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1.  ROS generation via NOX4 and its utility in the cytological diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder 
BMC Urology  2011;11:22.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production via NADPH oxidase (NOX) contributes to various types of cancer progression. In the present research, we examined the pathobiological role of NADPH oxidase (NOX)4-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the urinary bladder, and demonstrated the utility of ROS labeling in urine cytology.
NOX4 gene was silenced in vivo and in vitro by NOX4 siRNA transfection with or without atlocollagen. Cell cycle and measurement of ROS were analyzed by flowcytometry. Orthotopic implantation animal model was used in vivo experiment. NOX4 expression in urothelial carcinoma cells was observed by immunohistochemical analysis using surgical specimens of human bladder cancer. Urine cytology was performed after treatment with ROS detection reagents in addition to Papanicolaou staining.
NOX4 was overexpressed in several UC cell lines and the NOX inhibitor, diphenylene iodonium reduced intracellular ROS and induced p16-dependent cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. Moreover, silencing of NOX4 by siRNA significantly reduced cancer cell growth in vivo as assessed in an orthotopic mouse model. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated high expression of NOX4 in low grade/non-invasive and high grade/invasive UC including precancerous lesions such as dysplasia but not in normal urothelium. Then, we assessed the usefulness of cytological analysis of ROS producing cells in urine (ROS-C). Urine samples obtained from UC cases and normal controls were treated with fluorescent reagents labeling the hydrogen peroxide/superoxide anion and cytological atypia of ROS positive cells were analyzed. As a result, the sensitivity for detection of low grade, non-invasive UC was greatly increased (35% in conventional cytology (C-C) vs. 75% in ROS-C), and the specificity was 95%. Through ROS-C, we observed robust improvement in the accuracy of follow-up urine cytology for cases with previously diagnosed UC, especially in those with low grade/non-invasive cancer recurrence (0% in C-C vs. 64% in ROS-C).
This is the first report demonstrating that ROS generation through NOX4 contributes to an early step of urothelial carcinogenesis and cancer cell survival. In addition, cytology using ROS labeling could be a useful diagnostic tool in human bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3215170  PMID: 22032647
2.  RNA Interference-Directed Knockdown of Urokinase Plasminogen Activator and Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor Inhibits Prostate Cancer Cell Invasion, Survival and Tumorigenicity In vivo 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(43):36529-36540.
The invasive ability of tumor cells plays a key role in prostate cancer metastasis and is a major cause of treatment failure. Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR)-mediated signaling have been implicated in tumor cell invasion, survival and metastasis in a variety of cancers. This study was undertaken to investigate the biological roles of uPA and uPAR in prostate cancer cell invasion, survival and the potential of uPA and uPAR as targets for prostate cancer therapy. uPA and uPAR expression correlates with the metastatic potential of prostate cancer cells. Thus, therapies designed to inhibit uPA and uPAR expression would be beneficial. LNCaP, DU145 and PC3 are prostate cancer cell lines with low, moderate and high metastatic potential, respectively, as demonstrated by their capacity to invade extracellular matrix (ECM). In this study we utilized small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs), also referred to as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), to target human uPA and uPAR. These siRNA constructs significantly inhibited uPA and uPAR expression at both the mRNA and protein levels in the highly metastatic prostate cancer cell line PC3. Our data demonstrate that uPA-uPAR knockdown in PC3 cells resulted in a dramatic reduction of tumor cell invasion as indicated by a matrigel invasion assay. Furthermore, simultaneous silencing of the genes for uPA and uPAR using a single plasmid construct expressing shRNAs for both uPA and uPAR significantly reduced cell viability and ultimately resulted in the induction of apoptotic cell death. RNAi for uPA and uPAR also abrogated uPA-uPAR signaling to downstream target molecules such as extracellular-signal regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) and the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat 3). In addition, our results demonstrate that intratumoral injection with the plasmid construct expressing shRNAs for uPA and uPAR almost completely inhibited established tumor growth and survival in an orthotopic mouse prostate cancer model. These findings uncovered evidence of a complex signaling network operating downstream of uPA-uPAR that actively advances tumor cell invasion, proliferation and survival of prostate cancer cells. Thus, RNAi-directed targeting of uPA and uPAR is a convenient and novel tool for studying the biological role of the uPA-uPAR system and raises the potential of its application for prostate cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC1351057  PMID: 16127174
RNAi; prostate cancer; invasion; survival; uPA and uPAR; siRNA (small interfering RNA); shRNA (small hairpin RNA); RNAi (RNA interference); uPA (urokinaseplasminogen activator); uPAR (uPA receptor); ANOVA (analysis of variance); RT (reverse transcription); TPBS (tween-20 (0.1%) phospate buffered saline); BSA (bovine serum albumin)
3.  Prognostic impact of urokinase-type plasminogen activator system components in clear cell renal cell carcinoma patients without distant metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:974.
Members of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) system including uPA, its receptor uPAR and the plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) play an important role in tumour invasion and progression in a variety of tumour types. Since the majority of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) shows distant metastasis at time of diagnosis or later, the interplay of uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 might be of importance in this process determining the patients’ outcome.
Corresponding pairs of malignant and non-malignant renal tissue specimens were obtained from 112 ccRCC patients without distant metastasis who underwent tumour nephrectomy. Tissue extracts prepared from fresh-frozen tissue samples by detergent extraction were used for the determination of antigen levels of uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 by ELISA. Antigen levels were normalised to protein concentrations and expressed as ng per mg of total protein.
Antigen levels of uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 correlated with each other in the malignant tissue specimens (rs=0.51-0.65; all P<0.001). Antigen levels of uPA system components were significantly higher in tissue extracts of non-organ confined tumours (pT3+4) compared to organ-confined tumours (pT1+2; all P<0.05). Significantly elevated levels of uPAR and PAI-1 were also observed in high grade ccRCC. When using median antigen levels as cut-off points, all three uPA system factors were significant predictors for disease-specific survival (DSS) in univariate Cox’s regression analyses. High levels of uPA and uPAR remained independent predictors for DSS with HR=2.86 (95% CI 1.07-7.67, P=0.037) and HR=4.70 (95% CI 1.51-14.6, P=0.008), respectively, in multivariate Cox’s regression analyses. A combination of high antigen levels of uPA and/or uPAR further improved the prediction of DSS in multivariate analysis (HR=14.5, 95% CI 1.88-111.1, P=0.010). Moreover, high uPA and/or uPAR levels defined a patient subgroup of high risk for tumour-related death in ccRCC patients with organ-confined disease (pT1+2) (HR=9.83, 95% CI 1.21-79.6, P=0.032).
