Effects of opioids on immunologic parameters that are relevant to anti-tumour immune potential in patients with cancer: a systematic literature review.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The immune system has a central role in controlling cancer, and factors that influence protective antitumour immunity could therefore have a significant impact on the course of malignant disease. Opioids are essential for the management of cancer pain, and preclinical studies indicate that opioids have the potential to influence these tumour immune surveillance mechanisms. The aim of this systematic literature review is to evaluate the clinical effects of opioids on the immune system of patients with cancer. METHODS: A systematic search of Ovid MEDLINE (PubMed) and Embase, Cochrane database and Web of Knowledge for clinical studies, which evaluated the effects of opioids on the immune system in patients with cancer, was performed. RESULTS: Five human studies, which have assessed the effects of opioids on the immune system in patients with cancer, were identified. Although all of these evaluated the effect of morphine on immunologic end points in patients with cancer, none measured the clinical effects. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence from preclinical, healthy volunteer and surgical models suggests that different opioids variably influence protective anti-tumour immunity; however, actual data derived from cancer populations are inconclusive and definitive recommendations cannot be made. Appropriately designed and powered studies assessing clinical outcomes of opioid use in people with cancer are therefore required to inform oncologists and others involved in cancer care about the rational use of opioids in this patient group.
Project description:Unlike traditional cancer therapies, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy that are typically non-specific, cancer immunotherapy harnesses the high specificity of a patient's own immune system to selectively kill cancer cells. The immune system is the body's main cancer surveillance system, but cancers may evade destruction thanks to various immune-suppressing mechanisms. We therefore need to deploy various immunotherapy-based strategies to help bolster the anti-tumour immune responses. These include engineering T cells to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to specifically recognise tumour neoantigens, inactivating immune checkpoints, oncolytic viruses and dendritic cell (DC) vaccines, which have all shown clinical benefit in certain cancers. However, treatment efficacy remains poor due to drug-induced adverse events and immunosuppressive tendencies of the tumour microenvironment. Recent preclinical studies have unveiled novel therapies such as anti-cathepsin antibodies, galectin-1 blockade and anti-OX40 agonistic antibodies, which may be utilised as adjuvant therapies to modulate the tumour microenvironment and permit more ferocious anti-tumour immune response.
Project description:Cancer cells can escape the immune system by different mechanisms. The evasion of cancer cells from immune surveillance is prevented by immune checkpoint inhibitors, allowing the patient's own immune system to attack their cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown improvement in overall survival for melanoma, lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma in clinical trials. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to this therapy.In cancer management, percutaneous ablation techniques are well established for both cure and local control of many tumour types. Cryoablation of the tumour tissue results in cell destruction by freezing. Contrary to heat-based ablative modalities, cryoablation induces tumour cell death by osmosis and necrosis. It is hypothesised that with necrosis, the intracellular contents of the cancer cells stay intact allowing the immune system to induce an immune-specific reaction. This immune-specific reaction can, in theory, also affect cancer cells outside the ablated tissue, known as the abscopal effect. Unfortunately, this effect is rarely observed, but when cryoablation is combined with immunotherapy, the effect of both therapies may be enhanced. Although several preclinical studies demonstrated a synergistic effect between cryoablation and immunotherapy, prospective clinical trials are needed to prove this clinical benefit for patients. In this review, we will outline the current evidence for the combination of cryoablation with immunotherapy to treat cancer.
Project description:Oncogenic KRAS mutations are the most frequent mutations in human cancer, but most difficult to target. While sustained proliferation caused by oncogenic KRAS-downstream signalling is a main driver of carcinogenesis, there is increasing evidence that it also mediates autocrine effects and crosstalk with the tumour microenvironment (TME). Here, we discuss recent reports connecting KRAS mutations with tumour-promoting inflammation and immune modulation caused by KRAS that leads to immune escape in the TME. We discuss the preclinical work on KRAS-induced inflammation and immune modulation in the context of currently ongoing clinical trials targeting cancer entities that carry KRAS mutations and strategies to overcome the oncogene-induced effects on the immune system.
Project description:Conventional radiotherapy, in addition to its well-established tumoricidal effects, can also activate the host immune system. Radiation therapy modulates tumour phenotypes, enhances antigen presentation and tumour immunogenicity, increases production of cytokines and alters the tumour microenvironment, enabling destruction of the tumour by the immune system. Investigating the combination of radiotherapy with immunotherapeutic agents, which also promote the host antitumour immune response is, therefore, a logical progression. As the spectrum of clinical use of stereotactic radiotherapy continues to broaden, the question arose as to whether the ablative radiation doses used can also stimulate immune responses and, if so, whether we can amplify these effects by combining immunotherapy and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR). In this Perspectives article, we explore the preclinical and clinical evidence supporting activation of the immune system following SABR. We then examine studies that provide data on the effectiveness of combining these two techniques - immunotherapy and SABR - in an approach that we have termed 'ISABR'. Lastly, we provide general guiding principles for the development of future clinical trials to investigate the efficacy of ISABR in the hope of generating further interest in these exciting developments.
Project description:Therapeutic dendritic cell (DC) cancer vaccines rely on the immune system to eradicate tumour cells. Although tumour antigen-specific T cell responses have been observed in most studies, clinical responses are fairly low, arguing for the need to improve the design of DC-based vaccines. The incorporation of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against immunosuppressive factors in the manufacturing process of DCs can turn the vaccine into potent immune stimulators. Additionally, siRNA modification of ex vivo-expanded T cells for adoptive immunotherapy enhanced their killing potency. Most of the siRNA-targeted immune inhibitory factors have been successful in that their blockade produced the strongest cytotoxic T cell responses in preclinical and clinical studies. Cancer patients treated with the siRNA-modified DC vaccines showed promising clinical benefits providing a strong rationale for further development of these immunogenic vaccine formulations. This review covers the progress in combining siRNAs with DC vaccines or T cell therapy to boost anti-tumour immunity.
