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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.  Atelocollagen-mediated synthetic small interfering RNA delivery for effective gene silencing in vitro and in vivo 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(13):e109.
Silencing gene expression by siRNAs is rapidly becoming a powerful tool for the genetic analysis of mammalian cells. However, the rapid degradation of siRNA and the limited duration of its action call for an efficient delivery technology. Accordingly, we describe here that Atelocollagen complexed with siRNA is resistant to nucleases and is efficiently transduced into cells, thereby allowing long-term gene silencing. Site-specific in vivo administration of an anti-luciferase siRNA/Atelocollagen complex reduced luciferase expression in a xenografted tumor. Furthermore, Atelocollagen-mediated transfer of siRNA in vivo showed efficient inhibition of tumor growth in an orthotopic xenograft model of a human non-seminomatous germ cell tumor. Thus, for clinical applications of siRNA, an Atelocollagen-based non-viral delivery method could be a reliable approach to achieve maximal function of siRNA in vivo.
PMCID: PMC506824  PMID: 15272050
3.  Expression and Role of GPR87 in Urothelial Carcinoma of the Bladder 
The orphan GPR87 has recently been matched with its ligand LPA, which is a lipid mediator with multiple physiological functions, including cancer cell proliferation. This study aimed to clarify the role of GPR87 in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. GPR87 expression was assessed in seven human bladder cancer cell lines. A replication-deficient recombinant adenoviral vector expressing shRNA targeting GPR87 (Ad-shGPR87), was constructed. Gene silencing was carried out using Ad-shGPR87. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed for transurethral resection of bladder tumor samples from 71 patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. We observed GPR87 expression in five of the seven cell lines, and silencing GPR87 gene expression significantly reduced cell viability. GPR87 expression was positive in 38 (54%) of 71 tumors. Ki-67 index was associated with positive GPR87 staining status (p < 0.0001). Patients with GPR87-positive tumors had shorter intravesical recurrence-free survival than those with GPR87-negative tumors (p = 0.010). Multivariate analysis revealed that GPR87 staining status was an independent prognostic parameter for intravesical recurrence (p = 0.041). Progression from non-muscle-invasive to muscle-invasive tumor was more frequently observed in patients with GPR87-positive tumors, although this trend did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.056). These results warrant further prospective studies to clarify the role of GPR87 expression in intravesical recurrence and progression in bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3709790  PMID: 23752273
GPR87; non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer; intravesical recurrence; progression
4.  Cyclin-mediated G1 Arrest by Celecoxib Differs in Low-versus High-grade Bladder Cancer 
Anticancer research  2009;29(10):3769-3775.
Celecoxib and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being evaluated in the prevention of bladder and other cancers. Here we investigate molecular effects of celecoxib independent of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression levels in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.
Materials and Methods
Low-grade RT-4 and high-grade UM-UC-3 bladder cancer cells were treated with 0–50 μM celecoxib. Growth, cell cycle and apoptosis were measured by crystal violet elution and flow cytometry. Western analysis was performed for COX-2, Rb, cyclin B1/D1, and phosphocyclin B1/D1. COX-2 induction was achieved with phorbol ester.
Celecoxib inhibited growth of RT-4 and UM-UC-3, with G1 cell cycle arrest and altered cyclin B1/D1 expression in RT-4, whereas Rb up-regulation occurred in UM-UC-3. Apoptosis occurred in both cell lines.
Celecoxib induces G1 cell cycle arrest in low- and high-grade bladder cancer by different pathways. This heterogeneous molecular response supports combination approaches to prevention and treatment.
PMCID: PMC2955297  PMID: 19846907
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2; celecoxib; bladder cancer; chemoprevention
5.  Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 in both cancer cells and hosts contributes to tumour growth, invasion and metastasis 
Biochemical Journal  2009;425(Pt 2):361-371.
mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1) is a stimulus-inducible enzyme that functions downstream of COX (cyclo-oxygenase)-2 in the PGE2 (prostaglandin E2)-biosynthesis pathway. Although COX-2-derived PGE2 is known to play a role in the development of various tumours, the involvement of mPGES-1 in carcinogenesis has not yet been fully understood. In the present study, we used LLC (Lewis lung carcinoma) cells with mPGES-1 knockdown or overexpression, as well as mPGES-1-deficient mice to examine the roles of cancer cell- and host-associated mPGES-1 in the processes of tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. We found that siRNA (small interfering RNA) silencing of mPGES-1 in LLC cells decreased PGE2 synthesis markedly, accompanied by reduced cell proliferation, attenuated Matrigel™ invasiveness and increased extracellular matrix adhesion. Conversely, mPGES-1-overexpressing LLC cells showed increased proliferating and invasive capacities. When implanted subcutaneously into wild-type mice, mPGES-1-silenced cells formed smaller xenograft tumours than did control cells. Furthermore, LLC tumours grafted subcutaneously into mPGES-1-knockout mice grew more slowly than did those grafted into littermate wild-type mice, with concomitant decreases in the density of microvascular networks, the expression of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor, and the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2. Lung metastasis of intravenously injected LLC cells was also significantly less obvious in mPGES-1-null mice than in wild-type mice. Thus our present approaches provide unequivocal evidence for critical roles of the mPGES-1-dependent PGE2 biosynthetic pathway in both cancer cells and host microenvironments in tumour growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC2825730  PMID: 19845504
knockout mouse; metastasis; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1; prostaglandin E2; tumorigenesis; COX, cyclo-oxygenase; cPGES, cytosolic prostaglandin E synthase; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; dmPGE2, 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2; ECM, extracellular matrix; EP, prostaglandin E receptor; FCS, fetal calf serum; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HEK, human embryonic kidney; KD, knockdown; KO, knockout; LLC, Lewis lung carcinoma; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; mPGES, microsomal prostaglandin E synthase; NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; PG, prostaglandin; PGES, PGE synthase; RT, reverse transcriptase; siRNA, small interfering RNA; TBS, Tris-buffered saline; TBS-Tween, TBS containing 0.05% Tween 20; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; WT, wild-type
The ErbB4 receptor tyrosine kinase is expressed at high levels in human and mouse colitis, and inhibits colon epithelial cell apoptosis in the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for ErbB4-induced cell survival. In cultured mouse colon epithelial cells, ErbB4 overexpression resulted in increased levels of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA and protein; in contrast, ErbB4 knockdown with siRNA blocked COX-2 accumulation in response to tumor necrosis factor. While ErbB4 is expressed as up to four different isoforms in epithelial tissues, its ability to promote COX-2 expression was isoform-independent. ErbB4-stimulated COX-2 induction was associated with an increase in mRNA half-life and was blocked by inhibition of Src, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, or epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (R). Furthermore, ErbB4 expression promoted EGFR phosphorylation in the presence of heregulin, implicating ErbB4-EGFR heterodimerization in these responses. With regard to the cellular responses to ErbB4 activation, increased survival of ErbB4-expressing cells in the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines was sensitive to the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib. Furthermore, ErbB4-overexpressing cells acquired the ability to form colonies in soft agar, indicative of cellular transformation, also in a celecoxib-sensitive manner. Together our data indicate that ErbB4 is a key regulator of COX-2 expression and cellular survival in colon epithelial cells, acting in concert with EGFR through a Src and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase dependent mechanism. These results suggest that chronic overexpression of ErbB4 in the context of inflammation could contribute to colitis-associated tumorigenesis by inhibiting colonocyte apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2947587  PMID: 20585313
Cell survival; colon epithelial cells; cyclooxygenase-2; ErbB4; inflammatory bowel diseases; receptor tyrosine kinases
7.  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
8.  Decreased expression of RNA-binding motif protein 3 correlates with tumour progression and poor prognosis in urothelial bladder cancer 
BMC Urology  2013;13:17.
Low nuclear expression of the RNA-binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) has previously been found to be associated with poor prognosis in several cancer forms e.g. breast, ovarian, colorectal, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma. The aim of this study was to examine the prognostic impact of RBM3 expression in urinary bladder cancer.
Immunohistochemical RBM3 expression was examined in tumours from 343 patients with urothelial bladder cancer. Chi-square and Spearman’s correlation tests were applied to explore associations between RBM3 expression and clinicopathological characteristics. The impact of RBM3 expression on disease-specific survival (DSS), 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling.
