Nuestros investigadores

Daniel Ajona Martínez-Polo

Publicaciones científicas más recientes (desde 2010)

Autores: Ajona, Daniel; et al.
ISSN 1073-449X  Vol. 197  Nº 9  2018  págs. 1164 - 1176
RATIONALE: C5aR1 (CD88), a receptor for complement anaphylatoxin C5a, is a potent immune mediator. Its impact on malignant growth and dissemination of non-small cell lung cancer cells is poorly understood. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the contribution of the C5a/C5aR1 axis to the malignant phenotype of non-small cell lung cancer cells, particularly in skeletal colonization, a preferential lung metastasis site. METHODS: Association between C5aR1 expression and clinical outcome was assessed in silico and validated by immunohistochemistry. Functional significance was evaluated by lentiviral gene silencing and ligand l-aptamer inhibition in in vivo models of lung cancer bone metastasis. In vitro functional assays for signaling, migration, invasion, metalloprotease activity, and osteoclastogenesis were also performed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: High levels of C5aR1 in human lung tumors were significantly associated with shorter recurrence-free survival, overall survival, and bone metastasis. Silencing of C5aR1 in lung cancer cells led to a substantial reduction in skeletal metastatic burden and osteolysis in in vivo models. Furthermore, metalloproteolytic, migratory, and invasive tumor cell activities were modulated in vitro by C5aR1 stimulation or gene silencing. l-Aptamer blockade or C5aR1 silencing significantly reduced the osseous metastatic activity of lung cancer cells in vivo. This effect was associated with decreased osteoclastogenic activity in vitro and was rescued by the exogenous addition of the chemokine CXCL16. CONCLUSIONS: Disruption of C5aR1 signaling in lung cancer cells abrogates their tumor-associated osteoclastogenic activity, impairing osseous colonization. This study unveils the role played by the C5a/C5aR1 axis in lung cancer dissemination and supports its potential use as a novel therapeutic target.
Autores: Walle, T.; Martínez-Monge, Rafael; Cerwenka, A.; et al.
ISSN 1758-8340  Vol. 10  2018 
Radiotherapy (RT) is currently used in more than 50% of cancer patients during the course of their disease in the curative, adjuvant or palliative setting. RT achieves good local control of tumor growth, conferring DNA damage and impacting tumor vasculature and the immune system. Formerly regarded as a merely immunosuppressive treatment, pre- and clinical observations indicate that the therapeutic effect of RT is partially immune mediated. In some instances, RT synergizes with immunotherapy (IT), through different mechanisms promoting an effective antitumor immune response. Cell death induced by RT is thought to be immunogenic and results in modulation of lymphocyte effector function in the tumor microenvironment promoting local control. Moreover, a systemic immune response can be elicited or modulated to exert effects outside the irradiation field (so called abscopal effects). In this review, we discuss the body of evidence related to RT and its immunogenic potential for the future design of novel combination therapies.
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; Ortiz Espinosa, S.; Moreno, H. ; et al.
ISSN 2159-8274  Vol. 7  Nº 7  2017  págs. 694 - 703
Disruption of the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway with immune checkpoint inhibitors represents a major breakthrough in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. We hypothesized that combined inhibition of C5a/C5aR1 and PD-1 signaling may have a synergistic antitumor effect. The RMP1-14 antibody was used to block PD-1, and an L-aptamer was used to inhibit signaling of complement C5a with its receptors. Using syngeneic models of lung cancer, we demonstrate that the combination of C5a and PD-1 blockade markedly reduces tumor growth and metastasis and leads to prolonged survival. This effect is accompanied by a negative association between the frequency of CD8 T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells within tumors, which may result in a more complete reversal of CD8 T-cell exhaustion. Our study provides support for the clinical evaluation of anti-PD-1 and anti-C5a drugs as a novel combination therapeutic strategy for lung cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: Using a variety of preclinical models of lung cancer, we demonstrate that the blockade of C5a results in a substantial improvement in the efficacy of anti-PD-1 antibodies against lung cancer growth and metastasis. This study provides the preclinical rationale for the combined blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 and C5a to restore antitumor immune responses, inhibit tumor cell growth, and improve outcomes of patients with lung cancer. (C) 2017 AACR.
