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1.  Caveolin-1 in renal cell carcinoma promotes tumour cell invasion, and in co-operation with pERK predicts metastases in patients with clinically confined disease 
Up to 40% of patients initially diagnosed with clinically-confined renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and who undergo curative surgery will nevertheless relapse with metastatic disease (mRCC) associated with poor long term survival. The discovery of novel prognostic/predictive biomarkers and drug targets is needed and in this context the aim of the current study was to investigate a putative caveolin-1/ERK signalling axis in clinically confined RCC, and to examine in a panel of RCC cell lines the effects of caveolin-1 (Cav-1) on pathological processes (invasion and growth) and select signalling pathways.
Using immunohistochemistry we assessed the expression of both Cav-1 and phosphorylated-ERK (pERK) in 176 patients with clinically confined RCC, their correlation with histological parameters and their impact upon disease-free survival. Using a panel of RCC cell lines we explored the functional effects of Cav-1 knockdown upon cell growth, cell invasion and VEGF-A secretion, as well Cav-1 regulation by cognate cell signalling pathways.
We found a significant correlation (P = 0.03) between Cav-1 and pERK in a cohort of patients with clinically confined disease which represented a prognostic biomarker combination (HR = 4.2) that effectively stratified patients into low, intermediate and high risk groups with respect to relapse, even if the patients’ tumours displayed low grade and/or low stage disease. In RCC cell lines Cav-1 knockdown unequivocally reduced cell invasive capacity while also displaying both pro-and anti-proliferative effects; targeted knockdown of Cav-1 also partially suppressed VEGF-A secretion in VHL-negative RCC cells. The actions of Cav-1 in the RCC cell lines appeared independent of both ERK and AKT/mTOR signalling pathways.
The combined expression of Cav-1 and pERK serves as an independent biomarker signature with potential merit in RCC surveillance strategies able to predict those patients with clinically confined disease who will eventually relapse. In a panel of in-vitro RCC cells Cav-1 promotes cell invasion with variable effects on cell growth and VEGF-A secretion. Cav-1 has potential as a therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of mRCC.
PMCID: PMC4015803  PMID: 24119769
Caveolin-1; ERK-1/2; Renal Cell Carcinoma; Invasion; Biomarkers
2.  Epidermal growth factor receptor and caveolin-1 coexpression identifies adult supratentorial ependymomas with rapid unfavorable outcomes 
Neuro-Oncology  2010;13(2):176-183.
Supratentorial ependymomas account for a minority of intracranial ependymomas, which still have uncertain prognostic markers. Among them, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression correlates with a poor prognosis. In glioblastoma cells, EGFR function has been reported to be regulated by its migration from cell membrane infoldings called caveolae and by its colocalization with the caveolae-associated protein caveolin-1 (cav-1). Therefore, we decided to investigate cav-1 expression and coexpression with EGFR in a series of adult intracranial ependymomas. We analyzed 22 adult supratentorial ependymomas and compared tumor grades as determined by the WHO classification and patient survival rates with the expression of EGFR, cav-1, and p53 and the values of the proliferation marker Ki-67, all tested by immunohistochemistry; in addition, we investigated the mutational profile of cav-1. The results demonstrate that the tumor grade is directly correlated with EGFR, Ki-67, and cav-1 expression only, whereas (by univariate analysis) the expression of all the studied markers, as well as the tumor histological grade, significantly correlated with the patient's overall survival (OS). By multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model, among all variables considered, cav-1 was the only independent prognostic marker related to OS (relative risk = 13.92; P = .013). Among grade II ependymomas, only cav-1 correlated with poor OS (P = .011), distinguishing 2 distinct subgroups of tumors with different outcomes despite sharing identical grading. All the patients studied carried wild-type cav-1 sequences, demonstrating that cav-1 overexpression is not driven by activating mutations, as previously reported in other tumor types. Interestingly, after stratifying all cases into 4 distinct groups according to cav-1 and EGFR expression (cav-1+/EGFR+, cav-1−/EGFR−, cav-1+/EGFR−, and cav-1−/EGFR+), the coexpression of cav-1 and EGFR identified a subset of patients with definitively poor prognoses. Further studies are needed to support this evidence on a larger scale and to clarify how cav-1 and EGFR interaction can influence tumor aggressiveness.
PMCID: PMC3064620  PMID: 21059755
caveolin-1; EGFR; ependymomas; IHC; survival
3.  CpG island shore methylation regulates caveolin-1 expression in breast cancer 
Oncogene  2012;32(38):4519-4528.