Reduced nuclear RBM3 expression was significantly associated with more advanced tumour (T) stage (p <0.001) and high grade tumours (p=0.004). Negative RBM3 expression was associated with a significantly shorter DSS (HR=2.55; 95% CI 1.68-3.86)) and 5-year OS (HR=2.10; 95% CI 1.56-2.82), also in multivariable analysis (HR=1.65; 95% CI 1.07-2.53 for DSS and HR=1.54; 95% CI 1.13-2.10 for 5-year OS). In patients with Ta and T1 tumours expressing reduced RBM3 levels, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significantly shorter PFS (p=0.048) and 5-year OS (p=0.006).
Loss of RBM3 expression is associated with clinically more aggressive tumours and an independent factor of poor prognosis in patients with urothelial bladder cancer and a potentially useful biomarker for treatment stratification and surveillance of disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3635919  PMID: 23565664
RBM3; Urothelial bladder cancer; Prognosis
9.  Low ANXA10 expression is associated with disease aggressiveness in bladder cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(9):1379-1387.
Markers for outcome prediction in bladder cancer are urgently needed. We have previously identified a molecular signature for predicting progression in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. ANXA10 was one of the markers included in the signature and we now validated the prognostic relevance of ANXA10 at the protein level.
We investigated ANXA10 expression by immunohistochemistry using a tissue microarray with 249 Ta and T1 urothelial carcinomas. The expression of ANXA10 was also investigated in an additional set of 97 more advanced tumours. The functional role of ANXA10 in cell lines was investigated by siRNA-mediated ANXA10 knockdown using wound-healing assays, proliferation assays, and ingenuity pathway analysis.
Low expression of ANXA10 correlated with shorter progression-free survival in patients with stage Ta and T1 tumours (P<0.00001). Furthermore, patients with more advanced tumours and low ANXA10 expression had an unfavourable prognosis (P<0.00001). We found that ANXA10 siRNA transfected cells grew significantly faster compared with control siRNA transfected cells. Furthermore, a wound-healing assay showed that ANXA10 siRNA transfected cells spread along wound edges faster than control transfected cells.
We conclude that ANXA10 may be a clinical relevant marker for predicting outcome in both early and advanced stages of bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3241563  PMID: 21979422
bladder cancer; biomarker; progression; metastasis; ANXA10; S100A4
10.  RNAi-mediated knockdown of cyclooxygenase2 inhibits the growth, invasion and migration of SaOS2 human osteosarcoma cells: a case control study 
Cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2), one isoform of cyclooxygenase proinflammatory enzymes, is responsible for tumor development, invasion and metastasis. Due to its role and frequent overexpression in a variety of human malignancies, including osteosarcoma, COX-2 has received considerable attention. However, the function of COX-2 in the pathogenesis of cancer is not well understood. We examined the role of COX-2 in osteosarcoma.
We employed lentivirus mediated-RNA interference technology to knockdown endogenous gene COX-2 expression in human osteosarcoma cells (SaOS2) and analyzed the phenotypical changes. The effect of COX-2 treatment on the proliferation, cell cycle, invasion and migration of the SaOS2 cells were assessed using the MTT, flow cytometry, invasion and migration assays, respectively. COX-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) mRNA and protein expression were detected by RT-PCR and western blotting.
Our results indicate that a decrease of COX-2 expression in human osteosarcoma cells significantly inhibited the growth, decreased the invasion and migration ability of SaOS2 cells. In addition, it also reduced VEGF, EGF and bFGF mRNA and protein expression.
The COX-2 signaling pathway may provide a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of human osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3063192  PMID: 21375766
11.  Overexpression of COX-2 in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy 
Aims and Objectives:
To evaluate the prognostic significance of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) overexpression in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients undergoing chemoradiation therapy. Purpose of the study was to determine whether COX-2 could be used as a diagnostic and prognostic index in OSCC.
Materials and Methods:
Forty-four patients of SCC were included in the present study and immunohistochemical examination was done for COX-2 expression. Negative and <5% COX-2 positivity were taken as negative expression and ≥5% COX-2 positivity as positive expression group. ≥30% COX-2 positivity was taken as overexpressed group and <30% COX-2 positivity was taken as underexpressed group. All the data were analyzed statistically.