High levels of uPA and uPAR in tumour tissue extracts are associated with a significantly shorter DSS of ccRCC patients without distant metastases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-974) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301943  PMID: 25519168
PAI-1; Prognostic biomarker; Renal cell carcinoma; uPA; uPAR; uPA system
4.  A novel role for cyclooxygenase-2 in regulating vascular channel formation by human breast cancer cells 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(6):R69.
Cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 expression correlates directly with highly aggressive and metastatic breast cancer, but the mechanism underlying this correlation remains obscure. We hypothesized that invasive human breast cancer cells that over-express COX-2 have the unique ability to differentiate into extracellular-matrix-rich vascular channels, also known as vasculogenic mimicry. Vascular channels have been associated with angiogenesis without involvement of endothelial cells, and may serve as another mechanism by which tumor cells obtain nutrients to survive, especially in less vascularized regions of the tumor.
To determine whether COX-2 regulates vascular channel formation, we assessed whether treatment with celecoxib (a selective COX-2 inhibitor) or silencing COX-2 synthesis by siRNA inhibits vascular channel formation by breast cancer cell lines. Cell lines were selected based on their invasive potential and COX-2 expression. Additionally, gene expression analysis was performed to identify candidate genes involved in COX-2-induced vascular channel formation. Finally, vascular channels were analyzed in surgically resected human breast cancer specimens that expressed varying levels of COX-2.
We found that invasive human breast cancer cells that over-express COX-2 develop vascular channels when plated on three-dimensional matigel cultures, whereas non-invasive cell lines that express low levels of COX-2 did not develop such channels. Similarly, we identified vascular channels in high-grade invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast over-expressing COX-2, but not in low-grade breast tumors. Vascular channel formation was significantly suppressed when cells were treated with celecoxib or COX-2 siRNA. Inhibition of channel formation was abrogated by addition of exogenous prostaglandin E2. In vitro results were corroborated in vivo in tumor-bearing mice treated with celecoxib. Using gene expression profiling, we identified several genes in the angiogenic and survival pathways that are engaged in vascular channel formation.
Antivascular therapies targeting tumor cell vasculogenic mimicry may be an effective approach to the treatment of patients with highly metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1797025  PMID: 17156488
5.  Aspirin Blocks EGF-stimulated Cell Viability in a COX-1 Dependent Manner in Ovarian Cancer Cells 
Journal of Cancer  2013;4(8):671-678.
Objective: Although aspirin has been associated with a reduction of the risk of cancer when used as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, its use to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer is controversial. Ovarian cancer cells usually express high levels of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX)-1. Because aspirin is a rather selective inhibitor of COX-1, the ability of aspirin to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer may be dependent on the level of COX-1 expression in those cells. Furthermore, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is frequently overexpressed in the malignant phenotype of ovarian cancer leading to increased cell proliferation and survival. Here we investigated if aspirin attenuates EGFR-activated ovarian cancer cell growth in a COX-1 dependent manner.
Methods: Cell viability assays and Western blot analyses were used to determine the effect of aspirin on EGF-stimulated cell proliferation. Gene silencing and gene expression techniques were employed to knockdown or to express COX-1, respectively.
Results: Aspirin inhibited cell viability induced by EGF in a dose dependent manner in COX-1 positive ovarian cancer cells. On the other hand, aspirin had no effect on cell viability in COX-1 negative ovarian cancer cells. In particular, aspirin decreased phosphorylated Akt and Erk activated by EGF. COX-1 silencing in COX-1 positive cells attenuated the inhibitory effect of aspirin on EGF-stimulated cell viability. Furthermore, we developed a COX-1 expressing cell line (SKCOX-1) by stably transfecting COX-1 expression vector into COX-1 negative SKOV-3 cells. SKCOX-1 cells were more responsive to aspirin when compared to cells transfected with empty vector, and decreased EGF-activated Akt and Erk as well as cell viability.
Conclusions: Taken together, aspirin inhibits viability of ovarian cancer cells by blocking phosphorylation of Akt and Erk activated by EGF. Thus it may potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of drugs used to treat COX-1 positive ovarian cancer subsets.
PMCID: PMC3805995  PMID: 24155779
ovarian cancer; aspirin; COX-1; EGF; Erk; Akt; cell viability.
6.  Phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase, mTOR, and Glycogen synthase kinase-3β mediated regulation of p21 in human urothelial carcinoma cells 
BMC Urology  2011;11:19.
The PTEN/Phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase (PI3-kinase) growth factor signaling pathway plays a critical role in epithelial tumor development in a multitude of tissue types. Deletion of the Pten tumor suppressor gene in murine urothelial cells in vivo results in upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. We have previously shown in mice that p21 expression blocks an increase in urothelial cell proliferation due to Pten deletion. In this study, we utilized human urothelial carcinoma cells UMUC-3 and UMUC-14 to identify the signaling pathways downstream of PI3-kinase that regulate p21.
Cells were treated with a combination of PI3-kinase stimulating growth factors and kinase inhibitors, or transfected with exogenous genes in order to identify the signaling events that are necessary for p21 induction. Mice with conditional deletion of Pten in bladder urothelium were also examined for evidence of PI3-kinase pathway signaling events that affect p21 expression.
When cells were treated with PI3-kinase activating growth factors EGF or PDGF, we found that p21 levels increased, in a manner similar to that observed in mice. We used the inhibitors LY294002, Akti-1/2, and rapamycin, to show that p21 induction is dependent upon PI3-kinase and AKT activity, and partially dependent on mTOR. We treated the cells with proteasome inhibitor MG-132 and found that p21 may be degraded in the proteasome to regulate protein levels. Importantly, our findings show that GSK-3β plays a role in diminishing p21 levels in cells. Treatment of cells with the GSK-3β inhibitor SB-216763 increased p21 levels, while exogenous expression of GSK-3β caused a decrease in p21, indicating that GSK-3β actively reduces p21 levels. We found that a combined treatment of LY294002 and SB-216763 improved the cytotoxic effect against UMUC-3 and UMUC-14 carcinoma cells over LY294002 alone, suggesting potential therapeutic uses for GSK-3β inhibitors. Immunohistochemical staining in bladders from wild-type and Pten-deleted mice indicated that GSK-3β inhibitory phosphorylation increases when Pten is deleted.