Caveolin-1 (Cav1) is an integral membrane, scaffolding protein found in plasma membrane invaginations (caveolae). Cav1 regulates multiple cancer-associated processes. In breast cancer, a tumor suppressive role for Cav1 has been suggested; however, Cav1 is frequently overexpressed in aggressive breast cancer subtypes, suggesting an oncogenic function in advanced-stage disease. To further delineate Cav1 function in breast cancer progression, we evaluated its expression levels among a panel of cell lines representing a spectrum of breast cancer phenotypes. In basal-like (the most aggressive BC subtype) breast cancer cells, Cav1 was consistently upregulated, and positively correlated with increased cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and migration and invasion. To identify mechanisms of Cav1 gene regulation, we compared DNA methylation levels within promoter ‘CpG islands' (CGIs) with ‘CGI shores', recently described regions that flank CGIs with less CG-density. Integration of genome-wide DNA methylation profiles (‘methylomes') with Cav1 expression in 30 breast cancer cell lines showed that differential methylation of CGI shores, but not CGIs, significantly regulated Cav1 expression. In breast cancer cell lines having low Cav1 expression (despite promoter CGI hypomethylation), we found that treatment with a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor induced Cav1 expression via CGI shore demethylation. In addition, further methylome assessments revealed that breast cancer aggressiveness associated with Cav1 CGI shore methylation levels, with shore hypermethylation in minimally aggressive, luminal breast cancer cells and shore hypomethylation in highly aggressive, basal-like cells. Cav1 CGI shore methylation was also observed in human breast tumors, and overall survival rates of breast cancer patients lacking estrogen receptor α (ERα) negatively correlated with Cav1 expression. Based on this first study of Cav1 (a potential oncogene) CGI shore methylation, we suggest this phenomenon may represent a new prognostic marker for ERα-negative, basal-like breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3787796  PMID: 23128390
Cav1; CpG island shore; DNA methylation; breast cancer
4.  Quantum Dots-Based Immunofluorescent Imaging of Stromal Fibroblasts Caveolin-1 and Light Chain 3B Expression and Identification of Their Clinical Significance in Human Gastric Cancer 
Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) expression deficiency and autophagy in tumor stromal fibroblasts (hereafter fibroblasts) are involved in tumor proliferation and progression, particularly in breast and prostate cancer. The aim of this study was to detect the expression of fibroblastic Cav-1 and LC3B, markers of autophagy, in gastric cancer (GC) and to analyze their clinical significances. Furthermore, because Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated GC (EBVaGC) is a unique subtype of GC; we compared the differential expression of fibroblastic Cav-1 and LC3B in EBVaGC and non-EBVaGC. Quantum dots (QDs)-based immunofluorescence histochemistry was used to examine the expression of fibroblastic Cav-1 and LC3B in 118 cases of GC with adequate stroma. QDs-based double immunofluorescence labeling was performed to detect the coexpression of Cav-1 and LC3B proteins. EBV-encoded small RNA was detected by QDs-based fluorescence in situ hybridization to identify EBVaGC. Multivariate analysis indicated that low fibroblastic Cav-1 level was an independent prognosticator (p = 0.029) that predicted poorer survival of GC patients. Positive fibroblastic LC3B was correlated with lower invasion (p = 0.032) and was positively associated with Cav-1 expression (r = 0.432, p < 0.001). EBV infection did not affect fibroblastic Cav-1 and LC3B expression. In conclusion, positive fibroblastic LC3B correlates with lower invasion, and low expression of fibroblastic Cav-1 is a novel predictor of poor GC prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3509549  PMID: 23203033
autophagy; cancer-associated fibroblast; caveolin-1; gastric cancer; light chain 3B; quantum dots; tumor microenvironment
5.  Caveolin-1 Protects B6129 Mice against Helicobacter pylori Gastritis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003251.
Caveolin-1 (Cav1) is a scaffold protein and pathogen receptor in the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic infection of gastric epithelial cells by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a major risk factor for human gastric cancer (GC) where Cav1 is frequently down-regulated. However, the function of Cav1 in H. pylori infection and pathogenesis of GC remained unknown. We show here that Cav1-deficient mice, infected for 11 months with the CagA-delivery deficient H. pylori strain SS1, developed more severe gastritis and tissue damage, including loss of parietal cells and foveolar hyperplasia, and displayed lower colonisation of the gastric mucosa than wild-type B6129 littermates. Cav1-null mice showed enhanced infiltration of macrophages and B-cells and secretion of chemokines (RANTES) but had reduced levels of CD25+ regulatory T-cells. Cav1-deficient human GC cells (AGS), infected with the CagA-delivery proficient H. pylori strain G27, were more sensitive to CagA-related cytoskeletal stress morphologies (“humming bird”) compared to AGS cells stably transfected with Cav1 (AGS/Cav1). Infection of AGS/Cav1 cells triggered the recruitment of p120 RhoGTPase-activating protein/deleted in liver cancer-1 (p120RhoGAP/DLC1) to Cav1 and counteracted CagA-induced cytoskeletal rearrangements. In human GC cell lines (MKN45, N87) and mouse stomach tissue, H. pylori down-regulated endogenous expression of Cav1 independently of CagA. Mechanistically, H. pylori activated sterol-responsive element-binding protein-1 (SREBP1) to repress transcription of the human Cav1 gene from sterol-responsive elements (SREs) in the proximal Cav1 promoter. These data suggested a protective role of Cav1 against H. pylori-induced inflammation and tissue damage. We propose that H. pylori exploits down-regulation of Cav1 to subvert the host's immune response and to promote signalling of its virulence factors in host cells.
Author Summary
Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) mainly affects children in the developing countries who are at risk to progress to gastric cancer (GC) as adults after many years of persistent infection, especially with strains which are positive for the oncogenic virulence factor CagA. Eradication of H. pylori by antibiotics is a treatment of choice but may also alter the susceptibility to allergies and other tumor types. Thus, novel diagnostic or prognostic markers are needed which detect early molecular changes in the stomach mucosa during the transition of chronic inflammation to cancer. In our study, we found that the tumor suppressor caveolin-1 (Cav1) is reduced upon infection with H. pylori, and CagA was sufficient but not necessary for this down-regulation. Loss of Cav1 was caused by H. pylori-dependent activation of sterol-responsive element-binding protein-1 (SREBP1), and this event abolished the interaction of Cav1 with p120 RhoGTPase-activating protein/deleted in liver cancer-1 (p120RhoGAP/DLC1), a second bona fide tumor suppressor in gastric tissue. Conclusively, Cav1 and DLC1 may constitute novel molecular markers in the H. pylori-infected gastric mucosa before neoplastic transformation of the epithelium.
PMCID: PMC3623771  PMID: 23592983
6.  Overexpression of FoxM1 is associated with tumor progression in patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Fork head box M1 (FoxM1) is a proliferation-associated transcription factor essential for cell cycle progression. Numerous studies have documented that FoxM1 has multiple functions in tumorigenesis and its elevated levels are frequently associated with cancer progression. The present study was conducted to investigate the expression of FoxM1 and its prognostic significance in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Meanwhile, the function of FoxM1 in human ccRCC was further investigated in cell culture models.
