Articles

What can the tumour microenvironment tell us?

BJMO - , issue ,

C. Boeckx PhD, E. Smits PhD, J. Jacobs PhD

Nowadays, PD-L1/PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors have become a key part of the clinical management of cancer. Improving our understanding of anti-cancer immune response, which is influenced by a complex set of tumour, host and environment factors, will further broaden the clinical applicability of these treatments. In this review, we discuss several approaches to evaluate the tumour microenvironment (TME) in clinical practice as well as a view on future predictive biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy.

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What can the tumour microenvironment tell us?

BJMO - volume 12, issue 9, february 2018

C. Boeckx PhD, E. Smits PhD, J. Jacobs PhD

Nowadays, PD-L1/PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors have become a key part of the clinical management of cancer. Improving our understanding of anti-cancer immune response, which is influenced by a complex set of tumour, host and environment factors, will further broaden the clinical applicability of these treatments. In this review, we discuss several approaches to evaluate the tumour microenvironment (TME) in clinical practice as well as a view on future predictive biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy.

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Targeted therapy for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas: hopes and pitfalls

BJMO - volume 9, issue 5, september 2015

C. Boeckx PhD, M. Baay PhD, F. Lardon PhD, J.B. Vermorken MD, PhD

Targeted therapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and other cancers, which has been developed as a result of breakthroughs in molecular characterisation of carcinogenesis. It is thought to offer a higher therapeutic index and, therefore, to be associated with less toxicity than cytotoxic drugs. Unfortunately this kind of therapy also has weaknesses; in particular the long-term response rate is disappointing. This review will not only focus on the benefits of EGFR targeted agents in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but will also summarise its weaknesses.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2015;9(5):175–78)

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Biomarkers for an effective and cost-effective use of anti-EGFR biotherapeutics for the treatment of head and neck cancer

BJMO - volume 9, issue 2, may 2015

C. Boeckx PhD, M. Baay PhD, F. Lardon PhD, J.B. Vermorken MD, PhD

As the epidermal growth factor receptor is expressed in up to 90% of all head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and initiates important signalling pathways in carcinogenesis, this receptor has emerged as a promising therapeutic target. Nevertheless, the challenge of drug resistance alongside treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors remains. New results from our research group provide evidence that the RAS-MAPK signalling pathway is still activated despite upstream epidermal growth factor receptor blocking by cetuximab, an epidermal growth factor receptor targeting monoclonal antibody. DUSP5, DUSP6, AURKB, HB-EGF, IL8 and the transcription factor AP-1 were among the genes identified by us as likely contributing to cetuximab resistance. These novel findings provide new insights in the underlying mechanisms of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor therapeutic resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Furthermore, these observations can form a solid basis for further in vivo and clinical studies on this topic, making advances in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2015;9(2):74–6)

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