Project description:Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are well-known 4-aminoquinoline antimalarial agents. Scientific evidence also supports the use of CQ and HCQ in the treatment of cancer. Overall, preclinical studies support CQ and HCQ use in anti-cancer therapy, especially in combination with conventional anti-cancer treatments since they are able to sensitise tumour cells to a variety of drugs, potentiating the therapeutic activity. Thus far, clinical results are mostly in favour of the repurposing of CQ. However, over 30 clinical studies are still evaluating the activity of both CQ and HCQ in different cancer types and in combination with various standard treatments. Interestingly, CQ and HCQ exert effects both on cancer cells and on the tumour microenvironment. In addition to inhibition of the autophagic flux, which is the most studied anti-cancer effect of CQ and HCQ, these drugs affect the Toll-like receptor 9, p53 and CXCR4-CXCL12 pathway in cancer cells. In the tumour stroma, CQ was shown to affect the tumour vasculature, cancer-associated fibroblasts and the immune system. The evidence reviewed in this paper indicates that both CQ and HCQ deserve further clinical investigations in several cancer types. Special attention about the drug (CQ versus HCQ), the dose and the schedule of administration should be taken in the design of new trials.
Project description:Cancer immunotherapies targeting adaptive immune checkpoints have substantially improved patient outcomes across multiple metastatic and treatment-refractory cancer types. However, emerging studies have demonstrated that innate immune checkpoints, which interfere with the detection and clearance of malignant cells through phagocytosis and suppress innate immune sensing, also have a key role in tumour-mediated immune escape and might, therefore, be potential targets for cancer immunotherapy. Indeed, preclinical studies and early clinical data have established the promise of targeting phagocytosis checkpoints, such as the CD47-signal-regulatory protein ? (SIRP?) axis, either alone or in combination with other cancer therapies. In this Review, we highlight the current understanding of how cancer cells evade the immune system by disrupting phagocytic clearance and the effect of phagocytosis checkpoint blockade on induction of antitumour immune responses. Given the role of innate immune cells in priming adaptive immune responses, an improved understanding of the tumour-intrinsic processes that inhibit essential immune surveillance processes, such as phagocytosis and innate immune sensing, could pave the way for the development of highly effective combination immunotherapy strategies that modulate both innate and adaptive antitumour immune responses.
Project description:Vastly stimulated by the discovery of opioid receptors in the early 1970s, preclinical and clinical research was directed at the study of stereoselective neuronal actions of opioids, especially those played in their crucial analgesic role. However, during the past decade, a new appreciation of the non-neuronal actions of opioids has emerged from preclinical research, with specific appreciation for the nonclassic and nonstereoselective sites of action. Opioid activity at Toll-like receptors, newly recognized innate immune pattern recognition receptors, adds substantially to this unfolding story. It is now apparent from molecular and rodent data that these newly identified signaling events significantly modify the pharmacodynamics of opioids by eliciting proinflammatory reactivity from glia, the immunocompetent cells of the central nervous system. These central immune signaling events, including the release of cytokines and chemokines and the associated disruption of glutamate homeostasis, cause elevated neuronal excitability, which subsequently decreases opioid analgesic efficacy and leads to heightened pain states. This review will examine the current preclinical literature of opioid-induced central immune signaling mediated by classic and nonclassic opioid receptors. A unification of the preclinical pharmacology, neuroscience, and immunology of opioids now provides new insights into common mechanisms of chronic pain, naive tolerance, analgesic tolerance, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, and allodynia. Novel pharmacological targets for future drug development are discussed in the hope that disease-modifying chronic pain treatments arising from the appreciation of opioid-induced central immune signaling may become practical.
Project description:Advances in basic immunology have led to an improved understanding of the interactions between the immune system and tumours, generating renewed interest in approaches that aim to treat cancer immunologically. As clinical and preclinical studies of tumour immunotherapy illustrate several immunological principles, a review of these data is broadly instructive and is particularly timely now that several agents are beginning to show evidence of efficacy. This is especially relevant in the case of prostate cancer, as recent approval of sipuleucel-T by the US Food and Drug Administration marks the first antigen-specific immunotherapy approved for cancer treatment. Although this Review focuses on immunotherapy for prostate cancer, the principles discussed are applicable to many tumour types, and the approaches discussed are highlighted in that context.
Project description:The purpose of this review is to present the preclinical, epidemiological and clinical data relevant to the association between ?-blockers and breast cancer progression. Preclinical studies have shown that ?-adrenergic receptor (?-AR) signalling can inhibit multiple cellular processes involved in breast cancer progression and metastasis, including extracellular matrix invasion, expression of inflammatory and chemotactic cytokines, angiogenesis and tumour immune responses. This has led to the hypothesis that the commonly prescribed class of ?-AR antagonist drugs (?-blockers) may favourably impact cancer progression. A number of recent pharmacoepidemiological studies have examined the association between ?-blocker exposure and breast cancer progression. The results from these studies have suggested a potential role for targeting the ?-AR pathway in breast cancer patients. Larger observational studies are, however, required to confirm these results. Questions regarding the type of ?-blocker, predictive biomarkers or tumour characteristics, appropriate treatment paradigms and, most importantly, efficacy must also be answered in randomized clinical studies before ?-blockers can be considered a therapeutic option for patients with breast cancer.