Real-time quantitative PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry were used to explore FoxM1 expression in ccRCC cell lines and primary ccRCC clinical specimens. FoxM1 expression was knocked down by small interfering RNA (siRNA) in Caki-1 and 786-O cells; proliferation, colony formation, cell cycle, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis were assayed.
FoxM1 expression was up-regulated in the majority of the ccRCC clinical tissue specimens at both mRNA and protein levels. Clinic pathological analysis showed that FoxM1 expression was significantly correlated with primary tumor stage (P <0.001), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.01), distant metastasis (P = 0.01), TNM stage (P < 0.001) and histological grade (P = 0.003). The Kaplan–Meier survival curves revealed that high FoxM1 expression was associated with poor prognosis in ccRCC patients (P < 0.001). FoxM1 expression was an independent prognostic marker of overall ccRCC patient survival in a multivariate analysis (P = 0.008). Experimentally, we found that down-regulation of FoxM1 inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell cycle arrest with reduced expression of cyclin B1, cyclin D1, and Cdk2, and increased expression of p21 and p27. Also, down-regulation of FoxM1 reduced expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), resulting in the inhibition of migration, invasion, and angiogenesis.
These results suggest that FoxM1 expression is likely to play important roles in ccRCC development and progression, and that FoxM1 is a prognostic biomarker and a promising therapeutic target for ccRCC.
PMCID: PMC3492118  PMID: 23006512
Renal cell carcinoma; FoxM1; Prognosis; Small interfering RNA
7.  Caveolin-1 Expression Level in Cancer Associated Fibroblasts Predicts Outcome in Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59102.
Altered expression of epithelial or stromal caveolin-1 (Cav-1) is observed in various types of human cancers. However, the clinical significance of Cav-1 expression in gastric cancer (GC) remains largely unknown. The present study aims to explore the clinicopathological significance and prognostic value of both tumor cells and cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) Cav-1 in GC.
Methods and Results
Quantum dots immunofluorescence histochemistry was performed to examine the expression of Cav-1 in 20 cases of gastritis without intestinal metaplasia (IM), 20 cases of gastritis with IM and 286 cases of GC. Positive rates of epithelial Cav-1 in gastritis without IM, gastritis with IM and GC showed a decreasing trend (P = 0.012). Low expression of Cav-1 in CAFs but not in tumor cells was an independent predictor of poor prognosis in GC patients (P = 0.034 and 0.005 respectively in disease free survival and overall survival). Cav-1 level in tumor cells and CAFs showed no significant correlation with classic clinicopathological features.
Loss of epithelial Cav-1 may promote malignant progression and low CAFs Cav-1 level herald worse outcome of GC patient, suggesting CAFs Cav-1 may be a candidate therapeutic target and a useful prognostic marker of GC.
PMCID: PMC3602462  PMID: 23527097
8.  Combined expression of caveolin-1 and an activated AKT/mTOR pathway predicts reduced disease-free survival in clinically confined renal cell carcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;98(5):931-940.
We previously reported that tumour-associated caveolin-1 is a potential biomarker in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), whose overexpression predicts metastasis following surgical resection for clinically confined disease. Much attention has recently focused on the AKT/mTOR pathway in a number of malignancies, including RCC. Since caveolin-1 and the AKT/mTOR signalling cascade are independently shown to be important regulators of tumour angiogenesis, we hypothesised that caveolin-1 interacts with the AKT/mTOR pathway to drive disease progression and metastasis in RCC. The aims of this study were to determine (i) the expression status of the activated AKT/mTOR pathway components (phosphorylated forms) in RCC and (ii) their prognostic value when combined with caveolin-1. Immunohistochemistry for caveolin-1, pAKT, pmTOR, pS6 and p4E-BP1 was performed on tissue microarrays from 174 clinically confined RCCs. Significantly decreased mean disease-free survival was observed when caveolin-1 was coexpressed with either pAKT (2.95 vs 6.14 years), pmTOR (3.17 vs 6.28 years), pS6 (1.45 vs 6.62 years) or p4E-BP1 (2.07 vs 6.09 years) than when neither or any one single biomarker was expressed alone. On multivariate analysis, the covariate of ‘caveolin-1/AKT' (neither alone were influential covariates) was a significant influential indicator of poor disease-free survival with a hazard ratio of 2.13 (95% CI: 1.15–3.92), higher than that for vascular invasion. Tumours that coexpressed caveolin-1 and activated mTOR components were more likely to be larger, higher grade and to show vascular invasion. Our results provide the first clinical evidence that caveolin-1 cooperates with an activated AKT/mTOR pathway in cancer and may play an important role in disease progression. We conclude that evaluation of the ‘caveolin-1/AKT/mTOR axis' in primary kidney tumours will identify subsets of RCC patients who require greater postoperative surveillance and more intensive treatment.
PMCID: PMC2266860  PMID: 18283322
renal cell carcinoma; caveolin-1; AKT/mTOR pathway; vascular invasion; metastasis; rapamycin; prognosis
9.  High expression of FER tyrosine kinase predicts poor prognosis in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2012;5(2):473-478.
FER tyrosine kinase (FER) has been demonstrated to play a critical role in tumorigenesis and metastasis; however, its potential value as a novel prognostic marker for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) remains unclear. In 48 paired samples of ccRCCs and normal adjacent tissues (ADTs), real-time PCR was used to evaluate the expression of FER mRNA. The expression of FER protein was assessed in 87 ADTs and 206 samples of ccRCC using immunohistochemical methods. Statistical analysis was used to examine the correlations between the expression levels of FER and the clinical characteristics of ccRCC patients. A significant difference was identified between ccRCC tissues and ADTs in the mRNA levels of FER. Immunohistochemistry analyses revealed higher expression of FER protein in 87 ccRCC samples compared to the paired ADTs. In addition, FER protein expression in 206 ccRCC samples was significantly correlated with tumor size, T stage, N classification, metastasis, recurrence and Fuhrman grade, while associations with age and gender were not identifed. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that patients with high FER levels had a poorer survival outcome compared with those with lower levels. The log-rank test demonstrated that the cumulative survival rates were significantly different between the two groups. The Cox regression analysis indicated that FER expression, N stage and distant metastasis were independent prognostic factors for overall survival of ccRCC patients. Our results indicate that overexpression of FER in tumor tissues predicts a poor prognosis of patients with ccRCC, and FER may serve as a novel prognostic marker for ccRCC.
