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Quaovi Sodji - Top 30 Publications

Management of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression.

Cancer metastasis is a key event in tumor progression associated not only with mortality but also significant morbidity. Metastatic disease can promote end-organ dysfunction and even failure through mass effect compression of various vital organs including the spinal cord. In such cases, prompt medical attention is needed to restore neurological function, relieve pain, and prevent permanent damage. The three therapeutic approaches to managing metastatic spinal cord compression include corticosteroids, surgery, and radiation therapy. Although each may improve patients' symptoms, their combination has yielded the best outcome. In cancer patients with clinical suspicion of spinal cord compression, dexamethasone should be initiated followed by surgical decompression, when possible, and radiation. The latter becomes the preferred treatment in patients with inoperable disease.

Predictive role of PD-L1 expression in the response of renal Medullary carcinoma to PD-1 inhibition.

Renal medullary carcinoma is one of the rarest malignancies arising from the kidney. Despite various aggressive therapeutic regimens, mortality remains significantly high (95%) with a median overall survival of 5 months. Furthermore, the scarcity of this malignancy renders randomized clinical trials impossible. We examined the expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in two new renal medullary carcinoma cases, investigated their responses to the PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab and explored the predictive role of the rate of PD-L1 expression in such response.

Design and structure activity relationship of tumor-homing histone deacetylase inhibitors conjugated to folic and pteroic acids.

Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition has recently emerged as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of various pathological conditions including cancer. Currently, two HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) – Vorinostat and Romidepsin – have been approved for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. However, HDACi remain ineffective against solid tumors and are associated with adverse events including cardiotoxicity. Targeted delivery may enhance the therapeutic indices of HDACi and enable them to be efficacious against solid tumors. We showed herein that morphing of folic and pteroic acids into the surface recognition group of HDACi results in hydroxamate and benzamide HDACi which derived tumor homing by targeting folate receptor (FR), a receptor commonly overexpressed in solid tumors. We observed a correlation between the potency of HDAC1 inhibition and cytotoxicity as only the potent pteroate hydroxamates, 11d and 11e, displayed antiproliferative activity against two representative FR-expression cancer cells. Our observation further supports the previous results which suggest that for a drug to be successfully targeted using the FR, it must be extremely potent against its primary target as the FR has a low delivery efficiency.

The antileishmanial activity of isoforms 6- and 8-selective histone deacetylase inhibitors.

Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) pleiotropy is largely due to their nonselective inhibition of various cellular HDAC isoforms. Connecting inhibition of a specific isoform to biological responses and/or phenotypes is essential toward deconvoluting HDACi pleiotropy. The contribution of classes I and II HDACs to the antileishmanial activity of HDACi was investigated using the amastigote and promastigote forms of Leishmania donovani. We observed that the antileishmanial activities of HDACi are largely due to the inhibition of HDAC6-like activity. This observation could facilitate the development of HDACi as antileishmanial agents.

Synthesis and structure-activity relationship of 3-hydroxypyridine-2-thione-based histone deacetylase inhibitors.

We previously identified 3-hydroxypyridine-2-thione (3HPT) as a novel zinc binding group for histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition. Early structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies led to various small molecules possessing selective inhibitory activity against HDAC6 or HDAC8 but devoid of HDAC1 inhibition. To delineate further the depth of the SAR of 3HPT-derived HDAC inhibitors (HDACi), we have extended the SAR studies to include the linker region and the surface recognition group to optimize the HDAC inhibition. The current efforts resulted in the identification of two lead compounds, 10d and 14e, with potent HDAC6 and HDAC8 activities that are inactive against HDAC1. These new HDACi possess anticancer activities against various cancer cell lines including Jurkat J.γ1 for which SAHA and the previously disclosed 3HPT-derived HDACi were inactive.

3-Hydroxypyridin-2-thione as novel zinc binding group for selective histone deacetylase inhibition.

Small molecules bearing hydroxamic acid as the zinc binding group (ZBG) have been the most effective histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) to date. However, concerns about the pharmacokinetic liabilities of the hydroxamic acid moiety have stimulated research efforts aimed at finding alternative nonhydroxamate ZBGs. We have identified 3-hydroxypyridin-2-thione (3-HPT) as a novel ZBG that is compatible with HDAC inhibition. 3-HPT inhibits HDAC 6 and HDAC 8 with an IC50 of 681 and 3675 nM, respectively. Remarkably, 3-HPT gives no inhibition of HDAC 1. Subsequent optimization led to several novel 3HPT-based HDACi that are selective for HDAC 6 and HDAC 8. Furthermore, a subset of these inhibitors induces apoptosis in various cancer cell lines.

Targeted cancer therapy: giving histone deacetylase inhibitors all they need to succeed.

Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) have now emerged as a powerful new class of small-molecule therapeutics acting through the regulation of the acetylation states of histone proteins (a form of epigenetic modulation) and other non-histone protein targets. Over 490 clinical trials have been initiated in the last 10 years, culminating in the approval of two structurally distinct HDACis - SAHA (vorinostat, Zolinza™) and FK228 (romidepsin, Istodax™). However, the current HDACis have serious limitations, including ineffectively low concentrations in solid tumors and cardiac toxicity, which is hindering their progress in the clinic. Herein, we review the primary paradigms being pursued to overcome these hindrances, including HDAC isoform selectivity, localized administration, and targeting cap groups to achieve selective tissue and cell type distribution.

Tamoxifen-poly(ethylene glycol)-thiol gold nanoparticle conjugates: enhanced potency and selective delivery for breast cancer treatment.

The breast cancer treatment drug tamoxifen has been widely administered for more than three decades. This small molecule competes with 17beta-estradiol for binding to estrogen receptor, a hormone receptor upregulated in a majority of breast cancers, subsequently initiating programmed cell death. We have synthesized a thiol-PEGylated tamoxifen derivative that can be used to selectively target and deliver plasmonic gold nanoparticles to estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells with up to 2.7-fold enhanced drug potency in vitro. Optical microscopy/spectroscopy, time-dependent dose-response data, and estrogen competition studies indicate that augmented activity is due to increased rates of intracellular tamoxifen transport by nanoparticle endocytosis, rather than by passive diffusion of the free drug. Both ligand- and receptor-dependent intracellular delivery of gold nanoparticles suggest that plasma membrane localized estrogen receptor alpha may facilitate selective uptake and retention of this and other therapeutic nanoparticle conjugates. Combined targeting selectivity and enhanced potency provides opportunities for both multimodal endocrine treatment strategies and adjunctive laser photothermal therapy.