To determine whether 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) sensitivity is associated with the mRNA expressions of thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and thymidine phosphorylase (TP) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with 5-FU-based transarterial chemoembolization (TACE).
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor specimens from 40 patients treated with 5-FU-based TACE were selected for the examination of TS, DPD, and TP expression level by a quantitative real-time reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Patients were categorized into high and low expression groups according to the median expression level of each enzyme. Associations between the mRNA expression levels of TS, DPD, and TP and clinical parameters including treatment efficacies, clinicopathological factors, and prognosis were assessed.
High DPD expression was associated with worse treatment outcome, including intrahepatic disease progression rate (hazard ratio [HR] for high DPD versus low DPD, 2.212; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.030–4.753; P = 0.042), extrahepatic disease progression rate (HR for high versus low DPD, 3.171; 95% CI, 1.003–10.023; P = 0.049), and progression-free survival (HR for high versus low DPD, 2.308; 95% CI, 1.102–4.836; P = 0.027). No correlation was found between the mRNA expression of TS/TP and treatment outcome.
DPD mRNA expression level was negatively correlated with the clinical outcomes of HCC patients treated with 5-FU-based TACE. These results provide indirect evidence that high DPD mRNA expression is a predictive marker of treatment resistance for 5-FU.
dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; 5-fluorouracil; hepatocellular carcinoma; thymidylate synthase; thymidine phosphorylase; transarterial chemoembolization
Nucleic acid-metabolizing enzymes, such as thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), have attracted attention as candidates for response determinants of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Whether the expression levels of these enzymes can be adopted as valuable parameters for 5-FU sensitivity in breast cancer has yet to be elucidated. In the present study, intratumoral mRNA expression of TS, DPD, TP and OPRT were determined in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical specimens collected from 217 breast cancer patients, using the Danenberg Tumor Profile method, which combines microdissection and real-time-polymerase chain reaction. The significance of these enzymes as prognostic and 5-FU efficacy-predicting factors was evaluated. Our data showed that a low DPD expression is related to a high nuclear grade and other factors including hormone receptor-negativity. Low expression levels of TP were found in hormone receptor-negative tumors. TS and OPRT expression were not related to various clinicopathological factors, but patients with a high TS mRNA expression showed a significantly poorer prognosis in cases where 5-FU was not administered. The efficacy of 5-FU was more significant when administered for more than 6 months in the group with a high TS mRNA expression. These data suggest that TS mRNA expression in breast cancer tissue is an ideal predictor of outcomes for patients with no administration of 5-FU, and of the efficacy of 5-FU.
thymidylate synthase; breast cancer; 5-fluorouracil; real-time polymerase chain reaction
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the most widely used anticancer drugs; however, the activity of 5-FU is determined by the presence of several enzymes that limit its activation or degradation, and these include dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidine kinase (TK), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase). The aim of this study was to compare the expression levels of these enzymes between the primary colorectal cancer of patients with and without distant metastases. Furthermore, there was a comparison of these expression levels between the primary tumour and the corresponding metastasis.
Of 55 patients with colorectal cancer, 20 had no metastasis and the other 35 had distant metastasis. A strong expression was classified as positive, while weak to moderate or no expression was negative by immunohistochemistry.
Of the six 5-FU-related enzymes, the numbers of patients with expression of dUTPase (54% versus 15%; p = 0.005), TK (26% versus 0%; p = 0.019) and DPD (17% versus 45%; p = 0.033) were significantly different in those with primary tumours with metastasis compared with those with non-metastasis, respectively. The altered expression of OPRT (34.3%), TS (40.0%) and dUTPase (42.9%) was significantly greater from primary to metastasis among the 35 patients with metastasis. By contrast, the expression of OPRT, TS and dUTPase was decreased in 6, 5 and 7 patients, respectively, in metastatic sites.
From this comparative study of the six 5-FU-related enzymes in colorectal cancer, the expression of dUTPase was most significantly different between primary tumours and their corresponding metastatic tumour. It is suggested that dUTPase may be a predictive biomarker for the metastatic potential of colorectal cancer.