PMCID: PMC3573111  PMID: 23420638
clear cell renal cell carcinoma; FER; tumorigenesis; metastasis; prognosis
10.  Fibronectin 1 protein expression in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2012;3(4):787-790.
Fibronectin 1 (FN1) is a glycoprotein that is involved in cell adhesion and migration processes including embryogenesis, wound healing, blood coagulation, host defenses and metastasis. The aim of this study was to elucidate the FN1 protein expression in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and to determine its potential prognostic relevance. A total of 270 clear cell RCC tissue specimens were collected from patients undergoing surgery for renal tumors. Biomarker expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with clinical variables. Survival analysis was carried out for 153 patients with complete follow-up data and pathologically proven clear cell carcinoma of the kidney. The follow-up group had a mean follow-up period of 83.8 months (IQR 26.2-136.2 months). The calculated median 5-year overall and tumor-specific survival rate of all 153 evaluable patients was 66.6 and 71.0%, respectively. A higher disease-related mortality rate was observed among patients with cytoplasmic FN1 expression (41.3 vs. 24.7%, p=0.039, Fisher's exact test). No significant correlation was found between FN1 staining and patient characteristics such as age, gender, tumor differentiation and visceral metastasis. However, there was a trend for FN1 expression and correlation with tumor stage and lymph node metastasis (p=0.085 and p=0.203; respectively). The Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed significant differences in the 5-year tumor-specific survival for patients with and without cytoplasmic FN1 expression (64.8 vs. 77.7%; p=0.035, log-rank test). However, results of the multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that FN1 expression was not an independent marker of either overall or tumor-specific survival. In conclusion, FN1 protein expression in RCC is associated with a higher disease-related mortality rate, indicating a possible role in RCC progression. Therefore, our data on FN1 encourage further investigations to determine the role of FN1 in RCC.
PMCID: PMC3362387  PMID: 22740994
renal cell carcinoma; fibronectin 1; prognosis
11.  Caveolin-1 and mitochondrial SOD2 (MnSOD) function as tumor suppressors in the stromal microenvironment 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2011;11(4):383-394.
We have recently proposed a new model for understanding tumor metabolism, termed: “The Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer Metabolism”. In this new paradigm, catabolism (autophagy) in the tumor stroma fuels the anabolic growth of aggressive cancer cells. Mechanistically, tumor cells induce autophagy in adjacent cancer-associated fibroblasts via the loss of caveolin-1 (Cav-1), which is sufficient to promote oxidative stress in stromal fibroblasts. To further test this hypothesis, here we created human Cav-1 deficient immortalized fibroblasts using a targeted sh-RNA knock-down approach. Relative to control fibroblasts, Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts dramatically promoted tumor growth in xenograft assays employing an aggressive human breast cancer cell line, namely MDA-MB-231 cells. Co-injection of Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts, with MDA-MB-231 cells, increased both tumor mass and tumor volume by ∼4-fold. Immuno-staining with CD31 indicated that this paracrine tumor promoting effect was clearly independent of angiogenesis. Mechanistically, proteomic analysis of these human Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts identified >40 protein biomarkers that were upregulated, most of which were associated with (i) myofibroblast differentiation or (ii) oxidative stress/hypoxia. In direct support of these findings, the tumor promoting effects of Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts could be functionally suppressed (nearly 2-fold) by the recombinant overexpression of SOD2 (superoxide dismutase 2), a known mitochondrial enzyme that de-activates superoxide, thereby reducing mitochondrial oxidative stress. In contrast, cytoplasmic soluble SOD1 had no effect, further highlighting a specific role for mitochondrial oxidative stress in this process. In summary, here we provide new evidence directly supporting a key role for a loss of stromal Cav-1 expression and oxidative stress in cancerassociated fibroblasts, in promoting tumor growth, which is consistent with “The Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer”. The human Cav-1 deficient fibroblasts that we have generated are a new genetically tractable model system for identifying other suppressors of the cancer-associated fibroblast phenotype, via a genetic “complementation” approach. This has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of triple negative and basal breasts cancers, as well as tamoxifen-resistance in ER-positive breast cancers, which are all associated with a Cav-1 deficient “lethal” tumor microenvironment, driving poor clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3047109  PMID: 21150282
oxidative stress; caveolin-1; cancer associated fibroblast; triple negative breast cancer; angiogenesis; mitochondria; tumor stroma; superoxide disumutase (SOD2); collagen 6 (COL6A1, COL6A2); myofibroblast differentiation
12.  Expression of Endothelin-2 and Localized Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Human Pathology  2011;43(6):843-849.