Autores: Agorreta, J; Garmendia, Irati; Pajares, María Josefa; et al.
ISSN 1556-0864  Vol. 12  Nº 1  2017  págs. S446 - S447
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; Moreno, H.; et al.
ISSN 1556-0864  Vol. 12  Nº 1  2017  págs. S391 - S391
Autores: Berraondo, Pedro; Minute,L.; Ajona, Daniel; et al.
ISSN 0105-2896  Vol. 274  Nº 1  2016  págs. 290 - 306
Chronic inflammation in the tumor microenvironment and evasion of the antitumor effector immune response are two of the emerging hallmarks required for oncogenesis and cancer progression. The innate immune system not only plays a critical role in perpetuating these tumor-promoting hallmarks but also in developing antitumor adaptive immune responses. Thus, understanding the dual role of the innate system in cancer immunology is required for the design of combined immunotherapy strategies able to tackle established tumors. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of the role of cell populations and soluble components of the innate immune system in cancer, with a focus on complement, the adapter molecule Stimulator of Interferon Genes, natural killer cells, myeloid cells, and B cells.
Autores: Azpilikueta, A.; Agorreta, J; Pérez, José Luis; et al.
ISSN 1556-0864  Vol. 11  Nº 4  2016  págs. 524 - 536
INTRODUCTION: Anti-programmed cell death 1 (anti-PD-1) and anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) antagonist monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with special efficacy in patients with squamous cell lung cancer are being developed in the clinic. However, robust and reliable experimental models to test immunotherapeutic combinations in squamous lung tumors are still lacking. METHODS: We generated a transplantable squamous cell carcinoma cell line (UN-SCC680AJ) from a lung tumor induced by chronic N-nitroso-tris-chloroethylurea mutagenesis in A/J mice. Tumor cells expressed cytokeratins, overexpressed p40, and lacked thyroid transcription factor 1, confirming the squamous lineage reported by histological analysis. More than 200 mutations found in its exome suggested potential for antigenicity. Immunocompetent mice subcutaneously implanted with this syngeneic cell line were treated with anti-CD137 and/or anti-PD-1 mAbs and monitored for tumor growth/progression or assessed for intratumoral leukocyte infiltration using immunohistochemical analysis and flow cytometry. RESULTS: In syngeneic mice, large 12-day-established tumors derived from the transplantable cell line variant UN-SCC680AJ were amenable to curative treatment with anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, or anti-CD137 immunostimulatory mAbs. Single-agent therapies lost curative efficacy when treatment was started beyond day +17, whereas a combination of anti-PD-1 plus anti-CD137 achieved complete rejections. Tumor cells expressed weak baseline PD-L1 on the plasma membrane, but this could be readily induced by interferon-¿. Combined treatment efficacy required CD8 T cells and induced a leukocyte infiltrate in which T lymphocytes co-expressing CD137 and PD-1 were prominent. CONCLUSIONS: These promising results advocate the use of combined anti-PD-1/PD-L1 plus anti-CD137 mAb immunotherapy for the treatment of squamous non-small cell lung cancer in the clinical setting.
Autores: Pajares, María Josefa; Ajona, Daniel; Sharma, Ravi Datta; et al.