Recently, S-1, a novel 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based agent containing the strong dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) inhibitor, 5-chloro-2,4-dihydropyrimidine (CDHP) has been clinically used to treat various non-urothelial carcinomas (UC). High levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), the target enzyme of 5-FU and DPD which degrades the majority of 5-FU, are associated with poor prognosis in some cancers. However, only a few reports have dealt with this in UC. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of TS and DPD in upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) and evaluate the role of TS and DPD on the sensitivity of 5-FU in UC cell lines and the anti-tumor effect of S-1 in UC xenograft model.
Firstly, we evaluated the immunohistochemical expression of TS and DPD in 176 patients with UTUC to determine their prognostic significance. Secondly, the levels of TS and DPD in UC cell lines were measured by ELISA and real-time PCR. Furthermore, the association between their levels and the sensitivity to 5-FU was examined using the small interfering RNA (siRNA) specific for TS and DPD. Thirdly, the anti-tumor effect of S-1 was evaluated in UC xenograft model.
Immunohistochemical evaluation of TS and DPD in UTUC human samples revealed that TS expression was significantly associated with stage, grade, and lymphovascular invasion and DPD expression was significantly associated with grade. Multivariate analysis revealed that high TS expression was an independent predictor of disease-specific survival in them. In in vitro study using UC cell lines, high levels of TS and DPD were associated with low response to 5-FU and these associations were confirmed with siRNA specific for TS and DPD. In in vivo study using UC xenograft model, S-1 treatment dramatically inhibited tumor growth compared to controls, tegafur, or UFT in UC tumor with a high level of DPD.
TS plays an important role in the prognosis of UTUC and S-1 may be a key agent for UC tumor, especially with a high level of DPD.
Urothelial carcinoma; S-1; 5-fluorouracil; Thymidylate synthase; Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase
The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP), aurora kinase (ARK) A/B, and excision repair cross-complementing gene 1 (ERCC1) on the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin (FP) after curative gastric resection. Normal and cancer tissue were separately obtained from gastrectomy samples of 153 patients with AJCC stage III–IV (M0) who subsequently treated with adjuvant FP chemotherapy. TS, DPD, TP, ERCC1, and ARK proteins were measured by immunohistochemistry (IHC). EGFR expression was investigated using a standardized IHC with the EGFR PharmDx assay. Amplification of EGFR gene was analysed using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). In multivariate analysis, stage, ratio of positive to removed lymph nodes, and EGFR expression were significant prognostic factors for overall survival. Patients with higher EGFR expression had better overall survival than those with lower expression (relative risk: 0.475 (95% confidence interval, 0.282–0.791, P=0.005). Low EGFR expression might be a predictive marker for relapse in curative resected stage III–IV (M0) gastric cancer patients who received adjuvant FP chemotherapy.
gastric cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; pharmacogenetics; epidermal growth factor receptor; thymidine phosphorylase; excision repair cross-complementing gene 1
Chemotherapy with FOLFOX, which is a combination of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin (LV) and oxaliplatin, has been used worldwide for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The aim of this study was to examine the candidates for predictors of the efficacy of the FOLFOX treatment regimen in colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis, using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens. We investigated the mRNA levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidine phosphorylase (TP), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) and excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1) in 70 primary lesions and 30 liver metastatic lesions of colorectal cancer patients, using laser capture microdissection and real-time PCR methods. We then analyzed the correlation between their expression in primary lesions and those in corresponding liver metastatic lesions (n=30) and the relationship between their expression in the primary lesions and the efficacy of mFOLFOX6 in 45 colorectal cancer patients with unresectable liver metastasis. The gene expression in primary lesions positively correlated with those in corresponding liver metastatic lesions. The profiles of gene expression of primary lesions strongly correlated with those of synchronous liver metastatic lesions compared to that of metachronous liver metastatic lesions. TS and TP mRNA levels in the patients with complete response, partial response or stable disease (n=34) were significantly lower compared to those in the patients with progressive disease (n=11) (p=0.017 and p=0.04, respectively). Our results indicated that TS and TP mRNA expression profiles in primary lesions are sufficient to estimate the mRNA expression profiles in synchronous liver metastatic lesions compared to metachronous liver metastatic lesions. Additionally, these profiles may be useful predictors in the identification of eligible colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis for FOLFOX treatment.