Despite rising incidence, the molecular events that support clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) development and progression remain unclear. Herein, we evaluate the association of endothelin-2 (ET-2) expression with both ccRCC development and progression-free survival (PFS). We conducted real time PCR (rt-PCR) to determine ET-2 expression levels on 238 patients who underwent nephrectomy for localized ccRCC; 161 of whom also had adjacent normal kidney samples available. To evaluate associations with ccRCC development, linear mixed models were used to compare differential expression between tumor and normal kidney as well as to explore interactions with clinicopathologic features. To evaluate associations with prognosis, Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association of PFS and ET-2 expression in tumor tissue. Overall, ET-2 expression was higher in tumor samples versus patient-matched normal kidney samples with an average fold change (FC) of 1.99 (95% CI 1.48–2.60; p-value<0.0001). This over-expression in tumor versus normal was more pronounced in low- compared to high-grade tumors (interaction p-value=0.0002), in early-compared to late-stage tumors (interaction p-value=0.001), and in tumors without compared to those with necrosis (interaction p-value=0.001). Moreover, increasing ET-2 expression in tumors was associated with longer PFS (HR=0.89; 95% CI 0.80–0.99; p=0.03); however, after controlling for known clinicopathologic factors this association was attenuated (HR=0.99; 95% CI 0.89–1.09; p=0.7). Up-regulation of ET-2 is a common and early event in localized ccRCC. Higher tumor expression of ET-2 is associated with longer PFS but not after adjustment for well-known pathologic indices. Thus, although ET-2 does not appear to be an independent prognostic marker, there is evidence of a putative role in ccRCC progression. If supportive mechanistic data can be produced, ET-2 could represent a potential target for chemopreventive or neo-adjuvant therapeutics for ccRCC.
PMCID: PMC3274570  PMID: 22047647
endothelin 2; kidney cancer; biomarker; over expression; early event
13.  Foxl1 inhibits tumor invasion and predicts outcome in human renal cancer 
The Forkhead Box L1 (Foxl1) transcription factor regulates epithelial proliferation and development of gastrointestinal tract, and has been implicated in gastrointestinal and pancreatic tumorigenesis. However, the role of Foxl1 in renal cancer development and progression remains to be elucidated. The study was conducted to investigate the expression of Foxl1 and its prognostic significance in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Meanwhile, the function of Foxl1 in human ccRCC was further investigated in cell culture models. Methods: Real-time quantitative PCR, western-blot, immunohistochemistry were used to explore Foxl1 expression in primary ccRCC clinical specimens and ccRCC cell lines. Foxl1 expression was up-regulated by over-expression vector in 786-O and ACHN cells, proliferation, cell cycle, migration and invasion were assayed. Results: Foxl1 expression was down-regulated in the majority of the ccRCC clinical tissue specimens at both mRNA and protein levels. Clinic pathological analysis showed that Foxl1 expression was significantly correlated with tumor stage, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, clinical TNM stage (cTNM) and histological grade of renal cancer. The Kaplan-Meier survival curves revealed that low Foxl1 expression was associated with poor prognosis in ccRCC patients. Foxl1 expression was an independent prognostic marker of overall ccRCC patient survival in a multivariate analysis. Mechanistic analyses demonstrated that over-expression of Foxl1 inhibits tumor cell growth, migration and invasion in renal cancer cells. Conclusions: These results suggest that Foxl1 expression is a candidate predictor of clinical outcome in patients with resected ccRCC and it plays an inhibitory role in renal tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3885465  PMID: 24427331
Foxl1; clear cell renal cell carcinoma; prognosis
14.  VX680/MK-0457, a potent and selective Aurora kinase inhibitor, targets both tumor and endothelial cells in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Aurora kinases are key regulators of cell mitosis and have been implicated in the process of tumorigenesis. In recent years, the Aurora kinases have attracted much interest as promising targets for cancer treatment. Here we report on the roles of Aurora A and Aurora B kinases in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Using genomewide expression array analysis of 174 patient samples of ccRCC, we found that expression levels of Aurora A and B were significantly elevated in ccRCC compared to normal kidney samples. High expression levels of Aurora A and Aurora B were significantly associated with advanced tumor stage and poor patient survival. Inhibition of Aurora kinase activity with the drug VX680 (also referred to as MK-0457) inhibited ccRCC cell growth in vitro and led to ccRCC cell accumulation in the G2/M phase and apoptosis. Growth of ccRCC xenograft tumors was also inhibited by VX680 treatment, accompanied by a reduction of tumor microvessel density. Analysis of endothelial cell lines demonstrated that VX680 inhibits endothelial cell growth with effects similar to that seen in ccRCC cells. Our findings suggest that VX680 inhibits the growth of ccRCC tumors by targeting the proliferation of both ccRCC tumor cells and tumor-associated endothelial cells. Aurora kinases and their downstream cell cycle proteins have an important role in ccRCC and may be potent prognostic markers and therapy targets for this disease.
PMCID: PMC2892409  PMID: 20589168
Aurora kinase; Aurora; renal cell carcinoma; VX680; MK-0457
15.  CD44 is associated with tumor recurrence and is an independent poor prognostic factor for patients with localized clear cell renal cell carcinoma after nephrectomy 
CD44 has been implicated in tumor development and progression in several types of cancer. CD44 expression is altered in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and has been suggested as a useful prognostic marker, but its prognostic role in RCC remains controversial. We investigated the expression of CD44 in a large homogeneous set of localized clear cell RCC to determine its potential prognostic value. We examined 110 patients with localized clear cell RCC who underwent nephrectomy. The clinicopathological data were obtained retrospectively and the expression level of CD44 was studied by immunohistochemistry. Correlations between CD44 expression and clinical parameters as well as survival were determined. The CD44-high expression group (HEG) was significantly associated with a higher nuclear grade (P=0.014) and tumor recurrence (P<0.001) when compared with the CD44-low expression group (LEG). Concerning survival, the 5-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) rates for the CD44-HEG and CD44-LEG groups were 38.9 and 91.3%, respectively (P<0.001), and the 5-year disease-specific survival (DSS) rates for the CD44-HEG and CD44-LEG groups were 55.6 and 94.6%, respectively (P<0.001). Multivariate analyses showed that CD44 expression [hazard ratio (HR), 9.204; P<0.001] was an independent risk factor predicting RFS in patients with clear cell RCC. CD44 expression remained an independent prognostic factor for DSS (P=0.002). In conclusion, these data indicate that CD44 expression is associated with the progression of clear cell RCC and is an independent poor prognostic factor for tumor recurrence and survival, suggesting that CD44 may serve as a useful molecular marker.
