Oncology Publications

Al-Moujahed A, Brodowska K, Stryjewski TP, Efstathiou NE, Vasilikos I, Cichy J, Miller JW, Gragoudas E, Vavvas DG. Verteporfin inhibits growth of human glioma in vitro without light activation. Sci Rep 2017;7(1):7602.Abstract
Verteporfin (VP), a light-activated drug used in photodynamic therapy for the treatment of choroidal neovascular membranes, has also been shown to be an effective inhibitor of malignant cells. Recently, studies have demonstrated that, even without photo-activation, VP may still inhibit certain tumor cell lines, including ovarian cancer, hepatocarcinoma and retinoblastoma, through the inhibition of the YAP-TEAD complex. In this study, we examined the effects of VP without light activation on human glioma cell lines (LN229 and SNB19). Through western blot analysis, we identified that human glioma cells that were exposed to VP without light activation demonstrated a downregulation of YAP-TEAD-associated downstream signaling molecules, including c-myc, axl, CTGF, cyr61 and survivin and upregulation of the tumor growth inhibitor molecule p38 MAPK. In addition, we observed that expression of VEGFA and the pluripotent marker Oct-4 were also decreased. Verteporfin did not alter the Akt survival pathway or the mTor pathway but there was a modest increase in LC3-IIB, a marker of autophagosome biogenesis. This study suggests that verteporfin should be further explored as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of glioblastoma.
Liu N, Li S, Wu N, Cho K-S. Acetylation and deacetylation in cancer stem-like cells. Oncotarget 2017;Abstract
Cancer stem-like cell (CSC) model has been established to investigate the underlying mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. The imbalance between acetylation and deacetylation of histone or non-histone proteins, one of the important epigenetic modification processes, is closely associated with a wide variety of diseases including cancer. Acetylation and deacetylation are involved in various stemness-related signal pathways and drive the regulation of self-renewal and differentiation in normal developmental processes. Therefore, it is critical to explore their role in the maintenance of cancer stem-like cell traits. Here, we will review the extensive dysregulations of acetylation found in cancers and summarize their functional roles in sustaining CSC-like properties. Additionally, the use of deacetyltransferase inhibitors as an effective therapeutic strategy against CSCs is also discussed.
Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Bojovic B. Ellipsoid Smooth Muscle Tumor of the Lower Eyelid: An Exploration of Its Possible Origin. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;Abstract
Ocular adnexal smooth muscle masses/neoplasms are extremely rare. Such lesions are comparatively more common in the conjunctiva than in the orbit and are most unusual in the eyelid. A 58-year-old woman slowly developed over 4 months a firm, movable sausage-shaped lesion in the deep lateral half of the right lower eyelid. The lesion ran parallel to and above the orbital rim. At surgery, the lesion was located between the orbicularis muscle and the inferior orbital septum. The term ellipsoid is used descriptively and does not imply any particular biologic behavior. Immunohistochemical evaluation revealed smooth muscle actin and desmin positivity. Due to the ubiquity of small blood vessels and the absence of smooth muscle bundles in the potential space between the orbicularis striated muscle and the inferior orbital septum, venular smooth muscle emerges as a highly likely source for the lesion.
Johnson CP, Kim IK, Esmaeli B, Amin-Mansour A, Treacy DJ, Carter SL, Hodis E, Wagle N, Seepo S, Yu X, Lane AM, Gragoudas ES, Vazquez F, Nickerson E, Cibulskis K, McKenna A, Gabriel SB, Getz G, Van Allen EM, 't Hoen PAC, Garraway LA, Woodman SE. Systematic genomic and translational efficiency studies of uveal melanoma. PLoS One 2017;12(6):e0178189.Abstract
To further our understanding of the somatic genetic basis of uveal melanoma, we sequenced the protein-coding regions of 52 primary tumors and 3 liver metastases together with paired normal DNA. Known recurrent mutations were identified in GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, EIF1AX, and SF3B1. The role of mutated EIF1AX was tested using loss of function approaches including viability and translational efficiency assays. Knockdown of both wild type and mutant EIF1AX was lethal to uveal melanoma cells. We probed the function of N-terminal tail EIF1AX mutations by performing RNA sequencing of polysome-associated transcripts in cells expressing endogenous wild type or mutant EIF1AX. Ribosome occupancy of the global translational apparatus was sensitive to suppression of wild type but not mutant EIF1AX. Together, these studies suggest that cells expressing mutant EIF1AX may exhibit aberrant translational regulation, which may provide clonal selective advantage in the subset of uveal melanoma that harbors this mutation.
Jiménez-Pérez JC, Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Yoon MK. Dacryoadenitis as the Initial Presentation of a Natural Killer T-Cell Lymphoma. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;Abstract