ISSN 1574-7891  Vol. 10  Nº 9  2016  págs. 1437 - 1449
Increasing interest has been devoted in recent years to the understanding of alternative splicing in cancer. In this study, we performed a genome-wide analysis to identify cancer-associated splice variants in non-small cell lung cancer. We discovered and validated novel differences in the splicing of genes known to be relevant to lung cancer biology, such as NFIB, ENAH or SPAG9. Gene enrichment analyses revealed an important contribution of alternative splicing to cancer-related molecular functions, especially those involved in cytoskeletal dynamics. Interestingly, a substantial fraction of the altered genes found in our analysis were targets of the protein quaking (QKI), pointing to this factor as one of the most relevant regulators of alternative splicing in non-small cell lung cancer. We also found that ESYT2, one of the QKI targets, is involved in cytoskeletal organization. ESYT2-short variant inhibition in lung cancer cells resulted in a cortical distribution of actin whereas inhibition of the long variant caused an increase of endocytosis, suggesting that the cancer-associated splicing pattern of ESYT2 has a profound impact in the biology of cancer cells. Finally, we show that low nuclear QKI expression in non-small cell lung cancer is an independent prognostic factor for disease-free survival (HR = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.11-5.46, P = 0.026). In conclusion, we identified several splicing variants with functional relevance in lung cancer largely regulated by the splicing factor QKI, a tumor suppressor associated with prognosis in lung cancer.
Autores: Moreno, L.; Zabaleta, Aintzane; et al.
Revista: BLOOD
ISSN 0006-4971  Vol. 128  Nº 22  2016 
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; Razquin, Cristina; Pastor, M. D.; et al.
Revista: PLOS ONE
ISSN 1932-6203  Vol. 10  Nº 3  2015  págs. e0119878
Molecular markers in bronchial fluids may contribute to the diagnosis of lung cancer. We previously observed a significant increase of C4d-containing complement degradation fragments in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) supernatants from lung cancer patients in a cohort of 50 cases and 22 controls (CUN cohort). The present study was designed to determine the diagnostic performance of these complement fragments (hereinafter jointly referred as C4d) in bronchial fluids. C4d levels were determined in BAL supernatants from two independent cohorts: the CU cohort (25 cases and 26 controls) and the HUVR cohort (60 cases and 98 controls). A series of spontaneous sputum samples from 68 patients with lung cancer and 10 controls was also used (LCCCIO cohort). Total protein content, complement C4, complement C5a, and CYFRA 21-1 were also measured in all cohorts. C4d levels were significantly increased in BAL samples from lung cancer patients. The area under the ROC curve was 0.82 (95%CI = 0.71-0.94) and 0.67 (95%CI = 0.58-0.76) for the CU and HUVR cohorts, respectively. In addition, unlike the other markers, C4d levels in BAL samples were highly consistent across the CUN, CU and HUVR cohorts. Interestingly, C4d test markedly increased the sensitivity of bronchoscopy in the two cohorts in which cytological data were available (CUN and HUVR cohorts). Finally, in the LCCCIO cohort, C4d levels were higher in sputum supernatants from patients with lung cancer (area under the ROC curve: 0.7; 95%CI
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; Pajares, María Josefa; Chiara, M. D.; et al.
ISSN 1354-523X  Vol. 21  Nº 7  2015  págs. 899 - 904
OBJECTIVE: Complement C4d-containing fragments have been proposed as diagnostic markers for lung cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the presence of C4d in oropharyngeal (OPSCC) and oral (OSCC) squamous cell carcinomas. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: C4d staining was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 244 OPSCC surgical specimens. C4d levels were quantified by ELISA in resting saliva samples from 48 patients with oral leukoplakia and 62 with OSCC. Plasma samples from 21 patients with leukoplakia and 30 with oral carcinoma were also studied. RESULTS: C4d staining in OPSCC specimens was associated with nodal invasion (P = 0.001), histopathologic grade (P = 0.014), disease stage (P = 0.040), and focal-adhesion kinase expression (P < 0.001). No association was found between C4d and prognosis. Saliva C4d levels were higher in patients with oral cancer than in subjects with leukoplakia (0.07 ± 0.07 vs 0.04 ± 0.03 ¿g ml(-1) , P = 0.003). The area under the ROC curve was 0.63 (95%CI: 0.55-0.71). Salivary C4d levels in stage IV patients were higher than in patients with earlier stages (P = 0.028) and correlated with tumor size (P = 0.045). Plasma C4d levels also correlated with salivary C4d levels (P = 0.041), but differences between patients with oral cancer and subjects with leukoplakia were not significant (1.26 ± 0.59 vs 1.09 ± 0.39 ¿g ml(-1) , P = 0.232). CONCLUSION: C4d-containing fragments are detected in oral primary tumors and are increased in saliva from patients with OSCC.