PMCID: PMC3438752  PMID: 22969974
renal cell carcinoma; CD44; prognosis; survival
16.  Expression of caveolin-1 is correlated with disease stage and survival in lung adenocarcinomas 
Oncology Reports  2011;27(4):1072-1078.
Caveolin-1 (cav-1) has been implicated in the development of human cancers. However, the distribution of cav-1 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its significance require further study. Real-time PCR and Western blot assays were performed to detect cav-1 mRNA and protein levels in tumor tissues (TT) and matched tumor-free tissues (TF). The protein expression in 115 paraffin-embedded blocks was examined by immunohistochemical staining (IHC). Correlations between cav-1 mRNA and protein expression by IHC and clinicopathological features were statistically evaluated. For the 136 patients examined, the levels of cav-1 mRNA and protein expression were significantly lower in lung TT compared to matched TF (P<0.05). High cav-1 expression was detected in 60 of 115 (52.2%) NSCLC tissues and this level was significantly lower than cav-1 expression in non-cancerous lung tissues (15 of 19, 78.9%, P<0.05). Up-regulation of cav-1 mRNA expression in lung adenocarcinoma (AC) (29.7%) was higher than that observed in lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (15.8%). Statistical analysis of the correlation between cav-1 protein expression and clinical features showed a statistical association with poorer N-stage (P=0.032) and higher pathological TNM stage (P=0.012) in lung AC patients, that was not found in lung SCC patients. Moreover, lung AC patients with higher cav-1 expression showed significantly shorter life-spans than those with lower cav-1 expression (P=0.032, log-rank test). The levels of cav-1 mRNA and protein expression were significantly lower in lung cancers when compared to matched TF or non-cancerous lung tissues. The higher protein expression correlated with the advanced pathological stage and shorter survival rates in lung AC patients.
PMCID: PMC3583595  PMID: 22200856
caveolin-1; real-time PCR; immunohistochemical staining; non-small cell lung cancer; prognosis
17.  Caveolin-1 Upregulation Contributes to c-Myc–Induced High-Grade Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia and Prostate Cancer 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;10(2):218-229.
Previously we reported caveolin-1 (Cav-1) overexpression in prostate cancer (PCa) cells and demonstrated that it promotes PCa progression. Here, we report that Cav-1 was overexpressed in 41.7% (15 of 36) of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) specimens obtained during radical prostatectomies. Positive correlations exist between Cav-1–positive (Cav-1+) HGPIN and Cav-1+ primary PCa (rho = 0.655, P< 0.0001) and between Cav-1 and c-Myc expression in HGPIN (rho = 0.41, P = 0.032). To determine whether Cav-1 cooperates with c-Myc in development of premalignant lesions and PCa in vivo, we generated transgenic mice with c-Myc overexpression driven by the ARR2PB promoter. In this ARR2PB–c-myc model, Cav-1 overexpression was found in mouse PIN (mPIN) lesions and PCa cells and was associated with a significantly higher ratio of proliferative to apoptotic labeling in mPIN lesions than in the Cav-1–negative epithelia adjacent to those lesions (10.02 vs 4.34; P = 0.007). Cav-1 overexpression was also associated with increased levels of P-Akt and VEGF-A, which were previously associated with Cav-1–induced PCa cell survival and positive-feedback regulation of cellular Cav-1 levels, respectively. In multiple PCa cell lines, Cav-1 protein (but not mRNA) was induced by c-Myc transfection, whereas VEGF siRNA transfection abrogated c-Myc–induced Cav-1 overexpression, suggesting a c-Myc–VEGF–Cav-1 signaling axis. Overall, our results suggest that Cav-1 is associated with c-Myc in the development of HGPIN and PCa. Further, Cav-1 overexpression in HGPIN is potentially a biomarker for early identification of patients who tend to develop Cav-1+ primary PCa.
PMCID: PMC3908884  PMID: 22144662
Caveolin-1; c-Myc; prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia; prostate cancer; metaplasia
18.  Caveolin-1 is a risk factor for postsurgery metastasis in preclinical melanoma models 
Melanoma Research  2014;24(2):108-119.
Melanomas are highly lethal skin tumours that are frequently treated by surgical resection. However, the efficacy of such procedures is often limited by tumour recurrence and metastasis. Caveolin-1 (CAV1) has been attributed roles as a tumour suppressor, although in late-stage tumours, its presence is associated with enhanced metastasis. The expression of this protein in human melanoma development and particularly how the presence of CAV1 affects metastasis after surgery has not been defined. CAV1 expression in human melanocytes and melanomas increases with disease progression and is highest in metastatic melanomas. The effect of increased CAV1 expression can then be evaluated using B16F10 murine melanoma cells injected into syngenic immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice or human A375 melanoma cells injected into immunodeficient B6Rag1−/− mice. Augmented CAV1 expression suppresses tumour formation upon a subcutaneous injection, but enhances lung metastasis of cells injected into the tail vein in both models. A procedure was initially developed using B16F10 melanoma cells in C57BL/6 mice to mimic better the situation in patients undergoing surgery. Subcutaneous tumours of a defined size were removed surgically and local tumour recurrence and lung metastasis were evaluated after another 14 days. In this postsurgery setting, CAV1 presence in B16F10 melanomas favoured metastasis to the lung, although tumour suppression at the initial site was still evident. Similar results were obtained when evaluating A375 cells in B6Rag1−/− mice. These results implicate CAV1 expression in melanomas as a marker of poor prognosis for patients undergoing surgery as CAV1 expression promotes experimental lung metastasis in two different preclinical models.
PMCID: PMC3999137  PMID: 24500501
caveolin-1; immunodeficient B6Rag1−/−; promoter of metastasis; surgical resection; syngenic immunocompetent C57BL/6
19.  Caveolin 1 and Caveolin 2 are associated with breast cancer basal-like and triple-negative immunophenotype 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;99(2):327-334.