Primary orbital natural killer T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) is a rare condition with only a few published cases in the literature. Over 1 month, an 81-year-old man developed progressive left periocular inflammation unresponsive to treatment. Clinical examination and imaging studies demonstrated a left lacrimal gland enlargement. Bilateral anterior uveitis and erythematous nontender cutaneous lesions were also found. Biopsies of the skin and lacrimal gland on the back revealed histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings confirming Epstein-Barr virus-positive NKTCL. Metastatic work up disclosed multifocal involvement in the pancreas, stomach, and chest wall. Palliative treatment consisting of nonanthracycline-based chemotherapy and radiation was instituted, but the patient died 5 months after the onset of symptoms. This is the first example of acute dacryoadenitis, and the second of bilateral anterior uveitis, in the setting of NKTCL. Absence of naso-sinus involvement in the current case is rare in NKTCL. Despite treatment, the prognosis remains dismal. Orbital specialists should include NKTCL in the differential diagnosis of lacrimal gland/orbital masses and perform an incisional biopsy if the clinical scenario so dictates.

Homer N, Jakobiec FA, Stagner A, Cunnane ME, Freitag SK, Fay A, Yoon MK. Periocular breast carcinoma metastases: correlation of clinical, radiologic and histopathologic features. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2017;Abstract

IMPORTANCE: To describe presenting patterns of breast cancer metastases to the orbit and eyelids BACKGROUND: To provide clinical, radiographic, and pathologic correlations of breast metastases to the orbit or eyelids and evaluate radiographic volumetric orbital changes DESIGN: Retrospective review in an academic center PARTICIPANTS: Ten female patients with periocular metastatic breast carcinoma who were seen at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Oculoplastics Clinic METHODS: Retrospective review of patient records, imaging and pathology findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presenting clinical characteristics, radiographic findings, and histopathological features were assessed and correlated to discover distinctive presenting patterns. Volumetric measurements of the tumors and orbital soft tissue structures were made on magnetic resonance imaging studies. RESULTS: The breast metastases included 9 orbital and 1 eyelid lesions. Two distinct clinical presentations were observed. The first consisted of seven patients who had either enophthalmos or euphthalmos in the setting of a retrobulbar lesion, a radiographically indistinct lesion, and a classic microscopic invasive lobular breast carcinoma (ILBC) with a prominent fibrotic stroma. The second group consisted of two proptotic patients with mass lesions on imaging and an atypical ILBC pathological subtype (pleomorphic or alveolar). One patient had diffusely indurated eyelid fullness. Volumetric analyses demonstrated variable tumor sizes with an inconsistent impact on the orbital volume and fat. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This correlative study provides the clinical-radiographic-histopathologic basis for separating two overarching phenotypic presentations of metastatic breast carcinoma to the orbit. Previously postulated mechanisms for the distinctive finding of tumor-induced enophthalmos are re-examined in the light of the foregoing conclusions.

Jakobiec FA, Stagner AM, Eagle RC, Lally SE, Krane JF. Unusual pleomorphic adenoma of the lacrimal Gland: Immunohistochemical demonstration of PLAG1 and HMGA2 oncoproteins. Surv Ophthalmol 2017;62(2):219-226.Abstract

Painless low-grade right proptosis with 20/25 visual acuity developed slowly in a 49-year-old woman with a past history of breast cancer. Imaging studies disclosed an oval-to-round superotemporal mass in the right lacrimal fossa without bone erosion. Excisional biopsy revealed a pseudoencapsulated, bosselated tumor with a spindled, hypocellular, and heavily periodic acid Schiff-positive stroma constituted of abundant basement membrane material and collagen. Scattered lumens and focal cribriform cellular clusters were present in the peripheries of several of the lobules. Immunohistochemistry showed epithelial membrane antigen+ and cytokeratin (CK) 7+ in many small luminal structures. The spindled cells were calponin+, CK5/6+, CK14+, and p63+, confirming their myoepithelial nature. The Ki67 proliferation index was 2-3%, and upregulation of nuclear p53, a tumor suppressor gene product which may be aberrantly overexpressed in malignancy, was observed in rare cells. Immunohistochemical probes for HMGA2 and PLAG1 oncoproteins, characteristic of pleomorphic adenoma, were stained intensely and less intensely, respectively. MYB and c-KIT (CD117) were negative, thereby strongly arguing against the diagnosis of adenoid cystic carcinoma. In atypical epithelial tumors of the lacrimal gland, genetic probes identifying distinctive gene translocations or their oncoprotein products complement traditional immunohistochemical biomarkers such as cytokeratins and other structural or secretory molecules. Characteristic genetic abnormalities demonstrated by immunohistochemistry for their upregulated protein products, or by in situ hybridization for translocations, are increasingly being relied on for diagnostic precision.