FOLFOX; colorectal cancer; thymidylate synthase; thymidine phosphorylase; excision repair cross-complementing 1; laser capture microdissection
The sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been reported to be associated with target molecule thymidylate synthase (TS), fluoropyrimidine-metabolising enzymes such as orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT), and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). We performed an immunohistochemical study on the clinical significance of TS, OPRT, and DPD expression using 151 resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients postoperatively treated with a combination of tegafur and uracil (UFT). Eighty-two carcinomas were TS-positive, 105 carcinomas were OPRT-positive, 68 carcinomas were DPD-positive. No correlation was observed in the HSCORE between the TS and OPRT expression (r=0.203), between the TS and DPD expression (r=0.098), or between the OPRT and DPD expression (r=0.074). Regarding the survival of NSCLC patients treated with UFT, the 5-year survival rate of patients with TS-negative tumours was significantly higher than that with TS-positive tumours (P=0.0133). The 5-year survival rate of patients with OPRT-positive stage II to III tumours was significantly higher than that with OPRT-negative stage II to III tumours (P=0.0145). In addition, the 5-year survival rate of patients with DPD-negative tumours was also significantly higher than that with DPD-positive tumours (P=0.0004). A Cox multivariate regression analysis revealed the TS status (hazard ratio 2.663; P=0.0003), OPRT status (hazard ratio 2.543; P=0.0005), and DPD status (hazard ratio 2.840; P<0.0001) to all be significant prognostic factors for the survival of resected NSCLC patients postoperatively treated with UFT.
lung cancer; 5-FU; thymidylate synthase; orotate phosphoribosyltransferase; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase
Microsatellite instability (MSI) refers to mutations in short motifs of tandemly repeated nucleotides resulting from replication errors and deficient mismatch repair (MMR). Colorectal cancer with MSI has characteristic biology and chemosensitivity, however the molecular basis remains unclarified. The association of MSI and MMR status with outcome and with thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression in colorectal cancer were evaluated.
MSI in five reference loci, MMR enzymes (hMSH2, hMSH6, hMLH1 and hPMS2), thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) expression were assessed in paraffin embedded tumor specimens, and associated with outcome in 340 consecutive patients completely resected for colorectal cancer stages II-IV and subsequently receiving adjuvant 5-fluorouracil therapy.
MSI was found in 43 (13.8%) tumors. Absence of repair protein expression was assessed in 52 (17.0%) tumors, which had primarily lost hMLH1 in 39 (12.7%), hMSH2 in 5 (1.6%), and hMSH6 in 8 (2.6%) tumors. In multivariate analysis MSI (instable) compared to MSS (stable) tumors were significantly associated with lower risk of recurrence (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2–0.7; P = 0.0007) and death (HR = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2–0.9; P = 0.02) independently of the TS and DPD expressions. A direct relationship between MSI and TS intensity (P = 0.001) was found, while there was no significant association with DPD intensity (P = 0.1).
The favourable outcome of MSI colorectal carcinomas is ascribed mainly to the tumor biology and to a lesser extent to antitumor response to 5-fluorouracil therapy. There is no evidence that differential TS or DPD expression may account for these outcome characteristics.
Thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) are enzymes involved in nucleic acid metabolism. It has been reported (based on observations of various tumor types) that the extent of the mRNA expression of these enzymes within tumor tissues may be used as a factor to define tumor prognosis. It has also been reported that the mRNA expression patterns differ in each type of tumor. However, few reports are available on the distribution of mRNA expression in prostate cancers. This study was conducted on tissue specimens obtained from 172 patients who were diagnosed with prostate cancer and had undergone total prostatectomies. The mRNA expression of TS, DPD, OPRT and TP was quantitatively analyzed using the Danenberg tumor profile (DTP) method. The results were used to examine the correlations between the distributions of the mRNAs and clinicopathological factors, as well as the significance of their expression as a prognostic factor. Patients with poorly differentiated cancers in their tissues showed a significant increase in the mRNA expression of TS and OPRT. The increases in the TP mRNA content were proportional to an increase in the Gleason scores. The prognosis was significantly poorer in those cases with a high expression of TS or OPRT mRNA and a low expression of DPD mRNA. In conclusion, the expression levels of mRNAs for TS, DPD and OPRT among the enzymes related to nucleic acid metabolism are useful as prognostic factors in patients with prostate cancers.
thymidylate synthase; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; thymidine phosphorylase; orotate phosphoribosyl transferase; prostate cancer; prognostic factor
AIM: To determine whether expression of certain enzymes related to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) metabolism predicts 5-FU chemosensitivity in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA).