Caveolin-1 (CAV1) and caveolin 2 (CAV2) are the principal structural proteins of caveolae, sphingolipid and cholesterol-rich invaginations of the plasma membrane involved in vesicular trafficking and signal transduction. Over the recent years there has been controversy about their role in breast cancer and their suitability as markers of basal-like phenotype. Caveolin-1 and CAV2 protein expression was assessed on a tissue microarray containing 880 unselected invasive breast cancer cases, by means of immunohistochemistry. Caveolin-1 and CAV2 expression was observed in 13.4 and 5.9% of all breast cancer, respectively. Their expression was strongly associated with high histological grade, lack of steroid hormone receptor positivity (ER and PR), and expression of basal markers (basal cytokeratins, P63, P-cadherin). Furthermore, there was a significant association between CAV1 and CAV2 expression and basal-like phenotype. On univariate analysis only CAV2 had a prognostic impact on breast cancer-specific survival; however, this was not independent from other traditional markers on multivariate analysis. Our results demonstrate that both CAV1 and CAV2 are associated with basal-like phenotype. Further studies are warranted to determine whether they play an oncogenic role in basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer development or are just surrogate markers for this subgroup.
PMCID: PMC2480981  PMID: 18612310
caveolin 1; caveolin 2; immunohistochemistry; breast; basal-like
Cancer research  2008;68(15):6054-6058.
B7x is the newest member of the B7-CD28 family and is thought to dampen immune responses via negative costimulation. Tumor expression of B7x was recently described in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and was associated with poor outcome. We developed an assay to detect serum soluble B7x (sB7x) and investigated 101 patients with clear cell RCC who underwent nephrectomy between 2003 and 2007. For controls, we obtained serum from 101 sex-matched blood donors within the same age range. Following an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for sB7x, detectable levels (>0.1ng/ml) of sB7x were observed in 53 RCC patients compared with 18 controls (p
PMCID: PMC2918370  PMID: 18676826
Carcinoma; renal cell; Tumor markers; biological; T lymphocytes; Lymphocyte activation
Caveolins are 21-24 kDa integral membrane proteins that serve as scaffolds to recruit numerous signaling molecules. Specific subclasses of caveolae carry out specific functions in cell metabolism. In particular, triglycerides are synthesized at the site of fatty acid entry in one of these caveolae classes.
Objective and Methods
We studied the expression of caveolin-1 (CAV-1) gene in association with metabolic variables in 90 visceral and 55 subcutaneous adipose tissue samples from subjects with a wide range of fat mass, in the stromovascular fraction (SVC) and isolated adipocytes, and during differentiation of human adipocytes.
CAV-1 gene expression was significantly decreased in visceral adipose tissue (v-CAV-1) of obese subjects. v-CAV-1 was positively associated with several lipogenic genes such as acetyl-coA carboxylase (ACACA, r = 0.34, p = 0.004) and spot-14 (r = 0.33, p = 0.004). In non-obese subjects v-CAV-1 also correlated with fatty acid synthase (FAS, r = 0.60, p < 0.0001). Subcutaneous (sc) adipose tissue (sc-CAV-1) gene expression was not associated with these lipogenic factors when obese and non-obese subjects were studied together. In obese subjects, however, sc-CAV-1 was associated with fatty acid synthase (FAS, r = 0.36, p = 0.02), sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c (r = 0.58, p < 0.0001), ACACA (r = 0.33, p = 0.03), spot-14 (r = 0.36, p = 0.02), PPAR-γ co-activator-1 (PGC-1, r = 0.88, n = 19). In these obese subjects, sc-CAV-1 was also associated with fasting triglycerides (r = -0.50, p < 0.0001).
CAV-1 expression in mature adipocytes was significantly higher than in stromal vascular cells. CAV-1 gene expression in adipocytes from subcutaneous adipose tissue (but not in adipocytes from visceral adipose tissue) was significatively associated with fasting triglycerides. CAV-1 gene expression did not change significantly during differentiation of human preadipocytes from lean or obese subjects despite significant increase of FAS gene expression.
Decreased CAV-1 gene expression was simultaneously linked to increased triglycerides and decreased lipogenic gene expression among obese subjects, paralleling the observations of hypertriglyceridemia in CAV-1 knockout mice. However, the regulation of CAV-1 gene expression seems independent of the adipogenic program.
PMCID: PMC2858724  PMID: 20226013
BMC Cancer  2006;6:293.
A large number of renal cancer patients shows poor or partial response to chemotherapy and the mechanisms have not been still understood. Multi-drug resistance is the principal mechanism by which many cancers develop resistance to chemotherapic drugs. The role of the multi-drug resistant transporter (MDR-1/P-glycoprotein), the gene product of MDR-1, and that one of the so-called multi-drug resistance associated protein (MRP), two energy-dependent efflux pumps, are commonly known to confer drug resistance.
We studied MDR-1 expression in selected cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), clear cell type, with long-term follow-up, in order to establish its prognostic role and its possible contribution in the choice of post-surgical therapy.
MDR-1 has been studied by standard LSAB-HRP immunohistochemical technique, in paraffin embedded RCC samples. Protein expression has been compared to clinical and histopathological data and to disease specific survival of RCC patients, by Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox multivariate regression analyses.
Two groups of RCCs were obtained by esteeming MDR-1 expression and disease specific survival (obtained with Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox multivariate regression analyses): the first one presents low or absent MDR-1 expression and good survival; the second one is characterized by high MDR-1 expression and significant poor outcome (p < 0.05). Afterwards, we have found disease specific survival, adjusted for stages and independent of therapy: this difference of survival rates was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Stage adjusted disease specific survival rate, according to MDR-1 expression and therapy in patients affected by RCC in early stage (stage I), has revealed that the group of patients with high MDR-1 expression and without adjuvant therapy showed poor survival (p < 0.05). Cox multivariate regression analysis has confirmed that, in our cohort of RCC (clear cell type) patients, the strong association between MDR-1 and worse outcome is independent not only of the adjuvant therapy, but also of the other prognostic parameters (p < 0.05).