COX-2 overexpression in OSCC was found in 15.90% cases. The proportion of COX-2 overexpression was higher in patients with large tumor size than in those with small tumor size. The proportions of COX-2 positive expression cases were higher with cervical lymph node metastasis. Negative COX-2 expression was higher in well-differentiated OSCC and positive expression was higher in moderately differentiated tumors. COX-2 underexpressed cases had better response to chemoradiation therapy as compared to cases with overexpressed COX-2.
COX-2 expression in OSCC can be used as a prognostic marker. Studies with large sample size and long-term follow-up are required to find out the exact role and prognostic significance of COX-2 expression in OSCC.
PMCID: PMC3304216  PMID: 22442604
COX-2 enzyme; immunohistochemistry; oral squamous carcinoma; radiochemotherapy
12.  Restoration of plakoglobin expression in bladder carcinoma cell lines suppresses cell migration and tumorigenic potential 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;92(12):2153-2159.
The reduction or loss of plakoglobin expression in late-stage bladder cancer has been correlated with poor survival where upregulation of this catenin member by histone deacetylase inhibitors has been shown to accompany tumour suppression in an in vivo model. In this study, we directly addressed the question of the role of plakoglobin in bladder tumorigenesis following restoration, or knockdown of expression in bladder carcinoma cell lines. Restoration of plakoglobin expression resulted in a reduction in migration and suppression of tumorigenic potential in vivo. Immunocytochemistry revealed cytoplasmic and membranous localisation of plakoglobin in transfectants with <1% of cells displaying detectable nuclear localisation of plakoglobin. siRNA knockdown experiments targeting plakoglobin, revealed enhanced migration in all cell lines in the presence and absence of E-cadherin expression. In bladder cell lines expressing low levels of plakoglobin and desmoglein-2, elevated levels of desmoglein-2 were detected following restoration of plakoglobin expression in transfected cell lines. Analysis of wnt signalling revealed no activation event associated with plakoglobin expression in the bladder model. These results show that plakoglobin acts as a tumour suppressor gene in bladder carcinoma cells and the silencing of plakoglobin gene expression in late-stage bladder cancer is a primary event in tumour progression.
PMCID: PMC2361803  PMID: 15942628
plakoglobin; bladder cancer; desmosome; signalling
13.  Down-Regulation of Glucose-Regulated Protein (GRP) 78 Potentiates Cytotoxic Effect of Celecoxib in Human Urothelial Carcinoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33615.
Celecoxib is a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor that has been reported to elicit anti-proliferative response in various tumors. In this study, we aim to investigate the antitumor effect of celecoxib on urothelial carcinoma (UC) cells and the role endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays in celecoxib-induced cytotoxicity. The cytotoxic effects were measured by MTT assay and flow cytometry. The cell cycle progression and ER stress-associated molecules were examined by Western blot and flow cytometry. Moreover, the cytotoxic effects of celecoxib combined with glucose-regulated protein (GRP) 78 knockdown (siRNA), (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or MG132 were assessed. We demonstrated that celecoxib markedly reduces the cell viability and causes apoptosis in human UC cells through cell cycle G1 arrest. Celecoxib possessed the ability to activate ER stress-related chaperones (IRE-1α and GRP78), caspase-4, and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), which were involved in UC cell apoptosis. Down-regulation of GRP78 by siRNA, co-treatment with EGCG (a GRP78 inhibitor) or with MG132 (a proteasome inhibitor) could enhance celecoxib-induced apoptosis. We concluded that celecoxib induces cell cycle G1 arrest, ER stress, and eventually apoptosis in human UC cells. The down-regulation of ER chaperone GRP78 by siRNA, EGCG, or proteosome inhibitor potentiated the cytotoxicity of celecoxib in UC cells. These findings provide a new treatment strategy against UC.
PMCID: PMC3306428  PMID: 22438966
14.  Interaction between cyclooxygenase-2, Snail, and E-cadherin in gastric cancer cells 
AIM: To investigate the mechanisms of how cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) regulates E-cadherin in gastric cancer cells.
METHODS: COX-2 expression in human gastric cancer cell lines SGC-7901, BGC-823, MGC-803 and AGS were measured at the mRNA and protein level. COX-2 rich cell line SGC-7901 was chosen for subsequent experiments. siRNA mediated gene knockdown was used to investigate the impact of COX-2 on nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), Snail, and E-cadherin in gastric cancer cells. Gene expression was determined by Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction. To analyze whether NF-κB inhibition could interrupt the modulatory effect of COX-2 or prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) on E-cadherin, gastric cancer cells were treated with celecoxib or PGE2, in the presence of NF-κB specific siRNA.
