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    Every step of the way: integrins in cancer progression and metastasis. Hamidi Hellyeh,Ivaska Johanna Nature reviews. Cancer Cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix is fundamental to tissue integrity and human health. Integrins are the main cellular adhesion receptors that through multifaceted roles as signalling molecules, mechanotransducers and key components of the cell migration machinery are implicated in nearly every step of cancer progression from primary tumour development to metastasis. Altered integrin expression is frequently detected in tumours, where integrins have roles in supporting oncogenic growth factor receptor (GFR) signalling and GFR-dependent cancer cell migration and invasion. In addition, integrins determine colonization of metastatic sites and facilitate anchorage-independent survival of circulating tumour cells. Investigations describing integrin engagement with a growing number of versatile cell surface molecules, including channels, receptors and secreted proteins, continue to lead to the identification of novel tumour-promoting pathways. Integrin-mediated sensing, stiffening and remodelling of the tumour stroma are key steps in cancer progression supporting invasion, acquisition of cancer stem cell characteristics and drug resistance. Given the complexity of integrins and their adaptable and sometimes antagonistic roles in cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment, therapeutic targeting of these receptors has been a challenge. However, novel approaches to target integrins and antagonism of specific integrin subunits in stringently stratified patient cohorts are emerging as potential ways forward. 10.1038/s41568-018-0038-z
    The PI3K-AKT network at the interface of oncogenic signalling and cancer metabolism. Hoxhaj Gerta,Manning Brendan D Nature reviews. Cancer The altered metabolic programme of cancer cells facilitates their cell-autonomous proliferation and survival. In normal cells, signal transduction pathways control core cellular functions, including metabolism, to couple the signals from exogenous growth factors, cytokines or hormones to adaptive changes in cell physiology. The ubiquitous, growth factor-regulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT signalling network has diverse downstream effects on cellular metabolism, through either direct regulation of nutrient transporters and metabolic enzymes or the control of transcription factors that regulate the expression of key components of metabolic pathways. Aberrant activation of this signalling network is one of the most frequent events in human cancer and serves to disconnect the control of cell growth, survival and metabolism from exogenous growth stimuli. Here we discuss our current understanding of the molecular events controlling cellular metabolism downstream of PI3K and AKT and of how these events couple two major hallmarks of cancer: growth factor independence through oncogenic signalling and metabolic reprogramming to support cell survival and proliferation. 10.1038/s41568-019-0216-7
    Role of RNA modifications in cancer. Barbieri Isaia,Kouzarides Tony Nature reviews. Cancer Specific chemical modifications of biological molecules are an efficient way of regulating molecular function, and a plethora of downstream signalling pathways are influenced by the modification of DNA and proteins. Many of the enzymes responsible for regulating protein and DNA modifications are targets of current cancer therapies. RNA epitranscriptomics, the study of RNA modifications, is the new frontier of this arena. Despite being known since the 1970s, eukaryotic RNA modifications were mostly identified on transfer RNA and ribosomal RNA until the last decade, when they have been identified and characterized on mRNA and various non-coding RNAs. Increasing evidence suggests that RNA modification pathways are also misregulated in human cancers and may be ideal targets of cancer therapy. In this Review we highlight the RNA epitranscriptomic pathways implicated in cancer, describing their biological functions and their connections to the disease. 10.1038/s41568-020-0253-2
    Cancer stem cell-immune cell crosstalk in tumour progression. Bayik Defne,Lathia Justin D Nature reviews. Cancer Cellular heterogeneity and an immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment are independent yet synergistic drivers of tumour progression and underlie therapeutic resistance. Recent studies have highlighted the complex interaction between these cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic mechanisms. The reciprocal communication between cancer stem cells (CSCs) and infiltrating immune cell populations in the tumour microenvironment is a paradigm for these interactions. In this Perspective, we discuss the signalling programmes that simultaneously induce CSCs and reprogramme the immune response to facilitate tumour immune evasion, metastasis and recurrence. We further highlight biological factors that can impact the nature of CSC-immune cell communication. Finally, we discuss targeting opportunities for simultaneous regulation of the CSC niche and immunosurveillance. 10.1038/s41568-021-00366-w