Autores: Freire, Francisco Javier; Pajares, María Josefa; et al.
ISSN 0020-7136  Vol. 135  Nº 11  2014  págs. 2516 - 2527
New mouse models with specific drivers of genetic alterations are needed for preclinical studies. Herein, we created and characterized at the genetic level a new syngeneic model for lung cancer and metastasis in Balb-c mice. Tumor cell lines were obtained from a silica-mediated airway chronic inflammation that promotes tumorigenesis when combined with low doses of N-nitrosodimethylamine, a tobacco smoke carcinogen. Orthotopic transplantation of these cells induced lung adenocarcinomas, and their intracardiac injection led to prominent colonization of various organs (bone, lung, liver and brain). Driver gene alterations included a mutation in the codon 12 of KRAS (G-A transition), accompanied by a homozygous deletion of the WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) gene. The mutant form of WWOX lacked exons 5-8 and displayed reduced protein expression level and activity. WWOX gene restoration decreased the in vitro and in vivo tumorigenicity, confirming the tumor suppressor function of this gene in this particular model. Interestingly, we found that cells displayed remarkable sphere formation ability with expression of specific lung cancer stem cell markers. Study of non-small-cell lung cancer patient cohorts demonstrated a deletion of WWOX in 30% of cases, with significant reduction in protein levels as compared to normal tissues. Overall, our new syngeneic mouse model provides a most valuable tool to study lung cancer metastasis in balb-c mice background and highlights the importance of WWOX deletion in lung carcinogenesis.
Autores: Larráyoz, Marta; Pio, R; Pajares, María Josefa; et al.
ISSN 1757-4684  Vol. 6  Nº 4  2014  págs. 539 - 550
The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway is a clinically validated antiangiogenic target for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, some contradictory results have been reported on the biological effects of antiangiogenic drugs. In order to evaluate the efficacy of these drugs in NSCLC histological subtypes, we analyzed the anticancer effect of two anti-VEGFR2 therapies (sunitinib and DC101) in chemically induced mouse models and tumorgrafts of lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Antiangiogenic treatments induced vascular trimming in both histological subtypes. In ADC tumors, vascular trimming was accompanied by tumor stabilization. In contrast, in SCC tumors, antiangiogenic therapy was associated with disease progression and induction of tumor proliferation. Moreover, in SCC, anti-VEGFR2 therapies increased the expression of stem cell markers such as aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1, CD133, and CD15, independently of intratumoral hypoxia. In vitro studies with ADC cell lines revealed that antiangiogenic treatments reduced pAKT and pERK signaling and inhibited proliferation, while in SCC-derived cell lines the same treatments increased pAKT and pERK, and induced survival. In conclusion, this study evaluates for the first time the effect of antiangiogenic drugs in lung SCC murine models in vivo and sheds light on the contradictory results of antiangiogenic therapies in NSCLC.
Autores: Pio, R; Ajona, Daniel; Lambris J;
ISSN 1044-5323  Vol. 25  Nº 1  2013  págs. 54-64
For decades, complement has been recognized as an effector arm of the immune system that contributes to the destruction of tumor cells. In fact, many therapeutic strategies have been proposed that are based on the intensification of complement-mediated responses against tumors. However, recent studies have challenged this paradigm by demonstrating a tumor-promoting role for complement. Cancer cells seem to be able to establish a convenient balance between complement activation and inhibition, taking advantage of complement initiation without suffering its deleterious effects. Complement activation may support chronic inflammation, promote an immunosuppressive microenvironment, induce angiogenesis, and activate cancer-related signaling pathways. In this context, inhibition of complement activation would be a therapeutic option for treating cancer. This concept is relatively new and deserves closer attention. In this article, we summarize the mechanisms of complement activation on cancer cells, the cancer-promoting effect of complement initiation, and the rationale behind the use of complement inhibition as a therapeutic strategy against cancer.