In our opinion, the results of this study well prove the relationship between MDR-1 expression and worse clinical prognosis in RCC, because MDR-1 over-expressing RCCs can be considered a group of tumours with a more aggressive behavior. This finding outlines a possible role of MDR-1 as prognostic factor, dependent and independent of multidrug resistance. These results could be useful to predict cancer evolution and to choose the appropriate treatment: this is another step that can stimulate further promising and interesting investigations on broader study population.
PMCID: PMC1766933  PMID: 17177989
The Journal of urology  2008;181(2):849-860.
Gene expression profiling has been shown to provide prognostic information regarding patients with a solitary, sporadic RCC. There is no reliable way to differentiate synchronous renal metastases from bilateral primary tumors in patients with bilateral RCC. We present data using a custom kidney cancer cDNA array that can predict outcomes in patients with unilateral and bilateral RCC.
Fresh frozen tissue from 38 clear cell RCC (cRCC) was analyzed using a cancer cDNA array containing 3966 genes relevant to cancer or kidney development. Median follow-up was 5.3 years; cancer had recurred in 12 (43%) patients and 11 (39%) patients were deceased at last follow-up.
Using a training dataset of 8 tumors, a 44-gene expression profile (GEP) distinguishing aggressive and indolent cRCC was identified. Of 29 single cRCC, 16 were predicted to be indolent and 13 aggressive by GEP. Recurrence-free survival at 5 years was 68% and 42% in these 2 groups (P=.032). cRCC classified as indolent or aggressive according to SSIGN score had 5-year recurrence-free survival of 78% and 42%, respectively (P=.021). In a cox proportional hazards analysis, GEP was not an independent predictor of recurrence-free survival after accounting for SSIGN score. GEP classification correlated with cancer-specific survival at 5 years in 4 of 4 patients with metachronous cRCC, but only 2 of 4 patients with bilateral synchronous cRCC.
GEP using a kidney cancer-relevant cDNA array can differentiate between aggressive and indolent cRCC. GEP results may be most useful in unilateral cRCC when results are discordant with predictions of tumor behavior based on standard clinicopathologic features. In addition, GEP can provide prognostic information that may help characterize tumors of unknown clinical stage, such as bilateral metachronous cRCC.
PMCID: PMC2706314  PMID: 19095258
Carcinoma; Renal Cell; Microarray; Prognostic algorithm (nomogram); Gene expression profile
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(1):29-38.
Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is primarily characterized by development of tumors exhibiting germ-line mutations in the p53 gene. Cell lines developed from patients of a LFS family have decreased p53 activity as evidenced by the absence of apoptosis upon etoposide treatment. To test our hypothesis that changes in gene expression beyond p53 per se are contributing to the development of tumors, we compared gene expression in non-cancerous skin fibroblasts of LFS-affected (p53 heterozygous) vs. non-affected (p53 wild-type homozygous) family members. Expression analysis showed that several genes were differentially regulated in the p53 homozygous and heterozygous cell lines. We were particularly intrigued by the decreased expression (~88%) of a putative tumor-suppressor protein, caveolin-1 (Cav-1), in the p53-mutant cells. Decreased expression of Cav-1 was also seen in both p53-knockout and p21-knockout HTC116 cells suggesting that p53 controls Cav-1 expression through p21 and leading to the speculation that p53, Cav-1 and p21 may be part of a positive auto-regulatory feedback loop. The direct relationship between p53 and Cav-1 was also tested with HeLa cells (containing inactive p53), which expressed a significantly lower Cav-1 protein. A panel of nonfunctional and p53-deficient colon and epithelial breast cancer cell lines showed undetectable expression of Cav-1 supporting the role of p53 in the control of Cav-1. However, in two aggressively metastasizing breast cancer cell lines, Cav-1 was strongly expressed suggesting a possible role in tumor metastasis. Thus, there is a divergent control of Cav-1 expression as evidenced in non-cancerous Li-Fraumeni syndrome and some aggressive human cancer cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3566049  PMID: 23114650
Caveolin-1 (cav-1); Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS); p53; non-cancerous skin fibroblasts (NSFs)
BMC Cancer  2010;10:503.
Fibronectin 1 (FN1) is a glycoprotein involved in cellular adhesion and migration processes. The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of FN1 in development of renal cell cancer (RCC) and to determine a prognostic relevance for optimal clinical management.
212 renal tissue samples (109 RCC, 86 corresponding tissues from adjacent normal renal tissue and 17 oncocytomas) were collected from patients undergoing surgery for renal tumors and subjected to total RNA extraction. Detection of FN1 mRNA expression was performed using quantitative real time PCR, three endogenous controls, renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC) as biological control and the ΔΔCt method for calculation of relative quantities.
Mean tissue specific FN1 mRNA expression was found to be increased approximately seven fold comparing RCC and corresponding kidney control tissues (p < 0.001; ANOVA). Furthermore, tissue specific mean FN1 expression was increased approx. 11 fold in clear cell compared to papillary RCC (p = 9×10-5; Wilcoxon rank sum test). Patients with advanced disease had higher FN1 expression when compared to organ-confined disease (p < 0.001; Wilcoxon rank sum test). Applying subgroup analysis we found a significantly higher FN1 mRNA expression between organ-confined and advanced disease in the papillary and not in the clear cell RCC group (p = 0.02 vs. p = 0.2; Wilcoxon rank sum test). There was an increased expression in RCC compared to oncocytoma (p = 0.016; ANOVA).
To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that FN1 mRNA expression is higher in RCC compared to normal renal tissue. FN1 mRNA expression might serve as a marker for RCC aggressiveness, indicating early systemic progression particularly for patients with papillary RCC.
PMCID: PMC2949811  PMID: 20860816

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