    Ferroptosis at the crossroads of cancer-acquired drug resistance and immune evasion. Friedmann Angeli José Pedro,Krysko Dmitri V,Conrad Marcus Nature reviews. Cancer Ferroptosis is a recently recognized cell death modality that is morphologically, biochemically and genetically distinct from other forms of cell death and that has emerged to play an important role in cancer biology. Recent discoveries have highlighted the metabolic plasticity of cancer cells and have provided intriguing insights into how metabolic rewiring is a critical event for the persistence, dedifferentiation and expansion of cancer cells. In some cases, this metabolic reprogramming has been linked to an acquired sensitivity to ferroptosis, thus opening up new opportunities to treat therapy-insensitive tumours. However, it is not yet clear what metabolic determinants are critical for therapeutic resistance and evasion of immune surveillance. Therefore, a better understanding of the processes that regulate ferroptosis sensitivity should ultimately aid in the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies to improve cancer treatment. In this Perspectives article, we provide an overview of the known mechanisms that regulate sensitivity to ferroptosis in cancer cells and how the modulation of metabolic pathways controlling ferroptosis might reshape the tumour niche, leading to an immunosuppressive microenvironment that promotes tumour growth and progression. 10.1038/s41568-019-0149-1
    Advancing targeted protein degradation for cancer therapy. Dale Brandon,Cheng Meng,Park Kwang-Su,Kaniskan H Ümit,Xiong Yue,Jin Jian Nature reviews. Cancer The human proteome contains approximately 20,000 proteins, and it is estimated that more than 600 of them are functionally important for various types of cancers, including nearly 400 non-enzyme proteins that are challenging to target by traditional occupancy-driven pharmacology. Recent advances in the development of small-molecule degraders, including molecular glues and heterobifunctional degraders such as proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs), have made it possible to target many proteins that were previously considered undruggable. In particular, PROTACs form a ternary complex with a hijacked E3 ubiquitin ligase and a target protein, leading to polyubiquitination and degradation of the target protein. The broad applicability of this approach is facilitated by the flexibility of individual E3 ligases to recognize different substrates. The vast majority of the approximately 600 human E3 ligases have not been explored, thus presenting enormous opportunities to develop degraders that target oncoproteins with tissue, tumour and subcellular selectivity. In this Review, we first discuss the molecular basis of targeted protein degradation. We then offer a comprehensive account of the most promising degraders in development as cancer therapies to date. Lastly, we provide an overview of opportunities and challenges in this exciting field. 10.1038/s41568-021-00365-x
    Antigen presentation in cancer: insights into tumour immunogenicity and immune evasion. Jhunjhunwala Suchit,Hammer Christian,Delamarre Lélia Nature reviews. Cancer Immune checkpoint blockade, which blocks inhibitory signals of T cell activation, has shown tremendous success in treating cancer, although success still remains limited to a fraction of patients. To date, clinically effective CD8 T cell responses appear to target predominantly antigens derived from tumour-specific mutations that accumulate in cancer, also called neoantigens. Tumour antigens are displayed on the surface of cells by class I human leukocyte antigens (HLA-I). To elicit an effective antitumour response, antigen presentation has to be successful at two distinct events: first, cancer antigens have to be taken up by dendritic cells (DCs) and cross-presented for CD8 T cell priming. Second, the antigens have to be directly presented by the tumour for recognition by primed CD8 T cells and killing. Tumours exploit multiple escape mechanisms to evade immune recognition at both of these steps. Here, we review the tumour-derived factors modulating DC function, and we summarize evidence of immune evasion by means of quantitative modulation or qualitative alteration of the antigen repertoire presented on tumours. These mechanisms include modulation of antigen expression, HLA-I surface levels, alterations in the antigen processing and presentation machinery in tumour cells. Lastly, as complete abrogation of antigen presentation can lead to natural killer (NK) cell-mediated tumour killing, we also discuss how tumours can harbour antigen presentation defects and still evade NK cell recognition. 10.1038/s41568-021-00339-z
    Polyamines in cancer: integrating organismal metabolism and antitumour immunity. Nature reviews. Cancer The natural mammalian polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine are essential for both normal and neoplastic cell function and replication. Dysregulation of metabolism of polyamines and their requirements is common in many cancers. Both clinical and experimental depletion of polyamines have demonstrated their metabolism to be a rational target for therapy; however, the mechanisms through which polyamines can establish a tumour-permissive microenvironment are only now emerging. Recent data indicate that polyamines can play a major role in regulating the antitumour immune response, thus likely contributing to the existence of immunologically 'cold' tumours that do not respond to immune checkpoint blockade. Additionally, the interplay between the microbiota and associated tissues creates a tumour microenvironment in which polyamine metabolism, content and function can all be dramatically altered on the basis of microbiota composition, dietary polyamine availability and tissue response to its surrounding microenvironment. The goal of this Perspective is to introduce the reader to the many ways in which polyamines, polyamine metabolism, the microbiota and the diet interconnect to establish a tumour microenvironment that facilitates the initiation and progression of cancer. It also details ways in which polyamine metabolism and function can be successfully targeted for therapeutic benefit, including specifically enhancing the antitumour immune response. 10.1038/s41568-022-00473-2