METHODS: The histoculture drug response assay (HDRA) was performed using surgically resected CCA tissues. Tumor cell viability was determined morphologically with hematoxylin and eosin- and terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-stained tissues. The mRNA expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT), thymidylate synthase (TS), and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) was determined with real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The levels of gene expression and the sensitivity to 5-FU were evaluated.
RESULTS: Twenty-three CCA tissues were obtained from patients who had been diagnosed with intrahepatic CCA and who underwent surgical resection at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University from 2007 to 2009. HDRA was used to determine the response of these CCA tissues to 5-FU. Based on the dose-response curve, 200 μg/mL 5-FU was selected as the test concentration. The percentage of inhibition index at the median point was selected as the cut-off point to differentiate the responding and non-responding tumors to 5-FU. When the relationship between TP, OPRT, TS and DPD mRNA expression levels and the sensitivity of CCA tissues to 5-FU was examined, only OPRT mRNA expression was significantly correlated with the response to 5-FU. The mean expression level of OPRT was significantly higher in the responder group compared to the non-responder group (0.41 ± 0.25 vs 0.22 ± 0.12, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: OPRT mRNA expression may be a useful predictor of 5-FU chemosensitivity of CCA. Whether OPRT mRNA could be used to predict the success of 5-FU chemotherapy in CCA patients requires confirmation in patients.
Histoculture drug response assay; 5-fluorouracil; Cholangiocarcinoma; Orotate phosphoribosyl transferase; Chemosensitivity
A number of studies have investigated whether the activity levels of enzymes involved in 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) metabolism are prognostic factors for survival in patients with colorectal carcinoma. Most reports have examined thymidylate synthetase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in unresectable or metastatic cases, therefore it is unclear whether the activity of these enzymes is of prognostic value in colorectal cancer patients treated with radical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-FU.
This study examined fresh frozen specimens of colorectal carcinoma from 40 patients who had undergone curative operation and were orally administered adjuvant tegafur/uracil (UFT) chemotherapy. TS, DPD and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) activities were assayed in cancer tissue and adjacent normal tissue and their association with clinicopathological variables was investigated. In addition, the relationships between TS, DPD and OPRT activities and patient survival were examined to determine whether any of these enzymes could be useful prognostic factors.
While there was no clear relationship between pathological findings and TS or DPD activity, OPRT activity was significantly lower in tumors with lymph node metastasis than in tumors lacking lymph node metastasis. Postoperative survival was significantly better in the groups with low TS activity and/or high OPRT activity.
TS and OPRT activity levels in tumor tissue may be important prognostic factors for survival in Dukes' B and C colorectal carcinoma with radical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy with UFT.
Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is the rate-limiting enzyme for degradation of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). DPD activity is highly variable in liver and peripheral mononuclear cells (PMNCs) and it has not been well studied in human tumours. Characterization of DPD in colorectal cancer is of clinical interest through its role in the regulation of 5-FU, the main chemotherapeutic agent used in this disease. Therefore, DPD activity was analysed in colorectal tumour and adjacent normal tissue from 63 patients, including three liver metastasis. DPD activity was highly variable in all tissues studied (coefficient of variation 43-61%) and was higher in normal tissue than in tumour. The tumour-normal activity ratio ranged from 0.19 to 3.32 (median 0.76). PMNC DPD activity was available for 57 patients and was correlated with tumour activity (r(s) = 0.29, P < 0.001). A higher correlation was observed between PMNCs and tumour samples that were both obtained in the morning (r(s) = 0.49), consistent with circadian variation in DPD activity. Normal tissue DPD activity was not correlated with either tumour (r(s) = 0.11) or PMNC activity (r(s) = -0.06). This study provides the first analysis of DPD activity in colorectal cancer and illustrates the large degree of variation in tumour activity. The tumour-normal activity ratio results suggest that elevated tumour DPD can play a role in 5-FU resistance through increased inactivation in tumour cells, but is an uncommon event in colorectal tumours. The results support the use of PMNCs for monitoring tumour DPD activity, particularly when circadian variation is taken into account. As a large degree of the variation in tumour DPD activity is not explained by PMNC activity, more accurate alternatives are needed before DPD activity can be used for targeting 5-FU therapy.