Jakobiec FA, Grob SR, Stagner AM, Curtin H, Massoud V, Fay A. Orbital Conjunctival Cyst Associated With the Superior Rectus-Levator Muscles: A Clinicopathologic Study. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;33(1):e1-e4.Abstract

A 55-year-old woman had a right orbital cyst detected incidentally on radiographic imaging. The patient's symptoms were mild and included intermittent pain and vertical diplopia; the patient was not aware of any visual decline. There was a palpable mass beneath the superior orbital rim. Radiographic imaging revealed a well-demarcated cystic lesion in the right superior orbit between the levator palpebrae superioris and superior rectus muscles. The mass was completely excised via a transconjunctival approach. Histopathologic evaluation disclosed a conjunctival cyst lined by nonkeratinized squamous epithelium with scattered, rare goblet cells. This case combined with 5 other similar reported cases suggests that an intermuscular cyst located in the superior rectus-levator complex is most likely of congenital embryonic conjunctival origin.

Avedschmidt SE, Stagner AM, Eagle RC, Harocopos GJ, Dou Y, Rao RC. The Targetable Epigenetic Tumor Protein EZH2 is Enriched in Intraocular Medulloepithelioma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(14):6242-6246.Abstract

Purpose: Intraocular medulloepithelioma (IM), the second most common primary neuroepithelial tumor of the eye, can lead to blindness in the affected eye and in rare cases, is deadly. Intraocular medulloepithelioma lacks targetable biomarkers for potential pharmacologic therapy. The purpose of this study was to identify actionable, tumor-specific proteins for potential diagnostic or therapeutic strategies. We hypothesize that the tumor-specific epigenetic enzyme EZH2 is selectively expressed in IM. Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series study of five IM from five eyes of four children and one adult. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stains of sections from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded blocks of IM tumors were used to localize IM tumor cells in each case. Using an EZH2-specific antibody for immunohistochemistry, we semiquantitatively calculated the proportion of IM tumor cells positive for EZH2, and also assayed for EZH2 staining intensity. Results: We found that EZH2 was expressed in all IM cases but this protein was absent in nontumor ciliary body or retinal tissues. However, not all IM tumor cells expressed EZH2. Similar to retinoblastoma, moderately to poorly differentiated (primitive appearing) IM tumor cells strongly expressed EZH2; expression was weaker or absent in areas of well-formed neuroepithelial units. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify an actionable tumor-specific maker, EZH2, in IM. Our findings point to the possibility of exploring the potential of EZH2 inhibitors, already in clinical trials for other cancers, for IM.

Stagner AM, Afrogheh AH, Jakobiec FA, Iacob CE, Grossniklaus HE, Deshpande V, Maske C, Hiss DC, Faquin WC. p16 Expression Is Not a Surrogate Marker for High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Infection in Periocular Sebaceous Carcinoma. Am J Ophthalmol 2016;170:168-175.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the role of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection in periocular sebaceous carcinoma (SC) using multiple methods of detection, and to determine whether p16 overexpression is present and can be used as a surrogate marker for HR-HPV. DESIGN: Retrospective observational case series with laboratory investigations. METHODS: Unstained paraffin sections of 35 cases of periocular SC were analyzed with immunohistochemistry for p16 and subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HR-HPV. A subset of 18 lesions that were p16-positive was further studied with a novel method of mRNA in situ hybridization (ISH) for the detection of transcriptionally active HR-HPV, an advanced technique with an enhanced sensitivity and specificity. RESULTS: The clinical findings were in keeping with those of comparable earlier studies. Strong immunohistochemical p16 positivity (meeting the criterion of >70% nuclear and cytoplasmic staining) was present in 29 of 35 cases of periocular SC (82.9%). The selected 18 p16-positive cases tested were negative for HR-HPV using mRNA ISH. PCR yielded unequivocal results with adequate DNA isolated in 24 cases, 23 of which were negative for HR-HPV. One case was positive for HPV type 16, which was found to be a false positive as collaterally determined by mRNA ISH negativity. CONCLUSION: No evidence was found for HR-HPV as an etiologic agent in the development of periocular SC using multiple modalities to maximize sensitivity and specificity and reduce the limitations of any single test. p16 overexpression is common in periocular SC but unrelated to HR-HPV status. Although p16 may be used as a surrogate marker for HR-HPV status in other tissue sites, this interpretation of p16 positivity is not applicable to periocular SC.