RESULTS: Highest expression level of COX-2 was found in SGC-7901 cells, both at mRNA and protein levels. siRNA mediated down-regulation of COX-2 led to a reduced expression of NF-κB and Snail, but an increased expression of E-cadherin in SGC-7901 cells. siRNA mediated down-regulation of NF-κB also led to a reduced expression of E-cadherin and Snail in SGC-7901 cells. However, COX-2 expression did not alter after cells were treated with NF-κB specific siRNA in SGC-7901 cells. Treatment of SGC-7901 cells with celecoxib led to a reduced expression of Snail but an increased expression of E-cadherin. In contrast, treatment of SGC-7901 cells with PGE2 led to an increased Snail and a decreased E-cadherin. However, siRNA-mediated knockdown of NF-κB partially abolished the effect of celecoxib and PGE2 on the regulation of E-cadherin and Snail in SGC-7901 cells.
CONCLUSION: COX-2 likely functions upstream of NF-κB and regulates the expression of E-cadherin via NF-κB/Snail signaling pathway in gastric cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3787358  PMID: 24115825
Cyclooxygenase-2; E-cadherin; celecoxib; Prostaglandin E2; Gastric cancer
15.  Promoter methylation regulates cyclooxygenase expression in breast cancer 
Breast Cancer Research  2004;6(4):R316-R321.
Overexpression of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) is commonly observed in human cancers. In a murine model of metastatic breast cancer, we observed that COX-2 expression and enzyme activity were associated with enhanced tumorigenic and metastatic potential. In contrast to the high COX-2 expression in metastatic tumors, transplantation of poorly tumorigenic tumor cell lines to syngeneic mice results in less COX-2 expression and less COX-2 activity in vivo. Aberrant CpG island methylation, and subsequent silencing of the COX-2 promoter, has been observed in human cancer cell lines and in some human tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.
Using bisulfite modification and a methylation-specific PCR, we examined the methylation status of the COX-2 promoter in a series of four closely-related murine mammary tumors differing in COX-2 expression and metastatic potential.
We showed that line 410, which does not express COX-2 in vivo, exhibited evidence of promoter methylation. Interestingly, the metastatic counterpart of this cell (line 410.4) displayed only the unmethylated COX-2 promoter, as did two additional cell lines (lines 66.1 and 67). The methylation patterns observed in vitro were maintained when these murine mammary tumor lines were transplanted to syngeneic mice. Treatment with the DNA demethylating agent 5-aza-deoxycytidine increased COX-2 mRNA, increased protein and increased enzyme activity (prostaglandin synthesis).
These results indicate that COX-2 promoter methylation may be one mechanism by which tumor cells regulate COX-2 expression. Upregulation of COX-2 expression in closely related metastatic lesions versus nonmetastatic lesions may represent a shift towards the unmethylated phenotype.
PMCID: PMC468630  PMID: 15217498
cyclooxygenase; promoter methylation; breast cancer
16.  RNAi-Based Strategies for Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibition in Cancer 
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme has been involved in the tumorigenesis and in the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). The use of traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or selective COX-2 inhibitors has been proposed for the prevention and the treatment of this relevant neoplastic disease. In the light of an innovative alternative to these pharmacological approaches, we review here the possible strategies to achieve a strong and selective inhibition of COX-2 enzyme by using the mechanism of RNA Interference (RNAi) targeted against its mRNA. Anti-COX-2 siRNA molecules (siCOX-2) can be generated in CRC cells from short hairpin RNA (shRNA) precursors, delivered in vitro by a retroviral expression system, and induce a significant and stable silencing of overexpressed COX-2 in human colon cancer cells. As a safer alternative to viral approach, nonpathogenic bacteria (E. coli) can be engineered to invade eukaryotic cells and to generate siCOX-2 molecules in cancer cells. Moreover, the involvement of miRNAs in COX-2 posttranscriptional regulation opens up the possibility to exploit an endogenous silencing mechanism to knockdown overexpressed COX-2. Thus, these recent strategies disclose new challenging perspectives for the development of clinically compatible siRNA or miRNA capable of selectively inhibiting COX-2 enzyme.