Pharyngo-laryngeal tumors classified as T3-4, N0-3, M0, are conventionally treated by mutilating surgery (total (pharyngo)-laryngectomy). Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-FU/platinum salt can be proposed in an attempt to preserve the larynx. The level of the response to chemotherapy ranges from 36 to 54% of cases. Thus, a large number of patients receive chemotherapy that is ineffective and not free from adverse effects. Three main enzymes are involved in the metabolism of 5-FU: thymidylate synthase (TS), thymidylate phosphorylase (TP) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). Several studies suggest that a high level of expression of these three genes correlates with a poor clinical response to 5-FU. The main purpose of our study was to look for a correlation between the levels of expression of the genes for sensitivity to 5-FU (TS, TP, DPD) within the tumor and the clinical response observed after three courses of chemotherapy combining 5-FU/platinum salt in patients presenting with advanced cancer of the pharyngo-larynx.
This was a prospective genetic study that had required approval from the Ethics Committee. The main assessment criterion was based on the assessment of the clinical response by an ENT panendoscopy and a cervical CT scan, after three courses of chemotherapy. The expression of the genes was determined by quantitative RT-PCR, using total RNA extracted from tumor biopsies taken during the initial panendoscopy.
The means calculated, in our study, for the three genes of interest (TS, TP, DPD) were lower in the responder group than those in the non-responder group.
Our preliminary findings reveal trends that confirm the hypothesis that the lower the level of expression of the sensitivity genes, the better the clinical response to chemotherapy. They now form part of a larger study that is currently in progress.
5-FU; genes of sensitivity; chemotherapy; squamous cell carcinoma; pharyngolarynx
Thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, thymidine phosphorylase, and orotate phosphoribosyltransferase gene expressions are reported to be valid predictive markers for 5-fluorouracil sensitivity to gastrointestinal cancer. For more reliable predictability, their expressions in cancer cells and stromal cells in the cancerous tissue (cancerous stroma) have been separately investigated using laser capture microdissection.
Thymidylate synthase, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, thymidine phosphorylase, and orotate phosphoribosyltransferase mRNA in cancer cells and cancerous stroma from samples of 47 gastric and 43 colon cancers were separately quantified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction after laser capture microdissection.
In both gastric and colon cancers, thymidylate synthase and orotate phosphoribosyltransferase mRNA expressions were higher (p < 0.0001, p <0.0001 respectively in gastric cancer and P = 0.0002, p < 0.0001 respectively in colon cancer) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase mRNA expressions were lower in cancer cells than in cancerous stroma (P = 0.0136 in gastric cancer and p < 0.0001 in colon cancer). In contrast, thymidine phosphorylase mRNA was higher in cancer cells than in cancerous stroma in gastric cancer (p < 0.0001) and lower in cancer cells than in cancerous stroma in colon cancer (P = 0.0055).
By using this method, we could estimate gene expressions separately in cancer cells and stromal cells from colon and gastric cancers, in spite of the amount of stromal tissue. Our method is thought to be useful for accurately evaluating intratumoral gene expressions.
To evaluate the anti-tumor activity and adverse events of capecitabine in advanced, persistent or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, and to explore biomarkers with the potential to predict capecitabine response and toxicity.
Eligible, consenting patients were treated with a starting dose of 2500 mg/m2/day or 1800 mg/m2/day(divided into two doses given every 12 hours) for 14 days of each 21-day cycle. Prior chemotherapy was allowed only in the context of radiation “sensitization”. Genotyping in the 5’ and 3’ ends of thymidylate synthase (TS) was performed in DNA from pre-treatment blood. Relative gene expression of TS, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) and thymidine phosphorylase (TP) was quantified in RNA extracted from paraffin-embedded tumor.
All patients had prior radiotherapy and 22 received a radiation sensitizer. A partial response was observed in 4 of 26 (15%) evaluable patients. An additional 35% of patients achieved stable disease while 42% experienced increasing disease. The most common serious non hematological toxicities were gastrointestinal and dermatologic. Exploratory analyses suggested that: a germline polymorphism in the 3’ or the 5’ end of TS was not associated with TS gene expression, relative tumor expression of TS, DPD and TP were not correlated, and relative tumor expression of TP may predict severe anemia.