PI3-kinase and AKT cause an upregulation of p21 by suppressing GSK-3β activity and activating mTOR in both cultured human urothelial carcinoma cells and mouse urothelial cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3173386  PMID: 21864408
7.  High level of urokinase plasminogen activator contributes to cholangiocarcinoma invasion and metastasis 
AIM: To investigate the role of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) invasion and its correlation with clinicopathological parameters.
METHODS: uPA expression in CCA tissue was determined by immunohistochemistry. The level of uPA from two CCA cell lines (HuCCA-1 and KKU-M213) and a non-cancer immortalized cholangiocyte cell line (H69) was monitored by plasminogen-gelatin zymography and western blotting, whereas that of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) protein and uPA receptor (uPAR) mRNA was monitored by western blotting and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Two independent methods were employed to suppress uPA function: a synthetic uPA inhibitor (B428) and silencing of uPA gene expression using siRNA. In vitro invasion of the uPA-disrupted cells was assessed by Matrigel-coated Transwell assay.
RESULTS: The immunohistochemical study showed that 75.3% (131/174) of CCA tissues expressed uPA. High uPA expression was correlated with lymphatic invasion and metastasis of CCA patients. Plasminogen-gelatin zymography of the conditioned media and cell-surface eluates showed that both CCA cell lines, but not H69, expressed both secreted and membrane-bound forms of uPA. Although the two CCA cell lines, HuCCA-1 and KKU-M213, expressed a relatively high level of uPA and uPAR, the latter exhibited a much lower degree of in vitro invasiveness, correlating with a high expression of PAI-1 in the latter, but not in the former. Suppressing uPA function with a specific uPA inhibitor, B428, or with siRNA against uPA reduced in vitro invasiveness of KKU-M213 cells, demonstrating the requirement for uPA in the invasiveness of CCA cells. Therefore, our in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that uPA is an important requirement for the invasion process of CCA.
CONCLUSION: uPA expression correlates with lymphatic invasion and metastasis in vivo and is required for CCA cell invasion in vitro, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3261541  PMID: 22294827
Bile duct cancer; Cholangiocarcinoma; Cancer invasion; Urokinase plasminogen activator; Cancer metastasis
8.  Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt regulates the balance between plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and urokinase to promote migration of SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells 
Gynecologic oncology  2006;104(2):470-479.
Increased levels of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) are associated with shortened overall survival in ovarian cancer patients. Additionally, elevated levels of the serine protease inhibitor (serpin), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a uPA inhibitor, have also been correlated with an unfavorable prognosis in ovarian cancer. Therefore, it is critical to understand the signaling pathways that regulate PAI-1 and uPA expression in cancer cell migration-invasion.
We studied the PI3K/Akt, Rho kinase/ROCK, p38 MAPK and MEK pathways and their modulation of PAI-1 and uPA expression and wound-induced cell migration in SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells. The PI3K/Akt pathway was further examined using pharmacological inhibitors (LY294002 and wortmannin), Akt siRNA, constitutively active Akt adenovirus and treatment with IGF-1/insulin in the SKOV-3 cells.
The PI3K/Akt pathway negatively regulates PAI-1 expression and positively correlates with migratory abilities and uPA expression in SKOV-3 cells. A reduction in active Akt results in an increase in PAI-1 expression coupled with a decrease in uPA expression to ultimately result in reduced cell migration and invasion. By contrast, an increase in Akt activity reduces PAI-1 expression and results in an increase in SKOV-3 wound-induced cell migration. Furthermore, IGF-1 and insulin stimulated SKOV-3 migration by altering the balance between uPA and PAI-1 to favor uPA, and the enhanced migration was attenuated by treatment with LY294002 indicating PI3K/Akt in this pathway.
These results suggest an overall ovarian tumor-protective role for PAI-1, and that the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway regulates the ratio of PAI-1:uPA to either increase or decrease cell migration.
PMCID: PMC4049274  PMID: 17070899
Plasminogen activator system; PAI-1; Urokinase; Migration and invasion; SKOV-3 cells; PI3K/Akt signaling system
9.  uPA/uPAR downregulation inhibits radiation-induced migration, invasion and angiogenesis in IOMM-Lee meningioma cells and decreases tumor growth in vivo 
International journal of oncology  2008;33(5):937-947.
Meningioma is a well-known tumor of the central nervous system, and is treated by surgical resection and/or radiation. Recently, ionizing radiation has been shown to enhance invasiveness of surviving tumor cells, and several proteolytic enzyme molecules, including urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), seem to be upregulated after radiation. uPA and its receptor (uPAR) have been strongly implicated in tumor invasion, angiogenesis and progression. Hence, the tumor-associated uPA-uPAR system is considered a potential target for cancer therapy. In the present study, we show that radiation increases uPA levels in the IOMM-Lee meningioma cells, and subsequently, increases tumor invasion, migration and angiogenesis in vitro. Studies with signaling molecule inhibitors AG1478, U0126 and SB203580 (specific inhibitors of EGFR, MEK1/2 and p38 respectively) showed inhibition of uPA levels in both basal and irradiated-IOMM-Lee cells. The PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) and the AKT inhibitor (AKT inhibitor IV) also partially decreased uPA expression, whereas SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, did not affect uPA levels in either radiated or non-radiated cells. Further, a bicistronic plasmid construct with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against uPA and its receptor inhibited tumor invasion, migration and angiogenesis in radiation-treated IOMM-Lee cells. In addition, siRNA against uPA and its receptor inhibited subcutaneous tumor growth in athymic nude mice in combination with radiation in a synergistic manner. Thus, the specific targeting of proteases via RNA interference could augment the therapeutic effect of radiation and prevent the adverse effects resulting from tumor cells that receive sublethal doses of radiation within the tumor mass.
PMCID: PMC2575644  PMID: 18949356
10.  Kaposi's Sarcoma Associated Herpes Virus (KSHV) Induced COX-2: A Key Factor in Latency, Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Cell Survival and Invasion 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(2):e1000777.
Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), an enigmatic endothelial cell vascular neoplasm, is characterized by the proliferation of spindle shaped endothelial cells, inflammatory cytokines (ICs), growth factors (GFs) and angiogenic factors. KSHV is etiologically linked to KS and expresses its latent genes in KS lesion endothelial cells. Primary infection of human micro vascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-d) results in the establishment of latent infection and reprogramming of host genes, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is one of the highly up-regulated genes. Our previous study suggested a role for COX-2 in the establishment and maintenance of KSHV latency. Here, we examined the role of COX-2 in the induction of ICs, GFs, angiogenesis and invasive events occurring during KSHV de novo infection of endothelial cells. A significant amount of COX-2 was detected in KS tissue sections. Telomerase-immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial cells supporting KSHV stable latency (TIVE-LTC) expressed elevated levels of functional COX-2 and microsomal PGE2 synthase (m-PGES), and secreted the predominant eicosanoid inflammatory metabolite PGE2. Infected HMVEC-d and TIVE-LTC cells secreted a variety of ICs, GFs, angiogenic factors and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which were significantly abrogated by COX-2 inhibition either by chemical inhibitors or by siRNA. The ability of these factors to induce tube formation of uninfected endothelial cells was also inhibited. PGE2, secreted early during KSHV infection, profoundly increased the adhesion of uninfected endothelial cells to fibronectin by activating the small G protein Rac1. COX-2 inhibition considerably reduced KSHV latent ORF73 gene expression and survival of TIVE-LTC cells. Collectively, these studies underscore the pivotal role of KSHV induced COX-2/PGE2 in creating KS lesion like microenvironment during de novo infection. Since COX-2 plays multiple roles in KSHV latent gene expression, which themselves are powerful mediators of cytokine induction, anti-apoptosis, cell survival and viral genome maintainence, effective inhibition of COX-2 via well-characterized clinically approved COX-2 inhibitors could potentially be used in treatment to control latent KSHV infection and ameliorate KS.
Author Summary
Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpes virus (KSHV), with a 160 kb DNA genome, has evolved with two distinct life cycle phases, namely latency and lytic replication. KS, a complex angioproliferative disease, is regulated by a balance between pro-angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors. In our previous study, we showed that KSHV modulates host factors COX-2/PGE2 for its own advantage to promote its latent (persistent) infection. The premise that COX-2 is involved in growth and progression of several types of solid cancers and inflammation associated diseases has been well documented but has never been studied in KS. Here, utilizing COX-2 inhibition strategies, including chemical inhibition and a gene silencing approach, we systematically identified the potential role of KSHV induced COX-2/PGE2 in viral pathogenesis related events such as secretion of inflammatory and angiogenic cytokines, MMPs and cell adhesion in de novo infected or latently infected endothelial cells. We report that COX-2/PGE2 inhibition down-regulates viral latent gene expression and survival of latently infected endothelial cells. The data emanating from our in vitro studies is valuable, informative and requires further examination using an in vitro angiogenic model and in vivo nude mice model to further validate COX-2 as a novel therapeutic to target latent infection and the associated diseases like KS.
PMCID: PMC2820536  PMID: 20169190
11.  Cyclooxygenases in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Many epidemiological studies demonstrate that treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the incidence and mortality of certain malignancies, especially gastrointestinal cancer. The cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes are well-known targets of NSAIDs. However, conventional NSAIDs non-selectively inhibit both the constitutive form COX-1, and the inducible form COX-2. Recent evidence indicates that COX-2 is an important molecular target for anticancer therapies. Its expression is undetectable in most normal tissues, and is highly induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines, mitogens, tumor promoters and growth factors. It is now well-established that COX-2 is chronically overexpressed in many premalignant, malignant, and metastastic cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Overexpression of COX-2 in patients with HCC is generally higher in well-differentiated HCCs compared with less-differentiated HCCs or histologically normal liver, suggesting that COX-2 may be involved in the early stages of hepatocarcinogenesis, and increased expression of COX-2 in noncancerous liver tissue has been significantly associated with shorter disease-free survival in patients with HCC.
In tumors, overexpression of COX-2 leads to an increase in prostaglandin (PG) levels, which affect many mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis, such as angiogenesis, inhibition of apoptosis, stimulation of cell growth as well as the invasiveness and metastatic potential of tumor cells.
The availability of novel agents that selectively inhibit COX-2 (COXIB), has contributed to shedding light on the role of this molecule. Experimental studies on animal models of liver cancer have shown that NSAIDs, including both selective and non-selective COX-2 inhibitors, exert chemopreventive as well as therapeutic effects. However, the key mechanism by which COX-2 inhibitors affect HCC cell growth is as yet not fully understood.
Increasing evidence suggests the involvement of molecular targets other than COX-2 in the anti-proliferative effects of COX-2 selective inhibitors. Therefore, COX-inhibitors may use both COX-2-dependent and COX-2-independent mechanisms to mediate their antitumor properties, although their relative contributions toward the in vivo effects remain less clear.
Here we review the features of COX enzymes, the role of the expression of COX isoforms in hepatocarcinogenesis and the mechanisms by which they may contribute to HCC growth, the pharmacological properties of COX-2 selective inhibitors, the antitumor effects of COX inhibitors, and the rationale and feasibility of COX-2 inhibitors for the treatment of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4088007  PMID: 16937518
Cyclooxygenase-2; Cyclooxygenase-1; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Inhibit cyclooxygenase-2
12.  Loss of GATA3 in bladder cancer promotes cell migration and invasion 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2014;15(4):428-435.