PMCID: PMC2896898  PMID: 20625420
17.  Lower cyclooxygenase-2 expression is associated with recurrence of solitary non-muscle invasive bladder carcinoma 
Diagnostic Pathology  2012;7:152.
A new modality is necessary to prevent recurrence of superficial bladder cancer after complete transurethral resection because of the high recurrence rate even with current prophylaxis protocols.
In order to analyze the predictive value of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in recurrence of this disease tumor specimens from 127 patients with solitary papillary non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), 78 with recurrent disease and 49 without recurrence during follow up of minimum 5 years, were retrieved for tissue microarrays construction and immunohistochemical analysis. COX-2 expression was scored according to Allred’s scoring protocol, while presence of TILs was categorized as absent (no) or present (yes) on whole tissue sections.
COX-2 immunoreactivity was presented in 70 (71%), weak in 16% and strong in 55% of cases, while 29 (29%) tumors were negative. TILs were present in 64 (58%) NMIBC, while 44 cases (41%) did not reveal mononuclear infiltration in tumoral stroma. Statistical analysis demonstrated a higher proportion of patients with recurrence in the group with the COX-2 score 0, and lower in the group with score 2 (p=0.0001, p=0.0101, respectively). In addition, a higher proportion of recurrent patients in the group with no TILs, and lower proportion in the group with TILs were found (p=0.009, p=0.009, respectively). Univariate and multivariate analysis revealed overexpression of COX-2 and presence of TILs as negative predictors.
Patients with lower COX-2 expression and absence of TILs in NMIBC need to be followed up more vigorously and probably selected for adjuvant therapy.
Virtual slide
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3527228  PMID: 23126361
Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer; Recurrence; Cyclooxygenase-2; Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes
18.  Knockdown of Regulator of Cullins-1 (ROC1) Expression Induces Bladder Cancer Cell Cycle Arrest at the G2 Phase and Senescence 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62734.
Regulator of Cullins-1 (ROC1) is a key subunit in the Cullin-RING ligase (CRL) protein complex. Overexpression of ROC1 protein is associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis of non-muscle invasive bladder transitional cell carcinoma (NMIBC). This study was designed to assess the effects of ROC1 knockdown in bladder cancer cells and to determine the potential mechanisms involved. A total of 112 bladder cancer tissue specimens were recruited for immunohistochemical analyses of ROC1 overexpression. Bladder cancer cell lines were used to knockdown ROC1 expression using ROC1 siRNA. Our data showed that ROC1 knockdown remarkably inhibited bladder cancer cell growth, arrested cells at the G2 phase of the cell cycle, and induced the p53-dependent cell senescence. Molecularly, G2 arrest was associated with upregulation of p21, p27, cyclin B1, and Cdc2 proteins. ROC1 knockdown induced-senescence functioned through p53/p21 pathway. Knockdown of p21 expression partially rescued ROC1 knockdown-induced growth inhibition in cancer cells. Furthermore, nude mouse xenograft analyses confirmed these in vitro data. In conclusion, data from the current study indicate that ROC1 plays an essential role in bladder cancer progression and could serve as a novel anticancer target for bladder transitional cell carcinoma (BTCC).
PMCID: PMC3648563  PMID: 23667514
19.  Effects of Atelocollagen Formulation Containing Oligonucleotide on Endothelial Permeability 
Journal of Drug Delivery  2012;2012:245835.
Atelocollagen is a major animal protein that is used as a highly biocompatible biomaterial. To date, atelocollagen has been used as an effective drug delivery technology to sustain the release of antitumor proteins and to enhance the antitumor activity of oligonucleotides in in vivo models. However, the biological effects of this technology are not fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of atelocollagen on endothelial paracellular barrier function. An atelocollagen formulation containing oligonucleotides specifically increased the permeability of two types of endothelial cells, and the change was dependent on the molecular size, structure of the oligonucleotides used and the concentrations of the oligonucleotide and atelocollagen in the formulation. An immunohistochemical examination revealed that the formulation had effects on the cellular skeleton and intercellular structure although it did not affect the expression of adherens junction or tight junction proteins. These changes were induced through p38 MAP kinase signaling. It is important to elucidate the biological functions of atelocollagen in order to be able to exploit its drug delivery properties.