Based on the modest response rate, this trial was closed without a second stage of accrual; single agent capecitabine was not selected for further study in advanced persistent or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix previously treated with radiation or chemoradiation.
Capecitabine; xeloda; cervical cancer; TS; DPD; TP; biomarkers
Over-expression of thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in tumor tissue is associated with insensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Over-expression of ERCC1 correlates with insensitivity to oxaliplatin (OX) therapy, while high thymidine phosphorylase (TP) levels predict for increased sensitivity to capecitabine (Xel).
Biopsies of metastatic tumor were taken before OX (130 mg/m2 day 1) given with Xel (1200–3000 mg/m2 in two divided doses days 1–5 and 8–12) every 3-weeks. Micro-dissected metastatic and primary tumors were analyzed for relative gene expression by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The clinical protocol prospectively identified the molecular targets of interest that would be tested. Endpoints for the molecular analyses were correlation of median, first and third quartiles for relative gene expression of each target with response, time to treatment failure (TTF), and survival.
Among 91 patients participating in this trial; 97% had colorectal cancer. The median number of prior chemotherapy regimens was 2, and most had prior 5-FU and irinotecan. In paired samples, median mRNA levels were significantly higher in metastatic versus primary tumor (-fold): TS (1.9), DPD (3.8), ERCC1 (2.1) and TP (1.6). A strong positive correlation was noted between DPD and TP mRNA levels in both primary (r = 0.693, p < 0.0005) and metastatic tissue (r = 0.697, p < 0.00001). There was an association between TS gene expression and responsive and stable disease: patients whose intratumoral TS mRNA levels were above the median value had significantly greater risk of early disease progression (43% vs 17%), but this did not translate into a significant difference in TTF. ERCC1 gene expression above the third quartile was associated with a shorter TTF (median 85 vs 162 days, p = 0.046). Patients whose TS mRNA levels in metastatic tumor tissue were below the median had a longer overall survival (median 417 vs 294 days, p = 0.042).
Target gene expression in primary tumor was significantly lower than that in paired metastatic tissue. High ERCC1 mRNA levels in metastatic tumor was associated with a shorter TTF. Lower expression of TS mRNA correlated with a lower chance of early PD with XelOX therapy and improved overall survival.
Individuals with a deficiency in the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) may experience severe life-threatening toxicity when treated with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). As routine measurement of enzyme activity is not practical in many clinical centres, we have investigated the use of DNA mutation analysis to identify cancer patients with low enzyme levels. We have identified two new mutations at codons 534 and 543 in the DPD cDNA of a patient with low enzyme activity and screened the DNA from 75 colorectal cancer patients for these mutations and the previously reported splice site mutation (Vreken et al, 1996; Wei et al, 1996). In all cases, DPD enzyme activity was also measured. The splice site mutation was detected in a patient (1 out of 72) with low enzyme activity whereas mutations at codons 534 (2 out of 75) and 543 (11 out of 23) were not associated with low enzyme activity. These studies highlight the need to combine DPD genotype and phenotype analysis to identify mutations that result in reduced enzyme activity.
Mesothelioma is an uncommon malignancy whose global incidence continues to rise. The therapeutic standard for advanced disease is intravenous pemetrexed and cisplatin. The antifolate capecitabine is significantly less effective than pemetrexed. The balance between thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and Thymidine Phosphorylase (TP) is critical to the efficacy of capecitabine. DNA from mesothelioma cell lines was bisulfite treated and examined by MS-PCR, RNA was obtained for real time PCR analysis, and protein lysates were obtained for Western immunoblot analysis. Cytotoxicity was assessed by MTT assay, comparing 5-aza-CdR pretreated or untreated cells with 5′-Deoxy-5-fluorouridine (DFUR), 5-FU, and pemetrexed. Finally bisulfite sequencing of the extracellular growth factor-1 (ECGF-1) gene was performed on 4 mesothelioma samples and pericardial tissue. One of the four cell lines tested (H290) was methylated for ECGF-1. This corresponded to a lack of TP expression by real time PCR and Western immunoblot. Treatment with 1 μM 5-aza-CdR increased TP mRNA and protein expression in H290. DFUR, the substrate for TP, showed increased cytotoxicity when delivered after 5-aza-CdR exposure in the methylated cell line. There was no difference in any of the unmethylated cell lines when cells were exposed to 5-FU or pemetrexed with or without 5-aza-CdR. Patient tumor samples revealed an increased number of methylated CpG sites in ECGF-1 compared to normal pericardium. Methylation of ECGF-1, leads to transcriptional silencing of TP and may explain the lack of any effect of capecitabine, especially when compared to pemetrexed.