The transcription factor GATA3 is known as a breast tumor suppressor as well as a urothelial marker, and its loss is often seen in high-grade invasive bladder cancer. Nonetheless, GATA3 functions in bladder cancer cells remain largely unknown. In this study, we assessed the effects of GATA3 silencing via RNA interference on cell migration, invasion, and proliferation of bladder cancer. GATA3 expression was downregulated in all four bladder cancer lines examined, compared with a non-neoplastic urothelial line SVHUC. Knockdown of GATA3 in the bladder cancer lines (5637, TCC-SUP, J82) resulted in promotion of cell migration and invasion as well as increases in the expression of their related molecules, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-9, and the activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9. GATA3 loss was also associated with an increasing level of a mesenchymal marker N-cadherin and a decreasing level of an epithelial marker β-catenin. Consistent with these findings, enforced expression of GATA3 in UMUC3 inhibited cell migration and invasion. However, GATA3 showed marginal effects on bladder cancer cell viability and the expression of cell cycle- or apoptosis-related molecules. Additionally, in contrast to bladder cancer lines, no significant effects of GATA3 silencing on cell migration were seen in SVHUC. These findings suggest that GATA3 plays an important role in the prevention of bladder cancer progression and metastasis by inhibiting cell migration and invasion as well as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
PMCID: PMC3979820  PMID: 24448324
GATA3; bladder cancer; cell invasion; cell migration; cell proliferation
13.  Chemoprevention of urothelial cell carcinoma growth and invasion by the dual COX-LOX inhibitor licofelone in UPII-SV40T transgenic mice 
Epidemiological and clinical data suggest that use of anti-inflammatory agents is associated with reduced risk for bladder cancer. We determined the chemopreventive efficacy of licofelone, a dual cyclooxygenase (COX)-lipoxygenase (LOX) inhibitor, in a transgenic UPII-SV40T mouse model of urothelial transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). After genotyping, six week-old UPII-SV40T mice (n=30/group) were fed control (AIN-76A) or experimental diets containing 150 or 300 ppm licofelone for 34 weeks. At 40 weeks of age, all mice were euthanized, and urinary bladders were collected to determine urothelial tumor weights and to evaluate histopathology. Results showed that bladders of the transgenic mice fed control diet weighed 3-5-fold more than did those of the wild type mice due to urothelial tumor growth. However, treatment of transgenic mice with licofelone led to a significant, dose-dependent inhibition of the urothelial tumor growth (by 68.6 - 80.2%, p<0.0001 in males; by 36.9 - 55.3%, p<0.0001 in females) compared with the control group. The licofelone diet led to the development of significantly fewer invasive tumors in these transgenic mice. Urothelial tumor progression to invasive TCC was inhibited in both male (up to 50%; p<0.01) and females mice (41-44%; p<0.003). Urothelial tumors of the licofelone-fed mice showed an increase in apoptosis (p53, p21, Bax, Caspase3) with a decrease in proliferation, inflammation and angiogenesis markers (proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), COX2, 5LOX, prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES1), FLAP, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These results suggest that licofelone can serve as potential chemopreventive for bladder TCC.
PMCID: PMC4310686  PMID: 24795386
Transitional Cell Carcinoma; Invasive Urothelial Cancer; UPII-SV40T; Licofelone; COX-2; 5-LOX; Chemoprevention
14.  Predictive value of topoisomerase IIα immunostaining in urothelial bladder carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2001;54(4):309-313.
Aims—The nuclear enzyme DNA topoisomerase II has been shown to be required for chromatin condensation and chromosomal segregation during mitosis; its isoform topo IIα is linked with active cell proliferation in mammalian cells. The aim of this study was to examine the relation of the expression of topo IIα to the biological behaviour of conventional urinary bladder cancer.
Methods—Formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded tissue from 94 specimens of bladder urothelial cancer were immunohistochemically stained for topo IIα. For each case, a topo IIα index was determined. A similar index had been determined for Ki-67, a known cell proliferation marker. Each case had also been graded, staged, and evaluated for DNA ploidy as well as for p53 and bcl-2 immunoreactivity.
Results—Raised topo IIα expression (in ≥ 10% of malignant nuclei) correlated with two adverse prognosticators—high grade (p = 0.027) and invasion of the muscularis propria (p = 0.013), but with no other evaluated parameter. By multivariate survival analysis using Cox's proportional hazard model, high expression of topo IIα was found to be predictive for worse survival (p = 0.0047). Patients' age, tumour stage, and grade were also retained as independent prognostic factors (p = 0.0349, p = 0.00005, and p = 0.0130, respectively). The negative influence of increased topo IIα immunopositivity on patients' survival was also seen in the subgroup of patients with non-muscle invasive carcinomas (p = 0.0004), in patients with a bcl-2 negative phenotype (p = 0.0330), and in those with low Ki-67 indices (p = 0.0341).
Conclusions—Because topo IIα and Ki-67 failed to demonstrate a significant inter-relation, they appear to be different molecules that both function at separate phases in the complex process of cellular proliferation. The assessment of increased topo IIα immunoreactivity in specimens from urothelial carcinomas might help to select patients (particularly among those with superficial tumours) in the worse prognostic categories for new therapeutic strategies.
Key Words: transitional cell carcinoma • prognosis • DNA topoisomerase IIα
PMCID: PMC1731402  PMID: 11304849
15.  High expression of Notch ligand Jagged2 is associated with the metastasis and recurrence in urothelial carcinoma of bladder 
Background: The Notch signaling pathway is closely related with human organ development and tumorgenisis. Jagged2 is among the most popular topic in Notch studies currently. Recent studies found its vital role in tumor metastasis in breast cancer; however, its expression profile and its prognostic value in urothelial carcinoma of bladder have not been investigated. Methods: Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the expression of Jagged2 in 120 bladder urothelial carcinoma. Moreover, the expression of Jagged2 was analyzed by Western blot in 60 bladder urothelial carcinoma and 20 normal epithelial tissues. MTT assay and flow cytometry and transwell assay were used to examine the proliferative and invasive ability of bladder cancer cells with the treatment of GSIXX (the inhibitor of Jagged2). Prognostic value of Jagged2 expression and its correlation with tumor metastasis and recurrence were evaluated, and the proliferative and invasive ability and cell cycle process of the bladder cancer cells were detected as well. Results: There was a significantly higher Jagged2 expressions in bladder urothelial carcinoma and highly invasive bladder T24 cells than those in bladder normal tissues and the superficial bladder BIU-87 cells. Jagged2 expression was positively correlated with histological grade, p T stage, recurrence, and metastasis. With the increasing concentration of GSIXX, we found that not only the cell proliferation and invasion activity decreased significantly, but also the cell cycle was blocked at G2/M stage. Conclusions: Jagged2 expression status was closely correlated with important histopathologic characteristics (grades and stages) and the recurrence and metastasis of bladder urothelial carcinomas. Furthermore, Jagged2 played an important function on the bladder cancer cells’ proliferation by regulating the cancer cell cycle from G1/S to G2/M and probably promoted the invasion and metastasis of bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3816812  PMID: 24228105
Bladder urothelial carcinoma; Jagged2; histopathologic grade; clinical stage; GSIXX
16.  Loss of the Urothelial Differentiation Marker FOXA1 Is Associated with High Grade, Late Stage Bladder Cancer and Increased Tumor Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36669.