Hsu JC, Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Lu VH, Lu CY. Longitudinal trends in use of targeted therapies for treatment of malignant neoplasms of the eye: a population-based study in Taiwan. BMJ Open 2016;6(5):e010706.Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the recent trend in use and costs of antineoplastic agents for treatment of eye malignancies in Taiwan from 2009 to 2012. We also forecasted use and costs of targeted therapies up to and including year 2016 based on the current patterns. DESIGN: Retrospective observational study focusing on the usage of targeted therapies for treatment of eye malignancy. SETTING: The monthly claims data for eye malignancy-related antineoplastic agents were retrieved from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database (2009-2012). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We calculated the number of prescriptions and costs for each class of medications, and analysed their time trends. In addition, using a time series design with ARIMA models, we estimated the market share by prescription volume and the proportion of costs for targeted therapies for year 2016. RESULTS: The market share by prescription volume of targeted therapies grew from 1.56% in 2009 to 9.98% in 2012 among all antineoplastic agents, and the proportion of costs for targeted therapies rose from 15.12% in 2009 to 58.88% in 2012. Especially, the proportion of costs for protein kinase inhibitors grew from 25.62% to 45.28% among all antineoplastic agents between 2010 and 2012. The market share by prescription volume and the proportion of costs for targeted therapies for treatment of eye malignancies were predicted to reach 27.33% and 91.39% by the fourth quarter in 2016, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study that examined and forecasted use and costs of targeted therapies for treatment of eye malignancies in Taiwan. Our findings indicate that, compared with other classes of drugs, targeted therapies are having a more and more relevant share among all treatment strategies for eye malignancies in Taiwan, and due to their high costs they are likely to cause great economic burden.

Choi CJ, Stagner AM, Jakobiec FA, Chodosh J, Yoon MK. Eyelid Mass in Boston Keratoprosthesis Type 2. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2016;Abstract

Boston keratoprosthesis type 2 is used to treat severe corneal blindness secondary to cicatricial or autoimmune ocular surface disease. This case report describes an atypical eyelid mass in a 41-year-old woman with Stevens-Johnson syndrome who underwent placement of Boston keratoprosthesis type 2 in the left eye. The postoperative course was complicated by methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus keratitis and endophthalmitis requiring replacement of the keratoprosthesis. Three months thereafter, the patient presented with a progressively enlarging upper eyelid mass adjacent to the keratoprosthesis optic causing distortion of the eyelid. Excisional biopsy revealed an elongated cystic mass abutting the superior aspect of the optic. Pathologic examination was consistent with a conjunctival cyst with lipogranulomatous reaction. Removal of eyelid margins and conjunctiva, and placement of a full-thickness blepharotomy are standard steps in placement of Boston keratoprosthesis type 2, which can lead to conjunctival cysts and lipogranulomas that present as eyelid masses.

Jakobiec FA, Thanos A, Stagner AM, Grossniklaus HE, Proia AD. So-called massive retinal gliosis: A critical review and reappraisal. Surv Ophthalmol 2016;61(3):339-56.Abstract