Thymidine phosphorylase; capecitabine; mesothelioma; pemetrexed; methylation
A mutation at codon 974 of the dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) gene was previously described in a cancer patient with undetectable DPD enzyme activity who experienced severe toxicity when treated with 5-fluorouracil. We have studied the frequency of this mutation in 29 Scottish subjects with low DPD enzyme activity and in 274 American subjects. We detected no mutations in the 606 alleles studied and conclude that mutations at codon 974 are a rare event.
The prognostic value of tumoural epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), p53, thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) was analysed on 82 advanced head and neck cancer patients (71 men, 11 women; mean age 59). Induction treatment was cisplatin–5-FU ± folinic acid (61 patients, Chem group) or concomitant cisplatin–5-FU–radiotherapy (21 patients, RChem group). EGFR (binding assay), p53 protein (Sangtec immunoluminometric assay), TS and DPD activities (radioenzymatic assays) were measured on biopsies obtained at time of diagnosis. Significant positive correlation was demonstrated between p53 and EGFR. In the RChem group, p53 was higher in non-complete responders (median 1.03 ng mg−1) than in complete responders (median 0.08 ng mg−1) (P = 0.057). Univariate Cox analyses stratified on treatment group showed that specific survival (33 events) was significantly related to T staging, p53 taken as continuous or categorial (below vs over 0.80 ng mg−1) variable, and EGFR (below vs over 220 fmol mg−1); survival increased when EGFR and p53 were below thresholds. Multivariate stepwise analysis including T staging, EGFR and p53 revealed that T staging and EGFR were independent predictors of survival; relative risks were 3.68 for T staging and 2.65 for EGFR. Overall, EGFR remained an independent prognostic factor when response to treatment and T staging were considered in the multivariate analysis. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
head and neck cancer; induction treatment; epidermal growth factor receptor; thymidylate synthase; p53; dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase
To evaluate the association between dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) and thymidylate synthase (TS) levels in primary gastric tumors and clinical response to S-1 or S-1 plus irinotecan in patients with unresectable advanced gastric cancer, and to investigate the molecular mechanism of augmented antitumor activity of the combination using human gastric cancer xenografts with high TS activity.
Materials and Methods
TS mRNA expression and DPD mRNA expression were measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in initial primary cancer biopsy specimens in 29 patients with advanced gastric cancer who had received S-1 alone (n=18) or in combination with irinotecan (n=11). In an experimental study, antitumor effects of S-1, irinotecan, and the combination were assessed in mice bearing human gastric tumors with high TS expression (4-1-ST and AZ-521 tumors) and low TS expression (SC-2 tumors), and activities of 5-fluorouracil–metabolizing enzymes were measured.
In the clinical study, a strong statistical association between high TS expression and clinical resistance to S-1 alone was found (P = .009). In the experimental studies, S-1 plus irinotecan showed augmented antitumor activity against tumors with high TS activity (P < .01) compared with either agent alone. A potential mechanism for this effect was suggested by the significant reduction in TS activity observed following irinotecan administration in tumors with high TS activity.
This study suggests that, via down-regulation of TS by irinotecan treatment, combination chemotherapy with S-1 and irinotecan could be effective in gastric cancer patients with high TS levels.