Approximately 50% of patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) develop metastatic disease, which is almost invariably lethal. However, our understanding of pathways that drive aggressive behavior of MIBC is incomplete. Members of the FOXA subfamily of transcription factors are implicated in normal urogenital development and urologic malignancies. FOXA proteins are implicated in normal urothelial differentiation, but their role in bladder cancer is unknown. We examined FOXA expression in commonly used in vitro models of bladder cancer and in human bladder cancer specimens, and used a novel in vivo tissue recombination system to determine the functional significance of FOXA1 expression in bladder cancer. Logistic regression analysis showed decreased FOXA1 expression is associated with increasing tumor stage (p<0.001), and loss of FOXA1 is associated with high histologic grade (p<0.001). Also, we found that bladder urothelium that has undergone keratinizing squamous metaplasia, a precursor to the development of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) exhibited loss of FOXA1 expression. Furthermore, 81% of cases of SCC of the bladder were negative for FOXA1 staining compared to only 40% of urothelial cell carcinomas. In addition, we showed that a subpopulation of FOXA1 negative urothelial tumor cells are highly proliferative. Knockdown of FOXA1 in RT4 bladder cancer cells resulted in increased expression of UPK1B, UPK2, UPK3A, and UPK3B, decreased E-cadherin expression and significantly increased cell proliferation, while overexpression of FOXA1 in T24 cells increased E-cadherin expression and significantly decreased cell growth and invasion. In vivo recombination of bladder cancer cells engineered to exhibit reduced FOXA1 expression with embryonic rat bladder mesenchyme and subsequent renal capsule engraftment resulted in enhanced tumor proliferation. These findings provide the first evidence linking loss of FOXA1 expression with histological subtypes of MIBC and urothelial cell proliferation, and suggest an important role for FOXA1 in the malignant phenotype of MIBC.
PMCID: PMC3349679  PMID: 22590586
17.  Histone deacetylase 8 is deregulated in urothelial cancer but not a target for efficient treatment 
Previous studies have shown that class-I histone deacetylase (HDAC) 8 mRNA is upregulated in urothelial cancer tissues and urothelial cancer cell lines compared to benign controls. Using urothelial cancer cell lines we evaluated whether specific targeting of HDAC8 might be a therapeutic option in bladder cancer treatment.
We conducted siRNA-mediated knockdown and specific pharmacological inhibition of HDAC8 with the three different inhibitors compound 2, compound 5, and compound 6 in several urothelial carcinoma cell lines with distinct HDAC8 expression profiles. Levels of HDAC and marker proteins were determined by western blot analysis and mRNA levels were measured by quantitative real-time PCR. Cellular effects of HDAC8 suppression were analyzed by ATP assay, flow cytometry, colony forming assay and migration assay.
Efficient siRNA-mediated knockdown of HDAC8 reduced proliferation up to 45%. The HDAC8 specific inhibitors compound 5 and compound 6 significantly reduced viability of all urothelial cancer cell lines (IC50 9 – 21 μM). Flow cytometry revealed only a slight increase in the sub-G1 fraction indicating a limited induction of apoptosis. Expression of thymidylate synthase was partly reduced; PARP-cleavage was not detected. The influence of the pharmacological inhibition on clonogenic growth and migration show a cell line- and inhibitor-dependent reduction with the strongest effects after treatment with compound 5 and compound 6.
Deregulation of HDAC8 is frequent in urothelial cancer, but neither specific pharmacological inhibition nor siRNA-mediated knockdown of HDAC8 impaired viability of urothelial cancer cell lines in a therapeutic useful manner. Accordingly, HDAC8 on its own is not a promising drug target in bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC4230422  PMID: 25011684
Histone deacetylase 8; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; Urothelial bladder cancer; Cell cycle arrest
18.  Reduced expression of ezrin in urothelial bladder cancer signifies more advanced tumours and an impaired survival: validatory study of two independent patient cohorts 
BMC Urology  2014;14:36.
Reduced membranous expression of the cytoskeleton-associated protein ezrin has previously been demonstrated to correlate with tumour progression and poor prognosis in patients with T1G3 urothelial cell carcinoma of the bladder treated with non-maintenance Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (n = 92), and the associations with adverse clinicopathological factors have been validated in another, unselected, cohort (n = 104). In the present study, we examined the prognostic significance of ezrin expression in urothelial bladder cancer in a total number of 442 tumours from two independent patient cohorts.
Immunohistochemical expression of ezrin was evaluated in tissue microarrays with tumours from one retrospective cohort of bladder cancer (n = 110; cohort I) and one population-based cohort (n = 342; cohort II). Classification regression tree analysis was applied for selection of prognostic cutoff. Kaplan-Meier analysis, log rank test and Cox regression proportional hazards’ modeling were used to evaluate the impact of ezrin on 5-year overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS) and progression-free survival (PFS).
Ezrin expression could be evaluated in tumours from 100 and 342 cases, respectively. In both cohorts, reduced membranous ezrin expression was significantly associated with more advanced T-stage (p < 0.001), high grade tumours (p < 0.001), female sex (p = 0.040 and p = 0.013), and membranous expression of podocalyxin-like protein (p < 0.001 and p = 0.009). Moreover, reduced ezrin expression was associated with a significantly reduced 5-year OS in both cohorts (HR = 3.09 95% CI 1.71-5.58 and HR = 2.15(1.51-3.06), and with DSS in cohort II (HR = 2.77, 95% CI 1.78-4.31). This association also remained significant in adjusted analysis in Cohort I (HR1.99, 95% CI 1.05-3.77) but not in Cohort II. In pTa and pT1 tumours in cohort II, there was no significant association between ezrin expression and time to progression.
The results from this study validate previous findings of reduced membranous ezrin expression in urothelial bladder cancer being associated with unfavourable clinicopathological characteristics and an impaired survival. The utility of ezrin as a prognostic biomarker in transurethral resection specimens merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4049499  PMID: 24885195
Ezrin; Urothelial bladder cancer; Prognosis
19.  Bromodomain 4 protein is a predictor of survival for urothelial carcinoma of bladder 
Background: Bromodomain 4 (BRD4) protein is a double bromodomain-containing protein that binds preferentially to acetylated chromatins. BRD4 is essential for cellular growth and has been implicated in cell cycle control, DNA replication and carcinogenesis. However, its expression profile and prognostic value in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) have not been investigated. Methods: Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot were used to explore BRD4 expression in UCBs and normal bladder tissues. Moreover immunohistochemistry (ICH) was used to detect the expression of BRD4 in UCBs. Spearman’s rank correlation, Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards regression model were used to analyze the data. Results: Up-regulated expression of BRD4 mRNA and protein was observed in the majority of UCBs by qRT-PCR and Western blot when compared with their paired normal bladder tissues. Clinicopathological analysis was showed a significant correlation existed between the higher expression of BRD4 protein with the histological grade, lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis (P < 0.05); Survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier survival curve and log-rank test demonstrated that elevated BRD4 expression in bladder cancer tissue predicted poorer overall survival (OS) compared with group in lower expression. Notably, multivariate analyses by Cox’s proportional hazard model revealed that expression of BRD4 was an independent prognostic factor in UCB. Conclusions: These results suggest that the aberrant expression of BRD4 in human UCB is possibly involved in the tumorigenesis and development, and the BRD4 protein could act as a potential biomarker for prognosis assessment of bladder cancer. Further studies on the cellular functions of BRD4 need to address these issues.
