resistance of ESCC cells to cisplatin. The present investigation suggests that a high level of GDF15 expression leads to ESCC chemoresistance and that GDF15 can be targeted during chemotherapy, resulting in beneficial therapeutic outcomes.

    Shuzhen Guan, Lin Feng, Jinrui Wei, Guizhen Wang, Lichuan Wu

    Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignant tumor that mainly occurs in East and Southeast Asia. Although patients benefit from the main NPC treatments (e.g., radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy), persistent and recurrent diseases still occur in some NPC patients. Therefore, investigating the pathogenesis of NPC is of great clinical significance. In the present study, replication factor c subunit 4 (RFC4) is a key potential target involved in NPC progression via bioinformatics analysis. Furthermore, the expression and mechanism of RFC4 in NPC were investigated in vitro and in vivo. Our results revealed that RFC4 was more elevated in NPC tumor tissues than in normal tissues. RFC4 knockdown induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and inhibited NPC cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, HOXA10 was confirmed as a downstream target of RFC4, and the overexpression of HOXA10 attenuated the silencing of RFC4-induced cell proliferation, colony formation inhibition, and cell cycle arrest. For the first time, this study reveals that RFC4 is required for NPC cell proliferation and may play a pivotal role in NPC tumorigenesis.

    Chaochao Wang, Hao Xue, Rongrong Zhao, Zhongzheng Sun, Xiao Gao, Yanhua Qi, Huizhi Wang, Jianye Xu, Lin Deng, Gang Li

    Gliomas are the most common central nervous system tumours; they are highly aggressive and have a poor prognosis. RGS16 belongs to the regulator of G-protein signalling (RGS) protein family, which plays an important role in promoting various cancers, such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer. Moreover, previous studies confirmed that let-7c-5p, a well-known microRNA, can act as a tumour suppressor to regulate the progression of various tumours by inhibiting the expression of its target genes. However, whether RGS16 can promote the progression of glioma and whether it is regulated by miR let-7c-5p are still unknown. Here, we confirmed that RGS16 is upregulated in glioma tissues and that high expression of RGS16 is associated with poor survival. Ectopic deletion of RGS16 significantly suppressed glioma cell proliferation and migration both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, RGS16 was validated as a direct target gene of miR let-7c-5p. The overexpression of miR let-7c-5p obviously downregulated the expression of RGS16, and knocking down miR let-7c-5p had the opposite effect. Thus, we suggest that the suppression of RGS16 by miR let-7c-5p can promote glioma progression and may serve as a potential prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target in glioma.

    Panpan He, Huan Li, Mengyi Liu, Zhuxian Zhang, Yuanyuan Zhang, Chun Zhou, Ziliang Ye, Qimeng Wu, Min Liang, Jianping Jiang, Guobao Wang, Jing Nie, Fan Fan Hou, Chengzhang Liu, Xianhui Qin

    We aimed to investigate the relationship of dietary zinc intake with new-onset hypertension among Chinese adults. A total of 12,177 participants who were free of hypertension at baseline from the China Health and Nutrition Survey were included. Dietary intake was assessed by three consecutive 24-h dietary recalls combined with a household food inventory. Participants with systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg or diagnosed by a physician or under antihypertensive treatment during the follow-up were defined as having new-onset hypertension. During a median follow-up duration of 6.1 years, 4269 participants developed new-onset hypertension. Overall, the association between dietary zinc intake and new-onset hypertension followed a J-shape (P for non-linearity < 0.001). The risk of new-onset hypertension significantly decreased with the increment of dietary zinc intake (per mg/day: hazard ratio (HR) 0.93; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.88–0.98) in participants with zinc intake <10.9 mg/day, and increased with the increment of zinc intake (per mg/day: HR 1.14; 95% CI 1.11–1.16) in participants with zinc intake ≥ 10.9 mg/day. In conclusion, there was a J-shaped association between dietary zinc intake and new-onset hypertension in general Chinese adults, with an inflection point at about 10.9 mg/day.

    Yun Xian, Chenhao Yu, Minjie Chen, Lin Zhang, Xinyi Zheng, Shijian Li, Erzhen Chen, Zhongwan Chen, Weihua Chen, Chaoying Wang, Qingrong Xu, Tao Han, Weidong Ye, Wenyi Xu, Xu Zhuang, Yu Zheng, Min Chen, Jun Qin, Yu Feng, Shun Wei, Yiling Fan, Zhiruo Zhang, Junhua Zheng