Adult human sarcomas. II. Medical oncology.


Human sarcoma cells can be killed by radio- and chemotherapy, but tumor cells acquiring resistance frequently kill the patient. A keen understanding of the intracellular course of oncogenic cascades leads to the discovery of small molecular inhibitors of the involved phosphorylated kinases. Targeted therapy complements chemotherapy. Oncogene silencing is feasible by small interfering RNA. The restoration of some of the mutated or deleted tumor-suppressor genes (p53, Rb, PTEN, hSNF, INK/ARF and WT) by demethylation or reacetylation of their histones has been accomplished. Genetically engineered or naturally oncolytic viruses selectively lyse tumors and leave healthy tissues intact. Adeno- or retroviral vectors deliver genes of immunological costimulators, tumor antigens, chemo- or cytokines and/or tumor-suppressor proteins into tumor (sarcoma) cells. Suicide gene delivery results in apoptosis induction. Genes of enzymes that target prodrugs as their substrates render tumor cells highly susceptible to chemotherapy, with the prodrug to be targeted intracellularly. It will be combinations of sophisticated surgical removal of the nonencapsulated and locally invasive primary sarcomas, advanced forms of radiotherapy to the involved sites and immunotherapy with sarcoma vaccines that will cure primary sarcomas. Adoptive immunotherapy with immune lymphocytes will be operational in metastatic disease only when populations of regulatory T cells are controlled. Targeted therapy with small molecular inhibitors of oncogene cascades, the driving forces of sarcoma cells, alteration of the tumor stroma from a supportive to a tumor-hostile environment, reactivation or replacement of wild-type tumor-suppressor genes, and radio-chemotherapy (with much reduced toxicity) will eventually accomplish the cure of metastatic sarcomas.


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