PMCID: PMC4129038  PMID: 25120803
Urothelial carcinoma of the bladder; Bromodomain 4 protein; immunohistochemical; prognosis
20.  Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression and Its Prognostic Significance in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2012;46(3):237-245.
The prognostic value of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains unclear. The purposes of this study are to elucidate the clinical significance of COX-2 in clear cell RCC (CCRCC) and to assess the treatment effect of COX-2 inhibition on CCRCC cell lines.
Using tumor samples obtained from 137 patients who had undergone nephrectomy at Seoul National University Hospital, we evaluated COX-2 expression on immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we performed the cell proliferation assay using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and cell invasion assay. Thus, we evaluated the effect of meloxicam, an inhibitor of COX-2, in two human CCRCC cell lines.
Cancer-specific survival (p=0.038) and progression-free survival (p=0.031) were shorter in the COX-2 high expression group. A multivariate logistic regression model showed that COX-2 expression was an independent risk factor for pTNM stage and Fuhrman nuclear grade. The MTT assay revealed that COX-2 inhibition led to the suppression of the proliferation of CCRCC cell lines. Moreover, it also reduced their invasion capacity.
This study postulates that COX-2 is a poor prognostic indicator in human CCRCC, suggesting that COX-2 inhibition can be a potential therapy in CCRCC.
PMCID: PMC3479766  PMID: 23110009
Carcinoma, renal cell; Cyclooxygenase 2; Prognosis
21.  Post-operative urothelial recurrence in patients with upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma managed by radical nephroureterectomy with an ipsilateral bladder cuff: Minimal prognostic impact in comparison with non-urothelial recurrence and other clinical indicators 
Oncology Letters  2013;6(4):1015-1020.
Upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is a rare disease, and novel prognostic factors for patients who have undergone a radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) for UTUC have been studied intensely. To the best of our knowledge, the prognostic value of urothelial recurrence in patients with UTUC has not been previously described in studies. The present study compared the prognostic value of urothelial and non-urothelial recurrence in patients with UTUC of the kidney and ureter managed by surgery. The inclusion criteria consisted of a diagnosis of non-metastatic UTUC (any T stage, N0–1 and M0) and receipt of an RNU with an ipsilateral bladder cuff as the primary treatment. Of the 153 patients that were screened for the study, comprehensive clinical and pathological data was available for 103 patients, who were consequently included in the analysis. Overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) times were estimated. A multivariate analysis was performed using the Cox regression model. The median follow-up period was 29 months (interquartile range, 14–63 months). The patient population was comprised of 71 males (68.9%) and 32 females (31.1%). A total of 32 patients (31.1%) showed non-urothelial recurrence, while 38 patients (36.9%) exhibited urothelial recurrence and 33 patients (32.0%) exhibited no recurrence. When comparing the risk parameters between the non-urothelial recurrence categories, the factors of pathological grade, microvascular invasion, lymphatic invasion and pT classification showed significant differences. However, there were no significant differences between the urothelial recurrence categories. No significant difference was observed between the OS and CSS times within the urothelial recurrence categories (P=0.3955 and P=0.05891, respectively), but significant differences were identified in the non-urothelial recurrence categories (P<0.0001 and P<0.0001, respectively). Among the other relevant descriptive pre-operative characteristics in the multivariate analysis, only non-urothelial recurrence remained associated with a worse CSS [P=0.002; hazard ratio (HR) 9.512]. The results show that urothelial recurrence has a minimal prognostic value in patients with UTUC managed by RNU with an ipsilateral bladder cuff.
PMCID: PMC3796430  PMID: 24137456
non-urothelial recurrence; upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma; prognosis
22.  Specific knockdown of uPA/uPAR attenuates invasion in glioblastoma cells and xenografts by inhibition of cleavage and trafficking of Notch -1 receptor 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:130.
uPA/uPAR is a multifunctional system that is over expressed in many cancers and plays a critical role in glioblastoma (GBM) invasion. Previous studies from our lab have also shown that uPA/uPAR down regulation inhibits cancer cell invasion in SNB 19 GBM cells.
As Notch 1 is known to be over expressed and promotes invasion in glioblastoma, we therefore tested our hypothesis of whether down regulation of uPA/uPAR, singly or in tandem, attenuates GBM invasion via Notch 1 receptor. Targeted down regulation of uPA/uPAR, either singly or simultaneously, inhibited the anchorage independent growth of U251MG and GBM xenograft cell lines 4910 and 5310 as assessed by soft agar colony formation assay. Expression of all four Notch receptors was confirmed in GBM tissue array analysis by immunohistochemistry.
Down regulation of uPA/uPAR, either singly or simultaneously, in U251 MG and tumor xenografts inhibited the cleavage of the Notch receptor between the Gly 1743 and Val 1744 positions, thereby suggesting inhibition of activated cytosolic fragment-related Notch gene transcription. Morphological analysis confirmed inhibition of NICD when U251 MG cells were treated with puPA, puPAR or pU2. uPA/uPAR down regulation inhibited Notch 1 mRNA in all three examined cell lines. uPA/uPAR shRNA down regulated nuclear activation of NF-κB subunits and phosphorylation of AKT/mTOR pathway in U251 MG and GBM xenografts. puPA down regulated NICD and HES induced phosphorylation of AKT/ERK and NF-κB. Down regulation of Notch 1 using siRNA inhibited uPA activity as shown by fibrinogen zymography. It also decreased uPA expression levels as shown by western blotting. Exogenous addition of uPA activated Notch 1 in uPAR antisense U251 MG cells and also in uPAR antisense cells transfected with siRNA against Delta and Jagged. The Notch 1 receptor co-localized with LAMP-1, a marker for lysosomes in uPA, uPAR and U2, down regulated U251 MG cells which probably indicates inhibition of Notch 1 receptor trafficking in GBM cells. Notch 1 expression was significantly inhibited in puPA- and pU2-treated pre-established intracranial tumors in mice.