Massive retinal gliosis, a nonneoplastic retinal glial proliferation, was first described in detail over 25 years ago, before the era of immunohistochemistry, in a series of 38 cases-to which can be added 30 case reports or small series (no more than 3 cases) subsequently. We analyze a new series of 3 nontumoral intraretinal glioses and 15 cases of tumoral retinal gliosis, not all of which, strictly speaking, were massive. The data from this series are compared with the findings in previously published cases. Included are 2 cases of massive retinal gliosis diagnosed from evisceration specimens. In reviewing all published and current cases, we were able to establish 3 subgroups of retinal tumoral glioses rather than a single "massive" category: focal nodular gliosis, submassive gliosis, and massive gliosis. Among 43 reported cases, including the present series, but excluding the previous large series of 38 cases in which substantial clinical data were omitted, there were 19 men and 24 women. Their mean and median ages were 36.2 years and 36 years, respectively, with a range of 2 to 79 years. All lesions were composed of mitotically quiet, compact spindled fibrous astrocytes devoid of an Alcian blue-positive myxoid matrix. The most common associated ocular conditions were phthisis bulbi and congenital diseases or malformations. Histopathologically, all 3 tumoral categories were accompanied by progressively more extensive fibrous and osseous metaplasia of the pigment epithelium, the latter forming a clinically and diagnostically useful, almost continuous, outer rim of eggshell calcification in the submassive and massive categories that should be detectable with appropriate imaging studies. In decreasing order of frequency, microcysts and macrocysts, vascular sclerosis, exudates, calcospherites, and Rosenthal fibers were observed among the proliferating fibrous astrocytes. Immunohistochemistry was positive for glial fibrillary acidic protein in all cases and nestin in most (an intermediate cytoplasmic filament typically restricted to embryonic and reparative neural tissue). The nonneoplastic nature of all categories of gliosis was confirmed by absent TP53 (tumor suppressor gene) dysregulation, Ki-67 negativity, and intact p16 expression (the protein product of the p16 tumor suppressor gene) in the overwhelming majority of cases. These findings indicate an intrinsic attempt to regulate and maintain a low level of glial cell proliferation that becomes unsuccessful as the disease evolves. The categories of tumoral proliferation appeared to constitute a spectrum. We conclude that focal nodular tumors encompass lesions previously called retinal vasoproliferative lesions, which display the same histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings as 3 major categories of retinal gliosis characterized herein.

Laíns I, Bartosch C, Mondim V, Healy B, Kim I, Husain D, Miller JW. Second primary neoplasms in patients with uveal melanoma: a SEER database analysis. Am J Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the risk of second primary neoplasms (SPNs) in subjects previously diagnosed with uveal melanoma (UM), including an analysis on whether radiotherapy is a risk factor to develop these SPNs. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) 9 database, we identified patients diagnosed with UM as their first malignancy between 1973 and 2011 (n= 3,976). We obtained standardized incidence ratios (SIR) and excess absolute risks of SPNs on patients with UM compared to a reference population. Multivariate Cox regression models were used to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy in SPNs risk. RESULTS: Sixteen percent (n= 641) of the patients developed SPNs during a median follow-up of 83 months (range: 1 - 463 months). This represented an 11% excess risk compared to the reference population, mainly due to a significantly increased risk of skin melanomas (SIR= 2.93, 95% CI: 2.23 - 3.78) and kidney tumors (SIR= 1.91, 95% CI: 1.27 - 2.76), primarily in those diagnosed between 30-59 years. The occurrence of second UM was also increased (SIR= 16.90, 95% CI: 9.00 - 28.90), which likely includes recurrences misclassified as a second cancer. Radiotherapy was performed in 39% (n= 1,538) of the patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that this treatment was not an independent risk factor for SPNs (Hazard Ratio= 1.06, 95% CI: 0.88 - 1.26, p= 0.54). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with UM presented an 11% higher risk of SPNs compared to the reference population. Radiotherapy does not seem to be a risk factor. SPNs should be considered in the surveillance of UM.

Zhang MM, Papakostas TD, Malcolm AW, Ancell KK, Biscotti CV, Gragoudas ES, Daniels AB. Multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye: globe salvage by radiotherapy. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;94(8):e799-e802.Abstract

PURPOSE: Multiple choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye is a very rare entity, usually leading ophthalmologists to entertain other diagnoses. Historically, the only available treatment reported for this rare entity was enucleation. In this study we demonstrate in a series of patients with multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas that eye salvage is possible using a variety of radiotherapy techniques. OBSERVATIONS: Both patients presented with two simultaneous choroidal melanomas in one eye. The first patient was only 30 years old and presented with two largely amelanotic tumours with large exudative retinal detachment. Cytology from fine needle aspiration biopsies from both tumours with immunohistochemistry confirmed two separate melanomas. Sequential radioactive iodine plaque brachytherapy led to regression of both tumours. The second, older patient's two tumours both had the typical appearance of choroidal melanoma and he underwent proton beam irradiation to the entire field leading to tumour regression. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple choroidal melanomas can rarely arise simultaneously in the same eye, and despite their variable appearance, a definitive diagnosis can be aided by cytology and immunohistochemistry in atypical-appearing cases. While all other previously reported cases have necessitated enucleation, we demonstrate that globe salvage is possible using either proton beam irradiation to the entire tumour field, or with sequential radioactive plaque brachytherapy.