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; Pajares, María Josefa; et al.
ISSN 1460-2105  Vol. 105  Nº 18  2013  págs. 1385 - 1393
BACKGROUND: There is a medical need for diagnostic biomarkers in lung cancer. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of complement activation fragments. METHODS: We assessed complement activation in four bronchial epithelial and seven lung cancer cell lines. C4d, a degradation product of complement activation, was determined in 90 primary lung tumors; bronchoalveolar lavage supernatants from patients with lung cancer (n = 50) and nonmalignant respiratory diseases (n = 22); and plasma samples from advanced (n = 50) and early lung cancer patients (n = 84) subjects with inflammatory lung diseases (n = 133), and asymptomatic individuals enrolled in a lung cancer computed tomography screening program (n = 190). Two-sided P values were calculated by Mann-Whitney U test. RESULTS: Lung cancer cells activated the classical complement pathway mediated by C1q binding that was inhibited by phosphomonoesters. Survival was decreased in patients with high C4d deposition in tumors (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.06; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18 to 7.91). C4d levels were increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from lung cancer patients compared with patients with nonmalignant respiratory diseases (0.61 ± 0.87 vs 0.16 ± 0.11 µg/mL; P < .001). C4d levels in plasma samples from lung cancer patients at both advanced and early stages were also increased compared with control subjects (4.13 ± 2.02 vs 1.86 ± 0.95 µg/mL, P < 0.001; 3.18 ± 3.20 vs 1.13 ± 0.69 µg/mL, P < .001, respectively). C4d plasma levels were associated with shorter survival in patients at advanced (HR = 1.59; 95% CI = 0.97 to 2.60) and early stages (HR = 5.57; 95% CI = 1.60 to 19.39). Plasma C4d levels were reduced after surgical removal of lung tumors (P < .001) and were associated with increased lung cancer risk in asymptomatic individuals with (n = 32) or without lung cancer (n = 158) (odds ratio = 4.38; 95% CI = 1.61 to 11.93). CONCLUSIONS: Complement fragment C4d may serve as a biomarker for early diagnosis and prognosis of lung cancer.
Autores: Freire, Francisco Javier; Ajona, Daniel; et al.
ISSN 1522-8002  Vol. 15  Nº 8  2013  págs. 913 - 924
The association between inflammation and lung tumor development has been clearly demonstrated. However, little is known concerning the molecular events preceding the development of lung cancer. In this study, we characterize a chemically induced lung cancer mouse model in which lung cancer developed in the presence of silicotic chronic inflammation. Silica-induced lung inflammation increased the incidence and multiplicity of lung cancer in mice treated with N-nitrosodimethylamine, a carcinogen found in tobacco smoke. Histologic and molecular analysis revealed that concomitant chronic inflammation contributed to lung tumorigenesis through induction of preneoplastic changes in lung epithelial cells. In addition, silica-mediated inflammation generated an immunosuppressive microenvironment in which we observed increased expression of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), transforming growth factor-beta 1, monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG3), and forkhead box P3 (FOXP3), as well as the presence of regulatory T cells. Finally, the K-RAS mutational profile of the tumors changed from Q61R to G12D mutations in the inflammatory milieu. In summary, we describe some of the early molecular changes associated to lung carcinogenesis in a chronic inflammatory microenvironment and provide novel information concerning the mechanisms underlying the formation and the fate of preneoplastic lesions in the silicotic lung.
Autores: Ajona, Daniel; et al.
Revista: Molecular Cancer
ISSN 1476-4598  Vol. 9  2010  págs. 139
We demonstrate for the first time that the in vivo antitumor activity of cetuximab can be associated with a complement-mediated immune response. These results may have important implications for the development of new cetuximab-based therapeutic strategies and for the identification of markers that predict clinical response.
Autores: Pio, R; García, José Javier; et al.
Revista: Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention
ISSN 1055-9965  Vol. 19  Nº 10  2010  págs. 2655 - 2672