PMCID: PMC3312293  PMID: 22506120
20.  Selective cyclooxygenase-2 silencing mediated by engineered E. coli and RNA interference induces anti-tumour effects in human colon cancer cells 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;103(7):975-986.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) overexpression is strongly associated with colorectal tumourigenesis. It has been demonstrated that the chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (COX inhibitors) partially protects patients from colorectal cancer (CRC) development and progression but induces severe cardiovascular side effects. New strategies for selective COX-2 blockade are required.
We developed an improved technique, based on RNA interference (RNAi), to gain a selective COX-2 silencing in CRC cells by a tumour-dependent expression of anti-COX-2 short-hairpin RNA (shCOX-2). Anti-COX-2 shRNA-expressing vectors were delivered in CRC cells (in vitro) and in colon tissues (ex vivo) using engineered Escherichia coli strains, capable of invading tumour cells (InvColi).
A highly tumour-dependent shCOX-2 expression and a significant COX-2 silencing were observed in CRC cells following InvColi strain infection. Cyclooxygenase-2 silencing was associated with a strong reduction in both proliferative and invasive behaviour of tumour cells. We also demonstrated a pivotal role of COX-2 overexpression for the survival of CRC cells after bacterial infection. Moreover, COX-2 silencing was achieved ex vivo by infecting colon tissue samples with InvColi strains, leading to anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour effects.
Our RNAi/InvColi-mediated approach offers a promising tool for a highly selective COX-2 blockade in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2965869  PMID: 20717114
COX-2; CRC; RNAi; E. coli
21.  COX-2/EGFR expression and survival among women with adenocarcinoma of the lung 
Carcinogenesis  2008;29(9):1781-1787.
Previous studies suggest that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression may predict survival among patients with non-small cell lung cancer. COX-2 may interact with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), suggesting that combined COX-2/EGFR expression may provide predictive value. The extent to which their independent or combined expression is associated with prognosis in women with adenocarcinoma of the lung is unknown. In the present study, we examined relationships between COX-2 expression (n = 238), EGFR expression (n = 158) and dual COX-2/EGFR expression (n = 157) and survival among women with adenocarcinoma of the lung. Overall survival was estimated by constructing Cox proportional hazards models adjusting for other significant variables and stratifying by stage at diagnosis and race. Clinical or demographic parameters were not associated with either COX-2 or EGFR expression. Patients with COX-2-positive tumors tended to have poorer prognosis than did patients with COX-2-negative tumors [hazard ratio (HR) 1.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–2.78]. African-Americans with COX-2-positive tumors had a statistically non-significant higher risk of death than African-Americans with COX-2-negative tumors (HR 5.58, 95% CI 0.64–48.37). No association between COX-2 expression and survival was observed among Caucasians (HR 1.29, 95% CI 0.72–2.30). EGFR expression was associated with a 44% reduction in the risk of death (HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.32–0.98). COX-2−/EGFR+ tumor expression, but not COX-2+/EGFR+ tumor expression, was associated with survival when compared with other combined expression results. In conclusion, COX-2 and EGFR expression, but not combined COX-2+/EGFR+ expression, independently predict survival of women with adenocarcinoma of the lung.
PMCID: PMC2527644  PMID: 18453539
22.  Effects of Short-Term Celecoxib Treatment in Patients with Invasive Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2010;9(5):1371-1377.
High grade invasive transitional cell carcinoma (InvTCC) kills >14,000 people yearly in the United States, and better therapy is needed. Cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) is over-expressed in bladder cancer. Cox inhibitors have caused remission of InvTCC in animal studies, and cancer regression was associated with doubling of the apoptotic index in the tumor. The purpose of this study was to determine the apoptosis-inducing effects of celecoxib (a Cox-2 inhibitor) in InvTCC in humans. Patients (minimum of 10 with paired tumor samples) with InvTCC who had elected to undergo cystectomy were enrolled. The main study end point was induction of apoptosis in tumor tissues. Patients received celecoxib (400mg twice daily po for a minimum of 14 days) between the time of diagnosis (TURBT; transurethral resection) and the time of cystectomy (standard frontline treatment for InvTCC). TUNEL assay and immunohistochemistry were performed on TURBT and cystectomy samples. Of 13 cases treated with celecoxib, no residual invasive cancer was identified in 3 patients at the time of cystectomy (post celecoxib). Of the 10 patients with residual cancer, 7 had induction of apoptosis in their tumor. Induction of apoptosis was less frequent [3 of 13 cases, p < 0.04] in control patients not receiving a Cox inhibitor. Expression of VEGF in the tumor cells decreased more frequently [p < 0.026] in the treated patients as compared to non-treated control cases. The biological effects of celecoxib treatment (increased apoptosis) justify further study of the antitumor effects of Cox-2 inhibitors in InvTCC.