Overall our results show that down regulation of uPA/uPAR, either singly or simultaneously, could be an effective approach to attenuate Notch 1 receptor cleavage, signaling and endosomal trafficking in U251MG cells and xenografts, and ultimately inhibiting GBM invasion.
PMCID: PMC3210098  PMID: 22004682
uPA/uPAR; invasion; glioblastoma; Notch 1 receptor
23.  A Phase II Safety and Efficacy Study of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Pazopanib in Patients With Metastatic Urothelial Cancer 
Clinical genitourinary cancer  2013;11(4):477-483.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is expressed in human bladder tumors. A phase II study was conducted to assess the VEGF inhibitor pazopanib in patients with metastatic, urothelial carcinoma. Nineteen patients with one prior systemic therapy were enrolled. No objective responses were observed and median progression-free survival was 1.9 months. The role of anti-VEGF therapies in urothelial carcinoma remains to be determined.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is produced by bladder cancer cell lines in vitro and expressed in human bladder tumor tissues. Pazopanib is a vascular endothelial receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor with anti-angiogenesis and anti-tumor activity in several preclinical models. A 2-stage phase II study was conducted to assess the activity and toxicity profile of pazopanib in patients with metastatic, urothelial carcinoma.
Patients with one prior systemic therapy for metastatic urothelial carcinoma were eligible. Patients received pazopanib at a dose of 800 mg orally for a 4-week cycle.
Nineteen patients were enrolled. No grade 4 or 5 events were experienced. Nine patients experienced 11 grade 3 adverse events. Most common toxicities were anemia, thrombocytopenia, leucopenia, and fatigue. For stage I, none of the first 16 evaluable patients were deemed a success (complete response or partial response) by the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors criteria during the first four 4-week cycles of treatment. Median progression-free survival was 1.9 months. This met the futility stopping rule of interim analysis, and therefore the trial was recommended to be permanently closed.
Pazopanib did not show significant activity in patients with urothelial carcinoma. The role of anti-VEGF therapies in urothelial carcinoma may need further evaluation in rational combination strategies.
PMCID: PMC4102930  PMID: 23891158
Pazopanib; Urothelial cancer; VEGF tyrosine kinase inhibitors
24.  Effects of COX-2 inhibition on expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin-8 in lung cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:218.
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 has been implicated in tumour progression, angiogenesis and metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We speculated that inhibition of COX-2 activity might reduce expression of the pro-angiogenic factors vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) in lung cancer cells.
The levels of IL-8, VEGF and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) were measured by ELISA. Expression of COX-1 and COX-2 was determined by Western blotting. Inhibition or knockdown of COX-2 was achieved by treating NSCLC cells with specific COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 or COX-2 siRNA, respectively.
We found that NSCLC cell lines produced more IL-8 than VEGF (p < 0.001). In contrast, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines produced more VEGF than IL-8 (p < 0.001). COX-1 was expressed in all cell lines, but COX-2 was expressed only in NSCLC cell lines. Consistent with this, PGE2 was significantly higher in NSCLC cell lines than SCLC cell lines (p < 0.001). We tested these cell lines with a potent specific COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 at concentrations of 0.02, 0.2, 2, 20 μM for 24 or 48 h. The COX-2 activity was reduced in a dose-dependent fashion as shown by reduced PGE2 production. VEGF was significantly reduced following the treatment of NS-398 in A549 (by 31%) and MOR/P (by 47%) cells lines which expressing strong COX-2, but not in H460 cell line which expressing very low COX-2. However, IL-8 was not reduced in these cell lines. To confirm these results, we knocked down COX-2 expression with COX-2 siRNA in these cell lines. VEGF was significantly decreased in A549 (by 24%) and in MOR/P (by 53%), but not in H460 whereas IL-8 was not affected in any cell line.
We conclude that NSCLC cells produce much higher levels of IL-8 than SCLC cells whereas both NSCLC and SCLC cells produce similar levels of VEGF. COX-2 is only expressed in NSCLC cells, but not in SCLC cells. VEGF is produced in both NSCLC and SCLC cells regardless of COX-2 expression. However, VEGF production is, at least partly, COX-2 dependent in NSCLC cells expressing COX-2. In contrast, IL-8 production is COX-2 independent in both NSCLC and SCLC cells. We speculate that combined targeting of COX-2 and IL-8 may be useful in the treatment of patients with NSCLC and targeting VEGF may be useful in the treatment of patients with SCLC.
PMCID: PMC2516523  PMID: 18671849
25.  Interleukin Enhancer-Binding Factor 3 Promotes Breast Tumor Progression by Regulating Sustained Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator Expression 
Oncogene  2012;32(34):10.1038/onc.2012.414.
Sustained urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) expression is detected in aggressive breast tumors. Although uPA can be transiently upregulated by diverse extracellular stimuli, sustained, but not transiently-upregulated uPA expression contributes to breast cancer invasion/metastasis. Unfortunately, how sustained uPA expression is achieved in invasive/metastatic breast cancer cells is unknown. Here, we show that sustained and transiently-upregulated uPA expression are regulated by distinct mechanisms. Using a collection of transcription factor-targeted siRNAs, we discovered that interleukin enhancer binding factor 3 (ILF3) is required for sustained uPA expression. Two discrete mechanisms mediate ILF3 action. The first is that ILF3 activates uPA transcription by binding to the CTGTT sequence in the nucleotides -1,004~-1,000 of the uPA promoter; the second is that ILF3 inhibits the processing of uPA mRNA-targeting pri-miRNAs. Knockdown of ILF3 led to significant reduction in in vitro cell growth/migration/invasion and in vivo breast tumor development. Importantly, immunohistochemistry showed that nuclear ILF3, but not cytoplasmic ILF3 staining correlates with elevated uPA level and higher grades of human breast tumor specimens. Nuclear localization of ILF3 highlights the role of ILF3 in sustained uPA expression as a transcription activator and pri-miRNA processing blocker. In conclusion, this study shows that ILF3 promotes breast tumorigenicity by regulating sustained uPA expression.
PMCID: PMC3819929  PMID: 22986534
uPA; ILF3; transcription; miRNA

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