    Mutations and mechanisms of WNT pathway tumour suppressors in cancer. Nature reviews. Cancer Mutation-induced activation of WNT-β-catenin signalling is a frequent driver event in human cancer. Sustained WNT-β-catenin pathway activation endows cancer cells with sustained self-renewing growth properties and is associated with therapy resistance. In healthy adult stem cells, WNT pathway activity is carefully controlled by core pathway tumour suppressors as well as negative feedback regulators. Gene inactivation experiments in mouse models unequivocally demonstrated the relevance of WNT tumour suppressor loss-of-function mutations for cancer growth. However, in human cancer, a far more complex picture has emerged in which missense or truncating mutations mediate stable expression of mutant proteins, with distinct functional and phenotypic ramifications. Herein, we review recent advances and challenges in our understanding of how different mutational subsets of WNT tumour suppressor genes link to distinct cancer types, clinical outcomes and treatment strategies. 10.1038/s41568-020-00307-z
    Metabolism of immune cells in cancer. Nature reviews. Cancer Through the successes of checkpoint blockade and adoptive cellular therapy, immunotherapy has become an established treatment modality for cancer. Cellular metabolism has emerged as a critical determinant of the viability and function of both cancer cells and immune cells. In order to sustain prodigious anabolic needs, tumours employ a specialized metabolism that differs from untransformed somatic cells. This metabolism leads to a tumour microenvironment that is commonly acidic, hypoxic and/or depleted of critical nutrients required by immune cells. In this context, tumour metabolism itself is a checkpoint that can limit immune-mediated tumour destruction. Because our understanding of immune cell metabolism and cancer metabolism has grown significantly in the past decade, we are on the cusp of being able to unravel the interaction of cancer cell metabolism and immune metabolism in therapeutically meaningful ways. Although there are metabolic processes that are seemingly fundamental to both cancer and responding immune cells, metabolic heterogeneity and plasticity may serve to distinguish the two. As such, understanding the differential metabolic requirements of the diverse cells that comprise an immune response to cancer offers an opportunity to selectively regulate immune cell function. Such a nuanced evaluation of cancer and immune metabolism can uncover metabolic vulnerabilities and therapeutic windows upon which to intervene for enhanced immunotherapy. 10.1038/s41568-020-0273-y
    Mitochondrial DNA variation and cancer. Nature reviews. Cancer Variation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence is common in certain tumours. Two classes of cancer mtDNA variants can be identified: de novo mutations that act as 'inducers' of carcinogenesis and functional variants that act as 'adaptors', permitting cancer cells to thrive in different environments. These mtDNA variants have three origins: inherited variants, which run in families, somatic mutations arising within each cell or individual, and variants that are also associated with ancient mtDNA lineages (haplogroups) and are thought to permit adaptation to changing tissue or geographic environments. In addition to mtDNA sequence variation, mtDNA copy number and perhaps transfer of mtDNA sequences into the nucleus can contribute to certain cancers. Strong functional relevance of mtDNA variation has been demonstrated in oncocytoma and prostate cancer, while mtDNA variation has been reported in multiple other cancer types. Alterations in nuclear DNA-encoded mitochondrial genes have confirmed the importance of mitochondrial metabolism in cancer, affecting mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, redox state and mitochondrial intermediates that act as substrates for chromatin-modifying enzymes. Hence, subtle changes in the mitochondrial genotype can have profound effects on the nucleus, as well as carcinogenesis and cancer progression. 10.1038/s41568-021-00358-w
    A compendium of mutational cancer driver genes. Martínez-Jiménez Francisco,Muiños Ferran,Sentís Inés,Deu-Pons Jordi,Reyes-Salazar Iker,Arnedo-Pac Claudia,Mularoni Loris,Pich Oriol,Bonet Jose,Kranas Hanna,Gonzalez-Perez Abel,Lopez-Bigas Nuria Nature reviews. Cancer A fundamental goal in cancer research is to understand the mechanisms of cell transformation. This is key to developing more efficient cancer detection methods and therapeutic approaches. One milestone towards this objective is the identification of all the genes with mutations capable of driving tumours. Since the 1970s, the list of cancer genes has been growing steadily. Because cancer driver genes are under positive selection in tumorigenesis, their observed patterns of somatic mutations across tumours in a cohort deviate from those expected from neutral mutagenesis. These deviations, which constitute signals of positive selection, may be detected by carefully designed bioinformatics methods, which have become the state of the art in the identification of driver genes. A systematic approach combining several of these signals could lead to a compendium of mutational cancer genes. In this Review, we present the Integrative OncoGenomics (IntOGen) pipeline, an implementation of such an approach to obtain the compendium of mutational cancer drivers. Its application to somatic mutations of more than 28,000 tumours of 66 cancer types reveals 568 cancer genes and points towards their mechanisms of tumorigenesis. The application of this approach to the ever-growing datasets of somatic tumour mutations will support the continuous refinement of our knowledge of the genetic basis of cancer. 10.1038/s41568-020-0290-x