PMCID: PMC2868069  PMID: 20423998
23.  A Cross-Talk Between NFAT and NF-κB Pathways is Crucial for Nickel-Induced COX-2 Expression in Beas-2B Cells 
Current cancer drug targets  2011;11(5):548-559.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a critical enzyme implicated in chronic inflammation-associated cancer development. Our studies have shown that the exposure of Beas-2B cells, a human bronchial epithelial cell line, to lung carcinogenic nickel compounds results in increased COX-2 expression. However, the signaling pathways leading to nickel-induced COX-2 expression are not well understood. In the current study, we found that the exposure of Beas-2B cells to nickel compounds resulted in the activation of both nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). The expression of COX-2 induced upon nickel exposure was inhibited by either a NFAT pharmacological inhibitor or the knockdown of NFAT3 by specific siRNA. We further found that the activation of NFAT and NF-κB was dependent on each other. Since our previous studies have shown that NF-κB activation is critical for nickel-induced COX-2 expression in Beas-2B cells exposed to nickel compounds under same experimental condition, we anticipate that there might be a cross-talk between the activation of NFAT and NF-κB for the COX-2 induction due to nickel exposure in Beas-2B cells. Furthermore, we showed that the scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by introduction of mitochondrial catalase inhibited the activation of both NFAT and NF-κB, and the induction of COX-2 due to nickel exposure. Taken together, our results defining the evidence showing a key role of the cross-talk between NFAT and NF-κB pathways in regulating nickel-induced COX-2 expression, further provide insight into the understanding of the molecular mechanisms linking nickel exposure to its lung carcinogenic effects.
PMCID: PMC3759234  PMID: 21486220
Beas-2B cells; COX-2; nickel; NFAT; NF-κB; ROS
24.  Cyclooxygenase-2 Regulates Th17 Cell Differentiation during Allergic Lung Inflammation 
Rationale: Th17 cells comprise a distinct lineage of proinflammatory T helper cells that are major contributors to allergic responses. It is unknown whether cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived eicosanoids regulate Th17 cells during allergic lung inflammation.
Objectives: To determine the role of COX metabolites in regulating Th17 cell differentiation and function during allergic lung inflammation.
Methods: COX-1−/−, COX-2−/−, and wild-type mice were studied in an in vivo model of ovalbumin-induced allergic inflammation and an in vitro model of Th17 differentiation using flow cytometry, cytokine assays, confocal microscopy, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and immunoblotting. In addition, the role of specific eicosanoids and their receptors was examined using synthetic prostaglandins (PGs), selective inhibitors, and siRNA knockdown.
Measurements and Main Results: Th17 cell differentiation in lung, lymph nodes, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was significantly lower in COX-2−/− mice after ovalbumin sensitization and exposure in vivo. In vitro studies revealed significantly impaired Th17 cell differentiation of COX-2−/− naive CD4+ T cells with decreased Stat3 phosphorylation and RORγt expression. Synthetic PGF2α and PGI2 enhanced Th17 cell differentiation of COX-2−/− CD4+ T cells in vitro. The selective COX-2 inhibitor, NS-398, and PGF2α receptor and PGI2 receptor siRNA knockdown significantly decreased Th17 cell differentiation in vitro. Administration of synthetic PGs restored accumulation of Th17 cells in lungs of allergic COX-2−/− mice in vivo.
Conclusions: COX-2 is a critical regulator of Th17 cell differentiation during allergic lung inflammation via autocrine signaling of PGI2 and PGF2α through their respective cell surface receptors.
PMCID: PMC3172888  PMID: 21474648
Th17 cell; COX-2; asthma; prostaglandins; IL-17
25.  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

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