We have investigated dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase expression as a prognostic marker in breast cancer. A total of 119 women with breast cancer undergoing surgery between 1985 and 1996 were included in this study. Eighty-seven patients were treated with postoperative chemotherapy including 5-fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil derivatives. Fifty-nine (50%) of 119 patients were determined to be immunostaining-positive for dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase. There was no significant difference between dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase staining and tumour size, lymph node status, clinical stage, oestrogen receptor status, histologic grade, or 5-fluorouracil administration. When evaluated in patients treated with 5-fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil derivatives, patients with dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase-positive tumours had a significantly (P<0.05) poorer disease-free survival compared to those with dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase-negative tumour. No conclusion can be drawn about the prognostic impact of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase status in patients who were not treated with 5-fluorouracil regimes due to the small number of such cases in this series. Lymph node and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase status were independent prognostic factors for disease-free survival, and lymph node status for overall survival using multivariate analysis. In conclusion, dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase is a possible prognostic factor in patients with breast cancer treated with 5-fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil derivatives.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 222–225. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600040 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign
breast cancer; 5-FU; DPD; immunohistochemistry; prognosis
AIM: To prove that the protein expression level of thymidylate synthase is a predictive factor for the response to S-1/cisplatin (CDDP) chemotherapy in gastric cancer.
METHODS: We measured the protein expression levels of thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) in advanced gastric cancer. Before S-1/CDDP chemotherapy, tumor specimens from primary sites were obtained by endoscopic biopsy and analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The chemotherapeutic effects on the primary sites were evaluated by endoscopic biopsy performed more than once after S-1/CDDP chemotherapy. The effects are a predictive factor for the response to S-1/CDDP chemotherapy in patients with advanced gastric cancer, as evaluated by endoscopic biopsy over time.
RESULTS: The protein expression level of TS was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the tumor than in the normal tissue, and significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the responders than in the non-responders. We were able to evaluate the correlation between changes in the protein expression levels of TS, DPD and OPRT and chemotherapeutic responses in 7 patients by assessing tumor tissues more than twice. In the responders, the protein expression level of TS was < 40 ng/mg protein. However, there were significant increases in the protein expression levels of TS (P < 0.01) and DPD (P < 0.05) after chemotherapy in 3 patients. In these cases, the patient assessment changed from “responder” to “non-responder”. In the non-responders, the protein expression level of TS was > 40 ng/mg protein.
CONCLUSION: We have confirmed that the protein expression level of TS is a predictive factor for the response to S-1/CDDP chemotherapy in patients with advanced gastric cancer.
Gastric cancer; Thymidylate synthase; Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; Orotate phosphoribosyltransferase; Biopsy
Six human cancer cell lines exhibiting a large range of sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) were evaluated for thymidylate synthase (TS) and p53 gene expression, TS and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) activity, as well as cell cycle parameters, S-phase fraction (SPF), bromodeoxyuridine labelling index (LI) and S-phase duration (SPD). All these parameters were investigated for 7 days in asynchronously growing cell populations and compared with the cell sensitivity to 5-FU. No significant correlation was found between S-phase parameters and TS gene expression and/or activity. TS activity was higher in proliferating cells; however, it was not significantly higher in rapidly growing cell lines with short SPD. Neither TS gene expression nor activity was found to correlate with 5-FU sensitivity. On the another hand, a statistically significant correlation (P < 0.0001) was observed between LI and SPD and 5-FU sensitivity. The present results suggest that cell cycle parameters such as SPD and/or LI could be better parameters for 5-FU sensitivity prediction than TS gene expression and/or activity. This could be especially informative in cases of concomitant radio-chemotherapy as S-phase parameters are already proposed for hyperfractionated radiotherapy planning.
The goal of targeted therapy has driven a search for markers of prognosis and response to adjuvant therapy. The surgical resection of a solid tumour induces tissue ischaemia and acidosis, both potent mediators of gene expression. This study investigated the impact of colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery on prognostic and predictive marker levels. Tumour expression of thymidylate synthase, thymidine phosphorylase, cyclin A, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), carbonic anhydrase-9, hypoxia inducible factor-1α, and glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1) proteins was determined before and after rectal cancer surgery. Spectral imaging of tissue sections stained by immunohistochemistry provided quantitative data. Surgery altered thymidylate synthase protein expression (P=0.02), and this correlated with the change in the proliferation marker cyclin A. The expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α, VEGF, and GLUT-1 proteins was also different following surgery. Colorectal cancer surgery significantly impacts on intratumoral gene expression, suggesting archival specimens may not accurately reflect in situ marker levels. Although rectal cancer was the studied model, the results may be applicable to any solid tumour undergoing extirpation in which molecular markers have been proposed to guide patient therapy.
colorectal cancer; gene expression; thymidylate synthase; hypoxia