    The evolving translational potential of small extracellular vesicles in cancer. Möller Andreas,Lobb Richard J Nature reviews. Cancer Cancer-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are regarded as having promising potential to be used as therapeutics and disease biomarkers. Mechanistically, EVs have been shown to function in most, if not all, steps of cancer progression. Cancer EVs, including small EVs (sEVs), contain unique biomolecular cargo, consisting of protein, nucleic acid and lipids. Through progress in the identification of this specific cargo, cancer biomarkers have been identified and developed, opening up novel and interesting opportunities for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Intriguingly, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the cancer-specific pathways that govern EV biogenesis in cancer cells. Filling this knowledge gap will rapidly improve cancer EV biomarkers, as it will also allow discrimination of the procancer and anticancer actions of those EVs. Even more promising is uncovering therapeutically targetable, tumour-specific EV pathways and content, which will generate novel classes of cancer therapies. This Review highlights the progress the cancer sEV field has made in the areas of biomarker discovery and validation as well as sEV-based therapeutics, highlights the challenges we are facing and identifies gaps in our knowledge, which currently prevent us from developing the full potential of sEVs in cancer diagnostic and therapy. 10.1038/s41568-020-00299-w
    Programmed death ligand 1 signals in cancer cells. Kornepati Anand V R,Vadlamudi Ratna K,Curiel Tyler J Nature reviews. Cancer The paradigm of surface-expressed programmed death ligand 1 (PDL1) signalling to immune cell programmed death 1 (PD1) to inhibit antitumour immunity has helped to develop effective and revolutionary immunotherapies using antibodies blocking these cell-extrinsic interactions. The recent discovery of cancer cell-intrinsic PDL1 signals has broadened understanding of pathologic tumour PDL1 signal consequences that now includes control of tumour growth and survival pathways, stemness, immune effects, DNA damage responses and gene expression regulation. Many such effects are PD1-independent. These insights demonstrate that the prevailing cell-extrinsic PDL1 signalling paradigm is useful, but incomplete in important respects. This Perspective discusses historical and recent advances in understanding cancer cell-intrinsic PDL1 signals, mechanisms for signal controls and important immunopathologic consequences including resistance to cytotoxic agents, targeted small molecules and immunotherapies. Cancer cell-intrinsic PDL1 signals present novel drug discovery targets and also have potential as reliable treatment response biomarkers. Cancer cell-intrinsic PD1 signals and cell-intrinsic PDL1 signals in non-cancer cells are discussed briefly, as are PDL1 signals from soluble and vesicle-bound PDL1 and PDL1 isoforms. We conclude with suggestions for addressing the most pressing challenges and opportunities in this rapidly developing field. 10.1038/s41568-021-00431-4
    Cancer metabolism: looking forward. Martínez-Reyes Inmaculada,Chandel Navdeep S Nature reviews. Cancer Tumour initiation and progression requires the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells. Cancer cells autonomously alter their flux through various metabolic pathways in order to meet the increased bioenergetic and biosynthetic demand as well as mitigate oxidative stress required for cancer cell proliferation and survival. Cancer driver mutations coupled with environmental nutrient availability control flux through these metabolic pathways. Metabolites, when aberrantly accumulated, can also promote tumorigenesis. The development and application of new technologies over the last few decades has not only revealed the heterogeneity and plasticity of tumours but also allowed us to uncover new metabolic pathways involved in supporting tumour growth. The tumour microenvironment (TME), which can be depleted of certain nutrients, forces cancer cells to adapt by inducing nutrient scavenging mechanisms to sustain cancer cell proliferation. There is growing appreciation that the metabolism of cell types other than cancer cells within the TME, including endothelial cells, fibroblasts and immune cells, can modulate tumour progression. Because metastases are a major cause of death of patients with cancer, efforts are underway to understand how metabolism is harnessed by metastatic cells. Additionally, there is a new interest in exploiting cancer genetic analysis for patient stratification and/or dietary interventions in combination with therapies that target metabolism. In this Perspective, we highlight these main themes that are currently under investigation in the context of in vivo tumour metabolism, specifically emphasizing questions that remain unanswered. 10.1038/s41568-021-00378-6